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ANC Wrap Up, September Meeting

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission reviewed several new and several return projects, including a skating rink at the Washington Harbour.

After an portion of the evening, the Advisory Neighborhood Commission considered several development projects Monday, including a proposed skating rink at the Georgetown waterfront and a seven-unit, four-story condo proposed for a tiny corner of Cecil Place.

Washington Harbour

The biggest item of the evening was the MRP Realty team's presentation of its changes for the Washington Harbour and the firm rebuttal from its original architect, Arthur Cotton Moore.

MRP Realty spoke of create a family-friendly environment with "Class A" restaurants.

"We are working on how to become a more family friendly retail destination, that pulls off the success of M Street retail," said Charles McGrath, a senior vice president at MRP Realty.

McGrath said their plans for a skating rink to occupy the fountain area between November and March would be possible in part due to modifications to the existing fountain. He called the existing structure "antiquated" and that they plan to make "small modifications of the tower" by decreasing structures around its base. The tower base would be a waterfall in the warm weather and storage for the Zamboni machine in the winter.

Moore, however, said the proposed changes to the Harbour architecture are actually "massive amounts of demolition." He called the changes to the fountain tower a "tremendous uglification.”

Residents from the Harbour condos had varying opinions, though the general consensus was that they were glad MRP was investing time and money into updating the complex.

The ANC passed a resolution unanimously expressing "general approval" asking the Old Georgetown Board to make it examines all aspects of how the designs will impact residents and businesses at the harbour.

Cecil Place and Grace Street

Willco residential presented its first go at a proposed four-story, seven-unit building at the corner of Grace Street and Cecil Place. The 6,800 s.f. building would be built to the 45 foot height limit and the developers were seeking a rear-yard variance and a parking variance- parking would be "offset" in a nearby garage. 

The modern structure did not receive support from neighbors who felt it would dwarf their town houses with its "from outer space" design.

The ANC unanimously passed a resolution saying the design of exterior does not lend itself to the neighborhood and that the request rear yard would be a detriment to neighbors. "It is better-suited for a few townhouses or a smaller building," said Commission Bill Starrels.

Potpourri

-: A planned restaurant for 3401 K Street had its voluntary agreement unanimously approved. The ABC hearing is Sept. 14.

-3254 O Street: This project was back yet again as the owner tries to convert a rear garage into a residential space. It was once again shot down. Commissioner Jeff Jones asked fellow commissioners if there was a procedural way to "permanently try to keep her from applying for this addition?"

-3249 M Street: A proposed four-story rear addition to would bring additional commercial space and new residential space. The plan and its architect were summarily dismissed as Starrels proposed a resolution to object to the concept as presented. "We're dealing with a historic northern block of M Street," he said. The architect asked "Are you opposed to anything there? Or just a four-story structure?" He will have to wait to go before the OGB to get an answer.

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