July 16, 2014
ANC 6B considered a DC Council resolution on DC General, 17th & 19th Street safety improvements and a long list of planning and zoning cases during its July 10 meeting. Here are the highlights:
- The commission voted 10-0 to support PR20-854, Sense of the Council for Closing DC General Shelter Resolution of 2014 and to authorize my testimony on behalf of the commission at a July 12 hearing on the resolution.
- The commission unanimously supported sending a letter (pdf) to DC Water urging the agency to accelerate its water main construction timetable so that planned safety improvements to 17th and 19th Streets SE are not delayed. The letter also asks why there was a lack of coordination/notice between DC Water and the District Department of Transportation.
- After a lengthy discussion and a couple of failed motions, the commission voted 6-4 to support a fast food special exception for &Pizza on Barracks Row under strict conditions. The detailed conditions include a 7 year time limit on the special exception and Board of Zoning Adjustment approval of a variance so that the building’s owner can construct an indoor trash storage room. I’m pleased that a majority of the commission voted to support the special exception.
- The commission unanimously supported Douglas Development’s variance request for its building at 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Douglas is seeking a variance from floor area ratio requirements that would allow a retail/restaurant establishment to open in the new building.
- The commission voted 10-0 to approve a resolution (pdf) on proposed elimination of Metrobus 30s lines stops in ANC 6B. The resolution includes a request for further study of the proposed elimination of the 30s stop at 17th and Pennsylvania Ave SE given pending development around Barney Circle SE.
- A number of historic preservation cases, including a proposed apartment building at 900 11th Street SE, were deferred for consideration by the commission in September.
- Commissioner Dave Garrison (6B01) announced his intention to resign his seat on July 12. The commission thanked Garrison for his years of service to ANC 6B, including terms as chair and secretary of the commission. His seat will remain vacant until a new commissioner is sworn in next January.
- ANC 6B’s September meeting will take place on Tues., Sept. 9, 7 pm at the Hill Center.
June 18, 2014
On Thursday, June 19, I’ll be holding a Neighborhood Town Hall meeting from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Curbside Cafe (257 15th Street SE). During the meeting, I’ll provide updates on key Hill East projects, including:
- Development plans for Reservation 13 and the status of DC General
- Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project
- 17th & 19th Street Safety Improvement Project
- Eastern Branch Building Request for Offers
Attendees will also have an opportunity to share concerns about other issues affecting our neighborhood. And it will be a great way to meet and catch up with neighbors.
Hope to see you there! And thanks to Curbside Cafe for hosting!
June 13, 2014
We had a good turnout for ANC 6B’s June 10 meeting at the Hill Center. Here is a recap:
- After a presentation by the owner and a lengthy discussion, the commission voted unanimously to support a raze permit for the “shotgun house” at 1229 E Street SE, the vacant, boarded up one story building located in the Capitol Hill Historic District. The commission’s support included language urging the Historic Preservation Review Board to hold the owner, Larry Quillian, accountable for “demolition by neglect” and a desire to see the curb cut leading into the property removed. Mr. Quinlan presented the commission with an engineer’s report that recommended the building be demolished.
- Given uncertainty about whether the city would allow a curb cut on the property, ANC 6B voted 9-0 to urge the HPRB to postpone a hearing on the design of a proposed condo building at 1220 Potomac Avenue SE. The placement or non-placement of a curb cut really changes the design of the proposed building and the size of the units (without parking, the owner would prefer smaller, one bedroom units). Hopefully we will see this case again once the curb cut issue is addressed.
- The commission voted 9-0 to send a letter (pdf) to Deputy Mayor for Education Abigail Smith with some general feedback on the Student Assignment and School Boundary Review. In the letter, the commission highlights the need to continue with the review process and voices strong support for matter-of-right neighborhood schools. You can learn more about the process and review the latest proposal on the Deputy Mayor for Education’s website.
- After Commissioner Francis Campbell and I provided a brief summary of the May 29 ANC 6B Hill East Task Force meeting, ANC 6B voted 9-0 to send a letter (pdf) to the Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian Community Action Group (CAG) seeking additional information related to their plans for 124 15th Street SE. CAG recently received city funding to resume construction of the planned community center for the site.
- The commission voted 8-1 to support the DC General Short-Term Playground Amendment Act of 2014 and to authorize my testimony at the upcoming June 30 Committee on Human Services hearing on the bill (pdf). ANC 6B previously voted to support a temporary, movable playground to serve the 500-600 children living at the temporary DC General Emergency Family Shelter. In addition to voicing our support for a temporary playground, I plan to remind the committee of the need to commit to a plan and closing date for the DC General shelter.
- Jon Whitney of the District Department of Transportation’s 11th Street Bridge Project announced some good news and bad news related to the project. The good news is that an eastbound exit ramp from the SE-SW Freeway to 11th Street SE will be opening on June 21. The bad news is that DDOT will be closing the 11th Street SE entrance to the SE-SW Freeway for two months (June 21-August 23) to complete final construction of the ramp. Mr. Whitney also announced that DDOT also plans to temporarily re-open the freeway between 11th Street SE and Barney Circle SE to “help move traffic through this corridor,” while the agency works with the Office of Planning on refining concepts for the Southeast Boulevard. I’m not a fan of the city spending money to clear, re-surface and temporarily re-open a section of freeway that will just encourage more commuter traffic to use 17th Street SE and other neighborhood streets.
- Representatives from DC Water provided a brief update on the Clean Rivers Project, a multi-year tunnel project designed to significantly reduce combined sewer overflows into the Anacostia River. Construction on the Anacostia River Tunnel, a segment that runs along the river between RFK Stadium, Congressional Cemetery and down by M Street SE and Water Street SE, is currently underway and is expected to be completed by November 2017. DC Water also hopes to wrap up work on the M Street diversion sewer, which is taking place at M Street and 9th Street SE, by November 2014.
- ANC 6B’s July meeting will be on Tuesday, July 8, 7 pm at the Hill Center.
May 16, 2014
We had a packed agenda and full house for ANC 6B’s monthly commission meeting on May 13. Here is a brief recap of the major actions.
- The commission voted 9-0-1 to send comments (pdf) to the DC Department of General Services on their planned Request for Offers for the Eastern Branch Building (261 17th Street SE). The comments included feedback received by ANC 6B’s Hill East Task Force at two April community meetings on the topic. DGS is currently working to schedule a public hearing on the building and plans to issue the RFO this summer. Thanks to all who attended the meetings and weighed in on the future of this important building.
- On the relocation of the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter at DC General, ANC 6B voted 9-0-1 to send a letter (pdf) to the Zoning Commission opposing the city’s request to permanently change zoning on Reservation 13. Instead, the commission supports the city seeking a special exception to allow the shelter to move from Building 9 to Building 27. A special exception would keep the existing zoning in place and would allow the Zoning Commission to put a time limit on the use. I plan to write a separate post on the shelter relocation issue soon.
- ANC 6B voted unanimously to support the public space permit application for outdoor seating at Curbside Cafe (257 15th Street SE).
- The commission voted 8-0-2 to oppose a fast food special exception request for &Pizza, a local restaurant chain that wants to open a location at 405 8th Street SE (currently Oxx0 Dry Cleaners). However, the commission also voted to support the owner’s request to delay his Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing to allow more time for negotiation. I was one of the abstentions on this vote. While I understand neighbor concerns about the number of fast food restaurants and rodent problem on the 400 block of 8th Street SE, &Pizza would be a welcome addition and would not contribute to the rodent problem like some existing tenants on the block. I’m hopeful that a compromise can be reached.
- After a back and forth between the owner, commissioners and neighbors, the commission voted unanimously to approve a new settlement agreement with Nooshi (524 8th Street SE). The new agreement will allow the restaurant to seek permission to serve food/drinks on its elevated outdoor patio deck.
- The commission voted 10-0 to support sending comments to the District Department of Transportation on its new policy regarding private use/improvements of pocket parks. ANC 6B wants to ensure that DDOT policy protects open space and provides ANCs an opportunity to review permit applications for private improvements to triangle and pocket parks. The Capitol Hill Corner blog has more background on the pocket park controversy.
- A request for a fast food special exception for the vacant commercial space at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue SE was withdrawn from the ANC 6B agenda by the owners of New York Pizza (1401 Penn Ave SE). The owners, who plan to expand their operations, have asked for a delay in the case.
- ANC 6B’s June meeting will be on Tuesday, June 10, 7 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave SE).
May 13, 2014
ANC 6B will be discussing and voting on a number of Hill East cases during tonight’s full commission meeting, 7 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE). Here is a brief rundown:
- Sidewalk Cafe Application for Curbside Cafe – The owners of Curbside Cafe (257 15th Street SE) are seeking a public space permit to allow outdoor seating at their location. I fully support this application ANC 6B’s Planning & Zoning Committee unanimously recommended approval of the application and it will be on the commission’s consent agenda.
- Fast Food Special Exception for 1400 Penn Ave SE – The owners of New York Pizza (1401 Pennsylvania Ave SE) are seeking to expand their operation across the street to the vacant commercial space at 1400 Pennsylvania Ave SE. To do so, they need to ask the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a fast food special exception. Assuming the owners can address the trash, delivery and other concerns of nearby neighbors, I’m still puzzled why NY Pizza would seek to operate the same restaurant on both sides of Penn Ave. I hope to get some answers tonight. This case will likely be considered in the 7:45-8:15 pm time frame.
- Relocation of Women’s Shelter at DC General/Reservation 13 – Due to environmental and safety concerns, the city needs to relocate the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter from Building 9 to Building 27 on the DC General campus. To allow this to happen, the Office of Planning is asking the Zoning Commission to approve a text amendment (pdf) to the Hill East District zoning (the zoning code that exists for Reservation 13). I’m going to encourage my colleagues to oppose the text amendment and instead urge the Zoning Commission to approve a time-limited special exception to allow the move. I’d also like to see demolition of Building 9 clearly stated in the final order. This case will likely be considered in the 8:45-9:00 pm time frame.
- Comments on Planned Eastern Branch Building RFO – The commission will consider final comments to the DC Department of General Services on the planned Request for Offers for the Eastern Branch Building (261 17th Street SE). The comments reflect the community feedback ANC 6B’s Hill East Task Force heard during our two April community meetings. This case will likely be considered in the 9:00 pm hour.
Updated 5/13/14 1:00 pm – The applicant for the fast food exception for 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue SE has withdrawn the case from tonight’s agenda. This may move up commission consideration of the DC General and Eastern Branch letters.
April 17, 2014
Around 25 attendees joined ANC 6B for the commission’s April 8 meeting at the Hill Center. Here is a brief recap:
- ANC 6B voted 10-0 to send formal comments (pdf) to the DC Office of Planning regarding the agency’s plans to do a three-month planning study to inform the District Department of Transportation’s Barney Circle/Southeast Boulevard project. OP is conducting the planning exercise at the request of Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells and ANC 6B. The commission’s comments ask OP to expand the scope of the area being studied, examine concepts beyond the 4-lane boulevard concepts presented by DDOT and provide an opportunity for the ANC to weigh in on the study’s recommendations for DDOT.
- After listening to a presentation by the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project’s Joel Schwarz, the commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to the city asking that the appropriate agencies work with the Playtime Project to find an appropriate location for a playground. While the commission supports a moveable playground for the 600+ children living at DC General, the letter makes it clear that the commission continues to strongly support the closing of the temporary shelter. The Playtime Project has secured funding from local businesses for the playground.
