Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Week Ahead…& Barracks Row’s Ugly Mug Partners with Microbrewery

The ground floor of Barracks Row’s Ugly Mug is undergoing extensive renovation.  Sources have confirmed that the Ugly Mug will partner with Veteran’s Brew Pub which will open on the first floor. Veteran’s Brew Pub, a brewery owned and operated by veterans, is developing a national profile. The Barracks Row microbrewery will feature a half dozen beers brewed on site.  Time line is uncertain.  More later.

The Week Ahead…& Ugly Mug Partners with Microbrewery

Monday, May 22

ANC6A Community Outreach Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Avenue, NE. CANCELLED

Agenda not available at press time.

Tuesday, May 23

PSA 106 (Police Service Area) meets at 7:00pm, at the Congressional Quarter Community Center, 5th and K Streets, SE.

Douglas Klein of the US Attorney’s office will talk about the Preventive Detention of Defendants. In light of some recent violent crimes in the First District, he will talk about what determines if a defendant will be preventatively detained pending trial.

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City OKs Pop Up in Cap Hill Historic District – Orders Work Stopped – Now Wants Tear Down

231 10th Street, SE

City OKs Pop Up in Cap Hill Historic District – Orders Work Stopped – Now Wants Tear Down

by Larry Janezich

In February, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) issued a permit for a pop up addition in the Capitol Hill Historic District and then issued a stop work order after the construction was well underway. DCRA issued permits to Blue Star Design Build, owned by Eric and Christal Goetz, for an addition to a townhouse at in the Capitol Hill Historic District at 231 10th Street, SE.  Since the property lies in the Historic District, the permit application should have been referred to the Historic Preservation Board (HPRB) for review, just as a second application to construct a two story garage on the property had been.   It wasn’t (perhaps this should have been a tip off to the developer who has done other projects on Capitol Hill), and the applicants proceeded with the work on the addition.  After a stop work order was issued, Blue Star backtracked and filed a Historic Preservation Application with HPRB in March.

The plans call for the construction of a three story rear addition and one story roof addition to an existing extending onto the roof of the original house which is a “contributing structure” in the Capitol Hill Historic District,

As they do on all new construction in the Historic District, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society weighed in, pointing out that regulations provide that an addition must not be visible from public space, must be smaller than the original building, and must not be built over the main block of a historic house.  The proposed project would violate all three.  CHRS’ recommendation included language saying that “Removing the third story would correct the problems with visibility, subordination, and building over the main block of the house”, and urged the HPRB to order the removal of the third story addition.

When the Application came up before ANC6B at its April meeting, the ANC voted 7 – 0 – 1 to support the applicant’s case before HPRB, but offered no support for why they thought the project was consistent with Historic Preservation requirements; commissioners seemed persuaded by the argument that a mistake had been made by DCRA, and the applicants should not have to pay for it.

The Historic Preservation Office reviewing the application on behalf of HPRB, recommended that HPRB approve a modified permit that includes only a two story rear addition – meaning that they want the applicants tear down the new – but incomplete – construction on the project.

On April 27, the HPRB agreed with the HPO recommendation; “The [HPRB] found the concept for a two-story rear addition to be compatible with the character of the historic district, but found that the third floor roof and rear addition to be incompatible with the character of this property and the historic district. Vote: 9-0.”

The applicant has the option of appealing the HPO’s decision to “The Mayor’s Agent”, i.e., The Director of the Office of Planning, Eric D. Shaw, appointed by Mayor Muriel Bowser, and to the DC Court system, should Shaw back up the HPRB.

This is the latest instance in a series of errors over the past several months involving the issuing of permits and enforcement by DCRA.  Capitol Hill Corner reported on several of these lapses by the agency.  See here:  http://bit.ly/2rkiUY9 http://bit.ly/2gKzbBd http://bit.ly/2r2EugS and here http://bit.ly/2lCPIbr

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DCRA/City Faulted as Weed Business Moves into Capitol Hill Residential Neighborhood

DCRA/City Faulted as Weed Business Moves into Capitol Hill Residential Neighborhood

by Larry Janezich

The issue of the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCRA) allowing businesses to erode residential neighborhoods came up again Wednesday night, but this time in Hill East.

Puff, Pass, and Paint (PP&P) is a new business model emerging in states that have legalized weed. For $50 a head, the company says:

“Come join us for the original Puff, Pass & Paint class, with sessions held in Denver, Portland, Seattle, and now Washington DC!  2-hour Puff, Pass & Paint class – all art supplies included; 21 +; non-refundable/non-transferable. Please note that this event is BYOC (bring your own cannabis) and BYOB/wine in order to comply with local laws that prohibit the provision of cannabis. Exact address will be provided after purchase of ticket in order to comply with local laws for private cannabis events.”

