Monthly Archives: November 2012

Piece of the Story – Featuring the Work of Alex Goldstein – Owner/Gallery Director of The Fridge

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Piece of the Story – Featuring the Work of Alex Goldstein – Owner/Gallery Director of The Fridge

Goldstein:

My recent work reflects the heavily graphic design-influenced style with the visual and text-based themes I have been working with for many years in the streets of NY and DC.

I use two multi-layered images repeated in differing viewpoints: a boy with hand grenade, inspired by Diane Arbus, and a girl with two guns blazing. “These are images of empowerment and rage.  I’m a staunch pacifist.  I’m terrified of guns, but I’m obsessed with these images because of the part that they play in our society.”

Goldsteirn’s work will be exhibited in his first-ever solo show – titled “Exclamation Point” – at his Gallery, The Fridge, opening December 1 from 7:00pm – 11:00pm.  Goldstein will present paintings on paper, mixed media, and a new mural on the exterior walls of The Fridge.  One hundred stencil and spray paint works on paper will be displayed in the gallery.  The exhibition will evolve over the course of the month; buyers are invited to take the works directly off the walls instead of waiting until the exhibit comes down.  The show runs through December 30.

The Fridge is at 516 1/2 8th Street, SE, Washington, DC, 20003 – two blocks from Eastern Market metro.  He can be reached at:www.thefridgedc.com

Ed. – capitolhillcorner.org feature “Piece of the Story” presents an image of a work by a Capitol Hill artist and a paragraph written by the artist explaining how the piece tells the story of the artist’s recent work.  If you are interested in contributing, please submit an image and 200-300 words, including any biographical info and any venue where your work can be viewed, as well as contact information to: ljjanezich@hotmail.com

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Developers’ Gaze Turns to Stadium Armory Metro Stop – City Moves Ahead with Plan to Develop Two Near By Parcels

Ketan Gada, Reservation 13 Project Director, Briefs Hill East Task Force on Development Plans

Developers’ Gaze Turns to Stadium Armory Metro Stop – City Moves Ahead with Plan to Develop Two Near By Parcels

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B’s Hill East Task Force met Monday night to hear Ketan Gada, the Deputy Mayor’s project director for development of Reservation 13, present an update on the current thinking and process for the residential and retail development of two key parcels of land adjacent to the Stadium-Armory Metro.

Since the Redskins have decided to train elsewhere and the prospect for a Georgetown campus on Reservation 13 has faded, the city is pressing ahead with plans to develop the 67 acre site, with the first phase being the mixed use project planned for two parcels totaling 114,000 square feet next to the metro stop.  

Three development teams have visited the site in response to the city’s October 4 request for expressions of interest.  Gada said he expects four to five offers to be submitted by the January 7 deadline.  Developers are being asked to provide affordable housing plans for the project under two scenarios – either 30% affordable housing with a limited life span of up to 40 years, or 13% affordable housing which would remain affordable in perpetuity. 

According to Gada, after January 7, the Deputy Mayor’s office will select those developers who have been “most responsive” to the city’s criteria and those developers will be asked to make presentations to the ANC.  Since Reservation 13 is now in Ward 7’s ANC7F, that ANC would ordinarily be the most directly involved.  However, ANC6B Commissioners Brian Flahaven and Francis Campbell are strong advocates of the involvement for ANC6B, since their single member districts are adjacent the project.  Flahaven, chair of the Hill East Taskforce, stated that he hopes developer presentations can be made to a joint committee comprised of both ANC6B and ANC7F, and Gada seemed receptive to that proposal.

About 15 residents turned out for last night’s meeting, and some of the issues raised by both those in the audience and by members of the Taskforce included concerns regarding the relocation of social services on the site, preservation of Anacostia waterfront green space, the fifty foot height of the project’s buildings facing 19th Street, and safeguarding the continuity of the plan against randomness of piecemeal development.   

