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Once a Tenleytown Parking Lot Always a Tenleytown Parking Lot?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Parking lot behind 4926 Wisconsin Avenue NW

While UrbanTurf usually features planned developments in their early stages, today we take a look at an application that would actually preempt any new developments at a site in upper NW. 

The owners of the parking lot at 4926 Wisconsin Avenue NW (map) are applying for a special exception that would enable it to continue being used as a parking lot — into perpetuity.

The 27-vehicle lot is separated by an alley from a one- and two-story commercial strip fronting Wisconsin Avenue midway between Friendship Heights and Tenleytown Metro stations. In 2011, the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) granted a special exception to the site for use as a parking lot for a period of seven years; the same special exception had also been granted for a seven-year period in 2004. The site has operated as a parking lot since 1989.

When the previous approvals were granted, the site was zoned as R-2, supporting semi-detached residential development and protecting the location from additional density. Now, following the 2016 zoning revisions, the site is zoned MU-4, making it a prime location for by-right, moderate density mixed-use development of up to five stories.

The application identifies the lot as important for monthly parkers and retail or service providers. The burden of proof cites the following logic to support its request for a special exception:

The Board of Zoning Adjustment may waive the location restriction (must be within the same lot as the structure served) for accessory vehicle parking spaces if the Board determines that it is not practical to locate the spaces in accordance with such restrictions and the location of such parking spaces “on another lot would result in more efficient use of land, better design or landscaping, safer ingress or egress, and less adverse impact on neighboring properties."

Arguably, however, a larger mixed-use development would be a more efficient use of land and could potentially replace all lost parking below-grade. In light of the recent conversation over whether Ward 2 is pulling its weight in allowing for more development, it will be interesting to see how the BZA rules on this matter.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/once-a-tenleytown-parking-lot-always-a-tenleytown-parking-lot/13844

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