Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Week Ahead: Medical Marijuana Dispensary on Barracks Row, Frager’s, Performance Parking North of PA Avenue

The Week Ahead: Medical Marijuana Dispensary on Barracks Row, Frager’s, Performance Parking North of PA Avenue

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, May 1

ANC 6B Planning & Zoning Committee meets from 7pm – 9pm at St. Coletta of Greater

On the agenda:

Frager’s Hardware, 1113-1117 and 1123 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, variance for use to allow for the outdoor display / sale of seasonal merchandise and storage accessory to a retail store in the R-4 (rear) portion of Lots 44 and 838 in a CHC/C-2-A and R-4 district

Permit for Yarmouth Realty to put a digital display box in front of 309 7th Street SE

Permit for Boxcar Restaurant for a 79 square foot unenclosed sidewalk café with three tables, six seats, and two umbrellas.

Permit for Le Pain Quotidien for 20 additional seats and 10 tables for outside café on Pennsylvania Avenue and 8 seats on 7th Street without umbrellas or railings.

Wednesday, May 2

ANC 6B Transportation Committee meets from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Hill Center.

On the agenda:

Enhanced RPP (Residential Parking Permit) extension north of Pennsylvania Avenue SE

Non-automotive transit improvement budget: Performance Based Parking Pilots

Update on 11th Street Bridges Project

Thursday, May 3

ANC 6B ABC Committee Meets from 7pm – 8pm, Hill Center

On the agenda:

Metropolitan Wellness Center, Inc., 409 8th Street SE—Medical Marijuana Dispensary

License renewals for Albert’s Liquors, 328 Kentucky Avenue SE; Capitol Hill Wine & Spirits, , 323 Pennsylvania Avenue SE; Chat’s Liquors 503 8th Street SE, Gandel’s Liquors, Pennsylvania Avenue SE; Hayden’s, Inc.. 700 North Carolina Avenue SE; JJ Mutt Wine &  Spirits, 643 Pennsylvania Avenue SE; S&J Liquors, 1500 Massachusetts Avenue SE; Safeway, 415 14th Street SE; World Liquors, 1453 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

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Editorial: HPRB Advances Hine Project – With Reservations

HPRB Votes To Advance the Hine Project 5-3

Photo credit:  Maggie Hall

Editorial*:  HPRB Advances Hine Project – With Reservations

by Larry Janezich

Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Review Board voted 5 – 3 to advance the Hine Project, but not without some board members expressing serious reservations about the design of the southern façade of the Pennsylvania Avenue Office Building, the design of the north façade of the North Residential Building, the plaza’s water feature, and the connection between the residential and office buildings facing Pennsylvania Avenue.  One board member recommended taking “at least one floor” off of the 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue Office Building.

Though the Board felt Eastern Market fell outside of their purview, Chair Catherine Buell nevertheless urged HPO staff, Councilmember Wells’ office, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s office, and the developer to provide a greater accommodation for the weekend flea market.

Five community organizations, including ANC6B, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Eastern Market Metro Community Association, Eyes on Hine, and the Hine Site North Neighbors all sent representatives to express serious concerns about the project.  A common concern of all was the height and mass of the development.  The most critical of the organizations was the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, which, in addition to calling on HPRB to reconsider its prior approval of the height and massing of certain components of the Hine Project also submitted a lengthy report criticizes design elements in great detail.

Michael Berman, owner of Diverse Markets Management which manages the Flea Market, also appeared before the HPRB to testify on the inadequacy of the developer’s plan to site the weekend on the to be reopened C Street and the associated plaza.

ANC 6B Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg testified in support of the Hine Project and urged Board approval.  Her testimony included support for the “unique design” of the south façade of the 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue Building, its “commanding presence,” and opposed any reduction in height of the building, saying “reducing the height would be a step backward.”

The vote of the board was as follows:

To approve the motion to approve the staff report:  Chair Catherine Buell and Board Members Rauzia Ally, Andrew Aurbach, Maria Casarella, Joseph Taylor.

Opposing the motion to approve:  Board Members Robert Sonderman, Gretchen Pfaehler, Graham Davidson.

Board Member Nancy Metzger, former Chair of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s Historic Preservation Committee, has recused herself from consideration in this matter.

* The author of this posting presented testimony on behalf of EMMCA at yesterday’s hearing.


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Restoration Society Calls for HPRB Reconsideration of Hine Project

Restoration Society Calls for HPRB Reconsideration of Hine Project

by Larry Janezich

In testimony to be delivered at tomorrow’s hearing before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) will ask the board to reconsider its earlier concept approval regarding the design, scale, height, and mass of the Hine project’s 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue Office building, the most prominent part of the project and its signature building.

“We consider this element to be completely incompatible with the historic character of Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue SE,” the CHRS submits, adding, “It is stylistically incongruent with the buildings I connects and highly out of place in the historic district.”  And, “We ask HPRB to please reconsider its earlier concept decisions regarding his building’s design, scale height, and mass.”

The statement is a strongly worded submission, making it clear that the CHRS views the 7th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue buildings as too big, too tall and too massive in relation to the scale of the surrounding historic district.  The CHRS asks that the seventh floor be dropped and the sixth floor set back at least as far as the seventh is now.

Regarding design of the building, the statements says, “This is not the right design for such a prominent and highly visible location on a primary corner in the heart of the historic district,” and adds that at this prominent location, the building should “shine, rather than loom.”

CHRS also calls for reducing the scale of the 7th Street building, adding its voice to neighborhood concerns regarding a “canyon” effect on that narrow commercial strip.

However, the CHRS finds little to fault in the north building or the 8th Street residential building, both of which have received robust criticism from the surrounding neighborhood.

The statement concludes with a reference to the 2009 Stanton/Eastbanc proposal, a plan which CHRS supported.  But as they note in their HPRB testimony, that earlier proposal was six stories on Pennsylvania Avenue, with a sixth story deeply set back on 7th Street and the Pennsylvania Avenue corner.  Stanton/Eastbanc’s current plans call for an office building that is six stories with a 7th story set back 20 feet from 7th Street and only 12 feet from Pennsylvania Avenue.  Similarly, the plaza building on 7th and C Streets is five stories where it was once four, and it has crept onto 7th Street where it faces two story historic structures directly across the street.

Thursday’s HPRB hearing is to consider Stanton-Eastbanc’s response to concerns raised by the HPRB in its review of the projects design concept last summer.  In contrast to the opinion of CHRS and other community organizations, including EMMCA, EOH, and the Hine Project North Neighbors, the Historic Preservation Office Staff Report “recommends that the Review Board find that the revisions improve the compatibility of the conceptual plan,” and urges HPRB approval. If approved, the HPRB would be advancing a design widely held to be incompatible with its neighborhood and without any significant grassroots support from households which are forced to comply with stringent HPRB standards when renovating their own properties.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:00am, in Room 220, 441 4th Street, NW.  Indications are that the Hine project won’t come up until after 12:00 noon.



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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, April 24

ANC 6B Executive Committee Meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Wednesday, April 25

Mayor Gray’s meets with residents of Ward 6 to outline his FY13 budget and take questions from residents.  6:30pm – 8:30pm at Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street SE

Thursday, April 26

The Historic Preservation Review Board monthly meeting.  Among the items on the agenda are consideration of the revised concept drawings for the redevelopment of the Hine Junior High School project and the rear addition to Northeast Library.  9:00am, Room 220, 441 4th Street, NW.

Saturday, April 28

The Eastern Branch Building (261 17th Street SE) will be open for community tours. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

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Editorial: Yard Sign Campaign to Downsize Hine Begins Today

Sign campaign calls on Councilmember Tommy Wells to downsize Hine Project. Photo credit: Maggie Hall

Editorial:  Yard Sign Campaign to Downsize Hine Begins Today

by Larry Janezich

Yard signs encouraging Councilmember Tommy Wells to use his influence to downsize the Hine project to a height more in keeping with the Capitol Hill neighborhood have gone up on properties near the site of the future development.

The signs, part of EMMCA’s political messaging campaign on Hine, read “Tommy: Right Size Hine,” and list a website for interested parties to view (  The decision to move forward with the signs, and to direct them toward Tommy Wells, was made once the Office of Planning (OP) recommended proceeding with the zoning change for the site without taking issue with the height of the proposed Hine Development put forward by Stanton/Eastbanc.

The OP’s failure to name height as a prominent concern seemed to limit what could be achieved through the normal operations involved in changing the zoning of the site through the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process.  Previously, Wells steered neighbors to the PUD process to resolve such concerns, and that led to the decision to address Tommy Wells by name on the sign.  The Councilmember is the only realistic political option left for neighbors who wish to see meaningful changes to the Hine Development proposal.

The signs are being distributed by Barbara Riehle (


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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

April 17, Tuesday

The first of a series of CHAMPS sponsored events regarding real estate development on and near Capitol Hill.  7:00pm – 9:00pm.  National Community Church – 535 8th Street, SE (former Peoples’ Church).  Guest Speaker:  Councilmember Tommy Wells

The April 17th presentation will focus on development activity south of East Capitol Street and east of South Capitol Street.  A second session, to the held on Tuesday, May 8, will feature developments north of East Capitol Street and east of North Capitol Street.

