Tag Archives: ward 5

Chick-Fil-a in Fort Lincoln: To Drive-thru, or not to Drive-thru, that is the variance.

Chick-Fil-a is slated to be the latest fast-casual franchise restaurant at the Shops at Dakota Crossing in Fort Lincoln.  The site is located in the grassy lot in front of Lowes as seen in the photos above.  Early reactions on social media from Fort Lincoln residents were mixed once word of the selection was made.  Some residents welcomed the chain while others are opposed; while some are for political reasons others are still concerned about the selection of restaurants hoping for healthier selections such as Panera Bread which have declined to take up residence at the Shops according to the Developers.  The site was initially slated to be a bank with drive up tellers, but according to the developers banks weren’t looking to expand.

According to the BZA Application the Developer would like special exception relief to allow a drive-thru.

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According to the application fast food establishments are  permitted as a matter-of-right and that the special exception is for the drive-thru.  Retailer aside, I’m concerned with the narrative of the application which in my opinion inaccurately details the true conditions of that location as well as the engagement and reaction with both the ANC directly and the community.  Some of the items that stick out to me are:

  1. “Given the excellent vehicular access to the property…” We all know that access in and out of the shopping center is still challenging, even with the center  being less than 100% leased and operational.
  2. “Far removed from any residential property…”  The entire shopping center is surrounded by residential development.
  3. “There will be no adverse impacts associated with the drive-through…”  There is no discussion of walkability and the ability of pedestrians to safety and comfortably access the shopping center.
  4. The Applicant has reached out to the affected ANC and community groups and there is strong support of this application.”; Complete Lie.  Receipt of the application by mail was on August 29, 2017; that was the first official notification to the ANC Commissioner.

Aside from the 4 items above, there is already concern from residents with the flow of traffic in the shopping center. Most pedestrians proceed at the mercy of courteous drives to access the majority of the pedestrian cross walks.  The walkability of the shopping center with a high volume drive-thru will impact how people can safely access the center and the community needs to be involved in the planning process for how and what is implemented.  Some of the obvious concerns are the following:

1. Existing infrastructure leaves pedestrians at the mercy of vehicles that are coming from Rt. 50/NY Ave. which have complete right of way and no required stops.

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2. Traffic flow along market street which has two pedestrian cross walks ( at this location) which has no required stops except when pedestrians are present.  (Cars decide whether not to stop at these signs.  Most times they do not.)

3. Where’s the traffic study to determine how the location of this drive-thru will contribute to back ups at the intersection of Market Street and Fort Lincoln Drive. As well as the on ramp onto the shopping center where one lane is often backed up for the Costco Gas station.

4. Trash along Fort Lincoln Drive between 33rd and 31st place as a result of cars which often park and throw trash out of the window.  (The city will not place trash cans in this location after multiple request)

5. The aesthetics of the building are counter intuitive to the work by the National Capital Planning Commission to ensure that the building is architecturally appropriate as the second building seen entering the city.  Chick-Fil-a has many concepts for their stores and for the store that serves as the gateway to the nations capital is generic and not neighborhood oriented.

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Overall, while a restaurant is consistent with the property use, a high capacity drive-thru in a shopping center with minimally regulated/enforced traffic infrastructure is not. The developer needs to officially address the concerns of the community and how to accommodate the adverse impacts to the community.  The meeting for the drive-thru variance is on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at 7:00pm.  The meeting will be held at Mount Horeb Baptist Church.


 

Construction Job Fair Next Thursday for DC Residents. Returning Citizens Welcome to Apply!

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Next Thursday I am partnering with Corinthian Contractors & CSOSA (Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency) to host on -the-spot interviews for upcoming projects in the District of Columbia.  This event is aimed at bringing Job Opportunities to District Residents closer to where they live. The event will be held from 3:00pm to 6:00pm in the Arizona-Cousins conference room at Mt. Horeb Baptist Church and are held on a first come first serve basis.  Positions are ready to be filled immediately.

