Monthly Archives: March 2016

Results Capitol Hill Closes – May Reopen Thursday Under New Management

Results Capitol Hill Closes – May Reopen Thursday Under New Management

by Larry Janezich

The following photos are self-explanatory and reflect all the information available at this time.  Some Results members on the newhilleast listserv received notices of the gym’s closing, while many did not.

A post-midnight trip to Results revealed that a sign had been posted by “a neighbor” that the gym would re-open on Thursday under new management.  That claim has not yet been confirmed. 

 

 

 

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The Week Ahead….PSA 108 on Thursday: UPS/US Postal Officials Talk Package Thefts

 

 

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish born 19th Century steel magnate.  His philanthropy included building of 2,509 libraries around the world.  Three are in DC and Southeast Library is one of them.  This library is one of DC’s busiest – it has a large number of programs for children and adults - see here:  http://bit.ly/1poQoQN

Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish born 19th Century steel magnate.  His philanthropy included building of 2,509 libraries around the world.  Three are in DC and Southeast Library is one of them.  This library is one of DC’s busiest – it has a large number of programs for children and adults – see here:  http://bit.ly/1poQoQN

The Week Ahead….PSA 108 on Thursday: UPS/US Postal Officials Talk Package Thefts

Monday, March 14

  1. ANC6D meets at 7:00pm at 1100 4th Street, SW, DCRA 2nd Floor meeting room.

Among items on the agenda:

Resolution re proposed homeless shelter in SW

Zoning request – Wharf 2nd Stage, 7th Street Recreational Pier

Zoning request – Wharf Pier 4 2nd Stage PUD

Tuesday, March 15

  1. ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Update on status of protest hearing of the license renewal for Touche at 1123 H Street, NE.

Discussion of process for addressing upcoming renewals for liquor licenses.

Nomad Hookah Bar, 1200 H Street, NE – Discussion of request by for extension of closing time of public space patio by one hour, from 11pm weeknights and midnight on weekends, to midnight on weeknights and 1am on weekends.

  1. Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm at Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE, second floor.

Wednesday, March 16

  1. ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

1603-1625 Benning Road, NE (Informational Presentation): The PUD seeks a land use designation change from the existing C-2-A to C-2-B in order to develop the Property into a residential development with a significant portion of the units being dedicated to workforce housing.

920 – 922 H Street, NE – for variances to allow the construction of a mixed-use building with a restaurant and nine residential units in the at premises 920-922 H Street N.E.

2. PSA 106 featuring Lt. Chris Avery meets at 7:00pm at 200 I Street, SE, 1st

3. PSA 105 meets at 7:00pm at 200 Eye Street SE, First Floor – ID Required –              Government building

Thursday, March 17

  1. PSA 108 featuring MPD Acting Captain Damion Taylor, meets at 7:00pm, at Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, SE.

Among items on the Agenda:

Preventing Package Thefts with MPD, UPS, US Postal Inspector

Friday, March 18

  1. 2nd Annual Dick Wolf Memorial lecture will be given Friday evening March 18 at 7:00 pm at the Hill Center at 9th and Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. The 2016 prize winner, Brook Hill, is a student at Georgetown Law School, and he will address the question: How to Retain Affordable Housing and its Contribution to Maintaining Character of Place.  A champagne reception will follow, and the event is free.

Saturday, March 19

  1. Annual Maury at the Market Gala and Silent Auction. 7:00pm – 10:30pm at Eastern Market North Hall.  After party at Tunnicliff’s.  All proceeds go to support classroom aides, programing and supplies at Maury Elementary School.  Follow the link below to buy your tickets in advance, $40 or at the door for $45 each. http://bit.ly/1TZKrGN

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Applicant Drops Bid to Expand “Residence” Near Capitol

Non profit and other association operations in residential townhouses is a serious problem near the US Capitol, according to neighbors.  The 100 block of C Street, SE, behind the Madison Building is reported to have many such examples.

Non profit and other association operations in residential townhouses is a serious problem near the US Capitol, according to neighbors. The 100 block of C Street, SE, behind the Madison Building is reported to have many such examples.

Applicant Drops Bid to Expand “Residence” Near Capitol

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk told ANC6B last night at its March meeting that a request to relax zoning regulations to allow expansion of a townhouse close to the Capitol which houses the offices of a non-profit, had been withdrawn by the applicant.  No reason  was given for the decision.  The house in question is in Samolyk’s single member district.

