The Week Ahead….and ANC6B’s Flahaven Wants Delay in Boys and Girls Club Decision

Sunset, Eastern Market Metro, January 18, 2015

Sunset, Eastern Market Metro, January 18, 2015

The Week Ahead….and ANC’s Flahaven Wants Delay in Boys and Girls Club Decision

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B Commissioner Flahaven Wants Delay in DGS Award on Development of Eastern Branch Building

Last Tuesday, DSG held a community meeting to receive feedback on the two proposals for developing the Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club Building.  The inability of the DGS to answer a number of questions which could affect the ANC’s recommendation led Flahaven to post the following conclusion in his summary of the meeting posted on his ANC6B blog:

“Given these uncertainties, I stated my discomfort with having ANC 6B and neighbors weigh in on the proposals without further clarification from DGS. I certainly would not want the commission to support a proposal that was later disqualified due to the affordable housing requirement, zoning issues, etc. DGS responded that they may go back to both development teams seeking Best and Final Offers with all of the outstanding issues clarified. My inclination is to ask DGS to delay their award decision until March while the development teams seek clarity and the neighborhood can better consider what is and what is not possible on the site.”

Although some fifty residents attended the meeting, as of Sunday night, only one has responded to Flahven’s request for community feedback on the proposal.

The full text of Flahaven’s summary can be seen here:  http://flahaven6b.com/

The Week Ahead….

Monday, January 26

ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee meets at 7:00pm at Maury Elementary School, Multi-purpose Room, 1250 Constitution Avenue, NE (Enter from 13th Street).

Tuesday, January 27

ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for the full ANC6B meeting on February 10.

Tuesday, January 27

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market.

On the Agenda:

Election of the Community Representative

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Court of Appeals Rejects Hine Coalition Petition for Rehearing Hine Case

Developer's 3-D Model of Hine Project

Developer’s 3-D Model of Hine Project

Court of Appeals Rejects Hine Coalition Petition for Rehearing Hine Case

Decision Allows Project to Move Forward

by Larry Janezich

Yesterday, the DC Court of Appeals issued an order denying the petition for a rehearing of a request to send the Hine case back to the Zoning Commission (ZC).

The Zoning Commission (ZC) signed off on the project on November 21, 2012, but the project has been delayed since then by attempts of a group of Capitol Hill residents – The Hine Coalition – to require the ZC to rehear the case.  A three member DC Court of Appeals decision affirmed the ZC’s approval in August of 2014, and the Hine Coalition petitioned the full nine member court to hear the case.  Yesterday’s decision denied that petition.

Throughout the process, Capitol Hill residents comprising the Hine Coalition maintained that they did not oppose redevelopment of Hine School – what they objected to was the mass and height of the final Stanton-Eastbanc plan as inappropriate for the community.  The building’s seven stories will rise 94 feet – more than twice the height of the Le Pain Quotidian building across the street and will overwhelm the nearby iconic Eastern Market and the townhouses in the surrounding neighborhood.

The total 464,276 square foot project will provide 254,187 square feet for residential, 163,392 for offices, 46,699 for retail.   There will be 158 residential units – 46 of them affordable (most of these segregated in a separate building) and 260 parking spaces.  Many of the attractive features of the initial  proposal (62,000 square feet smaller) which helped win community support for the project fell away over time.

According to Hill Now http://www.hillnow.com/ the Stanton Eastbanc development team will start remediation of the building in about a month.  Razing the building will take two or three months after remediation is complete.  The developers expect the project to be complete by late 2017 or early 2018.

CHC posted two editorials detailing the evolution of the plans for the project here:  http://bit.ly/1rdjDVQ  and here:  http://bit.ly/1wbACpG

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Flawed DGS Request for Proposals for Boys and Girls Club Presents Stark Choices

Department of General Services' Michelle Chin, at last night's community meeting on development of the Hill East Boys and Girls Club Building

Department of General Services’ Michelle Chin, at last night’s community meeting on development of the Hill East Boys and Girls Club Building

Flawed DGS Request for Proposals for Boys and Girls Club Presents Stark Choices

25 Year Lease Requirement Skews Selection Process in Favor of Public Financing

by Larry Janezich

At Tuesday night’s community meeting hosted by DC’s Department of General Services (DGS) to hear proposals for development of the Boys and Girls Club Eastern Branch building, community residents were presented with only two choices: affordable units to be constructed with public financing through the Low Income Tax Credit program, and market rate units financed through private equity.  Both plans would dedicate the residential housing to seniors, as called for in the RFP.  At that point the plans diverge dramatically.

