Monthly Archives: February 2020

Here’s a Photo Progress Report on Seven Major Capitol Hill SE Developments

Here’s a Photo Progress Report on Seven Major Capitol Hill SE Developments

by Larry Janezich

On May 11, 2019, Capitol Hill Corner posted a photo progress report on seven major Capitol Hill developments  Here’s a progress report 10 months later.  The seven projects will provide 1,185 residential units to Capitol Hill’s housing stock.  Below are photos of where construction stands today, coupled with renderings of how the projects will look when finished.

Frager’s, mixed use retail/residential – project finished. Units are being sold.  Frager’s Hardware is open and Emilie’s restaurant occupies the prime corner ground level retail space. View from 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue. looking Southeast, February 24. Click to enlarge.

Frager’s – The now developed original Frager’s site on the 1100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, provides 34 condos. One, two and three bedroom units are intended to accommodate families. 10% of the residential space is required to be designated for affordable housing, under Inclusionary Zoning requirements. Frager’s Hardware occupies 8,500 s.f. of retail space.

Watkins Alley is under construction at 1309 E Street, SE. View from E Street, SE, looking Southwest, on February 24.

Watkin’s Alley – will provide 44 units, (uncertain whether condo or apartments) including 8 – 2 BR flats, 6 lofts, and 1 carriage house. Five units (3 townhouses and 2 flats) will be designated affordable housing units under Inclusionary Zoning requirements.  This view is from E Street, looking south, and fails to capture much of the project which is in the center of the block – see next depiction.

Here’s another view of  Watkins Alley looking Northeast, showing the scale of the project.  The former Safeway is top center.  This view shows the backs of the units in the previous rendering, barely visible between the green roof tops, center and left.

Lockwood – 1300 Block of E Street, SE. View from mid-block on E Street, looking Southeast, on February 24.  Units are now leasing.

Lockwood – Lockwood will provide 145 boutique apartment units: 1, 2, and 3 BRs. Thirteen of the units will be affordable under Inclusionary Zoning.

Capitol Courts is under construction at 1234 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. View from mid-block looking Northeast, February 24.

Capitol Courts – the former site of the Frager’s Garden Center – a mixed use building that will contain 119 micro apartments and a few 1 BRs. The plan includes 5,000 s.f. of ground floor retail. Ten percent of the residential space will be designated for affordable housing under Inclusionary Zoning.  This view is from Pennsylvania Avenue, looking Northwest.

Work continues on the mixed use building at 1401 Pennsylvania – Blackbird. View from the median strip at 14th and Pennsylvania, looking Southeast. February 23.

Blackbird – A mixed use residential/retail building under construction will provide 167 apartments and 18,000 s.f. of retail. Ten percent of the residential space will be for affordable housing, with a large portion of that for family units: 4 – 3 BRs, 2 studios, 2- 1 BRs and 2- 2 BRs.  The Neighborhood Restaurant Group has announced plans for a “culinary clubhouse,” a multi-restaurant, multi-bar concept – “The Roost” – for the building’s ground floor retail space.

The Safeway Development at 14th and D Streets, SE – “Beckert’s Park” – is under construction. View from 14th and D Streets looking Southwest, February 24.

“Beckert’s Park” –  Will provide 329 apartments, a new 60,000 s.f. Safeway, and several thousand additional s.f. of community friendly retail. The developer says that 70% of the units will be studio and 1 BR 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.

The first of two mixed use projects is underway on Reservation 13. View from 19th Street near the south entrance to the Stadium Armory Metro canopy, looking Southeast, February 23.

Reservation 13 – Two parcels are being developed. The larger south building is under construction as shown in the previous photo; work on the smaller north building will begin soon, under a phased development plan. The total number of apartments in the two buildings is 353 – 262 in the south building and 91 in the north building. Originally, it was intended that 106 of the units in the project would be designated affordable.  Last fall, DC city agencies announced that the smaller north building will be 100% “deeply affordable” units for those with 0% – 30% of Area Median Income.  It is unclear if the new designation will affect the number of affordable units in the larger south building. In addition, the project will provide 22,000 s.f. of retail.