Corinthian Contractors is looking for dedicated and hard working individuals who are ready to develop themselves as tradesmen and committed to growing their construction careers. Prior construction experience is a plus but is not a requirement.  There are limited positions available and no one person is guaranteed employment solely based on their place of residence.

Returning Citizens are welcome to apply but must be cleared through CSOSA.  To find out if you are eligible please contact Trina Stewart at 240-882-6226.  Individuals who are looking to make a fresh start and have an opportunity to rebuild their careers are encouraged to apply.

Please bring your resume and any certificates of training you may have.  Also be ready to not only represent yourself but to be an ambassador for all D.C. Residents. Let’s show that we have what it takes to not only make it to work on time but set the standard on what hard work and dedication is!

Hope to see you next Thursday!

$250 Gift cards at Pet Smart Grand Opening in Fort Lincoln

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Pet Smart’s grand opening is set for this Saturday, October 29th 2016 at 9:00 am. in the Shops at Dakota Crossing in Fort Lincoln   There are lots of prizes and give-a-ways including:

A Raffle for (3) $250 Dollar Gift Cards (Dog Owner, Cat Owner, Other Pet Owner)

Tee Shirts

Door Busters for the First 50 Customers

Promotional Gift Cards and much more.

The store officially opens today with limited services and hours.  Pet Smart is the 4th retailer to open at the Shops at Dakota in large parcel shops.  See you this Saturday!

 

 

 

DICK’s Now Hiring for new D.C. Store in Fort Lincoln!

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Dick’s Sporting Goods is now hiring for positions at it’s new store in the Shops @ Dakota Crossing Shopping Center in Fort Lincoln.

Come out this Friday to the Hiring Information Session and hear first hand from the Store’s General Manager on what positions are available, apply online  for open job positions and schedule your interview.

Computers will be available to complete applications at this event for two hours.  Please come early and prepared.  You can also complete applications online from anywhere and schedule your interview at: dicksSportingGoods.jobs/newstores.  The hiring information session is not required but recommended.

Need help with your resume or need interview preparations?  The DC Department of Employment Services may be able to help. Visit their website at DOES.dc.gov

Better WMATA Engagement Results in More Bus Options in Fort Lincoln

Last year I testified at WMATA’s Public Hearing mostly in disbelief that the only options for fixing our bus ridership was to cut the B8/B9 and re-route the H6 to service the shopping center.  There was no consideration for upcoming development, changing community demographics or proximity to basic services; just a focus on return on investment which for Fort Lincoln can’t be the determining factor with the large concentration of senior residents.

However, this year was different, there was better coordination with WMATA and more residents from the community at the table to discuss their riding habits.  Although the B8/B9 is proposed to be cut again, there are a few new options which may increase ridership, continue service to Colmar Manor and finally gain access to Ivy City.

The screenshot below describes the extent of the changes. The link to the entire document is here.  071416_3APublicHearing2016BusSOGO

Proposed

 

Fort Lincoln Construction Updates

Construction progress is in full effect in Fort Lincoln. We are getting closer to the opening of the much anticipated Shops at Dakota Crossing, the “almost” sold out Banneker Ridge Development and the start of the next large multi-family development in Fort Lincoln which consist of 123 town homes and 240 apartments.


Shops At Dakota Crossing

The Large parcels in the Shops at Dakota Crossing are expected to open 4th Quarter of 2016 with the remainder of the shopping center completing construction in the 1st Quarter of 2017.  The Opening dates of the remaining shops have not been announced, however the buildings will be completed.

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View of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshall’s, 5 Below & Pet-smart – Shops At Dakota Crossing
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Foundations for the Remaining Shops which includes restaurants, cafe’s and other shops with outdoor seating.

 

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Large stone retaining wall has been installed which will feature a radius shaped building shown in the rendering above.
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Brick, Stone, & Precast Panels will be featured throughout the shopping center which will enhance the overall architectural aesthetic of the community.  It will have a very suburban community feel with the benefit of being in Washington, D.C.

