Monthly Archives: March 2013

Violent Crime on Capitol Hill Down in February – MPD Resources “Being Maintained”

Violent Crime on Capitol Hill Down in February

MPD Resources “Being Maintained” In PSA 107

by Larry Janezich

MPD Lt. Eddie Fowler told the four residents who showed up for Thursday night’s PSA 107 meeting that violent crime in the PSA has dropped 78% over the past 30 days.  Significantly, robberies are in the category of violent crime. 

Property crimes including thefts from businesses and homes have gone up but it was unclear by what percentage.  MPD did not post Daily Crime Reports during all of February but Fowler said at a staff meeting earlier today, he was told postings would be resumed “any day.”

Fowler attributed the decline in violent crime to the increased resources deployed to the PSA after the spike in crime and two high-profile shootings in December of 2012.  He cited the vice unit, the mountain bike unit, and the power shift unit as examples of MPD’s response to the crime spike.  The officer did not specifically mention an increase in patrol officers though all of the units he cited contributed to an increased MPD presence in the community. 

Fowler confirmed that the MPD’s strategy is to shift resources in response to development of “hotspots,” the same tactic that the military uses in wartime.  Asked if the resources committed to Capitol Hill in response to December’s violence had been pulled back in light of the reduction in violent crime or whether any pull back was being anticipated, he said, “resources are being maintained.”  Asked if decisions on redeploying resources elsewhere in the First District were made at the end of the month in response to statistics, Fowler replied that “it’s day to day.”

Another question raised by an attending resident was to what degree the Metro Transit Police share with MPD data on crimes that occur within their jurisdiction.  Fowler said that there was active communication between investigators on the two forces, but the crime data of the Transit Police was not integrated into the MPD data. 

Fowler’s briefing raises the question as to whether an overall increase in the number of patrol officers, versus the deployment of specific tactical units in response to specific situations, is the appropriate response to crime. 

PSA 107 is the area bounded by a line starting  at 2nd and G Streets, SE; north on 2nd Street to Massachusetts Avenue, NE; southwest on Massachusetts Avenue to Lincoln Park; along the north side of the park to North Carolina Avenue, NE; northeast on North Carolina Avenue to 13th Street, NE; and south on 13th Street NE to G Street, SE.  A map of the PSA can be found here:


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New Feature: Gluten Free Gourmand – A Visit To Barracks Row’s Lavagna

Lavagna Ristorante Italiano

Lavagna Ristorante Italiano

New Feature: Gluten Free Gourmand – A Visit To Barracks Row’s Lavagna

by Larry Janezich

As diners increasingly request gluten-free options by necessity or choice, more and more restaurants are accommodating the demand by offering dishes free of the protein contained in wheat, barley and rye. 

Lavagna, which opened in 2011 in the space formerly occupied by the Starfish Café on Barracks Row, is a step ahead of the 8th Street competition in this regard, providing numerous gluten-free options on its menu.

 The house-made pastas at Lavagna include gluten-free options which are handmade from scratch on a daily basis, the whim of the chef deciding whether the day’s offering will be penne or rigatoni.  The dishes which would accommodate the gluten-free pasta include the meatball and marinara sauce; Bolognese house meat sauce; and the pesto with basil, pine nuts and house Italian sausage. 

A non-pasta gluten-free option is the risotto with crimini and hen of the wood mushrooms and mascarpone.  The restaurant also serves the northern Italy staple, polenta, in the form of a parmesan polenta cake that can be ordered in place of the pasta.  In addition to gluten-free salads, the starters include a free-range grass fed short rib served with horseradish cheese polenta.  There is also an impressive list of house cured meats and cheeses for the charcuterie board served with house preserves, olives and pickled vegetables – hold the crostini, though. The crème brulee dessert is gluten-free.  The menu changes frequently with new offerings or modifications of dishes already on the menu, “depending on how it’s working” according to our server.    

Ingredients are sourced from local farms which are listed on chalkboards (lavagna, meaning chalkboard, but also the name of a fishing village on the Italian Riviera) on the walls of the restaurant. 

