Letter to the Editor: Sunrise, church project offers many benefits

(rendering courtesy of Sunrise Senior Living)

The Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church and Sunrise Senior Living project on Tenley Circle will be a meaningful new addition to the community. This new building will fulfill two important missions — to provide for the ongoing religious and spiritual needs of the growing church and to serve as a place that local seniors in need of high-quality care can call home — all while offering additional programming and services to the greater neighborhood.

We invite you to visit the project website, SunriseTenleytownDevelopment.com, which provides responses to questions that we have heard from neighbors, many of whom have expressed support as they learned more. We would also like to clarify a few specific points below that were inaccurate or misleading in the Nov. 22 letter to The Current.

Building height and scale: Sunrise is not requesting a variance for additional height. The scale of this proposed building is consistent with other properties at the edge of residential and commercial uses along Wisconsin Avenue and within many Northwest neighborhoods.

Trucks and parking garage: Trucks are allowed to deliver on residential streets, and Sunrise team members will be allowed to park in this building. A fence will be installed on top of the retaining wall along the ramp down into the parking garage so that people, including children, are protected from any vehicular traffic to and from the site.

Sunrise Senior Living, community involvement, taxable status and the park: Sunrise is a for-profit company that for more than 35 years has proudly provided high-quality, personalized senior care, including important memory care support for many families in need. Being for-profit does not take away from our mission to serve the community; being not-for-profit does not mean an organization that provides a similar service is low-cost. Integrating into the neighborhood is always important to us. Our hope is to utilize the National Park Service land to create a beautifully landscaped park on Tenley Circle that the entire community may enjoy.

Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church must find a partner to redevelop its property. The current R-1-B zoning allows a religious institution to build a bigger building than the proposed project, without the need for advisory neighborhood commission input or D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment approval. We believe that the Sunrise/church project will benefit the neighborhood and its residents, and we are committed to being a good neighbor.

Again, we invite you to visit SunriseTenleytownDevelopment.com for facts and details. Please consider thoughtful review of our proposed plan and community benefits, and we ask for your support of this meaningful project. To support, please reach out to your representative on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E.

Philip Kroskin, Senior Vice President of Real Estate, Sunrise Senior Living