Monthly Archives: August 2011

First Day of School – August 22, 2011

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Condo Conversion of The Maples Underway

The 1797 Historic Structure Is On Its Way to Becoming Condos. Apparently the promised "strenuous efforts" to save the large oak were unsuccessful. (They never are.)

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Hill Center Signals Aggressive Strategy in Status Hearing Before ABRA – No Progress Made in Mediation

Hill Center, July 29, 2011

Hill Center Signals Aggressive Strategy in Status Hearing Before ABRA – No Progress Made in Mediation

by Larry Janezich

Yesterday, the Alcohol Beverage Review Administration (ABRA) met with Hill Center and protesting neighbors at a Status Hearing to assess progress in the mediation process regarding the operations of the Center.  The opposing sides informed ABRA that no agreement had been reached.  A full hearing is scheduled for October 5.

At the hearing, the protesting neighbors informed ABRA that the Hill Center attorney had obtained without their consent private emails of the protest group’s participants.  The lawyer, Paul Pascal, declared his intent to use these emails in support of Hill Center in the full hearing if the protest continues, declaring the emails no different than the “tweets” issued by Representative Anthony Weiner which ultimately led to the Congressman’s resignation.

According to Pope Barrow, one of the protestors’ negotiators, obtaining and using the private email of others without their consent is a violation of Federal email privacy laws.  Barrow challenged their use at the hearing; Pascal responded that ruling on the question of privacy law was beyond the scope of ABRA.  The neighbors’ group requested that the Board postpone the October 5 hearing until the matter of obtaining and using private emails by the Hill Center could be investigated by ABRA or other appropriate authorities.  The Hill Center opposed granting a stay, and ABRA resolved to take the matter under consideration.  ABRA also denied the protestors request for a two week postponement of the hearing in order to allow all protestors to be present.

Following Hill Center’s initial rejection of the neighbors’ requests on July 28th, protesting neighbors made a second, more limited request on Friday, August 4th; this was rejected by the Hill Center as well.  With no successful mediation in sight, the ABRA Status Hearing presented the distance between the two sides and, in addition, displayed a level of acrimony and contentiousness not yet seen in the efforts to produce agreement on the operations of the Hill Center affecting nearby neighbors.

Hill Center Foundation President Nicky Cymrot sent the following statement to emmcablog this afternoon; “Hill Center continues to try to address concerns raised by neighbors either through the protest process before ABRA or through our operational procedures. We feel confident that Hill Center will be an asset to our community and that any issues that may arise once Hill Center opens can be quickly and effectively resolved.”


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More Images From Ward 6 Redistricting Meeting Monday Night

Taskforce Chair Joe Fengler, Whose Vote Doomed the Attempt to Expand ANC6B into Near Southeast

Taskforce Members Ken Jarboe and Donna Scheeder. Jarboe Authored and Supported the Plan to Expand ANC6B into Near Southeast

Some of the 30 Plus Community Members and Leaders Who Attended the Meeting

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Redistricting Taskforce Votes No on Annexing Near Southeast to Capitol Hill ANC – Votes Nixes Creating “Ward Within A Ward

New ANC6B Single Member Districts Proposed by Taskforce: (6B01 David Garrison, 6B02 Ivan Frishberg (Vice Chair), 6B03 Norman Metzger, 6B04 Kirsten Oldenburg, 6B05 Brian Pate, 6B06 Jared Critchfield (Secretary), 6B07 Carol J. Green (Treasurer), 6B08 Neil Glick (Chair), 6B09 Brian Flahaven (Parliamentarian), 6B10 Francis Campbell)

Redistricting Taskforce Votes In Favor of Status Quo

Redistricting Taskforce Votes No on Annexing Near Southeast to Capitol Hill ANC – Votes Nixes Creating “Ward Within A Ward”

by Larry Janezich

The Ward Six Taskforce on Redistricting, appointed by Councilmember Tommy Wells, and chaired by former ANC6A Chair, Joe Fengler, voted against annexing Near Southeast south of the freeway to ANC6B, thus increasing the number of commissioners from 10 to 12 and the ANC district from 20,000 to 24,000 residents.  Instead, they opted for a “status quo” plan which makes minimal changes to ANC6B.

