Monthly Archives: May 2014

Southeast Resident Dies After Beating at Barracks Row 7-11

Southeast Resident Dies After Beating at Barracks Row 7-11

by Larry Janezich

Today, the Washington Post reported that a 60 year old resident of Southeast died after being critically injured last Tuesday night in and outside of the 7-11 convenience store on Barracks Row.  The victim, Carlton Coltrane was apparently accosted and beaten by two men after encountering them inside the store where he was making a purchase.  The Washington Post has posted video captured by security cameras of the victim and his two alleged assailants as well as additional information here:  http://wapo.st/SMW2vC

 

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Pocket Park Dispute Near Lincoln Park Sparks DDOT Policy Change

Fragment of Triangle Park Adjoining 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE

Fragment of Triangle Park Adjoining 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE

DDOT Policy Official Alice Kelly Tells ANC6A of Change in Triangle Park Policy

DDOT Policy Official Alice Kelly Tells ANC6A of Change in Triangle Park Policy

ANC6A Votes to Oppose Permit to Allow Fencing of Public Parking Space Adjacent to 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE

ANC6A Votes to Oppose Permit to Allow Fencing of Public Parking Space Adjacent to 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE

Pocket Park Dispute Near Lincoln Park Sparks DDOT Policy Change

New Policy Announced on Thursday to Head off ANC6A’s Calls to Review DDOT Authority

by Larry Janezich

Last Thursday night, at ANC6A’s May meeting, DDOT announced a policy change aimed at placating ANC 6A Commissioners who expressed concern about DDOT control over the city’s triangle or pocket parks.  An application to fence in a fragment of a triangle park at 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE, and ANC6A’s demands for transfer of control of these parks away from the agency prompted the changes.

Presumably in response to ANC6A votes scheduled to occur Thursday night, DDOT dispatched DDOT policy official Alice Kelly to announce a new DDOT Departmental Order prior to the votes.  She carried only a few copies of the order with her to the meeting, and summarized its major components for those in attendance.

According to Kelly the policy provides a new DDOT review process and standards of evaluation for public space permits affecting triangle or pocket parks which are currently categorized by the Department as “public parking” – space like Capitol Hill’s front yards, owned by the city but maintained by homeowners and often fenced-in.  The new standards for these parks provide that there can be no change in function as public open space; public access must be preserved, any improvements must promote public enjoyment and use of the park, and ANC review of permit applications.

There was a hint that other elements of city government were watching what ANC6A was doing Thursday night.  Although possibly coincidental, the rare appearance at the meeting of Gottlieb Simon, Executive Director of the DC Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, nevertheless heightened the awareness of commissioners of the city government’s interest in the matter, as well as the controversy it has sparked.

For months now, the neighborhood north of Lincoln Park has been embroiled over an attempt to establish that a piece of city-owned land adjacent to a home at 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE, should be treated in an identical manner as the city-owned land comprising the front yard of the homeowner –  and all of the other front yards in DC.  DDOT regulations supported that view and DDOT Director Terry Bellemy told ANC6A as much in a letter dated October 25, 2013.

The case had multiple layers of complexity and combativeness, including a sense of entitlement by the homeowners in question and a corresponding one by some nearby neighbors; allegations of bad process on the part of both DDOT and ANC6A; lack of communication, dissemination of mis-information; and allegations of bad behavior by residents and one elected official.

The homeowners at 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE, have, over some 20 years, invested considerable money and effort in landscaping the adjacent triangle park.  The space is divided by a street (which is why DDOT has control of these parks) and the smaller portion adjoins 147 Tennessee Avenue.  The homeowners’ investment came after receiving official DDOT sanction to landscape the plot.  They subsequently applied for a permit to install a historic fence to fence off the smaller portion adjoining their home, they say, to protect the landscaping and their community investment.

Several neighbors on the block supported the application for a permit to build the fence – 12 wrote  letters to HPRB, six of whom are close neighbors; 28 Capitol Hill residents signed a petition supporting the fence (seven of whom are close neighbors of 147 Tennessee Avenue).

