Monthly Archives: December 2017

Capitol Hill Residents Want Tougher Rat Bill – Will Testify Wednesday at Council Hearing

Rats cavorting in new construction at 8th and Pennsylvania Avenue on October 25, 2017, circa 7:30pm.

Capitol Hill Residents Want Tougher Rat Bill – Will Testify Wednesday at Council Hearing

by Larry Janezich

Capitol Hill residents living next to commercial corridors with restaurants are afraid the City Council won’t put enough teeth in CM Charles Allen’s rat control bill to make it effective.  They say the most important things that the city can do about rats are 1) require indoor storage of trash and grease for new restaurants or those undergoing renovation, 2) require the use of air scrubbers in restaurant ventilation units to remove food odors that attract rats, and 3) vigorously enforce the city’s Health Code.   The first two items require considerable investment by businesses.  As for the third, residents suspect that there is an unwritten understanding that city should not be too tough on enforcing regulations that impose a burden on businesses.

Capitol Hill Corner talked to several Capitol Hill residents who will testify or submit testimony at Wednesday’s joint City Council Hearing on the rat bill.

One resident whose house backs up to restaurants says, “We are absolutely overwhelmed with rats.  I have lived here for a long time, but have never dealt with what we are dealing with now.  We get no help from restaurants and the proposed legislation is doing little to remedy that.  The resident called the bill a “timid” approach and fears it will “end up endorsing what has already proven not to work”.

Another says, “Restaurants are breeding grounds and food providers for rats.  People fought to get good practices in place, but the legislation as written doesn’t require it.  We have to get in our minds that the essential health and wellbeing of the city is at stake.  Poor legislation is worse than nothing at all – the council will think it’s done and move on.”

A third resident says no legislation will work without better enforcement, adding, “The bill moves the ball forward but does not provide a “big fix”.   We have to stop feeding rats.”

Capitol Hill Corner asked CM Allen to react to these concerns.  Allen replied “My goal from the beginning has been to work on reforms to the existing laws to give the city new tools to control and attack rodents and the sources that sustain them….  But…I will work with stakeholders to further strengthen the bill.”

Allen says the bill he introduced strengthens existing law by requiring existing food establishments to “enclose” trash when possible, which includes indoor storage, and also requires new food establishments to provide for indoor trash storage “when feasible”.  He said that the bill authorizes the Department of Health (DOH) rodent control inspectors to ensure that a restaurant has a system for the proper storage and disposal of grease and issue fines – an authority they currently do not have.

Asked about whether a fund to combat rodents which relies of the effectiveness of the Health Department’s fining violators of the health code is adequate, Allen said, “The Council obviously doesn’t run the agencies – that’s the Mayor’s job – but the bill gives DOH new tools that they’ve asked for.  This rodent abatement fund expired several years ago and needs to be revived to give DOH new resources… we’ll look at this during the budget process as well.”

ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman and ANC6B Commissioner Diane Hoskins, both strong advocates of requiring eateries to adopt best operating practices including indoor trash and grease storage, will testify on the legislation at Wednesday’s hearing.  Both strongly support pollution control units for restaurants – upon which the bill is silent.  The units remove rat-attracting food odors and particulates vented from restaurants, and as a quality of life issue, require installation of baffles to address noise concerns.

The hearing on Wednesday is a joint hearing between the City Council’s Committee on Health and the Committee of the Whole. After the hearing, the members of the committee and their staff will make changes to the bill before the Committee of the Whole finalizes and votes on the bill. Those changes will be based on the record developed at the hearing – both in-person testimony and testimony submitted for the record. The record will remain open for two weeks after the hearing for anyone who wants to submit written testimony.

Once the committee votes on the bill, there will be two readings before the full Council, where any councilmember can suggest amendments. Allen says, “There are many opportunities for residents to provide input, and I look forward to continuing to hear how to improve the bill.”