The vote was 4 – 3 in favor of the status quo plan, with Taskforce members Fengler, Marge Francese, Antoinette Russell, and Skip Coburn voting for the status quo.  Ken Jarboe (Councilmember Tommy Wells’ political organizer for Ward Six), Donna Scheeder, and Tyler Merkeley voted for the expansion.  Taskforce Members Cody Rice, Raphael Marshall and Gene Fisher were absent.

The failed proposal would have annexed the portion of Near Southeast on the south side of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway lying between South Capitol and 11th Street.  ANC6D Commissioner David Garber, whose constituents say they are oriented toward Eastern Market and Barracks Row and wish to have a voice in ANC6B, urged ANC6B  “to continue to listen to us.”

There seemed to be considerable support among the ANC6B Commissioners to incorporate Near Southeast into ANC6B, even though it would put Commissioners Frishberg and Metzger in the same single member district and pit them against each other in the next election.

The Taskforce was evenly divided on the question, and Fengler’s vote proved decisive.  Fengler stated his reasons for supporting the status quo option.  He cited former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose’s advice against creating a “ward within a ward.”  He stated his own belief, as a former ANC chair, that ANC’s should be about the same size.  He noted that the decisions of such a large ANC as proposed would “impact ANC’s 6D, 6A, and 6C.”  Finally, he wondered how much an ANC6B, oriented toward Eastern Market and Barrack’s Row, would care about liquor licenses and zoning decisions in Near Southeast.

Before the final vote, the Taskforce agreed to a motion by Ken Jarboe to post both proposals on the Taskforce website for comment.  Jarboe’s motion was agreed to 7 – 0.

Most of the changes to ANC6B single member districts were minor.  One of the more notable adjustments divided control of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza among the single member districts of Commissioner Frishberg, Metzger, Oldenberg, and Pate.  Previously, it had been totally within Frishberg’s single member district.  In addition, the new plan split responsibility for Barrack’s Row between Commissioner Metzger and Oldenburg, both of whom previously supported a moratorium on Barracks Row liquor licenses.  Until now, the west side of the 500 block of 8th Street where Chiptole’s Mexican Grill will open – which Frishberg supported – had been Frishberg’s responsibility.

The preliminary plans agreed to tonight will go to their respective ANCs for consideration and input.  Taskforce Members will attend the ANC meetings in September to answer questions.  ANCs will have the opportunity to weigh in during the first two weeks of September.  By September 18th, the plans will be made public. The Taskforce will have two meetings in September to hear recommendations and finalize the map, which will then go to Councilmember Wells on September 27th or 28th.

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Ward Six Redistricting Taskforce Votes on ANC Single Member Districts Tonight

The Ward Six Redistricting Task Force will meet at 6:30pm tonight, Monday, August 8, in the Theater Church (formally the People Church), 535 8th Street, SE.

The meeting is for the purpose of the meeting is to adopt the initial ANC/SMD boundaries and will last about two hours.

There will be an opportunity for public comments if time permits.  Please consider attending if you can.



1.       The goal of this meeting is 2.       This will be a public meeting, lasting approximately two hours.


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National Association for Home Care & Hospice Building Space a Drain on Weekend Market Energy

Saturday, August 6, 2011. 8:30AM

National Association for Home Care & Hospice Building Space a Drain on Weekend Market Energy

by Larry Janezich

Never a contributor to the Eastern Market human or retail dynamics, the first floor of the building which houses the lobby organization for the home care and hospice industry continues to be vacant.  After successive first floor tenants of a mortgage company and Community Connections (now occupants of the Haines Building on 8th and Pennsylvania) the space continues to be a drain on the energy of the weekend  market scene.  When built, the first floor  was intended for retail.   Stanton Develdopment reportedly had a retail tenant for the space, but the was turned down by the building’s owner.


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Preservation Board Approves Last Components of Hine Development – Concerns Raised About Weekend Market

Commissioner Ivan Frishberg Presents ANC6B Positions on Remaining Hine Components

Commissioner Brian Pate Voices ANC6B Disappointment in HPRB Process; Cites ANC's Remaining Issues with ProjectHPRB Voice Votes Approval of Hine Project

Preservation Board Approves Last Components of Hine Development – Concerns Raised About Weekend Market

by Larry Janezich

While declaring there are still issues to be addressed, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) voted 6-0 on Thursday to approve the Hine project’s 7th Street Residential Building (now called the “Plaza Building”) where the developers still hope to site a hotel, and the North Residential Building, which has low and moderate income housing in addition to retail.  The Board also signed off on the landscaping plan but raised a final hurdle, reserving judgment on the Plaza design in an effort to assure that a larger segment of the weekend flea market survives the redevelopment.

Members of the Board cited concerns of community organizations regarding the developer’s plans to accommodate only half of the up to 150 vendors which constitute the Saturday and Sunday markets.  Carol Wright, flea market owner, testified that the weekend markets had been “100% behind Stanton Development as the choice for the developer of the Hine site, until this week” when they learned of the plan to change accommodation of the flea market to 68 tents instead of the 120 – 150 currently in use.

Project Architect Amy Weinstein noted that space for the flea market was lost when the developers were left with the east end of the Plaza was left as the only viable alternative for an entrance to the underground parking garage once objections by the Department of Transportation and 8th Street neighbors were raised to locating it elsewhere.  She suggested that since ownership of Metro Plaza has been transferred to the city government, there was no legal barrier to having half the weekend market locate on the Metro Plaza.

Chair Catherine Buell, who said she frequents the weekend market, suggested that the Board should not take a position on the Plaza until a conversation has occurred about the size of the weekend markets.  She said that HPRB would host a meeting on the use of public space which would involve Councilmember Wells’ office, the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Department of Transportation, the development team and other project stakeholders.

At the hearing, Commissioner Ivan Frishberg presented ANC 6B’s recommendations regarding the buildings and plaza design under consideration.  Commissioner Brian Pate followed by presenting ANC 6B’s position on the entire HPRB process, expressing disappointment with 8th and D Street building and the short timelines for public input in particular.

The Historic Preservation Office staff was charged with compiling a list of recommendations Board members had for the developer regarding continuing design work that needs to be done.  A partial list of those suggestions is as follows:

Plaza Building – façade design elements needs more study

North Residential Building – rear view of the North Residential Building needs more study as does the entrance to the building

The building at 8th and D needs serious design work

The mechanical penthouse on the 7th Street Office Building needs additional consideration

Landscaping water features on the Plaza need refinement to make them year-round features

The developer hopes to send drawings to the Zoning Board to begin the Public Unit Development process by December.  That process, which will offer another round of opportunities for public input, could take up to eight months.

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Dueling Letters to Neighbors Highlight Public Relations Battle Prior to ABRA Status Hearing on Hill Center

Hill Center

Dueling Letters to Neighbors Highlight Public Relations Battle Prior to ABRA Status Hearing on Hill Center

by Larry Janezich

In an effort to shore up community relations, Nicky Cymrot, President of the Hill Center Foundation, sent a letter to immediate neighbors of the newly refurbished Hill Center.  In it, Cymrot made note of the efforts on the part of the Center to establish good relations with surrounding residents and explained that the later hours on the Voluntary Agreement already approved by ANC 6B allowed the Center to clean-up after events.

Organizers of the 156 individuals who signed the petition protesting the liquor license to ABRA cited that the ANC agreement made additional allowances for clean-up beyond the closing hours cited by Cymrot in her letter.  They continued to insist that the Hill Center sign a license that conformed to the liquor-service hours described on the Hill Center’s website.

Both letters are copied below.  A comparison of ending hours for Hill Center as stated in the Center’s alcohol license application, ANC Voluntary Agreement, Hill Center Website, and the neighbors request was published previously by emmcablog, on July 29.

Neighborhood protestors have also recently called on residents to not patronize or volunteer for the Hill Center and ask friends and neighbors not to patronize it until the Hill Center negotiates a new voluntary agreement with its neighbors.  At least one resident has asked for her donation to the Center to be returned.  Both parties are scheduled to meet for a status hearing on August 10; if the dispute has not been successfully mediated, then a protest hearing is scheduled for October 5th.  Without a resolution, no liquor license can be issued in the interim.

August 3, 2011

Dear Neighbors:

As you know, Hill Center is scheduled to open this fall. This is an exciting time. Years of hard work and dedication by many neighborhood volunteers has turned a derelict and neglected old building into a beautifully restored asset for the entire community.

Some of you have expressed concern about the operation of Hill Center and the impact it might have on your neighborhood. From the very first proposal to the city outlining the idea of Hill

Center some nine years ago, we have kept the interests of our immediate neighbors in mind. Like you, we are residents of Capitol Hill and value, just as you do, the quality of life we enjoy in our neighborhoods. With construction nearly completed, we are looking forward to opening Hill Center and remain fully committed to being good neighbors and conducting our operations accordingly.

We are listening to the concerns of neighbors and take them seriously. Please know that we are addressing these concerns whenever possible, and that we pledge to maintain an ongoing dialogue and an open-door policy to deal with matters as they arise:

• When our application to the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) for a license came before the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC), we addressed concerns you raised about operating hours, shortened them, considerably in some instances, and crafted a Voluntary Agreement (VA) that was approved unanimously by the ANC.

• We convened the first of a series of ‘community listening sessions’ with Diana Ingraham, Hill Center’s Executive Director, who has pledged to be available to neighbors. We will continue those sessions.

• After a group of neighbors filed a protest against Hill Center’s liquor license, we joined their representatives at the mediation table to discuss changes they wanted to the VA. The mediator told the neighborhood group that most of the items they were requesting were not issues that could be included in the agreement—that ABRA had no jurisdiction over them.

We at Hill Center, however, will do our best to take into consideration those concerns as we develop our operational procedures.

There remains a point of confusion about Hill Center’s hours of operation. Our intention is to limit the hours of programs and gatherings inside the building to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Since these hours do not include time for clean up, the hours on the ANC Voluntary Agreement extend the operating hours to allow us to do so. The use of the garden for scheduled gatherings will be limited to 9 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. We will also thoroughly screen all caterers and use only those who maintain the sensitivity to our neighbors that we will demand. Hill Center staff will be on hand at all times to enforce these requirements.

At this point, Hill Center has almost completed the full rehabilitation of the historic Old Naval Hospital, and we hope you will agree that the result is very beautiful. We want our neighbors to be among the first to take advantage of the exciting educational, cultural, and civic programs that Hill Center has to offer. We ask that you give us the benefit of the doubt and extend your good will as we all begin this new time. We will continue to do all we can to make sure that Hill Center remains an asset to the neighborhood and to the community.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Thank you,

Nicky Cymrot, President

Old Naval Hospital Foundation

August 3, 2011

Response from Representatives of the Group of 156 Near Neighbors to the Letter from Ms. Cymrot on behalf of the Hill Center

The Hill Center’s letter from Ms Cymrot to neighbors dated August 3, 2011, states that there is “confusion about Hill Center’s hours of operation” and that their “intention is to limit the hours of programs and gatherings inside the building to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday”.

If this statement is true, then why does the Hill Center (continue to) insist on continuing to hold to the ANC6B official licensing agreement showing alcohol service inside the building as late as 1 am Sunday through Thursday and 2 AM Friday and Saturday?  The ANC6B Voluntary Agreement also has Hours of Operation (clean up, etc.) listed as going on until 2 AM on weekdays and 3 AM on weekends.

If the Hill Center is not going to serve alcohol after 11 PM, why refuse to agree to do exactly that and to make the public commitment to place these restrictions on their license? Instead, neighbors are asked to “trust” them and told that “they are our neighbors too”.  (None of the board members, however, live in the nearby neighborhood.) Meanwhile, the Hill Center’s attorney, Paul Pascal, is telling the neighbors that the Hill Center will under no circumstances enter into an agreement with anyone (other than the ANC) about anything.

If there is any “confusion” about the hours of operation, that confusion is attributable to the Hill Center’s refusal to even discuss the numbers of visitors and closing hours with designated representatives for a group of 156 neighbors who signed petitions protesting the license. Those neighbors’ representatives are not confused about what is meant by closing at 1 AM and 2 AM. Those hours are not the same as 11 PM. The Hill Center rejected making the 11 PM closing official without allowing for any discussion or negotiation.  Those are the facts.

The concerned neighbors are almost 100 percent supportive of the Hill Center and its mission. However, the Hill Center’s initial demand that they stay open for alcohol service until 3 AM came as a shock and disappointment to many neighbors, and especially to those who had been supportive in the past. The change negotiated by ANC 6B to reduce alcohol service closing time by one hour to 1 AM Sunday through Thursday and 2 AM Friday and Saturday was considered, by the 156 neighborhood petitioners directly affected by a late night operation, to be inadequate. An agreement with those neighbors that specifies 11 PM closing hours would dispel any “confusion” that exists and restore some level of the good will toward the Hill Center.

Pope Barrow

Barbara Eck

Jill I. Lawrence


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United ANC6B Opposes Losing Hill East and U.S. Capitol Neighborhood – Redistricting Taskforce Chair Fengler Warns Change Is Likely

Ward 6 Redistricting Taskforce: (From Left) Raphael Marshall, Antoinette Russell, Cody Rice, Chair Joe Fengler, Tyler Merkeley, Ken Jarboe

ANC6B Residents Turn Out for Redistricting Meeting

United ANC6B Opposes Losing Hill East and U.S. Capitol Neighborhood

by Larry Janezich

Thirty-three residents of Ward 6 turned out for a meeting Monday night held by the Taskforce on Redistricting of ANC’s in Ward 6.  Chair Joe Fengler stated that this meeting, devoted to a discussion of boundaries of ANC 6B, had the largest turnout of any of the listening meetings designed to receive input from residents and stakeholders concerned with ANC boundaries in the soon-to-be-reconfigured Ward Six.

Two proposals which have been floated – though not endorsed by the Taskforce – drove turnout:  one to carve a new Hill East ANC out of ANC6B, and the other to annex much of the ANC6B area around Garfield Park and lying close to the U.S. Capitol into ANC6D which lies mostly South of the Freeway.

ANC Commissioners lined up to defend the status quo.  Chair Glick and Commissioners Flahaven, Pate, Frishberg, Green and Campbell were present to oppose breaking off Hill East into a separate ANC.  Commissioners Metzger and Garrison spoke against extending ANC6D north of the freeway.  Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg submitted a statement opposing the part of the separate Hill East ANC plan which would include much of her single member district (SMD) in Hill East.  Those in attendance who were not ANC Commissioners generally lined up with the viewpoints articulated by Commissioners.

Taskforce Chair Joe Fengler closed the meeting by noting that maintain the status quo is “not likely.  “The question is how do we manage the change that is likely to come?”  Fengler said that by the end of next Wednesday’s meeting, the Taskforce will have a good idea of what ANC boundaries will be.  Thursday through Sunday, the Taskforce will breakup into working groups to propose single member districts within the ANCs.   ANC 6B residents who could not attend the meeting are encouraged to voice their views on the Taskforce’s website within the next three days:

Next Monday, August 15th, the Taskforce will meet to vote on the SMD boundaries.  These will be posted on the Taskforce Website on August 18th.  ANCs will then have an opportunity to weigh in during the first two weeks of September.  After September 14, there will be two more meetings to finalize the plan, which will then go to Councilmember Wells on September 27th or 28th.

By October 1, Wells will review the Taskforce work and carry the plan to the City Council for approval.

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