Other neighbors opposed any proposal to fence the land, citing the need to walk their dogs or their historic affection for the land, but most frequently their resentment at what they saw as a neighbor attempting to appropriate public land for personal use.  While expressing appreciation for the beautification efforts, these neighbors felt their own sense of entitlement to continue treating the space as “public space” with unrestricted public access.  The need of the neighbors to use the smaller potion seems less compelling on examining the small size of the space involved and its proximity to the home in question and to the larger remaining portion of the triangle park as well as to Lincoln Park a block away.  Neighbors and commissioners voiced concerns that the case could set a precedent which would allow for the privatization of public lands across the city, which, one commissioner said, would “deprive low-income families who cannot vacation a place to enjoy recreation.”

ANC6A’s Transportation and Public Space committee chose to side with these neighbors.  A committee meeting last month to consider the application for the fence was characterized by ANC6A Commissioner Gilbert-Phillips as “chaos”.  She said she was “very disappointed” at the “bullying” treatment the homeowner received from neighbors hostile to the fence plan.  The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full ANC oppose the application to erect a fence on the basis that a fence “will further detract from the historic appearance” of the (space which was originally a single triangular park) “and more importantly, the fence would prevent public access.”  The committee also aggressively recommended 1) that the ANC ask DDOT to correct their characterization of triangle parks as “public parking, 2) that Councilmember Cheh take steps to transfer control of triangle parks from DDOT to the Department of Parks and Recreation, and 3) ask that the City Council declare pocket parks public space.

The passionate feelings of some in the community spilled over into action.  The homeowners say that some of the neighbors – including current ANC6A Chair Nick Alberti – took matters into their own hands, going out of their way to occupy the space adjacent to 147 Tennessee by repeatedly walking their dogs through and over the plants and shrubbery in a seemingly deliberate fashion.  Some neighbors have accused the homeowner of too aggressively defending their plantings and landscaping not only by personal confrontations, but going so far as to seek restraining orders against two of the neighbors, one of whom was Alberti.  The homeowners say they did so upon the recommendation of the Metropolitan Police Department.

After a discussing the issue and acknowledging that DDOT’s new policy as articulated by Kelly was a step in the right direction, the commission proceeded to vote 4 – 1 to ask DDOT to correct the characterization of pocket parks and “public parking.”

At that point, Commissioner Omar Mahmud, chair of the Transportation and Public Space Committee appeared ambivalent about pursuing votes on the remaining motions, saying that the policy order presented by Kelly seemed to address the remaining concerns.

ANC6A Chair Alberti, however, pressed to continue with votes on the remaining motions, saying, “If DDOT doesn’t focus on them, they won’t pay attention to my issues.”

Subsequently, the motions recommending Councilmember Cheh  take steps to transfer triangle parks under DDOT to Department of Parks and Recreation, asking the City Council to declare pocket parks public space, and to oppose the application of the homeowners at 147 Tennessee Avenue  to erect a fence around a fragment of the triangle park (currently designated as “public parking by DDOT), all passed 4 – 1, with commissioners Alberti, Wood, Mahmud, and Hysell voting in the affirmative and commissioner Phillips-Gilbert voting in the negative.  Commissioner Jay Williams who was necessarily absent said he would have voted with the majority, if present.

Asked afterward if he had considered recusing himself from the deliberations and vote in light of the restraining order issue, Alberti replied, “Have I considered it?  Yes.”  Asked why he hadn’t recused himself, Alberti replied, “This is not personal – it is an issue affecting the entire Ward – the entire city.”

This is not the first time our local ANC’s have crossed swords with DDOT on public space or transportation issues.  There is a long history in both ANC6A and ANC6B of what commissioners see as cavalier disregard of the “great weight” agencies are supposed to give to ANC opinions as well as failure to follow through on DDOT initiatives.  DDOT Director Terry Bellemy announced his resignation for a position in Prince George’s County shortly after Councilmember Muriel Bowser won the Democratic nomination for mayor.  That resignation was to be effective at the end of April.  Bellemy signed the new DDOT Departmental order on April 30.

