December 6, 2007

National Law Enforcement Museum, Judiciary Square
(File Number 6321)

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund sought approval for preliminary site and building plans for the National Law Enforcement Museum, located in Reservation 7 at Judiciary Square. The proposed plans involve the construction of an underground museum with two entrance pavilions located on the south side of the 400 block of E Street, NW. The plans include a plaza for the site that is to be shared by the Museum and the District of Columbia Courts.

The Museum design includes two 25-foot high pavilions, landscaping, and retaining walls and bollards at the north side of the plaza. The retaining walls and bollards serve as security for the Courts complex and accommodate a change in natural grade at the front of the site. Transparent low iron glass will cover the pavilions and complement the opaque glazing on the interior museum walls. The design of the plaza incorporates flush translucent pavers to provide daylight to the primarily underground facility. The Museum is authorized by Public Law 106-492.

The Commission noted that the applicant’s Environmental Assessment (EA) of the preliminary site and building plans, and the public comments on the EA, will guide the Commission in its decision making. The Executive Director executed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) with mitigation actions for the museum on November 29, 2007.

The Commission approved preliminary site and building plans for the project conditioned upon the mitigation actions indicated in the Executive Director’s FONSI. The mitigation actions include: consultation with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for final site and building plans; coordination with the District of Columbia and National Park Service concerning location and design of PEPCO vaults; minimizing adverse traffic impacts; incorporating low-intensity-development in the final landscape; and minimizing adverse effects to the historic court buildings.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Lincoln Memorial Circle Improvements, East Side
(File Number 6265)

The Commission approved final site development plans for two lines of bollards crossing Lincoln Circle at Bacon and French Drives and continuing along the outer curb on the northeast and southeast portions of the circle. The plans also include repaving and associated improvements to the circle.

Today’s submission by the National Park Service (NPS) is a component of a larger improvement project at the Lincoln Memorial that includes roadway and sidewalk reconstruction, vehicle barriers, a retaining wall, and the construction of two concession buildings to improve visitor services. Future related submissions will include temporary measures to close the barrier line along the east side of the Memorial and a Park Service plan comprehensive design initiative for the area of the Mall at the east side of the Memorial.

The Commission welcomed and supported the NPS goal of a comprehensive design initiative for the east front of the Lincoln Memorial that will consider maintenance, accessibility, and security needs in West Potomac Park in addition to design, especially in the area of the Reflecting Pool and the stairs leading to the memorial.

In its approval of the plans, the Commission rescinded a previous Commission action approving bollards down either side of the lower stairs of the Lincoln Memorial and across the edge of the reflecting pool.

The Park Service hopes to complete the proposed improvements to Lincoln Circle prior to the bicentennial of President Lincoln’s birth in February 2009.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center
(File Number 6597)

The Commission provided comments on the concept design plans for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center, submitted by the National Park Service (NPS) on behalf of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The Center is authorized by Public Law 108-126.

The 5.2 acre site is on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial at the west end of the National Mall. It is situated north of the Lincoln Memorial and west of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The site is an open grass panel surrounded by mature elm trees. Currently the site contains two softball fields and a National Park Service concessions facility. The central portion of the site will be used to construct the Center, which according to the National Park Service will be 34,100 gross square feet in area with a building footprint of 26,642 square feet.

In its action today, the Commission commented on the various design elements of the proposed Visitor Center, noting the following:
• The project design met six of the 15 mandatory design guidelines established by the Commission during site approval;
• The project design did not meet two of the 15 mandatory design guidelines and required the applicant to modify the project design to meet them;
• The applicant must provide further information and analysis before the Commission can determine whether the project meets seven of the mandatory design guidelines prior to or during the preliminary design phase.

The Commission noted in its comments the importance of the Commission’s consultation process and recommended that the applicant continue to consult with staff during the development of preliminary and final design phases.

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.