(And please -- no more anonymous comments.)
While I typically don`t respond to inflammatory emails, I frankly have gotten tired of having ``stones`` thrown at me so I am choosing to respond to this email. I want to remind residents that I am a 22 year resident of the Shaw/Ledroit Park/ Bloomingdale area. I would also like to respectfully suggest that there are more constructive ways to reach out to developers other than email flames. These kind of public emails to listservs are the very reason many small and medium sized developers won`t talk to residents unless they have to. I think most large developers talk to the neighborhoods because they have to because they need zoning changes. I would like to think that I am more open than most developers as I have tried to share as much information as I could publicly without endangering my projects. In some cases this has been only with recognized community leaders (ANC, etc), as the nature of negotiations on particular projects have required signed non-disclosures. It is also interesting to note that of all the emails over the years from people publicly complaining about an issue they had on one project or another as far as I can remember I have never been contacted directly by the same people to directly ask any questions. Here is my response.
I didn`t put the note on the vehicle because if I had, I would have signed it and included my phone number. That said, we have a project manager who is at the firehouse almost daily, getting quotes on the new scope of work for the revised project. The project manager says he did not put that note on your vehicle. That said, it is private space and we need access at irregular times. As a result we are particular about vehicles parking there as they frequently pull too close to the building and block the door we use to access the building. The other vehicle that has been parked at the firehouse for the last couple of months is licensed, insured, and tagged and is owned by relatives of mine who are out of town. They usually keep it on the street, but we all know how difficult it is to keep vehicles on DC streets when traveling.
As for the 4-6 pickup trucks parked in my yard, that is BS. I own two small Toyota pickup trucks. (I want to remind everyone that this is a 9 bedroom house.) We also have 9 adults staying in the house in addition to children so, in addition to the 2 trucks, there is an SUV, a van, a Toyota Avalon, and a Ford Dump that are there regularly. (6 in total) All these are kept in a private parking area that has room for 11 vehicles. All run, have tags, and are insured.
I would also disagree about the ``pop ups`` on North Capitol. While North Capitol is not historic, the addition to the two buildings in the 1300 block of North Capital was designed fit the irregular height of the block. When I saw the original facade design by the architect (which was an ugly popup), I sought the informal advice of staff members of DC`s historic preservation office, and I used their recommendations to complete the façade design. The building on the 1400 block of North Capitol is not a popup. It is a new building from the ground up as such was designed as infill.
I would agree that the partially completed wall is not particularly attractive. We have DC Government to thank for that. When we started the wall, the intent was to finish the wall in a 5-week period. We applied for and were issued the appropriate building permit. We also applied for and were told no public space permit was required. This was partially correct. We started the project and 1/2 way through we got stopped because the local / on-site inspector said one was needed. The on-site inspector went back and forth for the next two weeks with the public space inspector at 941 North Capitol. It turned out that the front and back are not public space but the side yard is and that the person that issued the permit did not check the side yard. The public space inspector who stopped the work would not let me fill in the dirt or put in the required footer until the proper permit was issued. No fines or stop work was issued because DCRA acknowledged that it was their mistake. The time of that delay resulted in it taking me about 3 months to resubmit the public space application. It turned out that as the wall was approved by Historic Preservation, it required the application to be formally submitted to public space committee because of the design and height. This is an extended process similar to a zoning or historic review committee. This process was going to require significant time and money on my part to resolve, which frankly in late 2008 and early 2009 I didn`t have.
As a result of that snafu and the economy the public space submission dropped to the bottom of my to do list. Over Christmas 2009, I prepared the application and I went down to DCRA to discuss the application with Public Space. The person at the public space was very sharp, and she suggested a much simpler elegant solution which required me to revise the plans one more time.
This was done and I got sign off from Historic Preservation about three weeks ago on the revised design, which I believe that Public Space will allow without the extended committee review. A couple of weeks ago I went down to DCRA right before they moved to their new location. I discovered a new hurdle. Changes in the public space fee structure now require over $12,000 in permits and deposits. (Five times what I had budgeted.) I don`t know about anyone else but I personally don`t keep have an extra 10k laying in my personal accounts to throw at surprise bills.
Frankly if I had known all the pain that this wall was going to be I wouldn`t have started it. That said, I am looking at alternatives to resolve this issue.