Hill East resident Dan Wolff, a neighbor to such an establishment, complained to ANC6A’s Planning and Economic Development Committee that the business was operating illegally, beyond what city regulations permit.  Wolff objects to the second hand cannabis smoke that seeps into his house through a common wall as well as the coming and going of numerous clients.

Wolff says he is an Initiative 71 (decriminalizing weed in DC) supporter, but has three issues with the business next door.  1) it’s a personal nuisance, 2) the lax DCRA permitting and enforcement process, 3)  and Initiative 71 prohibitions regarding consumption of cannabis in a public space.

His complaint about businesses moving into a residential neighborhood on Capitol Hill is increasingly common (see CHC post here:  http://bit.ly/2r2EugS and here http://bit.ly/2lCPIbr).  Wolff says he objects to the business because “as a father and homeowner, I have a stake in the community larger than myself or my block”.

DCRA regulations permit a portion of a residence to be used as office space, but generally limit that use to 250 square feet and the number of clients to 8 per hour.  PP&P advertises classes of 20 per event.  Former ANC6A Chair David Holmes who attended the hearing to support Wolff’s position, asserted that the business requires a zoning adjustment to operate out of a townhouse.

Regarding Initiative 71, Wolff said, regulations prohibit smoking cannabis in a public place, and, since the definition includes “any place to which the public is invited”, the business is operating illegally.  In addition, he said, “the operation would not be permitted in an area zoned commercial and it’s inconsistent to allow it to operate in a residential area.  The house is within a stone’s throw of Options Charter School and within 500 feet of Miner Elementary”.  Wolff is asking the ANC to pressure the city’s bureaucracy to point out to city officials that some lines need to be drawn regarding Initiative 71.

Committee Chair Brad Greenfield noted that DCRA has issued PP&P a business license and a Home Use Permit and that enforcement of cannabis regulations is a “hot potato no one wants to touch.”  The business, he added, may be operating legally because no one is willing to say what is legal and what is not.”

None the less, the Committee agreed that the issue needs to be clarified, and voted to make two recommendations to the full ANC for consideration at its meeting on June 15:

1)            That the ANC write a letter to the Mayor asking her to designate which city agencies are charged with regulation marijuana businesses in residential areas.

2)            That the ANC appeal the issuance of permits for the business by DCRA.  (Greenfield said details on the basis of the appeal would be forthcoming.)

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TV Journalist Sam Ford Reflects – 35 Years on Capitol Hill

Sam Ford, Journalist and Capitol Hill Resident

TV Journalist Sam Ford Reflects – 35 Years on Capitol Hill

by Larry Janezich

Journalist Sam Ford, Bureau Chief for local television station ABC7 and NewsChannel 8, has lived on Capitol Hill for 35 years.  Capitol Hill Corner asked him to talk about it.

Ford says, “In 1982, I was looking for a place to live.  I got on my bike and rode around and saw the place where I live now near 12th and C Streets (Southeast). I fell in love with it. There was a For Sale sign in front, so I got off my bike and went up to the door and told them I was interested. The house was owned by David Taylor, who was president of Perpetual Savings.  I was 27 or 28 and rode up on a bicycle.  I don’t think they took me seriously, but I ended up buying it.”  He says there was an odd coincidence connected with the purchase:  “My first significant story in Washington was the John Hinckley trial in 1982.  One of Hinckley’s lawyers was Gregory Craig.  When I went to close on the house a few weeks later, the lawyer was Gregory Craig.  He was a friend of the owners of the house.”

Of his early days on Capitol Hill Ford says, “We were much more involved in the community when the kids were small.  Now they’re grown-up.  Now we just live here – we don’t know people the way we used to.  We go to Eastern Market sometimes – I know the old timers there.”

“Back then, I knew all the neighbors who lived up and down the street – there were a number of characters.  Mark used to own the flower shop on 7th Street (now Pitango) near Eastern Market.  There was a teacher across the street who died of AIDS and a woman who was a cook who worked at the United States Senate – she fixed Thanksgiving dinner for us once, and it was heavenly.  There was Mr. Moody, who ran sort of a taxi service for the neighborhood.”

“Walter was from Cleveland, and owned a good part of the block.  He had a Chihuahua that he called ‘Little Boy’.   There was a woman named Ann, who was priced out of her apartment.  Walter took one of his places and fixed it up.  He said, ‘Pay me what you were paying before and you can stay here.” There was Warren and his wife Helen who would occasionally lock themselves out.  They would call my son who would crawl through their dog door to open the house.’”

