by Marlene Berlin
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything new about plans for 3101 Albemarle, the former Polish ambassador’s residence and a site of Cold War intrigue.
Last fall and winter, there was a flurry of community input and debate over a Planned Unit Development for the property. ANC 3F collected feedback at its regular and special community meetings. Soapstone Valley Ventures, the owner of 3101, submitted its PUD application on November 20th, 2017. (SVV is proposing building two groups of townhomes and an additional single family home. That’s more than present zoning allows, thus the need for a PUD.)
The last action was on February 5th, when the ANC sent a formal letter to the Office of Planning with an overview of neighbors’ feedback about the project.
Forest Hills Connection asked Bobby Gottfried, the president of Soapstone Valley Ventures, where things stand. There are two options on the table right now, he said. One is to go forward with the Planned Unit Development or choose instead to develop 3101 by “matter of right.”
“At this time, the PUD (Planned Unit Development) is still active,” Gottfried said in an email. “We have not pulled the plug. However, we are exploring a by-right approach to the site and will certainly stay in touch as we move forward and figure out our next steps.”
In a presentation at the October 2017 ANC 3F meeting, Gottfried indicated that a “by-right approach” could mean subdividing the non-historically protected property into three lots and build three single family homes.
As for a timeline on making a decision, Gottfried said there is none.
Joel Lawson, associate director of Development Review with the Office of Planning, is waiting to hear from the applicant before moving forward on processing its PUD application. Development Review is responsible for crafting recommendations for the Zoning Commission about whether this project should proceed to a public hearing.
So, the project is in a holding pattern until Soapstone Ventures figures out what it wants to do.