For more background on the legal details of the case, see The Hill Rag,: http://bit.ly/1fTg69M

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David Holmes Resigns as ANC6A Commissioner

 

David Holmes Announced  His Resignation as ANC Commissioner Last Night

David Holmes Announced His Resignation as ANC Commissioner Last Night

David Holmes Resigns as ANC6A Commissioner

by Larry Janezich

Last night, ANC6A Commissioner David Holmes announced his resignation as a commissioner for ANC6A03, saying “It is time for a change.”  He said the notice of the resignation had appeared two weeks ago in the DC Register – the city’s record of official announcements.  Holmes was elected in 2006 and has served on the ANC for 7 ½ years – three as Chair and three as Vice Chair.  He said, “Being Chair was a forty to 60 hour a week job. As a retiree I had the time but the commitment is wearing after a few years go by.”  Holmes said he timed his resignation on a date “that will allow a new Commissioner to be elected to fill the vacancy without waiting until the general election in November.  No vacancy can be filled in the last six months of the term.”

The announcement came as a surprise to those attending the meeting and Holmes received the applause of the commissioners and attendees by way of thanks for his service.  Commissioners individually paid tribute to Holmes for his work on the commission.

Later, Holmes talked about some of the issues he was involved in while serving as commissioner.  Several of his most important activities centered around the development of H Street, including lobbying Councilmembers to reduce the property tax burden on merchants and homeowners on and adjacent to H Street, working to maintain funding for and commitment to the H Street streetcars, working to improve design and amenities for large real estate projects on H Street and to protect residents of nearby streets from excessive noise from sidewalk cafes.

Another major focus of his attention was traffic and transportation issues, and Holmes cited working to slow traffic and improve pedestrian safety on C Street, Maryland Avenue and Florida Avenue; getting stop signs placed on 10th and 12th Streets at C and Constitution; and, with the help of Councilmember Wells, changing Constitution to a two-way street in the morning.   In his own district, Holmes claimed credit for partially or completely repaving four damaged alleys and most of the streets.  Regarding crime, he led citizen impact campaigns to lock up habitual car vandalizers.  Holmes worked with other ANCs, to stop the National Marathon from enclosing Capitol Hill for 5-6 hours.  Finally, he referred to the little things – the things that take up so much of a commissioner’s time and effort:  countless improvements of street lights, parking and sweeping signs, stop signs, park maintenance, sidewalk repair, storm drains, etc.

Asked about his immediate future plans, Holmes said he and his wife Shauna want to take time to travel.

ANC6A Chair Alberti, Vice Chair Omar Mahmud and fellow commissioner Andrew Hysell subsequently paid tribute to Holmes.

Alberti said:  “David served as an ANC 6A Commissioner for six years including three years as Chair of the ANC.  As Commissioner, David spent countless hours each week working for the benefit of of our entire community; as Chair, he provided outstanding leadership.  ANC 6A has benefited greatly from all that David accomplished during his tenure.  His advocacy for agency accountable and the preservation of public green space will pay dividends for decades to come.  It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with him and I will greatly miss his wise advice and invaluable assistance.  It saddens me to see David resign as Commissioner but I wish him well. He has certainly earned some rest, but I hope that I will have future opportunities to work with David on behalf of the neighborhood we love.

Mahmud called Holmes  “an outstanding public servant” who “we all we all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude for his work helping to ensure government agencies are accountable to residents, working with business owners to ensure a balancing of business needs with those of residents, ensuing support for and viability of the H Street Farmers Market, among other things.  Losing David on the ANC is a huge loss for me personally because I have come to rely on him a great deal as a Commissioner, but I am glad he will still be in the neighborhood for us to call upon for counsel and advice.”

Hysell said “The role of Commissioner revolves around two core functions – listening to residents and then advocating for our interests before DC government. David was truly excellent at both and his conscientious approach to all of his responsibilities has been the model for the rest of us to follow.”

ANC6A Bylaws lay out the procedures for filling the vacancy.  The Bylaws can be found on the ANC6A website:  http://www.anc6a.org/  – click on “Other Documents”.

