More on the Richardson Place Dev

Read today’s Truxton Circle daily dispatch! There is a meeting tonight at Mt. Sinai at 7 regarding Mr. Mondie’s development on Richardson Place. John added a few more concerns, sadly he won’t be able to make the meeting.
I share John’s concerns. Mondie’s plan looks like a poor one and needs to go back to the drawing board.

Another thing, semi-related. I’d love to see a DC architecture blog covering residential and commercial architecture of buildings in the District and how they relate to surrounding buildings and why some buildings are so ugly make you wanna slap the builder. The problem with the Mondie proposal is that the buildings have the wrong look for the area but the community lacks the vocabulary for expressing why such and such is ugly or wrong. We need real pictures of buildings not computer line drawings. Anyway, if there is a blog like that out there, tell me about it.

Well the meeting was held and Mondie claimed to Jim (not Berry) that he didn’t know anything about the meeting. Jim Berry had spoken to Mondie’s lawyer who was aware but could not make the meeting. Is it my faulty memory or didn’t these two ask for meeting between the BACA meeting and the ANC meeting?
I had created a lovely Power Point presentation for Mr. Mondie. I am saddened that he did not show. It’s not that anyone is against something going on the land on Richardson, it’s just that what Mondie is proposing is horrid. My little PP thing was a suggestion of something less horrid. But he wasn’t there. Yet, I did learn something valuable, while gathering pictures for the PP I discovered if you ride around like a crazy woman on a bike randomly taking pictures and then biking off and taking more pictures, you freak out the drug dealers. You can also freak out the drug dealers by running full force down the sidewalk in loud clompy heels. Anyway, I digress.
A point was made that at the BACA meeting Mondie failed to state why his proposal is so unique that he needs a zoning variance. He did not state why he cannot work within the rules that currently exist. He could build 2 18-20ft wide 3 level houses. Yet he wanted three 14 ft wide houses. C. informed us that in 1958 the city changed the rules regarding housing width because of the problem of overcrowding. If Mondie is allowed to build as he wishes, which no one is sure of what his wishes are since he doesn’t seem to be sure about what the heck he wants, he undermines what the District is trying to prevent, density that is more than what the space can bear.
Even if Mondie is able to one of the two three things he was proposing to do he’s going to loose money. After a few of us skipped out as the meeting turned to the matters of group houses, those closer to the action floated numbers that Mondie is going to pay for the land (it is unclear if he actually owns the land) and the amount is way too much. Couple that will all the potential problems of interest rates going up, which will slow down the Real Estate boom, and the fact that this is still a transitional area makes hints that he’s not going to get the kind of money he may be aiming for. When the market slows down, condos are the first to suffer. Also I read somewhere that a way to keep gentrification at bay was bad or poor design. Mondie’s proposal is a lovely example of bad design and will live itself out as affordable housing because people with choices will not pick the ugly poorly designed cramped house.

If you want affordable housing, you have to fight for it

I just posted my notes on the BACA meeting on the main InShaw site and well the forces against affordable housing and group housing for the mentally ill are loud. Strangely, people who are for affordable housing and the people who detest affordable housing don’t show up at the same meetings. One brave woman (not me) spoke up for the cause of diversity.
On one neighborhood listserv there is much chatter about a planned affordable housing project that is to go up just on the other side of North Cap. Personally, my interest in it is minimal because a- it’s on the other side of North Cap and b- it is spearheaded and hopefully will be managed by the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I believe the Catholic Church also runs Immaculate Conception a low income apartment over near the Convention Center. Yet there are fears that it will be like some of the worst examples of affordable housing and will actually stunt the growth and development many want.
So my friends who are champions for affordable housing you are going to have to make a case to your neighbors to allow and support affordable housing. You will have to make a case that your neighbors will not suffer because of affordable housing. Your neighbors have suffered through bad section 8’ers and seedy boarding houses so no amount of guilt tripping will get them to support affordable housing. The argument that the city needs affordable housing just rings hollow. You need to appeal to their better angels but hold accountable those who manage so the neighbors to these projects will not be martyrs.

