April 4, 2018

Meeting Recap Alert: Alexandria Planning Commission Meeting April 3, 2018

Recap of Planning Commission Meeting

held April 3, 2018

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Last night, the Planning Commission held their regular monthly meeting, where they discussed Special Use Permits (SUP) for new restaurants Dunkin’ Donuts and Misha’s Coffee House, new offices in Carlyle for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and a Development SUP for the redevelopment of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Old Town North.

Related to the last item, the Commission also reviewed the text amendment that will create the Old Town North Arts and Cultural District.

Details on all five items can be found online and below.

Item: Dunkin’ Donuts SUP at 2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Action: By unanimous consent, recommend approval of the SUP to City Council
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, April 14, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal to add morning hours, beginning at 5:00 AM, for a new restaurant in the first floor of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) office building at 2415 Eisenhower Avenue.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– In 2013, a Development SUP for the NSF-anchored office building allowed for ground floor restaurants, but with operating hours of 7 AM – 11 PM

– In order to open before 7 AM, Dunkin’ Donuts is pursing a full SUP

– 8 indoor seats, counter and carry-out service

– No speakers

Item: Misha’s Coffee House SUP at 6 Prince Street
Action: By unanimous consent, recommend approval of the SUP to City Council
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, April 14, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal to operate a coffee shop/restaurant in the Waterfront area, at 6 Prince Street, previously home to Old Town Gemstones.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Popular Old Town coffee shop Misha’s will open a new restaurant, selling coffee, beverages and baked goods; no coffee roasting or baking on site

– 28 indoor seats

– Hours of operation- 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Sun – Thurs) and 6 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Fri – Sat)

– Applicant plans to request outdoor seating and related encroachment at a later date

– No speakers

Item: Ground Floor Office Use SUP at 333 John Carlyle Street
Action: By unanimous consent, recommend approval of the SUP to City Council
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, April 14, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal to permit a lobby/reception area as a ground-floor use, as accessory to upper-floor office space at 333 John Carlyle Street for a new tenant- the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Details & Issues of Interest:

– This building is part of an SUP for the Carlyle area- 76 acres- and retail use is designated for ground floor spaces in the building

– The SUP will allow for the NCMEC to build out approximately 1,600 feet to use as a dedicated lobby and reception area, connecting to their larger office facilities on the 2nd and 3rd floor of the building

– No speakers

Item: Text Amendment- Old Town North Arts and Cultural District
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the text amendment to City Council, as amended, after voting to initiate the text amendment
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, April 14, 2018 public hearing
Description: The recently adopted Old Town North Small Area Plan recommends regulatory incentives to retain and attract Arts and Cultural uses in Old Town North, and this text amendment (with changes) provides a definition for Ground Floor Arts and Cultural Tenant and Arts and Cultural Anchor.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Planning Commission asked a number of questions about how arts density bonus requests would be evaluated and measured by staff, based on criteria and descriptions included in the text amendment

– Planning Commission made two major changes to the text amendment, that now moves forward to City Council:

Increased the total floor area for Arts and Cultural Anchor space utilizing the Arts and Cultural Anchor incentive from 50,000 sf to 100,000 sf

Clarifies the rationale behind approving a density bonus: the public benefit of the additional density is embodied in the ability of the proposed arts and cultural anchor to further the goals of the arts and cultural district

– Overall, these approvals will establish two incentive categories for the creation of Arts and Cultural spaces in Old Town North:

Ground Floor Arts and Cultural Tenant: floor area may be excluded if that space is leased to a small scale or individual stand-alone uses which include art galleries, artist studios, graphic art design, and crafts such as the production or creation of individual handmade objects. Additional uses that contribute to the creative economy may be permitted if they are deemed to be consistent with the intent. Uses require an SUP.

Arts and Cultural Anchor: floor area ratio and an associated amount of density may be increased by a maximum of 30% above the maximum Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for a building or project that includes an Arts and/or Cultural Anchor- defined as a destination or venue where visual or performing arts and cultural works are taught, created, and made available to the public by various means including presenting live performances of theater, dance, music, or other imaginative work and/or producing or exhibiting physical works created by or under the direction of one or more artists, which are intended for unique production or limited reproduction. Museums where art and/or historic artifacts are displayed and/or created, and art schools, including but not limited to culinary art schools, instructional art, music, or drama academy may also qualify as an Arts and/or Cultural anchor. Uses require an SUP.

– Applies to a limited number of parcels within the Old Town Small Area Plan that have frontage on N. Washington Street, N. Saint Asaph Street, Montgomery Street, N. Fairfax Street, Canal Center Plaza, and Third Street

– Speakers included a property owner who participated on the Old Town North Advisory Group, a land use attorney representing various properties in the area and the chair of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts

 

Item: Crowne Plaza Redevelopment Development Approvals- 901 and 901A North Fairfax Street 
Action: Unanimous vote to recommend approval of the DSUP and related approvals to City Council with amended conditions
Next Steps: City Council will hold a public hearing and vote at their Saturday, April 14, 2018 public hearing
Description: Proposal to convert an existing hotel into multifamily dwellings and a theater, and construct 41 townhouse-style multifamily units by The Carr Companies.
Details & Issues of Interest:

– Conversion of a 13-story hotel to a multifamily tower- total of 97 condos or 153 rental apartments

– Construction of 41 new townhome condominium dwellings

– Retains existing one level below-grade parking- 171 spaces

– Grants a 30% density bonus for the inclusion of 127-seat theater, approximately 7,300 sf with a stage and seating located below grade at the front of the property along N. Fairfax Street- likely to be operated by MetroStage

– Speakers included representatives of the applicant and of MetroStage

 

 

Weigh in on these issues!

Contact the Planning Commission – PlanComm@alexandriava.gov
Contact the City Council – Call.Click.Connect.