HPRB Nominations Testimony

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  • 8/3/2019 HPRB Nominations Testimony

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    PR19-0475, the "Historic Preservation Review Board Nancy L. Pryor Metzger Conrmation Resolutionof 2011"

    Councilmember Tommy Wells, Chairperson, Committee on Libraries, Parks, Recreation and Planning,and committee members David Catania, Phil Mendelson, and Vincent Orange

    Wednesday, January 18,2012 at 10 a.m.

    Room 123, John A. Wilson Building

    1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

    Washington, DC 20004

    January 16, 2012

    Good morning Mr. Chairman, Committee members and staff. My name is Richard Busch, and Iam here on behalf of the Historic Districts Coalition to support the nomination of Nancy L. Pryor Metzgerto become a Citizen member of the DC Historic Preservation Review Board.

    The Historic Districts Coalition (HDC) is an informal organization made up of representatives ofneighborhood historic districts and individuals from neighborhoods considering whether to seek historicdistrict status. Formed in the late 1990s, HDC has worked to develop an independent voice on historicpreservation issues and concerns shared by the District of Columbia's neighborhood preservationcommunities, and to keep neighborhood organizations informed about preservation-related issuesthrough networking, quarterly meetings, and periodic newsletters. The Coalition has also been aneffective means of bringing its members' collective weight to bear on specic issues of concern. Early

    on, HDC played a signicant role in urging the District of Columbia Council to provide the city's HistoricPreservation Ofce (HPO) with resources to strengthen enforcement of DC Public Law 2-144, theHistoric Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978. Those resources ultimately provided twoPreservation Inspectors to help ensure that permitted work was carried out properly and that workundertaken without permits was brought into compliance. HDC thanks the DC Council for its pastsupport in this and other important areas mentioned below.

    Since 2004, Nancy L. Pryor Metzger has served as HDC Coordinator, an entirely volunteer role,working to ensure that DCs historic districts have been informed on a full range of issues. Herknowledge of the law and its accompanying regulations, as well as years of experience in observing howthey are administered, has made her an invaluable source for neighborhood organizations across the

    city. The newsletters that she has produced have been models of information sharing, not only aboutHDC concerns and activities, but also covering whaf s going on in historic neighborhoods citywide.

    As the HDC Coordinator, Ms. Metzger, along with HPO, other individuals, and citywideorganizations, worked to help create what has become the Historic Homeowners Grants program thatmakes funding available to specic historic districts where resources to protect historic fabric are sorelyneeded and will do real and visible good. More recently, Ms. Metzger helped to keep alive the notionthat a simple reminder in annual property tax bills for properties located in historic districts will helpalert owners to that fact and thus promote greater stewardship of these resources. With recent help

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    from the Citizens Association of Georgetown and Councilmember Jack Evans, this proposal will becomelaw in early February 2012.

    The Historic Homeowners Grants program and the reminder accompanying annual property taxbills are but two examples of Ms. Metzger's demonstrated ability to effectively inform and mobilize the

    Coalition's members. In her role as Coordinator, she has contributed to annual evaluation of the Ofceof Planning's Historic Preservation Ofce; sought and compiled member comments on HPO's annualwork plans; and arranged for ofcials from other DC government agencies to address HDC meetings,enabling the ofcials and HDC members to inform each other. Further, in March 2009 as Coordinator,she arranged a symposium on Compatible and Contemporary Architecture in historic districts attendedby more than 90 professionals in various preservation-related elds. She has also developed forumswhere candidates for public ofce have spoken on preservation issues, and she arranged for then-DCCouncil Chairman Vincent Gray to speak at an HDC quarterly meeting.

    The Historic Districts Coalition believes that all of these actions on Ms. Metzger's part make herwell-prepared to serve as a Citizen representative on the Historic Preservation Review Board. She has awealth of experience on which to draw for this new and challenging role, and we believe she will servethe city well in it. The following members endorse this statement.

    Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Elizabeth Pureed, President

    The Dupont Circle Conservancy, Rauzia Ally, AIA, President

    Logan Circle Community Association, Timothy Christensen, President

    The Foggy Bottom Historic District Conservancy, Thomas Bower, President

    Historic Mount Pleasant, Fay Armstrong, President

    Historic Takoma, Diana Kohn, President

    Takoma Theatre Conservancy, Loretta Neumann, President

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    Mr. Chairman and Staff,

    Nancy Metzger has been a significant help to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A (ANC)as it has considered both the residential and small commercial structures of the Hill and thelarge projects that require review by the Zoning Commission.

    As H Street, the core of our ANC, has changed, major new and redevelopment propertieshave opened or are being rebuilt along and near the corridor. 200 H, 645 H, the H StreetConnection, 1350 Maryland have all been improved by her counsel. She has found ways tomeet the needs of my ANC while cautioning against excessively expensive changes thatwould bring developer resistance. She has sought the middle ground, the happy medium thatpreserves the character of the community. The exterior designs of the half billion dollar HStreet Connection and Valors 1350 Maryland owe a great deal to her help.

    Shes helped us in other ways. The symposium she organized in 2009 on Compatible andContemporary Architecture in historic districts was open to and attended by ANCCommissioners. Our area has also been a beneficiary of the Historic Homeowners Grants, aproject into which she put so much work.

    Is she committed to the preservation of the distinguishing characteristics of the Capitol HillHistoric District (CHHD)? Absolutely, she is among other things the committee chairrepresentative of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the voice of preservation and renewalfor the Hill community. Shes fought hard to preserve CHHDs defining characteristics.

    Has she worked to assist developers, shop-owners as well as homeowners? Again, absolutely.She acts with clarity, congeniality, and respect. She has shown an ability to deal respectfullyand clearly with all sides and listen to all voices. Developers need have no anxiety over thischoice nor should the preservation community those who live in historic areas and wish tokeep intact what attracted us to our neighborhoods in the first place.

    ANC 6A spans from 24 nd Street near RFK Stadium to 7 th Street, NE. H Street north toFlorida Avenue, Lincoln Park, Rosedale are all represented on the Commission, and 6A votedunanimously (7-0-0) to endorse Nancy Metzger for the HPRB. (The vote took place at aregularly scheduled, publicly announced regular meeting with a quorum present). Of the eightCommissioners, only my Single Member District is almost entirely within the CHHD. It is atribute to the respect she has gained that all sides of our community, in and out of theHistoric District, support her.

    She will bring ready expertise about the proceedings of the HPRB. She is already familiarwith preservation law and regulation as well as with the interaction of zoning andtransportation with preservation. She is the best choice possible for a Citizen member of theHPRB.

    David Holmes, Chair, ANC 6A

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    PR19-0474, The "Historic Preservation Review Board Maria T. Casarella-CunninghamConrmation Resolution of 2011."

    PR19-0475, The "Historic Preservation Review Board Nancy L. Pryor MetzgerConrmation Resolution of 2011."

    David G. GarberANC Commissioner, 6D07; Vice Chair, ANC 6Ddggarber@gmail.com // 202-374-5340 // @GarberDC

    My name is David Garber, and I am the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for SingleMember District 6D07, which encompasses the historic Washington Navy Yard and the fast-developing neighborhood that surrounds it. I am also the Vice Chair of ANC 6D, which includesthe Southwest Waterfront, part of which is currently in application for designation as a historicmid-century modem neighborhood.

    I am testifying today in support of the nominations of Maria Casarella-Cunningham and Nancy

    Metzger to the Historic Preservation Review Board. I have known Ms. Metzger for ten yearssince volunteering to work on the Capitol Hill Restoration Society's call box revitalizationproject, and know her to be an important force for sensitive and creative restoration anddevelopment in historic neighborhoods east of the United States Capitol. Although I do not knowMs. Casarella-Cunningham personally, I have been impressed by the architectural designs putforth by her rm, which, at least when interfacing with old and historic buildings, consistentlystrike a sensitive balance between old and new.

    Historic preservation is a term and a movement that means many things to many people. Forsome, it's a way to freeze the past in place and create museums of architecture and history. Forothers, it's a way to keep things around that are appealing. For others still - seeing as study afterstudy points to preservation being, on the whole, more earth friend