JUNCTION FOCUS: Summary: clarifying questions and answers

Also see: JUNCTION FOCUS: Takoma Junction Task Force recommendations

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Takoma Junction Redevelopment Proposals – Concept Plans



Submitted to developers October 10, 2014. Answers received by Nov. 1.

The developers are:

The Ability Project – The Lodge

Community Three Development, LLC


Neighborhood Development Company

[Editorial and explanatory remarks in brackets.] The answers as submitted by the developers can be found here.

1) How does your proposal address the following elements of the Takoma Junction Task Force Report:

1) support of independent businesses;
2) expansion of community use of public space;
3) improved mobility and enhanced streetscape;
4) expansion of parking options for area businesses; and
5) provision of pedestrian access from Columbia Avenue.

The Ability Project – The Lodge

1. Supports co-op, provides maximum parking for other businesses and expanded co-op’s needs.
2. community involvement with developmentally disabled, enables coop expansion, preserves Columbia site (R60) as community/enviromental space.
3. provides “missing street front” along Carroll Ave., preserves: parking at back, coop entrance, coffee shop, Ability project entrance and Capitol Bikeshare.
4. increased parking, moderate parking use for Lodge
5. pedestrian access from Columbia

Community Three Development, LLC

Our plan exemplifies the task force report’s spirit and long term.
1. Supports co-op, restaurants, shops. We’d survey the community on what they want to have.
2. B.Y. Morrison park should be developed for more community use [they’re not interested in providing public space for community use].
3. Pedestrian-oriented uses, goods and services within walking distance for community “slow down, park, relax, and shop”
4. 39 spaces, pedestrian-centric commercial use on ground floor., emphasize walk-ability of area
5. Addition of house on Columbia will make that section accessible. [Technically, yes that house would be accessible to pedestrians, but the lot above would not be – which is the point of that question].


1. Currently working with coop and Takoma Community School (TCS), in addition they are in discussions with existing city commercial tenant who wants 8000 square feet, a day care provider, two specialty grocers (in case the co-op bows out), two restauranteurs. Have local experience with Trohv, Takoma Hardware, Roda Movement.
2. Preserves single family lot for public use. Co-housing common room will be important community meeting place.
3. Work with MDOT to create pedestrian crossing, bump-outs, street furniture, tree boxes, plantings.
4. Increase parking spaces for residents and commercial.
5. Yes, will create pedestrian access from Columbia.

Neighborhood Development Company

1. short term shared parking for development and existing businesses, affordable retail space – incubator for new businesses, limited residential parking. Live/work units, retention, expansion of co-op, Freedom Farms partnership – aquaponic farming. Willing to limit types of tenants.
2. Expansion of community space; switchback trails to connect Columbia. Private institutions also serve the community: Coop, TCS, AP, Paint Branch Montessori School.
3. improved mobility and street-scape: Carroll Ave setback for bike-share station and bike racks, ease of pedestrian access, cafe seating. Continuous building edge along Car. Ave. 20 – 25 ft. wide retail bays is proven design tactic for quality street-scape. There will be street trees and landscaping between building and roadway.
4. Parking expansion: maintains parking supply, below grade parking for residents.
5. Pedestrian access from Columbia. Ave.: switchback trails, with seating areas.

2) To what extent can the project be scaled back in terms of building height, square footage or number of residential units and still be financially viable? Is the project feasible with the elimination of proposed development on the R-60 lot [the Columbia Avenue single-family home lot]? If the project were scaled back, how would this impact other elements of your proposal?

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Has been promoting modest 1-2 story tall from beginning. School and AP were not needed for financial viability. Have tailored plan to meet community concerns.

Community Three Development, LLC
Elimination of single family home would mean a “revisit” to financial proposal. Defends three stories as “comfortable relatable to the human scale,” but would work with city, residents and historic district requirements to refine design, reduce visual impact. BUT, it would mean further variance for setbacks under county zoning, maybe increasing second story floor area (over parking?). Eliminating third floor without increasing floor space elsewhere would mean revisit to financial proposal.

Can scale back to 25 units, they never intended to develop R-60 lot.

Neighborhood Development Company
Difficult to say how modifications would impact financial viability – for the better or worse. Not uncommon for us to work with development partners and community stakeholders to adapt financial plan for mutual objectives. Project is still feasible without R-60 house. Not part of pro forma financial model. If project is scaled back – need to find funding for underground parking – which we see as a public amenity, which should be funded by government entitlements.

3). What environmentally sustainable features have you incorporated in previous projects? What specific green features are proposed for this project?

