Exclusive: Las Placitas to Relocate to Lower 8th Street, SE, by Year’s End

Thes long vacant former Subway outlet at 8th and M Streets, SE, will be the new home of Las Placitas by year's end.

This long vacant former Quizno outlet at 8th and M Streets, SE, will be the new home of Las Placitas by year’s end.

The red area locates the new location on lower 8th Street, across from the Navy Yard to the south and the Blue Castle to the west.

The red area indicates the new location on lower 8th Street, across from the Navy Yard to the south and the Blue Castle to the west.

View of 8th Street looking north.  Las Plac's new home will be in the building on the right.

View of 8th Street looking north. “Las Plac’s” new home will be in the building on the right.  All photos courtesy of Google Maps.

Las Placitas To Re-locate to Lower 8th Street At Year’s End

by Larry Janezich

Capitol Hill Corner has confirmed that Las Placitas, the popular Barracks Row Restaurant, will relocate to lower 8th Street, SE, opposite the Navy Yard by year’s end.  According to management, Las Placitas will take over the long empty space once occupied by a Quizno outlet at 8th and M Streets, SE.

Capitol Hill Corner broke the story on May 13 that Las Placitas’ lease would not be renewed in in the fall in order to make way for expansion of the adjacent Matchbox Restaurant.  See here:  http://bit.ly/1PGDwuO

The promise of development of lower 8th Street, south of the freeway has been slow in coming.  Las Placitas may be the catalyst that brings fulfillment of that promise.

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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Wednesday, July 29

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm in Eastern Market’s North Hall.

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Pepco Slammed Over Solar Issues: Interconnection Delays, Inaccurate Billing, Lack of Response

Public Service Commissioners, L-R: Commissioner Fort, Chair Kane, Commissioner Phillips

Public Service Commissioners, L-R: Commissioner Fort, Chair Kane, Commissioner Phillips

Pepco representatives, L-R: Michelle Ware, Interconnection Process Manager; Virginia Beringer, GPC Strategic Outreach Manager; and James Bemarest, Jr., Customer Relations and Program Director.

Pepco representatives, L-R: Michelle Ware, Interconnection Process Manager; Virginia Beringer, GPC Strategic Outreach Manager; and James Demarest, Jr., Customer Relations and Program Director.

Pepco Slammed Over Solar Issues: Interconnection Delays,​ Inaccurate Billing​, & ​Lack of Response

By Larry Janezich

On Tuesday, the Public Service Commission (PSC) held a hearing to investigate the bottlenecks in Pepco’s approval process for installation of solar energy in DC and problems customers are having in getting concerns addressed or even acknowledged.

Public witnesses, representatives of the solar industry, the Office of People’s Counsel and Director of the DC Department of the Environment Tommy Wells all told the same story of Pepco’s shortcomings.

The most frequent problems cited by the witnesses (editor’s note: myself included)​ who appeared to testify in person and in letters filed with the commission were the following:

Delay – up to five months – in final approval for turning on the system after installation;​

Billing – Claims Pepco was not billing accurately and not giving credit for solar power produced;​

Lack of Response – a nearly total lack of response by Pepco to phone calls or email to customer questions, concerns, and complaints.

Capitol Hill resident Erik Anderson testified to his frustration at Pepco’s refusal to return calls and told the commission he had to utilize the Office of the People’s Counsel to resolve issues with Pepco.

Grant Klein, Project Manager at the non-profit solar installation coordinator DC Sun told the commission, “With an unresponsive GPC (Pepco’s Green Power Connection team), our best option has been to advise that homeowners with issues file complaints with the PSC.”

Ben Brieterman, CEO of solar installer Solar Solution said, “Regarding the delay in the decision on the authorization to operate, we don’t see this issue with any other utility we deal with.  We don’t see the unresponsiveness.  Sometimes we get a response from Pepco – residents never do.”

With respect to the lengthy delays, Dana Sleeper, Executive Director of MDV Solar Energy Industries Association, cited a recent study produced by EQ Research, which showed a sudden increase in the length of time for application processing from 2013 to 2014, when Pepco DC and Pepco MD ranked last o​n a list of 34 utilities in 13 states.

DC Department of the Environment Director Tommy Wells told the Commission that while the interconnection process has improved since 2005, “more progress is needed, and quickly.”

Wells made the following recommendations regarding the three issues troubling customers and installers most:

  1. Set a deadline of no longer that 20 business days from the time a complete application for authorization to operate (ATO) is filed for issuing Pepco’s final written determination on the ATO application.
  2. Within 60 days, increase the workforce dedicated to the GPC team to a level that would be adequate​ to meet the anticipated doubling of the number of applications.
  3. Enact a policy to respond to customer inquiries on billing, complaints and questions within 24 hours.

Pepco representatives, testifying last, were seemingly caught flatfooted and appeared to be unaware (or indifferent) to the issues raised by the testimony prior to theirs​.  The bulk of Pepco’s presentation was a demonstration of their attempts to respond to the Commission’s order of December 20, 2012, regarding ways to improve Pepco GPC operations. Most of Pepco’s presentation concerned improvements to the GPC website, future plans for improving the online application process and explaining the 9 step solar energy installation application process.

James J. Demarest, Jr., Customer Relations and Program Director for Pepco, focusing on Pepco’s efforts to reduce delays and better deal with the applications, said education of the consumer and training of the staff were being undertaken to alleviate the bottleneck caused by incomplete applications which require multiple back and forth communications between GPC and the consumer.

Demarest told the Commission that to deal with the 127% increase in volume of applications, Pepco was hiring one additional staffer.   Given the fact that the GPC is completely overwhelmed at present, it causes one to question Pepco’s commitment to resolving the delay and communication issues.  Demarest went on to say that his staff had responded to 27 calls in the GPC “call tree” in June.  He continued, saying Pepco would continue to develop a more efficient on line application process and would welcome creation of a working group with government and solar stakeholders to work out problems.

Asked by PSC Commissioner Fort about the many complaints about post solar operation billing, Demarest said Pepco had not come prepared to discuss the billing issue but called up his Manager of Billing Services from the audience who told the commission that “​the billing service is operating as planned” and that Pepco “doesn’t have a lot of billing issues.”  Pressed further, by Fort, the Pepco representative replied that when callers to GPC leave a voice mail and refer to the bill – “that starts the investigative process.”  That​ ​come as a surprise to ​those (myself included)​ with billing issues.

The Commission will keep the record open for 30 days from Tuesday’s date to solicit additional comment.  Pepco will assess the testimony issue and issue an order directing Pepco to take specific actions to address the concerns raised at Tuesday’s hearing.

​C​ompared with other utilities, Pepco​ appears to be among the worst on making the solar transition and, in a relative sense, its ​lapses are hard to explain.  ​It may be an issue of oversight from either the city’s executive branch or the Public Service Commission.  Or it could be simple lack of market competition.  The intransigence of monopoly power will only go stronger if the city approves the proposed merger/buy-out of Pepco by energy giant Exelon.

The link to this specific case on the Public Service Commission’s website including testimony and letters submitted in connection with this case, as well as previous commission orders on Pepco solar permit processing issues is here:  http://bit.ly/1KlQcHg

For information on Pepco’s process for applying to install solar panels, Google:  Pepco GPC.

The link to file a complaint with the Public Service Commission is here: http://bit.ly/1MJiHyH

The PSC is accepting public comment for an additional 30 days.  Solar power customers who wish to register their problems with Pepco send an email to the Commission Secretary here:

psc-commissionsecretary@dc.gov – The subject line should read, “Comment for FC 1050”

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The Week Ahead….And Photos from the Week Past

The Covered Walkway at the Hine Site on 8th Street, SE, Sunday morning.  Ground was symbolically broken on the Hine Project last Friday.

