Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B voted unanimously at their monthly meeting on Wednesday night to pass a resolution supporting the design concept for an apartment building planned for the corner of 17th and O Streets NW. The planned development is now a parking lot owned by First Baptist Church of Washington at 16th and O Streets NW and is in the Sixteenth Street Historic District. Initial plans for the project were met with opposition, mostly from residents of neighboring condo and apartment buildings. Concerns were mostly about the size, density and noise created by a new building.
The developer’s architect, Eric Colbert, presented revised plans and renderings of the project that addressed some concerns raised at earlier public meetings. Notable changes were made to the rooftop common areas and the landscaping, and Colbert showed a reduction in the number of efficiency units — the revised design will include a tier of two-bedroom apartments.
There was substantial discussion at the September 14 ANC 2B meeting about the developer’s reduction in the number of efficiency units from earlier plans — and whether it was a response to discourage younger residents and students or if it was to offer greater diversity and less density. Language in the draft resolution commending the developer for reducing the number of efficiency units was removed before the final vote.
The developers are scheduled to appear before the Historic Preservation Review Board later this month and the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment in October. The Dupont Circle Conservancy and a staff report by the Historic Preservation Office also supported the design concept.
ANCs are advisory bodies and cannot approve or reject projects such as the apartment building at 17th and O Streets. Instead, they have the role of advising DC’s government agencies and regulatory bodies on issues related to their respective areas and neighborhoods. Under DC law, other regulatory bodies are supposed to consider the actions of ANCs when making decisions.