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Another Pop-Up Controversy in the Bloomingdale Neighborhood ; This Time Due to Contractor Causing Collapse Following Questionable Demolition Work

P.L. Wolff

On Sunday morning, June 28th, the second floor of 67 V Street, NW collapsed while a contractor was engaged in demolition of the rear wall in preparation for the construction of a “pop-up” addition in the midst of a row of modest two-story homes.

[Right click on images to enlarge]

Within a short time city emergency crews were at the scene, sealed off the building and declared it structurally unsound. Fortunately, the adjacent houses were deemed not to be at risk at this time.

View from the back yard showing the rear wall largely removed prior to the 2nd floor collapse.

View from the back yard showing the rear wall largely removed prior to the 2nd floor collapse.

According to neighbors familiar with this project, the contractor failed to adhere the demolition plan and used a backhoe to ram into the rear wall causing an uncontrolled collapse rather than following the customarily approved controlled demolition procedure.

View looking into the interior showing the collapsed 2nd floor.

View looking into the interior showing the collapsed 2nd floor.

Neighbors are extremely concerned this developer’s contractor, A/X Carpenters, will cause damage to the neighboring properties similar to that caused by this same developer’s contractor to the party wall of 40 W Street to partially collapse during the construction of the controversial pop-up/pop-back addition at 42 W street which is the subject of a lead story in our current issue. (See, “Huge W Street Pop-Up Could be the Last; Zoning Commission Sets New Restrictions,” InTowner, June 2015 issue pdf, page 1.

The backhoes at work prior to the collapse.

The backhoes at work prior to the collapse.

The posted permit shows the name of Clifford A. Lanham who last December sold the property to WS Homes and moved to Portland, Oregon. There are however, questions this permit which was issued to “WS Homes 67 V St. LLC,” yet, The InTowner has been informed by neighbors who say they have spoken with the LLC’s principal, Richard Wang, who he no longer has anything to do with the project. Further complicating efforts to find out who actually is in charge, we have been told that when the contractor’s personnel working at the site were asked who they were actually working for a straight answer was not forthcoming.

The plans for the 67 V Street pop-up/pop-back are similar to that a block away at 42 W Street and would not be allowed under the new regulations that became effective last week. DCRA issued the permit one week before the new regulations became effective despite a number of technically substantiated and noted construction and zoning code violations, and despite Interim Director Melinda M. Bolling’s assurance during her confirmation hearing to review the noted concerns about this project. Neighbors recently petitioned DCRA for a permit review but have not yet been informed of any scheduled action.

Bloomingdale neighborhood residents contributed to this report.

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