ANC 6B Votes to Create Hill East Task Force

Last night, ANC 6B approved the creation of a Hill East Task Force by a vote of 6-4. Commissioners Francis Campbell (6B10), Dave Garrison (6B01), Norm Metzger (6B03) and Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04) voted against the task force.

The purpose of the new task force, which I jointly introduced with Commissioner Jared Critchfield (6B06), will 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 development issues are addressed;
  • Provide a way to engage more Hill East residents in ANC 6B to address their specific concerns;
  • Recommend ways ANC 6B can support development efforts in Hill East.

Commissioner Critchfield and I debated whether to propose the creation of a committee or task force. In the end, we decided to propose a task force for two reasons:

  1. By creating a task force, ANC 6B is not limited to selecting only one resident per single member district to serve on the task force. A committee would have been subject to the one resident per SMD limitation.
  2. Since a task force must expire after one year unless it is renewed, we thought a task force might be a compromise that could gain the support of our fellow Hill East colleague Commissioner Francis Campbell. The first year would be a trial period. Unfortunately, Commissioner Campbell still did not support the task force.

While I’m eager to start organizing the new task force, I am disappointed that Commissioner Campbell “vehemently opposed” its creation. His main objection is the inclusion of Reservation 13, which he views as an issue that primarily impacts his district. While Res. 13 is in Commissioner Campbell’s district, I strongly believe the impact of its eventual development (or lack thereof) will be felt across Capitol Hill, particularly in neighborhoods east of Lincoln Park. It is hard to imagine a Hill East Task Force that does not discuss arguably the biggest development issue facing Hill East. 

Additionally, all commissioners, including the four that opposed the Hill East Task Force, routinely weigh in on issues facing Eastern Market even though it is not located in their districts. Reservation 13 should be treated in the same way.  I do hope that Commissioner Campbell eventually agrees to play an active role on the task force.

I want to thank Commissioners Carol Green (6B07), Neil Glick (6B08), Ivan Frishberg (6B02) and Brian Pate (6B05) for supporting the task force. And a big thank you to my partner in this effort, Commissioner Critchfield, and to all of the Hill East residents who attended last night’s meeting and/or offered their support.

I’ll post my full recap of last night’s 3+ hour meeting in the next day or so. In the meantime, please post your comments and suggestions on the Hill East Task Force below.

8 Responses to ANC 6B Votes to Create Hill East Task Force

  1. darren says:

    Great news – but disappointed in the split vote. What reason did the other ANCs give for opposing this?

    What are the next steps towards organizing the task force? Is this something set out in the ANC regs or more of an ad-hoc process?

  2. bflahaven says:

    My sense is that Commissioner Campbell’s objections to the task force swayed the three other commissioners to oppose it, though you will have to ask them.

    I plan on working closely with my commission colleagues on next steps. There is no formal process set out in the ANC 6B bylaws.

  3. Frank Zampatori says:

    Thank you Brian and the other five Commissioners for your vote and support. Hopefully this will provide the spark the sleeping Hilleast community needs to get started in a positive direction especially as it relates to Reservation 13.

  4. Mark says:

    Bravo. Bravo! BRAVO! Thanks for getting this pushed forward. Hopefully, the other members of the ANC come around.

  5. Sean Robertson says:

    I am deeply disappointed that Commissioner Campbell was so vehemently opposed. I’m keenly aware that both you and I are relative newcomers to this neighborhood, and would hate to create any impression that newcomers with inflated expectations for the site are running roughshod over existing community networks of folks who have invested decades of blood, sweat and tears in this neighborhood. I approached Commissioner Campbell after the meeting to indicate my dismay at how divisive this vote was and to ask how he proposed that residents of neighboring SMDs could engage constructively and respectfully on Reservation 13 issues. He basically told me that since Reservation 13 isn’t in my SMD, it shouldn’t be any of my concern. I may not have given him an adequate opportunity to articulate his objections, as he was in a rush to get out of there. He offered to discuss it further later and I sent him a detailed follow-up email but have not yet heard back. I respect that people who live closer and have worked on this issue for nearly a decade, deserve a greater say than I do, but to say that a 67 acre redevelopment (or lack thereof) doesn’t affect somebody 3 blocks away is simply absurd—particularly after 3 hours of listening to commissioners from every corner of the ANC debate every building envelope, brick, setback, wheelchair ramp and window covering of various Barracks Row restaurants and the 3.5 acre Hine site. It’s clear to me there needs to be a better venue for Hill East issues, but it pains me that someone like Commissioner Campbell feels left out.

  6. Francis Campbell says:

    Mr. Robertson, I am sorry you feel I was dismissive of your concerns, it was not my intent. Feel free to contact me if you wish to dicuss this further.

  7. Sean Robertson says:

    I’m afraid my original email to Commissioner Campbell’s address didn’t go through, but I’m glad today’s posts on newhilleast helped to bring the differing viewpoints on this issue into the open. I’m sorry if I read too much into Commissioner Campbell’s attitude as he tried to get home after a very late meeting.

    Brian, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on why an ANC 6B task force is superior to one organized by Tommy Wells. It doesn’t seem like we need both, but the distinction between them seems rather silly–I think we’d be equally well served by either and given the overwhelming preoccupation of ANC 6B with Hine/Barracks Row issues, it’s clear some sort of Hill East task force is sorely needed to better harness the energies and legitimate interests of residents, both in Commissioner Campbell’s SMD and beyond. I haven’t seen much action on this front in the months since Tommy Wells’ meeting last November and I think Commissioners Flahaven and Critchfield deserve credit for taking the initiative on this. So whether it’s under the auspices of the ANC or something else. I hope we can move past perceived slights and rally around one venue for this important discussion.

    • bflahaven says:

      Thanks for the comment Sean. Councilmember Wells has talked about creating a task force with a sole focus on Reservation 13. In contrast, Commissioner Critchfield and I envisioned our committee/task force as a permanent part of ANC 6B focused on issues beyond Res. 13 – development around the Potomac Ave. Metro station, the future of the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club, etc. As I mentioned in my post above, we ended up proposing a task force to avoid the one resident per single member district requirment in the 6B bylaws and to give the body a one year trial period (a task force must sunset after one year).

      I don’t think one task force is superior to the other – I just want to do something! If a specific Res. 13 task force is created, I would recommend that ANC 6B’s Hill East Task Force focus on the many other issues facing our neighborhood.

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