Neighbors had mounted a fierce campaign in opposition to the expansion, claiming that it was being done under the guise of providing more living space for a family, while the real reason was to expand the useable space for the office of the non-profit.  Neighbors claimed that the applicant was not using the townhouse as a primary residence.  An occupancy permit for running a business out of a home is contingent on the primary residence status.  For the original posting on this issue, see here:  http://bit.ly/1SjTeRY

Larry Johnston, who lives adjacent to the property, emerged as the spokesman for more than a dozen neighbors concerned about the issue who were in attendance last night.  He urged the ANC to pay attention to the blocks near the Capitol which are “suffering the inclusion” of businesses in residential neighborhoods.

Samolyk, who last night was elected Chair of the ANC6B Task Force on Outreach and Constituent Services, said she had determined that while it is possible to contest a Home Occupancy Permit from DCRA which allows businesses to operate out of residences, they are rarely overturned.  She also expressed disappointment that DCRA had not responded to calls she had made regarding the current case.

Samolyk said she would convene a meeting of the Task Force and invite a representative of DCRA to attend to discuss the issue.  She also said she would invite ANC6C Chair Karen Wirt to attend the meeting.  ANC6C has similar issues on blocks in residential areas close-in to the Capitol on the north side of East Capitol street.  Other areas where businesses encroach illegally on neighborhoods include New Jersey Avenue, F Street, NE, and on First Street behind the Supreme Court.

Commissioner Denise Krepp pointed out to residents interested in pursuing the issue that another avenue of would be to testify before the upcoming DCRA oversight hearings.

Also in attendance at last night’s meeting was the new Ward 6 representative of the Mayor’s Office, Rachel Mariman.  Mariman succeeds Seth Shapiro, who moved to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation in February.  Mariman offered her assistance to Samolyk in getting the attention of DCRA.

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New Hill East Community Public Safety Organization Backs Safety Routes Proposal

Councilmember Allen addresses the DC Safety Network Coalition at it's first public meeting last night

Councilmember Allen addresses the DC Safety Network Coalition at it’s first public meeting last night.

New Hill East Community Public Safety Organization Backs Safety Routes Proposal

by Larry Janezich

Last night, at its first public meeting, a fledgling community public safety coalition drew about 50 community members and stakeholders, including Councilmember Charles Allen and ANC6B Commissioners Chander Jayaraman, Daniel Chao, and Denise Krepp.  Also attending were Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Kevin Donahue, MPD First District Lt. Damion Taylor, and representatives of the Guardian Angels.

The DC Safety Network is a grassroots community effort co-chaired by Richard Lukas and the Rev. Kelly Jareaux.  According to their website, the group is a “diverse, nonpartisan coalition of concerned individuals working to enhance safety and reduce violent crime in the District.”  Their over-all goal is to establish partnerships with social justice organizations and the MPD, and local and federal public agencies to help “at risk” individuals and reduce violent crime in high crime areas, in hopes the effort will be adopted in other neighborhoods and communities in the city.

The coalition has arisen, in part, perhaps, because of the sense of some community members that the community policing efforts of the PSA’s (Police Service Areas) under the guidance of MPD First District police lieutenants are no longer effective.  In too many cases, the PSA meetings have devolved into the recitation of relatively meaningless crime statistics without context, and rote repetition of advice on how to avoid being a victim.  Such a program fails to encourage repeat attendance for those who venture to attend one.  Some PSA’s encourage greater engagement – PSA 108 and PSA 104 come to mind – but most do not.

The first public safety initiative the DC Safety Net is sponsoring is the “Safe Routes Program” – the brain child of ANC6B commissioner Chander Jayaraman.  His idea – which DC Safety Network has endorsed and adopted – involves community volunteers occupying corners on routes leading away from Capitol Hill Metro stops in the heavily trafficked 5:30pm – 7:30pm commuter time slot, Monday through Friday.  Jayaraman emphasizes that the message is, “I’m on watch.”  He says, “We don’t want to put people in jail, we are just saying, ‘Don’t [threaten] our neighborhood.’”  Jayaraman issued an appeal for additional volunteers willing to commit to an hour’s service as citizen sentinels to help make the neighborhood safer.

Initially, the effort is being coordinated by Jayaraman and Lukas, who will manage the logistics including distribution of yellow safety vests and battery powered hand held “shrieking” alarms to volunteers.  Jayaraman says he hopes to launch the initial Safe Routes pilot at the end of the month, focusing on 14th Street starting at the Potomac Metro stop and extending to the 14th Street’s  intersection with Maryland Avenue, NE.

