From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
Editor’s Note: The posting of this article generated interest in this topic and comments on the City Paper Housing Blog and Greater Greater Washington Breakfast Links. As a result, the architect involved re-examined whether a zoning variance for reduced parking is actually necessary. The answer seems to be “no,” because the building was built before 1959, the year the current zoning regime went into effect. Thank you to readers for their help.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont modified a resolution last week in hopes of protecting the green space facing 15th Street NW behind the Scottish Rite Temple (1733 16th Street).
The modification was part of a larger resolution to endorse the general facelift for the 97-year-old building and its surrounding grounds. ANC 2B’s Zoning, Preservation and Development (ZPD) Committee approved the general renovation plan in a meeting the previous week.
The Scottish Rite Temple reportedly supports preserving the green space as well. However, DC zoning requirements specify that a building of the Scottish Rite Temple’s size have more than 100 parking spaces available.
Currently, there are less than 50 spaces, which are used by the Temple’s permanent staff. In order to satisfy the parking requirement, the Temple would have to pave over its entire property to the street. It does not wish to do so. On the occasions when the Temple is full to near-capacity, it uses shuttle buses from nearby hotels and other locations to ferry participants to the site.
To preserve its green space, the Temple will require a zoning variance.
At the previous week’s ZPD meeting, representatives of Hartman-Cox Architects said that part of the green space will have to be given up temporarily to serve as a staging area and space for temporary office trailers connected with the renovation. But after the renovation is complete, the plan is return the space to its original condition.