Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A met for their February meeting last night at the Metropolitan Police Department’s Fourth District Headquarters building. It was a fairly pro-forma meeting, with four items that I think the public would be curious to learn more about.
Walter Reed Development Update
Caroline Kenney, development partner at Urban-Atlantic (a component of the Hines – Urban Atlantic – Triden master development team), came to give an update on the progress of development at the Walter Reed site. While things don’t look busy from the street, the team has been hard at work laying the foundation for big changes yet to come.
Over the past year, they have focused on preserving historic buildings on the site, installing and upgrading utilities and preparing for the environmental remediation and demolition of the giant 1970s era hospital building. Once remediation is complete, the demolition of that building will begin and it should be complete by the end of 2018. Click here for a summary of that contractor’s demolition activities.
Ms. Kinney also announced that the demo contractor, NorthStar, has exceeded its local hiring and Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) targets. With 84 workers currently on site daily, 55 have been D.C. residents and 13 are residents of Ward 4. The project has reached 48% CBE participation while the target is 35%.
It won’t be long until residents begin to notice new buildings rising on the site. Buildings V/U, a project that includes 301 apartments, 89 condos and retail at the corner of Georgia Avenue NW and Aspen Street NW, will begin construction in late 2018. And in early 2019, the large scale town center project near Georgia Avenue NW and Fern Street NW, will begin.
Before those project start however, work will begin on renovating the barracks building in the center of the campus. This building will be divided and used by three separate entities for housing Homeless veterans (HELP USA), affordable, independent living for seniors operated by Housing Up and, most likely, an assisted living facility run by Seabury Resources. The assisted living facility would be run on a Medicaid model.
Water Main Break in Rock Creek Park
During a recent community cleanup event in Rock Creek Park, some volunteers noticed a new cave-like sinkhole developing in a heavily wooded area near the Crestwood neighborhood. These neighbors informed the National Park Rangers, who then met with DC Water to investigate.
What they found was not a “water main”, but a 30 inch corrugated metal storm water pipe which had corroded. This pipe was installed in 1957 to carry storm water from the street drains in the neighborhood above down a slope some 900 feet until it reaches the creek.
The Park Service is working with DC Water to come up with a permanent solution. The holes in the pipe have been mechanically covered for now just to prevent injury to anyone who may just happen to walk nearby. Short term options for fixing the problem include running a liner inside the pipe from the bottom to the top, similar to what one would do with a chimney. A long-term solution might include day-lighting the pipe and letting it become a stream. In an ideal scenario, it would look something like this: Of course, with the National Park Service, everything they do is controlled by the Federal budget, so the way forward remains unclear at this point.
Recommendations regarding Dockless Bikes
Our roaring Dockless Bike discussion has made its way from the neighborhood listservs to the ANC meetings. Commissioner Patience Singleton introduced a resolution to submit several recommendations to the D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT). The recommendations included:
- Reconsidering allowing riders to park bicycles on any public space. Instead, DDOT should designate parking areas for dockless bikes (would they still be considered “dockless?”)
- Require dockless bikeshare companies to provide more data access and transparency.
- Improve mechanisms for reporting improper or illegial activity with the bikes; and
- Develop protocols to ensure that improperly parked bikes are removed within four (4) hours.
After a very brief discussion, this resolution was passed.
ANC 4A Design Review Committee Report
The intrepid new ANC 4A Design Review Committee jumped into the fray by taking on a review of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which is due for an update this year. Through a process-heavy discussion it was learned that ANC 4A submitted proposed amendments to the D.C. Comprehensive Plan last year. However, instead of acknowledging that resolution or any resolution submitted by other ANC’s throughout the city, the Office of Planning transmitted the update directly to the D.C. Council. In doing so, the committee believes that the Office of Planning is not complying with its own review process or D.C. law.
While most of the commissioners seemed to be in agreement that the Office of Planning’s procedure wasn’t quite right, the Commission voted to table the Committee’s recommendations until next month’s meeting with the hopes of improving the new resolution in the meantime.
In addition to these topics, residents should take note that we are now in city budget season. Citizens are invited to attend Mayor Bowser’s 2018 Budget Engagement Forums. One forum will take place via telephone on February 20th at noon, and the other three will be held at various locations throughout the city on February 21st, 22nd and 24. Please viste 2018Budgetforums.eventbrite.com for more information.
Have a great week!