The Covered Walkway at the Hine Site on 8th Street, SE, Sunday morning. Ground was symbolically broken on the Hine Project last Friday.

Everything was moving at half speed at Eastern Market Metro Sunday morning - except the metro, which was moving at no speed.  Shuttle buses were operating between EM Metro and New Carrollton.

Everything was moving at half speed at Eastern Market Metro Sunday morning – except the metro, which was moving at no speed. Shuttle buses were operating between EM Metro and New Carrollton.

The Chesapeake Room is scheduled to morph into "TCR" late this week.  The renovated space will feature a new menu highlighting "modern Southern cuisine" and a new cocktail and wine list.

The Chesapeake Room is scheduled to morph into “TCR” late this week. The renovated space will feature a new menu highlighting “modern Southern cuisine” and a new cocktail and wine list.

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 20

  1. ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm at Capitol Hill Towers (900 G Street, NE).

Among items on the agenda:

Traffic signal at Maryland Avenue and 10th Street NE slated for installation in early August.

Presentation from representative for Midnight on Mars 5K run.

Request for support of plan to convert in to a community garden the parking area located in the middle of the square bound by 15th Street NE, C Street NE, 16th Street NE and D Street NE

Tuesday, July 21

1. ANC6A ABC Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center (10th and G Streets, NE).

Among items on the agenda:

Discussion of planned summer garden by Kitty’s Saloon at 1208 H Street

Discussion of request by Da Luft at 1242 H Street, NE  for a change from a Restaurant to a Tavern license.

2, CHRS Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm at Capitol Hill Townhouses, 750 6th Street, SE.

3. Public Service Commission hearing on Pepco Solar Power Interconnection Problems, 10:00am, Public Service Commission, 1325 G Street, NW.

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CM Anita Bonds Plans Legislation to Enhance ANCs (Or Should They Be Abolished?)

Lacking meeting space in a public building, ANC6C holds its monthly meetings in space provided by the Heritage Foundation

Lacking meeting space in a public building, ANC6C holds its monthly meetings in space provided by the Heritage Foundation

CM Anita Bonds Plans Legislation to Enhance ANCs

(Or Should They Be Abolished?)

by Larry Janezich

Councilmember-​at​-​Large Anita Bonds has begun a series of ward by ward meetings with individual ANC commissioners to solicit input on legislation the CM expects to introduce this fall aimed at “enhancing” the operations of the ANCs.  Bonds has met with some 150 individual commissioners from all eight wards.  Her office has hosted six ward group meetings with commissioners and will finish up with group meetings with Ward 1 and Ward 5 commissioners by the end of the month.  In the fall, according to her Chief of Staff, David Meadows, CM Bonds will bring all the ideas together, weigh them​,​ and look for ways to implement them in legislation.

The goal is to provide more uniformity among the ANCs and insure that each ANC has equal resources and support.   Meadows told CHC that the effort was Bonds’ “way of supporting local democracy and a way to bring everybody together.”  In addition to serving in the administration of three Mayors, Bonds served four terms as ANC Commissioner from ANC5C.

The ANCs (Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) are unique to the District.  The eight wards are divided into 41 jurisdictions, each with its own commission of nonpartisan elected officials.  Each of the 41 jurisdictions is further divided into Single Member Districts numbering from 2 (ANC2D) to 12. Each Single Member District has some 2000 residents.

The ANCs weigh in with the executive and legislative branches of city government on neighborhood issues such as zoning, liquor licenses, historic preservation, traffic and parking, public safety and sanitation.

Some of the concerns raised in meetings with commissioners include the need for more funding (the city provides funds for operating expenses based on the number of Single Member Districts), legal assistance, space for offices and public meetings, and greater ability to utilize social media – some ANCs have yet to establish their own websites.