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures (NREUV) has provided sustainable features in previous projects: low-flow fixtures, plantings, Energy Star appliances and lighting, green roof.
For this project: storm water management, low-flow fixtures, recycling construction waste, green materials.

Community Three Development, LLC
The Nine project is example. Erosion and sedimentation control for construction, access to public transit, green roofs, low flow fixtures, plantings, daylighting, etc. Green roof for this project is our fourth.

Green roof, solar hot water, maybe geothermal. Examples: Takoma Village, Metro Village, Eastern Village, Three Three Tree Flats.

Neighborhood Development Company
Examples: 32Thirty-two – 6 story 69 unilt buidling, GA Ave. NW. variety of sustainable features, Columbia Court, many more. Sorg Architects have proven track record : (long list)

This project will be energy efficient. Building systems and envelope, building orientation and solar design, use of natural light and ventilation. Regionally available materials. Green roof, stormwater.

4). Describe how your vision for the site encourages the use of alternative modes of transportation (i.e. biking, car share, live/work space, etc.).

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Co-op users will travel to site largely as they do now, only with more customers., Lodge students will mostly not drive, bus, walking are more likely

Community Three Development, LLC
Project will have walkable selection of shops, access to public transit, services. It provide services that people will want to walk to, but not those that people will want to drive to. Will engage residents in dialog to figure out what those are.

Multiple shopping destinations in one location reduces travel. Improving crossings and pathway to Columbia make pedestrian travel more compelling.
There will be car-share space, and live-work units.

Neighborhood Development Company
Mixed-use:, proximity to Metro,
building setbacks makes ped. Friendly.
Shared parking management, zip-car, etc,
uses/tenants dedicated to serving local populations.
TCS – parents within walking distance.

5). Explain how you will solicit public input and engage the community during the design process and finalization of your proposal. How have you managed this in other projects? Can the façade design be modified during the process?

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Facade design will be modified during charrette process which will involve coop, businesses, govt. officials, residents, activsts.

Community Three Development, LLC
Facilitated discussions while incorporating “new urbanism” design principles. Meet with stakeholders to map out process for engaging community workshop within the co-op to strategize for coop’s continuity. Town hall meeting/workshop with residents and stakeholders.

Many community meetings, MNPPC and Historic Preservation hearings, including neighbords, neighborhood groups, city, MNPPC, Historic

Neighborhood Development Company
• Timing: get community input before additional design work, community has opportunity to integrate their ideas not respond to updated design.
• Format: local, interactive and direct, community work sessions, direct dialog with stakeholders, phase one: sity analysis, programing sna d ocncept deisgn phase.
• Meet with Task Force members and others. In-depth listening sessions with coop.
• Has done this before on other projects.
• Facade: yes can be altered. We expect modifications.

6). What is your proposed tenant mix? Please describe the extent to which you have solidified agreements with any proposed tenants or adjacent property owners.

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Two users – coop and AP

Community Three Development, LLC
8,400 sf ground floor retail (incl. Coop)
12,600 sf mulitfamily residential (18 units max)
1,800 sf signle family residential (on R-60)
39 Parking spaces
Associated common and circulation spaces

Has no agreements with adjacent neighbors.

Commercial: 75% pre-leased, furthering discussion with coop and TCS. In discussion with Takoma Auto Clinic, believe we can purchase.

Neighborhood Development Company
Provides table. Recreational and educational: 34%: AP, TCS, Motessori school, shared space
Retail: 41% TPSS coop, The Shops and TJ
Residential: 24%
Approached adjacent property owners, but no deals.

7). What are the predicted peak times for traffic and parking given your anticipated tenant mix? How will you manage that?

The Ability Project – The Lodge
As they are today. The Co-op can answer this question best.

Community Three Development, LLC
Full traffic study needed, but we believe there will not be a marked effect on traffic. – 486 daily trips estimated by all, but use of public transportation would reduce by 50%. Last study shows 11,000 trips in TJ. 2013

Peak Out: 7–830am
Peak In: 5 –630pm

Peak In:7:30 –8:30am
Peak Out:3:00 –4:00pm

Coop\LocalGrocer: Throughout the day, generally peak times are early evening.

Neighborhood Development Company
Traffic study necessary
TCS and PBMonessori School peak needs mornings 7:30 – 9:30, eve: 4 – 6pm.
Coop – loading in mornings, low to mid lefel throgh morning, to mid afternooon, more in late afternoon and early eve.
AP – not much
residential: off work hoaurs – 6 – 8 pm

8). How much of the existing slope / wooded area would be required to accommodate your proposal? Provide a depiction of the project as viewed from Columbia and Sycamore Avenues.

