For the PDF Version click the link below.
For the PDF Version click the link below.
Reimagining the Gateway To The City
Join me this Saturday in a discussion about enhancing the livability of neighborhoods in industrial areas. This is part of “Eagle Fest” hosted by the Greater New York Ave. Group (GNYAGG). My presentation topics will include:
1. Creating cycle-centric hospitality by enhancing the use of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail.
2. Realizing the true potential of the Anacostia River along route 50. New York Ave.
3. Overview of the Gateway Capitol Concept (Eco Capitol, Innovation Capitol & Arts Capitol)
4. Connecting the Gateway – Multi-modal options for optimal livability and accessibility.
The presentation content is only an exercise in imagining the potential of the NY Avenue Gateway but is sure to be exciting.
For more information on Eagle Fest – Click the Link Below!
On Friday, we will have a closer grocery store option that will allow us to buy quality foods in normal quantities. According to the store’s website, we can Celebrate the Grand Opening of MOM’s first Washington, DC store! 5% of Grand Opening sales will be donated to Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), a youth shelter and services provider doing wonderful work in the city. Stop by for local samples, kid’s activities, and a reusable MOM’s bag full of goodies (while supplies last), all while supporting SBY! Click the link below for further details.
The Site of the former Wal-Mart Development has been one of the most difficult to develop along the New York Ave. Corridor. The site is now owned by Douglas Development who has been known to transform some of the least sough out properties and turning them into gems. Below are the former plans for the site which consists of a multi-family development Arbor Place and the most recent Point at Arboretum. Click the Washington Post Link below to learn more.
Arbor Place ( Photo Courtesy of WCP)
Point at Arboretum ( Photo Courtesy of WCP)
As the residents in Fort Lincoln struggle to get Big Box Stores such as Lowes, The Hecht District is booming with retail options. Click the link below from the Washington City Paper.
The link below features an interview with Cindy and Lee about the neighborhood!
After a lot of deliberation, I have decided to complete the Nomination Application for ANC Commissioner for Fort Lincoln! We need swift resolution to a plethora of issues as well as planning initiatives with several city departments. It takes a certain level of competence to work through the complex issues, passion for Fort Lincoln to bring closure to long standing problems and the willingness to listen and work with our residents whether you are a Senior, a long time resident or new to the community. I am ready to take this challenge head-on and start to bring the significant yet gradual change to residents of Fort Lincoln. We deserve the same level of Respect, Attentiveness, and Amenities as any other neighborhood in the city and I will demand it from our City Officials. I have what it takes to facilitate, organize, and execute these issues and I need your help to get it done. I will be going door to door in the next few days, respectfully requesting your signature to run for the next ANC Commissioner for Fort Lincoln ANC 5C03.
Together we can stop the cycle of prolonged excuses and make Fort Lincoln the example of what a great community should be!
Robert Looper III “RL3”
Saturday’s meeting was rife with speculation over potential and current traffic issues and at a some points over-shadowed the purpose of the meeting which was to vote on two variances:
1. A loading Dock variance on two of the apartment buildings that would prevent semi-tractor trailer trucks from using them.
2. The variance to go from one record lot to multiple theoretical lots for individual townhomes.
The traffic issue became the main point of contention, as it should have, because it effects the way residents are able to get in and around the neighborhood. I think it shows a failure on our governing officials behalf for waiting until after everything is built to make concessions and file for warrant studies. This approach will only produce duck-tape results. Moreover, the solution for addressing and coordinating these issues, which involves a meeting of about 100 angry residents and DDOT, in two weeks is still the wrong answer. In fact, the scheduled meeting was an appearnt impulse move to calm residents by our ANC Commissioner. I’m sure this isn’t the first time he has heard complaints regarding traffic. The developer in turn became the target for years of bad planning by city Officials, however, by the end of the meeting there was overwhelming support of the proposed variances through one of the most questionable voting tactics ever witnessed for a public meeting… (More to follow in a separate post regarding the ANC)
Back to the recap, the following is a summary of the meeting :
The Developer is only building 20% of the allowable density for this development site. This includes:
A. 260 apartment units with 284 Garage Parking Spaces and 36 Street Parking Spaces
B. 103 garage townhomes with driveways and 45 Street parking Spaces
48 of the apartment units will be set aside for affordable Housing (24 @ 50% of AMI and 24 @80%AMI) AMI stands for Area Median Income click the following link for more information regading AMI for affordable housing. Click This Link for AMI for DC All other units will be market rate.
Bob King, current ANC Commissioner wants to increase the number of affordable units to 27 and as the meeting was adjourned, and attendees started to exit, voted to petition the City Council for those 27 as well as more along new York Ave. as it develops. No residents voted on the measure. However, that vote shouldn’t effect this development, because it is on Federal Urban Renewal land not land owned y the city. The push for more affordable housing which ultimately came from Councilman McDuffie is for development on city owner land.
