Rezoning of historic townhouse worries Foggy Bottom residents

A townhouse on H Street may soon get a seven-story addition because of a zoning map amendment approved by the D.C. Zoning Commission this month.

The building, near Au Bon Pain at 2013 H St., has been redistricted and is now considered to be within a business zone, rather than a residential one.

The Health Services for Children Foundation hopes to move its headquarters into the building, the organization’s president said, but must wait until the D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment rules on parking requirements at the site before beginning construction.

West End Citizens Association President Barbara Kahlow said she and others were concerned that the HSC Foundation case would set a bad precedent for the community.

“Upzoning a small single record lot . could lead to multiple upzonings elsewhere in Foggy Bottom/West End,” she said.

GW has no objection to the requested map amendment to change the zoning, but does remain concerned with the impact to available parking, according to a letter signed by GW Associate Vice President for Real Estate Alicia O’Neil that was read at a zoning commission public hearing on Dec. 18.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A Chairman Asher Corson said he was disappointed about the decision made by the zoning board.

“I’m concerned about the precedent it sets, turning residential areas into commercial areas . I think what’s left in Foggy Bottom should stay residential,” Corson said.

The proposed construction, which includes a seven-story addition to the 100-year-old townhouse and carriage house, was opposed by community members at the hearing.

Dr. Thomas W. Chapman, president and CEO of the HSC Foundation said the foundation wants to make the site look like the townhouses of 2000 Pennsylvania Ave., which keep the buildings intact with offices behind them.

Chapman said, “We’re still discussing [the design], what we will do is preserve the townhouse features. It’ll be a mix of the old and the new. We think it will be attractive.”

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