ANCs vary greatly in terms of their operating ability, ​including access to office and meeting space.  The city is required to accommodate ANC operations and meetings in public buildings, where available, but some ANCs such as those in Ward Six lack one or both.  For example, ANC6A meets in Miner School but has no office space, ANC 6B rents public meeting space in Hill Center but has no office space​, ​only storage space in Eastern Market (ANC6B  arranged office space for itself in the Hine Redevelopment Project coming on line in 2017, as part of the benefits and amenities package negotiated during the development’s PUD process); ANC6C holds its public meetings at the headquarters of the Heritage Foundation; ANC6D has a very nice office and meeting space in the DC Department of Regulatory Affairs.

When public institutions rely on the private sector for amenities, it naturally raises questions of propriety, especially when zoning, alcohol licenses, or historic preservation matters concerning ANC  landlords or benefactors come before their ANC  tenants or beneficiaries.   Such has been the case in recent years in the cases of both the Heritage Foundation and the Hine Development.  Similarly, regarding potential conflicts of interest, there does not seem to be a standard procedure for dealing with an ANC commissioner’s personal requests – on say, zoning or public space issues – when they come before that commissioner’s colleagues for consideration.

One idea raised via Bonds’ efforts ​was the creation of a central ward office for ANC’s – an idea that some ANCs with sufficient office space – ANC6D, for example – has little enthusiasm for.

Another idea which has been discussed is compensation for commissioners and/or requiring employers to grant leave without penalty for commissioners while doing ANC business.

One of the frequent complaints of ANCs is the dismissive attitude of some city agencies – especially DC Department of Transportation and the DC Department of Public Works.  Commissioners routinely encounter stonewalling and poor treatment at the hands of these agencies.

One way to strengthen the ANCs hands in dealing with city agencies would be greater coordination among the ANCs within a Ward.  Such coordination would serve to identify common ground and strengthen an​ ANC’s  voice on positions when dealing with the city government.

​Although the ANCs are non-partisan, many of its commissioners harbor some type of political ambition. Current and former members of ANC6B, for example, remain active in either Democratic or Republican campaigns.  In fact, as has been raised by CHC in previous stories, the ANC Commissions, designed to enhance residents’ voices, often function instead as functionaries ​for the ward​ ​c​ouncilmember​​.  Some critics, noting the lack of power of the ANC​s across the city government and before a number of city agencies, ​​think that the city would be better off abolishing the ANCs and making the councilmember directly responsible for issues – particularly development issues – within his or her ward.

​Instead, Councilmember Bonds seems to be embarking on the opposite path:  strengthening them.  ​Along those lines, perhaps the CM Bond’s conversations should include how can we get a wider variety of people to serve on the ANCS.  Few have any idea how much the job requires and how thankless it is​, and this is particularly true in light of residential zoning and historic preservation requests​. ​ ANCs within a historic district, for example, can expend thirty minutes of full committee meeting time on a controversial renovation to a neighbor’s ​back porch, leaving commissioners in awkward position that, in other jurisdictions, would be handed by an administrative process with an opportunity to appeal.  Laboring under the weight of so much extraneous material dealing with discrete residential renovations, ANCs are left without much room on their agenda for issues of genuine community concern.  For those who harbor no greater political ambitions, or for those who lack a deeper stake in ANC affairs like, for example, a real estate agent or lawyer with ties to local commercial interests might, a heavy roster of zoning and historic preservation cases is unlikely to attract them to service.  On the other hand, a platform to discuss and advocate on behalf of local development, public safety, and schools might.

For more on the ANC’s go here:  http://anc.dc.gov/

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ANC6D Commissioners Blast DDOT and Mayor on No Circulator for SW

DDOT's Steve Strauss, standing, receives grilling by ANC6D Commissioners.

DDOT’s Steve Strauss, standing, receives grilling by unhappy ANC6D Commissioners.

