“Main Street” Designation for Eastern Market Business Corridors on Fast Track

Some of the community stakeholders who turned out for Tuesday night's community meeting on the proposed Main Street

Some of the community stakeholders who turned out for Tuesday night’s community meeting on the proposed Main Street

Seated:  Market Row Association Board of Directors, (l-r), Manuel Cortes, Groovy; Terry McDonald, Scallan properties; Mary Quillian Helms, Mr. Henry's; (not pictured) Ann Richards, Forecast.  Standing is Kate Gordon,  meeting facilitator

Seated: Market Row Association Board of Directors, (l-r), Manuel Cortes, Groovy; Terry McDonald, Scallan properties; Mary Quillian Helms, Mr. Henry’s; (not pictured) Ann Richards, Forecast. Standing is Kate Gordon, meeting facilitator

“Main Street” Designation for Eastern Market Business Corridors on Fast Track

November 1 Start Date Seems Likely

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, some 40 community stakeholders gathered at a community meeting in the Hill Center to hear from Manuel Cortes, Chair of the Market Row Association, that the process for creating a Main Street designation for the Eastern Market commercial environment was well underway and could become a reality by November 1.  For a previous story on the proposed Eastern Market Main Street, go here:  http://bit.ly/29QAvhj

Funding for an Eastern Market Main Street was included in DC’s 2017 budget for the year beginning November 1.   On July 8, the city issued a request for interested parties to submit applications for the creation of an Eastern Market Main Street.  The 7th Street Merchant Row Association, which had been lobbying for the Main Street funding, is poised to submit an application by the September 8 deadline.  The city will announce a decision on the application in October for a program start date on November 1.

If the application is approved, on November 1, $200,000 in funding will become available and the organizing of the governance structure and hiring of staff for the Main Street can begin. The city provides guidelines for the spending of the $200K, with $80,000 specified for administration (salaries and rent), $80,000 for promotion of the business district, and $40,000 for training an executive director, staff, and the board of directors.

Renewable annual funding is available in subsequent years, the amount depending on budget priorities; in recent years, the allocation has been $125,000, with $87,500 designated for promotion and $37,500 for salary of the executive director.

According to Martin Smith, Executive Director of Barracks Row Main Street, funding to cover other expenses must be raised by additional grants from city agencies, grants from private foundations, fund raising events (such as Barracks Row Fall Fest), and an annual campaign for donations.  Smith emphasized that there are no mandatory fees, dues, or assessments from businesses making up the Main Street.

ANC6B, as previously reported, voted to support the Main Street proposal earlier this month.  On Wednesday night, the proposal was discussed at a meeting of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC).  The Committee voted unanimously to ask the Board of Directors for the 7th Street Market Row Association to meet with EMCAC within the next two weeks to discuss:

  1. The name of the proposed Main Street (Eastern Market merchants and vendors want a name that will make a distinction between Eastern Market as an entity and the proposed Main Street. One suggestion put forward was “Eastern Market Row Main Street”.)
  2. The conditions under which Eastern Market vendors (and the Saturday and Sunday flea market vendors) would participate.
  3. The respective roles of EMCAC and the new Main Street governance organization.

Another issue raised at Tuesday night’s community meeting – on behalf of residents – was a desire for more efficient communication between the proposed Main Street and residents.  Cortes suggested that a task force could be created to facilitate communications, and Smith offered that residents participate on the key committees common to each Main Street organization, i.e., Promotion, Design, and Economic Development.

Donna Scheeder, EMCAC Chair, also told attendees at Wednesday night’s meeting that the report of EMCAC’s Market Operations Committee on a proposed 5 Year Plan for Eastern Market had been forwarded to Chris Weaver, the Director of the Department of General Services.  It is uncertain how that plan will play out now in light of the Main Street proposal.

For the CHC post on the 5-Year Plan, go here:  http://bit.ly/1XAprrP

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The Week Ahead….Wednesday: A Timely Discussion of Race in our Community

A dramatic sky  heralds the arrival of heat wave.  Tuesday, c. 8:00pm.

