loading...

After Two-Night Hearing, Superfresh PUD Decision Still a Waiting Game

by Nena Perry-Brown

Rendering on Yuma Street NW, courtesy of Torti Gallas Urban. Click to enlarge.

Four years after the community first saw a redevelopment proposal for the former Superfresh grocery site in Spring Valley, a vote on whether to approve the development remains on the horizon, even after a two-night zoning hearing this week. 

The current planned unit development (PUD) application calls for a 214-unit mixed-use building and five townhouses at 4330 48th Street NW (map) along with a MOM's Organic Market grocery store. As the proposal has evolved, neighbors have voiced various criticisms, and there have been organized campaigns among groups who would prefer to see a project which is either one or two stories shorter, has a larger grocery store (or none at all), and/or more affordable units.

All of those dynamics, and more, came to the fore over the course of the Zoning Commission hearings this week. The city's overall housing production goals, and the apparent lack of new housing construction, particularly affordable housing, in Ward 3 could make denial of the application a hard sell for the commissioners. 

"This is a heavy lift for me," Chair Anthony Hood stated, referring to recent stats on affordable housing distribution as "alarming". "Right now, this policy is outweighing a whole lot of stuff that's not happening over there, and I think this brings some balance. I'm really having an issue with this affordable housing. I don't see where you're doing your fair share."

ANC 3D and 3E representatives testifying in support of the application agreed, noting that the 29 affordable units this PUD provides would be a 50 percent increase over the current affordable housing stock in the Ward.

"Frankly, we think that this is an issue of equity, and the fact that all of the benefits that are in our neighborhood should be available to everyone," ANC 3E representative John McHugh testified. "We're not pulling our weight, to be frank, so I think, within reasonable and appropriate development, we should be building things like this to rectify that."

William Clarkson, testifying on behalf of Spring Valley Neighborhood Association, agreed. "It is important to note that, since 2015, only 53 IZ units have been built in Ward 3. None of those 53 units are located in ANC 3E or ANC 3D, the two affected ANCs."

Some of those who testified in opposition also expressed a desire to see more affordable housing, including Shelly Repp of Citizens for Reasonable Development's (CRD).

"As a matter of principle, I don't see why we would oppose it," Repp said in response to Commissioner Peter Shapiro's hypothetical of whether CRD would support a smaller building which is majority affordable.

Will Lansing of project developer Valor Development said in rebuttal that the team has reviewed the financial feasibility of the project since Monday's hearing and can increase the residential area set aside for inclusionary zoning from 11 to 12 percent. Under the 11 percent allotment, there would have been roughly 29 units affordable to households earning up to 50 or 60 percent of median family income.

Affordable housing wasn't the only point of contention during the hearings, however. 

CRD's testimony picked up where they left off on the previous application, playing a "simulation" video dramatizing how the development could worsen pedestrian safety in the existing alley behind the site, and enlisting Curt Westergard, an expert witness on visual impacts, to question whether the development team is still intentionally submitting misleading renderings.

While Westergard conceded that the building seemed to be rendered accurately in the latest round of submittals, he testified that the trees depicted were oversized and positioned in such a way to diminish the visual impact of the buildings.

"You can't have a 120-foot tree; it's botanically impossible," he stated, clarifying during cross-examination that he was referring to the mid-Atlantic climate; Ward 3 Vision representative John Wheeler noted that he'd found several trees in Prince George's County taller than 120 feet in a Google search.

Ultimately, the Zoning Commission closed out Thursday's hearing with a request for the applicant and opposition to add more exhibits and information to the record over the next few weeks. A final vote is now scheduled for November 18th.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/after-two-night-hearing-superfresh-pud-decision-still-a-waiting-game/15987

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »