On Tuesday evening, ANC 6B held its final full commission meeting of 2012. It was also the final meeting for Commissioners Jared Critchfield (6B06), Neil Glick (6B08), Carol Green (6B07) and Norman Metzger (6B03). At the end of the meeting, I introduced a resolution (pdf) on behalf of my colleagues thanking the four departing commissioners for their service on the commission and commitment to Capitol Hill. I will certainly miss serving with Jared, Neil, Carol and Norm and have enjoyed working with each of them.
Here is a recap of other major actions:
- After a lengthy discussion, the commission voted 8-1-1 to support a raze permit for the vacant commercial building at 401-403 15th Street SE. The developer plans to build a five-story residential building at the site and hope to begin construction in March/April of 2013. Unfortunately, the developer has abandoned plans to include first floor retail in the building. They also do not anticipate having to come back in front of the commission with variance or special exception requests.
- I voted to support the raze permit despite my disappointment that the developer has been unwilling to share construction plans with the community and surrounding neighbors. When I asked Sheldon Jones of Goodeon Kingston why he requested that the commission keep the plans confidential, he replied that the plans were in the concept stage, likely to change and expressed concern that competitors would be able to view the plans/design. In response, I said that developers share initial construction plans/concepts with surrounding neighbors all the time and specifically pointed to the commission’s experience with the old KFC site (Goodeon Kingston is actually using the same architect that designed the mixed-use retail/residential building that Douglas Development proposed and then withdrew for the old KFC site). Mr. Jones did commit to holding two public meetings with the community in January and said that the company would incorporate the comments/views of surrounding community in the plans. Given this commitment and the reality that the current vacant structure is not adding any value to the neighborhood, I warily voted to support the permit.
- Soumya Dey and James Cheeks from the District Department of Transportation discussed the agency’s rationale for installing a traffic signal at 10th and Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Apparently, a request made by a resident years ago triggered a DDOT signal warrant analysis for the intersection. The results of the analysis led DDOT to decide to install a signal at the intersection. The ANC and community first learned of the new signal when installation began earlier this year. According to Mr. Cheeks, DDOT has now added an ANC notification and community outreach component to the process and will ask for ANC input in the future. Commissioners expressed frustration at the lack of community outreach and noted DDOT’s lack of action on commission requests for signals at other intersections on Capitol Hill. The commission voted 9-1 to support a resolution (pdf) urging DDOT to seek the views of the commission and community before final design and funding decisions are made on future road/signal projects.
- Following two deadlocked 5-5 votes on competing motions, the commission ultimately voted 7-3 to take no position on a proposed rooftop addition to a rowhouse at 426 11th Street SE. After commissioners voiced concern about views of the addition from public space, the owner revised his plans and lowered the roof line. Despite these changes, a small portion of the roof can still be seen from public space. The commission will likely see this case again – both the Historic Preservation Office staff and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society are set to oppose the rooftop addition in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board.
- On an 8-1 vote, the commission approved a resolution (pdf) urging DDOT to replace the pedestrian activated signals with fixed-time signals at the intersections of 8th & E and 8th & G Streets SE on Barracks Row. If implemented, fixed-time signals would automatically display the walk signal at these busy pedestrian intersections.
- On an 9-0-1 vote, the commission voted to support a new liquor license application for Rose’s Luxury, a new restaurant coming to 717 8th Street SE on Barrack’s Row.
- I provided a brief report on the Hill East Task Force’s November 26 meeting on Reservation 13 development. Bidding development teams will likely present their development plans for parcels F1 & G1 to the commission in February 2013.
- The next ANC 6B meeting will be on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 7 pm at the Hill Center. This will be the first full commission meeting for four new commissioners – Chander Jayaraman (6B08), Sara Loveland (6B07), Nichole Opkins (6B06) and Phil Peisch (6B03).