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Crestwood Citizens Association Neighborhood Plan, May 2007

Educating the community for the benefit of all residents

Preservation of the Neighborhood's Low Density Housing
Public Health and Saftey
Quality of Life
Protection of Due Process


Crestwood General Policies

The following general policies, priorities and action should guide growth or neighborhood conservation and design in Crestwood, and in adjacent neighborhoods. These policies and actions should be considered in tandem with those in the city's Comprehensive Plan. This plan may be useful to any incoming Council Member.

Policy 1 – Neighborhood Conservation

Retain and reinforce the historic family-friendly, welcoming character of Crestwood, particularly its current zoning designation as a neighborhood of Residential (R1) single family detached homes. We recognize certain exceptions like the Crestwood Apartments and the existing churches. Keep Crestwood's current green space requirements (that include the set back and building/land use restrictions, and height and light requirements). The area’s rich architectural heritage and relationship and proximity to Rock Creek Park, which is a national park, should be protected and enhanced.

Policy 2 – Directing New Growth

To the extent that there is a demonstrated need for new development in Crestwood, retain the current alignment of any new development along the transit-oriented corridor - adjacent to 16th Street. Allow 17th Street to continue to serve as the buffer, as presently zoned. Consider the possibility of adding appropriate opportunities for neighborhood retail, but only as may be requested by the neighborhood. In addition, consider the addition of a senior serving health care facility or the addition of a new elementary school by the year 2025.

Policy 3 – Rehabilitate Existing Housing

Encourage the reuse of any vacant embassies, chanceries or vacant housing for rehabilitation for the benefit of the residents of Crestwood including the “Carter Barron/Crestwood North” neighborhoods as referenced in the city plan. Encourage the city (DC) to retain any properties captured via tax sales or abandonment. In other words, keep surplus properties for use as affordable housing for service providers, emergency service personnel, teachers, medical staff and others who work for DC residents. This will allow DC to have the benefit of having the people who work in DC actually live in DC – rather than living elsewhere and DC loses the income tax (because DC cannot tax those who live outside of DC).

Policy 4 – Keep Low Density Residential Character

Preserve the current number of housing units authorized for Crestwood, which encompasses the same area as Advisory Neighborhood Commission single member district 4A08. Maintain the current density (the number of housing units). The only exception would be for owner occupied, legally compliant accessory apartments (English basements) and those built by November, 2006. Keep the number of no more than 6 unrelated individuals per household for the designation of a “family”, as is the current law.

Provide for the stability and maintenance of residential neighborhoods. The city's comprehensive plan also requires the city to protect and enhance existing residential neighborhoods.

Policy 5 – Keep diversity by assisting current homeowners to be able to afford to stay

Encourage and reward owner-occupied housing with tax incentives, school credits and access to low interest rehabilitation loans. Help current residents afford to stay by providing tax credits, deferments and school credits and legal accessory apartments. Assist elders who are struggling to keep their houses or who are caring for grandchildren through credits, assistance and support.

Policy 6 - Continue to serve as stewards and work in partnership with Rock Creek Park

Encourage cooperation between residents and the National Park Service, Fine Arts Commission and Rock Creek Park specifically. Improve safety and Crestwood’s access from the neighborhoods to historic zone 10, Rock Creek Park. Work with the National Park Service to improve pedestrian and stroller access to the National Park along Blagden Avenue and via safe walking trails to get access to the Red Line Metro (Van Ness and Cleveland Park). Raise awareness about the Park’s historic significance.

Policy 7 – Neighborhood Greening

Undertake neighborhood greening and planting projects in Crestwood, particularly along the Point and along the major cross streets in NW DC in Crestwood like Shepherd Street, Argyle Terrace, Upshur Street and Blagden Avenue. Support efforts of the Crestwood Citizens Association to raise awareness about native plants and to eradicate or reduce invasive plants.

Policy 8 - Conservation District

Consider design standards and review procedures that are less stringent than the Historic District but which strive for compatibility with the existing architectural scale and design already “on the ground” New housing starts would conform the building scale, mass, and height conditions. Avoid new housing units being added. Instead, have unit by unit replacement. In other words, two houses cannot be demolished and replaced with 5 replacement units. An exception could be made for owner occupied additions, if necessary (in-law suites). Raise awareness of the laws governing long-term rentals in R-1 sones.

Policy 9 - Libraries

Upgrade and maintain our neighborhood -serving libraries at Mount Pleasant, Petworth and at Cleveland Park.

Policy 10 – Support the neighborhood serving public schools

Encourage the city to take the steps needed to foster a quality education that prepares DC’s youths for the jobs in the city. We note that Crestwood does not have any public school within its physical boundaries – meaning there is no public school in Crestwood. However, Crestwood’s designated public elementary school is Powell Elementary, which is located two communities over at 14th and Upshur Streets, N.W. The assigned middle school is Deal and the assigned high school is Wilson High School. Allow school choice for Eaton, Hearst or Lafayette or other charter school. Encourage tax credits for those who are homeowners, but pay for the quality eduction of their children within DC. and Irving and encourage tax credits for those who are homeowners but pay for the education of their children within DC.

Policy 11 – Maintain the inventory of public streets and provide an efficient transportation network that serves all of us.

