By Asha Taylor
Howard University News Service
The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1E recently voted 6-0 in favor of Howard University’s request for a zoning adjustment to add a laboratory to a proposed mixed-use development project on Eighth Street Northwest.
“Howard University is seeking a zoning adjustment for an experimental research and testing laboratory in a new, detached, six-story with below-grade parking and penthouse office building in the MU-10 zone,” ANC Commissioner Bradley Gallagher said during ANC 1E’s monthly meeting on Feb. 22.
The vote allows Howard and its Lot 3 Labs LLC team to redesign the building on Eighth Street, between V Street and Barry Place.
Gallagher, who heads the Zoning and Economic Development Committee, informed those at the meeting that Howard said the Biosafety Level 2 lab “likely would have no adverse effect on the safety of nearby residents and would be prepared with emergency equipment and protocols.”
The ANC supported the project, because of the potential economic benefits and increase in jobs.
However, Brian Footer, the ANC chair, expressed a concern that materials and waste from the Biosafety Level 2 lab be transported on Georgia Avenue instead of Eighth, a residential street.
Many controversies have arisen over the years regarding Howard’s allocation of funds and resources such as properties that are unused or are being sold to private companies. Students have questioned the university’s decisions, seeking more resources and housing, as seen with the Blackburn Takeover Protest last fall.
However, one student supports the new lab. “I actually respect Howard’s decision,” said Emeka Okoye, a first-year student majoring in health sciences. “Howard is built on being the nation’s leader in sending the most Black students into the medical field.”
“For them to want to actually change up the building and make it useful, especially towards the medical field, I really appreciate that.”
Asha Taylor covers Ward 1 for HUNewsService.com.