CPSG Resolution on the Macklin Project

Today the steering committee of Cleveland Park Smart Growth approved the following resolution which it sent to ANC 3C and to HPRB to support the concept application for the project at the Macklin Apartments (HPA 20-043).

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Steering Committee Resolution on Macklin Project HPA 20-043

Whereas the owners of 3400 Connecticut Ave/2911 Newark St (The Macklin) have filed a design concept application to the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board proposing the addition of a mixed-use building with 2800 sq ft of ground floor retail under four three-story townhomes on the corner of Newark and Connecticut and a 31-unit residential building west of the 1939-era Macklin apartment building; and

Whereas the current design creates a plaza on the former parking lot, open to the Connecticut Avenue sidewalk and accessible by stairs from Newark Street, and closes the existing Connecticut Ave. curb cut, allowing for outdoor seating and placemaking for the community to enjoy; and

Whereas the project will add in walking distance to shops and transit 35 residential units to the Cleveland Park commercial area, six which will be permanently affordable under the Inclusionary Zoning process; and

Whereas the project design satisfies multiple priorities of the city’s Comprehensive Plan in its Urban Design, Historic Preservation, Housing and Rock Creek West Elements, including:

  • Policy UD-2.2.2 ensuring that new developments in historic districts be “complementary in form, height, and bulk;” 
  • Policy HP-2.4.3 that infill development in historic districts “contribute to the character and attractiveness of those areas,” and “Ensure that new construction, repair, maintenance, and improvements are in scale with and respect historic context through sensitive siting and design and the appropriate use of materials and architectural detail;” 
  • Policy H-1.1.3 that the City should, “strongly encourage the development of new housing on surplus, vacant and underutilized (emphasis added) land in all parts of the city;” 
  • Policy H-1.1.4 that promotes “mixed use development, including housing, on commercially zoned land, particularly in neighborhood commercial centers, along Main Street mixed use corridors, and around appropriate Metrorail stations (emphasis added);”
  • Policy RCW-2.1.2 that the City “recognize the opportunity for additional housing with some retail and limited office space along the Connecticut Avenue corridor;” and

Whereas the owner has presented the project at six community meetings and has been responsive to community feedback as represented in the current iteration of the design; and

Whereas the proposed total density is far below what would be allowed as a matter of right in the NC-3 zone for this site, a result of the significant deference and respect the current plans show the Macklin structure and views of it; and 

Whereas the current design is successful in not only preserving the main views of the Macklin, but in creating new construction that has clear continuity to the original buildings (both 2911 Neward/3400 Connecticut and 3412 Connecticut) while expressing a design that is recognizable as distinctly a product of 2019; and

Whereas the HPRB recently approved as compatible a significant alteration to the front façade of nearby 3432 Connecticut Ave (HPA19-209) that was also thoughtfully considered and will enhance the streetscape of this same stretch of the historic district’s streetscape, and that this action should be viewed as precedent for carefully considered changes to the existing fabric of the historic Cleveland Park commercial area; and

Whereas the design will positively transform this section of the Connecticut Avenue streetscape which currently an eyesore and hazardous to pedestrians; and 

Whereas the community association Cleveland Park Smart Growth conducted a survey about the initial concept submission among its membership, which totaled 485 at the time the survey was sent out in mid-November.  The survey received 96 responses from members, 65% of whom said they supported the project “without reservation,” and an additional 33% supported it with “some reservation.” Just one person opposed it. Among those with reservations, 12 mentioned design concerns, much of which has been addressed in the 12/2 revision.  Other concerns were outside the scope of the HPRB.

Therefore, be it resolved that the Steering Committee of Cleveland Park Smart Growth asks ANC 3C and the members of the Historic Preservation Review Board to find this application, as presented in the December 2, 2019 revision, to be compatible with the Cleveland Park Historic District, and

Be it further resolved that any changes to the current design suggested by HPRB or HPO do not further encroach on the plaza or the number of residential units planned by this project, and

Be it further resolved that the chair of the Cleveland Park Smart Growth Steering Committee be authorized to represent the Steering Committee regarding this resolution.

Approved by a vote of 7-0, December 11, 2019

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