“Lois and Barbara were two sisters who lived on the block.  Lois got miffed over something and stopped paying her mortgage and the mortgage company took her house.  Barbara was a guard in the DC Jail.  When they put her sister out, I went out to shoot some video and told Barbara if it would be of any use, I’d give it to her.  Apparently, when marshals evict somebody they get people off the street to empty the house.  Some of them were harassing me and told me to stop shooting.  One of them said something to Barbara and she came out and said, ‘If you don’t know who you’re f…ing  talking to, ask some goddam body.  And let him take pictures.’  She totally shut them up.”

“It was a very interesting neighborhood.  I was here during the horrible days in the 1980s – it was very violent.  People were killed within blocks of my house – we heard gunfire from Kentucky Courts.  Officer Jason White (MPD) was killed on 14th Street across from Kentucky Courts.”

“Velma Jane Jones was a woman who lived in Kentucky Courts. She had two grandchildren  – twins.  Last year, I’m walking by Watkins Field where there was a Pop Warner Football game.  I started talking to one of the parents, and then I recognized him.  He was one of the twins.  I told him that I thought by now he would be dead or in jail.  Actually, both twins work for DC Department of Public Works; they’ve both been married for years, and have kids.  It makes me say, ‘Folks, it ain’t all bad news.  There’s some good.’  Grandma is still around, and lives in Maryland.”

Ford says, “Jim Myers (East Hill activist, see CHC post here: http://bit.ly/2qh5CKL) always gave me credit for shutting down Kentucky Courts.  There was so much bird guano in the attic it caused the ceilings in the upper units to collapse.”  The Health Department got involved because of the television report Ford did.  Ford says, “They came in with bodysuits to clean it up and then said they couldn’t remediate it, and shut it down.”

Sam Ford was born in Coffeyville, Kansas.  He found his way to DC through reporting jobs, first in Minnesota, then for CBS News in New York and Atlanta before landing in DC 1982.  Ford is married to freelance reporter and media manager Gloria Murry; they have a son, Murry Ford, and a daughter, Gina Ford.  He met his wife on an airplane on the way to a story when they were both working in Atlanta.  “There was a camera man from Boston who was always trying to line me up.  He came to me rubbing his hands together and said:  ‘Have I got a woman for you.’  We’re having our 36th anniversary this year.”

“When I grew up Coffeyville was a town of 17,000 – now it’s down to 10,000.  The main industry was the COOP Oil Refinery.  I grew up in the shadow of the COOP.  On the north side of the houses exposed to the wind from the refinery, the paint was eaten away.”

“In Kansas the schools were segregated but only if it was economical.  If a town was 15,000 or less there was no segregation.  Above 15,000, it was segregated.  After Brown vs. the Board of Education (of Topeka) required desegregation, Coffeyville was still segregated on a neighborhood level.  There were no white kids in school on the north side of town where I lived.”

“The Black men in Coffeyville worked in the (Sherman-Williams zinc-oxide) smelter.  It provided a steady income. Coffeyville must’ve been 20% Black.  We had a vibrant Black community there with many Black-owned small businesses and Coffeyville had a number of Black policemen.”

“Mama was born in Coffeyville – Daddy moved there from Oklahoma.  My father was a member of the Cherokee tribe – the slaves held by the Cherokees became citizens of the Cherokee Nation after the Civil War.  My heritage is descended from slaves of the Cherokee Indians.”  Ford says he’s a party to a suit in DC federal against members of the Cherokee Nation who are trying to exclude the Blacks – the Cherokee Freedmen controversy.  He says, “Most plaintiffs are in Oklahoma. I’m the only plaintiff in DC.”

Ford has done several news reports on Black History for WJLA, including a three part series titled:  Black Slaves, Red Masters and a report on Ford’s trip to Nigeria West Africa, in search of his own DNA roots.  They can be seen on YouTube, using the search word samuford.

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The Week Ahead….and Barracks Row’s Lola’s “Aiming to Reopen Next Weekend”

Sources tell Capitol Hill Corner that Lola’s Bar and Grill on Barracks Row, shuttered since September 2016 for major renovations, is “aiming to reopen next weekend.” Last fall, Xavier Cervera and his partners regained ownership of the string of Capitol Hill/Nats Park restaurants which were sold to a Boston equity firm in December 2012. At the time, Cervera said that one of his first steps would be to temporarily close Lola’s for refurbishment of the interior. See original story here: http://bit.ly/2chTmCg

The Week Ahead…..

by Larry Janezich

May 14 – May 21:  Eastern Market Main Street Market Week – a seven day celebration showcasing the businesses who help create the Eastern Market community.  The week will culminate in “Night at the Market,” a ticketed event which will be held in the North Hall on Sunday, May 21, featuring small bites, wine and beer, and live music.  Tickets are $20 online, $25 at the door.  See here for ticket purchase and additional information on  participating in merchant’s specials and events via the Market Week Passport:   https://www.easternmarketmainstreet.org/marketweek

Monday, May 15

  1. ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm in Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, N.E.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Discussion with DC Office of Public Private Partnerships (OP3) regarding LED lighting.