A dramatic sky heralds the arrival of heat wave. Tuesday, c. 8:00pm.

The Week Ahead….Wednesday: A Timely Discussion of Race in our Community

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 25

CANCELLED:  ANC6A Community Outreach Committee meeting has been cancelled.  The next meeting of the COC will take place on Monday, August 22, at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Avenue NE.

Tuesday, July 26

Community Meeting on a Proposal for an Eastern Market Main Street organization, 6:30pm, Hill Center.  See here:   www.easternmarketmainstreet.org

Wednesday, July 27

  1. Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm in North Hall, Eastern Market.

Among items on the agenda:

Report from the Market Operations Committee meeting to review the plan to

undertake a study for a 5 year plan for Eastern Market

  1. A Timely Discussion Of Race In Our Community‏, 7:00pm – 8:00pm, Liberty Baptist Church, Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, SE.

Liberty Baptist Church will host the first of a series of six monthly meetings to discuss race in our community.  The dialogue will be guided by members of Coming to Table, an organization dedicated to facing and uncovering history, making connections, working toward healing, and working for racial justice.

RSVP: karenbranan@gmail.com

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Injured Wildlife? Here’s What You Do – City Wildlife Saves “Cootie” the Turtle – Photo Essay

"Cootie" a Red Bellied Cooter Turtle, after Rehabilitation by City Wildlife

“Cootie” a Red Bellied Cooter Turtle, after Rehabilitation by City Wildlife

A summer camp group in Kinston Park gets a lesson in herpetology

A summer camp group in Kinston Park gets a lesson in herpetology

Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of City Wildlife

Paula Goldberg, Executive Director of City Wildlife

Preparing for launch

Preparing for launch

There's no place like home

There’s no place like home

Injured Wildlife?  Here’s What You Do – City Wildlife Saves “Cootie” the Turtle – Photo Essay

by Larry Janezich

You probably don’t know about City Wildlife, but it’s an organization created in 2007 to address the need for wildlife rescue and rehabilitation in Washington, DC.  Each year hundreds of wild animals in DC are unintentionally harmed by people and the urban environment.  In general, if you can approach a wild animal and it does not run or fly away, it probably needs help.  Check their website to determine if the animal needs to be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator.  www.citywildlife.org

That’s what former ANC6B Chair Neil Glick and his partner Boone did, when they found an injured Red-bellied Cooter turtle on the Anacostia bike trail.  After rehabilitation by City Wildlife, the turtle – which Glick named “Cootie” – was returned to the Anacostia River in Kingman Park last Friday. According to Glick, there were at least 5 summer camp groups in the park, and Paula Goldberg, City Wildlife’s Executive Director, showed the turtle to each group in turn, eliciting from each, a “Good Luck!” wish to the turtle.

According to the City Wildlife website, Goldberg joined City Wildlife staff in February 2014 after five years on the Board of Directors.  Having served for several decades as a health care provider in the world of human medicine, she now applies her medical skills and expertise to advance urban wildlife rehabilitation.  Goldberg also volunteers at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and pursues natural history field studies and educational programming on her own locally and in New England.  She is a licensed Master Wildlife Rehabilitator (MD).

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Andromeda Clinic in Hill East to Open July 30 Over Protests of ANC Commissioners

2016-07-21 16.45.17

Andromeda Clinic in Hill East to Open July 30 Over Protests of ANC Commissioners

by Larry Janezich

According to ANC6B Commissioner Chander Jayaraman, fliers were distributed yesterday announcing the grand opening of Andromeda substance abuse recovery and mental health clinic on July 30.  CAN Commissioners Jayaraman and Krepp met with the Director of the Department of Behavioral Health on Monday and Jayaraman requested that DBH withhold approval for Andromeda to begin operations until his appeal of the occupancy permit before the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment was decided.  (See CHC post here: http://bit.ly/2a6yIGR

Reacting to the announcement, Jayaraman said, “In my opinion, it is another example of how District agencies regularly ignore the concerns of the tax paying residents.  This is unacceptable.…’

CHC asked Krepp for comment, and she replied, “Yet again, DBH gives neighbors the middle finger instead of a helping hand.