April 17, Tuesday

CHRS Board Meeting, open to CHRS members, 6:30pm. Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street.

April 19, Thursday

PSA 108 Meeting featuring MPD Lt. Michael Thornton, 7:00pm – 8:00pm.  Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue SE

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The Week Ahead….


The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B Meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.  Watch for vote on approving Wagtime animal boarding and shelter at 900 M Street, SE; and sidewalk café for Spring Mill Bakery at 701 8th Street, SE.


Hine School Development, presentation of design changes by Stanton Eastbanc to respond to recommendations by the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Hine School Development, Recommendations from the Subcommittee on Hine School Development regarding mitigation requests, amenities and benefits, and related issues.


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Library of Congress Releases Architects’ Rendering of Capitol Hill Scholars’ Residence – Opening Scheduled for 2015

East Capitol Street Front of Scholars’ Residents. Rendering by Bowie Gridley Architects

Library of Congress Releases Architects’ Rendering of Capitol Hill Scholars’ Residence – Opening Scheduled for 2015

by Larry Janezich

The Library of Congress Scholars Residence, to be built at 601 East Capitol Street, SE, is expected to open for business in the spring of 2015.  Requests for bids for construction of the $10 million plus Scholars’ Residence in the former St. Cecelia’s Academy went out March 20, and are due April 24.  Six months from March 20 a general contractor will be selected from among the applicants.

The contractor will have 720 days to complete the extensive renovation of the interior and exterior of the building.  The facility will be completed and commissioned in the first quarter of 2015.  The LOC will not operate the facility directly, instead, it will contract out with a hospitality company.  Such companies run college dorms, conference centers, and federal training centers

There will be 50 new rooms for scholars described as a “dorm room setting,” with 44 efficiencies and six one-bedroom apartments.  Some will meet ADA requirements.  The facility will have communal kitchens; dorm kitchens in the rooms will have a microwave, coffeemaker, and refrigerator.  The facility will also have a multipurpose room and two lounge areas for the residents.

The over-all project will also include a temporary modular child care center located offsite during construction.  The construction, subsequent removal of the temporary modular child care center and site restoration is part of this project.  The child care facility will return to occupy the lower level of both buildings.

Among those using the facility will be those receiving LOC fellowships and scholars on sabbatical.  According to Dr. Geraldine Otremba, Senior Advisor for Education at the LOC, removing the obstacle of the expense of housing will provide greater opportunities for scholars in LOC fellow’s programs as well as scholars world-wide.   The LOC will canvass those registered as readers in the LOC to help identify the eligible population of potential scholar-residents, and once those eligibilities are determined following a wide-ranging conversation within the Library regarding how to set priorities, the plan is to provide housing “pretty much on a first come-first served basis,” according to Otremba.

The federal government purchased the property in 1991 and converted the lower floor of the two building to a child care facility.  The upper floors have remained vacant.  The renovation will remove the top story and roof of the east building and replace it with a new story; the roof of the west building will also be replaced.  A new floor will be inserted within the former gym and new window openings created in its façade.  A new entry pavilion and bridge will unite the buildings near the north side.

The federal project is exempt from historical preservation laws by the AOC and LOC have consulted voluntarily with ANC6B, ANC6C, the CHRS and the community to keep them informed of its intentions.  AOC expects there to be no impact on parking or traffic.  None of the residents will qualify for residential parking.  Additional details can be found at starting Thursday.


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Privatizing C Street Emerges As Key Hine Development Issue: FOIA Shows City Asked Developer to Define Ownership Deal

Privatizing C Street Emerges As Key Hine Development Issue: FOIA Shows City Asked Developer to Define Ownership Deal

by Larry Janezich

The privatization of the to-be-reopened C Street between 7th and 8th Streets, SE, has emerged as a thorny issue for Hine Project developers, Stanton/Eastbanc.

The developers have listed the re-opening of C Street at their expense – and restoration of the L’Enfant Plan for the city – as one of the main benefits for the city associated with the Hine project.  Yet members of the ANC 6B Hine Subcommittee, which met last Thursday night at the Hill Center, questioned both the appropriateness of the privatization and the procedures under which this portion of C Street was placed in the developer’s hands.