ANC6D Commissioners Blast DDOT and Mayor on No Circulator for SW

Commissioners Cite Lack of SW Parking, Retail, Access to Capitol Hill

by Larry Janezich

Monday night, an angry ANC6D sent a message to the DC Department of Transportation and to the Mayor that they were fed up with empty promises of Circulator Service to the ANC’s neighborhoods west of South Capitol in SW Washington.

Commissioners had invited Sam Zimbabwe, DDOT Associate Director of Policy, Planning & Sustainability to update the ANC on when Circulator Service would be extended to SW Washington.  They were not happy to hear Zimbabwe stand-in Steve Strauss, Deputy Associate Director of the Progressive Transportation , tell them that maybe the Union Station/Navy Yard Circulator could be extended to SW in the spring of 2017.  He said that although the intent had been to use some of the 18 new Circulator buses ordered last year to expand the Navy Yard route into SW as well as the Georgetown to Union Station route, those buses are needed to replace the aging buses in the current fleet.  The next bus order will be placed in the late spring of 2016, with delivery a year later.

One of the most outspoken commissioners was Rhonda Hamilton, who tore into Strauss: “This is disappointing.  We’re living here and can’t get out of SW – there is no parking – there are two subway stops to Eastern Market.  You’re not getting the message.  You have been promising, promising, promising.  The Circulator has been coming for five years.  When are we getting the Circulator in SW?”

Ward Six Mayor’s representative Seth Shapiro elicited from Strauss that two buses would be necessary to expand the Navy Yard route into SW, but Strauss said he could not speculate on whether the needs of SW would outweigh the needs of the Georgetown route in terms of allocation of resources.

Commissioner Andy Litsky told Shapiro that there is a dearth of retail in SW and “we want to shop on Capitol Hill.  If the city wants us to spend money in the city, the Mayor needs to provide a way for that to happen – otherwise, we’ll go to Virginia.  Take this back to the Mayor, ‘This is bunk, and it needs to be fixed.’”

ANC6D Chair Roger Moffet told Strauss that his presentation was “bogus – you’re not telling us what we asked you here for.  At what point will you give us an answer?”

Strauss replied that he thought DDOT would have an answer by fall.  Moffet told him that the ANC would meet next on September 21, and invited him back to that meeting to provide an update.  Strauss said, “It might be October.”

Circulator, promising when launched because it promised pickups every ten minutes, has become less predictable, causing frustration among riders.  CHC timed Navy Yard – Union Station Circulator bus arrivals at a Barracks Row location on Wednesday, July 8, and found that in the 7:30am – 8:5am time interval, buses arrived at: 7:30am, 7:41am, 7:52am, 8:02am, 8:08am, 8:12am, 8:26am, 8:33am, and 8:51am.  For riders with smart phones, a live map showing the current location of each bus on the Union Station – Navy Yard route provides diversion while you wait.  See here:  http://circulatormap.com/map/union-station-navy-yard

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The Week Ahead….And Some Photos from the Past Week

On Monday, a memorial service for journalist/activist Roberta Weiner held at Hill Center was attended by some 120 friends and Hill residents, including Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton, Councilmember Charles Allen, Director of Director of the DC Department of the Environment and former Councilmember Tommy Wells, and Former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose.

On Monday, a memorial service for community journalist/activist Roberta Weiner held at Hill Center was attended by some 120 friends and Hill residents, including Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton, Councilmember Charles Allen, Director of Director of the DC Department of the Environment and former Councilmember Tommy Wells, and Former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose.

Superstar Chef Rob Weland announced the name of his new Barracks Row Restaurant,

Superstar Chef Rob Weland announced the name of his new Barracks Row Restaurant, “Garrison”

2014 DC Restaurateur of the Year Michael Babin Appeared before ANC6B's ABC Committee and agreed to neighbor's requests to mitigate the impact of his new Barracks Row restaurant at 413 8th Street, SC

On Thursday, 2014 DC Restaurateur of the Year Michael Babin Appeared before ANC6B’s ABC Committee and agreed to neighbors’ requests to mitigate the impact of his new Barracks Row restaurant at 413 8th Street, SE

A Food Oil Recycler services the restaurants on 7th Street, across from Eastern Market.  DC regulations allow the engine running the recycling pumps to idle while the truck is stopped.

