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CONGRESS

EXTENSION OF KENYON STREET NW.

DECEMBER 14, 1906.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

1

Mr. BABCOCK, from the Committee on the District of Columbia, sub

mitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 10843.]

The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 10813) authorizing the extension of Kenyon street NW., report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass when amended as follows:

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu thereof the following:

That, under and in accordance with the provisions of sections, four hundred and ninety-one a to four hundred and ninety-one n, both inclusive, of subchapter one of chapter fifteen of the Code of Law for the District of Columbia, witbin thirty days after the passage of this act the Commissioners of the District of Columbia be, and they are hereby, authorized and directed to institute in the supreme court of the District of Columbia a proceeding in rem to condemn the land that may be necessary for the extension of Kenyon street from Seventeenth street to Mount Pleasant street, to include all of lot ninety of Denison & Leighton's subdivision, and so much of lot one, Ingleside, as lies south of the north line of lot ninety of Denison & Leighton's subdivision extended westward to Seventeenth street.

Sec. 2. That assessments shall be made by the jury as benefits as contemplated in section four hundred and ninety-one g of the subchapter of the Code hereinbefore referred to: Provided, That the total amount found to be due and awarded as damages, plus the cost and expenses of the proceedings, shall be assessed by the said jury as benefits.

SEC. 3. That the sum of three hundred dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, out of the revenues of the District of Columbia, to provide the necessary funds for the costs and expenses of the condemnation proceedings taken pursuant hereto, to be repaid to the District of Columbia from the assessment for benefits when the same are collected, and a sufficient sum to pay the amounts of all judgments and awards is hereby appropriated out of the revenues of the District of Columbia.

The amendment recommended by your committee in the nature of a substitute is for the purpose of bringing the proposed legislation in harmony with sections 491a to 491n of the Code of Laws for the District of Columbia, these sections regulating proceedings for the condemnation of lands for streets.

As the improvement is considered to be of advantage mainly to that immediate section of the city, provision has been made in section 2 of the substitute so that the property benefited will be assessed to cover the amount awarded as damages for land taken, as well as for the costs and expenses of the condemnation proceedings, which entire amount will be returned to the District revenues, as it will be assessed as benefits, and the District of Columbia will ultimately bear no portion of the expense for this improvement.

This measure has the approval of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, as will be seen by the following letter: OFFICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

Washington, January 22, 1906. DEAR SIR: The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have the bonor to submit the following on H. R. 10843, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session, "Authorizing the extension of Kenyon street northwest,” which you referred to them for examination and report.

A plat is inclosed showing in red the land proposed to be condemned. The extension runs from Seventeenth street to Mount Pleasant street, and the estimated cost of the land to be condemned is $18,500.

As will be seen, the extension is not parallel with the present lines of Kenyon street to the westward, but is deflected so as to follow the lot lines of lot No. 90 of Denison & Leighton's subdivision and a very small part of lot 1 of Ingleside subdivision. The width of the proposed extension is made but 80 feet, while the width of the street to the westward is 90 feet. The reason for reducing the width of the extension is that it will take but one lot; because a greater width is not believed to be necessary for such a short extension, and also for reasons of economy.

The Commissioners believe that the extension is a desirable local improvement, and this is recognized in the bill, which provides that the entire amount found as damages shall be assessed as benefits on adjacent property.

An amended bill is inclosed, the amendment being simply in matter of description of the land to be taken, and with this amendment the Commissioners recommend favorable action on the bill. Very respectfully,

HENRY B. F. MACFARLAND,
President of the Board of Commissioners

of the District of Columbia. Hon. J. W. BABCOCK, Chairman Committee on the District of Columbia,

House of Representatives.

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CONGRESS

No.

EXTENSION OF MONROE STREET NE.

DECEMBER 14, 1906.-Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be printed.

Mr. BABCOCK, from the Committee on the District of Columbia, sub

mitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 10703.]

