November 1, 2012

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National Institutes of Health - Draft Master Plan
(File number MP02)

NCPC provided comments on two draft master plans. While submitted independently, the facilities covered by the master plans are adjacent and staff evaluations have been coordinated. The first draft master plan and Transportation Management Plan is for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-Bethesda Campus, located at 9000 Rockville Pike in Bethesda, Maryland. The facility houses 27 different institutes and centers in approximately 90 buildings. The draft master plan will update one completed in 2003 and guide future development on the 310-acre campus for the next 20 years. It would oversee the addition of 1.6 million square feet of development (28 different projects), organize future development into nine clusters, provide for the addition of 3,200 new employees and 1,500 parking spaces, and increase open green space while reducing surface level parking.

The Commission commended NIH for developing a plan that will transform the campus into a more environmentally sustainable place, while providing comments focused on more ambitious parking and transportation management strategies. The Commission did not support adding 1,500 parking spaces until the required 1:3 parking ratio (parking spaces to employees) called for in the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital is achieved. Additional recommendations included calling for NIH to revise its draft Transportation Management Plan by incorporating several items that NCPC calls for in its master plan submission guidelines. Items include providing a description of existing and peak hour traffic by mode, a description of NIH's strategies for assisting employees' commute to work, and stated goals and objectives for the Transportation Management Plan.

NIH was advised to include stormwater management, forest conservation, historic resources, and energy conservation elements in their draft plans.

See Commission Action and Recommendation

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[Begins at 3:02]


Naval Support Activity Bethesda - Draft Master Plan
(File number MP059)

The second draft master plan reviewed was for the Naval Support Activity Bethesda (formerly known as the National Naval Medical Center), located on an approximately 245 acre campus at 8901 Rockville Pike in Bethesda, across the street from NIH. The draft installation master plan seeks to improve facilities, standards, and quality of life on campus over the next ten years. It proposes several short-term (through 2018) and long-term (through 2022) projects that will enhance existing land uses while anticipating future growth. It anticipates the addition of 925 employees. The draft master plan updates a previous 2008 plan.

The Commission provided comments on the draft plan to the Department of the Navy, noting that it supports the plan's goals and objectives and commended the Navy for meeting the Comprehensive Plan's 1:3 parking ratio. NCPC recommended that the Navy further study mitigation and potential adverse impacts on existing landscape and views if an underground parking garage was built in front of the historic Building 1 (the tower visible from Rockville Pike).

The Navy was advised to include stormwater management, forest conservation, historic resources, and energy conservation elements in their draft plans.

See Commission Action and Recommendation

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[Begins at 1:09:10]


Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital: Federal Elements - The New Urban Design Element and Amendments to the Preservation and Historic Features Element
(File number CP01C/CP01D)

The Commission released two elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital for a 90-day public comment period. The first is a new Urban Design Element, which will provide guidance for the design of federal facilities and promote more active public space. The second is an updated Preservation and Historic Features Element that was renamed the Historic Features Element. Its updated policies focus on preserving core features of the L’Enfant and McMillan Plans and historic federal assets in the region, in addition to promoting sustainable features when historic properties are rehabilitated.

See Commission Action and Recommendation

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[Begins at 2:06:48]


National Museum of African American History and Culture
(File number 6331)

The Commission approved final site and building plans for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The 401,447 square-foot museum will be located on an approximately five acre site on Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th Streets, NW. The museum, scheduled to open in 2015, will contain state-of-the art galleries, an education center, and program and administrative staff offices. Previous Commission actions approved the foundation work for the museum, allowing construction activities to begin on-site.

The final plans reflect several small changes from preliminary design. These include lowering the top corner of the building by two feet so that it is in alignment with the Commerce Building’s parapet; eliminating the sawtooth skylights; and realigning the building’s main entrances. In its approval the Commission noted that the treatment of the corona, an important design feature, was not finalized and delegated a future review of this item to NCPC’s Executive Director.

See Commission Action and Recommendation

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[Begins at 2:47:12]


Information Presentation:
Memorial Trends and Practice in Washington, DC Study
(File number 7392)

Before adjourning, the Commission heard an information presentation about Memorial Trends and Practice in Washington, DC. This report, prepared by NCPC in consultation with the National Park Service and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, examines the commemorative landscape in the nation’s capital since enactment of the Commemorative Works Act in 1986 with a focus on key trends in commemorative planning and practice. The report is available online. No action is taken on information presentations.

See Info Sheet

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[Begins at 3:01:50]


Consent Calendar: The Commission votes 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.