Friday, February 29, 2008

Bozzuto Planning...Something...on New York Ave.

The Zoning Commission yesterday took proposed action to approve the rezoning of 5,000 s.f. of land to a moderate density commercial zoning district at the southwestern edge of the block bounded by New York Avenue, 5th and L Streets, NW. Zoning will soon take final action on April 14th after the National Capital Planning Commission gives the yes (or no).

Bozzuto eventually wants to develop the site, but no formal plans have been submitted - and because of the site's negligible size, the P.U.D. process wouldn't apply - P.U.D sites have to be 15,000 square feet. In essence, if Bozzuto can get an official zoning change, they can develop the property by right, but must heed the Historic Preservation Review Board's comments.

The site, which actually sits in both the Shaw neighborhood and the Mount Vernon Square historic district, has no official plan. And although Bozzuto Development Group, the applicant requesting the zoning change, is applying for 5,000 s.f. of rezoning, that amounts to only half of the lot, leaving the other half to be zoned for residential uses. The reason Bozzuto is leaving half the site residential is complicated; the firm owns three lots on the block: the lot being sought for rezoning, and two lots adjacent to the east. The pair of lots to the east are already zoned for moderate commercial uses, so the firm is trying to extend their commercial capabilities for half-a-lot more.

Bozzuto has proposed an 'illustrative' development, though it is not officially attached to the record, which would demolish a single historic building on one of the eastward lots, and would move another neighboring historic structure westward, into the slice of land that would remain in the residential zoning district. Bozzuto would then fill in the vacant lots between the historic property and the Yale Laundry Site, which serves as its eastern boundary. Although there is no official record of what the building would be, Bozzuto might be wise to keep it fully residential, from a purely zoning perspective; Zoning regulations effectively permit "any commercial zone [within this district] to be developed to a high density, if the development is solely residential." However, Bozzuto must be taking note of the Yale Steam Laundry condo project next door, which is not expected to sell out any time soon.

Bozzuto's illustrative development plan ensures the "stepping down [of] the mass of the building proposed." If the rezoning takes place, Bozzuto would be working within a 130-ft. height limit and roughly 50,000 s.f. of gross area. As the Zoning Commission comments, "The requested zoning would, in theory, permit the applicant to construct a building approximately three times as large as what would now be permitted on this site."
We're not sure what its going to be, but that doesn't stop us from being excited.


Anonymous said...

The HPRB has already started to review the condo building proposed to fill the space between 5th and Yale Laundry. The plan is to move the existing historic rowhouse with the round central bay to the lot being rezoned. Plans were submitted to HPRB during the fall, at least.

mediocre bad guy on Mar 3, 2008, 8:55:00 AM said...

Yeah, I remember seeing a proposal for this a while ago, albeit with no commercial uses.

I wonder what's gonna happen!

Anonymous said...

Here's the plan.

David on Mar 3, 2008, 10:48:00 AM said...

Anderland. Thanks for the update, but that is not the official plan. HPRB took a look and gave its blessing, but it all depends on zoning's decision. We'll have more on this in the coming weeks.

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