MRP Residential’s proposal to bring 125 new residential units and 6,000 square feet of retail to 315 H St. NE still needs work says the nearby community. The site is currently a vacant lot located directly across the street from the H Street Giant supermarket.
The project is going through the planned unit development process (PUD), which allows for variations from the zoning requirements like greater height, increased density or less parking in exchange for superior architecture and community benefits.
MRP is seeking a PUD to maximize the floor area ratio, to build to 90 feet in height and to receive relief from the parking requirements to offer 29 parking spaces when 4 retail spaces and 42 residential spaces would typically be required.
John Begert, a vice president at MRP, and Brandon Robinson, an architect at Hord Coplan Macht architects, were back before the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 6C) planning, zoning and economic development committee Wednesday with plans they had tweaked slightly since first presenting plans earlier this year.
“We had some rather pointed comments about the design and I can’t see that there’s been any significant change in the design,” said Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler.
Robinson acknowledged that there had not been any “drastic” changes to the design in response to earlier remarks from the ANC committee. The modern design is purposeful because the building is farther from the more historic architectural area of H street, he said.
“Our site is also far enough west on H Street that we’re getting closer and closer to NoMa,” added Robinson.
Still, the committee members were not convinced.
“One of the requirements of a PUD is exemplary design and I’m frankly not seeing it,” said committee member Dru Tallant.
Tallant took particular issue with the burnt orange bay which projects about four feet over H Street.
Commissioners also continued to raise concerns about the bike parking area, which is located in the basement rather than at street level, and the creation of an alley area that could be prone to illegal activity.
Community members from nearby streets noted concerns about the height and its impact on nearby townhouses, particularly those just added to the expanded Capitol Hill Historic District. The alley access and use was another point of contention for residents who worried about increased traffic on neighborhood streets and the safety of children who play in the alley.
The committee voted unanimously to oppose the project as designed citing both the “insufficiency of the benefits/amenities in relation to the requested additional FAR/height” and the “unimpressive” architecture.
The full ANC does not meet in August, so any vote to support an updated project would most likely not occur until September. Without ANC support, the project team may delay its scheduled September 10 hearing date at the Zoning Commission.