DBH Director Royster told Commissioner Jayaraman and me on Monday to FOIA information regarding Andromeda’s services instead of willingly sharing it with those that live next to the new facility. Furthermore, she didn’t even have the decency to tell us on Monday that the facility will be opening next week.

The director’s continued gross incompetence makes me question why she was hired in the first place.”

Jayaraman said that it was his understanding the CM Charles Allen had not been informed on the imminent opening of the facility.  The commissioner said that he had – this morning – reiterated his and Krepp’s request that the Director use her authority provided under DCMR regulations to not permit Andromeda to begin operation until the BZA case has been heard.

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Removal of “Guerrilla Playground” Worsens Park Conditions Near Eastern Market Metro

Photo dates from summer 2013 - by the time the playground was dismantled by DPR  in early June of this year, it had grown to three times the size pictured above

Photo dates from summer 2013 – by the time the playground was dismantled by DPR in early June of this year, it had grown to three times the size pictured above.

Removal of “Guerrilla Playground” Worsens Park Conditions Near Eastern Market Metro

by Larry Janezich

The park at 9th and D near Eastern Market Metro Plaza has been the site of an uneasy stand-off between neighbors who support its use as a playground and a number of homeless persons, substance abusers and drug dealers who find the park a convenient location for loitering, consuming and dealing.

Recently, as part of an effort to clean up the park, the Department of Parks and Recreation – citing city liability issues – removed the rag-tag assortment of plastic toys contributed by neighbors which attracted a population of children and their care takers to the park daily.  The collection drew scorn from some neighbors as being unsightly and the approval of others who cited the need of a place for children to play and interact.  Regardless of the aesthetics, the playground kept the loitering and drug related activities confined to the north side of the park.

The result or removing the toys, say many neighbors, is that loiterers and drug users have expanded into the area where the children used to play, and conditions in the park have become much worse – to the point where some residents avoid walking through it.

ANC6B’s Outreach and Constituent Services Committee, chaired by Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk,  met last night with a number of residents, community stakeholders and city officials to brainstorm how to take back the park.  Among those in attendance at the meeting – in addition to commissioners Samolyk, Oldenburg and Hagedorn – were Carl Reeverts from Eastern Market Metro Community Association, Captain Beach and Lt. Black from MPD, and representatives from the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Barracks Row Main Street (BRMS), Near Southeast Community Partners (NSCP), and Community Connections.

A consensus emerged that re-establishing the park as a playground with equipment approved by DPR is a top priority.  As you might suspect, this isn’t easy.

Martin Smith, Executive Director of BRMS, is behind an effort to create a non-profit “Friends of the Park” to create an entity to receive funds and coordinate improvements and maintenance for the park.  But IRS sanctioning of non-profits is reported to be a slow process in a climate where the agencies’ funding has been cut by Congress the agencies has had to prioritize its activities.

Residents say that an interim solution would be for MPD to be more aggressive in displacing the drug users who use the park (even though that probably means moving the problem to the green spaces between 4th and 6th Streets on either side of PA Avenue, recreating the problem for nearby neighbors there).

Captain Beach responded that he was willing to walk the park himself, but that there is little point in arresting users of K2 (a catch-all term for smoke able synthetic drugs with continually changing chemical formulas to stay ahead of the law) since it is impossible to prosecute.  He noted that other, more troublesome parks – ones where gunshots are frequently reported – have a higher priority and that 40 – 50 calls MPD receives per day asking police to respond to an unconscious person – many who have overdosed on synthetic drugs – drains resources.  MPD reminds residents frequently that there is no law against loitering.

Martin Smith said BRMS would work with DPR to determine what playground equipment would meet DPR standards and pursue funding for purchase and installation of equipment, with the goal of moving forward in the next couple of months.

