Thursday, May 29, 2008

ANC 3C Commissioner on Giant PUD

From McLean Gardens Commissioner Trudy Reeves:

Giant Food has filed an application with the DC Zoning Commission for approval of a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and a zoning map amendment for the two lots that they own on Wisconsin Avenue. Their property begins on Wisconsin Ave�after Cactus Cantina and goes north to Idaho Avenue (including the Sun Trust Bank). It extends westward to Idaho Avenue, across from the Police Station.

From their application: "The property consists of approximately 178,236 square feet of land area. The PUD project proposes the development of a mixed-use [retail] and residential project, featuring a new state-of-the-art Giant supermarket, with approximately 140-150 new residential units and approximately 136,484 square�feet of [ground floor] retail."

From a separate description: "On the North Parcel, the Applicant will construct a five-story mixed use building featuring ground-level retail uses with four stories of residential units above. On the South Parcel, the Applicant will construct a two-story building featuring a new Giant grocery store as well as associated ground floor retail uses and second-story commercial space and residential units. In addition, at the rear of the South Parcel fronting Idaho Avenue, the Applicant will construct 8 townhouses. The total gross floor area included in the Project is approximately 354,820 square feet for a total Floor Area Ratio ("FAR") of approximately 1.99 and a lot occupancy of approximately 76%. The Project will include approximately 530-540 parking spaces. Vehicular entry will be off Newark Street as well as from 38th Street; loading will be separately accessed off Idaho Avenue."

I am truly excited about the prospect of having a vibrant Wisconsin Avenue. My main concerns are that they provide enough parking so that there will be no overload going into the community and that the smaller neighborhood streets are protected from cross traffic. There has been some concern expressed about the density of a five story building on the north lot. I do not think a five story building on Wisconsin Avenue is too dense. I think it is the right size for one of the main avenues of the city.

The north parcel is in my SMD (single member district) as ANC Commissioner for 3C06, and the south parcel is in Richard Rothblum's SMD. ANC 3C will vote as a whole on a resolution making recommendations to the Zoning Commission.

I have two extra copies of the application, which is over an inch thick and includes conceptual drawings. I would be glad to lend them out to anyone who promises to return them. The conceptual plans are on the Internet at The application was filed by the owner of the land, Friendship-Macomb SC Inc, c/o The Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.

Next steps:

Giant/Stop and Shop will hold a public meeting to discuss and get feedback from the public as previously announced on June 11th at 6:30 PM at the Washington Hebrew Congregation at Mass Ave and Macomb. The Cleveland Park Citizens Association will also hold a meeting which will most likely be announced on the Cleveland Park Listserv. The ANC will hold at least one meeting (perhaps more if necessary). At the final ANC meeting the Commission will vote on a resolution outlining its recommendations to the Zoning Commission. The ANC's regular monthly meetings are on the third Monday of the month at 7:30 PM at the Police Station on Idaho Ave.

The Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing before making its decision and is supposed to give "great weight" to the ANC resolution.

*******This is a very important development for our community.

We have patiently waited a long time for a new Giant and a revitalized Avenue.

This is your chance to have your say. Please attend the public meetings and make your wishes known. You can also send an email to your ANC commissioner - email addresses can be found at

If you would like to see the application, please email me to make arrangements to pick it up.

Trudy Reeves
Treasurer, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3C
Commissioner ANC 3C-06, McLean Gardens

Now the Benches at Politics and Prose

DCist picks up the continuing saga of ANC 3F 04 Commissioner Frank Winstead.

Community to Meet on Giant Plans



Wisconsin Avenue Giant Proposed Redevelopment

Wednesday, June 11

6:30 – 9 PM
Washington Hebrew Congregation
3935 Macomb Street, NW

Come and meet the development team, review the designs, offer your opinion, and let your voice be heard.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ft. Reno update

From the Office of Mary Cheh:

The National Park Service has informed our office that soil and handheld testing has confirmed that there are NOT dangerous levels of arsenic at Fort Reno Park. The National Park Service, along with Federal and District partners, is preparing a press release to announce the results of the arsenic testing. Our office expects the National Park Service to open the majority of the park by the end of the week; however, during the testing, one small area tested positive for lead. That area will remain closed until the lead has been removed. Health officials have informed us that the lead levels are low enough that there is no health risk even if people or dogs did inadvertently play in that area.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Commissioner Winstead Strikes Again

Marc Fisher of the Washington Post reports on the latest antics of ANC 3F Commissioner Frank Winstead. Recall that Mr. Winstead recently requested that Comet remove the Ping-Pong table from the public space in front of its pizza joint. Now, he has asked that the chairs and benches in front of the Marvelous Market be removed.