Presentation from DDOT regarding the results of the K Street NE Corridor Study/

Tuesday, May 16

  1. CANCELLED.  ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm.   Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, N.E.

Agenda not available at press time.

  1. The Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm, at Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE.

Agenda not available at press time.

Wednesday, Mary 17

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

Among items on the draft agenda:

453 Tennessee Ave NE:  Complaint of a neighbor about a resident who is running a marijuana-related business out of their apartment.

520 12th Street NE (BZA #19513):  Application for variances from the nonconforming structure requirements and the lot occupancy requirements, to construct a rear addition on the first floor of a one-family dwelling in the RF-1 zone.

1362 East Capitol:  Support for an interior renovation and two story rear addition with a cellar in a historic district.

  1. Historic Preservation Café, 6:30pm, Northeast Library, 330 7th Street, N.E. Seth Bau of Historical Arts and Casting, Inc., will discuss recent restoration and reconstruction work on the cast iron dome of the US. Capitol Building.

Thursday, May 18

Police Service Area (PSA) 108 public meets at 7:00pm, Liberty Baptist Church, 527 Kentucky Avenue, S.E.

 

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ANC Rejects Cong PAC’s Bid to Open Shop in Neighborhood – Issue Goes to City Agency – the BZA

Residents listen to Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC counsel Meridith Moldenhauer (standing, far left) at last night’s ANC6B meeting…

 

and ANC6B commissioners listen to (and listened to) residents. Left to right: Aimee Grace, Denise Krepp, Daniel Ridge, Jennifer Samolyk, James Loots, Chander Jayaraman, Diane Hoskins, Nick Burger, Steve Hagedorn, and Kirsten Oldenburg

ANC Rejects Cong PAC’s Bid to Open Shop in Neighborhood – Issue Goes to City Agency – the BZA

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday night, ANC 6B voted to oppose a zoning change requested by the 30 member Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) PAC that would allow them to operate a PAC headquarters and event space in a former residence near the Capitol at 428 New Jersey Avenue, SE.  The vote was 8 opposed with 2 abstentions: ANC6B commissioners Kirsten Oldenburg and Diane Hoskins. Hoskins said that she preferred a negotiated agreement which would limit how the PAC could operate; Oldenburg declined to give her reasons for abstaining.

DC regulations permit nonprofit organizations to operate in residential neighborhoods, but say they must be in buildings of 10,000 square feet or more. The regulation was apparently put in place to accommodate the headquarters of the nearby Republican National Committee when it was built in a residential neighborhood in the 1970’s. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC has applied to the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment for a waiver of the 10,000 square-foot rule.

ANC Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, in whose single member district the property resides, said that she was “adamantly opposed” to the erosion of residential neighborhoods.  Samolyk credited the activism of neighbors whose efforts had contributed to shutting three down non-residential “party” houses on nearby D Street, SE.  She announced that as a result of her complaint, the city has started an official investigation of another business that appears to be operating out of a New Jersey Avenue residence without a certificate of occupancy and in violation of the zoning regulations.  As co-chair of the ANC’s Community Outreach Task Force, Samolyk said she hoped to hold a meeting to hear from DCRA and BZA on the issue, and “bring them back into the fold” with respect to securing their cooperation in preserving residential neighborhoods.

Last Saturday, CHC PAC representatives met with neighbors to attempt to reach an agreement which would permit the PAC to operate out of the townhouse under a set of restrictions on traffic, parking, trash removal, security and an end time for events.  Neighbors used the meeting to reiterate their opposition to the plan under any circumstances. See here: http://bit.ly/2qQRUwl

Last night, some 15 neighbors turned out for the meeting to oppose the PAC’s plan.  They cited the numerous problems non-residences brought to the neighborhood.  One neighbor said, “This is a tipping point. This is the case that will be cited as a precedent.”  Another told the ANC that 36% of the total residences on her block were now non-residential. Another said that a granting the request for a variance from regulations will undermine the zoning and if the BZA removes the 10,000 square foot bar, the ANC won’t have the same residential character ten years from now.   For previous Capitol Hill Corner post on this, see here:  http://bit.ly/2p6xGN3

PAC attorney Meridith Moldenhauer cited other houses on the block which were not properly licensed and told the ANC, “Our position is that this is an opportunity for the ANC to take a stand and tell organizations not following the law that the ANC is going to set standards.”

