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.
Last July, we published a story on the final crop of the Temple Garden on the 1700 block of 15th Street NW. The community garden, which opened in 1990, is on the grounds of the headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite Masons, located between R and S Streets, and between 15th and 16th Streets NW.
The Masons are currently undertaking a large project inside the temple and need the extra space for storage. Thus, the garden has been closed since the start of construction in November 2011. This week earth-moving equipment appeared in the gardens.
This undertaking has caused a bit of concern with community members. In fact, the Temple Garden board even submitted a letter suggesting alternative solutions, but no agreement was reached. Because of this, construction trucks and cranes began the removal work while the garden remains closed.
In the past 20 years, the popular community garden was a haven for city dwellers with a green thumb in search of a place to cultivate flowers, herbs and vegetables. In fact, the quarter acre site was such an enduring part of the neighborhood that it had its own website and rules.
Plots in the garden were reserved for DC residents who didn’t have a place to garden, and preferences were given to those residents in the 20005, 20009 and 20036 zip codes.
So tell us, how has the loss of the garden affected you this spring? Will you be short of flowers, basil, peppers and a creative outlet?
Photos of the Day are pulled from the Borderstan Reader Photos pool on Flickr.
Today’s photo, “Library,” was taken by Mike in DC on August 22. He took this one at the Scottish Rite Temple on 16th Street NW. The temple is “Home of The Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction.
If you don’t already have a Flickr account, you will need to sign up for one, and then join the Borderstan Reader Photos group. Already a Flickr member? Join the group! You can submit up to five photos per day in the Borderstan reader pool. We are looking for photos from D.C.’s Dupont, Logan and U Street neighborhoods.
The Temple Garden on 15th Street is having an open house this Saturday, July 16. Everyone is invited to the 10 am to 4 pm event, according to the Garden event organizers. The community garden is on 15th Street between R and S Streets NW, directly behind the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple. For more information, check out The Temple Garden website. The rain date is Sunday.
Located on the grounds of the Masonic Temple, the garden is slated to close after this fall’s harvest. See Temple Garden to Close After 2011 Harvest.
Borderstan has learned that The Temple Garden, a local community garden on property owned by the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry at 1733 16th Street NW, will be closing after the 2011 harvest. The garden is on the 15th Street side of their property between R and S Streets NW.
In a letter to garden President David Rosner, the president of the The House of the Temple Historic Preservation Foundation, Ronald Seale said, “In connection with certain conservation efforts we are undertaking at the House of the Temple building, we need to use the garden lots as a staging, parking and storage area.”
In the letter, Seale went on to say “although the garden area of our property will be closed, we will continue to be a responsible and contributing member of the neighborhood.” The Freemason’s House of the Temple building and the residential Chastleton building are neighborhood icons that respectively anchor the north and south corners of the eastside of the 16th Street between R and S Streets.
David Rosner, president of the Temple Garden told Borderstan:
“We are deeply saddened to learn that the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, House of the Temple has announced that it will close its community garden on 15th and S Streets NW at the end of 2011. The Temple Garden has been a community institution since 1990. An estimated 800 individuals have at one time or another tended plots in the Temple Garden, and we currently have over 100 members tending more than 75 plots. The Temple Garden has always been supportive of activities and initiatives on the part of the Scottish Rite, and we hope to continue to be so. The gardening community hopes to be able to work with the Scottish Rite to find a solution that enables the garden to continue to support the community.”