Neighborhood Town Hall Project Updates

June 30, 2014

A big thanks to all who attended my June 19th Neighborhood Town Hall meeting. I’m particularly grateful to Kristi, Sam and the Curbside Cupcake Team for hosting the town hall at Curbside Cafe.

If you missed the meeting, here are some brief updates on major projects happening in Hill East.

Hill East Development/Reservation 13
The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the Donatelli/Blue Skye Development team continue to negotiate at Land Disposition Agreement for Phase I (parcels F1 & G1) of the Hill East Development (Reservation 13). DMPED hopes to have a LDA ready for DC Council consideration this fall.

I also shared my concerns about the impact of DC’s Olympic bid on mixed-use development plans for Reservation 13.

DC General
We discussed the Zoning Commission’s recent ruling to allow the Harriet Tubman Women’s Shelter to move from DC General’s Building 9 to a Building 27 for a period of 5 years. The city has also announced its intent to demolish Building 9 once the relocation is complete.

While Building 9’s planned demolition is progress, there has been significantly less progress made by the city in closing the main DC General Family Shelter. Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, who chairs the Council’s Committee on a Human Services, has introduced a Sense of the Council Resolution that calls for the closure of DC General once certain benchmarks are met. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a plan or significant funding in the FY15 budget to make closure a reality anytime soon. I will continue pushing the city to craft a plan and announce a date for closure of DC General.

17th and 19th Streets a Safety Improvement Project
DDOT informed me last week of a significant delay in construction of the safety improvements to 17th Street SE (narrowing to one lane, adding a bike lane, adding curb extensions, etc.). The improvements, originally scheduled to be implemented in spring 2014, will now not happen until Fall 2015. The reason appears to be some previously unannounced DC Water water main replacement work between C Street SE and Potomac Ave SE that is scheduled to happen in Dec. 2014/Jan. 2015.

Needless to say, an additional 18 month delay on these much needed safety improvements is unacceptable. I plan to ask ANC 6B to support sending a letter to DC Water asking why the neighborhood were not previously notified of this work and why their construction timeline cannot be expedited.

DDOT does plan to begin construction on the 19th Street improvements this fall.

Eastern Branch Building
The Department of a General Services is working to schedule the required public hearing on the disposition of the Eastern a Branch Building. The hearing will likely take place at the end of July or in September. DGS must hold a public hearing before issuing it’s planned Request for Offers (RFO) for the building. The department does plan to include ANC 6B’s comments(pdf) as part of the RFO.

Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Study
I’ve been part of a group of ANC 6B Commissioners who have been meeting with Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, the District Department of Transportation and the Office of Planning to discuss how to improve DDOT’s design options for the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard project. The Office of Planning is conducting a “rapid planning study” of the project with recommendations due out sometime this fall. ANC 6B’s Transportation Committee will be discussing the status of the study at the committee’s Wed., July 2 meeting, 7 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave SE). Once the study’s recommendations are finalized, ANC 6B and Councilmember Wells will hold larger community meetings to discuss the results.

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Upcoming Neighborhood Events

June 5, 2014
  • Congressional Cemetery is hosting the Annual Pride 5K run tomorrow (Fri., June 6) at 7 pm. While the race is sold out, you can still volunteer by e-mailing volunteer@dcfrontrunners.org.
  • Canal Park’s Thursday Movie Series kicks off tonight (June 5) with “The Sandlot” at sundown (8:45 pm). Canal Park is located at 200 M Street SE.
  • Be sure to check out the One City Youth Truck Touch event this Sat., June 7, 9 am – 2 pm in RFK Parking Lot 7.
  • Residents of the 700 and 800 blocks of Kentucky Ave SE are hosting a block party this Sat., June 7 beginning at 3:30 pm.
  • Councilmember Tommy Wells will be hosting Ward 6 Family Day on Sat., June 21, 1 pm – 5 pm at Eliot-Hine Middle School (1830 Constitution Ave NE).

Updated Plans for 1500 Penn Avenue SE

February 6, 2014
Rendering of 41-unit condo building planned for 1500 Penn Ave SE. Produced by Bonstra Haresign Architects.

Rendering of 41-unit condo building planned for 1500 Penn Ave SE. Produced by Bonstra Haresign Architects.

During the Feb. 4 ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, Eric May of the Goldstar Group shared updated renderings of their proposed 41-unit condo building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. The drawings include the layout of the underground parking garage, a garage which will include 21 spaces. Goldstar is seeking a variance on parking space size requirements, seeking to count 8 compact spaces towards the 21 space minimum requirement.

May also asked the committee to weigh in on an additional variance request related to the height of the penthouse. The variance will allow the rooftop penthouse to have varying height instead of uniform height.

The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full commission support both variance requests and the raze permit for the project. ANC 6B will vote on the committee recommendation during the commission’s Tues., Feb. 10 meeting, 7 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Ave SE). Meeting attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions/provide comments on the requests. If you can’t attend the meeting, please share your comments with me directly or post below.


ANC 6B To Consider Variance Request for 1500 Penn Ave SE

January 31, 2014

In February, ANC 6B will be considering Goldstar Group’s request for a variance from the parking space size requirements for their proposed 41-unit residential building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (old Domino’s Pizza site).

Goldstar plans to provide the required parking minimum for the building (21 spaces) but needs to include 8 compact spaces in its count. Under the current DC zoning code, compact spaces can only be counted towards the minimum requirements in garages with more than 25 parking spaces. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will consider Goldstar’s variance request at a hearing on Feb. 25.