The privatization of the street has several ramifications for the community, including control of the weekend flea markets, loss of revenue for Eastern Market, loss of public space and the use of that space as a revenue raising measure for the developer.  In addition, Stanton[Eastbanc’s ability to unilaterally program the street, including its stated intent to use the space for “special events and programs such as lunch time concerts, holiday – or evening – events” raises concerns regarding noise and traffic issues for the nearby neighbors.

The core of the issue as expressed by Subcommittee member Bill Pate (no relation to ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate) is the privatization of a public resource, allowing the raising of revenue by and for the benefit of the developer.  “The privatization of the street does not benefit the community,” Pate observed, and therefore it is an issue that “needs mitigation.”

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) Chair Donna Scheeder who was in the audience, noted that the community wanted the street reopened, but was surprised when it learned that the street would be privatized and the connection between 7th and 8th Street would not happen the way they envisioned.   Jose Sousa of the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Economic Development (DMPED) has stated – and it is the conventional wisdom – that the privatization of C Street came about as a condition of the Land Disposition Agreement, passed by the City Council July 13, 2010.

The reopening of the street was a condition of the Deputy Mayor’s request for proposals for developing the site (RFP), and therefore a feature common to all final proposals considered by DMPED.

Yet FOIA documents obtained by emmcablog show that it was the developer who approached DDOT discuss questions of ownership, maintenance, and management of the to-be-reopened street in December 2009, three months after they were awarded the Hine development project, and that the privatization of C Street was not the only or most obvious answer to these questions.

DDOT responded to Stanton/Eastbanc’s questions by asking Stanton to “recommend a course of action on how to deal with the C Street SE as it crosses the Hine School site…,” essentially inviting the interested party to chart the policy framework under which the disposition of C Street would be considered.  Apparently, no community members or representatives were present at any of the meetings convened to discuss the questions.

“How should the space be owned?” Stanton/Eastbanc’s memorandum written in response to the DDOT request inquired.  The developer’s answer to the question they posed was included in its final recommendation:  “Stanton-Eastbanc is committed to permanently expanding the public market area around Eastern Market onto the Hine Site and to raising the quality and attractiveness of the Saturday Arts and Crafts- and Sunday-Flea Markets… To this end it makes most sense to design C Street and the plaza for pedestrians and the markets while enabling vehicle traffic as a secondary design use.”  Accordingly, the developer concluded that “it makes most sense to manage the street and plaza privately.”

As has been previously reported on this blog, space in the Hine Development for the weekend flea market has been significantly curtailed to roughly half of its current size.  This seems to call into question the first and presumably paramount reason cited by Stanton Eastbanc as a reason to manage the street privately.

Moreover, the component of the City Council-passed Land Disposition Agreement which provides for the privatization of C Street refers particulars of reconstruction of the street to a “DDOT Apreement.”  Although all relevant documents are supposed to be included in the public record (however incomplete they are at the time of City Council approval), no such document appears in the Disposition Agreement as passed by the Council, and one source at DDOT surmised that the reference was to a prospective agreement.

Under the current agreement with the developer, the developer will finance the rebuilding and continuous maintenance of the 700 block of C Street, SE.  The agreement provides that the developer will grant an easement to the DC government to permit vehicular access through the reopened C Street, including emergency vehicles, except when the street is closed on weekends for vendors.

ANC6B’s Hine Subcommittee is considering what to recommend to the full ANC6B regarding what the community should ask for from Stanton/Eastbanc to mitigate or alleviate the impact of the developer’s private ownership of C Street.  It appears to be the consensus of the Subcommittee that giving the developer complete control over public use of the street has the potential to create undue hardships for surrounding neighbors and businesses.  Further, there appears to be wide agreement among members of the Subcommittee that the current plan grants the developer too much authority over what is ostensibly public space.

Some options regarding mitigation which the Subcommittee is considering include modifying the ground lease to provide for appropriate management and programming of the street, use of the Open Space Management Plan to require inclusion of community members and business interests in management of the street, and having the city retain legal authority over the street and grant an easement to Stanton/Eastbanc to close and manage the street on weekends during flea market hours.

ANC6B Hine Subcommittee will meet Thursday, April 5 at 7:00pm in Hill Center, Room TBA, to consider design issues for the proposed development at the Hine School site. The meeting will include a presentation by the architects and consideration of recommendations for both the PUD negotiation and the ANC position before the April 26th Historic Preservation Review Board.


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3-D Model of Hine Project – Photos – Part II

Looking north at the Pennsylvania Avenue facade

Looking northwest at the 8th and D corner.

Looking south from above and behind the north residential building.

Looking to the southwest

Looking north down 7th Street


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