ANC Planning and Zoning committee chair Nick Burger reminded the audience that the ANC has no authority to approve or deny, “We make recommendations.” He urged the neighbors – “regardless of the outcome tonight” – to make sure that their energy was channeled toward the body that will make the final decision – the BZA.  He said he would vote to support the neighbors. “I understand where the (Congressional Hispanic Caucus) is coming from.  But were dealing with uses and future uses. There is a risk here in going along with caucus. By tacitly blessing the conversion to nonresidential, the next time this comes before us we will be hard-pressed not to do the same thing. We still think there is an inconsistency with the fundamental zoning.”  He cited the comprehensive plan ban on businesses encroaching into residential neighborhoods, saying, “We have a strong motive to eschew any nonresidential uses.”

The vote on adoption of the motion to oppose the zoning change came after the ANC adopted language to allow the ANC to provide BZA with details justifying their opposition and allowing ANC6B Chander Jayaraman to appoint a commissioner (likely Burger) to testify in support of the ANC position before the BZA.

The application for the zoning adjustment now goes to the current 3 member BZA (one position is vacant – a fifth rotating member from the Zoning Commission participates to keep the total an odd number) for a decision.  On paper, the issue seems clear cut.  But In some ways, the issue can be seen in terms of power dynamics – the rights of residents under zoning regulations and the Comprehensive Plan vs. the needs of a significant block of Democratic members of Congress.  Without deep commitment and continued action from those most affected – and sometimes, not even then – such a contest does not always end well for the city’s residents.

The current board members of the BZA are as follows:

Chair, Frederick L. Hill, founder and President of Hill Group and former developer.

Lesyllee M. White, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Marketing for the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust.

Carlton Hart, National Capital Planning Commission.

For more on the BZA, see here:  https://dcoz.dc.gov/bza/about

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First Look: Concept Design for Capitol Hill’s Southeast Safeway Redevelopment AKA “Beckert’s Park”

Elevation of the Beckert’s Park looking Southwest, from 14th and D Streets, S.E.

Elevation of the view from 14th Street, S.E. Entrance to retail parking, Starbucks, and a 5000 square foot retail outlet on the left.

Elevation of D Street side.

First floor plan, showing Safeway space in red. Note retail space in grey on lower left corner facing E Street, and a second retail space on 14th Street the the right, just below Safeway’s space. The green area indicates the location of the 6,000 square foot aquatic court. The entrance to the residences is just to the right of the aquatic court and the residential space comprises the rest of the ground level. Click to enlarge.

Some 50 residents turned out to here the proposal for the redevelopment project.

First Look:  Concept Design for Capitol Hill’s Southeast Safeway Redevelopment AKA “Beckert’s Park”

By Larry Janezich

Monday night, Safeway senior real estate manager Tim McNamera and developer Bryant Foulger of Foulger-Pratt Group, the developer Safeway has selected to redevelop the Capitol Hill southeast Safeway site, sponsored a community meeting in Hill Center.  The purpose, according to ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Nick Burger was to provide an opportunity for residents to learn about the project and provide feedback.  ANC6B will provide input regarding the project in June, both at the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting and at the June meeting of the full ANC.

Foulger unveiled the concept design for the new project on 14th Street between D and E Streets, S.E.  Key features of the project are as follows.

  • The project will increase the size of the Safeway from the 50,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet.
  • There will be 329 apartments. The developer says that 70% of the units will be studio and one-bedroom apartments and 30% will be two bedrooms.  A number of penthouse apartments will be set back on the roof.  Rents will be calculated at a cost of approximately $3.25 a square foot – meaning that a small 500 square foot studio apartment will rent for between $1500 and $2000 a month.   Ten percent of the units will be affordable under DC regulations, at 60% of AIM – average median income.
  • Amenities for the residents are still being worked out but could include a club room, a dog run, a bike mechanic workroom, a fitness center, a dog washing station and a 6,000 square foot private aquatic court on the E Street side.
  • All parking will be below grade and residents will not be eligible for Ward 6 Residential Parking Permits. Currently there are 155 parking spaces on the Safeway parking lot. This will increase to 194 parking spaces for the retail component of the project which will be accessed from 14th  There will be an additional 170 spaces for residential parking, accessed from the alley – two separate entrances and two separate parking levels.
  • The retail plan for the two first level 4500 to 5000 square foot spaces is still being developed. The developer hopes that a restaurant will be placed in one and noted that a day care facility for a number of growing families and the community is a possibility for the other.
  • A new Starbucks on 14th Street will feature outdoor café seating.
  • Safeway’s workforce of 150 current employees will be carried over into the new project with the addition of 15 to 25 new employees.
  • The pharmacy will be relocated in the neighborhood while the project is under construction.
  • The project’s name comes from Beckert’s Brewery which occupied the site in the early 20th Century. Prior to the brewery, there was a park at the location.

