ANC6B’s Garrison Urges Capitol Hill Restoration Board to Recruit ANC Candidates
Says Four of the Five Historic District Commissioners Will Not Seek Re-Election
by Larry Janezich
ANC6B01 Commissioner Dave Garrison told the Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors Tuesday night that he is one of four of the five members of the current ANC6B who represent areas that fall within Capitol Hill Historic District who will not seek re-election this fall.
He said his appearance before the Board was the result of his concern about the future of the Capitol Hill Historic District. According to Garrison, “The quality of the historic preservation review work of ANC6B has declined,” and the retirement of four commissioners comprising 80% of the Historic District’s representation on the ANC “presents a unique opportunity to alter the situation going forward.”
Garrison cited two cases where decisions of ANC6B did not support maintaining the Historic District: the pop-up across from The Maples which would have been clearly visible from the sidewalk (the ANC supported the new structure on the basis that it would allow a growing family to stay in the residence and permit their children to continue attending Brent school); and when the ANC took no position on the construction of a front yard storage shed at 700 North Carolina Avenue, after a motion to support the structure failed on a 5 – 5 tie vote.
Garrison said that he thought the decline in support on the ANC for the enforcing the principles of the Historic District were because of the election to the Commission of newer residents with less experience on the Hill. He told the CHRS Board that there was an opportunity to recruit new people to run for the four soon-to-be vacated ANC seats within the Historic District – “people with knowledge of the Historic District and commitment to its principles.” Elections for ANC Commissioners will take place this fall.
He urged the Board members to “run the idea up their individual flagpoles” since it would “not be appropriate for the Board to take action.” Garrison urged Board members to “consider what can be done to identify people interested in these matters and encourage them to put themselves forward.” He cautioned that the job was difficult and thankless and required a large commitment of time, saying, “It’s not for everyone.” He continued, “Because of the size of the turnover, I’m bringing the matter before you this evening. I would be glad to discuss it individually with any of you.”
Chuck Burger, who serves on the CHRS Board, Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, and CHAMPS, said he agreed with Garrison regarding the changes which reflected the influx of new Hill residents. Burger said that this was “fair warning” and that “we should be vigilant and proactive about getting candidates in.” The Board went on to discuss ways to strengthen the relationship between the CHRS Board and the three ANCs who have single member districts in the Historic District: ANC6A, ANC6B, and ANC6C.
There is a history of cross-pollinating relationships between the CHRS and the ANCs. Recently the spouses of ANC commissioners have served on the CHRS Board: Nancy Metzger (Norm Metzger, ANC6B) and Shauna Holmes (David Holmes, ANC6A). Currently, Elizabeth Nelson, spouse of Nick Alberti, Chair of ANC6A serves on the CHRS Board.
The CHRS Board has launched a “Beyond the Boundaries” project which has as its ultimate goal expanding the Capitol Hill Historic District. Several years ago, a protracted negotiation with Louis Dreyfuss Property Group over the PUD application for the company’s development between 2nd and 3rd Streets on H Street, NE, ended with a settlement under which CHRS was granted a total of $250,000 – $83,000 of which was to support historic preservation efforts outside of the historic district. That money was devoted to the “Beyond the Boundaries Project.” In 2010, current ANC6B Chair Brian Flahaven was elected on a platform of opposition to the creation of the Barney Circle Historic District in Hill East.