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Dupont Circle ANC Supports Masonic Temple Development Plan for 15th & S Sts. Apartment Building

At a jam-packed November 14th meeting, with constituents in high dudgeon, ANC 2B commissioners resoundingly rejected opponents’ calls that the ANC seeks a delay of the  Historic Preservation Review Board’s  scheduled November 29th hearing to consider the controversial development plan.

The ANC’s adopted resolution to be filed with the Board reads as follows:

Whereas the project as proposed is within the 16th Street Historic District, 14th Street Historic District, and Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B; and

Whereas the project proposes to construct an apartment building on a currently vacant parcel at the corner of 15th Street NW and S Street NW which was occupied by row houses more than 30 years ago; and

Whereas ANC 2B understands the project is to be developed as a matter of right under the zoning code; and

Whereas ANC 2B heard from several constituents that preserving views of apse of the Scottish Rite Temple from 15th Street NW is more important than the preservation of the current carriage house contributing structure; and

Whereas ANC 2B urges the applicant to rethink the proposed window treatment of the carriage house and focus more on the garage-style windows and less on the small upper windows; and

Whereas ANC 2B appreciates the applicant’s proposed setbacks along 15th Street and S Street which mimic setbacks on neighboring properties; and

Whereas ANC 2B additionally appreciates the applicant’s setback on the southern portion of the building between the proposed parking garage entrance and 15th Street NW, and encourages the applicant to maintain the streetscape so that the broadest amount of visibility is available where the alley meets the 15th Street protected cycle track; and

Whereas ANC 2B would appreciate, and the applicant has offered, a light study to illuminate concerns regarding shadows from the proposed project; and

Whereas ANC 2B appreciates that the proposed areaways allow an additional level of cellars/English Basement which provide much needed housing, adding to the amount of Inclusionary Zoning required for the project and likely providing a greater overall price range for units; and

Whereas ANC 2B believes the proposed areaways are appropriately setback and covered in foliage so that they are not a historic preservation concern; and

Whereas ANC 2B understands the intent of the corner treatments of the project’s street frontage, but believes these portions of the building make the structure too complicated; and

Whereas ANC2B appreciates brick treatment that integrates with neighboring buildings and responds to community input, but believes the current design to be overly complicated and incompatible with existing historic structures; and

Therefore be it RESOLVED ANC 2B encourages the applicant to redesign the corner treatments to be more congruent with the row-house nature of 15th and S Streets.

Be it further RESOLVED ANC 2B urges the applicant to rethink the window treatment on the carriage house.

Be it further RESOLVED ANC 2B encourages the applicant to consider a more muted color tone through yellow or light red bricks and to simplify the design overall so that any variation in material and design is more subtle and more consistent with nearby properties.

Be it further RESOLVED ANC 2B requests that any changes in the concept review process go back through the Historic Preservation Review Board rather than the Historic Preservation Office staff so that the ANC may continue to formally weigh in on this project.