ANC 6B April Meeting Recap

We had a packed agenda and a full house for most of ANC 6B’s 3+ hour April meeting on Tuesday night. Two major Hill East projects – a proposed residential building at 1550 Penn Ave SE and DDOT’s Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project – were on the agenda along with a long list of liquor license renewals. Here is a recap:

  • After hearing comments from the attendees and the developer, the commission voted 9-0 to support zoning relief for a proposed 81-unit apartment building at 1550 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, a site located in my Single Member District. NOVO Development is seeking a special exception related to the height of the building’s mechanical penthouse and variances related to the size of the loading dock and parking. The latter is the most controversial variance – NOVO plans to provide 30 of the 41 required parking spaces for the building.
  • Having worked with a number of nearby neighbors and the developer to negotiate an acceptable Memorandum of Understanding (pdf) between the parties, I voted to support the special exception and variance requests. With a signed MOU in place, which specifies the developer’s commitment to 1) develop a transportation demand management plan, 2) pursue car share and 3) urge DDOT to add on-street parking on the Penn Avenue side of the building, I felt any potential impact of the parking variance request would be minimized. Note that the developer is providing a significant number of the parking spaces required under zoning (30 of the 41 required for an 81-unit building, so the variance is for 11 spaces). The nearby neighbors deserve a lot of credit for negotiating the MOU and ensuring that negative impacts of the building beyond parking (loading, garage entrance, etc.) are addressed by NOVO Development.
  • It is important to remember the benefits this building will provide to the neighborhood. Most residents want more retail and restaurant options in Hill East. This building will help generate additional foot traffic on the 1400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, which will help existing businesses and new businesses open and thrive. And the new building will be the first thing drivers, bikers and pedestrians see as they approach Capitol Hill – an improvement over the existing used car lot.
  • The Board of Zoning Adjustment will hear the 1550 Penn Ave SE case on Tuesday, April 30, 9:30 am at 441 4th Street NW, Room 220 South.
  • The commission voted 8-0 to send a letter (pdf) to the District Department of Transportation outlining issues and concerns related to the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project. Among a long list of issues, the commission 1) raises concerns about a proposed bus depot under the proposed Southeast Boulevard, 2) asks DDOT to include the 700 & 800 blocks of Kentucky Ave SE, the 700 block of 16th Street SE, Freedom Way SE and the stretch of 17th Street SE between Potomac Ave and Barney Circle in the scope of the project, and 3) requests that DDOT consider the project’s potential impact on Historic Congressional Cemetery.
  • The commission also voted 8-0 to send the Barney Circle project letter to Councilmember Vincent Orange (D-At-Large) with a special cover letter (pdf) referencing the Councilmember’s Feb. 23, 2013 press release “expressing joy” at DDOT’s consideration the area under the proposed Southeast Boulevard for a bus depot.
  • A good portion of the meeting was spent considering liquor license renewal requests for restaurants in the commission area. In general, the commission supported an establishment’s renewal request if they agreed to sign a settlement agreement (SA) with the commission. SA’s generally cover hours of operation and include provisions on noise and trash. The commission did vote to protest liquor license renewals for restaurants that did not sign a SA, though the commission anticipates being able to come an agreement with most of these establishments.
  • Commissioners announced a number of upcoming meetings, including:
    • April 24 DMPED meeting on Reservation 13, 6 pm – 8 pm, Dept. of Corrections Training Academy at DC General
    • Mayor Gray’s April 25 Ward 6 FY14 Budget Town Hall, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Capitol Hill Montessori, 215 G Street NE
    • May 16 DDOT meeting on the Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenue Pedestrian Safety Study Project, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Payne Elementary School
  • Doug Klein, the First District Prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia gave a brief presentation on the office’s activities. Klein agreed to attend a future ANC 6B Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force meeting to answer additional commission and community questions.
  • During community speakout, Commissioner Ron Swanda of the DC Commission on Aging announced the creation of the Ward 6 Senior Network. Commissioner Swanda is looking for representatives to serve on the network, which plans a variety of activities to ensure that seniors in the ward have access to information and the services they need. Residents interested in participating in the network can contact Commissioner Swanda at or 202-340-7708. If you would like to represent ANC 6B09 on the network, please let me know.
  • ANC 6B’s May meeting will be on Tuesday, May 14, 7 pm at the Hill Center.

One Response to ANC 6B April Meeting Recap

  1. Sharon Bernier says:

    Hi Brian, Thank you for being such a conscientious representative.

    I have two issues that you may already know the answers to. 1. I was told that the city will supply a resident with a rain barrel. If that is true, who would I contact? 2. Is there any way to get the driveways into the alley between 15th and 16streets SE repaved/rebricked or something to make it a smooth ride? Thanks, Sharon Bernier 333 16th street SE.

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