ANC 6B June Meeting Recap

July 7, 2015

Apologies for the delay in posting this recap of a very brief June ANC 6B meeting. Here are the highlights:

  • The commission unanimously passed a resolution honoring the life of Charnice Milton, a local reporter with Capital Community News and the Hill Rag who was tragically gunned down on her way home from the May Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meeting. A tremendous loss for the community.
  • ANC 6B unanimously approved sending a letter (pdf) to the District Department of Transportation sharing concerns about media comments made by a DDOT representative on the purpose of the Southeast Boulevard project. In the letter, the commission also reiterates ANC 6B’s expectation that DDOT remains committed to seeing the full vision of the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard project come to fruition.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send a letter to Events DC outlining concerns about the transportation plan and parking enforcement related to the July 4 Foo Fighters concert at RFK Stadium. These questions were addressed during a June 15 Events DC community outreach meeting.
  • The commission heard a presentation from Chris Geldart, interim director of the DC Office of Unified Communications on 911 call center operations. Geldart talked about how the call center works and addressed concerns raised by commissioners and residents regarding specific incidents in the neighborhood. Geldart noted that residents should stay on the line if they are put on hold when calling 911 and that callers are put on hold only if the center notes that their call is coming from an area with high call volume (likely due to the same incident). Hold times are very short.
  • The commission also received an update on the progress of the Hine School redevelopment project across from Eastern Market.
  • ANC 6B’s July meeting will be on Tues., July 14, 7 pm at the Hill Center.

ANC 6B April Meeting Recap

April 30, 2015

Due to DCPS spring break, ANC 6B moved our monthly meeting from April 14 to April 20. Here are highlights from the meeting:

  • The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson with comments on Mayor Bowser’s FY16 budget plan. While supportive of the Mayor’s proposed funding to replace and close DC General and for Reservation 13/Hill East infrastructure, ANC 6B noted its opposition to continued delays for modernization funding at Ward 6 schools, including funding for Eliot-Hine and Jefferson Academy Middle Schools.
  • ANC 6B voted 10-0 to send a letter (pdf) to the DC Homeland Security Emergency Management Agency expressing the commission’s disappointment with the lack of agency coordination evident during the 2015 Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon event. Absent proactive measures by the event sponsor and city to address major shortfalls, the commission will not support this event in 2016.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send the District Department of Transportation a letter (pdf) urging the department to restore funding for  projects awarded under its 2014 Performance Parking Zone Community Benefits Program.
  • The commission considered and voted on a number of historic preservation and Board of Zoning Adjustment cases related to specific properties. Information on these cases are included in the commission’s April meeting packet (pdf) and final votes and letters are posted on the commission’s website.
  • I was elected by my colleagues to serve as chair of the ANC 6B Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force. The task force works to strengthen the commission’s communication strategies and tackles issues not in the purview of other ANC 6B committees and task forces. A big thanks to my commission colleagues for their support.
  • Representatives from the District Department of the Environment provided an update on their Anacostia River Clean Up Project. DDOE is currently testing sediment in the river to determine the level and source of contaminants. Once testing is complete, DDOE will identify potential remedial actions and work to fund clean up efforts. The DDOE website includes more information about the project.
  • ANC 6B’s May meeting will be on Tuesday, May 12, 7 pm at the Hill Center.

ANC 6B March Meeting Recap

March 16, 2015

Here is a recap of major actions from ANC 6B’s March 10 meeting:

  • The commission voted unanimously to urge the Department of General Services to re-issue its Request for Proposals for the Eastern Branch Building. In a letter (pdf) to DGS, the commission urges notes that both responses to the initial RFP were flawed and asks the agency to extend the allowable lease terms. The letter also includes specific comments on both the Century Associates and Dantes Partners/Menkiti Group proposals. It is unclear whether DGS will agree to re-issue the RFP or proceed with one of the proposals.
  • I was really pleased that the commission voted 10-0 to send a letter to Mayor Bowser urging her to support and fund the Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park proposal. The proposal would convert a portion of the wasteful north parking lots at RFK Stadium into athletic fields and outdoor recreation space serving city residents.  The CRYSP proposal exemplifies the kind of creative thinking the city needs when considering the future of the RFK Stadium site.
  • The commission voted 6-1-3 to withdraw its protest of the Ugly Mug Dining Saloon’s request for a substantial change to allow expansion of its second floor capacity. ANC 6B and the applicant agreed on a settlement agreement that limits the hours that a new retractable roof can be open and prohibits the roof from being opened during live entertainment events. A big thanks to Commissioner Jim Loots (6B03), the nearby neighbors and the applicant for all the time and effort they put into reaching this agreement.
  • Brynn Barnett, a 6B10 resident, was unanimously elected chair of the ANC 6B Hill East Task Force. The vote marked the first time that ANC 6B has elected a non-commissioner to chair one of its task forces. A big thanks to Brynn for volunteering to serve in this important role.
  • The commission also approved resident members for both the Hill East and Outreach & Constituent Service Task Forces. I particularly want to thank Julianne Bythrow, Katie Donahue, Nike Opadiran, Ross Parman and Pat Taylor for agreeing to represent 6B09 on the Hill East Task Force.
  • On a 9-0-1 vote, the commission authorized testimony (pdf) at the March 11 WMATA performance oversight hearing. The testimony was delivered by Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) in front of the Committee on Finance and Revenue.
  • Commissioners and attendees heard a presentation from Rashee Kumar with the Neighborhood and Victim Services unit of the DC Office of the Attorney General about how the office can help with vacant and nuisance properties.
  • Note that ANC 6B’s April meeting, originally scheduled for April 14, has been moved to Monday, April 20 due to DCPS spring break. As always, the meeting will take place at 7 pm at the Hill Center.

ANC 6B December Meeting Recap

December 20, 2014

My battle with the sick bug these past two weeks delayed my recap of the final meeting of the commission term. Here it is:

  • The commission voted unanimously to support the Hill East Redevelopment – Phase I: Parcels F-1 and G-1 Disposition Approval Resolution of 2014 (PR20-1153and retroactively approved my Dec. 9 testimony (pdf) in support of the resolution in front of the DC Council Committees on Economic Development and Government Operations. The commission had previously voted to support the surplus declaration (PR20-1152). On Dec. 17, the DC Council voted unanimously to support both resolutions, which means that Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Development can move forward on their plans for two mixed-use buildings on the parcels. I’m really pleased that this project is finally moving forward and optimistic that it will help push the city to develop the remaining parcels at Reservation 13.
  • After a significant amount of discussion, the commission voted on the Office of Planning’s proposed text amendments (pdf) to definitions, maximum height and minimum lot dimension requirements in residence zones. On the proposal that has received the most attention, the commission voted 6-3 to support OP’s proposal to limit the maximum height in the R-4 rowhouse zone to 35 feet (from 40 feet now) and to allow homeowners to apply for a special exception to build up to 40 feet subject to certain criteria. The commission did voice concern that some of the special exception criteria veered into the area of historic preservation. I voted with the majority. While it does subject “pop-ups” to additional ANC and Board of Zoning Adjustment Review, the OP proposal does not prohibit third story additions outright.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send letters to the District Department of Transportation on adding pedestrian crossings in the area of 11th, K and L Streets SE (near the freeway entrance ramps) and on converting the current one-way streets just south of Barracks Row from one-way to two-way streets.
  • The commission voted unanimously to reiterate our support for the 1333 M Street SE First-stage Planned Unit Development request.
  • The commission voted unanimously to urge the DC Department of General Services to initiate an environmental assessment of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza redesign plan. Commissioner Brian Pate (6B05) gave the commission and audience a brief presentation on the redesign plan.
  • After some debate, the commission voted 6-0-3 on to send a resolution (pdf) to the DC Council and the Public Service Commission voicing our concerns about the proposed Exelon-Pepco merger. I’m skeptical of Exelon’s record on sustainable energy and that the merger will be the best interests of DC residents.
  • The commission voted unanimously in favor of a resolution (pdf) thanking departing commissioners for their service. A big thanks to Commissioners Francis Campbell (6B10), Ivan Frishberg (6B02), Dave Garrison (6B01), Sara Loveland (6B07), Nichole Opkins (6B06), Brian Pate (6B05) and Phil Peisch (6B03) for their great service to their constituents, ANC 6B and the city. They all will be missed!
  • Commissioner Campbell, completing 12 years of service, adjourned the final full commission meeting of his tenure. The next commission meeting will be on Tues., Jan. 13 at the Hill Center.

Past Time for Details from Washington 2024

November 25, 2014

Two recent editorials – one from Washington Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Douglas Fruehling and the other from ANC 6B10 Commissioner-Elect Denise Krepp on The Hill is Home – call on Washington 2024 to start sharing the details of their bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. I agree with both Fruehling and Krepp that the decision to bid on an Olympics is a huge decision – one that should not be made behind closed doors. And given that RFK Stadium and Reservation 13 have been identified as potential sites for a new Olympic stadium and Olympic village respectively, Hill East residents deserve to know how an Olympic bid would affect the future of the neighborhood and waterfront.

Estimates put the potential cost of hosting an Olympic Games at $15-20 billion. DC residents deserve to know how Washington 2024 and the city plan to finance such a large investment, particularly when the city is already bumping up against its debt cap. Mayor Vince Gray has proposed using a land swap instead of borrowing to fund a new DC United Stadium. If the Mayor and Council are concerned about exceeding the debt cap on a roughly $150 million dollar investment, how are they going to find funding for a $15 billion dollar Olympics? Yet Mayor Gray, Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie have all signaled support for the bid.

And why hasn’t the DC Council held a hearing on the proposed bid? Earlier this year, the Council found time to examine a ridiculous and unrealistic RFK Stadium/hotel zone/waterpark/golf course bill but it can’t find the time to hold a hearing on Washington 2024?

It’s time for Washington 2024 and city leaders to share specific details about the Olympic bid. To that end, ANC 6B has sent the following letter to Washington 2024 inviting the organization to present their plans at a community meeting. We hope to work with our colleagues in ANCs 7D, 7F and 6A to find a meeting date and time that works for all commissions representing or adjacent to RFK Stadium and Reservation 13.

—-ANC 6B Letter to Washington 2024—-

November 13, 2014

Russ Ramsey
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Washington 2024
2200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
5th Floor East
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Chairman Ramsey,

We write to invite you to attend a community meeting in the next month to discuss specific details of the Washington 2024 Summer Olympic bid. At a properly noticed meeting with a quorum present on November 13, 2014, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B voted 8-0 to send this letter and invitation.

We are aware that Washington, DC is a finalist to be the United States bid city for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. While few details have been released about your plans for venues, media reports suggest that a good portion of the eastern end of Capitol Hill, including RFK Stadium, the DC Armory and Reservation 13, are being discussed as sites for an Olympic Stadium, Olympic Village and other venues. Our commission represents the Hill East residents who live immediately to the west of these sites.

Before our commission can consider supporting your efforts, we need an opportunity to learn more about your plans and to ask you questions before the United States Olympic Committee selects a bid city in early 2015. Our questions include:

  • What venues are being planned for the land surrounding RFK Stadium, the DC Armory and Reservation 13 (site of the former DC General hospital)?
  • Given that most hotels are west of these sites, how will spectators travel to the various venues without further complicating the normal congestion along our roads?
  • Besides the site of RFK Stadium and Reservation 13, are there other potential Olympic Stadium or Village locations in mind?
  • How much will the District of Columbia have to invest in the Olympic bid? What will be the breakdown in public versus private dollars?
  • How do you plan to engage surrounding neighbors as the bid progresses? A community advisory committee? Monthly e-mail list?

In the next few days, I will follow-up with your staff to find a date/time and Hill East venue in the next month that works for a meeting. We will also coordinate this date and time with our colleague commissions who represent constituents on or surrounding the eastern end of Capitol Hill – ANC 7D (RFK Stadium and the Armory), ANC 7F (Reservation 13) and ANC 6A (residents immediately east and northeast of both sites).

In your June 2014 press release, Washington 2024’s Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis said that DC would host the “most transparent” games in history. It is in this spirit that we send this invitation. We look forward to learning more about the bid and how it will affect our constituents and city.

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you,

Sincerely,

Brian Flahaven
Chair, ANC 6B


ANC 6B November Meeting

November 16, 2014

Around 50 residents attended ANC 6B’s November 12 meeting at the Hill Center. Here is a recap of major actions:

