December 7, 2006

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
(File Number 5907)

The Commission commented favorably on a revised design concept for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, which will be located in West Potomac Park on the northwestern side of the Tidal Basin. The National Park Service, on behalf of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, submitted three changes to the concept design, which the Commission previously approved in December 2005.

The memorial’s Mountain of Despair, a large stone approximately 30 feet high that is split in two and serves as an entry to the memorial, is now flanked by one-level cascading waterfalls on the interior side of the memorial, behind the stone. Secondly, a planned retaining wall along the entry plaza to the Mountain of Despair has been removed and replaced with landscaping to provide a more naturalistic setting. Finally, the memorial’s Stone of Hope, a relief sculpture of Dr. King, will be set approximately 20 feet closer to the entry to strengthen the relationship between it and the Mountain of Despair.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
(File Number 6179)

The Commission commented favorably on a revised design concept for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, which was submitted by the National Park Service (NPS) on behalf of the memorial’s sponsor, the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation. In approving the changes to the concept design, the Commission commended NPS and the design team for addressing unanticipated site modifications from the Architect of the Capitol and the U.S. Capitol Police while improving the overall design and functionality of the memorial.

The revised design concept retains the major elements of the initial concept: a star fountain with flame, triangular reflecting pool, marble and etched glass walls, trees, sculptures, landscaping and lighting. The new concept primarily adjusts the site boundaries and modifies adjacent streets and intersections; it also further develops the landscaping, lighting and sculptural elements.

In its review, the Commission required the NPS to submit the following elements at the preliminary design stage, which is the next phase of Commission review:
• Details on the water elements to illustrate the character and flow of water, including periods when water will be turned off.
• Details on accommodations and seating for the physically disabled, including persons with visual or hearing impairments.
• More fully developed streetscape designs at edges of interstate entrance ramps and at crosswalks; design elements should prevent mid-block and/or entrance-ramp pedestrian crossings.
• Findings of the Site/Civil and Traffic Engineering study currently under development.
The Commission also noted that the Architect of the Capitol requests the following of NPS:
• Additional study of traffic impacts at the intersection of Washington Avenue with 2nd Street, SW to determine whether the intersection design will allow an acceptable level of service during peak periods for left turn traffic from northbound Washington Avenue to southbound 2nd Street, SW.; and whether the intersection design will adversely affect the vehicular egress patterns from the Rayburn Office Building.
• Additional study of site lighting, particularly along Washington Avenue.
• Coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services to determine whether exhaust from bus circulation associated with the site will adversely affect the Health and Human Services daycare facility.
• Information on how the site will be maintained.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Pentagon Memorial to the Victims of September 11, 2001 – Park and Gateway
(File Number 6267)

The Commission approved preliminary and final site development plans for the Pentagon Memorial commemorating the victims of September 11, 2001. The irregularly shaped memorial site encompasses 2.91 acres and includes a memorial park and gateway. The site sits roughly 165 feet west of the face of the Pentagon, bound by Interstate 395 (I-395) to the south and Route 27 to the west.

The Commission approved the site location for the memorial on the Pentagon Reservation in July 2002, and, in June 2003, the Commission approved the design concept for the memorial. The design concept included six primary features: memorial units, age lines, an age wall, a perimeter bench, landscaping/site material and a memorial gateway. The design has not deviated significantly from the original concept, except that a gateway area has been added, which will serve as an entry area for visitors. Minor modifications to the memorial park include changes in the material and fabrication of memorial units and the site paving material and layout; a new set of paths has been added parallel to the age lines to accommodate handicapped access (wheelchairs and crutch users) through the gravel. Two new features also have been added: a landscape buffer to screen the Memorial from a nearby access lane, and lighting.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Department of the Army, Washington Aqueduct Water Treatment Residuals Management Building and Site Improvements
(File Number MP37/6572)

The Commission approved a master plan modification and preliminary site and building plans for the Washington Aqueduct Water Treatment Residuals Management Building and Site Improvements. The project involves processing and consolidating residual solid material from the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant and the Georgetown Reservoir in a new building at the east Dalecarlia Reservoir as well as associated small improvements, including structures at these sites. The Washington Aqueduct, is a division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, operates the Dalecarlia and McMillan Water Treatment Plants in the District of Columbia. The Commission also approved the Final Environmental Impact Statement dated September 2005 for the proposed water treatment residuals management process.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

District of Columbia Zoning Regulations Text Amendment
(File Number Z.C. 05-02)

The Commission commented on a proposed amendment to the District of Columbia zoning regulations that would eliminate requirements for residential recreation space in commercial and mixed-use zone districts.

The Commission found that the proposed amendment to repeal the provisions pertaining to recreation space in commercial, mixed use, and special purpose zone districts could be inconsistent with the Federal and District Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital because it could exacerbate existing gaps in the park system of the District of Columbia, and that it is likely to have an adverse impact on the identified federal interests by resulting in overuse of elements of the federal park system.

NCPC requested that the Zoning Commission consider reducing the required percentage of gross square footage of residential recreation space to a more realistic level rather than repealing the provisions entirely.

In addition, the Commission recommended, in the long run, that alternative tools and methods of achieving the residential recreation space goals of the Federal and District Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital be further evaluated jointly by the staffs of the District of Columbia Office of Planning, the District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation, the National Park Service, and NCPC following further study under the “CapitalSpace” initiative, which is currently under development by the staffs of these agencies.

The Commission also noted that the related proposed changes to penthouse provisions are not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and are not adverse to the identified federal interest as they do not relieve proposed development of compliance with the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, setback and area requirements, or other related codes and regulations.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Consent Calendar: The Commission voted on Consent Calendar items without staff presentations or public testimony.

Delegated Decisions: Projects for which the Commission delegated decision-making authority to the Chairman, Executive Committee, or Executive Director.