Monthly Archives: January 2011

Committee of 100 Opposes 8th Street Streetcar Route

Committee of 100 Opposes 8th Street Streetcar Route

by Larry Janezich

The District’s chief historic preservation group – The Committee of 100 – has recommended against a streetcar line along the 8th Street corridor connecting M Street, SE, and H Street, NE.  “This area is already commercially successful, has an established residential character and is served amply by N/S buses,” a report issued by the group this morning noted.  “We urge the city to explore another N/S connection…perhaps connecting Reservation 13 with Benning Road.”  The Committee urges giving priority to routes in areas underserved by mass transit and where large scale development has been approved.

This recommendation was only one part of a long-awaited 91 page report.  The Committee will present hard copies to DC Councilmembers and ANCs this week.

In the report, the Committee expresses general support of the streetcar plan, but notes that it is being implemented without a financing and maintenance plan.  The group also urges that the city do no rezoning to increase density; it opposes trading zoning incentives for private investment in the system, opposes overturning a federal law that bans overhead streetcar wires (with only a temporary exemption for H Street), and opposes purchase of any more streetcars that can’t be adapted to run on a wireless system.

The complete report can be viewed here:


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“Binding Threads Opens at The Corner Store”


Sandra Warren Gobar: “My work expresses the unseen, not what is seen, it is beneath the layered painted surface that untold blueprint of pain.

Binding Threads

7 African American artists find common ground  

through painting, metal, and light.

On View January 29th through February 21st

The Corner Store

900 South Carolina Avenue, SE

Washington DC 20003

Thomas Allen – Photographer

Gwendolyn Aqui-Brooks – Mixed Media Folk Artist

Helen Elliott – Enamel Artist

Sandy Gobar – Painter

Nicole Glaudé – Painter

Lewis Green – Painter

Charles Sessoms – Photographer

The Corner Store

900 South Carolina Avenue, SE

Washington DC 20003

 202.544.5807   /

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Eastern Market Citizens Advisory Committee Moves to Transition Mode – Idea for Economic Development Master Plan Broached in Several Venues

Eastern Market Citizens Advisory Committee Moves to Transition Mode –

Idea for Economic Development Master Plan Broached in Several Venues

by Larry Janezich

The members of EMCAC who struggled through thunder snow to attend the monthly meeting of the Committee on Wednesday night failed to produce a quorum for the conduct of business, so the committee confined its activities to announcements and informal discussion.

Hanging over the meeting was the knowledge that EMCAC will not be in existence much longer.  The Taskforce appointed by Councilmember Tommy Wells to recommend a new governing structure for Eastern Market was scheduled to meet Thursday night to finalize a report to be submitted to Wells by February 1.

The consensus of EMCAC was that it should regard this as the beginning of a transition period to the “new market authority.”  There was discussion of the appointment of a transition team to facilitate handing over oversight responsibilities to the new structure.

EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder discussed lessons learned from the Eastern Market Christmas Market, noting that this past year was the first year of heavy competition with the downtown Christmas Market, which was based on a European style town square model.  She suggested Eastern Market reach out to CHAMPS and Barracks Row and come up with a Hill-wide plan for holiday sales – a master plan to help make Capitol Hill a destination.  The Committee will discuss this further next month.  She suggested that a Christmas market plan could be the catalyst to get people to work together initially, and then continue forward to a more comprehensive plan.  This, she suggested, would be an item for the “new governing authority.”

EMCAC member Chuck Berger noted the CHAMPS initiative regarding the Capitol Hill Retail Mix Taskforce, citing the inventory of businesses about to get underway, and the work with Steve Moore from the Economic Development Center.  He hoped that this initiative would be a way to begin a coordinated effort for the Hill’s economic development.  He noted that he had floated an idea to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board regarding an effort to bring patrons to Capitol Hill businesses during the Society’s Mothers’ Day House Tour – possibly involving a discount network.  Berger expects to approach interested parties next week to garner support for the undertaking.

In a related but separate development, ANC Commissioner Dave Garrison had broached the subject of the need for a master plan encompassing all aspects of economic development for Capitol Hill at Tuesday night’s ANC6b Executive Committee meeting.

Such an effort – if it involved overlays, tax incentives, etc. – would likely need to take particular account of neighborhood sensitivities, given the recent effort to tinker with the free market in what proved to be an ill-advised attempt to impose a liquor license moratorium on the 500 block of Barracks Row.

In other news, speaking as a representative of the ad hoc “Sign Tigers” group, Berger reported on the status of the Info Hub for Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  He said that a design selection would be made by the end of the month and forwarded to DDOT.  DDOT will pay for 75% of the costs of the new structure.  A fund raising program will be launched to provide the additional 25%.

