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Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association Newsletter
September 1998

CSNA meets the second Thursday of every month.

Next meeting is

Thursday, Sept 10
7:00 p.m.

Walker Memorial
Baptist Church
202013th St., NW

President’s Message

Ah! We’re back again after what can only be described as a lovely summer by Washington standards. I hope all CSNA members have had an opportunity and inclination to relax a bit, and recharge the old batteries. Now, where were we....?

There has indeed been a great deal in the works in our community since the last CSNA meeting and newsletter, and the purpose of this volume is largely to update all and sundry on some of the many projects which are taking shape or being considered within our community.

The fact that these projects are even being considered is ample acknowledgement that conditions are changing in and about the Cardozo-Shaw area. What has for years been seen as potential for change is finally beginning to gel; it seems that we are achieving that critical mass which enables a community to be sustained not merely as a curiosity to which outsiders come to spend pocket money, but rather as a neighborhood of residents and businesses which developers believe finally to be worthy of economic investment. If Cardozo-Shaw can be seen as a bellwether for the rest of the District, then our fair city also must be seen as poised for a comeback. After a lot of work by many, and a long time in coming, our city again promises to be a shining urban success.

Most of CSNA’s membership belongs to the organization as a result of a desire to take an active role in the direction of our community. As a group and as individuals we probably work much harder than the average city resident to create change for the better. To that end, I just want to remind everyone that next Tuesday voters have the privilege and the responsibility to take the first step in electing representatives who will work toward that same goal. Even if you have time for nothing else on the 15th, please, take the time to VOTE!

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At This Month’s Membership Meeting

9th Street Zoning Issue
Old Children's Hospital
Exeter Pats / Papa John’s
Historic District
Graffiti Abatement Planning and Budget

Proposed Re-Zoning:
SE Half of the 1900 Block of 9th Street
(between T and U Streets)

A petition to the Zoning Board is to be submitted by the property owners of 1901 to 1915 9th Street seeking a change in their current zoning from R- 4 (residential with a maximum of two units in a row- house style building) to C-2-B. This type of zoning would allow as a matter of right, “medium density development, including office, retail, housing and mixed uses to a maximum height of sixty-five feet . . .” This would include bars, liquor stores, beauty shops, nail parlors, convenience stores, etc.

The owners seek this change in order to maximize the “economic use” of their buildings. They will be appearing before CSNA seeking its support for this rezoning at the September meeting. The owners are represented by the owners of 1901 9th Street, who have previously sought a zoning change for their property and been refused a hearing by the Zoning Board after the Office of Planning determined that such a change for their property would be illegal and improper “spot zoning.” It was suggested, however, by the Zoning Board that if all the residentially zoned properties on that block were to file a joint petition for re-zoning, the Zoning Board then would hold a hearing. It is through this mechanism by which the owners now seek re-zoning of their properties.

In 1987, the D.C. Zoning Commission initiated a study of an update of the Comprehensive Plan for an area extending from D Street up 7th Street to Florida Avenue across to U Street to 14th Street and down 14th Street to Thomas Circle. The portion surrounding 14th and U Streets is part of a district known as the “Uptown Arts-Mixed Use Overlay District.” The purpose of this study was to establish a zoning plan which would encourage productive use of commercial space within the corridor and to promote new or renovated residential use in conjunction with this arts oriented commercial development.

The study led to numerous hearings on a change in the overall zoning of this area and a new zoning overlay was enacted in February of 1990. The art galleries along 7th Street and new residential buildings such as the Lansburgh are direct results of these zoning changes.

The zoning change in our area included the downzoning of certain properties from commercial to residential, including the properties for which re-zoning is now sought. The Office of Planning, in drafting its plan for the arts overlay, determined that commercial uses were to be encouraged along U Street and that a natural over

flow would occur in those properties along 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th streets closest to U Street. As a result, the northern half of each of these blocks was zoned C-2-B (the commercial arts zoning). It also was determined that these blocks should act as transitions to the residentially zoned areas to the South. As a result, residential zoning was imposed on those properties on the southern half of each of these blocks.

Numerous people have relied upon the existing zoning in making their decision to locate their residences in areas close to, but slightly removed from the commercial corridor along U Street. In the 800 block of T Street directly below the properties seeking re-zoning, several properties recently were renovated as residential properties. Residential in this area is a viable option for the owners of these properties even if it might not be the best “economic” option.

The owners will argue that there are several commercial uses grandfathered in to the current properties. However, the continued use of a property by a preexisting commercial use does not in any way justify the rezoning of an entire strip of properties that were designated residential in a long study and hearing process which had tremendous community input. Further, if these property owners are successful with this re-zoning, what is to stop the owners of properties in other similar blocks (de: the 1900 blocks of 10th, l1th, 12th and 13th) from banding together and seeking commercial zoning for their residential properties?