The bar offers $9 craft cocktails many featuring in house made infusions such as raspberry vodka, lemoncello, orangecello, basil tequila, and pineapple rum.  Local craft beer is $6.  Wines by the glass are $7-$11, by the bottle $26-$94. 

Owner Steve Cheung’s family also owns Fusion, just down Barracks Row. 


Lunch, Tuesday – Friday 11:30 – 2:30

Dinner, Tuesday – Sunday 4:30 – 10:00

Brunch Saturday – Sunday  11:30 – 2:30

Closed Monday

539 8th Street, SE

202 546 5006

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ANC6B Zoning Committee Endorses Less Parking and More Density for Capitol Hill

ANC6B Zoning Committee Endorses Less Parking and More Density for Capitol Hill – Full ANC Commission Likely to Follow Suit

by Larry Janezich

Last night the ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee voted to recommend that the full ANC6B endorse the DC Office of Planning’s (OP) citywide proposal to eliminate the requirement that developers provide a minimum amount of parking in multi-unit buildings and other new dwelling units built near public transportation.  This is in accordance with OP’s desire to make DC conform closer to the vision of “new urbanists.” 

Only a few members of the community turned out for Zoning Committee meeting at St. Coletta’s, but that meeting and the following full ANC consideration of this issue represent the best opportunities for public input on the new zoning regulations. 

OP’s revisions are meant to advance widely popular goals, including:

  • Reduce the number of cars and increase reliance on public transportation and bikes
  • Increase density near traffic hubs
  • Increase the number of small commercial outlets throughout the city to provide neighborhood good and services

The first two are accomplished by the proposed change in the Zoning Regulations to eliminate the parking requirement.  The city hopes this will discourage the use of cars and make it cheaper to build multi-unit dwellings.  However, it seems highly likely that some of the new residents of these units will want cars and will park them on the street. 

Whether this proposed change will further the goal of providing more affordable housing – as asserted by Commissioners Oldenburg and Peisch last night – is questionable.  There is no specific reason to believe that costs saved by eliminating parking will be allocated toward additional affordable housing.  The parking changes should be argued on their merits alone.

Such an effort to do so was made by Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, who cited the negative health effects on the community (especially children) of particulate emissions from autos, the increase in population attracted to the community by quality of life issues, and auto pollution’s contribution to climate change.  He said flatly, that additional parking space (referring to the expensive to build on site parking) is not needed, that it is market driven, and “the market is not there for it.”  The fact that Capitol Hill is already a high density residential neighborhood, and that it is routinely cited as a model for urban renewal in its current form, did not come up.  For some reason, the Zoning Commission has decided to make proximity to the Metro and bus lines alone, rather than proximity to the Metro and existing low residential density, as the condition for which it will provide developers relief from parking regulations.

[Editor’s note:  Reliance upon proximity to Metro and bus lines exclusively also releases neighborhoods like Georgetown from the additional parking crunch, rewarding that neighborhood for its historic resistance to public transportation and punishing Capitol Hill for its early adoption and support.]

Commissioner Dave Garrison opposed the proposed changes, saying that “we can’t’ afford more pressure and more people competing for parking space.”  Committee Chair Francis Campbell agreed, pointing out the burden on the elderly and those who don’t have ready access to public transportation.

According to ANC commissioners, the villain in Capitol Hill’s parking woes is the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT), whose current policy is to give a parking permit to any DC resident who wants one, though according to Commissioner Oldenburg, the Resident Parking Permit system is “under review.”  Frishberg’s response was that parking is a problem and the solution is to “go after DDOT.”  In other words, in the thinking of these commissioners, the ideal solution would be that new developments would be built, that parking would not be included in those developments, and that residents of those developments would not be able to obtain a parking permit.  Once those residents become voters, it is hard to envision how such a policy could be sustained.

