Proposed Hill East Committee

I’ve often been frustrated that ANC 6B does not spend a lot of meeting time on issues affecting residents on the eastern side of Capitol Hill. While 6B agendas have been dominated by issues such as retail mix on Barracks Row and the redevelopment of Hine Jr. High School, the commission has been less active recently on the Hill East Waterfront Project (a.k.a. Reservation 13), the future of Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club and development near the Potomac Avenue metro station.

Next week, ANC 6B will consider a proposal that I’ve introduced jointly with Commissioner Jared Critchfield (6B06) to create a Hill East Committee for the commission. As proposed, the purpose of the committee would be to:

  • Demonstrate ANC 6B’s clear commitment to addressing development issues facing Hill East, including Reservation 13, Pennsylvania Avenue re-development, Anacostia Riverwalk Trail completion, social services clustering at DC General Hospital and Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club,
  • Partner with city and city agencies to ensure that Hill East issues are addressed,
  • Provide a way to engage more Hill East residents in ANC 6B to address their specific concerns. We envision the committee meeting quarterly at various locations in Hill East, and
  • Recommend ways ANC 6B can support development efforts in Hill East.

For purposes of the committee, “Hill East” is defined as the area bounded to the west by 13th St. SE, to the north by East Capitol St. SE, and to the south and east by the Anacostia River. Committee members would consist of 1) all ANC 6B commissioners, and 2) interested residents (limit of one per single member district per the ANC 6B bylaws).  I personally would like to see more Hill East residents as committee members, something that would be possible if the commission amends its bylaws or creates a Hill East Task Force instead of a committee.

An important note: This committee is not meant to duplicate the efforts of residents and community groups that have been active for years on Hill East issues. Instead, the committee will complement and assist these efforts by providing an additional platform for Hill East residents and community groups to weigh in with ANC 6B and city government. The committee will also help us make sure that both ANC 6B and city government are paying attention to the real needs and concerns of our neighborhood.

What do you think of this proposed committee? Feel free to post your comments and thoughts below and weigh in with your ANC 6B commissioner.

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14 Responses to Proposed Hill East Committee

  1. darren says:

    Great idea! Hill East is often overshadowed by the issues surrounding Eastern Market and areas further west.

    Also — what about redistricting the ANCs? It seems the eastern SMDs of ANC6B have more in common in terms of issues and priorities with the neighboring ANC6A SMDs than they do with the other half of ANC6B.

    • bflahaven says:

      Thanks for the comment. All of the ANC single member districts will be re-drawn this year. I doubt that there will be an effort to merge the eastern half of 6B with 6A…and I actually feel a little more connected to Barracks Row and southeast Capitol Hill than H Street. I do like the idea of the eastern half of 6B working with the eastern half of 6A on Hill East issues.

  2. John Cochran says:

    Great idea, Brian. And thanks for including Penn Ave redevelopment in that list of Hill East issues of concern.

    Let us know how we can support you on this.

    John C.
    700 block of 15th S.E.

    • bflahaven says:

      Thanks John. If you have a moment, send a quick e-mail to Bert Randolph (bert@anc6b.org) indicating your support for the Hill East Committee. Bert will distribute the comments to all ANC 6B commissioners.

  3. Frank Zampatori says:

    Excellent idea Brian. A good way to get new residents involved in Hilleast matters and bring forth new and diverse viewpoints.

  4. Evan McCarthy says:

    Great idea!

  5. Pat Taylor says:

    Very good idea, Brian.
    But it is definitely worth considering the membership of the committee/task force. It doesn’t make sense to me that all ANC 6B commissioners should be on the Committee. Your idea of creating a Task Force seems better, if its membership would include only or mostly ANC6B commissioners of Hill East single member districts. As to having its members also include interested residents, this has pluses and minuses. On the one hand,it seems good to involve some interested residents. On the other hand, this has the potential to result in a committee with definite biases, depending on how these “interested residents” are to be selected. Would their number be limited to one per single member district per the ANC 6B bylaws?

    • bflahaven says:

      Thanks for the comment, Pat. I agree with you that it would make sense to limit committee membership to ANC 6B commissioners representing Hill East and Hill East residents. Unfortunately, the ANC 6B bylaws state that all commissioners must be members of all committees and task forces and I know that there are a number of current commissioners who strongly support this notion.

      As for resident membership, if a Hill East Committee is approved on Tues. night, resident membership would be limited to one person per single member district (SMD) per the bylaws. If a Hill East Task Force is approved, we may have more flexibility. I don’t think the one resident per SMD requirement is that helpful, particularly if two committed residents with different viewpoints who would each add value to the committee/task force happen to live in the same SMD.

    • Sean Robertson says:

      Having membership open to all commissioners surprised me at first too, but I think the benefit is one of reciprocity. We wouldn’t want commissioners in the immediate vicinity of Barracks Row and Eastern Market to dominate decisions about the approval of bars and restaurants that folks from all around the Hill enjoy, would we? It seems only fair to give Western commissioners a say in the major projects on our end of the Hill, and considering their approach thus far has been one of benign neglect, I don’t see much harm to it. It would, however, be nice to give more residents a say. I’ll try to make it to tonight’s meeting.

  6. darren says:

    The limit of one resident per SMD is awfully restrictive. On that grounds alone it sounds like the Task Force approach is superior — but how do we get to that point? Is forming a Committee just the first step on the way to a Task Force?

    • bflahaven says:

      Forming a committee versus forming a task force is up to the commission. Each must be approved a resolution of the full commission. The bylaws are clear on the one resident per SMD rule re: committees…but silent on the one resident per SMD rule for a task force.

      The other big difference between a committee and task force is that a task force is temporary – it sunsets after one year.

  7. Sharon says:

    I am wondering why the western border is only to 13th Street SE.

    • bflahaven says:

      It is tough to define where Hill East begins and ends – it has never been officially defined. We thought that Lincoln Park, as the central point on Capitol Hill, made sense as a demarcation point. Everything east of Lincoln Park (13th St. SE) is considered Hill East for purposes of the committee.

  8. Patti says:

    Ill support this. Thank you, Brian.

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