Wrapping Up The Week: ANC6B….Orange and the Bus Terminal/Questions on Southeast Boulevard/Details on 8th Street Summer Beer Garden
by Larry Janezich
ANC Tells Orange to Back Off Support of Bus Terminal Under Proposed Southeast Boulevard
At its regular April meeting last Tuesday night, ANC6B voted 8 – 0 to send a veiled rebuke to CM at Large Vincent Orange for issuing a February 23 news release supporting the idea put forward by DDOT for a tour bus terminal under the proposed Southeast Boulevard. The letter, attached as a cover to a copy of the letter to DDOT on the larger Southeast Boulevard/Barney Circle project (see below), said “You will find the Commission’s sentiments regarding the bus facility concept included on page 2 of the letter. ANC6B would be pleased to meet with you and your staff to discuss this issue further.”
The letter was a step back from tougher talk at Commissioner Kirsten Oldenberg’s Transportation Committee earlier this month when Oldenburg broached the possibility of a letter to Orange, saying “thanks but no thanks….back off.” Strategies alert Orange to the community’s concern were discussed; Commissioner Flahaven noted that “having ten people go down to his office is a very effective way to get his attention.”
Orange is looking for a solution to the problem of what to do with tour buses bringing people to DC for tourism or other events. Crummell School in Ward Five’s Ivy City, once put forward by DC as a site for bus staging, is no longer an option, after opponents sued the city for reneging on a promise to make the site a community facility. Ivy City, in central Northeast DC east of Gallaudet University, is between West Virginia Avenue and New York Avenue. Orange represented Ward 5 on City Council from 1999 to 2007.
ANC6B Wants DDOT to Justify Creation of Southeast Boulevard
ANC6B sent a letter to DDOT requesting an expansion of the Barney Circle and Southeast Boulevard Transportation Planning Study, saying it has not been able to determine the needs for the proposed boulevard or find any discussion of the impact on the affected neighborhoods. The letter said that the ANC is not opposed to any Boulevard concept at this stage, but does not have enough info to decide if the project is warranted.
In addition to justifying the Boulevard project, ANC6B wants to broaden the scope of the study to redesign Barney Circle to include consideration of options minimizing the impact of the resulting traffic for local residents.
The ANC’s letter also targeted the idea of putting a “municipal or bus parking facility” underneath a portion of the Boulevard. The Commission requested a full study of the purpose of the facility and the impact on nearby residential areas south of Pennsylvania Avenue. In addition, the Commission requested that DDOT clarify the status of land ownership and other possible uses for the area underneath the elevated Boulevard.
ANC6B Single Member Districts 6, 7, and 9 will feel the greatest impact of the proposed Southeast Boulevard/Barney Circle project. The representative commissioners are Nicole Opkins, ANC6B Parliamentarian; Sara Loveland, Chair of ANC6B ABC Committee; and Brian Flahaven, ANC6B Chair, respectively.
New details on Redesign for Bavarian Beer Garden on Lower 8th Street
The owner of the Bavarian Beer Garden were granted a liquor license which incorporated a Voluntary Agreement on January 26, 2011. To date, no building has been constructed on the site at 8th and L Streets, SE. On March 29, 2013, site owner Mark Brody submitted a new concept to HPRB for approval. He explained to the ANC that he had been unable to build the original design as the concept became larger and more expensive. The new concept anticipates no inside premises for patrons. The establishment will consist solely of a fenced summer garden with a small building housing restrooms and a bar, open on two sides, but partially covered by a roof. A food truck parked in a driveway will provide food service. The plans show tables and chairs to accommodate 156 patrons plus 20 stools at the bar for a total occupancy of 176.
Last Tuesday, Brody took umbrage at the resistance he was meeting from ANC6B saying he didn’t understand why the ANC was making it difficult for someone who wants to put some money into lower 8th Street. ANC6B punted the issue of the redesign of the beer garden and whether a new Voluntary Agreement (which now has a new name – “Settlement Agreement”) will be required, to the Executive Committee which will meet April 30 in Hill Center.
Parking Relief for 81 Unit Complex on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
After Commissioner Brian Flahaven facilitated the negotiation of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NOVO Development and some of the nearby neighbors of the project at 1550 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, ANC6B approved the requests for relief on parking, roof height, and loading zone by a vote of 9-0.
Under the MOU, NOVO Development commits to develop a transportation management plan, pursue locating car share on site, and press DDOT for additional parking on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the development.
Some neighbors are still unhappy with the potential impact of the project on their neighborhood. Among the issues cited were that the developer had not demonstrated adequately the validity of assertions that providing the parking required by the city would be cost prohibitive and an undue hardship because of site and construction limitations. For a more thorough examination of the overall merits of removing or reducing the minimum onsite parking requirement for developers, please note the comment thread on the preceding posting on this blog (April 8).