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ANC Committee Opposes “& Pizza” Move to Barracks Row

ANC6B P&Z Committee Votes To Oppose Fast Food Exemption for & Pizza (Not shown: 6B08 Commissioner Chander Jayaraman Voting "No"

ANC6B P&Z Committee Votes To Oppose Fast Food Exemption for & Pizza (Not shown: 6B08 Commissioner Chander Jayaraman Voting “No”

ANC6B Commissioners Hear Neighbor Concerns About Another Fast Food Restaurant on Barracks Row

ANC6B Commissioners Hear Linda Elliott Voice Neighbor Concerns About Another Fast Food Restaurant on Barracks Row

ANC Committee Opposes “& Pizza” Move to Barracks Row

Neighbors Call Out ​ Owner on Trustworthiness

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted (9-3) last night to oppose a special exception to the ban on fast food that would allow & Pizza to open up on Barracks Row.  The appeals of a dozen neighbors, some of whose backyards are divided from the commercial corridor on the west side of the 400 block of Barracks Row by only a fence clearly swayed the committee.  Restaurant chain owner Steve Salis is seeking to open a fourth pizza outlet in the space now occupied by OXXO Cleaner​s; several residents and commissioners feel that the block is already overpopulated with restaurants.  And while a restaurant could go into the space as a matter of right, city regulations prohibit fast food restaurants on Barracks Row (and in other designated areas of the city) without the special exception.

& Pizza owner Steve Salis delivered a professional and collegial presentation to the ANC (referring to commissioners as “you  guys”),​ asserting that he was different from the other restaurants on the block because of training and discipline regarding dealing with issues concerning neighbors, including trash, rodents, noise and odors.  He assured the committee he could deal with them in this case to neighbors’ satisfaction.

The neighbors, who say they had begun negotiations regarding the restaurant operations predisposed to lending their support to Salis​, became soured on his project after ​he​ refused to address some of their primary concerns (especially trash) in writing and became ​”not belligerent, [but] close to it,”​ ​ in the words of a neighbor who attended a group meeting with Salis.

Salis is a former NYC entrepreneur who romanced Barracks Row in 2011/2012 with an earnest and accommodating approach, promising to bring new blood to the 400 block in the space formerly occupied by The Dollar Store.  He backed away from that deal after failing to reach an agreement with building owner Street Sense, and opened up on H Street, NE, instead.

The subsequent successful suitor for the Dollar Store space was Chiptole, who offered assurances of their intentions to be good neighbors.  Those assurances were met with open mindedness on the part of 7th Street residents and a belief that Chipotle – with a reputation for quality fast food and with corporate resources – would be a good neighbor.  But, as Commissioner Phil Peisch remarked last night, “Although Chipotle made a serious effort to work with neighbors, implementation fell flat and Chipotle ended up contributing to the (rat and trash) problem.”  According the Peisch, the serious rodent issue in the area is centered on that side of the block. “I’m not sure that block can handle another fast food restaurant.’  (See CHC post on last month’s rat summit here:  http://bit.ly/Qi20my)

In his presentation to the ANC Committee last night, Salis stressed the concessions he had made to neighbors on noise and odors and offered two solutions to the trash and attendant rat problem.  His first suggestion was a state- of-the-art trash compactor such as used by Cava restaurant in the next block.  His second was an offer to construct a trash storage shed similar to one used by Chipotle.  The latter would require a BZA variance (ANC6B had opposed a similar request from building owner Maurice Kreindler earlier this year).

 

7th Street resident Linda Elliott, representing some dozen nearby homeowners, gave a Power Point presentation illustrating how Cava’s trash compactor and Chipotle’s trash storage shed had failed to solve the trash and rodent problems plaguing the neighborhood.  The flaw, she said, was human failure in a situation where success depended on people who are either too busy to provide the extra care necessary to properly dispose of trash, or are concerned about standing in the dark in a rat infested alley to compact trash a few bags at a time.  The resulting “trash dribble” and open trash compactors and receptacles provide an environment in which rats and other vermin thrive.

Elliott said that Salis said, “You can trust me,” and when asked if he had trash violations at any of his other locations replied, according to Elliott, “No.”   Elliott said investigation revealed that & Pizza on H Street – a restaurant whose building most closely resembles the Barrack’s Row location – has had 12 violations.  Elliott’s Power Point presentation included recent photos of trash conditions behind & Pizza on H Street, Cava on Barracks Row, and behind Maurice Kreindler’s properties on Barracks Row that can only be described as deplorable.  “We have a clear problem accepting assertions Mr. ​Salis has made,” Elliott ​told the committee​ .