Former ANC commissioner Ken Jarboe, who worked on the ANC’s Regulation Review Task Force, said he opposed the OP proposals because no alternative to taking away the parking had been presented.  He pointed to the problems likely to ensue from the plan to put multiple small units in the Medlink building (7th and Constitution, NE) with no onsite parking.   He said he was frustrated by people trying to use the Zoning Code to fix a problem that you can’t solve by using the Zoning Code, likening the effort to using a hatchet where a scalpel was needed.

Voting for the change in regulations:  ANC Chair Brian Flahaven (6b09), Vice Chair Ivan Frishberg (6B02), Nicole Opkins (6B06), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Brian Pate(6B05), Phil Peisch (6B03). 

Also voting for the change were Resident Members of the Planning and Zoning Committee Christian Alexander (6B08), Jennifer Rosen (6BB03), and Tom Woteki (6B05).

Voting against:  Committee Chair Francis Campbell (6B10), Chander Jayaraman (6B08), and Dave Garrison (6B01).

Commissioner Sara Loveland(6B07) was not present.

The Committee subsequently agreed to endorse the OP’s plan to make the opening of small commercial outlets in existing townhouses – provided they meet certain criteria.  In an effort to give residents immediately adjacent to such retail a voice, the Committee voted to require that such use be only through the special exception process.  Among the uses which would be allowed for such conversions are the following:  artist venue, antique shop, drugstore, department store, grocery store, clothing or gift boutique, appliance repair, shoe repair, tailor, hair salon, deli, coffee shop, and ice cream parlor.  The number of such establishments per block and the hours of operation and number of employees would be limited.

The full ANC6B will consider the Planning and Zoning Committee’s recommendations next Tuesday, April 12, at 7:00pm in Hill Center.  Since six of the ten commissioners have already voted for the zoning regulation changes, the result of the Commission’s consideration next week is unlikely to be different.


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It Takes All Types

Sunday Flea market Vendor Jerry Marshall, Monkstown, Maryland sells his collection of antique printing type and wood blocks;

Sunday Eastern Market Flea Market Vendor Jerry Marshall of Monkstown, Maryland, sells his collection of antique printing type and wood blocks.

What's your type?



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The Week Ahead….

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, March 4

CHRS Historic Preservation Committee meets at 6:30pm at 420 10th Street, SE

Tuesday, March 5

Planning and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington. 

Among items on the agenda:  public space request for Tash on Barracks Row, discussion of draft zoning regulations.

Wednesday, March 6

ANC6B Transportation Committee meets at 6:30pm in Hill Center. 

On the agenda:  letter to DDOT on Pennsylvania-Potomac Avenues Pedestrian Safety Study, discussion of Barney Circle-Southeast Boulevard Transportation Planning Study

Thursday, March 7

ABC Committee meets at 7:00 p.m., in Hill Center

Among items on the agenda:  change in hours for Hank’s Oyster Bar, JJ Mutt Wine & Spirits, World Liquors.

Thursday, March 7

PSA 107 Meeting at 7:00pm in SoutheasE Library, 403 7th Street SE, basement

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Zoning Regulations Revision Proposes Major Parking Changes for Capitol Hill – City Proposes Shifting Parking Costs From Developers to Residents

Zoning Regulations Revision Proposes Major Parking Changes for Capitol Hill

City Proposes Shifting Parking Costs From Developers to Residents

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee will consider proposed citywide revisions to current Zoning Regulations.   

ANC6B formed a special Zoning Regulation Revision Task Force headed up by Commissioner Dave Garrison to consider these changes.  At its meeting last Thursday night, the Task Force agreed simply to refer the most contentious items to ANC 6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee, chaired by Francis Campbell, which will deliberate these issues before the full ANC takes them up on March 12.  

The proposed revisions would have the effect of increasing density near Metro and bus stops and reducing parking in an attempt to further the currently in-vogue city planning concept of creating a livable, walkable city under the rubric of “new urbanism.” 