Folger Pratt hopes to break ground mid to late summer of next year, and plans for a 24 month construction period.  The project will be built as a matter of right under current zoning, meaning there will be no Zoning Commission Review.  Since it lies outside of the Historic District, there will be no Historic Preservation review.

Plans for the project will be posted shortly on the DC Office of Planning’s website where residents will have an opportunity to make comments addressed to the Office of Planning. https://planning.dc.gov/node/640482

 

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The Week Ahead…And Hill Residents Vow to Fight Congressional PAC’s Move into Neighborhood

 

Last Saturday morning, representatives of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus PAC met with residents regarding the organizations proposal to set up PAC offices in a townhouse on the 400 block of New Jersey Avenue, SE. The residents, angry over the erosion of their residential neighborhood, vowed to fight the move tooth and nail, even after hearing concerns of ANC6B commissioners that the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment might be inclined to rule in favor of the Congressional organization. About a dozen residents plus ANC6B commissioners Chander Jayaraman, Nick Burger, and Jennifer Samolyk attended the meeting. The townhouse is in Samolyk’s single member district and she appeared to be fully supportive of the neighbors, while ANC6B Chair Jayaraman and Planning and Economic Committee Chair Burger urged negotiations to put limits on the operation in anticipation of a ruling by BZA in support of the PAC. If the ruling comes down in the PAC’s favor, leverage for limiting parking, transportation, trash, and security would vanish. In the photo above, Jayaraman is in the red sweatshirt, Burger is to his right and Samolyk to his right. Meridith Moldenhauer, partner at Griffin, Murphy, Moldenhauer & Wiggins, representing the PAC, is at center left.  ANC6B is scheduled to consider the CHC PAC request at its May meeting on Tuesday night at Hill Center.  For more information, see previous CHC post here: http://bit.ly/2p6xGN3

The Week Ahead…And Hill Residents Vow to Fight Congressional PAC’s Move into Neighborhood

By Larry Janezich

Monday, May 8

  1. ANC6D meets at 7:00pm, 1100 4th Street, S.W., second floor.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Public Safety Report- First District MPD (PSA 105 & PSA 106) Lt. Robinson, Sgt. Barnes

Presentation:  Department of Public Works Traffic Enforcement – Preston Moore/Celeste Duffie

Liquor license:  Cap Liquors – 1301 South Capitol Street, S.W.

Liquor license:  WeWork – 80 M Street, S.E.

Liquor license:  Shillings – 1331 4th Street, S.E.

Liquor license:  Requin – 100 District Square, S.W.

Liquor license:  Mi Vida – 98 District Square, S.W.

Liquor license:   Kirwan’s – 749 Wharf Street, S.W.

Development, Planning, and Transportation issues:

Amidon Parking

2100 2nd Street, S.W. – Design Review

375 M Street SW & 425 M Street, S.W., 2nd Stage PUD & Modification to 1st PUD

Urban Atlantic

Forest City Zoning Text Amendment

Forest City Tingey Square Streetscape

  1. Community meeting on redevelopment of Southeast Safeway, 7:00pm, Hill Center. The Southeast Safeway is in the early stages of a major, multi-year redevelopment. The real estate developer, Foulger-Pratt is leading this project, working in conjunction with Safeway, and the next step in their process is to go through a Large Tract Review (more detail on the LTR process here: http://bit.ly/2pPdbIB  The development team will walk through the current project design and will be available to answer questions from the community.

Tuesday, May 9

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

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  Deputy Major of Education Jennifer Niles.

Beuchert’s Saloon, 623 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E., permission for sidewalk café.

Draft letter to ANCs in other parts of the city urging support for recent legislation introduced by CM Charles Allen regarding rodent and trash management for restaurants.

Public Space Application Fixture: Bollard(s) in alley at 715 8th Street, S.E. (Pineapple & Pearls).

Public Space Application:  Change size of Cafe Seating Area at 660 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. (Joselito Casa de Comidas).

4 4th Street, S.E.:  Public Space Application:  Build ADA Curb Ramp; Fence > 42”; Bay Window projection.  (O’Brien House, Marquette University)

DC DOEE, Application by the Juanita M. Vidi 2005 Irrevocable Trust to perform a voluntary cleanup of a property located at 309-311 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E. (Lustre Cleaners)

1109 D Street, S.E.:  BZA Application for a special exception from the accessory building use requirements to construct a two-story accessory dwelling to be used as a garage with a second-story dwelling unit in the RF-1 Zone at 1109 D Street, S.E.

