The D.C. City Council's Transportation Committee reversed itself last week and recommended closure of an alley that would permit developer John O. Antonelli to erect a controversial 90-foot-high office building in the 1700 block of N Street NW.
On Nov. 21, the committee refused by a vote of 3 to 2 to close a section of alley behind town houses at 1752, 1754 and 1756 N St. to round out the building site.
Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), one of the three who had blocked the project, switched, sides yesterday, explaining that she had studied neighborhood objections to the project and found them unpersuasive. She proposed that the committee reverse itself, and her motion carried 3 to 2.
Joining her were committee chairman Jerry A. Moore, Jr., (R-At-Large) and John L. Ray (D-At-Large). Voting against the measure were Hilda Mason (Statehood-At-Large) and Polly Shackleton (D-Ward 3).
John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) who represents the affected neighborhood, said he will fight the alley closing when the bill reaches the full council. He is not a Transportation Committee member.
Antonelli, the stepson of millionaire developer and parking tycoon Dominic F. Antonelli, has been trying for two years to get permission to build on the site, which he owns with partners.
The Dupont Circle Citizens' Association and other community groups have gone to court to appeal a city zoning panel's decision supporting the Antonelli project. The appeal does not halt the project, and the closing of the alley would permit it to proceed.