ANC 6B consider the Watkins Alley PUD

On Monday, February 22, 2016, ANC 6B will hold the first in a series of meetings over the next month to review the proposed Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 1309-1323 E St SE, typically referred to as Watkins Alley. The Watkins Alley project will go before the DC Zoning Commission (ZC) in April, and the ANC has the opportunity to comment on the case. In addition, we are expected to be involved in the process of working with the developer, Opal, on a benefits and amenities proffer for the project.

This post provides a brief overview of the project and reviews its current status. I’m providing a number of pictures and links to supporting documents for the ZC case. If you want all the details, look up the case (ZC 15-13) at the IZIS website, which provides public access to all zoning documents for DC.

The project

Opal is proposing a 44 unit development that will front onto the 1300 block of E St SE (adjacent to the temporary Frager’s location) and continue back into the interior of the block. The project is a combination of rowhouse-style units and condos, and at this point all units would be for sale, not rentals.

Birds eye view of the Watkins Alley PUD, looking toward the northwest

Birds eye view of the Watkins Alley PUD, looking toward the northwest

The project has changed substantially since the initial renderings last year. A few notable changes include the E St façade, which now includes a pedestrian pass-through along with the updated materials and design. The height along E St will reach 42 feet at the highest point, while the project overall will go as high as 56 feet.

E St SE facade, looking south through the pedestrian walk-though

E St SE facade, looking south through the pedestrian walk-though

Walking south from the pedestrian access on E St, there will be a small courtyard, with houses on two sides and a building with flats along a 3rd side. The image below shows the building with flat looking toward the east. It also shows the inner most set of rowhouses, which will front onto a long courtyard. These houses will replace the existing food truck garage. Also off the court yard will be a small ‘carriage house,’ which sits on separate parcel of land that is part of the project.

Building that will house flats and the garage entrance

Building that will house flats and the garage entrance

Separate "carriage house" townhome

Separate "carriage house" townhome

The project will affront the alley running between E and G St, and the image below shows the view of the facing rows of rowhouses looking to the west. This courtyard and the one off E St will both be accessible to the public. The view below that shows a northwest facing view from this same alley, highlighting the rear profile of the building.

Courtyard view looking to the west from the E/G alley

Courtyard view looking to the west from the E/G alley

Rear view of the project looking from the E/G alley to the northwest

Rear view of the project looking from the E/G alley to the northwest

Transportation and Parking

The developer is proposing a below-ground parking garage, which will service the entire project. Vehicles enter the garage off the interior 25 foot alley, adjacent to the smaller courtyard. The parking garage will have 48 spaces for cars and 48 spaces for bicycles. Both of these are above the minimum parking required by zoning laws.

Opal has commissioned a transportation and traffic study, which was completed by Well and Associates. The file is quite large, but you can download a copy here. The study finds that the predicted net impact on vehicular use in the alley system will be low, and in some cases zero.

Sun/Shadow Analysis

Opal also conducted an analysis of the effect of their proposed buildings on sun/shade for the area surrounding the development. They looked at multiple times of day at three points in the year, January, June, and October. Those links will take you to PDFs that show the results of the analysis.

Next steps

The ANC 6B PUD subcommittee will consider the project at its February 22nd meeting, which will take place at the Hill Center at 7pm on February 22nd, 2016. This meeting is open to the public.