July 10, 2008

Draft National Capital Framework Plan: Destinations and Connections Beyond the National Mall
(File Number 6629)

At its July 2008 meeting, The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) authorized circulation of the Draft National Capital Framework Plan (the Framework Plan) for a 90-day public comment period. Launched in May 2006, the Framework Plan is a multi-agency initiative led by NCPC and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) to enhance areas and create new destinations beyond the National Mall, and improve the connections between the National Mall, Downtown, and the waterfront.

The Framework Plan seeks to help preserve the treasured open space of the National Mall by proposing strategies to improve the setting of the adjacent areas to make them desirable locations for the next generation of national museums, memorials, public gatherings, and federal offices. As part of this strategy, the Framework Plan seeks to reinvigorate Washington’s existing federal office precincts by encouraging a mix of offices, shops, businesses, and cultural activities that support economic vitality and vibrant city life.

To achieve its goals, the Framework Plan re-imagines the precincts near the National Mall as new city destinations with distinctive identities of their own. It focuses on federal land and buildings in four key precincts near the National Mall: the Northwest Rectangle, the Federal Triangle, the Southwest Rectangle, and East Potomac Park.

The connections between these precincts are equally as important as the places themselves. The Framework Plan proposes to eliminate barriers such as shattered street grids and intrusive road, rail, and bridge infrastructure. It proposes to connect these precincts to one another, to the waterfront, and the National Mall, and to the rest of the city. Making these connections, enhancing the quality and beauty of public spaces and improving transit options is essential to creating a city that is livable, walkable, and enjoyable.

During the 90-day public comment period, there will be an aggressive public outreach effort to schedule meetings and presentations with interested parties that may want to comment on the Framework Plan proposals. Two informational public meetings are currently scheduled: July 17 at the CFA monthly meeting, and July 22 at NCPC. An additional evening public meeting will be held on September 24 at the NCPC. An open house will take place at 5:00 p.m. and a presentation at 6:00 p.m. The plan will be posted on the NCPC website to facilitate public review. Copies of the plan are available at the Commission of Fine Arts or the National Capital Planning Commission.

The public comment period closes on October 10, 2008. Please submit comments to NCPC, 401 9th Street, NW, North Lobby, Suite 500, Washington, DC, 2008, Attn: Elizabeth Miller or FrameworkPlan@ncpc.gov. After that time, NCPC and CFA staff will refine the plan for final review and approval. The plan is tentatively scheduled for final review and approval by CFA on November 20, 2008 and NCPC on December 4, 2008.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Armed Forces Retirement Home
(File Number MP060)

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) reviewed the final master plan and transportation management plan for the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), approving Zone A and returning Zones B and C to the AFRH Zone. The Commission also modified both the parking supply and transit service proposed in the plan. The Commission approved Zone A based on AFRH’s commitment to engage in a planning process with NCPC staff, the District of Columbia Office of Planning, the National Park Service, and the community to determine the feasibility of allowing Zone C to be used as a publicly accessible park while providing an income stream acceptable to the Home.

The final master plan calls for new development to serve the Home and also provides for private development on Zone A that will accommodate a mix of uses, including residential, office, research and development, institutional, medical, retail, and hotel through private leases for portions of the federally owned site. Zoning for the site will be applied in accordance with the approved master plan. The private development will also provide an income stream for the Trust Fund upon which the Home depends for its operating expenses.

Parking for Phase One Development in Zone A was approved at 2,741 spaces, with the total parking supply for Zone A approved at 5,155 spaces. The parking supply may increase or decrease in accordance with a mutually-accepted set of triggers that include an increase in transit service to the site, capacity analysis of the surrounding roadway network, the parking supply for nearby developments, market conditions, opportunities for shared parking, and the results of a planned District of Columbia study on parking requirements for medical office uses. The parking supply may not exceed the limit studied in the Environmental Impact Statement.

The Commission approved the applicant’s proposal to enhance the shuttle service plan originally outlined in the master plan. Service characteristics are subject to negotiation between the AFRH and the District of Columbia and must fall within the overall service levels accounted for in the proposed funding plan.

In its review today, the Commission also approved the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Alternative 3A as presented and analyzed in the adopted Final Environmental Impact Statement, dated November 2007, for the AFRH.