Comments Off on Here’s a Photo Progress Report on Seven Major Capitol Hill SE Developments

Filed under Uncategorized

City Agencies Stiff Hill East Residents Seeking Answers on Reservation 13

The Hill East Task Force met last night at St. Colleta, sans representatives of city agencies who had been invited to answer questions on what is happening on Reservation 13.

City Agencies Stiff Hill East Residents Seeking Answers on Reservation 13

by Larry Janezich

Monday night, some 20 Hill East residents, concerned ANC6B Commissioners and Hill East activists showed up for a meeting at St. Coletta’s knowing that the invited city agencies would be no-shows for the expected briefing on Reservation 13 issues.

Hill East Taskforce Chair Denise Krepp had invited DCRA, DMPED, DDOT, OP, DGS, MPD, and DOC to participate.  Only Commander Kane of MPD’s 1st District responded by sending a representative.

Meeting participants who did show up, includied ANC6B Chair Brian Ready, Commissioners Chander Jayaraman (also a candidate for at -large city council seat), Kasie Clark, and Steve Holtzman; former commissioner and current activist Francis Campbell, Capitol Hill Village representative Vira Sisolak, and Hill East activists Pat Taylor, Andre Speaks and Maurice Cook.  Also present was Jeanne Lewis, another candidate for an at-large city council seat.

Most of those attendees, as well as the nearby neighbors who attended, clearly regarded the no show as a slap in the face and yet another example of the lack of respect city agencies show the ANCs and their constituent bodies.

Tensions and distrust between those agencies and Hill East resident have grown since last November when the real estate blog Curbed DC revealed the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development’s plan to change 91 units in the Donatelli/BlueSkye Reservation 13 development from a mix of affordable and market rate units to 100% low income housing units at 0% – 30% of AMI. The surprise left Hill East residents with deep feeling of distrust toward the city, feelings which were only exacerbated by last night’s failure of agency representatives to provide transparency on issues related to Donatelli/BlueSkye Reservation 13 development.

Attendees at last night’s meeting collaborated on a list of questions to be included in letters to the City Council and city agencies.  One question begging to be answered is whether Donatelli’s agreement to convert their smaller building to 100% low income housing changes the allocation of affordable housing in their larger building.  The Hill East Taskforce voted unanimously to recommend that the full ANC endorse the letters which are all but certain to be forwarded to the council and agencies under the ANC aegis.

The jurisdictional issue is tricky.  Reservation lies in Ward 7, though the residents of Ward 6 in Hill East will be those most affected by any development.  Hill East residents deserve to have their questions answered and their concerns addressed.  Since it seems the ANC’s Taskforce doesn’t have the clout to require the city agencies to clarify what’s happening on Reservation 13, the question is, who does?


Filed under Uncategorized

The Week Ahead… & The Samaritans of Eastern Market Metro Park

Lolita Johnson at left started serving free lunch to all comers once a month in the Eastern Market Metro Park as a personal act of kindness.  She is pictured here with her is her mother, Janice Johnson, and friend, Christina Brown. 

The Samaritans of Eastern Market Metro Park

Every fourth Saturday Lolita Johnson and her family and friends set up free lunch for all comers in Eastern Market Plaza Park on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue.  Johnson says that last September she was religiously inspired to set up a prayer tent and offer lunch one day a month and to locate it here.  She has been doing it every month since then.  She pays the $300-400 monthly cost out of pocket with the help of contributions from work friends and church members.  She says, “I don’t make that much money, and when I started I didn’t know how I was going to pay for this. But the money just came”.  The lunch is her individual effort – it is not sponsored by a church, though she worships at All Nations Worship Assembly in Baltimore.  Her mother, Janice Johnson, belongs to the First Baptist Church in Glendale, Maryland.  Her friend, Christina Brown, belongs to the National Church of God in Fort Washington, Maryland.

