Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Week Ahead…And, Shotgun House Lives On

The Shotgun House at 1229 E Street, SE

The Shotgun House at 1229 E Street, SE

The Week Ahead…And, The Shotgun House Lives On

by Larry Janezich

Shotgun House

On September 18, the Historic Preservation Review Board reaffirmed the “shotgun house” at 1229 E Street, SE, is a contributing structure to the Capitol Hill Historic District and found the demolition of the property to be inconsistent with the purposes of the preservation act. The Board recommended denial of the permit to raze the building and urged staff to coordinate resolution of the longstanding issues at the property with other District agencies. (See CHC posting here:  http://bit.ly/1qAicMC)

The Week Ahead….

Tuesday, October 14

ANC6B meets at 7:00pm for its regular monthly meeting, in Hill Center.

Among items on the agenda:

Update from Fire and EMS Department: Eugene A. Jones, Interim DC Fire Chief

Substantial change to Ugly Mug’s alcohol beverage license, 723 8th Street, SE, expansion of second floor & addition of 144 seats (100), changing total capacity to 242 (189).  (See CHC posting here:  http://bit.ly/1vRfDce)

Red light camera request for Pennsylvania Avenue & 7th Street, SE.

2014 DC Circulator Transit Development Plan Update (See CHC posting here:  http://bit.ly/1sjkLHj)

Tuesday, October 14

MPD Chief of Police Cathy Lanier is featured on “All Politics is Local,” with Tom Sherwood & Mark Segraves, from 7:00pm – 9:00pm at Hill Center.  This event is free.

Seating is on a first come, first served basis. Call here to register: 202-549-4172

Tuesday, October 14

At-Large DC Council candidates take questions from organizations and community leaders from around the city at 7:00pm, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, 641 D Street NW (Green Line – Gallery Place or Archives).  Free and Open to the Public

Tuesday, October 14

Ward 6 State Board of Education Candidates Forum, 6:30pm – 8:00pm, Eastern High School, 1700 E Capitol Street, SE.  Candidates: Mark Naydan & Joe Weedon.  More information here: http://chpspo.org/2014/09/25/ward-6-state-board-of-education-candidates-forum/

Wednesday, October 15

ANC6A Economic Development Committee meets at 7:00pm in the Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th Street, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Gallaudet University – informational presentation regarding Gallaudet University’s application for further processing related to the construction of a new replacement dormitory for the Model Secondary School for the Deaf at the north end of the campus.

Request for a zoning variance for 1802 D Street, NE, to allow a child development center.

Request for a zoning variance for 1401 Florida Avenue, from height, parking, roof setback and HS Overlay requirements to allow construction of a multifamily residential building with ground floor retail.

Saturday, October 18

Second Ward 6 Fall Safety Festival, 11am to 4pm, Folger Park (3rd & D Streets SE).  The event is sponsored by Celebrate Capitol Hill and ANC6B in conjunction with the Annual Brent School Fall Festival.  Safety demonstrations, health screenings, light music, fire trucks and fun activities. More info: cburger@cbmove.com

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Eastern High Football – Eastern Defeats Roosevelt – Photo Essay

Eastern High Football – Eastern Defeats Roosevelt – Photo Essay

by Larry Janezich

Saturday afternoon, Eastern High Ramblers defeated the Roosevelt Raiders, 32 – 0.  Eastern’s remaining home games are:

October 24th, 7:00 p.m., against Cardozo;

November 7th, 7:00 p.m., against Phelps;

Admission tickets cost $5.

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Ugly Mug Seeks to Double Seating & Add Retractable Roof – Photos

Rendering of the Glass Roof in Closed Position

Rendering of the Glass Roof in Closed Position

...And Open.  The Panels Slide to the Sides and Stack on Top of the First Row of Panels

…And Open. The Panels Slide to the Sides and Stack on Top of the First Two Rows of Panels, Leaving a Ten Foot Opening

Jablonski Makes His Case to the ANC6B's ABC Committee

Jablonski Makes His Case to the ANC6B’s ABC Committee

Ugly Mug Seeks to Double Seating & Add Retractable Roof – Photos

Owner Claims His Hands Are Tied on Rodent/Trash Issues

by Larry Janezich

Last night Gaynor Jablonski, owner of the Ugly Mug on 8th Street and District Two Bar & Grill and Jake’s American Grill in NW, presented his request for a proposed second floor expansion of the Ugly Mug to ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Committee.  Any substantial change in a liquor license (increased seating) requires approval of the Alcohol Beverage Review Board (ABRA), and the ANC’s weigh in on the question.  The committee makes a recommendation to the full ANC, which meets next week.