Banneker Ridge

There appears to only be 8 Home sites remaining at the new Banneker Ridge residential development. If you want to claim your piece of the most expansive view of the DMV there’s still time.  Granted you may have to wait a few years before you see services such as an adequate park & an unshuttered school  catch up with the progress  of the rest of community…Bazinga!   We are actually making progress towards conducting  a study for a more comprehensive park design & exploring options to expedite the opening  of the school; more details forthcoming.

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The first of 3 rows that will face Fort Lincoln Drive in the Banneker Ridge Development.  The Monroe Place model is shown in the picture above the back of this model is shown below.

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Fort Lincoln Multi-Family Development

Fort Lincoln continues its tradition of building family sized apartments, town homes & condos throughout the community.  Although the new developments all have the required Inclusionary Zoning Units, there is still a lot of concern about the affordability of new construction residential developments.  During the last SMD Meeting the developer announced that Fort Lincoln overall will be 60% affordable when development is complete, and that the affordable units were built earlier in the development.  I’ve met with neighbors and we are planning a home buying seminar later this year to be sure that long time & current residents are taking advantage of all possible home-buying incentives to increase their chances of attaining home ownership in new developments in Fort Lincoln.

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View of the new Multifamily Development Site with the protected Wetlands in tack.
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A possible 3 Bedroom unit filled with Windows which will bring in lots of natural light.

 

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Virginia plans to de-rail Development in Union Market & Ivy City

 

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The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is a commuter rail service linking the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia and has plans to expand/relocate it’s rail-car storage capacity as an apparent result of the Union Station Expansion. VRE plans to do this by  reactivating abandoned railroad through Union Market and creating a new storage yard on New York Ave. from 4th street to  16th street.  See pictures below:

yard extent

VRE 1 Summary

VRE’s plan would expand into a developing community absent of considering the obvious impact not only to the residents of this community but to the community development efforts and livability factor of such a facility.  These rails have been abandoned for decades and New York Ave. is becoming a residential and retail destination which will connect many of the communities from NOMA to Fort Lincoln. Today, there is an  existing 70 foot buffer between Amtrak Trains & New York Ave, which is used in part by Douglas Development as well as the planned trail connection along New York Ave. which will bring safe multimodal infrastructure to the community. Removing that buffer and storing idling diesel powered trains up to the curb is infuriating and is clearly a lack of engagement and care for the lives of people who live in this community.  Moreover, Virginia has much more space to store trains within its own state lines and close Proximity of D.C. but of coarse they wouldn’t dare dump on their own development projects.  VRE could easily store their  trains at the proposed Long Bridge Park Pool Site which still hasn’t broken ground or in Potomac Yards where they have decommissioned that entire rail yard and is redeveloping.

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In addition to the numerous and obvious environmental & health issues that stem from  idling trains within close proximity to District residents, this plan would significantly alter, or even in some cases halt or eliminate projects that are driving economic development for the overall community and addressing livability concerns along New York Ave which includes:

Market Terminal in Union Market

Ivy City

The planned N.Y. Ave. Trail Project

Hecht’s Warehouse District Development

The planned New City DC Development

Future Transportation Plans Along NY Ave.

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As you can see in the picture below, the The proposed train storage yard extends beyond Montana Avenue.

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Where is VRE in the Process?

In May of this year, VRE released it’s solicitation to establish a Contract with one (1) qualified and experienced firm to provide environmental documentation, public outreach and participation, real estate acquisition, urban design, survey, geotechnical investigation and engineering design services for a midday storage facility for rolling stock operated by Virginia Railway Express (VRE).  Proposals were due on the 13th of June.  It is important that as more information about this project becomes available that we align ourselves with the residents and leadership of the  impacted areas and do our part to make light of this potential travesty.   The link to the Conceptual Engineering Documents by VRE is below.

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