The first plan, presented by the Menkiti Group and Dantes Partners, proposes 49 small units in the 600 – 800 square foot range, 10 on-site parking spaces, and a 5,000 square foot space the DGS wants to be set aside for community purposes, but for which the developer has not specified a use.  The plan envisions a modern vertical “pop-up” that sits on top of the extant structure. Dantes Partners president Buwa Binitie says that the building will be 100% affordable housing which suggests that he will finance entirely through the government’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, and this in turn suggests that he was not able to raise any private equity outside of the LIHTC program for his plans.

In contrast, Century Associates proposes 27 market-rate units of various sizes, 16-18 on-site parking spaces, and a remaining community space of 4,200 square feet in which the team plans to put an indoor children’s play space.  The proposal stays within the existing building envelope, a point that lead developer Joel Kelty stressed throughout this presentation.  Since the building is not new construction, there is no requirement that a 10 percent of the units be affordable under inclusionary zoning requirements.  Kelty said last night that if the city provided a longer lease than the current 25 years, he would be happy to work an affordable housing component into his plans.  Otherwise, Kelty said, getting private equity for such a short term lease is difficult.

If this is the case, it raises questions why DGS​ attached the short 25 year lease condition to the Request for Proposals (RFP).  In addition, it was also left unclear whether the Eastern Branch disposition must comply with the new law that all lands disposed by the city for residential development must be at least 30% affordable, since the RFP was issued before the law took effect.  DGS officials offered no definitive resolution of this point last night.

The only point of agreement between the two finalists seemed to be that the unusual construction of the building posed considerable challenges.  According to Kelty, the RFP had elicited scant interest from DC’s developers – contrary to the statement of DSG’s Michelle Chin at the beginning of the meeting who told the dozens of community residents that its RFP had met with “considerable interest.”

It seemed to some observers that the residents who attended last night’s meeting, numbering about 50, favored the Century Associates plan, despite the lack of clarity and a lack of order in the meeting’s proceedings which frustrated attendees.  ANC Commissioner Brian Flahaven underscored his hope that the development for this project would move along in the process, but the starkly different nature of the proposals and the inability of DGS officials to resolve confusion last night led him to subsequently suggest that the ANC might wait until Best and Final Offers were submitted to the DGS before weighing in on the site.  It is likely that the ANC will consider the development at its Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on February 3 and the full ANC meeting February 10, unless DSG asks for Best and Final Offers.  According to a time line announced September 23, 2014, DSG is scheduled to make a final selection in February.  DSG expects the project to take three years to completion.  See CHC posting here:  http://bit.ly/XYrQzf

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Why Cops Can’t Take Your Word on Some Criminal Activity – and Body Cameras in ANC6B

Sergeant Curry, MPD District One, Wears One of the 160 Body Cameras Being Tested in the City

Sergeant Curry, MPD District One, Wears One of the 160 Body Cameras Being Tested in the City

Why Cops Can’t Take Your Word on Some Criminal Activity – and Body Cameras in ANC6B

by Larry Janezich

Six of us showed up for the PSA (Police Service Area) 108 meeting at Liberty Baptist Church last Thursday night: ANC6B Commissioner Brian Flahaven, four residents and a journalist.  MPD First District’s Lt. Dykes is the designated PSA Lieutenant for PSA 108, but since he works a later shift, the meeting was conducted by Sergeants Curry and Thompson.  Curry remarked on the attendance, noting that only one person had shown up for the last meeting.

In the course of the discussion on what is happening in PSA 108, Curry mentioned that in contrast to cases where an officer is given evidence that a felony has been committed, arrests and citations for some misdemeanors – including disorderly conduct – must be witnessed by an officer before the officer can take action.  According to Curry, not even photographic evidence provided to an officer is sufficient.  Curry said that the DC Code lists 27 misdemeanors, some of which require that a police officer witness the act before taking action, and some not.  Pressed as to which needed to be witnessed and which do not, Curry referred the questioner to the DC Code.

