July 6, 2006

Patent Office Building Courtyard Landscape
(File Number 6570)

The Commission approved final site development plans for the reconstruction of the courtyard landscape at the Patent Office Building, which is located between 8th and 9th Streets, NW and between F and G Streets, NW. In granting its approval, the Commission noted that the Smithsonian Institution:
• Has developed a courtyard design that will serve as a public amenity for all visitors to the museums housed in the Old Patent Office Building;
• Has responded to the Commission’s April 2006 action in which the Commission approved preliminary courtyard site development plans, except for the proposed catering benches and the configuration of the water scrim, and recommended that, to partially mitigate the loss of the historic courtyard fountains, the fountains be treated as artifacts and interpreted in a permanent exhibit on the history of the building;
• Has fulfilled the mitigation measures required in the Commission’s September 2005 action when it approved final site and building plans for the courtyard enclosure except for the installation of courtyard fountains.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Amendment to the Capitol Gateway Overlay District
(File Number Z.C. 05-10)

The amendments aim to encourage mixed-use development, establish a mandatory 15-foot setback along South Capitol Street, provide upper-story building setbacks on South Capitol Street, and First and Half Streets, and to require Zoning Commission review of all new development along South Capitol Street and Half Street between N and M Streets, SE. In recommending approval for the proposed amendments, the Commission also recommended that the Zoning Commission extend the Capitol Gateway Overlay District from South Capitol Street, north of M Street to the future intersection of Virginia Avenue.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Judiciary Square North Site Improvements
(File Number 6681)

The Commission commented favorably on the concept design for site improvements to the northern portion of Judiciary Square, which includes several court buildings. The site improvements fall into four categories: planting, security, lighting, and signs. The planned improvements are in keeping with the Judiciary Square Master Plan, approved by the Commission in 2005, which seeks to revitalize the historic square while responding supporting modern-day functions and requirements. However, the Commission required the District of Columbia Courts to provide threat analysis information and coordinate with adjacent property owners, particularly the National Park Service, before bringing the next phase of their plans before the Commission.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Headquarters
(File Number 6037)

The Commission approved preliminary and final site and building plans for the following elements at the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), currently under construction at the intersection of New York and Florida Avenues and O Street, NE:

• Two roof-top satellite dish antennas for a period not to exceed 10 years,
• A flagpole at the intersection of New York Avenue and First Street, SE
• Four art panels to be installed on storefront located on the ground level of Second Street, NE
In granting approval for the above elements, the Commission required the applicant, the General Services Administration, to investigate with ATF the feasibility of erecting a screen around the rooftop satellite dish antennas so that they will not be visible from the ground. The Commission also required GSA to report its finding to the Executive Director.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Revised Plan for Modernization of Headhouse/Greenhouse at the U.S. National Arboretum
(File Number 6433)

The Commission approved modifications to the final site and building plans for a new greenhouse and headhouse at the National Arboretum, located at 3501 New York Avenue, NE. The modification will provide a connecting exterior corridor between the two buildings. In 2004 the NCPC approved by the new greenhouse and enhanced headhouse, including office and storage space, for construction on a one-fourth acre site north of the arboretum administration building. The proposed modification will improve accessibility by providing an 85-foot covered sidewalk connecting the two buildings. The cover will be either an open-sided canopy or a prefabricated seam wall matching the new greenhouse. The construction involves only an 800-square-foot area and will only minimally reduce the size of the new headhouse. The Commission determined that plan will have no adverse impact on land use or environmental resources of the general site, and is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


White Oak Federal Research Center Master Plan and Transportation Management Plan Modification
(File Number Z.C. 05-43)

The Commission approved the updated Master Plan and Transportation Management plan for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consolidation at the White Oak Federal Research Center in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties, Maryland, with several stipulations. The modifications to plans for the 600-acre federal facility reflect a 23% increase in the number of projected employees since the 2002 update, with concomitant expanded requirements for lab, office, and parking facilities.

The master plan update includes a concept for phased replacement of perimeter security for the entire center. The Commission commended the security proposal, but recommended that the FDA submit specific details, including fencing, gates, a free-standing pavilion at the redesigned entry forecourt, and permanent anti-ram and retractable vehicular barriers. The Commission also expressed concern that under the updated Master Plan the campus will remain without landscaping other than seeding until the final construction phase in 2011. The Commissioners recommended that the applicant revise and resubmit landscape concept plans, depicting trees to be saved and no-build stream valley buffer zones.

The revised Transportation Management Plan includes an updated employee survey conducted in 2004. NCPC commended the FDA for taking steps to reduce reliance on automobile commutes, specifically by hiring a full-time Employee Transportation Coordinator and establishing shuttle service to three Metrorail stations. The Commission stipulated, however, that the FDA hold the available parking spaces to employee ratio to 1:1.5 through 2011. The Commission also recommended that the FDA and GSA continue to work with Montgomery County and relevant transit agencies to increase ground transportation from the campus to Metrorail stations, and consider establishing a cross-country public express bus service between Montgomery County and the White Oak site.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Zoning Map and Text Amendments to Include Squares 344, 373, 374, and National Park Service Reservation 174 (Old Convention Center Site) in Housing Priority Area B
(File Number Z.C. 05-43)

For its impact on the federal interests, the Commission reviewed and recommended approval of a proposed Zoning Commission action to include the 10.16 acres of the Old Convention Center Site within Housing Priority Area B. The identified federal interest in this project include the 1910 Height of Buildings Act, elements of the L’Enfant Plan, the National Capital Planning Act, and a Section 106 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for construction of the Verizon Center arena, signed on September 28, 1995.

The site is owned by the District of Columbia, except for Reservation 174, which is owned by the United States. H.R. 3699, which is pending in Congress, would transfer ownership of Reservation 174 to the District of Columbia. If H.R. 3699 does not pass, the proposed action will not be applied to Reservation 174.

In recommending approval for the proposed amendments the Commission noted that:

• The District of Columbia agreed to reopen 10th and I Streets, NW to traffic and restore the streets to the configuration that existed before construction of the Old Convention Center in the 1995 MOA.
• Reservation 174 should be preserved as open space in accordance with the Preservation and Historic Features element of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital.
• No development on the site may exceed the height allowed under the Height of Buildings Act.
The Commission also requested that the District of Columbia submit the development plan for the site to the Commission in accordance with federal law.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation


Amendment to Approved Planned Unit Development, 1331 L Street, NW, Square 247
(File Number Z.C. 94-01A)

For its impact on the federal interests, the Commission reviewed a proposed Zoning Commission action to approve a modification to a previously approved planned unit development at 1331 L Street, NW. The Commission recommended that the Zoning Commission require the applicant to eliminate the proposed metal trellis and guardrail from the building’s design because it is in conflict with Section 5 of the Height of Buildings Act of 1910.

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.