Salis responded that a restaurant of some kind​was likely to go into the OXXO space “because restaurants are the only ones that can pay rents on 8th Street right now.”  He noted that as a matter of right, any non-fast food restaurant can go into the space without seeking an exception and allowed the committee to infer that he might seek an exception without an ANC endorsement.

He also said that ​he had acceded to all the requests the neighbors had made except for trash.  Addressing the committee members, he said, “You guys will make a decision on what is best for the community … I think we will definitely contribute to the community.”

Elliott noted that another fast food exception is in the pipeline for Potbelly which hopes to locate where Tandoor Grill currently is.  She noted that regardless of whether the exception is granted or not, the long-time building owner Tariq Hussein has pledged that for any restaurant going into that space he will provide indoor trash storage, state of the art sound proofing and odor control.

Commissioner Phil Peish moved the committee take no position on the request for an exception, but accepted Commissioner Dave Garrison’s amendment that the committee recommend that the ANC oppose it.

The final vote was 9 – 3  to oppose, with Commissioner Brian Flahaven and resident members Jennifer Rosen (ANC610) and Brynn Barnett (ANC603) voting in favor of the restaurant.  When the matter goes to the full ANC next week, only duly elected commissioners can vote.  Since seven commissioners on the 10 member commission opposed the exception last night, opposition by the full ANC seems assured.  The one caveat, however, is that new information by the applicant could be presented to the ANC at their May meeting next Tuesday in an effort to change their collective mind.

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The Week Ahead….Controversial DOT Pocket Park Issue Before Two ANC’s

7th Street Entrance to the Sunday Flea Market at Hine, 4:15pm.

7th Street Entrance to the Sunday Flea Market at Hine, 4:15pm.

The Week Ahead….Controversial DOT Pocket Park Issue Before Two ANC’s

by Larry Janezich

Monday, May 5

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

Tuesday, May 6

ANC6B Planning & Zoning Committee meets at 7:00p, St. Coletta’s School, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE.

Among items on the agenda:

Public Space application of sidewalk café for Curbside Café, 257 15th Street, SE.

Special Exception for fast food (pizza) at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Historic Preservation application for construction at 531 8th Street, SE, Barracks Row.

Office of Planning proposal to relocate an existing emergency shelter on Reservation 13, from Building 9 the Building 27.

Discussion of options for ANC6B action regarding current DOT policy toward pocket parks.  The options include opposing a Historic Preservation application to erect a fence around a pocket park in ANC6A at 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE; a request for a greater role by ANC’s in landscaping applications for pocket parks; and a request that all pocket parks under DOT’s management be transferred to Department of Parks and Recreation.  For a fuller explanation of and the background on this issue, see the agenda for ANC6A on Thursday, below. 

Letter to Department of General Services regarding requests for offers to develop Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club Building.

Nominations to the PUD oversight subcommittee on the construction of a major residential retail project at 1333 M Street, SE (see here: http://bit.ly/1pW7yOm)  In addition to ANC6B Commissioners, concerned residents or representatives of interested organizations are eligible to apply to serve on the Subcommittee.   Contact Commissioner Nichole Opkins:  202-631-2154 or nichole6b06@anc6b.org

Wednesday, May 7

ANC6B Transportation Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the Agenda:

Office of Planning neighborhood planning process for Barney Circle & Southeast Boulevard.

ANC6B request to change Performance Parking scheme north of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

ANC6A Testimony regarding CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel expansion project.

Support for increase in sidewalk repair funding for fiscal years 2015-2017.

Wednesday, May 7

ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Environment Committee meets at 7:00pm at Capitol Hill Medical Center/Kaiser Permanente, 700 Second St. NE (2nd & G NE)

Items on the Agenda:

Two applications for additions to residences and a Zoning Commission case involving modification to the PUD for property at 2nd and K Streets, NE.

Thursday May 8

ANC6B ABC Committee will meet at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Among items on the Agenda:

Request by Nooshi restaurant to establish a summer garden

Thursday, May 8

ANC6A meets at 7:00pm at Miner Elementary, 601 15th Street, NE.

