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.

ANC 6B July Meeting Recap

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 PR20-854Sense 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. 

Take Part in My June 19 Neighborhood Town Hall

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!

ANC 6B June Meeting Recap

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.