Also of note, residents may not be aware that body cameras are being used in ANC6B, and Sergeant Curry was wearing one.  On October 1, some 160 MPD volunteers (master control officers and sergeants) from all seven police districts began a six month pilot program using five models from seven vendors.  Cameras being used include those that mount to an officer’s collar, shirt front, or eyeglass frame.  They can be turned on at the officers’ discretion but under departmental policy, cameras are required to be turned on when an officer receives a call for service or assistance and must remain on until the call is finished.

In the interest of promoting a closer working relationship with the MPD, Flahaven said that ANC6B commissioners have talked about asking MPD officials to interact with the ANC on a regular basis on policing in ANC6B, and speculated that could happen this year.  The city has seven police districts, each divided into Police Service Areas.  Capitol Hill’s First District has 8 PSAs.  See here:  http://1.usa.gov/1J3W2Kp

A useful website that is underpublicized at the PSA 108 and PSA 107 meetings this reporter has attended is the DC Police Crime Mapping website:  http://crimemap.dc.gov/

For example, in a few key strokes you can find details on the type and location of each of the 34 crimes reported within 1000 feet of Eastern Market Metro (or any other address) in the last 30 days.  Go here:  http://crimemap.dc.gov/Report.aspx

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ANC6C Favors Zoning Changes for 26 Unit + Retail at 645-654 H Street, NE

26 Condos and 2 Floors of Retail Planned for 645-654 H Street, NE

26 Condos and 2 Floors of Retail Planned for 645-654 H Street, NE

ANC6C Recommends Zoning Adjustments for 26 Unit + Retail at 646-654 H Street, NE

Last Wednesday, ANC6C voted 5-0 to recommend the Board of Zoning Adjustment approve zoning changes for Rock Creek Property Group and Cornerstone Development Group’s 32,600 square foot mixed use project on H Street, NE.

When complete, the six level, 75 foot high development will provide 26 high end condos and penthouse luxury units and 8,800 square feet of retail on the first and second floors. Only five compact car parking spaces will be provided.

The developer says if all goes according to plan, they could break ground on the building in late 2015 or early 2016.  Construction could take some 14 months.  The building is being designed by PGNArchitects.

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The Week Ahead….Public to Weigh Plans for Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Branch Building, 261 17th Street, SE

Boys and Girls Club, Eastern Branch Building, 261 17th Street, SE

The Week Ahead….Public to Weigh Plans for Boys and Girls Club

by Larry Janezich

Monday, January 19

Federal Holiday:  Birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King

(ANC6A Community Outreach Committee meeting postponed until Monday, January 26)

(ANC6A Transportation Committee meeting postponed until February 9)

Tuesday, January 20

Boys and Girls Club development proposals will be presented to the community for comment at a meeting hosted by Department of General Services.  The meeting will be 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Payne Elementary School, 1445 C Street, SE.  The city plans to select a developer to develop the Boys and Girls Club Building at 216 17th Street, SE, into residential units and community space. 

ANC 6B will consider the community responses and submit its comments at the February 10 monthly meeting.  The Payne meeting is the first of only two opportunities residents will have to affect how this property will be developed.  The only other chance will be at the February ANC6B meeting but time will be very limited.  See CHC post here:  http://bit.ly/XYrQzf

Tuesday, January 20

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at Sherwood Recreation Center (640 10th Street, NE)

Among items on the agenda:

Report on Pizza Parts & Service and Copycat Co. Settlement Agreements.

Tuesday, January 20

CHRS Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm in Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE, second floor.

Wednesday, January 21

ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm in Sherwood Recreation Center (640 10th Streets, NE)

Among items on the agenda:

1600 Block of Kramer Street, NE: DC Department of Housing and Community Development has solicited offers for the development of multiple adjoining vacant lots located on this block, including with mixed-income housing. Three organizations submitting offers to develop the property will be providing separate informational presentations regarding their proposals. They are:

– Mi Casa, Inc.

– Manna, Inc.

– Neighborhood Development Co.

(Kramer Street is one block long and runs east to west between Miner Elementary School and Rosdale Regreational Center.)

1371 to 1375 H Street: Applicant seeks a variance from the offstreet parking requirements and a special exception from the roof structure setback requirements to construct a six-story multifamily residential building with ground floor retail.

