BNCA Special Meeting Minutes
December 16, 2021
Zoom Virtual Meeting
Officers Present: Dan Schramm, Leila Duman
1. Welcome – Dan Schramm
Dan welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained that the intent of this special meeting is to introduce a motion with the BNCA membership, have a discussion, and take a vote of the voting members in good standing. The motion concerns the PUD application developed for the Hannover Reed St. Project (which has been discussed in BNCA for several years and has been the subject of the last two BNCA meetings). Hannover has been discussing its development with local neighbors, BNCA, and ANC 5B04 Commissioner Ra Amin. He framed the meeting as less of a space to ask for substantive changes to the development and more of a decision point on the resolution itself; changes to the resolution can be proposed, and members can vote for or against it. The interest is in accurately capturing BNCA’s feelings on the development, as it is currently designed, along with the community benefits agreement and construction management plan. He emphasized these may still change and that we are early in the process.
2. Draft Resolution on Reed St. PUD
Dan introduced the following resolution and motioned to open debate. The motion was seconded.
The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association recommends that Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 5B adopt the attached Community Benefits Agreement and associated Construction Management Plan and that ANC 5B vote to support the proposed Planned Unit Development, related zoning map amendment, and other approvals necessary to effectuate the Hanover/Reed Street Project (Zoning Commission Case No. 21-XX), in light of renderings provided to the community on Dec. 6, 2021, and subject to the satisfactory resolution of any material matters not expressly resolved in the attached documents.
An immediate neighbor to the development contributed that she feels that the changes in the City’s comp plan have been followed with this development, and though she wishes there was more time to work through details, any challenges that might come from the project seem to be outweighed by the community benefits. She looks forward to ongoing engagement with Hanover.
A BNCA member thanked Dan and BNCA and those involved in the detailed discussions that have gone into discussion of this project. She also thanked Hannover for their good faith effort to work and engage with the community. The proposed benefits agreement gives her pause in two ways, however. First, the extent to which many elements are vague is concerning, given that the Office of Planning and Zoning Commission will eventually want specifics. Second, some organizations slated to receive some benefits seem ill defined, without a record, and without a clear sense of who is involved. She also noted that the commitment to affordable housing is laudable in going beyond mandatory minimums.
Dan Gordon of Hanover responded that he is confident that the organizations noted have requisite records of accountability and accomplishment. Hanover’s meetings with the organizations – which included Dan Schramm and/or Ra Amin – came from community recommendations. They do plan to include more specific detail in the plan, especially with regards to the intended use of the funds and nature of each organization.
Representatives from organizations slated to receive funding then introduced themselves and gave brief descriptions of their missions, specific accomplishments, and, where appropriate, boards of directors. They noted that this is an iterative process and that they would be happy to provide more information about themselves and their plans upon request. They included:
- Jhonna Turner of the Traditional Schools project, which is focused on housing and education
- Charles McCullagh and Ally Shandell, Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village, which provides community and engagement across generations
- Sharon Murphy from Mary House, which helps the immigrant refugee community with housing support and other services.
- Derek Schultz of Friends of Noyes Park, which helps maintain and use the space for the benefit the community.
- Jeff Miller of Noyes Elementary, a local school.
- Michael Wallace of Mint Project resources for those experiencing homelessness.
The BNCA member thanked all the organizations for their information and closed by reminding the attendees that transparency in this process is paramount. Especially since this PUD, if implemented, will be the first PUD in Brookland and will therefore serve as a model for future developments.
Another BNCA member shared that while there is a lot to like about this development, he has serious concerns regarding the issue of traffic safety, particularly for school children who traverse Franklin St. Bridge. Traffic safety is paramount to the neighborhood, and as there will be parking garages and more traffic movement as a result of this development, he’d like to address two points he feels need more consideration. First, the possibility that the block between Evarts and Franklin could be a pedestrian plaza (like Brookland Arts walk) and second, that the proposed parking garage in the alley could be removed to match other developments in the area in terms of parking space ratios. Barring either of these, he feels there are other options still on the table.
Dan Gordon replied that the proposed ratio of 0.5 parking spots per unit is what Hanover feels is necessary for this particular location and development and that they believe they have a traffic calming plan that DDOT will accept. He offered to go offline with John and Hanover’s traffic engineer for further discussion and reiterated that Hanover is open to continuing conversations that the community deems important.
Another BNCA member suggested some changes to the ratios and kinds of affordable housing units being offered in the development, including more 2-bedroom units and aiming to enable the use of section 8 vouchers. A specific suggestion was that more units could be allocated to lower MFI levels in exchange for some increase in the number of units at the 80% MFI level. The recommendation in this regard would not alter the economics of the project overall, just allocate more units to higher and lower MFIs from the 60% MFI level.
Dan Gordon replied that they will have inclusionary zoning units at different levels of affordability from 30% MFI to 80% MFI, sharing that family housing sized units are seen as a community benefit and that there will be substantial number of 2-bedroom units association with final inclusionary zoning package (though the numbers are nowhere near final, he suspects that of 700 total units, setting 15% as affordable housing would be ~105 units). He was not prepared to respond to the specifics of the suggestions, not knowing how the City would respond. However, he indicated openness to the idea of reallocating the units among MFI levels in a way that would not change the economics of the project, if the City would be open to it.
Dan Schramm returned to discussion of the proposed statement as a conceptual direction the organization wants to go while retaining flexibility and ongoing conversations with Hanover and the community. He affirmed that there are many details that have yet to be developed and suggested that the point of the resolution is to indicate support for the project at this stage while continuing to have these discussions.
A BNCA member suggested authorizing Dan to make broad changes in the resolution regarding the issues of traffic safety and affordable housing.
Dan Gordon suggested that one possibility would be for the next BNCA meeting to be just for the community to discuss the development and then BNCA report back to Hanover. Hanover would, however, like the expression of some community support for the project to advance the development with the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners.
Dan suggested modifying the resolution, adding a statement at the beginning and striking the last final line. Thus, the new resolution would read:
Subject to the satisfactory resolution of any outstanding issues including without limitation traffic safety and affordable housing, the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association recommends that Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 5B adopt the attached Community Benefits Agreement and associated Construction Management Plan and that ANC 5B vote to support the proposed Planned Unit Development, related zoning map amendment, and other approvals necessary to effectuate the Hanover/Reed Street Project (Zoning Commission Case No. 21-XX), in light of renderings provided to the community on Dec. 6, 2021.
A motion was made to accept the amendment. The motion was seconded. A motion was made to adopt the resolution with amendment. This was seconded. A vote was held. The resolution was unanimously passed 14-0 by a quorum of two BNCA officers and 12 other voting members of BNCA in good standing.
The meeting was adjourned.