Issues with the proposed development


The proposal to provide moderate income housing in Takoma Park DC is laudable and is something that the Community welcomes, however, there are several issues that the community seriously wants addressed prior to the proposal moving forward. 


First, the developer should make more effort in properly communicating and explaining the proposal to the community.  Although some efforts have been made, it is clear that the impact of this project is not fully vested with the neighborhood that would be most affected, and particularly along Chestnut Street.


The development will have an impact on the quality of life for those residents who live adjacent to it as well as the surrounding neighborhood.  Therefore, community consensus should be achieved prior to the proposal going before the DC State Historic Preservation Review Board.


It is recommended that the proposal not be presented to the Preservation Review Board until it’s November 2011 meeting so as to afford additional time for the developer to further meet with the community.


Second, the issue of the bulk and massing of the proposed market-rate units that would be next to the existing detached, single-family homes located along Chestnut Street.  These houses reflect the strong Victorian architectural style that typifies the housing in Takoma.  The developer has plans that appear to adequately provide buffering between the rear yards of those houses on Chestnut Street and the proposed market-rate multifamily housing units that will abut those rear yards.  However, from the existing plans it is not clear as to how effective the developer’s proposed screening will be.


The impact of the height of the proposed development should be further studied by providing a balloon mock-up of proposed heights so that the community and adjacent homeowners get a better sense of the visual impact.


There are several large existing trees on the developer’s site and those trees should be retained and incorporated into the proposed development. They would help to better screen the development from the rear yards of single-family houses along Chestnut St.


The third major issue is related to the architectural style that is more reinforcing of the identifying style of Takoma. The views from the intersection of Chestnut and Spring Streets, towards the proposed development, are critical in that the viewer can get a broad view of the two different architectural styles.  The main style should be that which typifies the dominant architectural style of multi-family housing in Takoma (brick).  Several recent multi-family housing developments within the immediate vicinity of the proposal have used a variety of materials that were predominately either all brick or a combination of brick and flat panels of another material. The more visually successful of those projects were those done in primarily a red or reddish brown brick (see the Watkins and Gables projects).


There should be more brick or brick-colored materials for the proposed development, similar to the Watkins and Gables developments.  The non-brick flat panel areas of the proposed buildings should be eliminated or minimized even more than what is currently proposed.


Finally, there has been no transportation assessment by DDOT.  The proposal would have a major impact on vehicle traffic movements along Chestnut and Spring Streets as well as Blair Road. With the recent additions of multifamily housing developments, as well as other multifamily housing developments under construction, Blair road appears to be at capacity, particularly during peak hours.  To move forward with the current proposal would be ill-advised.




David L. Hamilton

415 Aspen Street N.W.

Washington D.C. 20012

(202) 723 – 0731 - Home

(202) 714 – 2552 – Cellular




Howard University, Bachelor of Architecture (Urban Design)

Cornell University – Master of City and Regional Planning


National Capital Planning Commission


David Hamilton has over 25 years as a project manager with the National Capital Planning Commission, the federal planning agency for the Nation’s Capital.  During his tenure, he specialized in urban design, monuments, and memorial project management.  A selected list of monuments and memorials that Mr. Hamilton served as project manager include:



In addition to monuments, memorials, and museums, Mr. Hamilton served as project manager for major Master Plan development and large scale urban design projects that include, but not limited to:



Mr. Hamilton was also responsible for managing chancery development at the International Center in Washington DC.  Chanceries included:


Metropolitan Washington Planning and Housing Association


As Director of Housing Development and Research, Mr. Hamilton directed the agency’s efforts in advocating for equitable affordable housing distribution and sound planning practices.  Incubated and maintained citizen input to the planning process; wrote and presented testimony before local and federal agencies in Washington DC; and ensured that all citizens of the District of Columbia were considered and represented when new housing was developed.


Rural Housing Alliance


As an Architect and Field Representative, Mr. Hamilton provided direct technical assistance to local non-profit organizations, state housing finance agencies and other organizations interested in sponsoring farm labor housing developments.  Provided assistance to grant recipients in the States of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Tennessee.


University of the District of Columbia


Served as an Adjunct Professor in the graduate school of Community and Urban Planning.  Averaged two courses per semester for approximately 13 years.


Cornell University


Participating alumni lecturer for the graduate school of City and Regional Planning.  Primary lectures are focused on monument and memorial development in Washington D.C.  Also provides National Mall tours for classes visiting Washington.


Juries / Seminars


Mr. Hamilton regularly serves on juries and provides lectures/seminars for universities and colleges that have included Cornell University, University of the District of Columbia, Howard University, University of Notre Dame, Catholic University, Florida A&M University and the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.




Mr. Hamilton is a professional freelance photographer (Professional Photographers of America, ID # 211858).  He maintains several continuing clients that include the Turner Construction Company, Washington Architectural Foundation, and the National Center For Children and Families.  He has also participated in exhibits in the Washington D.C area, Historic Annapolis, Sao Paulo Brazil, and Havana Cuba.


Consultant Services


Mr. Hamilton also provides urban design consultations on the development of museums, memorials and art related projects.  Some of his recent and current involvements include:


·         Freedmens Memorial Cemetery Development (Old Town Alexandria Virginia).


·         Charles Houston Memorial Public Art Project (Old Town Alexandria Virginia).


·         National Association of Realtors on the development of the Ukranian Famine Memorial (Washington D.C.).


·         Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center Development (Washington D.C.)


·         Design Selection Committee for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (Washington D.C.).


·         Selection Panel for Takoma Metro Station Mural Art Project


·         Consultant with TRG International Consultants.  Currently undertaking urban design analysis of military cemeteries world wide.