Johnson says, “When I get a better paying job, I can do more”.  About 60 people stop for lunch on a typical Saturday.  Johnson adds, “They don’t have to be homeless.  Anybody can stop by for food, prayer, or if they just want to talk.”

The Week Ahead… & American Legion Post 8 Fundraiser on Saturday

by Larry Janezich

Monday, February 24

ANC 6A Transportation & Public Space Committee Meets at 7:00pm, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

1387 North Carolina Avenue, NE.  Public Space Application – to permit a fence over 42 inches high.

Development of questions to be addressed to DDOT Director Marootian at March 12, 2020 ANC 6A meeting.

The Hill East Taskforce meets at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1900 Independence Avenue, SE.


Discussion of why DC agencies and councilmembers are refusing to talk with the Hilleast community.

Tuesday, February 25

ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for next month’s meeting of the ANC on March 10 in Hill Center..

Wednesday, February 26

The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee will meet a 7:00pm in the North Hall of Eastern Market, located at the corner of 7th and North Carolina. 

Among items on the agenda:

DGS Performance Oversight Meeting on February 27, 2020.

DGS Budget hearing April 2, 2020.

Update on the Strategic/Business Plan, Scott Betz.

Report of the Market Manager.

Status of Lease negotiations

Winter Operations Update

Marketing and advertising

Market Budget expenditures

Status of the signage

Status of the security measures

Testimony on DGS Performance

Tenant’s Council Report

Capital Improvements Report

Eastern Market Metro Plaza Update

Saturday, February 29

Musical celebration and fundraiser at American Legion Auxiliary, Post 8, 6:00pm, at 3rd and D Street, SE, to benefit the DC Veterans Administration Medical Center’s Music Therapy Program.

The Capitol Hill American Legion Auxiliary is rolling out the red carpet for two local veterans who recently went to Nashville.  Each came back with an original song they wrote with a professional songwriter and recorded as part of Operation Song.  This workshop program in Music City, U.S.A., has as its mission “to empower veterans, active duty military, and their families to tell their stories through the process of songwriting.”  The Operation Song organization has welcomed those who’ve served in war and peace, “bringing them back one song at a time,” as its motto says.  So far more than 750 songs have been created, helping veterans to express and transform often painful experiences.  Former U.S. Army officer Calvin Tildon’s song, “My Happy to be Alive Day,” tells his story of combat in Vietnam.  John Fay became a U.S. Marine right out of high school in the late 1950s, and called his song “Squared Me Away.”

Doors open at 6 p.m., with the formal program, including musical performances by “Veterans in Harmony”, starting at 7 p.m.  Gourmet nibbles and a specialty cocktail will be served.  The Capitol Hill community is invited to attend and enjoy a fun musical evening.  The suggested donation is $10 and 100% of proceeds going to benefit the DC VA Music Therapy Program.   Tickets at the door, or buy online here.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

ANC Working Group Meets with City Agencies & Non-Profits on Barracks Row Issues

ANC6B’s Barracks Row Working Group met last week with representatives of city agencies and non-profits to see how they could help with Barracks Row issues.

ANC6B Working Group Meets with City Agencies & Non-Profits on Barracks Row Issues

by Larry Janezich

The problems plaguing the 400 block of Barracks Row were inventoried and discussed at a meeting of business owners, ANC commissioners, MPD, DHHS, Community Connections, DBS, and Everyone Home (formerly Capitol Hill Ministry) last Tuesday night.

ANC6B’s Working Group on Barracks Row’s regular monthly meeting enumerated a list of concerns:

Homeless in need of services;

Panhandlers, some of whom disrupt business and retail traffic;

Community Connection clients, a recurring concern in the neighborhood;

Dealers of synthetic drugs like K-2, which may or may not be illegal at any moment, who vend to some or all of the above, exacerbating existing concerns;

Quality of life issues collect on the west side of the block stretching between the 7-11 and the Starbuck’s coffee shop.  These include public intoxication, overdoses, trash accumulation, and street harassment. The west side includes four fast food outlets and four empty store fronts and a lot of thru traffic from the Metro and bus stops.