120 6th Street, S.E.:  BZA application for a special exception from the lot occupancy requirements and a special exception from the accessory building height requirement to construct a two-story accessory structure (garage and second-floor living space) in the RF-1 Zone at 120 6th Street, S.E.

1506 E Street, S.E.:  BZA application for a special exception nonconforming structure requirements, the lot occupancy requirements, and the rear yard requirements, to construct a third-story addition to an existing one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone at 1506 E Street, S.E.

428 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.:  BZA application of Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC for a special exception for the use of an existing residential building for the purposes of a nonprofit organization in the RF-3 Zone

Update from ANC 6B P&Z Comprehensive Plan Working Group

Tyler Elementary School Revised Curbside Management Proposal

Alley Naming Case: Square 762 on 3rd Street between Pennsylvania Ave, SE & C Street, SE

Letter to DGS on keeping 7th St S.E. between Pennsylvania Ave. and C St. closed for continued Market Activity.

  1. Police Service Area (PSA) 104 public meeting, 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, N.E.

Wednesday, May 10

  1. ANC6C meets at 7:00pm, Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  MPD Police Chief Peter Newsham.

Presentation:  Sarah Fashbaugh, ABRA updates.

K Street NE traffic study, update.

Florida and New York Avenue NE intersection, virtual circle design alternatives.

3rd and L Street, N.E., park and dog park.

Capitol Crossing update, 222 Massachusetts Ave. NW, bike racks, sidewalks, planters, etc.

17 6th Street, N.E., Historic Preservation application for rear, rooftop, and garage additions.

630 Lexington Place N.E.:  Historic Preservation Application, concept approval for rear and rooftop additions.

516 3rd Street N.E.:  Historic Preservation Application concept approval for basement entrance, rear addition,  garage demolition.

507 Second Street N.E.:  Zoning adjustment, screening for mechanical equipment on existing two- story plus cellar, attached building.

1125 7th Street, N.E., potential BZA appeal of permit B1706219.

D.C. Comprehensive Plan amendments.

Thursday, May 11

  1. ANC6A meets at 7:00pm, Miner Elementary, 601 15th Street, N.E.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Recommendation: ANC6A send a letter to BZA opposing the appeal of the owners of 1511 A Street, N.E, regarding the rejection of their permits to create an eighteen (18) unit apartment building in a residential neighborhood.

Recommendation: ANC6A send a letter of support to HPRB for approval of the  creation of a small two (2) story addition at the rear court and the demolition of the existing garage at 210 Tenth (10th) Street, N.E., pending best efforts to receive letters of support from neighbors.

  1. CHRS Zoning Committee, Kirby House, 420 10th Street, S.E.

Saturday, May 13

Book Sale at Southeast Library, 10:00am – 3:00pm.

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The War on Rats – Part III: CM Allen’s Legislative Assault on Rodent Syndicates

Council Member Charles Allen at ANC6B’s March meeting.

The War on Rats – Part III:  CM Allen’s Legislative Assault on Rodent Syndicates

by Larry Janezich

Last March, Capitol Hill ANC6B residents rallied at CM Charles Allen’s annual spring visit to ANC6B to tell him that rats are taking over the city and they wanted him to do something about it.  http://bit.ly/2mQRCFS Following through on his pledge to “take a crack at it”, Allen has introduced legislation to put “more tools in the toolbox” in the city’s war on rats.  The Department of Health has reported huge numbers of rat dens throughout the District, particularly near restaurant clusters, where trash and food waste attract rats.

The Making Rodent Syndicates Flee Restaurants, Interior Settings, Basements, and Yards Amendment Act of 2017 seeks to address the District’s exploding rat population.  The legislation has several elements and would require food establishments to develop a rodent mitigation plan and gives DOH additional funding and enforcement authority, through changes to the law.  The bill would:

  • require food service businesses to provide a rodent prevention plan when applying for a basic business license with a “Public Health: Food Establishment Retail” endorsement. It would require existing businesses to consider, where applicable and when feasible, enclosing trash storage, proper disposal of used cooking grease, sealing openings to rodents, and an ongoing pest abatement plan. The Department of Health would review and approve the plan.
  • require new food establishments or businesses converting to food service to create enclosed trash storage and installation of grease traps when feasible.
  • require a rodent plan that extends through the life of a razing project.
  • reinstate a fund created in 2001 but which sunset after one year. The Fund would collect fines and judgments for health code violations related to rodent mitigation; the Department of Health would use the Fund to expand prevention and monitoring efforts.

