Zoning Board Chair Says DC Needs to Address Parking Permit Issues

  • Apr 8th 2014

by Lark Turner

Zoning Board Chair Says DC Needs to Address Parking Permit Issues: Figure 1

DC’s Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) seems to think the time is ripe for a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) overhaul. On Tuesday, two different members of the BZA suggested that a look at the way developer-imposed RPP restrictions are enforced is overdue.

“We really as a District gotta get our arms around this RPP use and restriction,” Lloyd Jordan, who chairs the board, said in a discussion about 38 proposed micro-units for 1456-1460 Church Street.

UrbanTurf wrote about the RPP enforcement problem in detail at the end of March. Developers are more frequently proposing buildings that would have little to no parking. As a way to mitigate that, they are promising to limit their new residents’ ability to obtain an RPP. That’s usually good enough for the BZA, except it’s unenforceable by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).

The Church Street micro-units floated by Gregg Busch and Brook Rose have gone through a painstaking BZA process, and today their project was delayed again — once more because of parking, according to Jordan, who said he was “not there yet” when it came to the proposed plan for the parking at the project; two other board members approved the parking variance. The developers are providing 4 spots, but 19 are required by zoning. Busch and Rose have proposed an elaborate system to help ensure their residents can’t obtain parking passes, which ANC 2F Commissioner Walt Cain called the best possible solution under current regulations.

The board did approve a special exception for a height variance while delaying the parking issue until next week, because one member was absent and another abstained.

Board member Peter May, who had previously opposed the project, said the current solution worked for him, and voted in favor of both the requested parking variance and the zoning variance. When Jordan suggested the space could be built with fewer units to accommodate underground parking difficulties at the site, May said that was outside the bounds of what the BZA usually requests from developers — and that such a solution could actually be worse for the neighborhood.

“It is not typical that we require an exhaustive explanation of every alternative,” May said. If the building included fewer units, he noted, “you would not have the exception from RPP, there’s no reason for them to grant it, and I think that actually is an exceptional benefit to the community. The Department of Transportation needs to step up and make sure everything that needs to be done is done to ensure that this is a viable mitigation measure.”

DDOT recently told UrbanTurf it is working on a comprehensive parking review and hopes to be finished “in the near future,” though UrbanTurf found references to an ongoing parking review dating back to at least 2004.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zoning_board_chair_says_district_needs_to_address_parking_permit_issues/8330.

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