Working Group Co-Chair Tom Johnson, representing business owners on Barracks Row, is pushing a plan to hire off duty MPD to maintain a part time presence on the 400 block of 8th Street, “so that people feel safe, because now they do not feel safe or comfortable on the block”.  He says 90% of Barracks Row businesses support the plan.  A similar idea was floated last year by Barrack’s Row Executive Director Martin Smith who suggested an MPD substation on the block – a proposal that was nixed by MPD.

Johnson says, “The homeless are not the problem – people selling drugs is the problem…we need to try something different and see if it works.  If not, try something else.  Having officers on the block adds a layer of security, comfort, and safety.”

Off duty police are sometimes hired to work inside a business establishment and are paid directly by the establishment.  If they’re hired to work in public space outside an establishment, the businesses reimburse MPD for the officer’s overtime.  Typically, the officer performs this work in uniform.

Johnson said that next week he will mount a camera on top of one of his restaurants – Ophelia’s – at the corner of 8th and E Streets, to monitor activities on the south end of Barracks Row including outside the 7-11 across the street.

ANC6B Chair Brian Ready, who chaired the meeting in place of ANC6B Commissioner Chander Jayaraman, said he had no problem with facilitating business owners’ efforts to put additional security on the street, adding, “I’m all about balance…If businesses want to go down that line, they have to be aware of unintended consequences.”  One of those consequences is the negative message that additional security is necessary – another is push back from some who think that an approach with better optics involving social services and on-the-street interaction with social workers produces better results. Ready noted it was not an either/or situation, leaving room for both.

The city agencies and non-profits in attendance were asked what contributions they could make to alleviate Barracks Row problems.

Department of Health and Human Services: Monica Merk said the department is working on ways to publicize the rights of business owners and empower them to deal with panhandling issues.

Community Connections:  Representatives Ray Walker and Brian Sutton said that representatives from the non-profit routinely walk Barracks Row and other parts of the city having similar issues.  Two teams interact with those they encounter and encourage them to take advantage of city services.  Clients without fixed addresses who have Social Security checks sent to Community Connections are sometimes victimized by others on Barracks Row.

Department of Behavioral Health:  Representatives Jacqueline Ellis and Jordan Gulley said that their Community Response Team responds to critical incidents 24/7, 7 days a week with teams of behavioral health specialists to conduct on the spot assessments and referral to those undergoing a behavioral crisis.  Their hotline number is 202-673-6495.

Everyone Home DC:  Karen Cunningham and Abby Sypek say their group does strategic outreach focused on Capitol Hill with the goal of keeping everyone alive and safe year-round and prioritizes helping families find permanent housing.  The organization provides connector resources for those with mental health and substance abuse issues and assists people in need of food stamps or ID.  Cunningham and Supek urge residents to attend the Mayor’s Budget Forums and ask for more resources for housing and behavioral health.

Those in attendance knew that already.  But those residents and members of the public who need to hear that message and carry it to the budget forums almost never attend these meetings and were not in evidence Tuesday night.  Charles Allen’s office sent a representative, Nichole Opkins, to the meeting, who  did not offer any public comments but did engage Community Connection representatives after the meeting.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Captain Cookie to Open Outlet Near Eastern Market

Captain Cookie will open next to Peregrine Espresso.

Captain Cookie to Open Outlet Near Eastern Market

by Larry Janezich

Captain Cookie has leased the space formerly occupied by Pitango, at 660 7th Street, SE, near Eastern Market.  They have two other outlets, one at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and one at 2800 10th Street, in NE.  No word yet on when they’ll open, but it seems likely it will happen this spring.

Captain Cookie started as a food truck merchant before opening the two brick and mortar bakeries which also market their menu of a dozen different cookies, ice cream, specialty cakes, and local milk.  See their menu here:

The Captain Cookie trucks still service the city and are popular hires for special events.  According to their website, each truck is a mobile bakery with running water, dipping freezer and bakery oven.