ANC6B has been aggressive in using liquor license applications and renewals and zoning regulations to pressure Capitol Hill food service establishments to adopt best operating rodent control and trash management practices.  At last night’s ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee meeting, chaired by Commissioner Chander Jayaraman, the committee voted to recommend that the full ANC send a letter to other ANC’s which have restaurant clusters, urging support of the legislation.  Allen’s bill does not go as far as current ANC6B goals which includes not “enclosed” trash storage but “indoor” trash storage.  Allen says, however, “I’m looking forward to working with neighbors and small businesses on this – and open to ways to strengthen the bill as it moves forward.”  Jayaraman said last night that the ANC would “opine on this in June.”

In a statement, Allen said, “This bill codifies best practices that many food establishments are already using. The District must proactively address the public health concerns that rat populations bring, and this bill is the start to that effort.”

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Residents Protest PAC/Lobbyist Takeover of Neighborhood Near Capitol

Here’s what $2 million will get you on the 400 block of New Jersey if you buy it for non-residential use. CHC Bold PAC wants it for their PAC Headquarters.

Lobbyit.com operates out of the former townhouse next door to 428 New Jersey and neighbors say the residential character of the street is being destroyed.

Last night, residents turned out to voice their opposition to non-residential use of townhouses in their neighborhood.  

Residents Protest PAC/Lobbyist Takeover of Neighborhood Near Capitol

By Larry Janezich

Neighbors living near the Capitol Building have grown increasingly unhappy as more and more lobbyists and non-profit organizations have begun operating out of townhouses in their residential neighborhood.  Last night, at ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee they went public with their unhappiness.  The occasion was an application of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) BOLD PAC for a zoning adjustment to permit use of the townhouse at 428 New Jersey Avenue, S.E., for administrative purposes which include a once-a-week breakfasts and “one or two fundraising events a quarter.”

More than a dozen neighbors turned out to complain about the traffic, parking, and trash issues such  organizations bring, as well as the rude behavior of some of those attending events.  During discussion of the application – which became heated at times – a resident voiced the feelings of the group, saying “We’ve had enough,” citing the “trucks, cars, Suburbans and trash”.   “It’s an absolute nightmare for us.  We’re tired of it.  People park on the block and trash the front and the alley.  I can’t express our frustration…at this point, we’re done.”  Another said residents of nearby North Carolina Avenue felt threatened by what’s happening on New Jersey.  “It no longer feels residential.  There are four lobby houses on our block.”

Enforcement of city regulations prohibiting such use has proven to be almost impossible, as city agencies turn a blind eye or give the benefit of the doubt to organizations using the properties.

The legal case for the CHC was presented by zoning and land use attorney Meridith Moldenhauer, partner at Griffin, Murphy, Moldenhauer & Wiggins.  She explained why an exception to the zoning regulations was justified and noted that the CHC was following procedures as opposed to “other people” who were operating similar operations illegally.

Commissioners were divided.  Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, in whose single member district the building resides, was adamant in her opposition to the application, imploring her fellow commissioners to listen to the residents.  Committee Chair Nick Burger said there was a real benefit to preserving the residential character of the neighborhood, but he preferred the committee take no position on the application and forward it to the full ANC to be resolved.  He said there was a substantial risk that the Board of Zoning Adjustment would overrule an objection by the ANC, and a better course would be negotiation between the PAC representatives and the neighbors to reach agreement on how the PAC would operate out of the property including a possible full time resident in the basement unit.

A motion to oppose the application was offered by Samolyk, and was agreed to by a vote of 5 – 4, with 2  abstentions.  The recommendation now goes to the full ANC meeting next Tuesday where it will again be debated and voted on by the 10 elected commissioners as opposed to the committee which is made up of elected officials and appointed resident members.

Samolyk told Capitol Hill Corner after the vote, “I am truly saddened to see that some of my fellow ANC commissioners are choosing to support a PAC, that raised close to 2 million dollars so far this year in fundraising, over a room full of concerned residents”

The house at 428 New Jersey has a footprint of 1,072 square feet on each of its two floors and a basement.  It was on the market for 75 days at a price tag of $2 million, before coming under contract by CHC BOLD PAC.  The section of New Jersey Avenue is about a block from both the Democratic and Republican National Committee HQs and appears to have more than half a dozen buildings being used for non-residential purposes.  Areas close in to the Capitol in Northeast are experiencing the same problem.

During the first quarter of the current year, the PAC – which is the campaign arm of the CHC, raised more than $2 million – mostly in small contributions.  http://bit.ly/2qsKi61

CHC Institute’s “Building Our Future, Together” campaign, which provides scholarships and supports education, received nearly $11 million last year from major corporations, including PepsiCo Foundation, Toyota, State Farm, Bank of America, Anheuser-Busch, Dell, Time Warner Cable, Hyundai Motor America, and Entravision.

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