We had a good turnout (15-20 residents) for Wednesday’s inaugural ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting at St. Coletta School. Commissioners Francis Campbell (6B10), Jared Critchfield (6B06), Carol Green (6B07) and I were in attendance. Here are the highlights:
- Paul Millstein of Douglas Development shared his company’s latest plans for 1442 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (pdf), the site of the old KFC. Douglas wants to build a 21 residential unit mixed-use development with retail on the first floor. Since the building would only provide 7 spaces (11 are required), Douglas is going before ANC 6B and the Board of Zoning Adjustment in September to ask for a parking variance (they are also asking for another minor variance related to roof access).
- Millstein said that Douglas was willing to include language in the rental agreement with tenants that would require tenants to waive their right to a Residential Parking Permit (RPP). This would help address concerns that the development would exacerbate the parking situation around the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Ave. SE and the 700 block of 15th Street SE. However, Millstein is unsure if the city can enforce blocking RPPs for a particular address.
- Damon Harvey of the District Department of Transportation said that the city can block residents from obtaining RPPs on blocks that are not zoned RPP. He mentioned a number of blocks down by Nationals Park that do not allow RPPs to residents. However, once a block is zoned for RPPs, the city can not legally deny a resident from obtaining a permit. Both the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE and the 700 block of 15th Street SE are zoned for RPPs.
- There was some question as to whether the DC Council could change current law so that residents living at a particular address on an RPP block could be denied permits. Would doing so violate equal protection? Or would the fact that a renter voluntarily chose to live in an apartment that did not allow RPPs negate this legal issue? Harvey did say that an ANC can request that a block be removed from th.e RPP database, though it is unclear if just one side of the block could be removed.
- Millstein said that Douglas is working with Councilmember Mary Cheh’s office on a similar development in Ward 3. Commissioner Critchfield and I said that we would work with Councilmember Wells’ office and DDOT to explore potential solutions to the parking issue. Residents also expressed interest in having DDOT do a parking study of the area from 13th Street SE to the Sousa Bridge.
- In the community speakout portion of the agenda, residents expressed concern about ANC redistricting and a plan proposed by ANC 6A Commissioner Drew Ronneberg that would create an all Hill East ANC, dividing Hill East from Barracks Row, Eastern Market and the rest of Capitol Hill. I encouraged residents to post comments on the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force blog and to attend the Monday, Aug. 1 Redistricting Task Force Listening Session, 6:30 pm at St. Coletta School (1901 Independence Ave. SE). There was a general view that separating Hill East from the rest of Capitol Hill would disadvantage the neighborhood.
- Residents also encouraged the task force to consider other issues at future meetings, including:
- Reservation 13 and its future development. This will likely be the subject of a Hill East Task Force meeting in the fall
- Development along the eastern end of Pennsylvania Avenue SE and around the Potomac Avenue Metro
- Is there anything ANC 6B can do to help Crepes on the Corner (15th Street SE and C Street SE) open sooner? The restaurant’s opening has been delayed due to permit issues with the city,
- The deterioration of Anne Archbold Hall, a designated landmark at Reservation 13. Should ANC 6B send a letter asking the city to maintain the building or at least produce an analysis of what it would cost to maintain the building?
- The future of the Eastern Branch Boys & Girls Club building (261 17th Street SE).
- The task force will likely hold two meetings in the fall. Residents interested in serving on the task force should contact both their ANC commissioner and me (email@example.com or 202-658-9447).