A possible source of funds is from a pool of money CSX has made available to the community as part of a benefits and amenities package in connection with construction of the new CSX tunnel along the Southwest Freeway.  Another source might be the $75,000 ANC6B negotiated as part of the benefits and amenities for the community from the Hine developers.  That money must be transferred by the developers before a certificate of occupancy is issued for the project.

Other ideas offered as a way to fill the park space with community activities included MPD meet-and-greets, making it a Pokémon Go site, and publicizing a schedule for park maintenance park so any toys which re-appear can be removed before being cleaned up by DPR.  (One large plastic playground structure has already appeared since the clean-up.)  In addition, there was general agreement with a suggestion of Samolyk that the group meet regularly, possibly under the aegis of a new ANC6B Task Force on oversite of the park.

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Dept of Behavioral Health Backhands ANC Reps on Hill East Mental Health Clinic

Proposed Location of Andromeda Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Clinic at 15th and Massachusetts Avenue, SE

Proposed Location of Andromeda Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Clinic at 15th and Massachusetts Avenue, SE

Dept of Behavioral Health Backhands ANC Reps on Hill East Mental Health Clinic

DBH Director says ANC/Community Has No Voice in Locating Mental Health Clinic

by Larry Janezich

On Monday afternoon, ANC6B Commissioners Chander Jayaraman and Denise Krepp met with Dr. Tanya Royster, Director of DC’s Department of Behavioral Health (DBH).  The commissioners sought the meeting to discuss the planned opening of two mental health clinics – Andromeda and Community Action Group (CAG) – within a block of each other in Hill East.  See CHC post here:  http://bit.ly/1UPmiAi

According to commissioner Krepp, Royster “…refused to provide information regarding Andromeda’s proposed services and directed Commissioner Jayaraman to FOIA the information.”  The commissioners told CHC that Royster said DBH doesn’t need to notify the ANC in advance of certifying a mental health clinic to operate in a community and is free to issue an approval without considering the impact on the neighborhood.

Last Friday morning, at his community office hours at Pretzel Bakery, CM Charles Allen told CHC regarding Andromeda, “There’s a need – we want to make sure it’s done the right way.”  Much of the hour and a half of Allen’s availability that morning was devoted to hearing more than a dozen neighbors express their strong concerns about the clinic.  Former ANC commissioner Brian Pate told Allen that he thought that it was “time to get some lawyers,” and cited his willingness and that of his neighbors to contribute to a legal fund to make that a reality.

Jayaraman said he will file a FOIA for the application Andromeda filed to get certified.  He wants to know where clients are coming from, the number of clients served, and what services will be provided by the clinic.

Jayaraman said he told Royster that the ANC has more input on a pop up in their neighborhood than on establishment of mental health services.  According to the commissioner, the agency determines the city’s need for more providers and certifies them to open until the agency determines there are enough.  In addition, he said, unless a provider receives money from DBH, there is no oversite of clinics.  Further, there is no absolute limit of clients a clinic may serve:  once a number of clients are certified using – say Medicaid funds from DBH – the clinic can treat other clients using other sources of funding from Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA) or Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Jayaraman says he will ask ANC6B to send a letter to Royster opposing the establishment of Andromeda at 15th and Massachusetts, SE, including a request for a detailed response regarding how the agency gives the ANC opinions “great weight”.

Jayaraman has also filed an appeal before the Board of Zoning Adjustment, citing a 1997 case, claiming that DCRA incorrectly issued a Certificate of Occupancy for an Outpatient Substance Abuse Recovery facility as “General Office Use” which should, instead, fall under the category of a “Medical Facility”.  He says Andromeda is waiting for the appeal to be resolved so they can be certified to operate.    The appeal comes before the BZA on September 20.

