Two big events are on tap today relating to the Hurt Home property at 3050 R St. First, the DC Council Committee on Economic Development and Government and the Environment will continue its round-table discussion on the surplussing of the property (along with six other properties). According to statement made by Jack Evans at the ANC meeting this week, the main purpose of this meeting is for the government to present its case for why the property should be surplussed.
This has been a contentious point for the neighborhood. On June 9th, there was a public meeting held to solicit the public’s ideas for the property. It turned into a bit of a farce since the representatives of the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Planing and Economic Development didn’t actually give a formal presentation as to why they thought the property should be surplused (even though they had already accepted an offer from the developer). Thus the public had to respond to an argument they knew nothing about.
So today’s round-table is mostly about the horse catching up to the cart.
The second event is a community meeting at Hyde-Addison tonight at 6:30. New plans for the project will be discussed.
GM has heard through the grapevine that at today’s events, significant reductions in the size of the project will be announced. When it was first announced last year, the project called for 41 units. By December it was down to 35 units. GM hears that today it will be whittled down to just 15 units. All of the units would be contained within the historic structure. The modern addition on the back would be torn down and no new addition would be added.
Neighbors are still calling for no fewer than two off-street parking spaces per unit. With all due respect, GM thinks this is way too much and will lead to just the sort of extra traffic on that alleyway that some neighbors have objected to. Moreover, the average Georgetown household has just one car. Building extra capacity will just induce the residents to buy or keep a second car that they wouldn’t otherwise buy or keep. Plus, for every parking space, that’s 300 square feet of green space taken away from the residents’ common backyard. Demanding two parking spaces instead of one per unit is 4,500 square feet of impermeable asphalt that statistics show isn’t necessary. (Besides, even if every unit had a second car, there is enough capacity on the street to absorb 15 new cars without a noticeable difference.)
But since parking paranoia trumps common sense in Georgetown, the parking spaces will surely be built.
(Here’s a much better idea: Build one spot per unit (or even fewer) and then build four more spots and fill them with Zipcars.)
Disagreements over parking aside, GM thinks this new plan is much better fit for the neighborhood, and one that doesn’t compromise too much on the goal of increasing residential density in the city. As a result, a historic building will be restored. The city will get a building off its hands and on the tax rolls. A developer will make a profit. And neighbors will gain some more neighbors without feeling overwhelmed. A win all around.