  • The commission voted unanimously to send comments (pdf) to Mayor Gray on his plan to close the temporary emergency family homeless shelter at DC General. The comments, based on conversation and feedback from an Oct. 30 Hill East Task Force meeting, voiced support for the general thrust of the plan but also concerns about the plan’s lack of specificity and urgency.
  • After a lengthy discussion, ANC 6B voted 5-3 to support a new liquor license for Bayou Bakery, a restaurant that plans to open in the Hill Center carriage house. I voted with the majority. While I certainly understood concerns raised by nearby neighbors on trash, I felt that the applicant deserved an opportunity to demonstrate that his trash plan would work and not contribute to rat problems – particularly since the location is not on Barracks Row. I’m also convinced that the Hill Center will be extra vigilant in making sure trash doesn’t become an issue. If trash or noise do become issues, the commission can take it up with the applicant when his license is up for renewal in 2016.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to the Washington 2024 Olympic bid committee inviting the committee to present their plans at a community meeting. Robert Sweeney, senior advisor to Washington 2024, was in attendance and said that the committee would be happy to hold such a meeting. He also confirmed that RFK Stadium and Hill East (Reservation 13) are being looked at for potential venues and the Olympic Village – though he was quick to point out that other locations are being considered as well. I hope to get this meeting on the calendar ASAP.
  • Commissioner Nichole Opkins (6B06) announced that the commission would consider the first-stage planned unit development application for 1333 M Street SE at a special call meeting on Wed., Nov. 19, 7:00 pm at Christ Church Washington Parish (620 G Street SE). This development will bring a large number of residents to the Anacostia waterfront between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE.
  • The commission decided to postpone consideration of a proposed resolution on the Exelon-Pepco merger until December. The resolution raises a number of concerns about the proposed merger and asks the Public Service Commission and DC Council to ensure that DC ratepayers are protected in the deal. A number of commissioners requested additional time to consider the merits of the merger and the proposed resolution.
  • The commission unanimously endorsed a new vending and soliciting policy (pdf) for Eastern Market, a policy that protects the rights of candidates and other individuals to seek petition signatures at the market.
  • Commissioner Brian Pate (6B05), chair of the ANC 6B Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force, shared an updated list of high priority vacant and blighted properties in ANC 6B. The commission voted unanimously to submit the list to the Vacant Building Enforcement unit at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and to send letters to the homeowners on file.
  • Steve Ricks, chairman of the Historic Anacostia Boating Association, shared a presentation on the association’s plans to redevelop the Boathouse Row area south of the freeway between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE.
  • I reminded attendees about a Tues., Nov. 18 community meeting on the status of the District Department of Transportation’s 17th and 19th Street Safety Improvement Project. The meeting will be at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE).
  • ANC 6B’s December meeting will be on Tuesday, Dec. 9, 7 pm at the Hill Center.

ANC 6B September Meeting Recap

September 15, 2014

The reopening of the Southeast Freeway, the location of a Francis Marion Memorial and more comments on the city’s comprehensive zoning update were among many items on ANC 6B’s September 9 agenda. Here is a brief recap of major actions:

  • The commission voted unanimously to oppose the reopening of the Southeast Freeway between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE. In a letter to DDOT (pdf), ANC 6B urges the agency to use available funding on the final recommendations of the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard transportation planning study.
  • ANC 6B voted unanimously to provide testimony at the Department of General Services’ Sept. 16 Surplus Hearing for the Eastern Branch Building. The testimony (pdf) highlights issues raised by ANC 6B in formal comments submitted earlier this year. The Eastern Branch Building RFP has been issued.
  • While voting 4-3-2 to support Marion Park as the appropriate location of a planned memorial to Francis Marion, ANC 6B also urged the National Park Service (pdf) to improve outreach to surrounding neighbors and to provide additional details on how the memorial would be maintained (I voted with the majority). A number of residents who live Marion Park noted a lack of communication by NPS on this project and other construction projects at the park.
  • The commission voted unanimously to support the design concept of a proposed 48-unit residential building located at 900 11th Street SE (the corner of 11th and I Street SE).
  • The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to the Zoning Commission with comments on the Office of Planning’s proposed alternative amendments to its Zoning Regulations Review proposal. In the comments, ANC 6B urges the Zoning Commission to approve the zoning update and to oppose a number of OP’s suggested changes related to corner stores, accessory units and parking. The comments also include suggestions on how to better define fast food restaurant for purposes of zoning.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send comments (pdf) to DDOT on its proposed rules for the Visitor Parking Pass program. The new rule requires residents to request visitor parking passes using an online system. ANC 6B suggested that the passes be limited to parking in a resident’s ANC single member district versus the entire commission area as proposed.
  • In an effort to help the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop stay in its present location at 545 7th Street SE, ANC 6B voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to the DC Department of General Services encouraging the agency to sign a new lease with CHAW at its existing terms.
  • The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to the city’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer encouraging the agency to expand internet and wi-fi access at Potomac Gardens (1225 G Street SE).
  • In October, the commission will be moving its office from the Hill Center to Eastern Market. All commission meetings, including committee and task force meetings, will continue to take place at the Hill Center. The move is necessary due to continued funding cuts to the commission’s budget and the reality that ANC 6B can get free office space at the city-owned Eastern Market.
  •  ANC 6B’s October meeting will be on Tuesday, October 14, 7 pm at the Hill Center.