Flahaven asserted it was the responsibility of the residents and the ANC to “keep folks accountable,” but one member of the audience, James Ray, voiced skepticism of the Deputy Mayor’s commitment to the restrictions of the Master Plan noting that “residents feel powerless when Mayor Gray pulls a fast one with the Redskins Training facility” proposal. 

Flahaven said that the people most invested in the project are those who live closest to it and went on, “We’re stuck with what we have – we have the most to gain and to lose if it’s done incorrectly.”  Residents who seek input should bear the recent Hine experience in mind.  During that process, many meetings were held, but nearby residents were left feeling that many of their most important concerns went unaddressed.

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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

November 26, Monday

ANC 6B’s Hill East Task Force will get an update on DMPED’s Request for Expressions of Interest for parcels F1 & G1 at Reservation 13 at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Avenue SE.

November 27, Tuesday

ANC 6B Executive Committee Meets at 7:00pm at Hill Center to set the agenda for the Dcember 11 ANC6B meeting.

November 28, Wednesday

(The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meetings scheduled for this day was cancelled.  The next meeting will be on December 19, at 7:00pm, North Hall, Eastern Market.)

November 28, Wednesday

ANC6B Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.  At the meeting, the task force will review initial recommendations regarding policies on vacant and blighted properties. 

November 29, Thursday

The Historic Preservation Review Board will meet at 9:00am at 441 4th Street, NW in Room 220-South. Applicants and those interested in testifying should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the assigned time for the case.  From 11:15 – 12:00pm, the concept/renovation and new construction for the former Edmonds School at 901 D Street, NE, is scheduled to be considered.  Applicants and those interested in testifying should arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the assigned time for the case.

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Better Bikeability for DC as City Embraces Bike Culture – New L Street Cycle Track a Fast East Bound Cross-Town Route

 

The New L Street Cycle Track

Better Bikeability for DC as City Embraces Bike Culture – New L Street Cycle Track a Fast East Bound Cross-Town Route

by Cathy Plume

Earlier this year, Walk Score, a website that ranks cities for their bikeability, listed Washington among the top ten most bikeable cities.  Studies indicate that some 3 percent of DC commuters use bicycles as their mode of transportation.  That’s one of the highest percentages in the US and   DC is promoting and facilitating the use of bikes by residents as a matter of policy.

The most recent addition to DC’s bike lanes is the L Street cycle track (bike lanes and cycle tracks are essentially synonymous as far as I can tell).  Running west to east from 25th to 12th Street, NW, this bike lane provides a fast crosstown east bound route that is well protected and signed specifically for cyclists. The traffic lights are timed such that one can safely and legally make almost every light.  The L Street, NW, cycle track will soon be mirrored by a track on M Street, NW, the two cycle tracks providing a major east-west bike corridor.

I live on the Hill and have long commuted to my office located in West End by bicycle. I’ve experimented with various routes over the years.  The L Street cycle track is an important new segment to my daily cycle commute back to Capitol Hill.  On my route home from the West End I take the L Street cycle track from 25th Street, NW, to 15th Street, NW, then the 15th Street bike lane to the White House, the 14th Street bike lane down to the Pennsylvania Avenue cycle track, Pennsylvania Avenue to the US Capitol and down the East Capitol bike lane. I’m on bike lanes for 48 of my 53 block commute!  (At this writing, the Pennsylvania Avenue cycle track is down as they resurface the road in preparation for the inauguration.  The lanes should be back – and improved – no later than mid-December). 

Over the last three years, bicycle commuting has become much easier and safer for DC residents.  At first, I attributed these changes to sports enthusiast Mayor Adrian Fenty.  I’m thrilled to see that the number of bike lanes across the District has continued to expand under Mayor Vincent Gray.  Under Gray’s administration, city agencies are embracing programs to promote bicycling and mass transit while discouraging car ownership.  New bike lanes and parking restrictions are part of the over-all strategy.  The L Street cycle track eliminated 120 parking spaces – partially offset by the creation of 70 spaces elsewhere.     