Friday morning, a Food Oil Recycler services the restaurants on 7th Street, across from Eastern Market. DC regulations allow the engine running the recycling pumps to idle while the truck is stopped.

And the Resulting Oil Spillage

And the Resulting Food Oil Spillage

And a busy day today at the 7th Street Flea Market

And a busy day today at the 7th Street Flea Market

The Week Ahead …. And Some Photos from Last Week

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 13

  1. ANC6D meets at 7:00pm at DCRA Meeting Room, 1100 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor.

Among items on the agenda:

Public Safety Report – First District MPD – PSA 105 and 106

Circulator Service in SW – update by Sam Zimbabwe

New liquor licenses for Hyatt Place Hotel, 400 E Street, SW; Hampton Inn and Suites, 1265           1st Street, SE; Capital Yacht Club, 600 Water Street, SW.

Protest liquor license for Dardo and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Tuesday, July 14

  1. ANC6B meets at 7:00pm at Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Restaurant Liquor License for the new restaurant at 413-415 8th Street (Barracks Row) formerly the location of Kraze Burger.  It looks like owner Michael Babin has agreed to meet community requests regarding odor mitigation and if he does, this looks like “slam dunk?”  See here:  http://bit.ly/1CvyT6C

Capitol Hill architects Judith Capen and Robert Weinstein (landlords of CHRS for office space), owners of 1220 D Street, SE, are looking to upgrade this multiunit property close to the Buchanan School development.  Some members of the ANC’s Planning and Zoning Committee had issues with the owners’ desire to tear off and replace the entrance canopy – like where to draw the line on similar requests from other developers.  Not sure what CHRS said about it.

The owner of a couple of buildings at 1010-1012 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, wants to turn them into mixed use – retail and six units of residential.

Thursday, July 15

  1. ANC6B’s Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force meets at 7:00pm at Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Nuisance properties – maybe something on how to better liaison with District 1 MPD.

  1. PSA 104 meets at 7:00pm in Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street, Ne. Check out the PSA 104 blog here:  http://psa104.blogspot.com/  Maybe this should be the standard for the rest of Ward Six PSAs.

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Barracks Row Restaurateur Babin Yields to Resident Pressure on New Restaurant

Michael Babin before the ANC6b Alcohol Beverage Control Committee last Thursday.  Commissioner Chander Jayaraman, second from left, chairs the committee

Michael Babin before the ANC6b Alcohol Beverage Control Committee last Thursday. Commissioner Chander Jayaraman, second from left, chairs the committee

Barracks Row Restaurateur Babin Yields to Resident Pressure on New Restaurant

Coalition (including Rep. John Lewis) Pushed Hard for Best Practice Operating Standards

by Larry Janezich

Last Thursday night at ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee meeting, prominent DC restaurateur Michael Babin said he believed he could reach an agreement to install the odor pollution control unit on his new proposed restaurant at 415 8th Street (formerly Kraze Burgers) that a broad coalition of Capitol Hill residents had requested of him.  Babin had resisted taking that step, earlier telling residents that he could not afford the $50,000 price tag of the installation.  He had previously​acceded to two other requests – indoor trash storage and noise abatement.  In his concession, he told the ANC and the 25 or so residents at Thursday night’s meeting, “We want to be great neighbors.”

