Show simple item record

dc.creatoren
dc.date.accessioned2015-10-15T14:58:38Zen
dc.date.available2015-10-15T14:58:38Zen
dc.date.created1977en
dc.date.issueden
dc.identifier.urien
dc.description[MD] The District of Columbia Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act ("the Act") {1} acknowledges the limited need for new construction in historic areas and allows for the demolition and alteration of landmarked or contributing buildings to historic districts in very narrow circumstances. Specifically, the Mayor’s Agent may permit such demolition or alteration when it is "necessary in the public interest" such as when "necessary to allow the construction of a project of special merit." {2} Such "special merit" projects must provide "significant benefits to the District of Columbia or to the community by virtue of exemplary architecture, specific features of land planning, or social or other benefits having a high priority for community services." {3} A special merit determination includes three steps. The Mayor’s Agent first must decide whether the proposed project meets one the three criteria of special merit established in the Act: (i) exemplary architecture, (ii) specific features of land planning, or (iii) social or other benefits having a high priority for community services. {4} If the project satisfies one of these three per se criteria, then the Mayor’s Agent next determines if the special merit project outweighs the “historical value of the particular landmark” or contributing building. {5} If this balancing test suggests to the Mayor’s Agent that the project’s benefits exceed the historic value of the property, then the Mayor’s Agent must also find that the work is “necessary” to allow the special merit project.{6} Previous Mayor’s Agent decisions highlight the type of projects that offer “social or other benefits having a high priority for community services.” For instance, while an affordable housing project or Class A retail cannot be considered a project of special merit per se, a well -designed and financed project on publicly-owned land that “creatively meets pressing community needs for affordable housing and retail” presumptively creates “benefits having a high priority for community services.” {7} The Mayor’s Agent in the Big K case, HPA Nos. 14-221 and 14-222, reasoned that the creation of 114 units of affordable housing is anything but a common occurrence. Moreover, that project would serve to “galvanize” and have a “catalytic” effect on other affordable housing and provide the only Class A office space in Anacostia. {8} Similarly, the Mayor’s Agent found that the McMillan redevelopment project, which combined affordable housing in excess of required minimums, public park open space, a walking museum, an outdoor amphitheater, and needed retail on the McMillan Slow Sand Filtration Site, provided “high priority community benefits.” {9} In contrast, benefits common to many developments cannot be considered special within the meaning of the Act, either because they benefit higher income residents and do not meet a community-wide need for affordable housing or because they are generally met by the market on their own.{10} Similarly, projects that expand and improve inadequate public educational, cultural, or athletic facilities often are found to be projects of special merit. In Duke Ellington School for the Arts, HPA. No. 14-322, the Mayor’s Agent found that replacing the school’s inadequate theater and performance facilities with modern, high quality venues was an important community educational and cultural need. {11} In the case of Rose L. Hardy Middle School, HPA No. 02-608, the Mayor’s Agent found that demolition of the old gymnasium and construction of a replacement was a project of special merit having significant educational benefits to the District of Columbia and having a high priority for community services. {12} The new building would render the facility more user-friendly, would create new spaces consistent with floor size regulations for competitive sports, and make the structure compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.{13} See the subject matter summaries for “Special Merit-Exceptional Architecture” and “Special Merit-Comprehensive Plan” for additional context. ----- {1} D.C. CODE § 6-1102 (2014) {2} D.C. CODE § 6-1102(10) (2014) {3} D.C. CODE § 6-1102(11) (2014) {4} Application of Vision McMillan Partners LLC, HPA No. 14-393 (April 13, 2015) at 5. _See also In re_ Application of 2228 MLK LLC and District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development, HPA Nos. 14-221 and 14-222 (October 28, 2014) (the “Big K”) at 3; _In re_ QC 369 LLC, HPA Nos. 14-460 and 14-461 (January 27, 2015) at 3. {5} _In re_ Application of 2228 MLK LLC and District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development, HPA Nos. 14-221 and 14-222 (October 28, 2014) (the “Big K”) at 3. (quoting Citizens Comm. to Save Historic Rhodes Tavern v. D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, 432 A.2d 710, 715-16 (D.C. 1981)). _See also_ Committee of 100 on the Federal City v. D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 571 A.2d 195, 203 (D.C. 1990) (“the balancing of the historic value of the Woodward Building against the special merits of the project could not proceed until the Mayor’s Agent found that the amenities proposed by S.J.G. were sufficient to constitute a project of special merit,” which they were not). {6} Application of Vision McMillan Partners LLC, HPA No. 14-393 (April 13, 2015) at 5. {7} _In re_ Application of 2228 MLK LLC and District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development, HPA Nos. 14-221 and 14-222 (October 28, 2014) (the “Big K”) at 4-5. {8} _Id_. at 5-6. {9} Application of Vision McMillan Partners, LLC, HPA No. 14-393 (April 13, 2015) at 5. {10} _In re_ Application of 2228 MLK LLC and District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development, HPA Nos. 14-221 and 14-222 (October 28, 2014) (the “Big K”) at 6. {11} _In re_ Duke Ellington School for the Arts, HPA No. 14-322 (August 18, 2004) at 2. {12} Rose L. Hardy Middle School, HPA No. 02-608 (February 3, 2003) at 5. {13} Id. at 4. -----en
dc.subjectSpecial Merit - Community Servicesen
dc.titleA Subject Matter Summary for "Special Merit - Community Services"en
dc.typeArticleen


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record