Rezoning these properties is a bad idea and one that does not conform with the good mix of commercial and residential that we want in our community. Some of these property owners have contributed nothing to the community, leaving their buildings vacant shells waiting for a renaissance in the neighborhood to make their properties economically viable. Now they come to us seeking not only to take advantage of the improved community we have all helped to build, but seeking to maximize their profits at the expense of a well thought-out zoning plan.

I urge you to reject this proposed zoning change.

Glenn Melcher
ANC lB02

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CSNA Officers

President, Buck Clarke, 387-5937
Vice President, Paul Williams, 462-6251
Treasurer, Chuck Baxter, 232-7921
Rcdg Secretary, Derek Kowalczyk, 265-8385

Donatelli & Klein Present Proposal for Former Children’s Hospital Site

At the August ANC 1-B meeting, developer Chris Donatelli and public relations director Larry Clark presented their plans for the development of the former Children's Hospital site that called for a combination of a “major national retail grocery store” and 96 townhomes. Sworn to secrecy, Donatelli would not reveal the name of the grocer, and indicated that a letter of intent, not a firm commitment, was obtained from the retailer.

The retailer has been providing the developer with general plans for a 46,000 square foot store facing 13th Street, with 300 parking spaces located atop the structure. Clark confirmed to those in attendance that the grocer was not Fresh Fields, but “another grocer of similar quality and prominence.”

The Bethesda-based company has proposed 96 townhomes to face 12th Street side of the development, between V and W Street, with an interior mews and parking around the perimeter. That aspect of the proposal was never discussed, however, as differing opinions on the ANC and the public expressed concern that they were not aware of the current plans and persuaded the Board to table the approval until further public outreach could be obtained. In a surprising turn around, Donatelli and Klein agreed to support the ANC decision to call for a cancellation of a proposed hearing the following week in front of city officials that is required as one of the first steps toward transferring the property from the city to the private firm. That hearing, scheduled for August 18, was subsequently canceled, and the developers agreed to present their plans and get public comment. They will present these plans at the September 10 meeting of the Cardozo-Shaw Neighborhood Association.

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Historic Preservation

The end is near! The Historic Preservation Review Board will hear our application for designation of the Greater U Street Historic District on Thursday September 24th at 441 4th Street (One Judiciary Square) in Room 220 South at 10 am. We plan on presenting an overview of work completed to date, a slide show of historic architecture, and a presentation on the social aspects of U Street during its prime; the African American entertainment period from the 1920s and 30s. It should be educational for all those present!

In coordination with the Residential Action Coalition, we are hosting a final, small-scale public forum for those in the community who may still have questions and concerns surrounding the designation. The forum will be held at the Whitelaw Hotel Ballroom from 7 to 9 p.m. on September 14th. Plan to attend!

If you can’t make the forum or the hearing, PLEASE send a post card or letter in support of designation to James Speight, Chairman HPRB, Historic Preservation Division, DCCRA, .6124 H Street, NW Room 305, Washington, DC 20001. Each and every one will assist us in this long-term endeavor!

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Fast Food Concerns

As many of you know, CSNA (with the guidance of Paul Williams) was instrumental in the historic designation of the twin apartment buildings at 1226-1332 U Street on July 25th of this year. The owner of 1330-1332 U Street, Marvin Jawer, had requested a demolition permit last fall for his building. Many of you were also interested in learning more about the proposed tenant, pizza delivery and fast food franchise Papa Johns. They are indeed on their way. As promised, Paul Williams called a meeting to discuss the options.

The kick-off meeting was held on Wednesday, September 2 at Erico Restaurant to address issues associated with the continuing introduction of fast-food restaurants along the U Street corridor. Papa John's is the most recent franchise to express an interest in locating in our neighborhood. Results from the meeting will be presented briefly at the next CSNA meeting, and those interested in this new committee (searching for a leader?) are encouraged to contact Paul Williams at 462-6251.

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True Reformer Building

James Packard had received all necessary permits to implement the exterior facade renovation of the True Reformer building at 1200 U Street, and expects this aspect of the overall renovation to begin as soon as possible!

Save the Date!

When Where Event Contact
Sept 9, 7:00 p.m. Reeves Center, 2nd Floor ANC 1B Meeting Glenn Melcher, 797-0969
Sept 10, 7:00 p.m. Walker Memorial Baptist Church Membership Meeting Buck Clarke, 387-5937
Sept 22, 7:00 p.m. Westminster Playground WNA Meeting Chuck Baxter, 232-7921

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