Testimony: before the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board in support of the Hine Junior High School project

Support for Case No. 11-195
Hine Junior High School project
7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

by Cheryl Cort, Policy Director
June 30, 2011

Please accept our testimony on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. We are the leading organization addressing where and how the Washington region grows, partnering with communities in planning for the future, and offering solutions to the interconnected challenges of housing, transportation, energy, and the environment.

We wish to express our support for the proposed project for the Hine Junior High School site and urge the HPRB to complete its review so that the project can move on to a Planned Unit Development review with the Zoning Commission. The proposed scale and overall design conform to the Capitol Hill Historic District and enhance key historic assets such as L’Enfant square on Pennsylvania Avenue and the market house. Given the large amount of open space adjacent to the site, we agree that a larger scale building is needed to give definition to the expansive square around Pennsylvania Avenue. The project also restores the historic street grid with the construction of C Street. The project offers additional benefits to the community in the form of a low speed street that can accommodate the flea market, new retail space to complement Eastern Market and Pennsylvania Ave. retail, office space, and affordable and accessible housing.

This is a rare opportunity to offer a substantial number of affordable and accessible housing units in this desirable location. Given the growing gap between the availability of moderately priced housing, and D.C. residents’ incomes, we believe we should not further erode the opportunity for affordable housing at this location. We also welcome market rate housing here, as many D.C. residents, especially baby boomers who are looking to downsize, might want to take advantage of new construction and accessible features, especially an elevator. Accommodating more households in this highly accessible location not only supports local businesses, it also gives more people the opportunity to live a greener lifestyle where walking, biking, and transit take the place of many or most car trips. Additionally, these buildings will achieve high levels of efficiency, further reducing resource consumption and polluting emissions.

The buildings’ scales are respectful of their neighbors, yet they also take advantage of the importance of this site’s location at a close-in Metro station and in a neighborhood rich in amenities. We appreciate the many changes the developer has made to respond to HPRB and residents’ input to better fit the buildings into the historic district context. With these changes, the buildings are still able to offer a substantial number of public benefits. We are eager to see this project move forward so that we can realize the full potential of the affordable and market rate homes that can be created here, along with the many benefits of attractive, pedestrian-oriented buildings to enhance this prominent neighborhood center.

Thank you for your consideration.

Click here to download the full testimony >>