Among items on the Agenda:

Letter to DDOT asking that DDOT consider installation of a traffic signal at Maryland and 10th Streets NE as an independent project.

Letter to DDOT recommending the location of the new Capital Bikeshare station, originally slated for 12th and H Streets, NE, at 10th Street and Maryland Avenue, NE.

Letter to DDOT asking them to correct their characterization of Reservation 266 as public parking.  (Reservation 266 is the pocket park at 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE, currently the subject of a Historic Preservation application before ANC6A to fence the space.  DDOT characterizes the pocket park as identical to the adjacent homeowner’s front yard.)

Letter to Councilwoman Mary Cheh:  1) recommending that all pocket parks and Reservations currently under DDOT jurisdiction be transferred to Department of Parks and Recreation,  2) asking that she urge DDOT to reconsider its position with regard to the designation of pocket parks as public parking, and to issue regulations providing for public notice and comment.

Letter to DC City Council requesting that they “craft legislation to declare that pocket parks and Federal Reservations are public space and may never be considered as public parking and that no changes to the landscaping or hardscaping by individuals, that would affect public use or access, may be approved without public input including consultation with the ANCs.  Further, a board similar to HPRB should be established to review such cases to ensure a fair and transparent process.”

Consideration of a motion that ANC6A oppose the Historic Preservation application for a fence around the pocket park at 147 Tennessee Avenue, NE. 

Letter to HPRB in support of Historic Preservation Application for the conversion of the Way of the Cross Church of Christ at 819 D Street NE and two adjoining row houses into a 30-unit residential development.

Letter to the Zoning Administrator advising that the building plans provided by the developer for the controversial construction of a residential condo building at 1511 A Street, NE, contain discrepancies related to the approval of the project.

Thursday May 8

CHRS Zoning Committee meets at 7:30pm at Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE.

Saturday, May 10 – Sunday, May 11

CHRS House and Garden Tour.

Saturday, 4-7; Sunday 12-5.see:  www.chrs.org

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Eastern Market Struggles With Its Identity

Proposal to Open 7th Street to Traffic Has Created Tension Between Merchants and Vendors

Proposal to Open 7th Street to Traffic Has Created Tension Between Merchants and Vendors

Mayor Fenty Closed 7th Street by Fiat After the Restored Market Opened in 2009

Mayor Fenty Closed 7th Street by Fiat After the Restored Market Opened in 2009

Inside Eastern Market, Sunday Afternoon, 3:30pm

Inside Eastern Market, Sunday Afternoon, 3:30pm

Few Drivers Heed the 1 Hour Time Limit For Parking in the 20 Spaces Behind the Market

Few Drivers Heed the 1 Hour Time Limit For Parking in the 20 Spaces Behind the Market

Eastern Market Struggles With Its Identity

Tension Between Inside Merchants/Outside Vendors on Market’s Direction

by Larry Janezich

The changing character of Capitol Hill is perhaps nowhere more evident than at Eastern Market.  Last Tuesday, the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) heard a proposal by inside Market food merchants Bill and Tom Glasgow and Mike Bowers to re-open 7th Street outside the Market to traffic on Saturdays, allowing customer parking and improving access to their businesses.  The proposal was the result of a meeting of inside merchants to provide input to a business plan being formulated by EMCAC to give future direction and cohesion to Eastern Market as it attempts to come to terms with changing demographics, new development, competition, and tourism.

Bill Glasgow of Union Meats is the inside merchants’ representative to EMCAC; Tom Glasgow runs Market Lunch; and Mike Bowers runs the cheese and dairy shop.  The​ir ​proposal to open 7th Street is a contentious​ one​ because it would eliminate the 34 vending positions for Eastern Market’s arts and crafts vendors who currently set up on 7th Street on weekends.  The proposal is opposed by the 7th street vendors and their newly elected representative to EMCAC, Erika Rubel.  Local artist and 7th Street vendor Joe Snyder says that “accessibility will continue to be a problem in an increasingly dense city and the Market will have to deal with it in a creative way” – but this should not include the reopening of 7th Street.

According to EMCAC chair​ Donna Scheeder, “EMCAC is in the long process of gathering input which will also include community meetings and other opportunities for the community to provide a wide range of input for what should be the priorities for Eastern Market. This is preliminary to the drafting of a business plan which is what EMCAC will react to. We are a ways off from that.”