Bike lanes provide added safety for cyclists, but you’ll still need to be ever vigilant for the renegade taxi making a left turn from the center lane….or doing a U-turn on Pennsylvania Avenue!  You can ensure your safety by outfitting your bicycle with both a headlight and a taillight. While you may not need these lights to see, you’ll be more visible to others.  A cyclist is almost invisible to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians once the sun begins to go down.  Reflective clothing is also a good investment, and please, ALWAYS wear a helmet!

There are some great cycling resources here in DC.  The nation’s first automatic bike-share system, Capital Bikeshare is a huge success in the District and there are a plethora of stations around the Hill. The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides downloadable bike maps and the app Spotcycle provides real time information on the location of the nearest Capital Bikeshare station and the number of bikes and docking stations available.  The Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) offers urban cycling classes and sponsors rides in the area.  WashCycle is a cycling advocacy blog.  Biking has never been better in DC.  Ride safe!

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The Former Edmonds School at 9th and D Streets NE Goes Condo – Historic District Structure the Latest to be Repurposed Residential

Edmonds Building from 9th Street, Showing Site of Three Future Townhouses

The Edmonds Building from D Street, with Site of Future Duplex Townhouse on Left

DC Teachers’ Union Credit Union – Formerly Edmonds School, from 9th and D NE

The Former Edmonds School at 9th and D Streets NE Goes Condo – Historic District Structure the Latest to be Repurposed Residential

by Larry Janezich

The former Edmonds School at 901 D Street, NE, is the latest public property located on Capitol Hill slated to be repurposed for residential use.  Developer CAS Riegler will convert the 1902 structure to up to 25 living units.  An additional three townhouses and a duplex which will provide five living units will also be constructed on the site. 

The units will range from 500 square foot one bedroom apartments to 1700 square foot lofted three bedroom units.  The three 3500 square foot townhouses will face D Street and be connected to the main building by a bridge.  The duplex will face 9th Street.  Architectural renderings can be viewed on the CAS Riegler website:  http://casriegler.com/edmonds-school/  (These renderings give the north-facing building a frontal southern exposure.)

As a matter of right, the developer can build 23 units in the Edmonds building, given the available square footage.  They had hoped to build 25.  The four townhouses require city approval by the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment. 

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society has signed off on the developer’s request for a Zoning Change and supports the concept plans for both the conversion and the new structures.  ANC6A has withheld endorsement of the project subject to an agreement on density (number of apartments/occupants).  Concerned about the effect on parking, the ANC voted to limit the total number of units, including those in structures other than the Edmonds building, to 27. 

The developer proposed limiting the number of street parking permits to 19, and to place that language in the condo sale documents themselves.  But regulation of the number of residential parking permits by this method is unacceptable to the ANC as it is unenforceable.  According to ANC6A Chair David Holmes, “ANC6A is in the final stages of negotiations with the developer to regulate the density (number of apartments), which will have the side effect of limiting street parking.” 

Edmonds School was closed during the Barry administration and sold to the DC Teacher’s Union Credit Union two decades ago and they have decided to sell the building.  The project appears to be the first Capitol Hill project for CAS Reigler.  Originally, the developer had planned to have a greater number of smaller units but insistence by the Historic Preservation Review Board on preservation of most of the interior walls forced the developer to scale back the total number. HPRB has scheduled a review of concept drawings for the development on Thursday, November 29th and the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, December 11.

Conversations with neighbors of the Edmonds building revealed that several appeared to prefer the Credit Union to the new development, and that parking remains a major concern.  Zoning regulations require 14 parking spaces on site for the number of units in the project, and the developer’s plan accommodates this.  Since the developer has satisfied the zoning requirements, future residents of the project – with or without onsite parking – will be eligible to apply for residential street parking permits as well.  

