Since June 2013, there have been plans to construct an 18-unit, multi-family residential development in Kingman Park at 1511 A Street NE. Since then, locals have protested the project, arguing that the owner, 57th Street Mews, Inc., was exploiting a loophole in D.C.'s zoning regulations.
By February 2017, those locals were able to successfully convince the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to revoke the building permit for the project, noting that the permit was issued under the C-2-A zone district requirements, rather than the R-4 zone district requirements.
Now, the owner has filed an appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), writing that the Notice to Revoke is invalid. The owner further argued that the appeals made by ANC 6A and ANC 6C are also invalid as they are “untimely;” their appeals should have been filed before a deadline in October 2016, according to the owner. The owner also argued that because ANC 6C is not located close to the property, their appeal “lacks reasonable standing.”
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.
Another reason why the owner believes the Notice to Revoke is invalid is that the DCRA’s “Set Down” vesting rule allows a “complete” building permit application to carry to completion “without substantial change or deviation.” The vesting is not affected by rezoning applications if the building permit is issued before the rezoning becomes effective.
Brian Alcorn, an appointed representative of ANC 6A, told Curbed DC, “The building as designed is significantly outside what zoning allows and should have never received a permit. The existing building permit—once and for all—needs to be definitively revoked. We will continue to be involved in this matter until the permit is revoked."
The planned four-story project would feature rooftop terraces and nine parking spaces. Two existing one-story garages would be removed. The property is on 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.
The next BZA hearing date on the project is June 7.
[UPDATE: A statement from Brian Alcorn, an appointed representative of ANC 6A, was added to this article.]