5333 Connecticut Neighborhood Coalition

Issue 1

North Elevation with 3710 Military Rd on left.

• Currently proposed structure includes only a 16

foot alley/parking entrance/loading entrance

"buffer" with massive traffic.

• Homes on the north side of Military sit 12-15

feet lower still than those shown here. The

towering structure would reflect road noise

and bring winters and late afternoons of

perpetual darkness to these homes

completely changing the feel of formerly

heavily treed Military Rd.

Issue 1

Additional Homes on the South Side of Military

The alley "speedway" sits behind these homes,

diverting traffic into low density streets full of

strollers and joggers.

Issue 3

Alley on the east side of the site.

Issue 5

Sunlight Study in 1989

Project Issues and Impact on Neighborhood

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(Select thumbnail for larger photo.)

1. There is no buffer area between the proposed building and the

surrounding neighborhood.

(Two diagrams to left.)

• The first drawing to the left shows the original renderings from the building the

developer proposed in the 1989. In addition, an approximation of the elevation of

the taller current building has been penciled in.

• The adjacent home on the left in the rendering is 3710 Military Rd. (also owned

by Cafritz). Currently proposed structure includes only a 16 foot alley/parking

entrance/loading entrance "buffer" with massive traffic. Homes on the north side

of Military sit 12-15 feet lower still than those shown here. The towering structure

would reflect road noise and bring winters and late afternoons of perpetual

darkness to these homes completely changing the feel of formerly heavily treed

Military Rd.

• In its 1989 presentation, Cafritz argued that 3710 Military and 3737 Kanawha

St. would act as a "buffer." Our neighborhood's view is that an R-1-B historic home

is not a buffer regardless of ownership, but instead requires a substantial buffer

from a substantially taller, denser, incompatible neighboring land use.

• Rewarding a developer for tearing down R-1-B homes adjacent to higher density

zoning areas by rezoning these vacant lots would set a terrible precedent for

future development in Chevy Chase.

2. The building would cause enormous parking issues in an already

parking-deficient area.

• While parking spaces are plentiful during the day, given that nearly everyone in

the neighborhood drives to work, night-time parking is extremely difficult ALREADY

for a few reasons:

• Many of the pre-WWI houses in the area were not designed to include

off-street parking.

• The neighborhood is also already paying the price for past zoning mistakes.

Two multifamily buildings were built in the late 1950s on Connecticut between

Jocelyn and Kanawha St. with very deficient parking. A majority of the cars

that park on Kanawha St. and Military are residents in the adjacent apartment

buildings, as well as in buildings even further away.

• The site is approximately 7/10ths of a mile from the Friendship Heights

metro and 1.4 miles from Van Ness.

3. The only loading dock, construction and underground parking lot

entrance to the building would be through an extremely narrow alley,

rather than off Military or Connecticut. The alley (between Military & Chevy

Chase Parkway, shown below), is between 10 and 16 feet wide and would

become a thoroughfare, with substantial traffic and pedestrian/resident

safety issues.

(One diagrams to left.)

• The entrance as proposed would encourage use of the alley to avoid Military

Road and Connecticut Avenue intersection traffic.

• This configuration would direct a significant amount of traffic INTO the

surrounding quiet neighborhood, including Chevy Chase Parkway, and Kanawha,

Jocelyn, and Jennifer streets.

4. There is nothing about the building that is actually focused on the

Connecticut Avenue corridor.

• The formal walking "entrance" to the building is on Connecticut Avenue, but

almost the entire density of the building is focused on Military Rd. and Kanawha St.,

with separate entrances from those streets' wings.

• The Connecticut Avenue entrance serves only as a tiny connector segment

between the two main wings of the building, which extend far down Kanawha St.

and Military Rd.

• Most building ingress and egress would be by car both from the underground

parking and the cars that will be parked in surrounding neighborhoods.

5. The building would cause substantial light problems for the adjacent

residents, both in the form of light blocked and light reflected from the

angular all-glass building.

(One diagrams to left.)

• A sunlight study was completed by the developer in 1989 (left) and showed the

substantial impact. The new building's impact would be even higher, with a larger,

more prominent penthouse level.

6. The remaining mature trees on the site would be largely demolished (as

is accurately shown in the rendering).

• The site was originally heavily treed. (See photos on Project Site, Past and

Project Site, Current.)

7. The design of the building pushes the envelope on density in every

regard and likely violates zoning regulations (most certainly the intent).

• The primary intent of the building is to push the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) to the


• The developer labels one primary residential floor a "cellar level" in an attempt to

skirt the intent of zoning laws that exclude a "cellar" from FAR (cellar is a partial

story, not a full story).

• Developer uses Kanawha St. (the high side) as the front elevation to measure

the building height.

• Because of the substantial elevation change, the building is much taller at grade

(Military Rd.) than the formal 90 foot allowance.

ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS: The site was originally governed by a

Planned Unit Development (PUD) agreement approved in 1990 after years

of negotiation with the ANC and Community.

• The ANC, City Council members, and the Zoning authorities all recognized the

unique site attributes and the need for a significant buffer and other required

mitigating factors to reduce the impact on the neighborhood,

• Because of the unique attributes of the site and enormous community

opposition, the site was required to go through a Planned Unit Development (PUD)


• The PUD was approved in 1990 only after the developer negotiated

substantial project changes with the surrounding neighborhood to mitigate

the effects. The result was Zoning Order 656 (attached as Exhibit A). The

project was never built and the PUD expired in 1998.

Exhibit A 656_89-15C.pdf


Case No. 89-15C

(PUD at 5333 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.)