721 11th Street, NE: Applicant seeks a special exception for not meeting the lot occupancy requirements, the rear yard setback requirements, and the nonconforming structure requirements, to convert an existing two-story garage into a second-story apartment and construct a covered walkway in the R-4 District.  (The city is considering proposals to change the current regulation which considers two structures on a lot joined by a covered walkway or trellis to be a single structure which would allow this second story addition to the garage.  ANC6A and 6B have had several of these cases recently, apparently part of a rush to take advantage of a loophole before it closes.)

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DDOT Responds with Alacrity to Capitol Hill Traffic Concerns After Latest Stumble before ANC Committee

DDOT Responds with Alacrity to Capitol Hill Traffic Concerns After Latest Stumble before ANC6B Committee

by Larry Janezich

After the newhilleast listserv lit up last week with a host of complaints about left turns from 695 onto 11th Street, SE, DDOT moved quickly to address the issue.  ANC6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg posted to the listserv on Friday that DDOT would make signal adjustments and add signage and striping to alleviate the difficulties in making the turn.

Maybe it’s just the extra attentiveness characteristic of city agencies in the early days of a new administration.  Or maybe it’s sensitivity about the continuing perception in Hill East and among some ANC6B commissioners that too often DDOT does little other than pay lip service to community concerns.

DDOT has had a history of exhibiting a dismissive attitude toward issues raised by ANC6B (and, for that matter ANC6A).  See CHC posts here:  http://bit.ly/1ozcgmW and http://bit.ly/1BjGT8J

The latest example occurred at the January 7 meeting of the ANC’s Committee on Transportation when two DDOT representatives made a background presentation on a proposed DDOT study on parking in the Eastern Market area.  The presenters were clearly unprepared, citing information 12 years old as “current,” and provided little or no useful information, according to some commissioners.  The committee report to the full ANC said: “Some Commissioners expressed outrage at DDOT’s inability to provide more timely information.”

Commissioner Krepp (6B10) revisited the issue at ANC6B’s monthly meeting on January 13, terming the briefing “mind numbing, inept, incompetent and insulting.” Citing the reliance on 12 year old information, Krepp said the presentation prompted her to engage in a Twitter conversation with DDOT officials who claimed that the presentation was occurring without their knowledge.  Krepp expressed her conviction the DDOT needs to be held to a higher standard.

ANC6B Chair Oldenburg, who as chair of the Transportation Committee, had arranged the briefing, responded saying “Unfortunately, the presentation was truncated” referring to Krepp’s sharp questioning during the presentation which eventually brought it to a close.  Oldenburg added that” Listening to poor presentations is part of the job of ANC commissioners, and commissioners should get used to it.”

Krepp responded by saying, “Commissioner Oldenburg, I’m not going to sit here and get used to it. We have a right to insist that presentations be worth out time.”  She was backed up by Commissioner Daniel Chao, who was not at the committee meeting but had heard a report from a representative who attended.  Chao said that time management was an important issue for him, and “I’m not opposed to closing down a meeting if presenters are unprepared.”

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ANC6C Holds First Meeting – Elects Officers – Hears CM Charles Allen – Photos

ANC6C Officers and Commissioners (L-R) Mark Eckenwiler, Chair Karen Wirt, Treasurer Scott Price, Secretary Tony Goodman, and Chris Miller.  Not pictured:  Vice Chair Danielle Schiffman

ANC6C Officers and Commissioners (L-R) Mark Eckenwiler, Chair Karen Wirt, Treasurer Scott Price, Secretary Tony Goodman, and Chris Miller. Not pictured: Vice Chair Danielle Schiffman

Councilmember Charles Allen at last night's ANC6C meeting

Councilmember Charles Allen at last night’s ANC6C meeting

ANC6C Holds First Meeting – Elects Officers – Hears CM Charles Allen – Photos

by Larry Janezich

Wednesday night, ANC6C convened its initial meeting for the 2015-2016 term and elected the following officers:

Chair:  Karen Wirt

Vice Chair:  Daniele Schiffman

Secretary.  Tony Goodman

Treasurer:  Scott Price

The ANC also heard from Councilmember Charles Allen who said he was asking to speak at each of the Ward 6 ANCs as part of a plan to strengthen relations between the ANCs and the Councilmember’s office.  To that end, he announced the institution of quarterly meetings with ANC chairs and vice chairs, for the purpose of a two way exchange of information – to keep the ANCs abreast of activities of the Council and to enable him to get feedback on what’s happening in the ANCs, including how the ANCs are working or not working.  He will ask the ANCs to compile a priority list of issues affecting their districts.