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ANC6b Executive Committee Breaks New Ground to Engage Issues

ANC6b Executive Committee Breaks New Ground to Engage Issues

by Larry Janezich

AnC6b held a controversial – perhaps unprecedented – Executive Committee Meeting Tuesday night, a meeting that, in addition to setting the agenda for the next ANC meeting, included an informal wide-ranging discussion regarding priorities and objectives.  Some commissioners had reservations about the expanded Tuesday meeting since it had been called by the Chair and was not an emergency.

The consensus of a majority of the commission was that since the public had been invited to attend and that at least one member of the public – who also represented a news blog – was present, the meeting was legitimate.  Despite the objections, all commissioners participated in the meeting and appeared to fully engage the issues brought up beyond the normal agenda items.  Also present to facilitate the discussion was Gottlieb Simon, Executive Director of the District’s ANC office

The meeting was nearly four and a half hours long.  In addition to priorities and objectives – which centered on constituent services, economic development, and improved use of technology to improve the work of the commission, the commission discussed the dire situation regarding the ANC’s finances.  The reserve fund will likely be exhausted over the next two years, leaving ANC6b with a significant annual deficit. ANC Chairman Glick has appointed himself and Commissioner Brian Pate to find ways to address the issue.

The agenda for the next ANC meeting on February 8 is likely to include a new voluntary operating agreement for Nooshi and Moby Dick.  Agreements have been worked out between representatives of the restaurants and the ANC.  It was unclear as of this writing whether Barracks Row neighbors would approve of the new agreement.  The ANC seemed to be prepared to act on the new agreements, regardless of the position of the neighbors.

It emerged during the meeting that Xavier Cervera is pursuing the details of a Voluntary Agreement for the proposed Pacificos Restaurant with the ANC, and will ask them to act on it.

In related news, the ANC Retail Mix Report will now be put off until the March meeting, owing to technical and logistical difficulties in getting materials in front of Taskforce members for their final approval.  An indication of ANC sentiment on the moratorium issue could still emerge in the February meeting in connection with consideration of new Voluntary Agreements with the afore-mentioned restaurants.

Other business will include the election of Committee chairs.  Carol Green is the likely new Chair of the ABC Committee, and Brian Pate the likely new representative to EMCAC.  Francis Campbell looks good to continue as Chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee.

New ANC6b Chair Neil Glick seems determined to see that ANC6b has representation on the new Eastern Market governing structure to be proposed in legislation coming out of Tommy Wells’ office – probably in February.  The Eastern Market Taskforce appointed by Councilmember Tommy Wells has scheduled a meeting for Thursday, January 27, to finalize the report of the Taskforce which they expect to deliver to Wells’ office by February 1.

Also on the schedule is Xavier Cervera’s public space request for a clock for Barracks Row in front of the soon-to-be-reopened Senart’s Oyster House.  Design features of the clock are unknown at present.  It seems likely that the old-fashioned stand alone street clock familiar to Main Streets across America in the early 20th century would be an appropriate model for this venue.

The next ANC meeting will be on February 8, at the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS at 522 7th Street, SE at 7:00pm.

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The Deal Goes Down Tonight for Nooshi and Moby Dick

The Deal Goes Down Tonight for Nooshi and Moby Dick

by Larry Janezich

Barracks Row neighbors meet Wednesday night with representatives of the ANC6b and two new proposed restaurants for Barracks Row:  Nooshi and Moby Dick.

Neighbors will hear the details of a proposed Voluntary Agreement, worked out between the owners of the proposed restaurants and ANC representatives.  Neighbors have gone on record saying they will file protests with the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) regarding the restaurants’ application for liquor licenses.  An attorney for the restaurant owners say that if the neighbors won’t agree to accept the terms of the Voluntary Agreement, then the restaurant owners will not sign it.  There is at least some chance that neighbors will go along.

A third restaurant – Pacificos – is attempting to work out a Voluntary Agreement with the ANC, and take its chances that the ABRA will approve the application, despite the neighbor’s protests.

It’s likely that the Voluntary Agreements would be agreed to by the ANC and sent down to ABRA as part of the application package for all three restaurants.

Last fall, ANC6b voted to protest liquor license applications from Nooshi and Moby Dick on the basis of neighborhood opposition and refusal of the restaurants to scale back what the ANC regarded as too large an operation for the site – the building formerly occupied by Chateau-Animaux.  The ANC subsequently protested a liquor license application from Pacificos on the basis that they felt they had to be consistent in opposing new restaurants on the 500 block of 8th Street, SE.

The newly elected ANC has looked for ways to accommodate the restaurants and address the concerns of the neighbors.

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CHAMPS Spearheads New Retail Mix Taskforce for Capitol Hill

CHAMPS Spearheads New Retail Mix Taskforce for Capitol Hill

by Larry Janezich

According to Restoration Society Board and CHAMPS Board member Chuck Berger, CHAMPS has convened a Retail Mix Task Force, comprised of representatives of 14 neighborhood businesses and community groups in the Eastern Market Metro area – including ANC6b, Barracks Row Main Street, and Capitol Hill BID.  Councilmember Wells’ office is also represented.  The mission of the Task Force is to attract and maintain a healthy retail mix to Capitol Hill commercial corridors.

ANC6b’s Retail Mix Taskforce is in the process of writing a final report for the ANC, including recommendations addressing the immediate issues of dealing with liquor licensing on Barracks Row and establishing desirable operational principles required of new businesses, especially those serving alcohol.  That taskforce has referred consideration of long term solutions to the retail mix problem to the CHAMPS group.

The goals of the latter are broad in concept.  They include the establishment of “best practices between neighbors and commercial strips,” area branding and promotion, destination identification; and administration of what are called “hospitality zones.”  Other issues to be addressed include quality of life, density, streetscaping, and parking.

Julia Christian, Executive Director, CHAMPS, recently reported to the ANC Retail Mix Taskforce, that the first steps will be defining the market area.  The next steps will be collecting reliable data on local demographics, shopping trends, existing business patterns, and building inventory/rent costs to provide a clear picture of the market area. This information will be shared with the community at upcoming forums in the next 60 – 90 days.  Information will also be shared and feed back from the community sought through a blog:

One of the outcomes of the effort will be better coordination and communication among the stake-holding interest groups:  CHAMPS, ANC6b, BRMS, Capitol Hill BID and the real estate community. An early suggestion for a way to accomplish this is a listserv for all involved groups.

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Retail Mix Taskforce Opposes Moratorium – Urges ANC6b Vote February 8. Recommends Actions to Address Resident’s Concerns

Retail Mix Taskforce Opposes Moratorium – Urges ANC6b Vote February 8.  Recommends Actions to Address Resident’s Concerns

by Larry Janezich

ANC6b Retail Mix Taskforce met today, Saturday, January 22, to consider its final report to the full ANC scheduled for its February 8, meeting. The Task Force, appointed almost a year ago, was charged with considering the range of options available, and to formulate interim and long term strategies to address problems associated with achieving a retail mix for the commercial corridors in ANC6b.

The Taskforce reached a consensus on the following short term recommendations:

That the ANC not pursue a liquor license moratorium for Barracks Row.

That the ANC communicate to city officials in the strongest terms, its support for strengthening and enforcing Voluntary Operating Agreements entered into by businesses, and to urge that there be repercussions for non-compliance.

That the ANC develop some set of guidelines to use when evaluating new liquor license applications (see Principles for Evaluating ABC Applications below).

That the ANC coordinate comprehensive inspection of commercial alleys and sidewalks/public space with staff from Mayor Gray’s office and develop an action plan to improve conditions.

That the ANC coordinate with Councilmember Wells and DDOT to perform a parking study that expands upon the Performance Parking Program.

That the ANC study and make recommendations for use of revenue from the Performance Parking Fund.

That the ANC work with Barracks Row Main Street and DDOT to promote the parking lot under the freeway, and to encourage its use for Barracks Row employees and for valet parking.

That the ANC allow the Retail Mix Taskforce to expire and utilize its two allotted seats on the CHAMPS Retail Mix Taskforce to further the work started by the ANC Taskforce.

That the ANC promote better coordination among and delivery of services from the three business organizations serving Capitol Hill.  (CHAMPS, BRMS, BID)

That the ANC strongly encourage Capitol Hill BID to more aggressively intervene regarding management of public space and help solve parking, noise and public safety issues.

There was also a consensus to remain silent on the issue of over concentration of restaurants and bars, deferring to those involved in the rewrite of the zoning laws which could address that issue.

The further consensus was to refer recommendations for long term implementation such as tax incentives, overlays, acquisition and management or non-restaurant retail property, etc., to the CHAMPS Taskforce on Retail Mix.

Principles for Evaluating ABC Applications

The Taskforce then moved to consider a set of principles to recommend to the ANC to use when evaluating ABC applications.

Consensus was reached on the following:

Applications will be reviewed against the best standards now in place for restaurants and retailers.

Liquor licenses for restaurants will be given preference over licenses for bars and taverns.

Applicants for liquor licenses should expect to provide a management plan that addresses the potential for negative impact on near-by residents and the community in general, including:

Closing hours.

Seating capacity.

Proper maintenance of the area surrounding the establishment, including entrances and exits, outdoor seating, sidewalk and dumpster areas.

Parking for staff and patrons.

Control of noise levels inside and outside the establishment, including disposal of trash.

Control of loitering within the establishment’s immediate area.

These preliminary agreements will be circulated among Taskforce members for final input and approval.  There was consensus among the members to urge the ANC to schedule a vote on the moratorium issue at its February meeting, should the Executive Committee place the Taskforce Report on the ANC’s Agenda.  What disposition of the other recommendations raised by the report would be for the full ANC to decide.

The ANC6b will next meet at 7:00pm, Tuesday, February 8, at Brent School.


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Historic Preservation Organizations Assert Voice on Historic Preservation Review Board Nominees

Historic Preservation Organizations Assert Voice on Historic Preservation Review Board Nominees

by Larry Janezich

After their unhappiness regarding the credentials of several Historic Preservation Board appointments under the Fenty Administration, the Historic District Coalition – which includes the Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board – has sent a letter to Mayor Gray and to Ron Collins, head of the Office of Boards and Commissions, laying down the over-all principles regarding the qualifications of acceptable potential nominees to fill upcoming vacancies on the Historical Preservation Review Board.  Individual names were not mentioned.  This marks the first time the organizations have involved themselves in this stage of the nominating process.

The Committee of 100 has prepared a list of potential nominees to recommend to the Mayor.  The CHRS Board subsequently voted to not take a position on potential nominees prior to the nominations being announced, but to ask the Historic Preservation Subcommittee, headed by Nancy Metzger, to make a recommendation to the Board on whether or not it should make specific recommendations in the future.

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Restoration Board and Committee of 100 Persuade Zoning Commission to Reconsider Union Station North Plan

Restoration Board and Committee of 100 Persuade Zoning Commission to Reconsider Union Station North Plan

by Larry Janezich

At the January 18 Board meeting of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, member Monte Edwards reported on the DC Zoning Commission‘s January 6 hearing on the proposed Union Station North (USN) development.  The Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board and the Committee of 100 presented new elevations demonstrating the mass and scale of the proposed Union Station North (USN) development.  The organizations hired an architect to provide the additional elevations correcting what some considered misleading elevations reflecting the height and scale of the project submitted by the developer.

At issue is where measuring the proposed building’s height should start.  The 1910 Height Act, limits building height to 130 feet.  Developers of USN want to measure from the H Street Overpass, some 30 feet above ground level.  This would be in accordance with a Tommy Wells’-sponsored amendment which passed the City Council, but as Committee of 100 testimony notes:

“In September 2010, C100 presented testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia on proposed (Wells’) amendment CH-2-1-7 and stated that the amendment amounted to an end run around the Height Act. Council listened and acted appropriately by specifically noting in the amended Policy CH-2-1-7 that no building should exceed the 130 ft. height limit imposed by the Height Act. But Council turned a blind eye to the fact that the ground, or platform, upon which the development would be built would be 30 ft. above the rail yards.”

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) weighed in, endorsing the ground level measuring point and recommending against any change.

Committee of 100 testimony concluded testimony with:

“C100 is in total agreement with, and supports the recommendation of NCPC. The graphics submitted on behalf of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, and sponsored by Drury Tallant, demonstrate the deleterious effect the permitted artificial elevation will have on the views of Union Station. The graphics clearly illustrate the out-of -scale presence the proposed Union Station North development will have relative to Union Station and the US Capitol. The iconic view of Union Station will become shrouded by the height of the USN buildings regardless of their setbacks. If approved, this unwelcome encroachment will be lasting.”

Subsequently, the Zoning Commission required the developer to resubmit elevations in February showing what the building would look like from natural grade.

Committee of 100 testimony and the elevations can be viewed at the Committee of 100 website:

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Restoration Board Bids for More Input on New Marine Barracks

Restoration Board Bids for More Input on New Marine Barracks

by Larry Janezich

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors voted unanimously January 18, to authorize sending a letter to the U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy, asking for consulting status on historic preservation aspects of the construction of new marine barracks – as well as the deconstruction of the existing barracks next to the freeway at 8th and I Streets, SE.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 provides that “Certain individuals and organizations with a demonstrated interest in the (construction project) undertaking may participate as consulting parties due to the nature of their legal or economic relation to the undertaking or affected properties, or their concern with the undertaking’s effects on historic properties.”

Board president Beth Purcell noted that the military can say no, but making the request emphasizes the concern of the CHRS Board regarding the project.

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