The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 10703) authorizing the extension of Monroe street NE., report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass when amended as follows:

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in lieu thereof the following:

That, under and in accordance with the provisions of sections four hundred and ninety-one a to four hundred and ninety-one n, both inclusive, of subchapter one of chapter fifteen of the Code of Law for the District of Columbia, within sixty days after the passage of this act the Commissioners of the District of Columbia be, and they are hereby, authorized and directed to institute in the supreme court of the District of Columbia a proceeding in rem to condemn the land that may be necessary to extend, with a width of ninety feet, Monroe street northeast, from Seventh street northeast to Michigan avenue, formerly the Bunker Hill road.

SEC. 2. That assessments shall be made by the jury as benefits as contemplated in section four hundred and ninety-one g of the subchapter of the Code hereinbefore referred to: Provided, That the total amount found to be due and awarded as damages, plus the cost and expenses of the proceedings, shall be assessed by the said jury as benefits, and, as the condemnation of the said extension is for the purpose of eliminating grade crossings in this section upon a practicable grade, the jury is hereby directed to consider such plan in the assessment of benefits for this extension.

Sec. 3. That the sum of three hundred dollars, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, out of the revenues of the District of Columbia, to provide the necessary funds for the costs and expenses of the condemnation proceedings taken pursuant hereto, to be repaid to the District of Columbia from the assessment for benefits when the same are collected, and a sufficient sum to pay the amounts of all judgments and awards is hereby appropriated out of the revenues of the District of Columbia.

The amendment recommended by your committee in the nature of a substitute is for the purpose of bringing the proposed legislation in harmony with sections 491a to 491n of the Code of Law for the District of Columbia, these sections regulating proceedings for the condemnation of lands for streets.

As this improvement is considered to be of advantage mainly to that immediate section of the city, provision has been made in section 2 of the substitute so that the property benefited will be assessed to cover the amount awarded as damages for land taken, as well as for the costs and expenses of the condemnation proceedings—which entire amount will be returned to the District revenues, as it will be assessed as benefits--and the District of Columbia will ultimately bear no portion of the expense of this improvement.

This measure has the approval of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, as will be seen by the following letter: OFFICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

Washington, February 7, 1906. DEAR SIR: The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have the honor to submit the following on H. R. 10703, Fifty-ninth Congress, first session, authorizing the extension of Monroe street NE., which you referred to them for report touching the merits of the bill and the propriety of its passage.

A plat is inclosed showing in red the proposed extension, the estimated cost of which is $11,000.

The Commissioners, as well as the citizens of Brookland, have long desired the abolition of the grade crossing of the Metropolitan branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad at Michigan avenue (formerly Bunker Hill road). An item of $13,000 was contained in the appropriation act for the fiscal year 1900 for the purposes of lowering the grade of the road so as to pass beneath the tracks of the railroad company, and the same legislation also required the railroad company to build a bridge to carry its tracks over the road. The railroad company has declined to build this bridge on the ground that the legislation is not operative. It has been found, however, that this solution of the grade crossing is not the best because it is practically impossible for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company to change its level at this point, on account of the heavy grade and to carry the roadway of Michigan avenue either above or below the present railroad tracks would necessitate such heavy grades as would make it difficult for the street railroad and heavy wagons to use the road.

The better solution would be to extend Monroe street, as proposed in the bill. The topography of the ground at this point is such that a crossing of the railroad could be made on the line of Monroe street, changing but little the grade of the street, by a bridge over the Baltimore and Ohio tracks.

Another possible route would be to come down Michigan avenue to Seventh street east, down Seventh street, and thence turning into Monroe street. This route is longer, has two sharp turns, and would not be as advantageous as the extension of Monroe street. Michigan avenue has now a grade of 4 per cent, and to make a turn into Seventh street at this rate of grade would be somewhat dangerous. After a full consideration of the case the most practicable and permanent solution would appear decidedly to be the extension of Monroe street, as proposed in the bill. This will give a straight connection with Brookland, and especially for street railroad traffic this would be of great advantage. If this extension is made, it is proposed by the Commissioners to submit an estimate for the construction of the necessary bridge over the railroad tracks.

The bill proposes that the entire cost of the extension shall be assessed against the property benefited, and it is the belief of the Commissioners that the benefits should extend over the greater part of Brookland, as the doing away with the grade. crossing will inure to the benefit of practically the wliole of Brookland. For this reason the Commissioners suggest an amendment to the bill by inserting, after the word “aforesaid,” on page 2, line 11, the following: “and, as the condemnation of said extension is for the purpose of eliminating grade crossing in this section upon a practicable grade, the jury is hereby directed to consider such plan in the assessment of benefits for this extension."

