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Zoning Commission Agrees to Hear 2,200 Unit Project Near Rhode Island Avenue Metro

by Lark Turner

Zoning Commission Agrees to Hear 2,200 Unit Project Near Rhode Island Avenue Metro: Figure 1

A long-term project that would transform eight city blocks near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro was set down and allowed to proceed to a public hearing after the Zoning Commission (ZC) discussed it Monday night. The discussion was designed to see whether the project was broadly feasible enough to move through the Zoning Commission process and give the developer an idea of what concerns commissioners have so they can be researched and addressed prior to a hearing.

To create Brentwood Village, developer Mid-City Corporation plans to raze the existing Brookland Manor Apartments when an affordable housing agreement expires in 2017. The development is roughly bounded by Rhode Island Avenue to the north; Brentwood Road to the west; Montana Avenue to the west; Downing Street to the southwest; and Bryant Street to the south (map).

Mid-City Corporation would replace all the affordable housing on site with market-rate and affordable housing as well as retail, in a sweeping project that ZC Chair Anthony Hood said had been in development for two decades. The developer proposes building 2,200 residential units, 20 percent of which would be designated affordable, and 200,000 square feet of retail.

The Office of Planning supported the project at the Board’s meeting on Monday. In a report filed with the ZC, Planning said the project would be a net benefit.

“The redevelopment of the Brookland Manor Apartments and Brentwood Village Shopping Center would benefit the existing residents of the complex, the Brentwood neighborhood, and would encourage further economic development in revitalizing this portion of the Rhode Island Corridor and the District as whole.”

Planning also suggested the plan to replace the existing Section 8 housing and create a mixed-income community “would be assets to the community which may not be achieved in a matter-of-right project.”

Nonetheless, commissioners had concerns about the project’s density, its consistency with the suggested zoning and the comprehensive plan for the area, and the reliability of the developer’s promise to replace all of the affordable housing and add even more. In documents, Planning suggested the project was consistent with the comprehensive plan, though at least one commissioner, Peter May, disagreed.

“I’m really not very comfortable about this,” May said. “We don’t have anything to indicate that (the community supports this project).”

Hood urged attention to the transportation work and traffic management the development would require, but suggested it would have “full support” from the surrounding community.

“I know there may be some tweaks and some questions asked; I don’t have any,” Hood said. “I expect you to hear a lot of support for this project.”

May ultimately agreed to set down the project for further discussion, concurring in a 5-0 vote. If ultimately approved, construction on the project wouldn’t begin until at least 2017.

See other articles related to: zoning commission, zoning, brentwood village

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zoning_commission_agrees_to_hear_brentwood_village_project/9265

7 Comments

  1. Eponymous said at 5:53 pm on Tuesday November 25, 2014:
    I live a few blocks from this project and couldn't be more supportive. This is what development in D.C. should look like. Here's hoping it moves through the process quickly and smoothly.
  1. Alicia said at 9:16 pm on Tuesday November 25, 2014:
    I also live a few blocks away from this project and I’m supportive as well. I would love to be one of the community voices who can talk about why they want the project to come to fruition. Brentwood needs a boost, and this could be it. The fact that this is sandwiched between RI Ave and NY Ave makes it a perfect bridge for the two developing corridors. With the Hecths mall development going, Montana Avenue will be used more as people cut across from RI Ave to NY Ave. So, that’s all the more reason why development here will be a great commercial and residential connector between the corridors.
  1. RI Ave - Brentwood DC said at 2:27 am on Wednesday November 26, 2014:
    There is a single member district ANC meeting with Regina James on 12/8 at 6pm at the Isle of Patmos Church at Saratoga and RI Avenue.
  1. David Gaines said at 4:47 am on Monday December 1, 2014:
    I wonder what those who will be displaced have to say about this. I want to see the new development as well, but I can't suppress the feeling that a lot of families are about to get the short end of the stick.
  1. Eponymous said at 2:36 pm on Thursday December 4, 2014:
    David - read the city paper article on this. The development will supposedly preserve existing affordable units AND create additional affordable units, while added enough market-rate units that this will no longer be an area made up of nothing but low-income residents. Seems like a pretty good deal to me considering that the developer could, given that its Section 8 contract has expired, simply build an as-of-right project with fewer affordable units. Obviously there should be something in any zoning change holding them to that - but let's push for that rather than getting upset over nothing.
  1. JoDa said at 1:46 am on Wednesday December 10, 2014:
    Epon is correct. In other stories, some of the resident representatives were interviewed, and indicated they supported the project because the buildings are in bad shape, given the alternatives (a by-right re-development including far fewer affordable units and possibly no subsidized units), and especially given the promise of no loss of affordable/subsidized housing. The developer has also noted that they own many other subsidized developments, and will work with current residents to accommodate them in the interim. Overall, this seems like the absolute best possible outcome for everyone. As I resident of the area writ large, I'm beyond excited about this. The current development is in terrible shape and makes terrible use of urban land super-close to public transit (both Metro and many, many bus lines). My favorite thing about this plan? Doing some reconnecting of the street grid to make the area safer, more convenient (no more long-way-around streets that should, but don't, exist), and more pleasant for pedestrians. Also, does anyone have a report on the SMD meeting? I had a mandatory meeting at that time and couldn't make it.
  1. RI Ave - Brentwood DC said at 3:30 am on Wednesday December 10, 2014:
    Re: SMD ANC meeting: There was strong support for the plan but some are still skeptical about affordable housing commitment even though Section 8 contract will be retained and not terminated. The developer expressed that it will not construct 4br and 5br apt units in the new development and this was met with surprise and wonderment about why there are 4br and 5br apt units in the first place. Another ANC meeting will be scheduled for January and a vote for ANC 5C will probably be in February. Kenyan stopped by the discuss trash transfer station legislation status to get rid of it.

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