Liquor license renewals, a contentious zoning case and the public space case for the Hine redevelopment project were the main items on ANC 6B’s May 14 agenda. Here is a recap of meeting highlights:
- After a lengthy debate, the commission voted 4-2-3 to take no position on variance requests related to a rear porch addition at 1375 Massachusetts Avenue. The porch is actually already built, and the applicant is attempting to get retroactive approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment for the variances he should have requested prior to construction. Though the applicant made a pretty good case for why the variances should be granted, I could not support what was essentially a retroactive request given the precedent it would set. Thus, I voted with the majority to take no position.
- The commission approved of 26 of 27 liquor license renewal requests by restaurants. The only exception was Matchbox. Unfortunately, Matchbox refused to bring their late night sidewalk cafe hours in line with the rest of the establishments on Barrack’s Row. The commission has worked over the past few years to achieve uniform sidewalk cafe hours for all establishments on Barracks Row – 12 am on weekdays and 1 am on weekends. Even though they currently close earlier, Matchbox is insisting on keeping outside hours of 2 am on weekdays and 3 am on weekends in case there are special events like the World Series or major concerts at Nats Park. The commission offered to include language in an agreement with Matchbox that would allow for periodic late night hours during special events. Unfortunately, Matchbox was unwilling to compromise. As a result, the commission voted 8-0-2 to protest the license. This was a tough vote for me because I really like Matchbox, a restaurant that has certainly added value to Barracks Row. But I also think it is important that all establishments be good neighbors, particularly when it comes to outside hours.
- The commission approved two letters related to the Hine redevelopment project. The first letter expressed the commission’s support for the development’s public space plan. The second letter stated the commission’s strong support for Hine construction entrance and exit locations that minimize truck traffic on residential streets.
- The commission voted unanimously in favor of sending comments (pdf) to the Historic Preservation Office on its 2016 Draft Preservation Plan. I was pleased that the comments included language urging the HPO to examine the viability of “conservation” or “preservation” districts.
- The commission voted unanimously to send DDOT a letter (pdf) requesting additional information on the agency’s citywide signal timing study, particularly as it relates to pedestrian crossings on Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Currently, the pedestrian crossing times do not allow pedestrians to cross PA Ave without stopping in the median.
- I announced that ANC 6B’s Hill East Task Force will be holding a May 22 meeting to discuss development plans for Reservation 13, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE). Commissioner Nichole Opkins (6B06) reminded the audience about DDOT’s May 16 Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenue Intersection Pedestrian Safety Study meeting, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at Payne Elementary School (1445 C Street SE).
- ANC 6B’s June meeting will be on Tues., June 11, 7 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave SE).