Babe’s Billiard Redevelopment

The DC Zoning Commission is considering an application for a mixed-use building at the old Babe’s Billiards site at Wisconsin Ave. and Brandywine St., one block from the Tenleytown Metrorail station. The proposal is for a 60-unit rental building with space on the ground floor and basement for restaurants and retail. (It is technically called a “Planned Unit Development” or “PUD”.) The developer needs relief from the minimum parking requirement to make space for the retail and restaurants and allow using the existing structure, which is an environmentally responsible way to build. The building would contain only one space for handicapped parking.

Ward3Vision supports the application. This prime site for transit-oriented development has been vacant too long. The project will help make the area more walkable and vibrant and will attract new residents who want to live car-free. The building will be LEED gold and have a green roof. The developer pledged to underground the utilities to the building and otherwise improve the site with landscaping, a water feature, and other amenities. In an agreement with ANC 3E (which supports the project), the developer agreed to traffic mitigation measures, such as a lease provision barring tenants from owning cars and prohibiting them from getting Residential Parking Permits. The developer has agreed to secure 20 off-site parking spaces and defray part of the cost of parking for customers of the stores and restaurants. Car share and bike share stations are close by, and the developer will subsidize their use by the residents.

Ward3Vision Steering Committee Chair Tom Hier delivered our testimony at the Zoning Committee hearing on November 1, 2012. As a party in support, Ward3Vision testified that the no-parking building makes sense one block from a metro station and near shopping. Ward3Vision Steering Committee member Ellen McCarthy testified as an expert witness on zoning that the proposal is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

Other Ward3Vision Steering Committee members and supporters also testified as individuals at the hearing and/or wrote letters in support of the development.

A decision by the Zoning Commission is expected after the new year.