Councilmember Allen addressed the group, saying them that MPD Chief Cathy Lanier told him she was sending “my best commander” to take over the First District in the wake of the retirement of Commander Brown last month.  Allen said he had talked to the new First District commander – Commander Robert Contee – and told him that the number one issue in Ward 6 was “robberies, robberies, robberies.  I think he got it.”  But, Allen said, “I need your help” in community building to address public safety issues.  Allen did not respond to an email asking whether the PSA’s have outlived their usefulness, leading to a grassroots public safety organization arising outside the PSA network.

For more information on DC Safety Network and to join DC SafetyNet, visit: http://bit.ly/1OZ8CN1 and follow them on Twitter @DCSafetyNet

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CVS at 7th and PA Avenue Could Clean Up Its Act a Little – Photo Essay

Ever wonder what's behind the trash enclosure on D Street behind CVS at 7th and Pennsylvania, SE?

Ever wonder what’s behind the trash enclosure on D Street behind CVS at 7th and Pennsylvania, SE? 

The view behind the open gate.

The view behind the open gate. Click to enlarge.

Looks like rat bait.

Looks like rat bait.

More rat bait?

More rat bait?

To the right of CVS' back door.

To the right of CVS’ back door.

CVS's back door.  Note lower left corner.

CVS’s back door. Note lower left corner.

And predictably.....sure enough.

Here’s a close up.  And predictably…..sure enough.

 

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The Week Ahead….

Eastern Market Metro, circa 7:00pm, Thursday night

Eastern Market Metro, circa 7:00pm, Thursday night

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, March 7

  1. Continuation of ANC 6B Planning & Zoning Meeting. ANC6B’s Planning & Zoning Committee was unable to get through its entire agenda during its scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 1, and the meeting will continue at 7:00pm on Monday, March 7, at Hill Center.

Agenda:  Watkins Alley Planned Unit Development, 1309-1323 E Street, SE.

  1. ANC 6C Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will meet at 7:00pm at Northeast Library, 330 7th Street, NE.

Agenda:

Bistro Italiano – 320 D Street, NE, Summer garden request.

Seoul Spice LLC, 145 N Street, NE, new restaurant license.

  1. DC SafetyNet’s will hold its first community meeting, at 6:30pm, friendship Chamberlain School, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE.
  1. CHRS Historic Preservation Committee meets at 6:30pm, at Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE

Tuesday, March 8

  1. ANC6B meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the agenda:

Election of Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force Chair.

Presentations:

New Initiatives at CHAW: Jill Strachan, Executive Director.

EventsDC’s Planned Release of and Review Process for “RFK Study”: Pete Kirschner, Communications & Marketing Director and Caroline Jhingory, Community Engagement Coordinator.

Matchbox, 521 8th Street SE, Substantial change due expansion of 1,600 square feet resulting in an additional 45 interior dining seats, 14 bar/counter seats, and six exterior patio seats.

Support for Watkins Elementary School Modernization Project.

328 D Street SE, rear addition/concept.

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE – add third story to existing restaurant.

160 North Carolina Avenue, SE – add third story to rear.

Hill East Design Review: Larry Clark, Donatelli Development.

Note: The following case will most likely be removed from the March 8 agenda so that it can be considered in full at a Special Call Meeting on March 22, 2016:

Watkins Alley, 1309-1323 E Street, SE, and 516 13th Street, SE.  PUD issues.

  1. PSA 104 meets at 7:00pm, at Ludlow Taylor Elementary School, 659 7th Street, NE.

Agenda:  Crime trends and statistics, Safety tips,  Meet your neighbors,  Partners in Problem Solving sessions,  Nuisance Properties complaints,  Crime Reporting and follow up, Neighborhood Watch,  Security Cameras, Open dialogue.

Wednesday, March 9

  1. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C meets at 7:00pm, Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.

Among items on the agenda:

Bistro Italiano, 320 D Street, NE, request for a summer garden.

Seoul Spice, 145 N Street, NE, new restaurant license.

Updates – Stuart Hobson field, Res. 84 improvements,

NoMa parks issues

KIPP D.C. College Preparatory campus, 1405 Brentwood Parkway NE – Outdoor facilities and community access.