Babin said he had communicated the details of the neighbors’ concerns to his landlord, StreetSense, and praised the landlord as a “good operator who cares” about the concerns of neighbors.  He did not comment on whether StreetSense was participating in alleviating the expense of the installation.  Babin heads the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, which owns 17 restaurants in DC and Northern Virginia.  See CHC post here:  http://bit.ly/1JRWIWN

The large contingent of concerned residents who attended the meeting urged the ANC to protest Babin’s application for a liquor license without an odor mitigation agreement for the new venture, but Babin’s announcement made the protest unnecessary.  Resident Katherine Szafran spoke for the group and presented the ANC with a petition with 190 signatures of residents and non-food business owners, including civil rights and congressional​legend​ ​Representative John Lewis.  The petition urged Babin and StreetSense to adopt “Best Practices” including installing a pollution control unit, indoor trash storage, and sound mitigation.

Szafran told the ANC that the lax standards for restaurant operating procedures “are a major health issue.  Rats are overrunning the neighborhood.”  She cited the long efforts of residents to address the problems and pointed to recent closures of two restaurants neighboring Babin’s new location which the city had shut down because of vermin.  “Rats smell food and they travel – part of the solution is to cut down on the smell of fried food and grease,” she said.

Although neighbors concerned about the impact of restaurants on Barracks Row have presented petitions before, none has had as many signatures nor reflected such a broad community involvement.  Those signing included residents on the streets around Barracks Row and Eastern Market,​ those near the restaurants between 2nd and 3rd Streets on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, as well as residents from disparate locations across Capitol Hill.

​The enormous efforts undertaken to secure this many signatures and the level of concern exhibited signal residents’  lack of confidence that ANC6B will prioritize their ​interests over the interests of Barracks Row restaurants.  Residents had cause to worry.  A settlement agreement reached in May with Aaron Silverman on his new companion restaurant to Rose’s Luxury – “Elaine’s” – on Barracks Row, seemed to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt on the issues of trash, noise, and odors – none of which were required to meet the “Best Practices” standard.  Neighbors felt left out of the process when the settlement agreement was worked out with Silverman by ANC Commissioner James Loots.  See here:  http://bit.ly/1EcMLfJ

The previous ANC6B – some members of which did not seek re-election – clearly felt that the “Best Practices” agreement reached with & Pizza (including all three concerns regarding Babin’s new place) would become the new standard for Barracks Row.  It is unclear if a majority of the current ANC6B feels the same degree of commitment, but it is clear that they are being held to a new standard themselves regarding Barracks Row issues.

To his credit, Babin is undertaking the expensive mitigations even though, as he told the attendees, he is “pretty sure” he could get a liquor license without agreeing to the requests.

With two significant victories on imposing “Best Practices” on new restaurants opening on Barracks Row – first & Pizza and now Babin’s new place – ​the community has moved closer to establishing those standards as the new norm for new restaurants​, ​not only on Barracks Row but on Pennsylvania Avenue, and potentially H Street, NE, which ​struggles with​ the impact of food and drinking establishments on its community​ and does so without the benefit of a BID, or Business Improvement District, to mitigate ongoing problems.​​

In the end, the Committee voted 9 – 0 to approve Babin’s liquor license application contingent on a signed settlement agreement incorporating language covering indoor trash storage, noise mitigation and pollution control units.  The agreement must be reached and signed before the meeting of the full ANC6B meeting next Tuesday.  Timing is critical, since the ANC will not meet again until September 8, and as Babin said Thursday night, “time is money.”

The yet unnamed restaurant will seat about 50 patrons and will be modeled on another Babin restaurant in Virginia, B-side, as first reported by CHC here: http://bit.ly/1JRWIWN

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City Cancels Request for Proposals to Develop Hill East Boys and Girls Club

City Cancels Request for Proposals to Develop Hill East Boys and Girls Club

by Larry Janezich

Capitol Hill Corner has learned that the Department of General Services (DGS) has cancelled the Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop the Boys and Girls Club issued on September 17, 2014.  It’s possible the move was made in advance of issuing a new request for proposals, but CHC could not confirm that.

Brian Flahaven and Denise Krepp – ANC6B Hill East commissioners – led the effort to require DGS to get better responses for the development.