Keep the dedicated roads (public rights of way) open to public vehicular use (dedicated public use). Require any proposed changes to the public use to continue to go through the city’s DC Code Street and Alley closing provisions. Provide for adequate resident and municipal parking and effectively address trafffic gridlock.

Policy 12 - Correct the cluster designation for Crestwood.

Work to unite the neighborhoods and single member districs under one ANC (Done!) Restore Crestwood and “Crestwood North (Carter Barron)” alignment with the neighborhoods west of 16th Street. Crestwood was aligned with Colonial Village and North Portal Estates. Unite the Park Side Corridor. These communities are predominantly low density, residential areas and need to be clustered together for planning purposes.

Just as “Mid-City” recognizes the benefits of developing and retaining the existing neighborhood’s distinct identities for segments along Georgia Avenue (Park View, Park Morton, Howard U. and Uptown), the same should apply for the neighborhoods along 16th Street. Continue to recognize that the neighborhood of Crestwood is not “Crestwood North” or Carter Barron East. Crestwood should continue to be clustered with Colonial Village. Recognize that Crestwood and Carter Barron, North Portal and Colonial Village are distinct neighborhoods that lie on the west side of 16th Street and east Rock Creek Park and should once again be clustered together for planning purposes.

Policy 13 – Foster Crestwood Design Improvements

Upgrade the visual quality of the neighborhood through urban design and public space enhancements, including tree planting, removal of non-native invasive plants and trees, upgrading of existing public green space, addition of a Kiosk and appropriate signage to establish a stronger identity and cohesiveness in the neighborhood of Crestwood. Consider the addition of a playground (tot lot) for the growing number of families with small children.

Policy 14 – Protect and preserve existing neighborhoods and Neighborhood Anchors

Crestwood is between two historic districts: Rock Creek Park (Historic District Number 10)and 16th Street, which is also historic.

Recognize the historic churches along 16th Street (like Grace Lutheran Church, 19th Street Baptist, Zion Baptist and the Russian Orthodox Church at 17th and Shepherd). Grace Church has received historic designation.

Highlight Historic 16th Street as an Historic Boulevard and add historic markers along it.

Conduct an historical survey to identify potential historic buildings in Crestwood, and adjacent neighborhoods and along 16th from Columbia Road to Missouri Avenue. Recognize the historical significance of Carter Barron in Rock Creek Park and Crestwood's proximity to it.

Continue the Crestwood History Project, led by David Swerdloff, which has received city funding.

Policy 15 – Streamline DC Permit Process

Provide residents with a pocket guide of all of the DC laws, regulations that address the permit process and what is required to be in compliance with the laws and municipal and park regulations, including the Fine Arts Commission requirements.

Policy 16 – Minimize Sewer Overflows and Improve Water Quality

Minimize overflows of untreated sewage and other contaminants from the combined sewer and storm drain systems. Implement and maintain the necessary fixes to have an effective, reliable means to control storm drain run-offs and remove solid waste and dispose of sludge. Raise awareness of the public health impact of this issue.

Policy 17 – Address Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

Fix them. Within ½ mile of Crestwood and Mount Pleasant are more than 40 leaking underground storage tanks.

Policy 18 – Have an effective Emergency Preparedness Plan

The city needs a plan to vacuate the city and to address its environmental hazards. Urban crime and flooding were both listed on hazards impacting Crestwood and adjacent neighborhoods. Develop a community plan and have a buddy system for neighbors via a network of block contacts. Designate shelter-in-place possibilities. Participate in the East of Rock Creek/Glover Park Aging-in-Place initiatives.

Policy 19 – Enforce Traffic Laws and Code Regulations

Stop cut-through traffic that endangers children and pedestrians. Enforce parking restrictions and make it easier for owner-occupied residents to obtain sufficient free parking licenses for their household needs.

Policy 20 – Require accountability for the closing or blockage of public roads.<

Keep Beach Drive open. Fix Broad Branch. Restore Klingle Road

Expected Outcomes

  1. Preservation of existing housing zoning (R1), along with official count of housing units authorized - and residents aware of the density, height and green space requirements that apply.
  2. LULUS (Locally undesirable land use sites) minimized including unauthorized rentals.
  3. Reduction in crime, including traffic and speeding violations.
  4. Improved access to quality education and assistance to designated public school, with elementary and charter access.
  5. Tax relief for homeowners and families.
  6. Emergency Preparedness plan in place, along with buddy system for elders.
  7. Native Plant Demonstration project underway dn Beautification.
  8. Partnership with Rock Creek Park that results in greater awareness of the history of the park, less dumping of litter, less crime and greater enjoyment of the park by Crestwood residents.
  9. Historic anchors identified, preserved and supported.
  10. Infrastruction: water quality improved; combined storm sewer project completed; roads repaired and inventory of existing roads preserved; better electric service reliability.
  11. Explore fund-raising and network building opportunities
  12. Have an effect, dedicated group of residents to revitalize our efforts and recognition of all that that has been done so far:
    • Teams
    • Directory
    • Website
    • Four yearly meeting to raise awareness of issues and laws
    • Uniting neighborhood under a single ANC district
    • Fourth of July Kids Parade
    • Tree plantings
    • Sunday after Labor Day picnic
    • Neighborhood plan and advocacy re zoning matters.

This website and the Crestwood Citizens Association is supported by the dues of CCA members. Membership has its benefits including access to members-only resources and the knowledge that you are supporting a great neighborhood!

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