The proposed extension goes through a tract of land which was purchased about three years ago by the Sulpician Fathers for the erection of buildings for educational purposes, and it is proper in connection with this report to state the circumstances under which the property was purchased.

At the time of the purchase the plan for the permanent system of highways in the District of Columbia provided for the extension of three streets through the property, running east and west. These streets were not open and were not public property, but under the highway-extension plan they were liable to be

condemned or dedicated at some future time for streets, and no subdivision other than with these streets would be accepted. Under an amendment to the highway act, approved June 28, 1898, the Commissioners are authorized to abandon or readjust streets or proposed streets in order to provide grounds for educational, religious, and similar institutions, with the approval of the highway commission, consisting of the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army. The Sulpician Fathers before purchasing the tract requested the Commissioners to change the system of streets laid down to be extended through the tract. This seemed to be in every way desirable, because this section of the District is largely built up with various educational and religious institutions affiliated with the Catholic University, and it was believed to be the desire of the residents of Brookland and to the best interests of its community that this class of improvements should be continued. Moreover, there did not seem to be any great necessity for these streets, except locally, and they would bring an increased cost to the District for their maintenance.

Even if the plan had not been changed it was within the rights of the Sulpician Fathers to construct their buildings in the line of the streets, as under the law this could not be prevented while the proposed streets remained private property. At the same time the Sulpician Fathers, in order to make it more certain that the streets would not go through their property, requested the Commissioners to modify the street-exension pian. A small portion of their property—about 9,000 feet-extended within the line of Seventh street NE., laid down on the street-extension plans, and the Fathers agreed to dedicate the land lying within the line of Seventh street if the Commissioners would consent to the change in the plan of running the short east and west streets through the tract. The change requested by the Fathers would in all probability have been made by the Commissioners, even if they had not possessed land in the line of Seventh street, and, moreover, the dedication of streets through unsubdivided tracts is customary. Had the street been condemned the cost of condemnation would also have been assessed in a large part, if not entirely, against the property of the Sulpician Fathers. The agreement, however, definitely states that if their holdings in Seventh street were dedicated by the Sulpician Fathers, the Commissioners would recommend to the highway commission the change in the highway plan desired.

Of course both the Commissioners and the Sulpician Fathers were bound to know that the right of eminent domain always rested in Congress, and it was within the power of Congress to open any street in the District of Columbia upon making provision for proper compensation to the owners of the land, and this right could not be affected in any way by the agreement of the Commissioners. At the time the Commissioners made the agreement it was thought that the natural crossing over the railroad tracks and the natural avenue of connection with Brookland would be Michigan avenue and other streets to the south of this tract of the Sulpician Fathers, and it was not thought that the interests of the residents of Brookland would be affected disadvantageously, while it would be much to their advantage to have other educational institutions located in the vicinity ; but since that time, as stated above, Michigan avenue has been found to be not as suitable for such railroad crossing as Monroe street.

The Sulpician Fathers were naturally very averse to giving up a part of their land for the proposed extension of Monroe street. On account of the desire of the residents of Brookland to obtain a better railroad crossing, however, the Fathers expressed themselves as willing to have the street go through their land, but considered that they should be paid a substantial price for the land and also that no benefit should be assessed against the remainder of their property. The bill provides that payment shall be made for the land taken, but leaves the question of benefits entirely to the jury. There appears little or no benefit to the land of the Sulpician Fathers by reason of this extension, especially as they propose to use their land for the purpose of constructing large buildings, and it is probable this fact would be taken into consideration by the jury when it assessed benefits. In order, however, to remove all doubt the Fathers desire to have a provision inserted in the bill directing the jury not to make any assessment for benefits against their land.

The Commissioners are averse, as a rule, to making such recommendation, preferring that the question of benefits should be left entirely to the jury. In this particular case, however, in view of all the circumstances recited, the Commissioners believe it would be but just to make this exception, especially as they are informed by the president of the Brookland Citizens' Association

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