ANC 6B’s Planning & Zoning Committee will consider the variance request, along with the raze permit for the current building, at its Tuesday, Feb. 4 meeting, 7 pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave SE). During the committee meeting, Goldstar Group will provide a brief presentation of their plans and explain why they need the parking space size variance. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and weigh in with the committee. Note that 1500 Penn Ave SE is the first case on the committee’s agenda.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to weigh in on the case during ANC 6B’s February 11 meeting, 7 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE). The commission will consider the planning & zoning committee’s recommendation and take a formal vote in support or opposition of the request on Feb. 11.

I encourage all interested neighbors and residents to attend the meetings and/or contact me with their concerns. For those who wish to chat with me in person, I’ll be at Curbside Cafe (257 15th Street SE) tomorrow, Sat., Feb. 1 from 11 am – 12 pm.


ANC 6B Urges DDOT to Reconsider Plans for Barney Circle-SE Boulevard

January 16, 2014

During its Jan. 14 meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B voted unanimously (10-0) to send a letter (pdf) to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) expressing the commission’s opposition to the agency’s proposed design concepts for the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Transportation Planning Study. DDOT is currently seeking public comments on the study, which envisions the construction of a full traffic circle at Barney Circle SE and a new “Southeast Boulevard” to connect the circle to the Southeast/Southwest Freeway at 11th Street SE.

In the letter, ANC 6B points out a number of flaws with the Barney Circle and the Southeast Boulevard design concepts and options presented by DDOT at its Nov. 21, 2013 public meeting. Specifically, the commission:

  • rejects DDOT’s proposed 4-lane SE Boulevard with parking lots and no connections to the existing street grid;
  • opposes the inclusion of a multi-modal parking facility in any form;
  • opposes Barney Circle Option 2 and has concerns about many aspects of Barney Circle Option;
  • feels the study suffers from a lack of neighborhood planning and involvement by DDOT with its Anacostia Waterfront Initiative partners the DC Office of Planning, the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development, and the DC Department of the Environment; and
  • questions the sufficiency of DDOT’s traffic planning scope and assumptions.

Read the full ANC 6B Letter to DDOT on Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Study (pdf)

A big thanks to all who submitted comments and feedback to ANC 6B or copied me and other commissioners on comments sent directly to DDOT. I’m particularly appreciative of the comments I received on the Barney Circle options from residents living on 16th, 17th, Kentucky Ave and H Streets SE. Hopefully, DDOT will listen to our concerns and reconsider their design concepts.

Also, thanks to Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), ANC 6B’s Transportation Committee Chair, who assembled the comments and drafted the bulk of the letter.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to e-mail your comments and feedback directly to DDOT at barneycircle@prrbiz.com.


ANC 6B Draft Comments on DDOT’s Barney Circle-SE Boulevard Project

January 9, 2014

On Jan. 8, ANC 6B’s Transportation Committee discussed a draft of the commission’s formal comments to the District Department of Transportation on their proposed design concepts for the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Project. Here is a link to the draft comments discussed at the meeting:

The committee recommended a number of clarifying changes to the comments including the addition of an opening sentence that conveys the commission’s  opposition to the design concepts presented to the community on Nov. 21, 2013. The committee also wanted to make it clear that other stakeholders besides DDOT need to be brought into the project discussion. ANC 6B will vote on the revised comments during next Tuesday’s (Jan. 14) full commission meeting (7 pm at the Hill Center).

Please post your feedback on the draft comments below. You can also share your thoughts with me during my office hours this Sunday, Jan. 12, 2 pm – 3 pm at Curbside Cafe (257 15th Street SE).


Tuesday Quick Takes: Barney Circle-SE Blvd, Penn Ave Projects, NSO, Office Hours

January 7, 2014
  • On Wed., Jan. 8, ANC 6B’s Transportation Committee will be discussing the commission’s formal comments to the District Department of Transportation on the proposed design concepts for the Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard project from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Hill Center (921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE). If you have not yet had a chance to weigh in on this important project, please attend the committee meeting or send your comments directly to DDOT at barneycircle@prrbiz.com. Thanks to all who have already attended meetings and/or sent comments.
  • Construction on the two-story commercial building at 1442 Pennsylvania Avenue SE is almost complete. Douglas Development plans to finish the building this month. Still no word on potential tenants, though Douglas hopes to have some news to share soon.
  • Goldstar Group is seeking a parking variance for their proposed 41-unit residential building at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue SE. Goldstar plans to provide the required parking for the building (21 spaces) but needs to include 8 compact spaces. Under the current DC zoning code, compact spaces can only be counted in garages that have more than 25 parking spaces. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will consider Goldstar’s variance request at a hearing on Feb. 25. ANC 6B will consider the variance request during our February meetings – the Feb. 3 ANC 6B Planning & Zoning Committee meeting and the Feb. 10 full commission meeting. I’ll share more information later this month.
  • NOVO Development group plans to begin construction on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE sometime in February. I’m working to schedule a community meeting to discuss construction, etc. with nearby neighbors.
  • This week, the National Symphony Orchestra will be holding a series of free concerts around Capitol Hill and H Street NE, including a chamber music concert on Sunday, Jan. 12, 12 pm – 1 pm at the Congressional Cemetery Chapel (1801 E Street SE). The events are part of the “NSO in Your Neighborhood Program” which runs from Jan. 7-13. You can learn more about the program and view a full schedule on the NSO website.
  • After attending the concert, stop by my office hours on Sunday, Jan. 12 from 2 pm – 3 pm at Curbside Cafe (257 15th Street SE). No formal agenda – just an opportunity for you to share feedback, questions and concerns with me.