July 8, 2004

U.S. National Arboretum
(File Number 6418)

The Commission approved the preliminary and final site development plans for a chain link perimeter security fence installed by the U.S. National Arboretum as a temporary improvement for its eastern boundary. The eight-foot high fence is to be replaced by a fence more compatible with the Anacostia Riverwalk near the Arboretum once that pathway is completed.

In addition, the Commission required that the barbed-wire portion of the fence extension be removed and approved the applicant’s subsequent request to replace it with a single strand of wire. The Commission further required that all the existing posts, fence fabric, and the new strand of wire be painted black. The Commission recommended that the Director of the National Arboretum work with the Superintendent of the National Capital Parks-East to regulate the operation of the fence’s service vehicle gate in order to assure feasible access to the neighboring Park Service land. The Commission requested a copy of the agreement between the Arboretum and the Park Service no later than three months from today’s action.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Smithsonian Institution, Patent Office Building
(File Number 6479)

The Commission approved the concept of a glass canopy to enclose the courtyard of the Patent Office Building, provided that the canopy continue to be refined to minimize the profile and complement the building’s existing façade in order to preserve the appearance of the Patent Office in the 8th Street viewshed. In addition, the Commission requested that the mechanical equipment element be lowered below the roofline of the original building.

The Patent Office Building, the oldest section of which dates back to 1836, is currently undergoing a complete renovation. The Smithsonian hired Foster and Partners, following a design competition, to design the canopy over the courtyard. The building, which houses the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is scheduled to reopen on July 4, 2006.

The Commission also supports Smithsonian’s vision for the renewal and expansion of the museums’ contribution to the life of the city and nation.

The Commission requires that, when submitting its preliminary site and building plans for the project, the Smithsonian provide the following information:

1. Documentation showing the physical connection of the canopy to the building.
2. Further information on the proposed materials.
3. Further information on the mechanical equipment enclosure.
4. Plans and elevations for other proposed alterations to the courtyard, including to the building’s courtyard facades and floor.
5. Plans and elevations for other exterior alterations to the building, such as the provisions for handicapped accessibility and for physical security barriers, if anticipated.
6. Completed environmental documentation.
7. Documentation of substantial progress in the Section 106 consultation.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Union Station
(File Number 2242)

The Commission approved the preliminary and final site and building plans for the parking garage extension at Union Station but required that the cladding on the south facade of the garage be consistent with that of the north side, which will consist of thin perforated stainless steel panels combined with precast concrete panels.

The extension of the current parking garage over the Amtrak and Metrorail tracks on the north side of Union Station will provide 791 new parking spots. The enhancement of the existing garage will include altering the current west elevation to make it lighter and more modulated in appearance. New entrances for pedestrians and vehicles will be added on H Street, NE.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Proposed Federal Capital Improvements Program for the National Capital Region, Fiscal Years 2005 – 2010
(File Number 1485)

The Commission approved the release of the Federal Capital Improvements Program for the National Capital Region, Fiscal Years 2005-2010 (FCIP) for a 45-day review and comment period. The FCIP will be circulated to other federal departments and agencies, regional agencies, state and local governments, and interested organizations and individuals. Adoption of the FY 2005-2010 FCIP is tentatively set for the Thursday, September 9, 2004 Commission meeting.

The FCIP is a summary of federal agencies’ planned capital projects for the next six years. The Commission reviews and makes recommendations on these projects based upon their conformity to regional planning and development policies as outlined in plans and programs adopted by the Commission, regional planning bodies, and local and state governments. These recommendations assist the Office of Management and Budget in making budgetary decisions for proposed regional federal capital projects.

As an initial assessment of proposed federal capital projects, the FCIP also allows the Commission to identify, at a sufficiently early stage, projects that are important to the orderly development of the federal establishment, as well as projects that have potential adverse impacts or planning problems that require resolution. Another function of the FCIP is to coordinate proposed federal agency capital projects with agencies' long-range systems plans, Commission approved master plans, and Commission approved site and building plans for federal installations or single facilities. The FCIP functions as a vital first step in the implementation of these plans by serving as an early notification and coordinating tool for interested and affected local, regional, and state agencies.

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.