Three historic row houses, at 1232-1236 New Jersey Avenue, NW, in the Mount Vernon Square Historic District, are up for demolition. The raze request submitted in February by the property owner, the Third Street Church of God, will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) next week, on June 30th. The HPRB will decide the fate of the badly decrepit row houses, vacant now for over two decades.
At first glance, the property looks unimpressive. Upon further inspection, and considering the 140-year history, the three residential row houses can be seen in a new light, or at least given a nod. However, the property is the worse for its 14 decades.
Director of Church Operations at Third Street Church of God, Theodore (Ted) Daniels, says that demolition is "one of the options" being pursued by the Church and if this route is pursued that the created "space will be used for parking" for church attendees. The Third Street Church of God has been at its location - next door - at 1246 New Jersey Avenue, NW for over a century.
Rob Amos, chair of the ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Environment (PZE) Committee, and president of Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association (MVSNA), says that the amount of parking that would be created is unimpressive, and that the PZE moved to oppose the raze request at the PZE meeting on June 1st. The full ANC 6C Commission meeting, however, split 3-3-1 and the ANC "took no action on the request [of the PZE]."
Bobbi Kengel, concerned citizen, says she was "shocked to discover that there could still be a real possibility of demolition of historic rowhouses within a designated historic district."
But, the "real story," according to Kengel, is that "churches and universities are still being allowed to commit demolition by neglect in large numbers, and they aren't even being taxed at the vacant or blighted rates." Rebecca Miller, Executive Director of the DC Preservation league, agreed that property owners should not be able to commit demolition by neglect. According to Amos, "Pastor Sanders [of the Third Street Church of God] testified that [the property] had been vacant for at least 20 years. The Church has been using them for storage for quite a while now."
Washington D.C. real estate development news