March 12, 1990

• The current proposed project ignores nearly every original requirement placed

on it in the original PUD (i.e.. event piece of ANC and community input). Those

conditions included (among many others) the following:

• Substantial resident and guest parking with a parking space included

in all leases.

• A traffic pattern that discouraged traffic on the narrow side streets and

entrance to the underground parking lot and loading docks from a major

road versus the current tiny alley.

• Tree saves and tree plantings to buffer the surrounding neighborhood.

• A substantial high stepdown for the building as it transitioned from the

Connecticut Avenue corridor to closer to the adjacent neighborhood for

the purposes of light and so that the building would not tower over

adjacent houses.

• When the PUD expired in 1998, so technically did the above obligations.

However, DC Zoning laws (Title 11) also clearly state that a PUD applicant

does not keep the benefits if he does not construct the PUD project:

"2400.7 Failure of an applicant to complete a proposed development (PUD) as

directed within the time limits set by the Commission or the Zoning Regulations

shall result in the termination of the benefits granted under the application,

and reversion of the zoning controls to the pre-existing regulations and map."

• The benefits granted to the developer by the PUD process were enormous.

Rather than further zoning challenges and petitions to downzone the eastern

portion of the site that would have ensued (essentially with the goal of

reverting to the pre-1975 zoning map at the very least), the community

negotiated in good faith with Cafritz because of the significant development

conditions imposed.

• There is recent precedent for downzoning in ANC 3G. In 2002, a

significant downzoning occurred for the Connecticut Avenue corridor

from Nebraska Ave to Jocelyn Street based on a petition from the ANC.

The Zoning Commission largely agreed with the ANC recommendation

and approved the downzoning request to ensure land uses along

Connecticut are more consistent with the surrounding neighborhoods in

May 2002 pursuant to Zoning Commission Order 962 attached as

Exhibit B.

Exhibit B 962_00-23P.pdf




Z.C. Case No. 00-23P

(Map Amendment - Square 1874, Lots 40-42,61,62, and 801;

Square 1873, Lots 69-74; and Square 1989, Lots 44-57)

(East Side of Connecticut Avenue, N.W. between Nebraska

Avenue and Jocelyn Street)

May 13,2002

The maximum is now R-5-B (i.e., 1/2 the density). This site is directly

comparable. It is unclear why the site was not requested to be

downzoned as well, except that the 2003 zoning map still indicated

the parcel was governed by the PUO.


density, and height violate the basic intent of the zoning laws.

Below are different concepts in the zoning code:

ii) 11-200: "The R-1 District is designed to protect quiet residential areas now

developed with one-family detached dwellings" "The provisions of this chapter

are intended to stabilize the residential areas and to promote a suitable

environment for family life."

ii) 11-101.1: "Provide adequate light and air", "Character of the respective

districts", "Encouragement of the stability of districts and of land values in

those districts"

iii) Policy IM-1.5.1: Involvement of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions -

Include the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and area residents In the

review of development to assist the District in responding to resident

concerns. Consistent with the statutory requirements of the DC Code,

feedback from the ANCs should be given "great weight" as land use

recommendations and decisions are made.

iv) Policy IN1-1.5,2: Promoting Community Involvement - Encourage the

community to take a more proactive role In planning and development

review, and to be involved in Comprehensive Plan development,

amendment, and implementation. A variety of means should be used to secure

community input, including advisory and technical committees, community

workshops, review of draft texts, public forums and hearings, and other

means of discussion and communication. 2507.4

In contrast:

• There is ZERO community support for this project.

• The developer ignored EVERY piece of community input from the original


• Nothing about the project is additive to the neighborhood, only detractive.

• The proposed structure would destabilize and permanently alter the

character of the neighborhood negatively.

• The proposed structure introduces a completely inconsistent density level

for the site and is highly invasive. The proposed plans do not focus on

Connecticut Avenue, but instead on neighboring, low density residential


• There are thousands of sites in DC that make substantially more sense for

high density housing (mixed use zones in live/work/play areas) and other sites

without homes on three sides.

• This project would take a zoning map mistake from 1975, which

incorporated the eastern half of the site that should never have been included

and then adds a 20% inclusionary zoning density bonus on top of that to

ensure a massively dense building could possibly be built on the site. An FAR

of 1.8 would become an FAR of 4,2, adjacent to tiny, 24 foot wide Kanawha


• Once implemented, effects of zoning mistakes are permanent and can never

be undone.


The Chevy Chase DC community and ANC should have the power to greatly

Influence what is done with the site. Specifically, among other options, the ANC


• Highlight the potential destructive impact on the neighborhood to all

relevant agencies including DDOT, Historic Preservation, Office of

Planning, Education

(schools in the area are already highly

overcrowded), etc.

• Appeal to council members that we want to grow in ways that are smart,

appropriate, blend in, and do not harm our stable 100+ year old communities.

• File the identical petition to the 2001/2002 petition for the downzoning of

the entire parcel (and certainly the eastern half of the site) to a lower density

multi-family use(R-5-B) consistent with the rest of the adjacent corridor.

• Ensure that the community has substantial say and that the ANC and

Zoning Commission are involved, given the scale and destructive potential

of this project and ensure that it undergoes a Large Tract review.

Because Chevy Chase is not part of a zoning overlay district to protect us, the ANC 3G

has a unique importance that other ANCs do not in protecting the local neighborhoods.

We ask for ANC 36's advice as to the best action steps to take to have our substantial

concerns addressed with the relevant agencies, council members, the office of planning,

and other relevant parties. The first step is to proactively ensure that the community and

ANC are given the "great weight" in the process that it is due. A project of this scale has

not been contemplated in Chevy Chase DC in nearly 50 years.

[end page]


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