Jablonski’s plan entails gutting the two current second floor apartments above the “Mug” and adding a new 16 x 30 foot room behind them, providing room for an additional 100 seats to his restaurant and raising the capacity from the current 89 to a total of 189.  The new 16 x 30 room would have a retractable glass roof which would open when the weather allowed for it.

Considerable resistance has developed among nearby residents, not only from those in close proximity, but from those who are trying to impose standard best operating practices regarding noise, odor, trash disposal and rodent control for all of the food establishments on Barracks Row.  Recently, neighbors have organized successfully to bring best operating practices as a condition of &Pizza’s approval for an outlet on Barracks Row.  Commissioner Ivan Frishberg has stated that he hoped that would become a model for the rest of the food businesses on the street.

Jablonski spent considerable time explaining why his hands were tied by structural and economic limitations regarding his ability to address trash and rodent concerns.  “Why should I be penalized for having come here 8 years ago?” he asked the Committee.

Clearly, nearby neighbors who were in attendance felt that the answer to that question is that Jablonski is asking to more than double the size of his operation, while not taking robust measures to mitigate the effects of this expansion on the neighborhood.

Seven of those nearby neighbors who attended the meeting in the cramped Frager’s Conference Room on the third floor of the Hill Center rose to express their concerns, which focused especially on trash and noise (Jablonski intends to move his DJ from the first to the second floor) but included parking as well.

Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg alluded to a large volume of emails commissioners had received expressing concerns about the expansion.

One resident of the block spoke in favor of the expansion, saying she encouraged development and thought that additional foot traffic would benefit Barracks Row.  She said the Ugly Mug had been a responsible neighbor, and that she had moved to her apartment on the block expecting to live with the noise generated by a commercial strip.

The greatest concerns of committee members seemed to be trash, rodents, and limiting the time when the glass roof would be opened.  Jablonski is hoping the committee will approve the same closing time for the glass roof as for his outdoor patio, 11:00pm Sunday through Thursday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday.  He said that providing inside trash storage would be prohibitively expensive.  Regarding odors, he said he thought controls were unnecessary,
“the odor coming out is good – its food.”  He said he was willing to “look into it” but “it would be very expensive.”

Commissioner Brian Pate told Jablonski that he was asking the committee to create “additional externalities which are problems for the neighbors…I’d like to think there’s a better way of dealing with trash than when you moved in to the space” in 2008, and Pate urged Jablonski to find a way to address the trash and rodent issues, saying he can’t support the request for expansion unless Jablonski comes up with best practices.  Jablonski said “It will be very expensive, but I have no problem with giving it a shot.”

Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg said that for her there were two issues – trash, which in her opinion a voluntary agreement cannot control because management schemes fail, and hours for having the glass roof open, which can be controlled.

Committee Chair Sara Loveland said she was inclined to support the expansion if hours for the open roof could be finalized and the trash issue could be addressed.

The committee subsequently voted 5 – 0 to take no position regarding a recommendation to the full committee which will take up the issue at its meeting next Tuesday at Hill Center, when it will hear again from Jablonski.

ABRA is scheduled to hear the request on November 10.

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Problems Cited with Union Station/Navy Yard Circulator

Problems Cited with Union Station/Navy Yard Circulator

Concerns Surface that Proposed Expansion Could Make Them Worse

by Larry Janezich

Recent riders of the Union Station/Navy Yard (USNY) Circulator have probably noted its unreliability and long wait-times.  Scheduled to run every ten minutes, and with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) claiming the average wait-time is 11 minutes, riders of the USNY Circulator are accustomed to wait 20 minutes or more.

The unreliability of this particular line is one of the reasons for its low ridership, and this in turn results in one of the highest rider subsidies in the city, one that DDOT says amounts to $4.61 per rider.  But there are other reasons for low ridership.  The route is hampered by its weekday-only operation.*  In addition, the ride can be long, owing to circumventing U.S. Capitol Police security restrictions, too few buses, and traffic congestion.

