Last Hurdle for Macklin: Making it Car-Free

This month the Macklin Project will go before ANC 3C (7/20) on their way to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (7/29) to ask for a waiver for their required 8 residential parking spaces and 9 retail parking spaces. This project was designed without parking, and will not be built if parking is required. As the community did when Historic Preservation was prepared to reduce the project to a diorama, it needs to speak up now.

The Macklin promises to replace a sad mid-century parking lot with new homes and a public plaza that finishes a forgotten part of our retail streetscape, which today is home to rats and dumpsters. It will add 35 new homes that will bring new customers walking to our neighborhood shops. IF it gets built.

Opposing this project, both when it was at the HPRB, and now in front of the BZA, are a small handful of the neighbors who live up the street. The fabled curvelinear Newark Street where all but one house has off-street parking. And their issue is, yes, parking.

Never mind that the seventeen homes in the Macklin have but trace amounts of car ownership today. Never mind that future residents will sign leases that require they obtain private off-street parking and not apply for a residential street permit. Never mind that this property is a block from the Cleveland Park Metro, the north/south and east/west buses and a Capital Bike Share station (in front of the building). Never mind that groceries, laundry, prescriptions, basic homes wares and numerous eateries are steps from its door. PARKING!

The Steering Committee of CPSG has issued this statement to the BZA and encourages members of the community weigh in with ANC 3C (all@anc3c.org) and the BZA (bzasubmissions@dc.gov) and reference Case 20266 ‘3400 Connecticut Ave’.

Interested in seeing what others have written? You can see the case file submissions here.


Steering Committee Statement on Macklin Project

“3400 Connecticut Partners LLC, BZA Case 20266”
July 14, 2020

To the Members of the Board of Zoning Adjustment,

The Steering Committee of Cleveland Park Smart Growth writes in support of the Applicant in case 20-266 “3400 Connecticut Partners LLC” for special exception relief from the parking requirements of the Zoning Regulations to facilitate redevelopment of a site with an existing historic building to create a new mixed-use project retaining the existing 17 residential units, providing 35 new homes, and providing 2,700 square feet of new ground floor retail for a total of 16,000 SF of retail.

Cleveland Park Smart Growth supported this project before the Historic Preservation Review Board and realized then that the design of the mix-use development would not include any residential or retail parking.  We believe the addition of parking on the site would detract from the benefits this project brings to our community including additional housing, an improvement of the retail streetscape along Connecticut Avenue, the closing of the curb cut on Connecticut Avenue, and the addition of a public plaza on the undeveloped portion of the current parking lot.

We anticipate that these buildings will largely attract people who either live car free or who are prepared to rent off-street parking.  The applicant has stated that a census conducted of the current residents of the Macklin shows only one of seventeen units owning a car.  With no current restrictions on Macklin residents having a car or obtaining a Residential Parking Permit (RPP), and no off-street parking provided by the apartment, the draw of car-owning residents today is minimal.  Future residents, whose leases will condition that they may not apply for RPP, will likely exhibit even lower rates of car ownership.  Moreover, most of the nearby residents already have off-street parking, either through alley access or curb cuts on the residential streets.  We support the provisions outlined in the Transportation Demand Management plan and agree, taken together, will further encourage car-free living in a location well suited for it, a public policy objective our group supports.

Retail in the neighborhood today must survive with the limited on-street parking available and  the high foot traffic brought by nearby residential density, something this project will increase.  One only has to observe the mostly empty parking lot at the Park & Shop at Connecticut and Ordway to see the under-utilization of available retail parking in the neighborhood.  Requiring it here does not make sense, especially at the expense of the broader positive retail impact this project will have on the commercial area.

Lastly, we support the applicant’s Loading Management Plan, including its most recent additions offered to the ANC to cover the locations and times of residential move-in/move-outs, retail loading and trash pick-up.  These balance the need to minimize impact on the neighboring community while maneuvering challenging topography by taking advantage of the rear alley and the new Connecticut Ave loading zone resulting from the closing of the curb cut.

This project offers much to the community and the special exception to waive the parking requirements imposes little hardship to the community.  We ask that the Board of Zoning Adjustment approve the application.

Respectfully, 

The Cleveland Park Smart Growth Steering Committee

J.C. Ayala (Porter St)
Liza Collery (Newark St)
David Cristeal (Connecticut Ave)
Megan Draheim (Porter St)
Ellen Herr (Connecticut Ave)
Nina Shiffrin (Connecticut Ave)
Glenn Stanley (34th St)
Bob Ward (Macomb St)
Laura Watson (Quebec St)

About Cleveland Park Smart Growth

CP Smart Growth is a community of over 500 Cleveland Park-area residents who share an interest in promoting and discussing urbanist issues.  Our mission is to advance smart growth policies in Cleveland Park to ensure an economically vibrant, environmentally sustainable, and socially inclusive neighborhood. We do this through education, organizing, and advocacy. 

Learn more at cpsmartgrowth.com

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