Alley closure request, A Street between 7th and 8th Streets NE

170 M Street, NE, Department of Justice – parking garage entrance and sidewalk treatments

300 M Street, NE, – landscaping, sidewalk treatments, bike racks, etc.

518 6th Street, NE, concept approval to replace an existing one-story rear addition with a new two-story rear addition.

Thursday, March 10

  1. ANC6A meets at 7:00 pm, Miner Elementary, 601 Fifteenth Street, NE.

Presentation:  Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen.

Grant application from the Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School PTO, pending the PTO provide a revised letter or supplementary email from the Ludlow-Taylor principal, explaining why there were no funds allocated (or) available for the art class during the 2015-2016 school year.

Letter to DDOT requesting the installation of a new Capital Bikeshare station at 8th & H Streets, NE.

Letter of support to HPRB for the proposed design at 1120 Park Street, NE.

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

Saturday, March 12

  1. Book Sale at Southeast Library, 10am – 3:00pm.  Sponsored by Friends of Southeast Library

 

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Daniel Ridge is the Newest ANC6B Hill East Commissioner

Daniel Ridge engages Councilmember Charles Allen at Allen's regular  meeting with Capitol Hill residents at Radicci.

Daniel Ridge engages Councilmember Charles Allen at Allen’s regular meeting with Capitol Hill residents at Radicci, across from Eastern Market.

Daniel Ridge is  the Newest ANC6B Hill East Commissioner

Computer Scientist will finish the term of former Commissioner Brian Flahaven

by Larry Janezich

Daniel Ridge was sworn in as the new ANC6B09 Commissioner by Councilmember Charles Allen last Friday, February 26.  He was the only candidate to file a petition (which must be signed by 25 residents) with the DC Board of Elections and, thus, effectively became elected by default.  He succeeds Brian Flahaven as the commissioner for the single member district 6B09, which lies east of 15th Street, SE, in the Southwest corner of ANC6B.  Flahaven resigned his seat in January because he and his wife are expecting their second child this spring.

Capitol Hill Corner asked Ridge how the election process played out.

Ridge:  “My oath says I was duly elected. [The Board of Elections] ‘deems the position to be filled’ (or something like that) in the case that only one qualified candidate turns in signed petitions.  My wife maintained for years that I was totally unelectable.  If I was, in fact, simply appointed then my wife is not yet wrong.  Unelected Bureaucrat at your service.”

Capitol Hill Corner:  “Why did you seek a seat on the ANC?”

Ridge:  “I decided to seek a seat on the ANC when a neighbor, a savvier politician than me, saw me shoveling the alley during snowzilla.  She told me that she heard a rumor that I was going to run for the empty seat.  I went down the block trying out the same ruse on other good candidates and found no takers.  I decided then only to complete the petitions.  I decided to turn the petitions in only when I saw that no other resident had even collected a set.”

Capitol Hill Corner:  “What are some of the issues or concerns in your SMD or ANC6B in general that motivated you to volunteer a major commitment of time and energy, especially when you have a family and a job both of which make significant demands on those personal resources?”

Ridge:  “Support for aging is a major theme. One of the major causes of poverty in my SMD is a lifetime of hard work for a fixed pension. Neglected and abandoned property has a root in our lack of support for aging. Neglect turns around and becomes a further barrier to my neighbors living in their homes for as long as they would like.

My first constituent issue is to help a fabulous retired federal employee who has lived in her house for 71 years.  She uses a wheelchair for mobility and uses a ramp to leave her property in the rear.  Before she can leave her yard, somebody has to unscrew boards at the ground that keep the rats out.

We have perhaps a dozen cars in the street in my SMD owned by residents unable to drive them. These cars can lead to thousands of dollars in fines for the owner – and worse. In some cases, these fines for aging can lead my neighbors into a DC ‘clean hands’ quagmire that can keep them from getting services they need.  I have neighbors who can’t even donate their car because they can’t find the title.

Another constituent meeting today took me to a house that is in the middle of a flip (or expedited home ownership lifecycle if we want to be judgement-neutral).  I see that homes that are maintained can be worthwhile to hold to or turn over without doubling or tripling in size.  Whatever neighbors think of construction or expansion, neglect is a precursor.  Lack of support for aging feeds that neglect.

I’m 41.  I’m aging in place.  Every trip on the Hill with a children’s stroller is a preview of reduced mobility in our neighborhood and homes.  Pay attention to those experiences.”

