Friday, March 30, 2007

Hot Flashes

If They Had a Hammer

Last night the Growler ankled down to the sparsely attended community meeting about the redevelopment of the Carpenter's Shelter at 930 N. Henry Street and gleaned some details about the upcoming project.

The private shelter for the homeless plans to stay at its current location but anticipates selling its parking lot to Elm Street Development, which is also buying and redeveloping the adjacent Tony's Auto Garage. The parking lot sale will finance expansion of the former DMV building to improve facilities for homeless families (the majority of its clients) while providing additional space for computer labs and counseling services.

Shelter Director Fran Becker stated there would not be an increase in the number of residential beds at the shelter. There are currently 80 beds but for the past year the facility is not usually filled to capacity on most nights, according to Ms. Becker. She also noted changes in the demographics of the shelter's residential clients: there are now more families and fewer single men.

Elm Street's other local activities include Potomac Greens (a joint project with EYA) and the development of luxury mansions at the southeast corner of Seminary Road and Quaker Lane on the site of the old Second Presbyterian Church. A representative of the developer said the group hopes to submit the project to Planning Commission later this spring but has not yet determined if the residential focus will be market rate condos or rental apartments. Nor has a decision been made about whether Elm Street will seek the density bonus for affordable housing.

Looks like there will be further public meetings and presentations about the Carpenter's Shelter project, so stay tuned for more information.

Transportation Plan

Folks living on Patrick and Henry Street who are concerned about the BRT proposal may want to hike down to City Hall to attend the Planning Commission public work session on changes to the City's Master Transportation Plan.

Members of the Ad Hoc Transportation Committee, which has been charged with drafting changes to the plan, will also be present.

Although the public may attend, these work sessions are not hearings so Parker-Gray residents won't have an opportunity to speak or vent. But the meetings do represent a chance to find out what is going on and also an opportunity to network with politicians and planners.

The discussion of BRT/light rail issues can be found in in the transit chapter of the Committee's draft report.

717 Pendleton Street (Day Labor Agency Site)

The City will hold a community meeting on April 4 to discuss ACC Holdings' application to remove a proffer for the property located at 717 Pendleton Street, which will be heard by Planning Commission on May 1. This is located just outside the boundaries Parker-Gray District but may be of interest to readers on adjacent streets.

The community meeting will be held Wednesday, April 4, 2007, at Charles Houston Recreation Center at 901 Wythe Street. The City's point of contact is James Hunt of P&Z, who can be reached at (703) 838-3866, ext. 326.

ACC Holdings is the LLC formed by Chuck Carlton and Adam Schramm, owners of Ace Temporaries. Ace is the controversial day labor agency which operated on Pendleton Street from 1999 until 2006. Prior to that time, it was located at 1000 Queen Street. There is a long and tangled history associated with this business and its owners, including litigation, and it's by no means over yet.

The property at 717 Pendleton currently has a proffer on it which restricts its use to a business or professional office. Ace now wants that restriction removed, but the reasons for doing so unclear, according to neighbor Kelly Conner. Ms. Conner tells the Growler that the City informed her the restriction has been on the property since the 1970's, well before Mr. Carlton purchased the building in 1999 for $350,000. The property has been on the market since 2006, when Mr. Carlton was finally forced to cease operating his day labor agency there.

For further information and status updates, contact Kelly Conner at