- The commission unanimously appointed Molly Singer and Pat Taylor to serve as resident members on the ANC 6B Hill East Task Force. Both Molly and Pat contributed greatly in their new roles during the task force’s April 9 meeting on the Eastern Branch Building.
- Scott Kratz, project director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, presented an overview of plans to turn one of the old spans of the 11th Street bridge into an outdoor venue for recreation, education and the arts. Kratz said that his organization just launched a nationwide design competition for the project. You can read more at www.bridgepark.org.
- Commissioner Brian Pate (6B05), chair of ANC 6B’s Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force, provided an update on ANC 6B’s priority list of vacant and blighted properties and summarized a recent task force meeting with representatives of the DC Office of Tax and Revenue.
- The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) supporting the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee’s nomination of Eastern Market for a Committee of 100 on the Federal City’s 2014 Vision Award.
- The commission voted unanimously to c0-host Mayor Gray’s Ward 6 FY15 Budget Town Hall taking place on Mon., April 21, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm at Capitol Hill Montessori School at Logan, 215 G Street NE.
- ANC 6B’s May meeting will be on Tuesday, May 13, 7:00 pm at the Hill Center.
March 17, 2014
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B held its March meeting on Tuesday, March 11 at the Hill Center. Amazingly, the commission voted unanimously (9-0) on every item put to a vote (note that one commissioner was unable to attend). Here are the highlights:
- The commission voted unanimously to send a letter (pdf) to DC Department of General Services Director Brian Hanlon encouraging his department to delay issuing a Request for Offers for the Eastern Branch Building (261 17th Street SE) until they receive formal comments from ANC 6B. The commission plans to hold two additional Hill East Task Force meetings on future uses of the building in April and hopes to have formal comments finalized by mid-May.
- The commission voted 9-0 to support the public space permit application for Goldstar Group’s proposed 41-unit residential building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
- I provided an update on efforts to convince the District Department of Transportation to approve the original angled driveway entrance for NOVO Development’s proposed 77-unit residential building at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. During the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s review of the project last May, DDOT required the developer to change the angled driveway entrance since it would be partially located on the sidewalk (public space). Neighbors and I are concerned that the revised driveway configuration (pdf) will allow vehicles traveling south on the extremely narrow Freedom Way alley to enter the garage. The final plans should encourage vehicles to enter and exit the garage via Kentucky Avenue SE. Prior to the commission meeting, neighbors and I met with the developer and DDOT to discuss the issue. Given DDOT’s continued opposition to the angled driveway design, I plan to continue working with the developer and neighbors to find solutions to the problem using the revised configuration.
- Sharon Cooke and Richard Jackson of the District Department of the Environment and Timothy Fields of MDB, Inc. provided a brief presentation on DDOE’s Anacostia River Sediment Project. The department plans to begin an assessment of contaminants in the Anacostia River and will propose remedies to cleanup the river. Throughout the project, DDOE will follow a community involvement plan that includes reaching out to environmental groups, affected ANCs and other community stakeholders to get input and feedback. After hearing the presentation, the commission voted unanimously to send a letter(pdf) to DDOE with comments on the project’s community involvement plan.
- ANC 6B approved two resolutions and a letter (pdf) outlining projects the commission supports for DDOT’s Performance Parking Zone Community Benefits Program. DDOT is seeking project ideas that provide or accelerate non-automobile transportation investments in the city’s Performance Parking Zones. In addition to submitting our own list of projects, the commission is supporting a number of the project ideas submitted by Barracks Row Main Street and the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District. The proposed projects must be within or adjacent to Performance Parking Zones (ANC 6B’s current PPZ is located between South Capitol Street, I-395, 9th Street SE and Independence Ave SE).
- The commission voted 9-0 to send a letter (pdf) to Mayor Gray that includes ANC 6B’s comments on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Reconstruction Draft Environmental Impact Statement and adds concerns about the environmental aspects of the proposed reconstruction project.
- ANC 6B’s April meeting will be on Tuesday, April 8, 7 pm at the Hill Center.