HPA No. 2001-100 (In re. Capitol Hill Supermarket)
- HPA Number: 2001-100
- Building Name: Capitol Hill Supermarket
- Address(es): 241 Massachusetts Ave. NE
- Date of Order: 14-Dec-01
Applicant, owner of a supermarket in the Capitol Hill Historic District, sought a permit for a curb cut to access a parking pad illegally paved by a former owner of the property. The Mayor's Agent denied the permit, finding curb cuts inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan and the Capitol Hill Historic District. The Mayor's Agent also rejected Applicant's arguments of economic hardship and special merit, and held that the existence of other curb cuts in the historic district could not be used as precedent to justify Applicant's request.
The Mayor's Agent denied Applicant's request for a curb cut, which Applicant had sought in order to access approximately five parking spaces on a parking pad next to his store. The Mayor's Agent based his decision on the following factors: section 807(16)(f) of the Comprehensive Plan (1985), which stresses the importance of maintaining historic green areas and preventing the loss of on-street parking; and the fact that allowing the curb cut could set negative precedents (i.e. "grandfathering" illegal spaces and facilitating future curb cut requests from other historic district residents). The Mayor's Agent also concluded that curb cuts already constructed in a historic district cannot be used as precedent to evaluate an applicant's request.
The Mayor's Agent did not agree that Applicant would suffer unreasonable economic hardship as a result of the refusal to allow a curb cut to access an illegally installed parking pad next to his supermarket in the Capitol Hill Historic District. Applicant had failed to file any documentation to support his claim. Moreover, the Mayor's Agent stated that an effective claim of unreasonable economic hardship would demonstrate that the Applicant had been deprived of all viable economic uses of the property by showing that there were no reasonable alternative economic uses for the property after the imposition of the restriction. See 900 G Street Associates v. Department of Housing and Community Development , 430 A2d. 1387 (D.C. Ct. App. 1981). Furthermore, the Mayor's Agent, in response to Applicant's economic hardship claim, found that Applicant's store received 300-500 customers per day and was Metro accessible.
Special Merit - General
Applicant failed to meet the burden of proof of establishing that his proposed curb cut to access five parking spaces next to his store constituted a project of special merit, as defined by the Act. The Mayor's Agent held that "a parking lot in no way is a project of special merit in that it does not have significant benefits to the District or the community because of any exemplary architecture, features of land planning or bestowing of benefits to the community" ( See In The Matter Of: 214 - 7th Street, N.E. HPA No. 1995-78.)
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