The fates of two proposed town house developments -- one in the Capitol View area of Southeast Washington and one in the Deanwood neighborhood of Northeast -- were left in doubt by Board of Zoning Adjustment actions recently.
The BZA denied the application of Robert Millman to build four semi-detached homes at East Capitol Street and Central Avenue SE because the lots were too narrow.
"This is overbuilding the property," said Zoning Commissioner Walter B. Lewis. "Eventually people are going to live in these houses, and their lives are going to be impacted."
After the hearing, Millman said he will build something else on the property, but his plans are not definite yet.
In the case of the proposed Deanwood development -- eight row houses at 4625 through 4639 Minnesota Ave. NE -- the board conditionally approved the application. But builder Alex Litman said he might not be able to meet the conditions and still keep the houses affordable.
"I don't know whether these houses will be built now," said Litman. "When I first filed the application 11 months ago, I planned to sell the houses for $65,000 now, just with inflation, the cost is up to $85,000 and they want me to dedicate part of my property and to spend $15,000 to pave an alley. That would push the cost close to $90,000, and this is not an area for $90,000 houses."
Litman originally proposed to have carports in front of the houses, but the Department of Transportation told the BZA that this would increase the already heavy traffic on Minnesota Avenue. Instead, the BZA directed Litman to place parking in the rear of the houses and to pay for half the cost of paving what is now a dirt alley in the rear of the lots.
Some residents at the meeting expressed disappointment at the decision, partly because they had already applied to the city to have the alley closed.
At the same meeting, however, the BZA aproved the construction of four new row houses at 1627 Kramer St. NE, an apartment house at 732 Fifth St. SE, and two new row houses at 1511 and 1515 North Carolina Ave. NE.
In other action, the BZA:
Denied the application of Benigno Lopez for a variance to build a rear addition to a house at 3700 Alton Place NW.
Denied the application of Sarem Properties to convert a house at 1701 Kilbourne Place NW to an apartment house.
Denied the application of John Saah for a variance to permit additions to an apartment house at 1521 Church St. NW.
Approved the application of Sen. Mike Gravel for variances to permit an addition to an apartment house at 117 Second St. NE.
Approved for four years the application of National Permanent Savings and Loan Association for a special exception to continue operating a parking lot at 4201 Fessenden St. NW.
Approved the application of Midas Realty Corporation for a special exception to use the first floor of a building at 1620 Rhode Island Ave. NE as a muffler service center.
Approved the application of Antioch Baptist Church for a special exception to use the first floor of a building in a residential zone at 1107 50th St. NE as a day care center for 40 children.
Approved for four years the application of Palace Laundry Inc. for a special exception to continue operating a parking lot at 724-26 Morton St. NW.