Captain Cookie’s trucks were on campus at The George Washington University so often that co-owners Kirk and Juliann Francis decided to open their first brick-and-mortar near the school.

Their website stresses the company’s commitment to social issues, stating that they have committed a large portion of their profits to support efforts to end hunger including the DC Central Kitchen, Capital Area Food Bank and No Kid Hungry.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Mayor Bowser Cuts the Ribbon on Ward 6’s Shelter for Homeless Families on Friday

Friday, February 21 – Mayor Bowser’s Ribbon cutting ceremony for Ward 6’s Short Term Family Housing Facility – The Aya – at 850 Delaware Avenue, SW. 11:30am.

Here’s where The Aya is located.

Last Monday, ANC6D raised concerns about the delayed opening of the community health care facility in The Aya. From left, Commissioner Edward Daniels, Chair Gail Fast, Commissioners Anna Forgie, Fredrica Kramer, Ron Collins, and Rhonda Hamilton.

Mayor Bowser Cuts the Ribbon on Ward 6’s Shelter for Homeless Families on Friday

By Larry Janezich

Friday, February 21, at 11:30am will mark the opening of “The Aya” – Ward Six’s Short Term Family Housing Facility in close-in Southwest at 850 Delaware Avenue.  The building will house 50 families for up to 90 days pending transition into permanent housing.  This is the 5th of the 8 shelters – one in each ward – that will replace the now-closed DC General.  All of the new shelters have or will have programs providing services for the residents aimed at expediting their transition to permanent housing.

Ward 6 CM Charles Allen toured The Aya last week and tweeted out a video, here:

The space for the building’s community health clinic will not be ready when the building opens.  Unity HealthCare Services was temporarily located at the Joy Evans Recreation Center under an 18 month lease during the construction of The Aya and that lease expires before the new space will be ready.

Last Monday, ANC6D raised strong objections to the potential 3 – 6 month gap between the scheduled closure of the Unity Health Care Services at Joy Evans and its relocation to The Aya.  ANC6D Chair Gail Fast told representatives of DC’s Department of Human Services and Aya Program managers that “The idea of suspending service for even a day is unconscionable.”  Officials sought to assure the ANC that the gap would be minimal and they would have a better idea of how long it would be after the facility opens.

For more information on the status of the projects in all 8 wards, see here:

Comments Off on Mayor Bowser Cuts the Ribbon on Ward 6’s Shelter for Homeless Families on Friday

Filed under Uncategorized

The Week Ahead…

7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, circa 7:00am, February 2

The Week Ahead…

Monday, February 17

Presidents’ Day Holiday.  No trash or recycling pickup.

Tuesday, February 18

ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Honoring Coralie Farlee.

Discussion of late night noise on H Street near Linden Place.

Discussion of Red Rocks event noise,

Discussion of potential letter to establishments requesting signage asking patrons to be mindful of volume.

ANC6B Barracks Row Working Group Meeting, 6:30pm, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE – First Floor Conference Room.


Community Announcements.

Off duty Police Officers on 8th Street.

Round table Discussion on Homeless Challenges on Barracks Row/Eastern Market area.

Review and update the vison mission and goals of the Barracks’ Row Working Group.

Discuss Restaurant Challenges: Why some are leaving the street , i.e., Medium Rare.

Collective Business Services:

Collective Snow Removal, Rat abatement, alley power washing and other services possible offered by Barracks Row Main Street for a fixed price.

Wednesday, February 19

ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

216 9th Street – Zoning Adjustment Application to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing attached flat.

1006 10th Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing semi-detached principal dwelling unit.

216 14th Place, NE –  Zoning Adjustment Application to construct a two story rear addition to an existing attached principal dwelling unit.

326 11th Street, NE – Historic Preservation Application, concept for a a rear addition onto an existing structure in the Capitol Hill Historic District.

906 11th Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application to construct a penthouse and guardrails on top of the third floor addition to an existing attached principal dwelling unit.

18th Place and D Street, NE – Presentation and discussion of plans for development of an apartment complex with retail space.