Asked for some personal background information, Ridge supplied the following:

“I was raised in Frederick, Maryland.  I wanted to live in DC and work for NASA since a boyhood (perhaps 12) visit to the Georgetown townhouse of a family friend who had done just that.

I moved to Southwest DC in 1998 for a job at NASA HQ and I lived just across the highway from that building. I moved to Potomac Avenue in 2003 when my wife was finishing graduate school in Berkeley, California and ready to move back to the area.

I have a wife, a seven year old daughter and a five year old son. I work as a computer scientist for a non-profit research institute.”

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Barracks Row Art Openings Saturday Night – Conventional vs. New Wave

Garden Palette, by Wan Ho Lee, Capitol Hill Art League, at CHAW

Garden Palette, by Wan Ho Lee, Capitol Hill Art League, at CHAW

 

Portrait - by SCOTCH! at The Fridge

Portrait, by SCOTCH! at The Fridge

Art Openings Saturday Night – Conventional vs. New Wave

by Larry Janezich

Capitol Hill’s two chief art exhibit venues have openings Saturday night with artists’ receptions conveniently staggered, facilitating attendance at both events.

The Capitol Hill Art League sponsors a regional show: Appetite for Art.

Juried by Top Chef, Stephen Cheung, of Lavagana Restaurant on Capitol Hill and Art Curator, Deirdre Ehlen MacWilliams, awards will be presented at a reception from 5-7 PM on Saturday, March 5th, at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), located at 545 Seventh Street, SE.

The 31 artists featured in the show represent a range of media including oil, acrylic, watercolor, mixed media, graphite, pencil, collage, sculpture, etching and photography.

Artists include: M’El Abrecht, David Alfuth, Jennifer Barlow, Stephanie Bianco,Diane Blackwell, Susan Bradley, Emily Canzoneri, Sally Canzoneri, Elizabeth Clark,Ron Colbroth, Vivian DeKosinsky, Elizabeth Eby, Jill Finsen, Kay Fuller, Cassidy Garbutt, Tara Hamilton, Robin Harris, Wan Ho Lee, Cindi Lewis, Robert Lipartito, Charles Martin, Michael McSorley, Meera Rao, BD Richardson, Carolyn Rondthaler, Lynne Mallonee Schlimm, Judy Searles, Ann Thomson, Alex Tolstoy, Gale Wallar, Nancy Williams

The Fridge unveils an exhibit featuring art that is a little more contemporary, “New Wave” – a solo exhibit by renowned stencil-artist SCOTCH!  The opening reception for the artist is from 7-11PM on Saturday, March 5.

Alex Goldstein, curator of The Fridge says, “SCOTCH! is back with ten fresh new pieces, created exclusively for ¡NEW WAVE! Continuing his unique method of combining multiple styles of stenciling, SCOTCH! pushes the boundaries and definition of stencil art, opening the medium to novel possibilities.”

The Fridge is located behind the Shakespeare Theater administrative office building which is across the street from Matchbox Pizza on 8th Street SE, at 516 1/2 8th Street, SE.

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Bid to Expand “Residence” near Capitol Building Ensnarls ANC Zoning Committee

106 North Carolina Avenue, SE - The white house with dormers where the owner wants more space.

160 North Carolina Avenue, SE – The white house with dormers where the owner wants more space.

Aaron Presnall (gesturing) makes his case to the ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee

Aaron Presnall (gesturing) makes his case to the ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee

Bid to Expand “Residence” near Capitol Building Ensnarls ANC Zoning Committee

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, night, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee found itself entangled in a contentious dispute over a request to set aside zoning regulations to allow a new third story on the rear of a townhouse which is the office of a non-profit business.  The building, at 160 North Carolina Avenue, SE, sits on a residential block a stone’s throw from the US Capitol Building.  Nearby neighbors, who live on the historic residential block, are vehemently opposed to the addition.

The facts of the matter are as follows:

  1. Aaron Presnall has  applied to set aside zoning regulations for the new construction on an existing one family dwelling. The building is the office of The Jefferson Institute, an international nonprofit, which holds the deed to the property.  Presnall and his wife are the only employees, and claim the property as their primary residence – though they actually have lived in live in Chevy Chase, where their children attend school, since 2012.
  2. The criteria for setting aside regulations include the requirement that the applicant demonstrate that existing regulations provide an “exceptional and undue hardship upon the owner of the property.” BZA may grant a request for relief, only if “the relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good…”
  3. According to Presnall’s architect, if the request to relax the regulations is denied, there are other options to build by-right, but those ideas, he said, had not been “fleshed out.”