Whatever the number of additional street parkers, it is likely to be too many to satisfy some residents, who point out that members of the Way of the Cross Church, directly across the street from the development, are accustomed to using the parking lot of the credit union for services.  With those parking spots slated to be removed, an already crowded D Street—which serves as a bus, bike and ambulance  route as well—will likely experience even more congestion.

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Piece of the Story – Featuring the Work of Paul Kerkhoven

Amanda’s Ring, by Paul Kerkhoven

Piece of the Story – Featuring the Work of Paul Kerkhoven

Paul Kerkhoven:  I am an energy consultant and have lived in Washington, DC, since the early eighties.  I was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to the United States with my family when I was fifteen years old.  I learned to work with gold and silver, because I wanted to make some unique Christmas and birthday presents for my immediate family and some of my close friends.  It has now become a passion and a raison d’etre.  Often, instead of being on the golf course I can be found behind my workbench.  I have recently begun exploring other avenues for sharing my pieces and am exhibiting in galleries and a few unique jewelry stores.  I love to use various materials including pieces from old cut up lunch boxes, billiard balls, bowling balls, petrified wood, dinosaur bone and pearls, coral and other formerly living materials, some of which can be over 140 million years old.  I have been told that my work is elegant and delicate, yet simple and beautiful; some pieces have recently been showcased in some local newspapers.  As there is a story with every piece, I love to make pieces when I know who the wearer will be.  I made this ring, Amanda’s ring, for the wonderful wife of my nephew; it lives on her hand.  It is made from beach glass, sterling silver and 14K gold.  I can be reached at: pkerkhoven@ngvamerica.org or 202/494-5887.

Ed. – capitolhillcorner.org feature “Piece of the Story” presents an image of a work by a Capitol Hill artist and a paragraph written by the artist explaining how the piece tells the story of the artist’s recent work.  If you are interested in contributing, please submit an image and 200-300 words, including any biographical info and any venue where your work can be viewed, as well as contact information to: ljjanezich@hotmail.com

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Zoning Commission Approves Hine Project

Zoning Commission Approves Hine Project

by Larry Janezich

Last Monday night, the DC Zoning Commission gave final approval to Stanton-Eastbanc’s request to change the zoning on the Hine site to accommodate greater density and height for their planned development.  The vote was 4-0-1, with Commissioners May, Trunbull, and Cohen joining Chair Hood in voting to move the project forward.  Commissioner Miller, a new addition to the board, abstained since he did not participate in deliberations.

Prior to the vote, the Commission noted that, in an unusual move, Stanton-Eastbanc had agreed that the entire Construction Management Agreement and the entire ANC’s Memorandum of Understanding with the developer will be included in the yet-to-be-issued Zoning Order.  It could be a month before the Board issues the Zoning Order on the project.

Commissioner May threw in the towel on his efforts to find a way for 55 foot trucks to head in and head out of the Hine project’s loading dock.  He said it was not his preference that the trucks back into the dock from 7th Street, but the issue has been “beaten to death” and his concerns were somewhat mollified by the limitation that deliveries can take place only between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. 

Commissioner Cohen asked that the designation “superior” be removed as a characterization of affordable housing units, explaining that the placement of most of those units in a separate building and the differences in the amenity package for those units continued to trouble her.  Commissioner May, on the other hand, felt that the units deserved the superior designation.  The language had been included, in part, because the designation of some elements of the project amounted to a necessary finding by the Zoning Commission that the developer had fulfilled what it had pledged to the community in terms of a quality project.  In the end, the term was removed as it applied to the affordable housing units but left as a finding by the Zoning Commission to characterize the overall project. 

After the Zoning Commission order is issued and permits issued, demolition of the existing Hine School structure can begin.  That demolition is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013.