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Preliminary plan is to extend the parking lot, requiring a retaining wall or supported deck “contiguous to the existing existing “at-grade parking.” This would not be apparent from Sycamore. on Columbia, the hill would probably be terraced because of the extreme slope. We’ll have a depiction later.

Community Three Development, LLC
Our plan retains the wooded slope, there will be no noticeable difference. No depiction included. [They do not include the single-family home on Columbia, because technically, it is not on the slope. However it is next to it and would impact on the view and reduce the green space.]

The lot will be preserved, there will be no development (single family house) on Columbia.

Neighborhood Development Company
We’d need 2,208 square feet of the slope. Depictions enclosed.

9). Describe what you have done to ensure business continuity, manage traffic flow, and address the parking needs of neighboring businesses impacted during the construction of other projects you have developed. Provide a specific example.

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Describes a plan (not yet in operation) to control traffic flow during construction at Beacon Center at 6100 Georgia Ave, Washington DC.

Community Three Development, LLC
Description of  standard practices their contractors must follow re: noise abatement, parking, staging materials, etc. Projects: Rockville Town Center (not underway yet), Bethune Cookman University – plan to redevelop with minimal impact on students, university, and community. 1011 M Street – plan for pedestrian and vehicle flow around project site.

There will be some disruption to businesses and traffic during construction. The lot will be closed to parking. Co-op and their parking lot will be able to remain open.

Neighborhood Development Company
List of measures taken on other projects, 32Thirty-two, The Residences at 4100, and CityVista, including, materials staging, utility work off-hours, facilitate pedestrian movement and safety, worker off-site parking, flag-men, etc.

10). Describe how conflicting traffic patterns and parking demands of your tenants in other developments were addressed once the project was completed? Provide a specific example.

The Ability Project – The Lodge
Describes two projects. The Nannie Helen, where there not enough parking spaces, They relocated a bus stop in front of the project to create parking, and used neighborhood parking.

The Beacon Center (mentioned in #9) plan has two parking levels and two entrances, one for residents, one for commercial tenants, an innovative separation of traffic that met DC DDOT visibility requirements.

Community Three Development, LLC
Reassuring but vague descriptions of: The Nice, 9th St, NW, Lumen, 14th and W, NW, The Swift and Safeway, Petworth, 360H with Giant on H Street, NW, Upstairs at Bethesda Row, The Social Safeway in Georgetown.

Traffic management plan at Metro Village in Takoma, DC will require: restricting loading/trash removal times, restricting truck sizes, supervising tenants moving in/out, transit subsidies, signage.

Neighborhood Development Company
32Thirty-two operation has “undedicated approach to parking allocation;” residents lease their spaces to commercial tenants. 32Thirty-two also has loading dock schedule to avoid conflicts. At the Residences at 4100 loading and unloading are separated from other traffic.

11). How would you accommodate the Co-op’s long term need for the delivery of goods?

The Ability Project – The Lodge
The plan assures continuous, uninterrupted operation of loading dock, parking, and operation.

Community Three Development, LLC
We assumed the Co-op would use their Sycamore side for a loading dock. We realize now, that’s not an option. We’ll meet with the Co-op, learn about their operation, and work with them to  make a plan. “We will make sure the Co-op remains the anchor . . . .”

Looking at several options including: restricting loading hours, restricting truck size, street-side loading zone

Neighborhood Development Company
Drawing included shows below-grade truck access and turn-around lane on Western side of the proposed building, next to Takoma Auto Clinic. Loading dock is at the rear, below grade.

•••• Questions for Specific Proposals

• to: Neighborhood Development Company: You have proposed the construction of a new facility for the Co-op. If the Co-op elected to stay in its existing building, would you be able to accommodate the expansion of their current building?

Neighborhood Development Company
We’ve discussed this alternative with the Co-op and can accommodate it.

• to: Keystar/Eco Housing: Describe the massing and height of your modified proposal, clarifying the impact of the new NR zoning restrictions on your original proposal.

Keystar/Eco Housing
The new NR zone  reduces total size of project to 34,000 square feet, and residential area from 37 to 25 units. Project is still feasible, and will reduce massing on Carroll Ave. side and need for parking.

• to: Ability Project: Describe how your decision to eliminate the residential component of your original proposal impacts the design and height of the proposed development. What impact would this have on your proposed tenant mix?

The Ability Project – The Lodge
It reduces the floor area. We may still have two levels, but the top level will be moved back from Carroll Ave. We never had a “tenant mix” – we just eliminated 2 of the original 4 uses. The Lodge and the Co-op are the remaining two.

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