Neither Presnall nor his architect were prepared to discuss in detail the basis for the claim of “undue hardship.” Presnall’s stated reason for expansion of the residence is to accommodate his growing family – disregarding that they apparently do not live there now, and Presnall did not tell the Committee he intended to move them there.

Neighbor Lawrence Johnston, spoke in opposition to the application, on behalf of himself and the dozen or so neighbors in attendance.  Johnston pointed to numerous discrepancies in the application, emphasizing that it was the belief of the neighbors that the family had never lived there, and that it was actually and primarily the business office of The Jefferson Institute – as evidenced by the plaque on the front of the building.  He also pointed to the precedent setting nature of the request, claiming that approval of the requested variances would create an unacceptable precedent in a historic district.

Finally, Johnston asserted that the Presnall had not met the statutory test for a variance, citing the opinion of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.  A report of the CHRS Zoning Committee which reflects the opinion of the CHRS states:  “The plan is to raise the existing rear sloping roof to 35 feet so it is not visible from the street.  The lot is large and contains 2425 square feet.  The house and garage already occupy 80% of the lot (1940 square feet).  The house currently has 4 bedrooms and one full bath.  When completed, there will be two full baths and three bedrooms.  The applicant is a family of two adults and two children.  The committee believed that the house was very large and that the applicant did not meet the test for a variance.  Refinishing the basement can provide for any amenities that applicant may want.”

The debate on the issue was heated. The Planning and Zoning Committee chair and former chair, Commissioners Nick Burger and Kirsten Oldenburg, supported approving the request for a variance.  Other commissioners on the committee including Chander Jarayman , Denice Krepp, Daniel Chao, and Diane Hoskins all expressed opposition to the application.

Burger moved to recommend that the full ANC support the request and to add language to a letter to BZA to express concern about the legitimacy of the occupancy permit for operating a business in the house (which is contingent on the building being the primary residence of the owner).  Burger told the committee that he was sympathetic to the neighbors’ concerns but, “My view is that this is a zoning case, and not a particularly exceptional one.  We have approved other requests that have had a lot more impact…I believe the applicant has passed the zoning test requirement.”  Oldenburg justified her support, saying, “I don’t want to go down the road that if we don’t live there you can’t change it.”  Resident member and former ANC6B Chair Ken Jarboe warned that the ANC had to consider the case “within the context of the regulations…we can’t be arbitrary and throw the regulations out the window.”  He said the other issues raised beyond interpreting the zoning regulations were irrelevant.

These remarks didn’t sit well with their fellow commissioners.  Jayaraman said the committee had to look at the entirety of the case, saying he did not think the applicant had met the requirements for relief.  He was joined by Krepp who said it would be a “disservice to our constituents if we do not take a broader view.”  Chao also disagreed with the notion “that we have to operate within the box.”

Commissioner Diane Hoskins said she thought the role of the ANC Burger was suggesting “is too narrow – it handcuffs us and makes the role of the ANC less relevant.”  Hoskins moved to recommend that the full ANC oppose the application pending receipt of additional information regarding the need for a variance.

The Hoskins amendment to the Burger motion was agreed to 7 – 4 – 1, with Commissioners Hoskins, Krepp, and Jayaraman, Chao, and Ridge supporting the amendment, and Commissioners Burger and Oldenburg opposed.  Commissioner Samolyk – in whose single member district the property resides – abstained.  (The other five votes in the total were cast by resident members.)  The matter now goes to the full ANC for consideration at its next meeting where only Commissioners may vote.

Capitol Hill corner spoke with Gary Peterson, chair of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s Zoning Committee regarding the Society’s opposition to the request for a variance.  Peterson is a former Department of Justice attorney specializing in eminent domain, and is an expert on DC zoning regulations. The CHRS generally takes a harder line about new construction in the Historic District.

Peterson said, “The problem is that the applicant has not shown the hardship. The house has a huge basement which the applicant actually uses as a bedroom.  It’s an immense house.  You can’t get increased space just because you want it.  It’s a four-bedroom house for two adults and two children, where’s the hardship?  What is the hardship preventing them from being able to use this house?”

ANC6B will meet on Tuesday, March 8, at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

For the BZA Rules of Practice and Procedure go here:   http://dcoz.dc.gov/bza/rules.shtm

 

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