If it proves to be the case that DBH is exempt from giving the opinion of the ANC “great weight”, it will be yet another example of the casual dismissal by yet another agency, which includes the Department of Transportation, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, Department of General Services, the Zoning Commission, the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment, the Alcohol Beverage and Control Administration and the Historic Preservation Review Board which routinely pay lip service to the ANCs, but then give them the backs of their collective hands.  In effect, they give the same treatment to the residents of the District.  Maybe the Mayor should step in and require that her agencies give the opinions of the ANCs the “great weight” to which they are entitled.  And maybe, when the residents and ANCs decide they have had enough, they’ll demand it.

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The Week Ahead….Controversial H St. NE Pop Up Before ANC6A Zoning Committee Wednesday

 

Michael Niebauer, Washington Business Journal tweeted out this alert on July 13.  Images apparently represent possible elevations for the proposed pop-up at 1336 H Street, NE.  Follow Neibauer here: https://twitter.com/WBJNeibs

Michael Niebauer, Washington Business Journal reporter, tweeted out this alert on July 13.  Images apparently represent possible elevations for a proposed pop-up at 1336 H Street, NE.  Follow Neibauer here:  https://twitter.com/WBJNeibs

The Week Ahead….Controversial H St. Pop Up Before ANC6A Zoning Committee Wednesday

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 18

  1. ANC 6A Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm at Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Request for brick sidewalk on 800 Block of A Street, NE

Request to convert 2-way stop to 4-way stop at 8th Street, NE and West Virginia Avenue, NE

Request for traffic study at intersection of 10th Street, NE, and Massachusetts Avenue, NE

  1. SW Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA) and ANC-6D will jointly host a Community Forum on Transportation in Southwest at 7:00pm at the Arena Stage Kogod Cradle Theater. The meeting will provide an opportunity for city officials to address the escalating transportation challenges presented by development in Southwest.  Construction now underway or planned, includes three new museums, a 21,000 seat soccer stadium, and 6,000 units of housing contemplated for Buzzard Point.

Tuesday, July 19

  1. ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE

Agenda not available at press time

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

Wednesday, July 20

  1. ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street, NE

Among items on the agenda:

1701 H Street, NE, Planned Unit Development.  Update from the developer.  The PUD seeks a land use designation change from the existing C-2-A to C-2-B in order to develop the Property. The applicant proposes to construct a mixed-use building with approximately 14,342 square feet of ground-floor retail uses and 180 residential units on nine floors above.  The applicant will also use the PUD process to obtain relief from other requirements of the Zoning Regulations, including the parking, loading and roof structure requirements.

1336 H Street, NE, applicant is requesting lot occupancy relief and court width relief from zoning regulations for the residential levels, and rear yard relief in order to provide for an external stairway that will extend into the otherwise open rear yard.

313 11th Street, NE, Concept/construction of two-story carriage house with roof deck.

  1. Maryland Avenue Pedestrian Safety Plan meeting at 7:30 pm – NE Branch Library, 330 7th Street, NE, with Mayor Bowser, CM Charles Allen, the District Department of Transportation, ANC6A, ANC6C and residents for an update on the implementation of the Maryland Avenue Pedestrian Safety Plan. The Maryland Avenue Pedestrian Safety Project has been previously approved by ANC6A and ANC6C and adopted by DDOT. The plan is available on ANC6A’s website here: http://anc6a.org/

Thursday, July 21

Police Service Area (PSA) 108 public meeting, 7:00pm, Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, SE

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Heroin Hotspot on H Street Gets Attention of ANC6A, CM Charles Allen, and MPD

Heroin Hotspot on H Street Gets Attention of ANC6A, CM Charles Allen, and MPD

by Larry Janezich

Thursday night, ANC6A Chair Phil Toomajian told the Commission that some of his constituents – residents who live near the intersection of 11th and H Streets, NE, had increasing concerns about quality of life issues on those corners, including loitering, public urination, intoxication and drug dealing.  He noted that there is no law against loitering, but the other issues are addressed by law and are alleged to occur frequently on the corner.

Confirmation of drug dealing came on Friday morning from CM Charles Allen.  At his community office hours at the Pretzel Bakery in Hill East, Allen related that in response to complaints he had asked the First District Commander to monitor activity at the location.  After witnessing drug activity taking place, undercover First District officers made at least one arrest for sale of heroin.

Toomajian said residents were associating the benches placed on the corners after redesign of the street scape with the quality of life issues, and wanted them removed and that a petition being circulated had more than 50 signatures.

The commission subsequently voted to send a letter to the city supporting removal of the benches from the Southeast and Southwest corners.  Toomajian acknowledged that removal of the benches might not solve the problem, but said the action would give some comfort to the neighbors.  The motion to send the letter was agreed to by a vote of 7 – 0 with one abstention.

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Game On for “Eastern Market Main Street” Proposal

7th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and North Carolina would be the heart of an Eastern Market Main Street

7th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and North Carolina would be the heart of an Eastern Market Main Street

Game On for “Eastern Market Main Street” Proposal

by Larry Janezich

The 7th Street Market Association comprised of businesses near Eastern Market is promoting the establishment of an “Eastern Market Main Street” to take advantage of funding available in the District’s budget for creation two of the commercial advocacy and support entities.  There are currently ten “Main Streets” in the District including Barracks Row Main Street and H Street Main Street.   Last Tuesday, ANC6B voted 8 – 0 to give it’s  qualified support for creation of an Eastern Market Main Street – essentially giving a green light to take the effort to the next stage.  The ANC will revisit the issue before any final action is taken.

The proposed Eastern Market Main Street District would encompass 7th Street between North Carolina and Pennsylvania Avenue, C Street between 6th and 8th Streets, both sides of the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, and the businesses inside Eastern Market.  Undecided is how the Eastern Market outside vendors and the weekend flea market vendors would be incorporated or represented, but organizers seemed confident that could be resolved satisfactorily.

Main Streets are chartered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street program through an application process.  ANC approval is an initial step in the process of tapping District funds to support the effort.

The purpose of a Main Street is to promote member businesses and coordinate improvements to the the designated commercial corridors involved.  This includes street-scaping, façade improvements, use of technology and marketing.  Main Street organizations are funded through grants, contributions, and proceeds from sponsored events, not from fees or dues.

There will be a community meeting on July 26 at 7:00pm in Hill Center to solicit community input as to what community stakeholders want out of an Eastern Market Main Street.

 

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Shakespeare’s Barracks Row Rehearsal Space Wants to Be Retail/Office/Residential. But…

8th Street Elevation of the Proposed Mixed Use Building at 507 8th Street on Barracks Row

8th Street Elevation of the Proposed Mixed Use Building at 507 8th Street on Barracks Row

Elevation of the proposed project from 8th and E Streets, SE.

Elevation of the proposed project from 8th and E Streets, SE.

Shakespeare’s Barracks Row Rehearsal Space Wants to Be Retail/Office/Residential. But…

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, Michael Oxman, architect and part owner of the building housing Shakespeare rehearsal space on Barracks Row, unveiled details of the proposed re-development of the former warehouse into a mixed use retail, office, and residential project. Oxman was seeking ANC6B approval of the Historical Preservation application for the design of the proposed Barracks Row structure.   Rehearsals for the Shakespeare Company are due to relocate to new facilities in Southwest in the near future.

ANC6B approved the historic preservation application, by a vote of 6 – 1 with one abstention, but opposition to the project’s proposed fourth floor by the Historic Preservation Office is likely to be a deal killer.  Preservationists say that the fourth floor is, in the words of Planning and Zoning Committee resident member Ken Jarboe, “a pop up in a commercial property.” Jarboe could have added, “in an Historic District.”

Oxman’s plan provides for the largest retail space on Barracks Row on the first floor, office space on the second floor, and 12 micro residential units on a third and fourth floor.  Despite ANC support, Oxman will probably have to go back to the drawing board on this one.

For more on this project, see previous CHC post here:  http://bit.ly/1OexKk1

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