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D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board Testimony

My name is Seth Grimes. Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the 218 Cedar St. NW. I am here today representing a neighbors’ group, Takoma for All.

I formerly served, from 2011 to 2015, as a Takoma Park Maryland City Council member. I represented the ward immediately adjacent to 218 Cedar St. NW location. The ward I represented, and where I reside, includes the majority of Takoma Park, Maryland’s historic district. My own home is a contributing resource.

I used to field constituent complaints when the 7-Eleven didn’t clear snow and ice from their sidewalk, and regarding litter and public-safety concerns. I would relay them to the former property owner, Valerie Tennant, and I also worked with the Metropolitan Police Department’s 4th District commander and staff, then-Councilmember Muriel Bowser’s staff, and the former ANC 4B commissioners.

I actually introduced Ms Tennant and Adrian Washington of Neighborhood Development Company although I have never had any financial interest in the outcome. I knew and know that so much more can be done with the site — creating much-needed housing and enlarging the commercial space while creating a pedestrian-friendly streetscape — in keeping with the site’s zoning and the neighborhood’s historic character.

I was part of discussions toward creation of Takoma Central, which, like the 218 Cedar St. NW building, was proposed within zoning limits, with facade, materials, setback, and other adjustments to meet neighborhood and historic district concerns. Those discussions reached a very satisfying conclusion.

Looking at the 218 Cedar St. NW concept design: The proposed use is appropriate for the site and the design is consistent with zoning and historic district requirements.

The staff report before you today notes, “the [218 Cedar St. NW] concept design has been revised as requested and its compatibility with the Takoma Park Historic District is improved.” Staff “recommends that the Review Board find the revised concept to be responsive to its recommendations and compatible with the character of the Takoma Park Historic District.” I concur. I ask the Board to approve the concept plan as recommended by staff.::

Again, my thanks for the opportunity to comment today.

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