Amidon-Bowen PTA Votes Overwhelmingly to Oppose Rezoning of Parcel at 501 I St., SW

On March 5, the Amidon-Bowen Elementary School PTA formally voted to oppose the rezoning of the parcel at 501 I St., SW, where Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) and Erkiletian Development Group have proposed to build a 50+ foot mixed-use development, featuring offices, condos, a rehearsal space and a penthouse. The Motion to Oppose the rezoning effort passed on a vote of 29-1.

The parcel sits directly adjacent to Amidon-Bowen, with the property line abutting the playgrounds and soccer field. Erkiletian and STC are seeking to have the parcel rezoned to MU-4, and to develop up to the point of the property line. According to the DC Office of Zoning, this designation is meant to “permit moderate-density mixed-use development; provide facilities for shopping and business needs, housing, and mixed uses for large segments of the District of Columbia outside of the central core…” The site is currently zoned for R-3, which allows for low-density residential homes, such as townhomes.

According to Rose Shelton, Co-President of the Amidon-Bowen PTA, “Amidon-Bowen parents are overwhelmingly worried about putting a towering building directly adjacent to the school. The major increase in traffic, right next door to the school, creates safety concerns for our children as they walk to and from school. We are also worried about a lengthy construction process just feet from where the children play. I have heard from dozens of Southwest parents who are not happy with the idea of a massive mixed-use building, that includes no family-sized units and lacks overall affordability for units that are available for purchase, going right next to both of our playgrounds.”

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) is set to vote on whether to recommend the proposed zoning change, or oppose the zoning change, on Monday, March 11 at 7 p.m. at Capper Community Center, 1000 5th St., SE. The ANC’s recommendation will then be submitted to the Zoning Commission, slated to meet on March 28 to consider the proposal.

ANC Commissioner Anthony Dale has been engaged with the community on the issue, and recently pledged to oppose the effort to rezone the parcel. “I will be voting no on the zoning change. We must begin to take the safety and affordability of our neighborhood seriously. Our community desires more than the one-bedroom high-rises that don’t allow families to grow. We must retain this last oasis of R3 zoning to ensure the future growth and vibrancy of SW,” said Commissioner Dale.

Representatives of Erkiletian Development Group did not respond to a request for comment.

For additional information about the upcoming ANC meeting, see www.anc6d.org.

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