The major topic of conversation at Monday night's Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting? Gas.
Gas lines excavated during the construction on O and P streets led to some fiery remarks from residents and the commissioners, directed at representatives of Washington Gas. The commission argued that the gas company is ignoring an agreement with the neighborhood to keep bulky, less-than-attractive gas meters inside the historic homes of Georgetown, instead placing the meters on the outside.
"[The meters] are just inappropriate for the historic nature of Georgetown," said Commissioner Ron Lewis.
The company's representatives, who said that 250 meters would be replaced as the gas lines along the construction routes are switched to high-pressure lines, said that there are instances where meters must be placed on the exterior of the home. Safety concerns dictate that high-pressure lines cannot be run more than a few feet through the home, so placing a meter inside, where there may not be space for it, is sometimes impossible.
The commission also wanted residents to know that the construction is spread over long stretch of P Street because there are multiple contractors digging up gas lines, water lines, and hauling away pavers for safekeeping, which will be replaced when construction is finished.
The development of the Exxon property at 3601 to 3607 M Street was the other major issue at the meeting. Residents of Prospect Street continue to oppose the plan because, they say, it will block their views and diminish their property values.
The developer, EastBanc, Inc., made some adjustments to the design since last month's meeting, including smaller windows to prevent glare for neighbors, lowering the penthouses, and simplifying the entrances to the condominium.
Neighbors continue to contend that the building should be 40 feet high rather than the planned 50 feet, and said they feel frustrated that they have no recourse when their concerns are not being addressed.
Additionally, there was once again discussion of the integrity of the view approaching Georgetown across the Key Bridge, an iconic view, said residents and commissioners, and a major gateway to the District.
"Four or five years from now, when it's there, everyone in the world who cares about Georgetown will look at that building and think, 'How did that get by?'" said Prospect Street resident Robert O'Malley.
EastBanc argues that the building will not be clearly visible from the Key Bridge because of the bridge's elevation.
The ANC will request that the Old Georgetown Board, which advises the District government on approval of development design in the historic neighborhood, to continue to review the project.
- An agreement has been reached with Georgetown University on the hours of construction during the renovation of Nevils Hall, a residence hall on the edge of the campus. During the noisy demolition phase, construction won't begin quite so early or go on quite so late as the original plan submitted by the university stipulated. However, after that phase the ANC has approved permission for late-night and early-morning construction, with specific requirements that workers take care to keep the noise down.
- The District Department of Transportation's Capital Bikeshare program announced possible locations in Georgetown, including one in Rose Park to which the ANC is opposed, and one in the parking lot of Long and Foster Realtors that the ANC feels is a wasted opportunity. The ANC issued a resolution to confirm that it does not approve the Rose Park location.
- The development of 1045 Wisconsin Ave. has been further simplified, said representatives of developer EastBanc, Inc., by moving the rooftop pool back from the edge of the building, creating a uniform railing along the roof visible from the ground. The ANC had no further comment on the development.