In addition to low ridership, the subsidy is greater for this route given the DDOT policy which allows its employees to ride the Circulator for free, and DDOT is located near the Navy Yard Metro stop.  Although these employees are supposed to be counted in the ridership (credit for which would lower the subsidy) a recent Riverfront BID survey noted that the DDOT employees are often waved aboard without being registered by the system in order to save time.  (Until recently MARC riders coming from Union Station to the Navy Yard could ride free; that policy has changed.)

As part of its 2014 DC Circulator Transit Development Plan, DDOT has announced a plan to extend USNY route to the Southwest Waterfront Metro Station and has reportedly purchased three additional buses for the line.  Despite the extra buses, there are concerns that the extension will make the current problems worse.

Last night, at ANC6B’s Transportation Committee meeting, former ANC6B Commissioner Ken Jarboe – who currently sits on Capitol Hill BID’s Transportation Committee – explained the concerns as the Committee prepared to consider a measure to endorse the extension.

Jarboe recommended that any endorsement of the extension by the ANC take these concerns into consideration.  He suggested that the ANC urge extending service to the weekends year round, as well as extending winter hours to 9:00pm instead of 7:00pm.  In addition, he recommended that the ANC press for reduced waiting time and an accurate count of DDOT employees who are riding free so the route can be credited for those riders.  He told CHC that not counting free riders shows up in the subsidy, making the route look worse than it is (given that DDOT employees should be counted, whether they pay or not, and this would show up as credit for the line), and placing the route at a disadvantage in the face of political pressure for the service to be self-sufficient.

The impetus for extending the route comes from a desire to provide service for all the new construction occurring near the Southwest Waterfront.  Jarboe added that there is a desire to provide a link to re-establish the Southwest Waterfront/Convention Center Circulator which was terminated some years ago owing to low ridership.  The preeminence of developer concerns can be explained in part by the Circulator’s unusual funding structure, which includes contributions from the local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs).

*Currently, the USNY Circulator runs weekdays (unless there’s a Nats game) from 6:00am until 7:00pm from October 1 to March 31.  From April 1 – September 30, it runs 6:00am until 9:00pm on weekdays plus 7:00am until 9:00pm Saturdays.  Each Circulator route has its own hours – for example, the Dupont/Georgetown Circulator runs until midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2:00am Friday and Saturday.

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The Week Ahead….

Word is that Radici - Formerly The Silver Spork - Will Open in "A Couple of Weeks"

Word is that Radici – Formerly The Silver Spork – Will Open in “A Couple of Weeks”

And Here's a Hint of What It Will Look Like

And Here’s a Hint of What It Will Look Like (Photo Taken from C Street Entrance)

Capitol Hill Corner:  The Week Ahead…

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, October 7

ANC6b Planning and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at St. Coletta’s of Greater

Washington.

Among items on the agenda:

Ten Historic Preservation Applications for various additions

Request for zoning variance for 429 12th Street ,SE, (rear for conversion, alteration, restoration, repair, & use of one-story structure for human habitation as a flat (two-family dwelling) on alley lot for alley access to street, which is not at least 30 feet in width.

Subcommittee report on Planned Unit Development of 1333 M Street SE

Wednesday, October 8

ANC6c meets for its regular monthly meeting at 7:00pm at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

(Agenda not available at press time)

Wednesday, October 8

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

Agenda:

1333 M Street SE Planned Unit Development Traffic Impact Study

Pennsylvania Avenue & 7th Street SE red light camera request

2014 DC Circulator Transit Development Plan Update.  DDOT has announced a long term Circulator plan.  Commissioner Frishberg has announced his interest in pressing for one of the proposed extensions – the Navy Yard route all the way to the Waterfront Metro.  Frishberg notes that this would connect the Eastern Market community to two schools currently in the Capitol Hill feeder system, Amidon Bowen Elementary and Jefferson Middle School.

Thursday, October 9

ANC6a meets for its regular monthly meeting at 7:00pm, Miner Elementary School, 601 15th Street, NE

Among items on the agenda:

Update on Pepco plant demolition by David Holmes

Update on Options Public Charter School by Josh Kerns

Liquor license renewals for:

1. China House, 1601 Benning Road, NE

2. J&K Market, 234 15th Street, NE

3. M&T Grocer’s Beer and Wine, 201 15th Street, NE

Sidewalk Café for Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1001 H Street, NE

Sidewalk Café for OhZone Lounge, 1380 H Street, NE

Thursday, October 9

ANC6b ABC Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Agenda:

Liquor license renewals for

1. Capitol Supreme Market, 501 4th Street SE

2. Yes Organic Market, 410 8th Street SE

3. Roland’s of Capitol Hill, 333 Pennsylvania Avenue SE

4. 7th L Street Market, 700 L Street SE

Substantial Change:   The Ugly Mug Dining Saloon, 723 8th Street SE, expansion of second floor & addition of 144 seats, changing total capacity to 242.  (The Ugly Mug has also announced its intention to install a retractable roof for al fresco drinking and dining.) 