So much for vibrant streetscape and activity on Connecticut Avenue. Hopefully both establishments will file for the necessary permits to get these amenities restored to the Forest Hills strip.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ft. Reno Closed Due to Contamination

NBC 4 is reporting the closure of Ft. Reno due to high levels of arsenic in the soil.

From their website:

Fort Reno Park is closed to the public after high levels of arsenic were reported, according to the National Park Service.

U.S. Geological Survey satellite imaging reports discovered the arsenic. The reports were part of USGS's ongoing work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Spring Valley neighborhood in Northwest.

The levels of arsenic found in the soil exceed the Environmental Protection Agency's safety threshold.

At about 6 a.m. Wednesday, snow fencing was set up around the park, which is bounded by Fessenden, Chesapeake and 41st streets and Nebraska Avenue.

Groups with permits to use the Fort Reno playing fields have been notified of the closure.

The National Park Service, EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, D.C. Department of Health and D.C. Public Schools are working together to determine any possible public risk and discussing courses of action.

National Park Service officials said they had no reason to suspect the high levels of arsenic and therefore did not conduct their own soil sampling or testing.


Here is the text of the information sheet released by the District
Department of the Environment and the Mayor on the situation at Fort Reno:


On May 14th, the National Park Service issued a release stating that arsenic concentrations had been discovered at Fort Reno park and that the park would be closed until further testing was conducted. Upon this release, the District Department of the Environment was designated as the lead agency in coordinating the District's response.
Mayor Adrian Fenty held a press conference at the scene on May 14th in order to inform residents of the District's planned efforts.


District Department of the Environment: Lead agency in the District's response.
National Park Service: Oversees Fort Reno park. US EPA: Conducting further soil sample analysis. US Army Corps of Engineers: Providing support. District Fire/EMS and Police Departments: First-responders. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency: First-responders. Department of Health: Advising as to any potential adverse health impacts. District of Columbia Public Schools: Determining any potential impact
on Wilson High School and Deal Junior High School, which are adjacent
to Fort Reno.


The USGS previously conducted satellite imagery in order to illustrate the geographic position of arsenic concentrations, which indicated Fort Reno park as an affected site. Initial sample testing was conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS) using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device. The testing preliminarily revealed levels of arsenic above EPA's recommended action levels (which, depending upon future use of the property could range from .4 to 40 parts per million in soil). In response, the National Park Service has erected snow fencing around the site in order to prevent any potential exposure until further testing is complete.


Fort Reno park will stay closed until testing is complete in 7-10 days. Since Fort Reno park is federal property, EPA Region 3 has assigned an on-scene coordinator to collect samples for lab analysis.

Residents who have vegetables from the Fort Reno park's gardens are advised to stop consumption until test results are announced. For residents who have been consuming these vegetables recently, if precautionary measures are needed, information will be forthcoming.

DCWASA and the Army Corps regularly test arsenic levels within the water reservoir under Fort Reno park. As an additional precaution, they will conduct a test specifically for arsenic in order to verify their previous results .

Satellite imagery also indicated potential contamination at the track at Wilson High School.

Since the new Wilson HS track was constructed subsequent to the satellite imagery, arsenic contamination has either been remediated or contained and does not pose a threat. However, student access to soil berms adjacent to the track will be closed off until monitoring is undertaken.

DDOE will consult with EPA and the National Park Service in order to determine if testing is needed at additional properties and what, if any, closures or remediation actions should follow.


Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that when present in high concentrations can produce toxic effects or an increase in cancer risk. It is most commonly used in pesticides and wood preservation, although previously identified cases of arsenic in the District were due to historical military uses. The primary exposure route associated with arsenic in soil is ingestion. Compared with the ingestion route, inhalation or dermal exposure pose only marginal risks when arsenic is found in soil. There is minimal risk from brief exposure, unless a high quantity of arsenic is directly ingested. The primary health concern associated with arsenic exposure is cancer. However, it can produce non-cancer health effects such as gastrointestinal impacts, headaches, and cardiovascular impacts. (EPA)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Klingle Vote: Nay

A contributor to the Columbia Heights Listserv has reported that Council Member Jim Graham's effort to have the budget restored for the Klingle Road restoration has failed. According to David Alpert of

The motion failed with only a few Councilmembers (update: only Graham, Bowser, and Schwartz) in favor. This is the end of the road for the road, at least for a while.

There is an update from the City Paper.

EDIT: and this from the Washington Post.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Marc Fisher on Ping Pong

Washington Post columnist Marc Fisher weighs in on the evil Ping Pong table at Comet.

Friday, May 02, 2008

PPP Back On?

From the Washington Business Journal, it seems that the PPP may be back on in its original form:

After three teams made proposals, Albert altered the solicitation to allow for an independently built library, but reversed course again recently in seeking final offers that include the library. No team has been chosen, although Albert had planned to make a selection in February. "I do understand the urgency, but I want to make sure we maximize that particular site," said Eric Scott, project manager.