On March 1, the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) has scheduled to hear a neighborhood’s appeal on a project that hopes to convert a two-story, vacant single-family residence into a four-story, 18-unit residential development.
In May 2015, the D.C. Zoning Commission rezoned the property from C-1-A to R-4 (now RF-1, which describes areas housing mostly attached row houses on small lots with no more than two residential units permitted). On September 7, 2016, the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) issued a permit, authorizing the construction of the planned 18-unit project, despite the project violating the R-4/RF-1 zone restrictions and despite it being located in a residential neighborhood that predominantly has two-story single-family homes.
On October 13, 2016, ANC 6A unanimously voted to sponsor an appeal of the following DCRA actions: the issuance of the permit that authorizes the construction of the project and the refusal of the Zoning Administrator and the Code Official at the DCRA.
Recently, both ANC 6A and ANC 6C sent their appeals to the BZA, while the Capitol Hill Restoration Society sent a letter as well in support of ANC 6A and ANC 6C.
In ANC 6A’s letter, it reads, “The proposed building would be significantly taller and denser than nearby properties and is dramatically inconsistent with the character of the neighborhood.” Other complaints cited include worries about heavy traffic and additional noise.
Since June 12, 2013, when a permit application was filed, the project has been in the works by developer 57th Street Mews, LLC, who purchased the property in July 9, 2013 for $1.5 million. The project, located at 1511 A Street NE, plans on removing two one-story garages and combining two lots with a combined area of 5,936 square feet.
Founder of Bello, Bello, and Associates Toye Bello and developer Taiwo Demuren are behind the project. Bello is known for serving as the DCRA’s former Zoning Administrator and later losing the position in June 2005 due to complaints from D.C. residents.
Further complaints from residents on Demuren and Bello have included contract workers damaging adjacent houses and the continuity of work on a project despite multiple stop work orders from the DCRA.
[UPDATE 1/26: The date of the BZA hearing has been rescheduled from February 1 to March 1.]