Tuesday, January 22, 2013

list of concerns on 151-155 V Street NW condo building project

See this message from Bloomingdale resident Dana King, who lives close by the project:

Dear neighbors,
During the fall of 2012 construction began on 155 V. St. NW and 151 V. St. NW (building permit B1205234). Though pleased that these previously abandoned properties are being developed, several of us on 2nd St. NW have become increasingly concerned that this project will have some serious negative impacts on ourselves and as well as our Flagler neighbors. The 2nd St. neighbors have begun moving to raise these concerns with the developer and our representatives. However, we wanted to share our concerns with the listserv in case other neighbors also had concerns and might want to join with us.
For those of us on 2nd Street NW, our principal concerns have been the obstruction of light and view caused by the construction as well as being threatened with loss of alley access (which has existed since the houses were constructed). These issues were raised with the developer, as were mitigation options, and were dismissed. Though this project may not pose these problems for all neighbors reading this, we thought it important to raise as we understand other neighbors have faced similar issues with other development projects in the neighborhood and we may want to consider some type of collective action around these issues.
Below are listed some of these concerns that affect all neighbors of the construction, with recommendations on some possible methods to mitigate them.
1) 60% Development Rule: The construction plans raised immediate concerns that more than the allowed 60% of the property will be developed. Currently 151 and 155 V St are separate lots as per DCRA. The developers have indicated that post-development they will be at or below the 60% limit for construction based on the TOTAL land area of
the combined 151 and 155 lots. However, the lot size of 151 V St. is about 50% smaller than 155 V. St. This brings up the dilemma that if the buildings on both properties are identical in footprint, then mathematically the 60% rule will be broken unless/until the lots are combined.
Mitigation Options: Do not allow the property size of 151 V. St. to exceed the 60% rule based on the CURRENT lot size. This will also help mitigate items 2, and 3 below.
2) Ground coverage and flooding: The developer also mentioned plans for a car pad of some sort. This will have a negative impact on drainage of the neighboring properties and as you know flooding in our neighborhood is a huge problem already, particularly on this block of Flagler St. NW.
Mitigation Options: Reduce building size to the 60% limit and utilize permeable ground cover for all non-developed area. Address water run-off in landscape design.
3) Parking: The developer indicated that 8-10 parking spaces will be provided for the combined 151/155 development. Firstly, a parking space is defined as a 9x18 foot area, so it is unlikely that 10 spaces can physically be fit into the remaining undeveloped land in the lots, so this problem will partly solve itself when/if the developer actually maps out the parking spaces and realizes this. However, even if 6 or 8 parking spaces are provided, this will have a huge effect on the already crowded alley. Additionally, some of the intended parking area will be occupied by a dumpster as required for any condominium development.
Mitigation Options: Reduce planned size of 151 V St. development to allow for additional parking area or reduce the number of planned parking spaces (this will adversely impact street parking).
While we realize the benefit to the neighborhood that improvements such as this can have, we feel that this project is overwhelming the block and will have negative quality of life impacts on us and our neighbors. If you are interested in raising concerns about this development as well, please feel free to contact me, Dana King, at oaklandout@yahoo.fr


  1. Can you explain your concern about loss of us the alley? You mentioned it, but I missed an explanation. Is this temporary, caused by construction, or is the developer doing something so you might permanently lose access? Both are serious problems but permanent loss of use would be a concern for the entire neighborhood because of the precedent.

  2. If the projects are two separate lots should the developer be getting two different permits? There are fewer permits for 151 V St, but I don't know what the pre-construction state was to comment. What got me was the permit for 14 lavatories.
    Take a look at the dcra's piv database. It is slow but enlightening.

  3. The two adjacent lots are being combined into one lot.

  4. But they aren't one now, at this very moment, are they?

  5. It would cause permanent loss of alley access. Houses 2101-2111 on 2nd St. NW are on lots that do not border the alley. Since their construction, residents have accessed the alley by traversing the 150 V St. lot. The developers intend to fence it off 150 V St., which would permanently prevent residents of 2101-2111 2nd St. from accessing the alley.

  6. So people on 2nd Street bought their homes knowing their lots did not have proper alley access, and have been trespassing across the 151 V Street lot all this time? And they bought their homes knowing that the small apartment buildings at 151-155 V Street were not fully utilizing those large lots under the zoning regulations? How is that the new condo developer's problem?