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How Much Train Traffic Will the New CSX Tunnel Carry? DC Agencies and Residents Discover That Estimates Are Unavailable to Them

How Much Train Traffic Will the New CSX Tunnel Carry?  DC Agencies and Residents Discover That Estimates Are Unavailable to Them

by Larry Janezich

Capitol Hill Corner recently learned that a non-disclosure agreement between CSX and the DDOT contractor for a forthcoming study means that DDOT and city planning agencies will only receive estimates regarding the Virginia Street Tunnel freight train traffic that have been filtered through the contractor.  DC agencies are reported to be unhappy about the condition imposed by CSX on the contractor for the study conducted under the auspices of the Federal Railroad Administration. 

In February 2012, the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board Steering Committee voted to fund a study to examine the structural integrity of Long Bridge and to study the feasibility of adding additional rail capacity to the bridge.  Only a fraction of the cost of the study was funded by CSX.  Long Bridge is the railroad bridge over the Potomac River in Southwest Washington which serves passenger, rail, and commuter traffic for CSX, Amtrak, and Virginia Railway Express and is owned by CSX.  “Additional rail capacity” effectively means the number of freight trains which will move through the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. 

Previous estimates of 20 to 40 trains per day may be an underestimate, and the non-disclosure agreement suggests that CSX may not want to make public the volume of freight train traffic which could potentially use the tunnel.  While much of Capitol Hill is indifferent to the issue, nearby residents of the tunnel and those within earshot of the late night and early morning train traffic have more at stake regarding quality of life issues.  More train traffic than anticipated could strengthen the hand of community stakeholders in any negotiation for amenities and benefits coming to the community to compensate it for the project’s impact.  Once underway, the reconstruction of the tunnel will likely cause disruptions for a part of Capitol Hill akin to that which accompanied the construction of the Metro system.  The impact on nearby historic properties is uncertain, but potentially considerable.    

International issues drive the amount of traffic in the tunnel.  The expansion of the Panama Canal to increase capacity by 2015 will vastly increase freight cargo to the east coast ports of New York and Norfolk.  Savannah and Baltimore ports will soon be able to accommodate increased freighter traffic, as well.  Much of this freight will move west across the country though Washington to Pittsburgh through the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel.

This local corner of global trade is affected by the lack of DC sovereignty.  Much of the affected area is in ANC6B, and in the Single Member District of Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, Chair of the ANC Transportation Committee.  Given the dismissal of city concerns about access to information, however, the most appropriate venue for redress would seem to be a direct appeal to the Federal Railroad Administration, grantor of the aforementioned study.

Meanwhile, anticipating neighborhood disruption, CSX has worked diligently to ingratiate itself to the Capitol Hill community to ameliorate community concern about the impact of tunnel reconstruction on the community:  witness its financial support of the Barracks Row Fall Fest for the past two years and CSX sponsorship of the Maslin family fundraisers to assist the Maslin family after the brutal attack on TC Maslin, who suffered traumatic head injury in a mugging last August.

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The Week Ahead …..

The Week Ahead …..

by Larry Janezich

It’s a quiet week as we slide into the Thanksgiving Day holiday.  The only thing on CHC’s calendar is:

Tuesday, November 20

CHRS Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm at  Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE

Otherwise, Canal Park with the new “ice path” near Navy Yard Metro, is open and promises to be a destination within walking distance of ANC6B.   Maybe it will become a post-prandial one for the Eastern Market community over the holiday weekend.

 

 

 

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ANC6B Update

ANC6B Update

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B met on Tuesday, November 13.  Among the actions it took that night, are the following:

