The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Bex Walton.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

  • Fiola Mare judged to be the best restaurant in DC last year. (Hmmm, GM hasn’t been to Fiola Mare or Rose’s Luxury, but the later’s reputation seems much stronger.)
  • Eastbanc’s bandaid for their M and Penn. project could have far reaching implications for development around the city.
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6 Comments

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6 responses to “The Morning Metropolitan

  1. Ugh, that design for the Eastbanc project makes me cringe. It’s an ugly, looming monstrosity towering over the intersection. I’d rather keep the gas station…

  2. kerlin4321

    Zoning laws were created for a reason. Building such a top-heavy collection of uninspired, stacked shoe boxes on such a tiny lot is preposterous. Even more outrageous considering this will be a gateway building (and designed by a supposed “star” architect!”) I hope the OGB and CAG do their jobs and prevent this blatant example of developer greed.

  3. Topher

    The reason zoning laws were passed was to enforce racial and economic segregation.

    I don’t love the design of the building, but that’s not a concern of zoning. The shape and size of the building are completely in line with all the buildings around it and only needs zoning relief due to the small lot size.

  4. kerlin4321

    Well, current zoning laws now serve (or should serve) other purposes, such as in this case preventing excessive density and height. The building is not in line with the “buildings around it” because there are none directly around it — this is a small island in the middle of two major traffic thoroughfares. Providing zoning relief to crowd this miniature but geographically important parcel with a hulking, over-sized building would be a zoning farce. The proposed building project would be more in line with what you find on the other side of Rock Creek, not at the gateway to Olde Georgetown.

  5. Topher

    Zoning laws are still literally all about segregation. More so economic than racial, but there’s not a huge difference between the two in DC. There’s not really a social justice component to this particular case, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that one of the fundamental purposes of zoning laws isn’t to keep out the “wrong” sort of person.

    And how is the Four Seasons building, which is directly across the street, not around this property? It’s no more “hulking” than this building would be.

    A church occupied this plot when the zoning regulations were passed, and probably wouldn’t have met the new regulations. In fact, huge swaths of Georgetown don’t meet the zoning regulations. The fact is that if Georgetown were leveled by a disaster tomorrow, we couldn’t rebuild it under the current zoning regulations because people would complain that it’s too dense.

    If this project is a zoning farce, then so is the rest of Georgetown. Or just maybe it’s the zoning laws that are farcical.

  6. The Four Seasons is also a pretty ugly and oversized building, if you ask me. But at least it vaguely fits in with the old industrial and commercial buildings on the south side of M.

    I don’t see the segregation angle to zoning, and to some degree you have it backwards. DC isn’t SF or London with people living in garages and crawlspaces for lack of housing, and in the DC area there’s no evident relationship between building density and race or income. On the other hand, where zoning regulations make it legal and profitable for a developer to bulldoze an older, low-density structure and replace it with a “luxury apartment house”, it sure doesn’t mean the block is about to get any poorer or less white.

    Anyway, the problem here is that developers are always and everywhere pushing for exemptions to zoning regulations (or for that matter, to historic-preservation rules). It’s just business and they’re out to maximize profits, not maximize the neighborhood’s quality of life. Since they only need to gain the exemption once, and the decision is effectively irreversible, the hurdle needs to be set very, very high.

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