Despite opposition from residents of the Fairlawn section of Anacostia, the D.C. Zoning Commission recently indicated it would approve a condominium complex on the vacant Ruppert Home for the Aged site at 22nd Street and T Place SE -- provided developer Edward Tiffey makes some changes in the plans and reduces the number of units from 115 to about 100.
"That's still too many," protested Thelma Jones of the Fairlawn Citizens Association, which led opposition to the complex. "There'll be too many people on that site."
Calling the zoning commission procedure "nothing but a farce," Edward Steward, president of the association, stormed out of the meeting complaining that "none of the citizen input was taken into consideration."
During three hearinsg in Fairlawn earlier this spring, about 75 neighborhood residents signed up to testify against the proposal. Most said the only housing they would accept on the site was the similar to the adjacent Fairlawn neighborhood -- single-family, semi-detached homes and triplexes. The developer said such housing would be to expensive to sell.
Tiffey's proposal includes townhouses and "piggyback fats," four-story buildings, in which the upper two floors are set back from the lower two. Each floor would be used as a separate living unit.
In an interview after the zoning commission meeting, Tiffey said he still believed that only by building 115 units on the four-acre site could he afford to sell them for a average of $65,000. But he said he intended to evaluate the situation" and return with a new plan at a hearing scheduled for Sept. 13.
In addition to reducing the number of units, the zoning commission asked Tiffey to prepare a "more sensitive site plan," one which would save more trees and include at least 15,000 square feet of usable open space.
In other actions last week, the zoning commission approved a new office building for Metro at 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW.
It also set a public hearing for Sept. 22 on a proposed new incentive zone for hotels. The new zone would run north and south of Massachusetts Avenue from Capitol Hill to Thomas Circle. In the zone, hotels and apartment building could be constructed larger than buildings normally permitted. The purpose, according to city planners, is to encourage developers to put hotels near the convention center rather than in residential neighborhoods.