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We Support…Maybe?

The ANC Weighs In With Mixed Results

The ANC 2B met Thursday evening at the Reeves Center with a mixed audience turnout, but resulting in a surprise vote.

On the agenda was support for both the JBG proposal, as it exists, for the U/13th Street 86 foot apartment project, and the PUD put forward to avoid the snarls of public review. The turnout was mixed, as usual, but not when it came to JBG’s plan. Not a single member of the public spoke in support of the project.

Despite one out-going commissioner’s belittling of those who turned out, every member of the community that spoke registered opposition to the project. This Commissioner  likes to say things like “despite your giggling…” or “other than the six people in the back…” in hopes of sidelining opponents to the proposal as it exists. For the record, I object to any public official belittling their constituents. It is offensive.

Yet every time any public meeting has been held, as several community members pointed out, far and away the majority of voices have spoke out against the proposal, as it exists. In short: too tall, bad massing, poor meeting of the street, and no parking.

Which, as I pointed out in my letter to Chair Myla Moss, does not mean opposition to the proposal as a whole. Without quoting at length from my public letter to her (ask her for it, it’s public record,) I and many of my neighbors “find much to like in the JBG proposal.” Yeah, you read that right.

That, however, does not mean the proposal as it stands is ready for prime time. As I also said to Chair Moss: “Taking a month or two to address community concerns will make for a better building, and a better neighborhood.”  Oh, that was regarding the L2 project, which everyone agreed upon, following adequate public input. But also this project, which suddenly every one seems to have to approve yesterday.

While some will report Thursday’s vote as the ANC’s support for the project, it was explicitly – with the aid of Commissioner Zwerdling – contingent upon explict approval from DDOT that all residents of the apartment building – now and forever – would not be able to apply for on-street parking. This, following from precedent at the L2 development, and their garnering approval from the ANC.

And even at that, the vote ended up being 5 for, 3 against and 1 abstention. Not in any way a full throated approval for 13/U. In fact, that very vote should signal to all concerned the continuing concerns about the proposal. As long as you assume that’s not just coming from six cranks in the back of the room.

The proposal now goes to Zoning, and HPRB. Suddenly, 13th and U is looking a little shaky.

PostScript: Oh, one of the JBG representatives mentioned four times, “this isn’t a threat, but…” As in, if you don’t give us everything we want, well…we’re not threatening anything, but…

To which I say: if you have to say repeatedly something isn’t a threat, it is.

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