ANC Clears Way for Ambar Serbian Cuisine’s Liquor License

After Ambar’s owner made additional concessions to the voluntary agreement regarding noise abatement in the operation of the roof garden, ANC6B voted 9 – 0 – 1 (Dave Garrison abstained) to support the voluntary agreement and withdraw their protest of the applied-for liquor license.  The vote came in part as the result of commissioners believing that they had achieved all they could under the voluntary agreement and risked having ABRA grant the license without the voluntary agreement, since it is known that ABRA is not sympathetic to ANC protests based on the lateness of the hours of operation.  Dave Garrison was the single commissioner reserving judgment, voting “present,” and stating his belief that the way to address this potential concern was to wring an agreement to limit the hours of operation for the roof garden from the owner.  The new class C restaurant license includes the summer garden, a sidewalk cafe and an entertainment endorsement.  Under terms of voluntary agreement, the applicant will stop serving at the sidewalk café at 11:00pm on weekdays and 1:00am on weekends.  The roof garden can remain open until 2:00am during the week, and until 3:00am on weekends.  The owner hopes to have Ambar open by January 20, Inauguration Day. 

ANC Approves Retail Liquor License with Tasting Endorsement for DCanter

By a unanimous vote ANC6B approved a Class B retail license with a tasting endorsement for DCanter, the boutique wine and craft beer venue coming to Barracks Row, perhaps by March. 

The hours of operation will be 9:00am to 10:00pm daily and applicants Michael and Michelle Warner have signed a voluntary agreement prohibiting the sale of singles and two and three packs.  The tasting endorsement allows the establishment to serve up to 6 ounces of alcohol per customer per day.

ANC Supports Honoring Bulgarian Who Prevented Deportation of Jews Under Nazis

By a vote of 8 – 1 – 1, ANC6B voted to support ANC2D’s resolution to rename the intersection in front of the Embassy of Bulgaria, 1621 22nd Street, NW, in honor of Dimitar Peshev.   Peshev was the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Bulgaria and Minister of Justice during World War II.  He rebelled against the pro-Nazi cabinet and prevented the Deportation of Bulgaria’s 48,000 Jews.  Commissioner Dave Garrison voted against the resolution on procedural grounds, stating that it was a bad precedent and ANC6B ought not opine about things in other parts of the city.  Commissioner Oldenburg, after initially agreeing with Garrison, backed off and abstained after the resolution was modified to offer support ANC2D’s action rather than state unilaterally a recommendation outside the boundaries of ANC6B.  The measure was a personal project of Commissioner Neil Glick, who came up with the idea and supported the commemoration, garnering the support both of ANC2D and the Bulgarian Embassy.

ANC6B Flexes Muscle on Eastern Market’s Holiday Market

After decrying the lack of public notice regarding the city’s plan to use the temporary Eastern Market Building slab for the holiday market between Thanksgiving and Christmas, ANC6B sent letters to the Department of General Services (DGS), Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson, and the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development to request that DGS develop a plan for use of the slab for the winter and the future.  Implicit in the request is that ANC6B and the nearby neighbors be involved in any such planning efforts.  During last week’s Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meeting, where the intent to use the slab for the holiday market was first made public, members of EMCAC and Margeson expressed uncertainty regarding how the plan came about.  EMCAC chair Donna Scheeder stated, “how, why, and where it got started is one of those mysteries of Capitol Hill.” 

ANC Supports DDOT’s 17th and 19th Street Safety Improvement Project

By a vote of 10 – 0, ANC6B voted to support a DDOT plan to improve pedestrian safety on 17th and 19th Streets, SE.  The commission requested that the project be extended to include the 700 and 800 blocks of 17th Street, SE when implementing the project’s 17th  Street SE safety recommendation to provide a crosswalk at intersection of 17th and E Street SE.  Other parts of the plan for 17th Street between East Capitol and Potomac Avenue, SE, include narrowing the street from two lanes to one lane, adding a dedicated bike lane, installing curb extensions on the west side of the street at each intersection, repaving the street and painting new crosswalks, and installing new permanent electronic speed display signs and new speed limit signs along the corridor.  For 19th Street, SE, between East Capitol and Potomac Avenue, the project envisions installation of a shared bike lane, repainted and improved pedestrian cross walks near Stadium Armory metro plaza, and new speed limit signs along the corridor.  Implementation is expected to begin in the spring of 2014.

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