Still, the proposal and its opponents reflect a tension between older, established businesses and newer up-starts.  Few if any of other retailers have enjoyed more market-protection than Eastern Market merchants, who are grandfathered in and pay low to moderate rent; on the other hand, few have done more to establish the neighborhood as a commercial destination.​  Their counterparts on the outside of the market depend on foot-traffic and square footage, whereas inside the Hall merchants would prefer to see parking available to customers looking to take perishables and other goods home.

​​Before the Eastern Market fire and the subsequent closing of 7th street by mayoral fiat under Adrian Fenty, the North Hall accommodated up to 40 arts and crafts vendors on weekends.  With the reopening of the Market, vendors were moved to 7th Street and the North Hall became a gathering space accessible to the community, not only on the weekends, but during the week, especially by children’s caregivers and their charges.

Bill Glasgow said the 13 inside merchants are getting “strangled” because customers can’t get access – they have to park blocks away and walk to the market to buy food.  He believes that the Market’s becoming a tourist destination has hurt the business of the food merchants inside.  According to Glasgow, “Saturdays are starting to look like Sundays – all tourism.  At what point do you want to strangle us out of business?”

The Market has about 20 spaces for customer parking in the alley behind the market with a one hour time limit, but according to Glasgow, the parking is “not controlled at all,” adding, “We’ve been complaining for five years.  It is absolutely essential to have parking.  How can you have a food market without access?”  Looking ahead to the proposed​ Hine development, he notes that although public parking will be provided, 7th Street between C and Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed on weekends to accommodate the flea markets.

The proposed ​Hine development may present new ​and more acute ​challenges for the Marke​t​.  Stanton Development has mentioned Rodman’s – the family-owned chain of discount grocery/drug stores, with a selection of international foods, wine and beer – as a possible tenant for the new Hine development.

Eastern Market is currently being managed by DC’s Department of General Services.  Market Manager Barry Margeson did not respond to a request for comment.  Margeson continues to solicit new outside vendors, but Glasgow sees advertising for new vendors as indicative of rapid vendor turnover because “they’re not making any money – there are too many.”  The Market’s policy he says, is “strangling the outside vendors and us.”

Some market-​goers think that parking may not be the inside merchant’s entire problem.  ​T​he more traditional Eastern Market may be suffering in comparison with the recently opened Union Market in Northeast.   In addition, the increased quality of some of the products under the farmer’s line on Saturday heads off many potential customers before they get inside​, especially when inside goods do not excel in quality or offer competitive price points​.  Likewise, the Market’s “Fresh Tuesdays” has brought locally produced higher quality produce and cheese to the farmer’s line outside the Market on Tuesday afternoons.  ANC Commissioner Brian Pate is interested in seeing the farmer’s line opened one night a week for Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) providers.  CSA patrons pay upfront for shares of a local farmer’s harvest which are delivered to the customer.  Pate would like to see the farmer’s line opened up for these deliveries – which would to some degree increase the pressure on the inside vegetable merchants.

Since the demise of the Councilmember Tommy Well’s legislation providing for a new governing structure for Eastern Market, and with it, EMCAC’s proposal to consolidate under Eastern Market the control of the three separate outside vending operations (the Eastern Market vendors, Carol Wright’s Saturday and Michael Berman’s Sunday flea markets on the Hine parking lot) an element of mistrust has existed between Eastern Market’s outside vendors and EMCAC.  The Eastern market vendors see any consolidation as coming at their expense.  Vendor Joe Snyder characterizes the proposed consolidation as an “impractical merger of the three markets,” and raises the concern of the potential displacement of longtime Eastern Market outside vendors.

This is a critical time for the future of the Market.  It would seem that a good first step toward a partial remedy would be to enforce limited time parking in the alley behind Eastern Market. EMCAC and ANC6B – in their advisory capacities – may not be the vehicles for problem solving.  Given the lame duck status of Ward 6 Councilmember Wells and Mayor Gray, it is uncertain how much leadership they will or can provide – but in any event, the issues seem to require the attention of the executive branch rather than the city council.

 

 

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