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MAG Mayors Agent Resolution 2014 08

MAG Mayors Agent Resolution 2014 08

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Published by Scott Roberts
McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) Mayor's Agent resolution 2014 08
McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) Mayor's Agent resolution 2014 08

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Published by: Scott Roberts on Aug 13, 2014
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08/13/2014

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McMillan Advisory Group August 14, 2014
Mayor’s Agent
 Historic Preservation Office
Subject:
With a quorum present, the McMillan Advisory Group (MAG) has voted, by a count of 10 in favor, 2 opposed, and with 2 abstentions, to reject the claim that the Vision McMillan Partners, LLC and Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (the Applicant) Planned Unit Development (PUD) master plan constitutes special merit to justify the level of demolition included as part of the project. According to D.C. Code Ann. § 6-1104(b):
“Prior to making the finding required by subsection (e) of this section, the Mayor
may refer the application to the Historic Preservation Review Board for a recommendation, but shall so refer all applications that are not subject to review by the Commission of Fine Arts under the Old Georgetown Act (§ 6-1201 et seq.). The Mayor shall consider any recommendation by the
Review Board or by the Commission of Fine Arts pursuant to such referral.”
 
The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) on October 31, 2013:
“Determined that the proposal will result in substantial demolition, as defined in
 the preservation regulations, and therefore
inconsistent with the purposes of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act”
 
Under the Act, only the Mayor of the District of Columbia (or his Agent) may issue a permit to demolish an historic landmark or structure within an historic district, and only where he has determined that the issuance of the
demolition permit is “necessary in the public interest,” or where failure to issue a permit
would
result in “unreasonable economic hardship”
 to the owner of the historic property.
“Necessary in the public interest” is defined by the Act as
 
a project that is: (1) “consis
tent with the purposes of this subchapter as set forth in § 6-
1101(b)”;
 
or (2) “necessary to allow the
 construction of a project of special
merit.”
 In the
Mayor’s Agent Notice of P
ublic Hearing, it states:
“The Applicant's claim is that the issuance of the raze permit is necessary in the public interest to allow the construction
of a project of special merit.
 
“Special merit” is defined by the Act to mean:
 
 
“A
 plan or building having significant benefits to the District of Columbia or to the community by virtue of exemplary architecture, specific features of land planning, or social or other benefits having a high priority for community services
.”
However, the Act does not define the terms
“exemplary
 
architecture,” “specific features of land planning,” and “social or other benefits
, having a high
priority for community services” other than prior
decisions to indicate that factors which are common to all projects are not considered as special merit. To this end, we respectfully believe that the project does not provide factors that are not uncommon to projects of this nature nor are the benefits afforded the public necessitated by the scale of demolition proposed by this project. Discussion of Exemplary Architecture In our opinion, exemplary architecture is to be both cohesive with the site and of an unprecedented nature. The townhomes schematic drawings crafted by Lessard Design on behalf of EYA mirror both in appearance and architecture three other developments either in construction or already constructed by EYA: the Mosaic District in Fairfax, the Arts District in Hyattsville and Grosvenor Heights in Bethesda. Moreover, the proposed medical facility to be built on Parcel 1 and multi-family structures proposed for Parcels 2 and 4 do not compliment the scale or character of the existing buildings nor retain the sense of space of the site. Discussion of Social or Other Benefits Having a High Priority for Community Services As agreed upon in a signed letter of commitment between the Applicant, the District (through the
Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (ODMPED)), and the McMillan Advisory
Group (MAG) and reflected in the Terms of Concurrence:
“VMP, the District and MAG
commit to using th
e Office of Planning’s
Summary of Recommendations for site [McMillan Filtration site] Revitalization February 2002
, and its recommendations, along with any pertinent zoning and historic regulations for the site, as a baseline and/or blueprint for revitalization
.”
 
Furthermore:
“To develop
in conjunction with MAG, ANC 5C [ANC 5E], ANC 1B, Ward 5, Ward 1 City Council representation, and a representative
for the Chairperson of the City Council’s Committee on Economic Development,
a detailed community amenities package
…”
 
In signing this letter of commitment, all parties agreed that:
The terms of this LOC shall be binding upon VMP
, the Master Developer, and their prospective successors and assigns.”
 
According to the PUD filed by the Applicant, a series of social or other benefits will be provided, to include:
 
Parks, Open Space, and Landscaping:
Approximately 500,940 square feet of public open space comprised of the South Park, the South Service Court, the North Service Court, the healing gardens and preserved Filtration Cell 14. The Olmstead Walk shall be handicapped accessible and include benches along the walk. The South Park shall include seating areas with at least four
 
 picnic tables, an amphitheater, a
children’s playground
, a
‘spray
-
ground’
, and outdoor adult fitness area, and a pond and open lawns.
 
Historic Preservation:
 Rehabilitate and renovate the North and South Service Courts, including all 20 sand storage bins, four regulator houses, at least one sand washer, eleven filter bed portals and portions of the service court walls, and the preservation of Cells 14 and 28. Re-establish the Olmstead Walk around the perimeter of the site and seek permission to obtain and install the McMillan Fountain.
 
Retail and Grocery Store:
 Provide total retail/service space of approximately 97,770 square feet of gross floor areas to include a full-service grocery store.
 
Community Center
: Provide a two-story community center of 17,500 square feet to include a swimming pool, multipurpose room with kitchen, fitness studio, and gallery space.
 
Affordable Housing
: 85 senior rental units for seniors earning 50 to 60% AMI, 25 rental units for households earning 80% AMI, 9 townhomes for purchase for households earning 50% AMI, and 13 townhomes for purchase for households earning 80% AMI. In addition, the Applicant indicates a series of other social benefits generated by this development with impact for the District to include: increased healthcare facilities in the District, employment opportunities and reliance on District residents to perform some of those jobs, training of District employees in advance of those employment opportunities, participation of District business in the executing of development contracts, and the creation of additional housing in the District to meet a growing housing demand. While we acknowledge that the PUD proposes a series of social and community-specific benefits, we do
not believe that such benefits are of a “high
-
priority” for the community nor do the proposed benefits
warrant the extent of demolition proposed by this project. As already stipulated, in the terms on concurrence the Applicant committed to using the Office of
Planning’s
Summary of Recommendations for site [McMillan Filtration site] Revitalization February, 2002
as a blueprint for development of the site. This report captures the high-priority areas of the community as evidenced by the significant level of community participation and testimonies submitted to the
Zoning Commission. In this document, areas of “high
-
priority” include:
 
 
Parks, Open Space, and Landscaping:
High priorities for the retention of open space and creation of a park include the development of at least 50% of the Site as publicly accessible recreation/open space, provision for both active and passive recreation uses, preservation of significant existing views into and out from the Site and high standards for open space maintenance, landscape design, accessibility, and security. The proposed plan does allow for passive recreation uses, proposes high standards for landscape design and allocates nearly 35% of the site for recreation/open space. While missing the goal of 50% publicly accessible recreation and open space, this plan also fails to retain the existing views both into and out from the Site. In particular, the erection of the medical office facility and multifamily units would restrict key views such as the external view looking northeast across the site to the Basilica of

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