Asked for his reaction, Brian Flahaven, former chair of ANC6B’s Hill East Task Force, told CHC: “ANC6B asked DGS to reconsider the length of the lease on the property to get better responses.  I hope they do reissue RFP with less restrictive terms that make more sense for the site. If they cancel it for good – that would be the worst possible outcome.”  For ANC6B’s action on Krepp’s letter to DGS asking for reconsideration of the RFP terms, see here:  http://bit.ly/1AHzvhL

That letter came about owing to the considerable unhappiness in the Hill East community with the only bid for developing the property (the Dantes Partners/Menkiti proposal) which seemed  to be feasible given DGS’ refusal to lengthen the 25 year lease for the property – a restriction that precluded private financing, making viable only bids which rely on public financing.  Dantes Partners/Menkiti proposed building a 100% senior housing project financed by the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.  The surrounding community overwhelmingly favored a mixed income residential project.  For previous posts on the controversy surrounding the Boys and Girls Club, see here:  http://bit.ly/1DzFGp8

For more on the city’s push for 100% affordable housing at the Boys and Girls Club, see here:  http://bit.ly/1DvMw1W

For more on how LIHLTC works, see here:  http://bit.ly/1FT5TCb

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The Week Ahead…Liquor License for Kraze Burger Successor on Barrack Row

July 2, 2015, 8:15pm, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

July 2, 2015, 8:15pm, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

The Week Ahead….Liquor License for Kraze Burger Successor on Barracks Row

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 6

  1. CHRS Historic Preservation Committee meets at 6:30pm at Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE.
  2. Roberta Weiner: 1937-2015. A memorial service for long time community news reporter Roberta Weiner will be held at 6pm at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  Following the service, at 7 p.m., friends will gather at Tunnicliff’s Tavern located at 222 Seventh Street, SE.  See more here:  http://bit.ly/1HGA8A5

Tuesday, July 7

  1. ANC6B Planning & Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE.

Among items on the agenda:

1220 D Street SE, alterations to entrance

416 G Street SE, concept/front addition

1209 Independence Ave SE, concept/rear addition, roof deck

1010-1012 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, concept/rear additions

1015 E Street SE, concept/revised rear addition.  (Bureau of Zoning Adjustment ordered changes to this project which would have had a severe adverse impact on 11th Street neighbors – see here http://bit.ly/1JHXiru)

1325 D Street SE, curb cut for Buchanan School Development.

  1. AnC6B Transportation Committee will meet at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Update on the Completion of Office of Planning’s SE Boulevard Study and Next Steps on DDOT’s Feasibility Study: Office of Planning/DDOT

Identifying Dangerous Intersections:  Commissioner Flahaven

Resolution on Naming Alleys in Square #1042: Commissioner Burger

Update on DDOT analysis of adding a signalized pedestrian crossing on 11th Street between K and L Streets SE.

Thursday, July 9

  1. ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee will meet at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

New restaurant license for the former Kraze Burger, 413-415 8th Street, SE.  (This fried meat outlet could be controversial in a block some call oversaturated with restaurants – see here:  http://bit.ly/1JRWIWN )

  1. ANC6A meets at 7:00pm at Miner Elementary, 601 Fifteenth Street, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Patio expansion plans of Lattice Partners LLC (Copycat Co.)

Proposed protest of a request for a change from a restaurant license to a tavern license for Da Luft at 1242 H Street, NE

New license for Imm on H at 1360 H Street, NE

Letter of support to DDOT for the Ben’s Chili Bowl public space application related to installation of panda statue in front of the store at the corner of 10th and H Streets, NE, with the condition that the owners consider moving the statue if the ANC receives complaints about it blocking pedestriantraffic/right-of-way.

Letter of support to DDOT for the Mia’s Coffeehouse public space application related to a sidewalk cafe at 1500 A Street NE

Letter to the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in conditional support of a variance from the off-street parking requirements in connection with the operation of a medical office at 702 15th Street, NE.

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