ANC6B Asks City to Rescind Extra Days/Hours for Alcohol Sales During Inaugural
By Larry Janezich
Last Tuesday night, at its October meeting, ANC6B sent a letter to the Mayor and City Council asking that they rescind the decision to more than double the number of days around the presidential inaugural when alcohol could be served until 4:00am.
The DC Budget Act approved in July extended those days and hours until 4:00am for 16 days – up from 7 days during the last inaugural – from January 9 to January 24. Lawmakers reasoned the change would help business recover lost COVID-related revenue and boost revenues for the city.
Commissioner Jerry Sroufe of ANC6B suggested and authored the letter after raising concerns that the event will attract a large number of protestors – some of whom might be armed – and that expanded service could frustrate efforts at reducing the spread of COVID.
Commissioner Samolyk suggested a broader conversation taking into account the needs of the bars and restaurants before sending the letter. Chair Brian Ready said he wanted bars and restaurants to succeed, but the last thing he wanted to see is a COVID outbreak on Capitol Hill.
The current public health emergency expires on January 31, with no assurance it will be extended. Commissioner Oldenburg suggested that extension of the emergency would override the Budget Act’s relaxed alcohol serving provisions.
The letter states that the ANC understands the financial needs of the city resulting from the COVID pandemic but:
“Because of our concerns for the physical safety of District residents and our desire to protect them from virus spread, we respectfully request that District leaders rescind the provision of extra days and extra hours during the 2021 Inauguration.”
The vote to send the letter to the Mayor and City Council was 6 – 2- 1.
Announcement of opportunity for community input on moveDC, the District’s long-range transportation plan. www.wemovedc.org
Consideration of additional pedestrian/traffic safety issues, as suggested by commissioners and community members (see list at end of document) – this will be taken out of order or postponed to allow time for adequate discussion of time-sensitive new business items.
Public space application at 205 15th Street, NE, for exception from fence requirement and an 8×10 ft. accessory building in public space.
Presentation, by Marcy Bernbaum of the Downtown DC Public Restroom Colleagues, on the opportunity for ANCs to suggest pilot locations for public restrooms pursuant to the Public Restroom Facilities Installation and Promotion Act of 2018. Consideration of proposing a pilot site on the H Street corridor. [link to basic information provided by People for Fairness Coalition (PFC): https://pffcdc.org/what-we-do/publicrestrooms/
Additional Pedestrian/Traffic Safety Discussion/Consideration List
Making Acute Angle Intersections Safer – Drivers make fast turns from diagonal streets (NC/TN/MD) onto letter/number streets. Requesting raised crosswalks/speed humps/bulbouts/traffic calming
Intersection of A Street and North Carolina Avenue NE – most hazardous aspect is traffic traveling east on North Carolina Avenue and turning in on A Street.
1100 and 1200 block of F Street, NE
1300 block of G Street NE, south of Maryland Avenue, NE
200 block of 9th Street NE traffic calming. Look for message from DDOT –Mike
Traffic on the 200 block of 9th Street NE; residents believe that the timing of the lights makes this a faster – and therefore preferred route over 8th Street. Request adjusting the lights ((rather than speed humps) due to noise and vibration.
Concerns that discouraging truck traffic on 10th and 12th Streets will increase such traffic on 11th Street, NE.
Tuesday, October 20
ANC6B’s Barrack’s Row Working holds a virtual meeting at 6:30pm.
909-911 I Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application for special exceptions to allow the construction of two new, attached, three-story flats with a penthouse.
722 19th Street, N – Zoning Adjustment Application special exceptions to allow construction of a second-story rear deck addition to an existing semidetached principal dwelling.
1250 Constitution Avenue, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application for a special exception under the off-site parking spaces requirements to relocate 8 of the required parking spaces to the adjacent street to enlarge the outdoor play area at Maury Elementary School.
1447 Maryland Avenue, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application for a special exception from the minimum parking requirements to construct a two-story addition to permit a mixed-use building with 9 residential units.
Capitol Hill Restoration Society Preservation Café: “Homicide on the Hill”. Author Robert Pohl will present a Halloween special at this virtual Preservation Café.
“Homicide on The Hill”, Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 6:30 pm.
Like every neighborhood, Capitol Hill has had its share of murders in its long history. Even the white-domed Capitol has been the location of a brutal murder, though the more usual backdrop for such events were the alleys and hovels in the poorer sections of the neighborhood.
ANC6B Commissioners Slam Process on Change to Boys and Girls Club Project
By Larry Janezich
Posted October 14, 2020
Last night, ANC6B grudgingly signaled its approval of changing the proposed conversion of the Boys and Girls Club from a mixed-income condo project to a 100% affordable rental project for seniors, while criticizing the process leading to the proposal. In 2019, Mayor Bowser’s announced a goal of adding 1200 new affordable housing to Capitol Hill by 2025.
The commission voted 8 – 1 to agree to support the reuse of the Boys and Girls Club as 100% affordable senior housing but because of the failure of DMPED to engage the community, asked that the council vote to permit the change not be taken before its November 17th meeting to ensure 6B and neighbors have more time to evaluate the changes.
Commissioners Jayaraman, Krepp, and Holman, all expressed disappointment with DMPED’s failure to engage the community in the conversion. Jayaraman recalled the city’s similar agreement to the conversion of one of Blue Skye’s residential buildings on Reservation 13 to 100% affordable housing without community input, and Holman admonished DMPED, “Come on, guys – do better work.” Krepp – a long time critic of DMPED’s lack of transparency regarding development of Reservation 13 – said that she felt the ANC was getting “jammed – deliberatly” and said that the radical changes justified re-starting the process.
The original plan toe convert the Boys and Girls Club to European style co-housing for seniors proved to be unworkable when the project estimates came in above budget owing to increased construction costs, unforeseen environmental issues, and the COVID factor which imperiled a co-housing model based on common space for residents to interact. Developer Joel Kelty said that under conventional financing, providing 15% of the units at 50% of market value was infeasible because of the challenge of finding purchasers who would qualify.
Now Kelty – with the blessing of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED – is asking the City Council to modify the terms of the agreement with the city to allow construction of 100% affordable housing for 55 and up seniors.
In March of 2015, the ANC flatly opposed the conversion to 100% affordable housing as proposed by the politically-connected developer Dantes Partners, which was the only proposal meeting the narrowly drawn criteria in the Request for Proposals (RFP). After negative reaction from the community, the project was transferred from the Department of General Services to DMPED which called for a new RFP. Kelty was awarded the bid with a proposal for 29 age-restricted 1, 2, and possibly 3 bedroom condo units with 2 caretaker units and about 1850 square feet of community space over Morningstar Development which would have provided 31 conventional multi-generational 1, 2, and 3 bedroom condo units and about 3000 square feet of community space.
An important factor in the decision was the support of Capitol Hill Village for Kelty’s plan, as well as the sense that it was a better fit in the community.
With the Mayor’s office pushing for more affordable housing on Capitol Hill and the support of DMPED, conversion to 100% affordable units allows Kelty to seek Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) funding which provides a tax incentive to construct or rehabilitate affordable rental housing for low-income households. LIHTC subsidizes the acquisition, construction, and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing for low- and moderate-income tenants.
Kelty – and DMPED – need the council to approve extension of the term sheet detailing the disposition of the property which expires December 4, because DMPED does not have authority to do it on its own. Capitol Hill Village has endorsed the new plan. Reaction of the nearby neighbors has been mixed, with some expressing frustration at the downgrading of what was once a mixed income project and others just wanting renovation to start on the deteriorating Hill East eyesore.
ANC6B To Postpone Vote on Gaming License for Handle 19
by Larry Janezich
Posted October 13, 2020
Shane August hoped to open the Handle 19 sport betting venue at 319 PA Avenue in mid-November but instead of getting support from the ANC tonight, will have to wait another 30 days for a vote on his request for a liquor license with a gaming endorsement. The ANC is the first hurdle in the approval process, followed by Alcohol Beverage Regulatory Administration approval and a final approval by DC Lottery.
The license came up before ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee last Thursday night.
A lot of the nearby residential neighbors are not happy with the business coming into the community. They say it will attract people from outside the area, create parking and traffic problems, and provide an increased crime risk in a neighborhood of families with young children. One resident suggested a 45 day delay to allow time for the community to be adequately notified.
The ABC committee and the full ANC ultimately have two choices. It can support the request for a license and negotiate a Settlement Agreement to restrict operations, or it can protest the license. The latter is a long hard process, in the words of Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg. The ABC committee is charged with recommending a path forward to the full ANC.
At Thursday’s meeting, ANC Chair Brian Ready pressed the opposing sides to see if common ground could be found. Handle 19’s attorney said they were willing to delay the application for 30 days to discuss the issues and try to reach a Settlement Agreement.
Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, in whose district the establishment lies, moved to recommend to the full ANC that the deadline for filing a protest be deferred until November 13, in hopes neighbors and the owner will engage in a dialogue to see if the issues can be resolved in a way that would allow the license to move forward. The motion was agreed to, 7 – 0 – 1. The full ANC will consider the recommendation at tonight’s meeting, and is expected to agree to it.
The license will come up again before the ABC Committee on November 3, where the Committee could vote to support, to protest, or to take no position. The recommendation would then come before the full ANC at its November 10 meeting.
Confused About the proposed Helipad on Water Street? Here’s the Latest.
By Larry Janezich
Posted October 12, 2020
Considerable uncertainty has accompanied a proposal by Congressional Aviation to relocate their helipad and fueling station to Water Street, SE, near the huge mixed use project at 1333 M Street and the Washington Boatyard.
ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee heard from Congressional Aviation’s owner last Tuesday night in an effort to bring some clarity to the matter.
Geoff Rankin is the owner of Congressional Aviation. His lease on the ground down river where he currently has a helipad for helicopters used by MPD and area hospitals is expiring and is not going to be renewed. He’s looking for a new site and after considering several other locations which proved to be unfeasible is eying a space on the Anacostia River near 1333 M Street, SE.
Rankin says his company provides an essential service in terms of public safety and unless he can begin construction soon, he thinks it will “go away”. Neighbors and ANC6B acknowledge that, but don’t want the helipad located there, citing noise concerns. Representatives from 1333 M Street project have not yet weighed in, and Rankin says that at the moment, there are no city agencies that support his proposed use of the site for a helipad. City officials say there are no current plans to support a helipad for the site.
Commissioners had harsh words for the Mayor saying that Mayor Bowser needs to show some leadership on this and to figure out where the facility needs to go, without making this corner of the city a “dumping ground.”
In July, ANC6B supported filing a map amendment to zone the site that Rankin is looking at, limiting its use to open space, park, and low density riverfront-oriented retail. On Tuesday the Committee recommended that the full ANC to proceed with the filing and the Commission is expected to approve that recommendation at its October meeting Tuesday night. Planning and Zoning Committee chair Corey Holman said that the filing will result in a Zoning Commission Review which should result in a hearing and a decision from the Commission on the rezoning proposal. Currently the land is un-zoned and subject to development and use by an executive order of the Mayor.
In observance of Columbus Day, most Department of Public Works (DPW) services will be suspended on Monday, October 10. There will be no city trash or recycling collection, no street or alley cleaning, graffiti removal or nuisance abatement.
ANC6D will hold its October meeting on Tuesday, October 13.
Night one of the Ward 6 Community Forum on the DC Council At-Large Race.
The Ward 6 Democrats and the Hill Rag are sponsoring two nights of forums with the candidates for DC City Council At-Large. There are a total of 23 candidates.
Here’s What Capitol Hill Needs to Know About Voting – in a Nutshell
by Larry Janezich
Charles Allen has distributed a comprehensive memo on How To Vote In the General Election. Here are the key points Capitol Hill residents need to know. The link at the end will take you to Allen’s memo if you want more.
Residents who are registered to vote by October 13 will get a ballot in the mail. See CM Allen’s memo (link below) for more info on registering.
The four ways to vote early:
Return your ballot BY MAIL – must be postmarked on or before November 3.
Return your ballot in one of the new secure BALLOT DROP BOXES across the District until 8 p.m. on Election Day. The drop boxes became active Monday, October 5. Here are the locations for the drop boxes on or near Capitol Hill:
Eastern Market, 225 7th Street, SE
Northeast Library, 330 7th Street, NE
Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE
Rosedale Library, 1701 Gales Street, NE
DROP OFF YOUR BALLOT at any Vote Center from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. during “Election Week” (October 27-November 2) and from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Election Day. On or near Capitol Hill, the Vote Centers are Sherwood Recreation Center – 640 10th Street, NE; and the SUPER VOTE CENTER AT WASHINGTON NATIONALS PARK.
VOTE EARLY IN PERSON at any Vote Center during “Election Week” (October 27-November 2) from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. On or near Capitol Hill, the Vote Centers are Sherwood Recreation Center – 640 10th Street, NE; and the SUPER VOTE CENTER AT WASHINGTON NATIONALS PARK.
Anticipate lines. Each voting center has reduced capacity because of COVID safety precautions. Allen’s office advises bringing water, snacks, and a mask, and dress warmly and comfortably. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. Here are the voting locations in Ward Six:
MINER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 601 15th Street NE
J.O. WILSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 660 K Street, NE
STUART-HOBSON MIDDLE SCHOOL 410 E Street, NE
EASTERN MARKET 225 7th Street, SE
PAYNE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 1445 C Street, SE
WATKINS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 420 12th Street, SE
ARTHUR CAPPER COMMUNITY CENTER 1000 5th Street, SE
JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL ACADEMY 801 7th Street, SW
KING GREENLEAF RECREATION CENTER 201 N Street, SW
SHERWOOD RECREATION CENTER 640 10th Street, NE
SUPER VOTE CENTER AT NATIONALS PARK 1500 S. Capitol Street, SE
KENNEDY RECREATION CENTER 1401 7th Street, NW
WALKER-JONES EDUCATION CAMPUS 1125 New Jersey Ave., NW
Voters can vote at any Vote Center during Election Week or on Election Day, regardless of where they live. Most people are accustomed to voting at their traditional precinct and that will not be required for this General Election.
Registered voters do not need to present proof of residence to vote. But – if you will be registering during the Early Voting period or on Election Day, you will need to provide proof of residence in order to register and vote. And if you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide proof of residence when registering, you will need to show proof of residence in order to cast a live (regular) ballot.
Nearby Neighbors Oppose Sports Gambling Business on PA Avenue SE
by Larry Janezich
Feelings ran strong last night at an ANC6B sponsored virtual community meeting to hear input from neighbors on the proposed sport betting establishment at 319 PA Avenue, SE. Some 20 residents joined in and many expressed vehement objections. Only one resident voiced support for the business – Handle 19 – which would be the first of its kind in the city. (See CHC post here: https://bit.ly/3byz84y )
Objections centered on the perception of gambling as a business that brings social ills and security risks to a neighborhood of townhomes which surrounds the commercial strip fronting on Pennsylvania Avenue. One neighbor said there were five elementary schools and a dozen day care centers within six blocks, and “alcohol, gambling and kids don’t mix”. A petition of opposition emphasizing that idea is being circulated. Another saw the company as a crime risk which works counter to community efforts to reduce crime. Another said, “I don’t think it’s going to work because we will not let it happen,” adding that neighbors will appeal to Councilmember Charles Allen and Mayor Bowser. Several cited a lack of notice that the license was coming before the ANC.
Ian G. Thomas, attorney for Handle 19, presented the other side, saying it’s better to have a thriving business than an empty building. “The reality is that sport betting is here in DC,” and it’s better to have it happen in a controlled environment than in a bar where wagers can be placed via an app downloaded to a phone. He said that Handle 19 wants to work with the residents and be a good neighbor; “Sports gambling is here, like it or not – we have an additional responsibility to address any ills that come out of it.”
Chander Jayaraman, Chair of the ANC6B ABC Committee, outlined the process and hinted that it might be hard to stop the business from opening because the ultimate decision will be in the hands of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
The ANC6B is caught between representing the neighbors who fear their quality of life will be affected and the reality of the fact that ANC opposition would require a majority of the ANC to vote to protest the gambling license (on grounds of noise, detriment to the community or detriment to property values). That would trigger an ABRA required mediation process and if that fails to resolve concerns, the next step would be litigated protest hearing with legal counsel before ABRA. ABRA would finally decide the matters with the usual outcome being granting of the license with conditions.
ANC6B Chair Brian Ready, attempting to arrange a fallback position, suggested another meeting between the community and the owner to work out a Settlement Agreement which would incorporate language to address as many concerns of the nearby neighbors as possible, in case an ultimate favorable decision by ABRA is the outcome.
Jayaraman proposed a one month extension in order to give parties an opportunity to work out operating restrictions for the Settlement Agreement and the owners of Handle 19 said they would consider it.
Otherwise, the matter will be taken up by ANC6B ABC Committee at its October virtual meeting next Thursday, followed by consideration at the full ANC6B meeting on Tuesday, October 13.
Discussion of application by China House at 1601 Benning Road, NE, for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
Discussion of application by DC Supermarket at 539 8th Street, NE, for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
ANC6C Environment, Parks and Events Committee has scheduled a WebEx virtual meeting at its usual time and date for today, but a press time no details were available. (The EPE Committee usually meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm.)
Wednesday, October 7
ANC6B Transportation Committee holds a virtual WebEx meeting at 7:00pm.
301 Florida Avenue, NE, Zoning Adjustment Application for a two-year extension of the consolidated PUD approval granted for the property. The approved PUD was for a mixed-use building consisting of approximately 66,010 square feet of gross floor area and a maximum building height of 101 feet. Approximately 61,173 square feet of GFA was approved for residential use (approximately 56 units, plus or minus 10%) and approximately 4,837 square feet of GFA was approved for retail use. The approved PUD included Inclusionary Zoning units at 50% and 80% of the area median income.
622 Eye Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application – Revised application of VBS Community Builders LLC, for a special exception to convert an existing residential building into a five-unit apartment house and for variance relief from the 900-square-foot/unit lot area requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing attached row dwelling.
646 E Street, NE – Historical Preservation Application for concept approval to construct a two story rear addition.
Presentation – MPD Services for the Deaf and LGBTQ Communities – Officer Anthony Walsh
Presentation – Streateries and Arts in the Right-of-Way Program – Emma Blondin, DDOT Transportation Planner, Neighborhood Planning Branch
Letters to Commander Morgan C. Kane, MPD First District, and Commander William Fitzgerald, MPD Fifth District, to raise concerns about reports from constituents that MPD is not in compliance with current health and safety guidelines and other regulations pertaining to ensuring reasonable accommodations for all community members, including sign language interpretation.
Letter to DPR inquiring how they plan to ensure access to recreation centers and facilities for the community going forward.
Approval of a grant in the amount of $3,000 to the Eliot-Hine Parent Teacher Organization for the establishment and operation of a community emergency relief pantry.
Possible consideration of application by De Zhang and Yang You Feng, t/a China House at 1601 Benning Road NE for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
Possible consideration of application by Mochi, Inc., t/a DC Supermarket at 539 8th Street NE (ABRA #074927) for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
Letter to DDOT in support of the proposed Advisory Bike Lane Project on Tennessee Avenue, NE, with certain comments and recommendations.
Letter to DDOT in support of public space application for a fence on public space at 1660 Gales Street NE, conditional on the Commissioners receiving additional detail.
Letter to DDOT requesting a postponement in an application to install a garden shed on public space in a corner lot at 205 15th Street, NE, owing to insufficient information.
Letter of support to BZA for a special exception to allow construction of a one-story rear addition to an existing attached flat at 128 12th Street, NE.
Letter of conditional support to DCRA for the raze permit request to demolish a single-bay accessory garage at 1511 A Street, NE, a four-bay accessory garage at 1513 A Street, NE, and a six-bay accessory garage at 1515 A Street, NE.
ANC6B Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Yotel Public Space Application. The Liaison Capitol Hill is becoming Yotel Washington DC. This public space application includes exterior cladding chain at main entry facade, columns and restaurant entry, replacement of existing illuminated sign on existing canopy, addition of lighted aluminum arch at the main hotel entrance, addition of a 3D Illuminated floor mounted sign, addition of 3 retractable canopy structures on existing roof deck, replacement of furniture faux green wall at the roof penthouse exterior wall and new existing lighting changes, replacements of existing furniture, existing planters and umbrella at the outdoorsidewalk seating for the existing hotel.
DDOT proposed rulemaking on visitor parking passes. The committee will review a notice of proposed rulemaking on annual visitor parking passes, which include the following changes: 1) Eliminate the requirement that DDOT provide annual visitor parking passes in a physical format, allowing DDOT to either continue the distribution of physical annual visitor parking passes, distribute annual visitor parking passes through an online system that requires the recipient to print the pass, distribute electronic passes through an online system, or a combination of these options. 2) Effectuate the transfer of responsibility for the issuance of temporary visitor parking passes from the Metropolitan Police Department to DDOT.
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Tara Hamilton and Karen Zens are members of the Capitol Hill Art League and long-time residents of Capitol Hill. The Hill art framing shop, Frame of Mine, is the venue for a show displaying their art created during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
The artists present 2D and 3D art which depict both abstract and realistic subjects using a variety of materials. The exhibit displays work with brilliant color palettes and unique interpretations using watercolor, collage, printmaking and paper constructions.
Tara has paired her watercolor paintings with re-imagined collage creations made by using cuttings from material used to sew facemasks for neighbors.
Karen’s works include mixed media prints that evoke her last pre-pandemic trip – to Southern Spain- and paper sculptures constructed from earlier paintings.
All work is for sale. The artists will donate 50% of the proceeds to Martha’s Table. In its 40th year, the organization is working to support our neighbors in the face of COVID-19 and the many other challenges affecting D.C. families.
The art can be viewed at Frame of Mine during store hours in accordance with the store’s visiting policy. www.frameofminedc.com
In addition, the works may be viewed at these social media links:
Karen Zens Instagram: @shamusspringer
Tara Hamilton Instagram: @tara.hamilton.148
The Colors of the Quarantine will be on display at Frame of Mine from October 4- November 7, 2020.
Frame of Mine Gallery, 545 Eight St SE, DC. (two blocks from Eastern Market Metro.) Gallery hours are: 10:00am–6:00pm (M-F) and 11:00am–5:00pm (Sat). Closed on Sundays.
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