The hearing on CM Allen’s Rat Control Bill, is on Wednesday, December 6, at 9:30am, Room 500, Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

Here’s what prompted CM Allen to take on the Rat Problem:  http://bit.ly/2q8hekf and here http://bit.ly/2mQRCFS

For a post on Capitol Hill’s Rat Hot Spots, see here:  http://bit.ly/2nxDQWo

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The Week Ahead…CM Allen’s Rat Control Bill Up for City Council Hearing Wednesday

East Front of the US Capitol, Friday, October 1, 2017, circa 5:15pm.

The Week Ahead…CM Allen’s Rat Control Bill Up for City Council Hearing Wednesday

by Larry Janezich

Monday, December 4

ANC6C ABL Committee  usually meets on the first Monday of the month at 7:00pm at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, 700 Second Street, NE.  At press time, ANC6C had not yet released an agenda for a meeting. 

Tuesday, December 5

ANC6B Planning & Zoning Committee meets on at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Zoning adjustment for 407 ½ 4th Street, SE, Special exception to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing one-family dwelling.

Historic Preservation Application for 508 7th Street, SE., concept/two-story rear addition.

Zoning adjustment for 508 7th Street, SE, Special exceptions under the non-conforming structure requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone at 508 7th Street, SE.

Historic Preservation Application for 1314 Independence Avenue, SE, concept/two-story rear addition.

Zoning adjustment for 506 2nd Street, SE, Special Exception to construct a two-story rear covered porch on to an existing two-family flat.

Zoning adjustment for 733 Kentucky Avenue, SE, special exception to construct a rear addition to existing one-family dwelling.

Wednesday, December 6

Committee of the Whole & Health Public Hearing on CM Allen’s Rat Control Bill, 9:30am, Room 500, Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.   Those who wish to testify must email the Committee of the Whole at cow@dccouncil.us, or call Randi Powell, Legislative Policy Advisor, at 202-724-8196, and provide your name, address, telephone number, organizational affiliation and title {if any) by close of business  Monday, December 4, 2017. Persons wishing to testify are encouraged, but not required, to submit 15 copies of written testimony. If submitted by the close of business on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 the testimony will be distributed to Councilmembers before the  roundtable. Witnesses should limit their testimony to five minutes; less time will be allowed if there are a large number of witnesses.

ANC6B Transportation Committee will meet at 7:00pm, at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Discussion with Suzette E. Robinson, COO, DDOT (invited).

Request for Action on Repaving 8th Street, SE, north of the 300 block (tentative).

Presentation by the DC Street Light Task Force, represented by Ms. Delores Bushong.

ANC6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee meets at 6:30pm, Northeast Library, 7th and D Streets, NE. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

Zoning adjustment for 1121 Abbey Place, NE, for special exceptions to add – a third floor and construct a four-story rear addition to an existing one-family dwelling in the RF-1 Zone at 1121 Abbey Place N.E. (square 773, lot 184).

Historic Preservation Application for 518 6th Street, NE, for concept approval for rear addition.

Historic Preservation Application for 210 A Street, NE,  for a permit to install security gate and fence atop a retaining wall.

Thursday, December 7

ANC6C Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, 700 2nd Street, NE. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

Streetcar Storage and Maintenance Facility Needs Assessment Study – DDOT is working on their Streetcar Storage and Maintenance Facility Needs Assessment Study, in progress. At the Benning Extension Meeting, DDOT shared the potential locations evaluated, which include sites in ANC6C. DDOT will share the evaluation with the committee for comments.

Heritage Foundation/Armand’s Heritage Foundation’s plans to develop the site of the former Armand’s pizzeria on Massachusetts Avenue, NE. Work is already underway at the adjacent property. Representative: Harold Bingham, MGAC

Zipcar – Discussion of the possibility of moving the Zip car spots at 4th and M Street, NE to a spot north of Florida Avenue.

ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Lola’s LLC d/b/a Lola’s, 711 8th St., SE, Amendments to correct Settlement Agreement to permit use of summer garden that was incorrectly designated as sidewalk café.

Wineandbutter, LLC, P & C Market, 1023 East Capitol Street, SE, Approval of a Corrected Settlement Agreement A for a Class B Retail Grocery License.

PSA 107 is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm in Southeast Library, Lower Level.

FOSEL – Friends of South East Library – meet at 5:30pm in South East Library, Lower Level. 

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