Less discussed, but no less important, is the fact that proposed changes would benefit developers because the change in regulations would shift the burden of new parking from them to the residents.  By changing the rules about who can park on the street and by reducing the number of spaces available, you reduce traffic, but you also create a more competitive parking environment.  An official embrace of “new urbanism” also makes it cheaper to build developments by freeing developers of the obligation to build parking into their plans.   While few would disagree with the goal of reducing traffic, the question of who should bear the burden of that reduction is not being discussed in explicit terms or with full candor.  Nor are the long term consequences for the city and the nature of urban living being considered.  Many on Capitol Hill, especially older residents, find that owning a car is necessary in order to live here. 

Among the most important revisions being considered by the Planning and Zoning Committee next Tuesday are proposed regulations that would eliminate the requirement for developers to include on-site parking for new town houses or apartments or condos with up to ten dwelling units.  Off-street parking would not be required for residences in the historic district.  In addition, there would be no on-site parking required for apartments or condos of any size, as long as they are built within a half mile of Metro or a quarter mile of a high service bus line. 

Two other proposed regulations would promote increase population density in ANC6B with the likely result of increasing the street parking demands.  The first would make it easier to turn carriage houses into dwelling units if they are associated with a single dwelling unit townhouse; owners of a townhouse with an English basement could not convert a garage or carriage house unless the basement unit was eliminated.  The second would permit building on alley lots.  Although ANC6B only has a dozen or so vacant alley lots of the minimum 450 square feet, the number of alley lots with existing buildings such as garages or other buildings which could be converted is unknown. 

Another proposed change would allow for commercial use of any building in residential areas, including corner stores under certain conditions.  This could have a potential impact on parking and traffic, though no projections have been offered. 

While these regulatory revisions have received a sustained discussion within certain DC circles, they have by and large been under the radar and escaped the attention of the residents most affected by them.  Task Force Chair Garrison noted that there will be two opportunities for ANC input:  first, when the recommendations of the ANC go to the Office of Planning, second, when the Office of Planning submits the final proposal to the Planning Commission later in the spring. 

In sum, these regulatory revisions amount to a city planning effort that represents a departure from current code.  There have been community meetings designed to garner resident input but some attendees have left the meetings unsatisfied that their concerns and issues were being heard. 

The Planning and Zoning Committee will meet Tuesday night at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Avenue SE.


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Eastern Market Report

Eastern Market Report

by Larry Janezich

Changes in Committee Membership

The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee met last Wednesday night in the North Hall.  Treasurer Barbara Eck announced her resignation as a representative of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and said that a new representative would be appointed.  ANC6B Commissioner Ivan Frishberg has replaced ANC6B Commissioner Brian Pate as the ANC6B representative. 


According to Market Manager Barry Margeson, Eastern Market received substantial rental income from the North Hall in the past three months, especially in February. The totals were as follows: 

December $15,812

January $24,138

February $27,973

A surprising addition to the revenue flow has been from the ATM machine located in the Market, as follows:

October $5,997

November $5,918

December $7,369

January $5,054

Grumbling Over the Marketing Plan – or Lack Thereof

The management is still wrestling with coming up with a marketing vision and strategy.  The Market – or the city on behalf of the Market – apparently has a contract with The Ad Store, a full service international ad agency.  Although the company receives a retainer from or on behalf of Eastern Market, any actual work performed evidently requires an additional payment.  The discussion on Wednesday night revealed little about what the company does or is required to do under the contract, and annoyed EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder asked Margeson to produce the contract for the committee’s examination, which he said he would do.  Since Eastern Market is already a top DC destination, it is not clear why a marketing vision is needed or whether having one would necessarily benefit the market, a point made by committee member Bill Glasgow.   

Energy Efficiency and Flooding Issues

The city is finally moving to address the energy efficiency issues which have persisted in the Market since its restoration.  Primary among them is ventilating problems occasioned by the round windows which are supposed to be opened by a motorized means but which so far have failed to operate.  This is connected to the efficiency of the ceiling fans which are supposed to operate a variable speeds but which so far only operate at the maximum.  In addition, the inability to regulate the temperatures of the North and South Halls independently has resulted to unnecessarily high energy bills.  Meetings have been scheduled in the near future with the city’s Energy Sustainability Division. 