The master plan development is anticipated to occur over a timeframe of 15-20 years.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

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

The National Capital Planning Commission reviewed a submission by the National Park Service on behalf of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. for preliminary site and building plans for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial to be located in West Potomac Park at the Tidal Basin. The Commission approved the preliminary site and building plans for the memorial’s Visitor Contact Station/Bookstore/Restroom Building only, and deferred preliminary approval of the memorial design pending the National Park Service’s resolution of design changes to West Basin Drive being discussed in the Section 106 consultation process, and issues surrounding the Park Service’s intent to design and place security barriers in or around the memorial site. The Commission noted that it supports the overall memorial design and discouraged the Park Service from adding security barriers.

The three main elements of the preliminary design include the Mountain of Despair, the curved Inscription Wall forming the main plaza areas of the memorial interior, and the Stone of Hope that features the likeness of Dr. King centered within the plaza. The preliminary plans submitted for Commission review further the concept of the Stone of Hope breaking free from the Mountain of Despair and now fully depict the Visitor Contact Building in its new location and design.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Georgetown Waterfront Park
(File Number 6383)

The Commission reviewed and approved the final site and building plans for the Wisconsin Avenue Terminus portion of the Georgetown Waterfront Park, an approximately 2.3 acre portion of the park serving as the park’s main entrance from the surrounding city.

The project, submitted by the National Park Service, features a riverfront promenade that passes along the park’s southern section and incorporates the Capital Crescent Bicycle Trail passing through its northern section. A pathway leading from Wisconsin Avenue to the waterfront includes a fountain area with granite seating on one side. Granite features are infused throughout the project to establish a consistent theme for the park’s design.

Green design and open spaces are signature elements applied throughout the design. The plans incorporate a large open lawn area between the pathway and 31st Street, NW. A pergola alongside the waterfront promenade is a major focal point of the lower plaza with seating shaded by a green roof and offering views of the waterfront. Steps leading down to the water’s edge will feature grass seating with a vegetated soil bioengineering system alongside.

The Commission noted that the Park Service is undertaking an Environmental Impact Statement for the Georgetown Boathouse project that includes an alternative for locating a boathouse in a portion of the Georgetown Waterfront Park.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Modification to a Planned Unit Development at 250 M Street, SE
(File Number ZC 03-12F/03-13F)

The Commission commented on a proposed action of the District of Columbia Zoning Commission to approve a modification to a Planned Unit Development for an office building located at 250 M Street, SE. The Commission’s role is to advise the Zoning Commission on whether the project will adversely affect any identified federal interests. The Commission found that the proposed action would not comply with the Height of Buildings Act of 1910, as amended, and would therefore be adverse to the federal interest.

The proposed site is part of the larger Capper/Carrollsburg Redevelopment Project, a 33-acre project located in Southeast just north of M Street between 2nd Street, SE and 7th Street, SE. The proposal is to construct a 233,000 square foot, 11-story commercial building that includes retail on the ground floor, offices above, and a conference center on the 11th floor. The proposal represents a shift from the original design of the building by increasing the roof height of the building by 20 feet, increasing the gross floor area, increasing the number of floors from 9 to 11, and modifying the top floor and roof structure design.

The Height Act establishes the maximum height for this building at 110 feet, based on the width of the widest street surrounding Reservation 17D, which will form a portion of Canal Park. NCPC recommended that the Zoning Commission require the applicant to modify the design to reduce the building height by 20 feet to bring the project into compliance with the Height Act.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation

Union Place – 250 K Street
(File Number ZC 05-36A)

The Commission reviewed a proposed action of the District of Columbia Zoning Commission to approve a Second Stage Planned Unit Development (PUD) located at 250 K Street in Northeast.
The Commission’s role is to advise the Zoning Commission on whether the project has an adverse impact on an identified federal interest. The Commission considered this matter and did not take an action.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation.

Draft Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2009-2014
(File Number 6400)

The Commission authorized circulation of the draft Strategic Plan for the National Capital Planning Commission, Fiscal Years 2009-2014 for a 45-day public review and comment period.

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) requires each agency to submit a strategic plan spanning a minimum six-year period—the fiscal year it is submitted and five years forward. The new version, which reflects the views and comments of the NCPC staff, is a comprehensive reworking of the current strategic plan covering FYs 2004-2009.

The new strategic plan provides a clearer articulation of the NCPC’s function and operations, with revised vision and mission statements and five strategic goals to guide the agency’s work over the next six years. It also sets out the specific means for fulfilling the strategic goals and identifies performance targets for measuring the agency’s progress toward achieving its objectives.

The authorization to circulate will enable the NCPC staff to begin consultation with Congress and the Office of Management and Budget and to solicit the views of federal departments and agencies, state and local governments, and interested organizations and individuals. The 45-day period will begin upon posting of the draft plan to the agency’s website.

Adoption of the Strategic Plan is expected in early FY 2009.

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.