Allen also told the ANC that he had been appointed to the following DC City Council Committees:  Education; Transportation and Environment; and Small Business/DCRA.  He listed middle schools, early child literacy, and small business as three of his top issues for Ward 6.

Allen subsequently announced that on Friday, January 16, he will hold a press conference to announce the forthcoming introduction of his bill to create a new early literacy initiative in partnership with DC Libraries.  The event will take place at 10:30am at Southwest Neighborhood Library (Waterfront Metro).

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ANC6B Holds First Meeting – Elects Officers. Photos

ANC6B's First Meeting.  (L-R) Chair Kirsten Oldenburg, Jennifer Samolyk, Secretary Daniel Chao, Treasurer Diane Hoskins, James Loots, Vice Chair Brian Flahaven

ANC6B’s First Meeting. (L-R) Chair Kirsten Oldenburg, Jennifer Samolyk, Secretary Daniel Chao, Treasurer Diane Hoskins, James Loots, Vice Chair Brian Flahaven -

ANC6B Officers and Commissioners (L-R) Kiane Krepp, Steve Hagedorn, Chander Jayaraman, Nick Burger.

ANC6B Officers and Commissioners (L-R) Denise Krepp, Steve Hagedorn, Chander Jayaraman, Nick Burger.

ANC6B Holds First Meeting – Elects Officers.  Photos

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, ANC6B met at Hill Center for the first meeting of the 2015-2016 term.  After approving the agenda, the first order of business was the election of officers.  There were no contested offices.   The officers are as follows:

Chair:  Kirsten Oldenburg

Vice Chair:  Brian Flahaven

Secretary:  Daniel Chao

Treasurer:  Diane Hoskins

Parliamentarian:  Denise Krepp

Commissioner Diane Hoskins was also elected the ANC’s representative to the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee.  Commissioner Steve Hagedorn was elected alternate representative.

Contact information for ANC6B Commissioners and a map of ANC6B and its Single Member Districts can be found here:  http://bit.ly/1u4LCJh

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ANC6B Approves 10 Condo Unit/Expanded La Lomita on PA Ave, SE

View of Condo Projett and La Lomita from Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

View of condo project and La Lomita from Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  The triangle park on the left which separates G Street, SE, from Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, is owned by the National Park Service.  

ANC6B Approves 10 Condo Unit/Expanded La Lomita on PA Ave, SE

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, ANC6B approved zoning variances to allow construction of ten condos and a 1,000 square foot expansion for La Lomita at 1330-1336 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

According to PGN Architect partner Jeff Goins – who is also the architect for the 49 unit residential project at 11th and I Streets, SE, planned by Madison Investments – the project will expand the La Lomita’s second floor and incorporate two adjacent structures for the condos.  The expanded restaurant space on the first floor will provide space for a bar.

The condos will be 800 square foot one bedroom units and 900 square foot two bedroom units. One of the units will be designated affordable under the Inclusionary Zoning requirement.  Some units would have private roof decks, but there will be no common roof deck.

In response to concerns raised by nearby neighbors at last week’s ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee, negotiations among interested parties over the last several days moved the application for zoning adjustments forward to the point where the ANC felt comfortable in approving the request.  Although approval was not made contingent on a signed agreement between the neighbors and the project’s owner on outstanding issues, it was clear that all parties expected that an agreement would be reached which would justify the ANC signing off on the project at Tuesday night’s meeting..

Commissioners particularly lauded a portion of the agreement that stipulated a binding commitment that none of the residents of the project would be eligible to participate in the Residential Parking Permit program.  Neighbors had expressed concerns about the impact of the project on residential parking in the neighborhood.  Another concession the owner made to the neighbors concerned the materials which would be used for the project.  Commissioner Nick Burger, in whose single member district the project resides, expressed confidence that agreement would be reached on the outstanding trash disposal and specific construction concerns.

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