To the dismay of many residents Hurston Lane will be the main connector road between the new development, The Villages, and the retail. Traffic Calming measures will need to be in place to discourage cut-through traffic, speeding cars, retail volume as well as other issues. There is a meeting planned in two weeks to address this. Also residents in the Petersburg noted that traffic along Ft. Lincoln drive blocks them in. ( More to follow on this… )
Other Future Development
Premium Distributors is looking to expand. This needs to be analyzed prior to approval to ensure traffic is taken into consideration.
Besides City Homes at Fort Lincoln and the Banneker Townhomes, this will be the final residential development.
Shops at Dakota Crossing
In a separate meeting with the Developer last week, we had a more in-depth discussion regarding the entire Development and I received the following clarifications:
1. The revised layout shown in the BZA Application for the shops was in error. The layout will remain as previously shown ( Costco on one side and the other retail on the other). See below.
2. The Contract for Lowes has been signed and the building permit issued. Construction will start whenever it starts, I will no longer post dates or times for the start of this development. When it happens I’ll take a photo and post it.
3. Eastern Ave. is only shown as a right-of-way easement, there are no plans to open Eastern ave. along the cemetery.
After witnessing the chaos in the meeting regarding traffic, its no wonder the city hasn’t done anything to fix the traffic problems. I doubt if they have ever received a document clearly outlining what the traffic issues are, a plan on how resolve them and follow up from the ANC or anyone on its progress. If our ANC Commissioner needs to have a community meeting in 2014 after almost 10 years of planning prior to Saturday, what exactly is he doing? We need an effective leader who is concise, forward thinking, inclusive, has a clear vision for Fort Lincoln and a plan to execute that vision. Moreover we need a leader who understands what the needs of the residents of Fort Lincoln are and will work to address them effectively. Until we have that nothing is going to change and that’s no dig at anyone, it’s just the plain truth.
In late May, The Washington Post reported that Mayor Vince Gray along with other Council Members, traveled to Las Vegas for meetings with retailers at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Annual Convention. The link below is a forecast of the types of Tenants being solicited to fill upcoming retail space throughout the city. For New York Ave.( primarily The Shops at Dakota Crossing & The Hecht District) some of the obvious retailers such as LA Fitness & Marshalls are indicated however, there were others such as Dicks Sporting Goods, Starbucks, & Bass Pro Shop that were on the list. Click the links below for the full article and the schedule of retailers.
Construction at The Shops at Dakota Crossing has yet to restart and the proposal below may be the key reason why. I’ve always believed that opening Ft Lincoln Drive to the Shops next toLowes would not fix the traffic problem. The volume of Costco traffic would easily congest that portion of the road . The new Multi-Family Development shows a new and more functional layout for the Shops at Dakota Crossing. I’m not sure if this will be the official design, however, I was informed 3 weeks ago that the DDOT permit was not yet approved and this could be the reason why.
Previous Retail Proposal
The previous (or current) layout for the shops features a main street with the smaller retail buildings on one side of the street. It shows one large parking lot for Costco, and another large parking lot to serve the remaining shopping center. Costco traffic currently creates congestion along the main street which will only worsen with the opening of Lowes and the other smaller retail. Even with the second entrance from Ft Lincoln Drive, Lowes would create its own congestion essentially bringing traffic to a halt.
Current Retail Proposal ( As shown in the BZA Application for the Multi-Family Development)
The layout included with the BZA Application splits the smaller retail on two sides of the main street which is similar to proposals from 2006. This new layout isolates traffic for Costco, Lowes, and the other larger retail from the Main street. It also creates smaller parking lots for the smaller retail making it more walkable. In addition, it creates two separate exits from Route 50; one to the “Costco” Gas station and the other to the Main Street, which would also alleviate traffic congestion. I’m not sure if this is the official plan but I believe it is a much better layout than what’s currently designed. Also putting shops on two sides of the main street creates a more natural street scape and doesn’t look like a staged movie set.
New Residential Development Changes
Previous Residential Proposal
The previous Multi-Family Development Proposal is more of a juxtaposition than a revision to the current proposal and may leave some residents in the Villages feeling like they’ve been mislead when purchasing their home. The previous proposal featured a significant tree buffer with mature trees which creates a more natural separation for the new development which was a selling point to many residents when purchasing on CJ. Barney Drive. It also only featured 6 Apartment Buildings with 352 units and a awful parking lot around the perimeter. The previous development is a bad design however, the natural tree buffer made it palatable because no one would have to see it.
Current Residential Proposal
The current proposal indicates a much better traffic pattern and will now feature townhomes in addition to the apartments. The townhomes appear to be a NV Product which is a luxury home builder and parent company to Ryan Homes. They also feature both roof top and rear decks which would be a first in the community. The apartment look to be a garden style edition of the two Towers on Fort Lincoln Drive. They are horrid in my opinion and must be redesigned, they architecture is uninspired and is not of the same Architectural consistency of the townhomes. It looks like government housing next to luxury homes and is situated in the most prominent location. The natural tree buffer has been completely annihilated and will be replaced with new trees. The Wetlands is protected so the retaining pond and wild vegetation growth will remain. I’m sure the frogs, turtles and birds will be happy to know that. It also may worth noting that there is are no parks or open space associated with this development. All things considered I think its a good improvement on the original proposal.