Abrv BACA meeting

For the meeting of Nov 7 2005.
Sgt. Mitchell of 5D spoke. Don’t buy a Chrysler. Or if you have a Chrysler buy a Club or something because these cars are easy to break into and steal. I say get a stick shift, those things are a b!cth to drive. Something about the Partnerships for Problem Solving, they are looking at the methadone clinic, which is run by a private group. Also they will try talking to SOME. Something about residential parking and tracking parking violations.
Art Slater of the Land Use, Planning and Economic Development Committee spoke.
John has his notes on the BZA Case No. 17404 for 410-416 Richardson Pl on the Truxton Circle’s Daily Dispatch.
There was much chatter about unregistered group homes on the unit block of Bates. Of course the conversation seemed to confuse group homes with halfway houses it seemed. Anita Bonds, injected a little voice of reason for the cause of keeping the neighborhood diverse. The voices against group homes also got on a perceivable anti-renter vibe.
Other quick notes, Mary Ann is looking into wreaths for Bates Street and possibly surrounding areas.
We need to get house numbers on our back doors or back fences because we will be fined. Methinks people won’t bother until their neighbors start getting fines.

DC Department of Parks and Recreation and Our Needs as a Community

From Jim


Below please find a list of dates that the DC Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting a series of open houses to receive comments on their Master Plan. It seems to me that the meeting at the Kennedy Playground provides a good opportunity for those of us who live below Florida Avenue, NW to talk about the recreation and leisure time needs of residents from our are (of all ages). In fact, we should be thinking about a location for a state of the art recreation facility. If anyone is interested in working on this issue with me, please send a return email at your very earliest convenience.


Jim Berry

The DC Department of Parks & Recreation is holding three Open Houses, for the public to meet the new Executive Staff and participate in a discussion regarding the 5-yr Agency Master Plan.

* Nov 15, Emery Rec Ctr, Georgia & Madison NW, 6:30-8:30 pm
* Nov 16, SE Tennis & Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Ave SE, 6:30-8:30 pm
* Nov 17, Kennedy Recreation Center, 7th & P Sts NW, 6:30-8:30 pm
Please RSVP to Justice and Sustainability Associates at 202-610-0005
For more information on the DPR Master Plan, see and or contact Leslie Schill, DPR Office of Planning, 202-673-2033

Public Notice of the November 15, 2005 Monthly Meeting of ANC 5C

From Jim

Below please find a copy of the Public Notice that is being circulated in the community re. the next meeting of ANC 5C. Please share its contents with your neighbors and encourage them to attend.

Hope to see you there!


Jim Berry





TELEPHONE: (202) 832-1965/1966


Monthly Meeting

Invited guests include representatives from the following:

D.C. Department of Transportation

re. the criteria for curb cuts in ANC 5C

D.C. Office of Planning

re. planning efforts for the North of Massachusetts Avenue (NOMA) area

The Catholic University of America

re. a status report on campus and student life at the university

A&R Development Corp

re. the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station Retail and Residential Development Project

Where: The Catholic University of America
Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center
(Room C of the Great Room
When: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Time: 7:00 P.M. until 9:00 P.M.

November Garden Report

Yes, I still have a garden.
Strangely, I’m still getting tomatoes. I figured with the cold snap we had a while back that was the end, but no. They are a little damaged. But I just cut that part off. A few weeks back I picked green tomatoes off the vine for fear they’d freeze. Fresh tomato right off the window sill, nothing like it. Sitting in the window they’ve turned red or yellow (depending on the variety).
The lettuce is still going to strong. A leaf here. A leaf there and I got a very small salad.
I’ve pulled up the bean plants and dumped them in the composter.
Several of the mariagolds also met their end in the composter.
Most of the basil has been pulled up and turned into pesto or compost. Basil leaves have little tolerance for cold weather. I have a few sprigs of basil growing, just in case it stays warm.
The spring onions are doing well. I should have planted more because I can run through them very quickly.
The spinach is just one plant I left alone and so far so good. I will need to harvest it soon because I’ll need to empty that pot for the winter as I’d like to have all the clay pots empty.
The impatiens were doing well last month but recently they’ve been getting ugly.
The picky citrus has been sent to College Park to sit on someone’s well lit kitchen table for the winter. Heaven knows it wasn’t going to get the necessary light in my house.
I’ve brought the laurel bay plants inside.
There are a few plants that will need to take their chances outside and I’ll need to plant them in the ground or insulate them somehow.