Members of the ANC that covers parts of U Street, Shaw, Columbia Heights and LeDroit Park threw its support behind a plan for a hotly anticipated development at 965 Florida Ave. NW.
ANC 1B unanimously voted last night to “support the request for flexibility from zoning regulations and the community benefits” for developer MRP Realty’s plan to build a 10-story mixed-use development at 965 Florida Ave. NW, which would include more than 50,000 square feet of space devoted to a Whole Foods grocery store.
The developer is seeking flexibility from D.C. zoning regulations for its ground level open space, loading zone, penthouse, lot occupancy, residential parking and a waiver of inclusionary zoning requirements.
The Planned Unit Development (PUD) contains such hard-won benefits as the creation of a community grant program, new stop lights, the creation of a pocket park on the west side of Florida Avenue, affordable housing and “a large format, full service grocery store that will serve the needs of the surrounding community,” the ANC said.
The ANC’s vote represented the end of a “very long process for all of us,” Commissioner Robb Hudson said.
“There were a lot of us that were concerned that the opportunity to spark a new neighborhood and a new central point to the area would be missed,” he added. “I’m happy to say that, with the help of so many people, we’ve resolved all of those issues.”
Though the ANC supported the PUD as currently planned, Commissioner Mark Ranslem raised the question of whether the developer could be forced to include the benefits.
“Generally with PUDS… there’s always the concern that the benefits will not be completed,” Ranslem said. “Who’s going to be monitoring their progress on this?”
Hudson responded that there were several Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in the works to hold MRP Realty to its agreement.
“We’ve lost track of PUDs in the past,” said ANC 1B chair James Turner. “Hopefully this will put some tighter guidelines and visibility on it.”
The ANC then voted unanimously to support the resolution and acknowledged that “expeditious approval of this project is necessary to sustain the momentum to meet community needs and expectations in a neighborhood seeing exponential growth.”
Rendering via MRP Realty