After months of negotiations, the developers of Hillandale have reached an agreement with the Burleith Citizens Association on a pian to build a cluster-style townhouse community on the 42-acre Archbold estate across from Georgetwon University Hospital on Reservoir Road.
In the agreement, the Hillandale Development Corporation agreed to relocate the proposed entrance to the development to minimize traffic on neighborhood streets, to create a buffer zone between the complex and the neighborhood and to require construction vehicles to be parked within the Hillandale property during construction. In exchange, the Burleith Citizens Association promised to testify in support of Hillandale's rezoning request for the project.
The site is currently zoned for single-family detached dwellings.
The agreement was signed just before the first of three lengthy hearings completed recently beofre the D.C. Zoning Commission on Hillandale's application to build 268 dwellings, most of them rowhouses, on the site.
"It's not everyday that a developer and a citizen group come to an agreement about anything," said Robert McFadden of the Burleith Citizens Association.
One of the association's prime concerns had been the possibility of increased traffic on Burleith streets, McFadden said. By agreeing to limit automobile acess to the proposed complex at the entrance on 39th Street between S Street and Reservoir Road and by requiring cars exiting from Hillandale to turn toward Reservoir Road, the developer minimized community concerns, he said.
The development corporation, owned by Texan Clinton Murchison, needs zoning commission approval under the city's Planned Unit Development [PUD] process to construct the cluster-type community.
Without zoing commission approval, however, the corporation could divide the property into 285 lots and build 285 detached houses. Because such a plan would require heavy bulldozing of the hilly terrain and destroy many trees, most of the witnesses at the hearings testified that the cluster development was preferable.
Spokesmen for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B, however, testified in opposition to the development, mainly on the grounds that it would be an upper-income enclave where the projected price of a rowhouse would be $275,000. In addition, the ANC spokesmen said, nonresidents would be denied acess by guards and fences.
"The physical barrier is destructive to a sense of community," protested ANC Commissioner Michael Marcus. "It's planned isolation -- we are not an alternative to the suburbs. . . In view of the need for low- and moderate-income housing, this is a tragic dalliance."
ANC chairman Mark Looney testified that the high-priced development would drive up assessments in the surrounding neighborhoods and dirve fixed-income residents from their homes.
Michael Gulino, vice president of the Hillandale Deveopment Corporation, testified that the privacy and security created by limited access to the development made the homes "more marketable."
The development will include a swimming pool, tennis courts, wooded areas, open areas, three ponds and several trails, according to Hillandale officials. The existing mansion and gatehouse on the Archbold estate will be restored and sold as residences. A homeowners' association, which buyers of the houses will automatically join, will own the common areas and facilities and the streets, all of which will be maintained at the expense of the association.
"The estate is now private," said Gulino. "After the development is finished, we'll turn it over to the homeowners association and let them decide the question of security."
James G. Dean, of the Committee of 100 for the Federal City, testified that his group did not necessarily oppose the development, but asked for some modifications. He said too many houses were planned along the boundary wtih Glover Archbold Park, disturbing wildlife and possibly creating drainage problems. Another witness, Charles Williams of the Audubon Naturalist Society, said that placing homes Society, said tht placing homes so close to the park would mean that noise and household pets would reduce the number of unusual birds that nest in the park.
A preliminary zoning commission decision on the development is expected later this summer. If preliminary approval is given, the developer will have to go before the commission again with detailed architectural plans. Construction is scheduled to begin next spring.