Separately, remedies are being sought for the unacceptable acoustics of the North hall and flooding in the basement resulting from obstructed waste lines. 

Fresh Tuesdays

Next Tuesday, Amish farmer Christian Hertzler will be back on the Farmer’s Line with produce and baked goods.  Hertzler is the first of the farmers that have been absent through the winter to return.

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Hello my name is – Opens at The Fridge Tomorrow, Saturday, April 2

Hello my name is by HKS 181

Hello my name is by HKS 181

Juan Pineda, one of the graffiti artists participating in the Hello my name is show works on a piece on The Fridge exterior

HELLO my name is Opens Saturday at The Fridge

Ed.  Larry Janezich

Opening Reception: March 2, 7 – 11pm

Film Screening: March 10, 1 – 3pm

Exhibit Book Launch and Panel Discussion: March 23, 1 – 3pm

HELLO my name is will showcase the foundation of modern graffiti: the name.

To create HELLO my name is, a list of eighty artists from across the Americas and UK was compiled by DC graffiti legends ULTRA and CHE KGB. Each of these artists has received a canvas with an illustration of a “HELLO my name is” sticker that they will paint and return to the gallery. The resulting collection of works is the chance to see the breadth and depth of graffiti artists working across the US and abroad today.

From the start of the graffiti movement in the late 60’s to early 70’s, the act of painting a nickname has become a worldwide radical, infectious act. Repetition and size equal strength, fame and might, and in this collection of works the floor-to-ceiling canvassed walls will represent where graffiti came from and where it stands today.

On the tails of the Corcoran’s Pump Me Up: D.C. Subculture of the 80s retrospective, HELLO my name is is set to exhibit the contemporary counterpart of this movement.

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ANC6B Chair Urges City Council to Move Forward on Reservation 13 – Flahaven Points Out Why Development Appears to Have Stalled

ANC6B Chair Urges City Council to Move Forward on Reservation 13

Flahaven Points Out Why Development Appears to Have Stalled

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B Chair Brian Flahaven testified before Councilmember Bowser’s Economic Development Committee oversight hearing of the Deputy Mayor’s Office for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) this morning, urging the city to move forward with development of Reservation 13. 

After the failed development attempt under the Fenty Administration and the Gray Administration’s effort to bring the Washington Redskins training facility to the site, Flahaven noted the Gray announcement a year ago that the DMPED would proceed with plans for mixed use development of the site in two phases.  DMPED went back to the drawing board and sought new expressions of interest for phase I, the portion of Reservation 13 adjacent to the Armory Stadium Metro Station.  The response was underwhelming, with only one development team – Donatelli/Blue Skye – submitting a proposal.  Flahaven said there are three explanations for the failure to receive more responses. 

First, DMPED removed language that gave the winning development team for the smaller area the right of first refusal to negotiate with the city to develop the rest of the site, thereby removing an important incentive for developers to bid on the scaled-back project.

Second, the request for expressions of interest required development teams to pay for all infrastructure improvements, including public roadways. 

Third, the city has no plan for closing DC General and relocating any of the services on Reservation 13, including the DC General homeless shelter currently housing around 1,000 homeless, a methadone clinic, and DC Jail. 

The message appears to be that the city is suffering from a credibility deficiency regarding their commitment to closing developing the rest of the site.

Flahaven, on behalf of ANC6B, urged Bowser’s committee to ask DMPED the following questions:

How does DMPED plan to proceed with the Donatelli-Blue Skye response?

Will they share that response with the community?

Will the Gray Administration seek funding in the FY 14 budget for infrastructure improvements?

How is DMPED working with the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services on plan for closing DC General?

How does DPMED intend to demonstrate that the city is serious about developing the Hill East waterfront?

A November 27, 2012  posting on this subject can be found here:

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