In January we wrote that the DC government submitted a zoning application in order to move forward with the proposed Ward 5 homeless shelter. The proposed shelter location is the former MPD Building at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE. We recently learned from this WAMU story that the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) approved the zoning changes requested, paving the way for the shelter to move forward, and a step closer to the closing of DC General, which has housed up to 270 families at a time. From the WAMU story:
At a 13-hour hearing last month on whether the city should be granted a zoning waiver to go ahead with construction, critics that argued that the proposed buildings would be too tall and would create additional traffic in surrounding neighborhoods. They also took issue with how the sites for the shelters were selected, saying the nearby residents had not been properly consulted.
On Wednesday morning, zoning board members shot down those arguments.
You can see the Zoning request here. We will let you know when we hear anything new.
We have been writing about the proposed Ward 5 homeless shelter since last summer. (The proposed location is the former MPD Building at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE.) Now we are getting a better idea of what is proposed for the location.
And here’s a rendering of the Ward 5 shelter, proposed for 1700 Rhode Island Ave. NE. Architect is R. McGhee & Associates. pic.twitter.com/RJjfh4qhBv
So, while we are not opposed to the homeless shelter at all, this concept seems out of proportion with everything around it, and not exactly cohesive with the historic MPD building it is attached to. According to this article in Curbed DC:
In the Department of General Services’ application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the plans are for an addition to the existing building that will house an “emergency family shelter” with 46 residential units. While the vacant building is not landmarked, the developer hopes to treat it like it is by maintaining it and incorporating it into the design.
The article also includes additional renderings and info. You can see the Zoning request here. The Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) public hearing will be March 1 at which time the design team will officially present the project and seek approval for the zoning changes requested. The design team will also present at the ANC 5B03 meeting on Tuesday, January 17th and to the full ANC 5B Commission on Wednesday, January 25th. We will let you know when we hear anything new.
Back in July we wrote about how some neighbors have raised concerns about the proposed location of the future Ward 5 homeless shelter. (The proposed loaction is the former MPD Building at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE.) Incoming commissioner for ANC 5B03. Henri Makembe, asked us to pass along information about a meeting Monday to discuss plans for the shelter. From the invite:
Join us to:
· View draft plans for the new buildings
· Provide input on the designs
· Learn more about family homelessness
Short-Term Family Housing facilities will be small, safe and dignified – with the services and supports that help families experiencing homelessness get back on their feet. These facilities will replace the oversized and outdated DC General Emergency Family Shelter. Each site will house no more than 50 families and include wrap-around services and supports including 24-hour staff to help families overcome barriers and move quickly into permanent housing.
For more detailed information on Short-term Family Housing, including a list of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit: www.mayor.dc.gov/homewarddc
The meeting will be Monday, December 12 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM at Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy, located at 1404 Jackson Street NE. For more information and to register for the meeting, check out the event page here.
The location of the future Ward 5 homeless shelter has been a hot topic ever since Mayor Muriel Bowser announced plans to replace DC General Family Shelter with homeless shelters in each Ward of DC. In February we wrote about issues a lot of folks had about the original shelter location proposed for Ward 5, because of its proximity to a trash transfer station, bus lots, a strip club, a night club, and limited access to mass transportation and amenities like a grocery store. Then Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie held a town hall meeting to discuss proposed locations on Friday, May 27, although it was announced that he supported the former MPD Building at 1700 Rhode Island Avenue, NE as the site for the shelter prior to the meeting. On the heels of that meeting, on May 31st, the DC City Council approved the 17th and RIA Ward 5 location, along with the other city-wide locations.
Now some residents are raising concerns about the location and are circulating a petition to ask for a hearing. You can view the petition here. Among the concerns are that the proposed homeless shelter is for 40 families, but the lot size is only 12,000 square feet, which would not house that many people. This is also a historic building, (check out some cool old pics here) and although there has been city-wide discussions about shelter locations for many months, neighbors who were not plugged in/aware to the hearings and meetings have been caught off guard. CM McDuffie’s meeting unfortunately was announced with only a few days’ notice, and held on the Friday evening before Memorial Day weekend, so not exactly ideal timing.
This topic will be discussed at this month’s Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA) meeting on Tuesday, July 19th at 7 pm at Brooks Mansion. Representatives from CM McDuffie’s office and DC Department of Human Services will be in attendance to talk more about the proposed homeless shelter, the general process, and what to expect next.
The meeting will cover a number of hot neighborhood topics in addition to the shelter, like the proposed alley closure at 901 Evarts and the Howard University Divinity School development. Brooks Mansion is located at 901 Newton St NE.
Recently Mayor Muriel Bowser announced plans to replace DC General Family Shelter with homeless shelters in each Ward of DC. The proposed shelter for Ward 5 is located at 2622 25th Place NE, which is an industrial area with limited access to mass transportation and amenities like a grocery store. Check out the Mayor’s Ward 5 plan here. From an email from the Langdon Park Community Association:
On Monday, February 22 at 6:30pm, neighborhood association leaders will host a Ward 5-wide community meeting with Council Member Kenyan McDuffie about the homeless shelter location. Residents will have an opportunity to share their concerns with the proposed location and participate in a transparent process to identify dignified and residential sites for the District’s homeless families. With this community input, we look forward to collaborating with Mayor Bowser to select a more suitable site for Ward 5.
RSVP for the meeting here. The meeting will be at New Canaan Baptist Church – 2826 Bladensburg Rd NE Washingon, DC 20018.
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