Logan Circle Micro-Units Eke Out Support from Zoning

by Lark Turner

Logan Circle Micro-Units Eke Out Support from Zoning: Figure 1
An earlier rendering of the development, facing Church Street NW. Peter Fillat.

It’s finally happening.

After nearly a year of back-and-forth with a divided Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), developers Gregg Busch and Brook Rose received the final variance they needed to continue with the micro-unit project planned for 1456-1460 Church Street NW (map) on Tuesday. The motion to approve a parking variance was put forward not by BZA chairman Lloyd Jordan, but by member Peter May, and passed by a vote of 3-2.

In the wake of the decision, the developers told UrbanTurf that they were “regrouping” and planned to start construction in 3-4 months on the 27-unit project. Once started, construction should take 9 months to a year to complete, indicating a late 2015 delivery of the project.

“We’re clearly very pleased with the decision,” Brook Rose said. “It’s been a long process and we’re happy to now be able to move forward. It’s been so long that we put everybody on hold. It’s definitely slowed down the momentum of the project, but we’re excited to get started.”

Jordan and Kathryn Allen, the board’s vice chairperson, dissented. Jordan said he wasn’t convinced the developer’s mitigation — including providing four parking spaces in the back of the project, two guest parking spaces in nearby parking lots, and car and bike share memberships for the duration of every new tenant’s lease — was enough. May disagreed, saying those measures were “on the more generous end” of what developers typically offer to mitigate a lack of parking.

The development is on a narrow lot with three historic structures Busch and Rose are preserving. Because of that, building a parking garage underneath the development isn’t feasible.

Logan Circle Micro-Units Eke Out Support from Zoning: Figure 2
An early rendering of the Church Street project as seen from the back. Courtesy of Peter Fillat.

The board was very obviously divided on the project at the outset of Tuesday’s meeting. Jordan said he wanted the developers to negotiate with nearby parking garages to obtain five more parking spaces at reduced rates for tenants and provide the car and bike shares for every tenant in perpetuity. Those provisions would likely have delayed the BZA’s decision further.

“Generally speaking, I am personally a stickler when it comes to the zoning regulations,” May said. “I don’t venture into unproven territory when it comes to granting relief. … I do not believe that granting this relief is going beyond the authority of the BZA. I think it’s perfectly within it.”

May moved to vote on the project immediately, while Jordan tried to make a case for more parking and extended car and bike share provisions.

“I don’t support continuing the motion any further,” May finally said. The board then voted.

Busch and Rose’s plan had received support from DDOT, ANC 2F, the Historic Preservation Review Board and the Office of Planning prior to appearing before the BZA.

Jordan said one of the biggest sticking points in his decision was a lack of evidence about what impact the development would have on the surrounding area. However, a transportation specialist hired by the developer told the board that without any mitigation, the project would contribute about a 1 percent increase in traffic to the area. With mitigation, the specialist said they believed there would be no increase to the area’s traffic.

“I think we’re not being realistic that every person is going to take public transportation,” Jordan said, suggesting some residents may work in neighborhoods like Tysons Corner and require a car. “I think that is just nuts.”

Busch and Rose plan to bar tenants from applying for residential parking permits (RPPs) in their lease, which, as we’ve noted previously, is difficult to enforce under current District regulations. However, they go further than most in their attempts to enforce the RPP restriction. They will require tenants to sign a release allowing the DMV to provide the developers details on whether they apply for RPPs. The developers will then request that information once or twice a year and evict any tenants who applied for a permit.

May said that if DC can’t enforce RPP restrictions, that isn’t a problem for developers to solve.

“I believe RPPs are a necessary tool for mitigation,” he said. “If there are issues with that working properly, they are on the administrative side and must be fixed.”

See other articles related to: parking, microunits, micro-units, micro units, logan circle

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/logan_circle_micro-units_eke_out_support_from_zoning/8626

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

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
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?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
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
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
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 »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
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
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
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
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
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?
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
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
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
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
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
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

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
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
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
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
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »