Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Week Ahead ….

The Week Ahead ….

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, January 10

ANC6B meets at 7:00pm in The Hill Center.

Noteworthy items on the agenda:

 Annual Election of Officers

Consideration of Planning and Zoning Committee recommendation to approve raze permits for the Miles Glass building and the auto repair shop on Virginia Avenue and the KFC building on Pennsylvania Avenue

Consideration of a letter to the Office of Planning pointing out the deficiencies and omissions in Stanton-Eastbanc’s application for a Planned Unit Development for the Hine Project

Letter to DDOT on repairing alleys in the Capitol Hill Historic District (Garfield Park neighbor’s may get some welcome news soon regarding their ten year effort for sidewalk repair on the east side of the Park.)

Saturday, January 14

Book Sale at Southeast Library, 10am to 3pm, sponsored by the Friends of Southeast Library. Thousands of books – most hardbacks are a dollar, and most paperbacks are two for a dollar.  Proceeds benefit the Library.

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Capitol Hill Community Turns Out for Meeting on Recent Spike in Muggings

CM Wells and MPD Commander Hickson Talk About Capitol Hill Street Crime

Thurday Night's Meeting on Street Crime at Hill Center

Capitol Hill Community Turns Out for Meeting on Recent Spike in Muggings

by Larry Janezich

Last night, some 50 Capitol Hill residents attended a meeting in The Hill Center to hear Metropolitan Police explain their continuing efforts to address a sudden spike in pedestrian and business robberies in the neighborhood.

The meeting was hosted by Councilmember Tommy Wells, who characterized the rash of muggings as “trending crime.”  Wells said that a commonly heard refrain is that crime is an expectation that goes with living in the city.  Wells’ said, “[m]y expectation is zero crime – no matter what neighborhood you live in.” 

There were a total of 14 robberies in December of 2011, many of them near Eastern Market Metro.  All but one of the robberies took place at night, and pedestrians were the victims in all but one.  (Radio Shack suffered an armed robbery on December 23.)  There have been no instances of pedestrian crime since MPD instituted a plan to address the issue, though a 7/11 was held up January 2.    

MPD Commander Hickson, Lt. Fowler and a handful of police officials and officers were on hand to explain MPD’s response to the spike and to tell residents what they can do to protect themselves and their community. 

Among the points stressed by Commander Hickson were:

Technology (read iPhones/androids) makes you a target.  (Would you walk around holding $400 up to your ear?)

Be alert and stay observant.  Part of the problem in making arrests is the inability of victims to identify their assailants.

Don’t hesitate to call 911 if you have suspicions of criminal activity.

Go to the MPD website (MPD.dc.gov) and sign up for “Alert DC Rapid Text Notification.”   Alert DC is an emergency notification system that provides different ways to get real-time text information regarding police activity and to help citizens prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters.  

Finally, Dickson urged citizens to get involved with their Public Service Areas (PSAs).  Involvement, he said, can be coordinated through (ANC6B) Commissioners – most of whom were present at the meeting.

ANC6B06 Commissioner Jared Critchfield subsequently said that he was encouraged that so many people had turned out for tonight’s the meeting, and emphasized the importance of participation in the monthly PSA meetings.  He urged that residents take note of the PSA boundary changes that went into effect January 1.  The new map cam be viewed here:  http://mpdc.dc.gov/mpdc/frames.asp?doc=/mpdc/lib/mpdc/info/districts/pdf/1dnew_large_nov11.pdf

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Councilmember Tommy Wells to Host Meeting on Street Crime Thursday Night

Councilmember Tommy Wells to Host Meeting on Street Crime Thursday Night

by Larry Janezich

CM Tommy Wells will host a meeting on the recent significant increase in street crime on Capitol Hill, including a rash of muggings and two armed holdups of neighborhood businesses.  Police officials from the First District will participate.  The meeting is scheduled for 6:30pm at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

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Hine Developer EastBanc Seeks Relief from Affordable Housing Requirement on West End Project

Hine Developer EastBanc Seeks Relief from Affordable Housing Requirement on West End Project – Occupy DC to Protest Move at Zoning Commission Hearing Thursday

by Larry Janezich

The DC Zoning Committee will hold a hearing Thursday evening on the EastBanc-W.D.C Partners’ application for a public unit development (PUD), filed in June of 2011, for its West End Library project.  In addition to building a new library and fire station in lieu of payment of some $20 million for the property, the developers plan a residential building with 172 market-rate one, two, and three bedroom units, supported by 190-197 underground parking spaces.  Originally, plans included 52 affordable housing units above the new fire station. 

Now it appears that EastBanc may be seeking relief from the requirement that the affordable housing units be part of the project, a requirement of DC law for any new residential construction project in the District.  EastBanc did not provide details of the firehouse and affordable housing in the PUD, leading community members to speculate that EastBanc is hoping to have the requirement dropped.  This may be because EastBanc has stated that it would need the city to provide a subsidy to make the affordable housing component viable, and, thus far, the District has failed to come up with one. 

Occupy DC has gotten wind of what they suspect is an EastBanc move to quietly do away with the affordable housing in the West End project and has issued a statement stating “Occupy DC …does not support the arbitrary suspension of existing zoning rules in the interest of multinational corporations.”  Additionally, a statement from that group says that a “coalition of community groups and organizations” will be at the Zoning Commission hearing “to voice their opposition.”

As readers of this blog know, EastBanc has partnered with Stanton Development on the construction of the Hine project.  The Deputy Mayor’s office cited Stanton/Eastbanc’s willingness to make affordable housing a component of the project (15% of residences) without a city subsidy as one major reason why the partnership was awarded the contract.  As readers of this blog will also recall, the Stanton/Eastbanc team continues to cite its commitment to affordable housing as the reason why the scale and the density of the Hine project cannot be diminished in response to concerns and criticism from the community. 

One of EastBanc’s partners in both the Hine and West End Projects is Dantes Partners, which appears to be a two-person development company operating out of a townhouse at 72 V Street NW with no current website address.  The public face of Dantes is Buwa Binitie, who served as affordable housing consultant for EastBanc on both the West End and the Hine projects.  Binitie’s trademark seems to be winning development contracts by offering more affordable housing than other developers.  Previous to his work at Dante’s Partners, Binitie administered and managed the implementation of the New Communities Initiative for the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development, and he currently serves on the five member board of the DC Housing Finance Agency.  In July of 2010, Lydia DePillis of Washington City Paper ran an article suggesting that Dantes Partners success at winning city contracts might be attributed to Buwa Binitie’s political connections.

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ANC6B Committee Clears Razing of Miles Glass, VA Avenue Auto Shop -Temporary Parking Lot and Community Green Space Planned

ANC6B Committee Clears Razing of Miles Glass, VA Avenue Auto Shop -Temporary Parking Lot and Community Green Space Planned

by Larry Janezich

Last night, at ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee meeting chaired by Commissioner Francis Campbell, Jim Tanious, representing the National Community Church (NCC), presented the church’s request to demolish the former Miles Glass Company Building at 733 Virginia Avenue, SE, and the former auto repair shop at 701 Virginia Avenue, SE.  The church hopes the work will be completed by March.  NCC will then move to establish a temporary parking lot and community green space for an estimated two year period while plans are finalized for the site’s ultimate purpose, which could include an Ebenezer’s Coffee Shop and additional congregational meeting space. 

The church had originally planned to construct its primary meeting space on the site when that plan was sidetracked by the purchase of the former movie theater at 545 8th Street, SE, which at the time housed The People’s Church.  Tanious announced Tuesday night that NCC hopes to reopen the film theater to the community this spring when it is not being used by the congregation. 

Asked if the proposed lot would be managed by a parking company, Tanious said that plans had not been finalized. Other suggested uses for portions of the several-acre site which emerged during the discussion last night included parking for the Fire Department and parking for the mobile construction offices for CSX which is scheduled to begin rebuilding the CSX tunnel under Virginia Avenue in the near future. 

The raze permit passed the Committee unanimously and is likely to sail through the full ANC6B when it meets at The Hill Center on Tuesday, January 10.

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The Week Ahead…

The Week Ahead…

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, January 3, 7:00pm

ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee meets at St. Coletta’s School. 

Agenda:

Demolition of Miles Glass at 733 Virginia Avenue

Demolition of auto repair shop at 701 Virginia Avenue

Demolition of KFC Building at 1442 Pennsylvania Avenue

Chair:  Francis Campbell

Tuesday, January 3, 7:00pm

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) meets in the North Hall of Eastern Market..

Agenda:

Eastern Market legislation and additional issues TBA.  .

Chair:  Donna Scheeder

Wednesday, January 4, 6:30pm

ANC6B’s Transportation Committee meets at The Hill Center, third floor. 

Agenda:

Repairing alleys in the Capitol Hill Historic District

Tentative presentation on traffic calming techniques

Chair:  Kirsten Oldenburg

Thursday, January 5, 7:00pm

ANC6B’s ABC Committee meets at The Hill Center, third floor. 

Agenda:

License renewal for Young Chow Asian Restaurant, 312 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Chair:  Carol Green

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