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Mayor Gray Honors John Harrod, Founder of Arts Center at Eastern Market

Mayor Gray Opens Ceremony Honoring John Harrod

Mayor Gray Opens Ceremony Honoring John Harrod.  The veiled plaques is to the right.

"John Harrod touched all our lives.  One thing I learned from him is that sometimes controlled anarchy is a good thing."

“John Harrod touched all our lives. One thing I learned from him is that sometimes controlled anarchy is a good thing.”

Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson cited Harrod's love of the arts and people.

Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson cited Harrod’s love of the arts and people.

Harrod Family Members (seated, front row) and Eastern Market stakeholders (standing)

Harrod Family Members (seated, front row) and Eastern Market Stakeholders (standing)

Harrod's Son and Daughter Unveiled the Plaque

Harrod’s Son and Daughter, Aisha and Amon, Unveiled the Plaque

Mayor Gray Honors John Harrod, Founder of Arts Center at Eastern Market

Bronze Plaque on Eastern Market Wall Unveiled

by Larry Janezich

Today, Mayor Gray and CM Tommy Wells paid tribute to John Harrod, the founder of the Market 5 Gallery and Kuumba Center at Eastern Market – the longest surviving neighborhood arts center in the city.  The occasion was the unveiling by Harrod’s son and daughter of a bronze plaque attached to the wall next to the north entrance to Eastern Market’s North Hall.

Speaking to a crowd of more than 50 who gathered to celebrate the event, Gray recounted that in 1973, after Mayor Walter Washington started a neighborhood arts initiative in each ward of the city, Harrod founded Market 5 Gallery at Eastern Market – a neighborhood arts center dedicated to art, poetry, music, dance and theater.  Gray honored Harrod’s work and recounted how 31 arts and crafts vendors contributed funds to cast a bronze plaque after Harrod’s death in 2008.

Located in Eastern Market’s North Hall, the Gallery exhibited the work of local and international artists along with that of aspiring youths.  The Gallery expanded outdoors in 1983, with Harrod’s sponsoring of the Sunday arts and crafts festivals.  The resulting crowds eventually led to the establishment of the weekend flea markets on the Hine playground.

CM Wells recalled how Harrod “touched all our lives” and how he first encountered him when Wells was Ward Six coordinator for Marion Barry in 1986.  “One thing I learned from him,’ said Wells, “is that sometimes controlled anarchy is a good thing.”  He said that Gallery 5 thrived and grew and solidified itself and became the “heartbeat of Capitol Hill.”

Eastern Market Manager Barry Margeson cited Harrod’s profound love of all arts of all cultures, his deep humanity and appreciation for all people, and his strong convictions and stubbornness.

Tom Rall recalled coming to Eastern Market in 1983 and being the only exhibitor outside on Sundays.  In those days, Eastern Market was closed on Sunday, and Harrod kept Gallery 5 open despite lack of water, heat, rest rooms and air conditioning.  Rail subsequently spent the next 25 years as the manager of the outside Sunday flea market.  Rail lamented the loss of the North Hall as exhibit space for art and pleaded with Gray and city officials to “return art to the walls of the North Hall.”  Gray said he would work with others to see what could be done.

After being cast, the plaque languished, unhung, until the arts and crafts and other outside vendors recently mounted an effort to have the plaque installed.  Vendor and artist Joe Snyder was credited with collecting the $1600.00 from outside vendors and farmers and coordinating the actions which lead to today’s ceremony.

Snyder told Capitol Hill Corner, “As you know, none of us, arts and crafts vendors would be at the market had it not been for John; in fact, the city wide weekend phenomena of Eastern Market in last 35 years probably would have never developed without him.”  Snyder also gave credit to Peterbug Matthews, life-long Capitol Hill teacher and community activist who joined the effort have the plaque installed.

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