Thursday, February 20

Benning Road Reconstruction and Streetcar Project Open House #2, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, River Terrace Education Campus, 405 Anacostia Avenue, NE.

As part of the ongoing Benning Road and Bridges Transportation Improvements Environmental Assessment (EA), DDOT has initiated this preliminary design project to advance the development of EA Build Alternative 2.   At the open house, DDOT staff will provide an update on the project, present the DC-295 and Benning Road interchange preferred options, and receive public input.  For more information, visit the updated project website at

Friday, February 21

Mayor Bowser’s Ribbon cutting ceremony for Ward 6’s Short Term Family Housing Facility – The Aya –  at 850 Delaware Avenue, SW.  11:30am.

Haitian art & Handcraft Sale at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 301 A Street, SE.  Support art, education health and sustainable development in villages in rural Haiti, featuring a wide variety of paintings and handcrafts. 

Friday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm (opening wine & cheese reception).

Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Sunday, 9:am – 2:00pm.

Hosted by the Vassar Haiti Project and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

Purchases ate 50% tax deductible.  Donations are 100% deductible.

Comments Off on The Week Ahead…

Filed under Uncategorized

New ANC6B Chair Brian Ready Talks About Barracks Row, Homelessness & a Living Wage

Brian Ready, Chair of ANC6B

New ANC6B Chair Brian Ready Talks About Barracks Row, Homelessness & a Living Wage

By Larry Janezich

Brian Ready, newly elected chair of ANC6B, knows what he’s good at.  He says, “It’s having vision and solving problems.  When a challenge comes to me, I figure out a good way of solving the problem – balancing things out between two individuals, working impartially, taking both points of view into account to achieve an outcome which can be explained to both parties so they understand how the decision was reached.”

Ready, still in his first term as Commissioner, was elected Chair by acclamation last month after Chander Jayaraman decided to run for city council instead of seeking a second term as chair of 6B.  Jayaraman says, “Brian is the right person at the right time and has what we need – business acumen, creativity, and composure – to lead in 2020.”  Those qualities will be called upon as ANC6B addresses a host of issues during the coming year.

One of those issues is the economic viability of Barracks Row, the west side of which lies in Ready’s single member district.  As former chair – and current member – of ANC6B’s Barracks Row Working Group, Ready says we have to recognize that the challenges on Barracks Row are the same as the challenges in Adams Morgan, Georgetown, and multiple other locations in the city, and stem from increased competition like The Wharf and the Navy Yard.  He believes in a holistic approach to the quality of life problems on 8th Street, and a substantial advertising campaign to increase business.

Regarding those quality of life issues, Ready says we have to figure out how to establish a balance to assure patrons of Barracks Row that it’s a safe area where they won’t get accosted or impeded while addressing needs of panhandlers and our homeless residents.

Asked his thoughts on Community Connections’ role in the community, Ready said “Community Connections serves to help people who are homeless and if we say we don’t want to do that, it amounts to taking the problem and moving it somewhere else.”  He doesn’t think the ANC has the power to do fix homelessness.  The root of the problem, he says, lies in an economic system that has inequality built into it, and we have to accept that if we accept the system.  He says, “We just have to understand that this is how the system works – if we recognize what it is, we can better fix the things we don’t like about it.  “My friends think I’m the eternal optimist because I’m saying, ‘No, we can fix this – it’s not broken.’”

Ready grew up in the Chicago suburbs and left for one of the country’s top hospitality programs at the University of Las Vegas.  He has a degree in hospitality and a degree in law.  His first job out of college was with Deloitte – the multinational professional services network.  Then he worked in hospitality at MGM resorts – “I was responsible for booking all the entertainment at Primm Valley Resort’s 6000 seat arena and their 500 seat showroom and three entertainment lounges.”  It was in that role that he met show business legends Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Reba McIntyre, Brooks & Dunn, and Trace Adkins.

While at MGM he traveled a lot and found Washington “one of the nicest cities I’d ever been to,” and five years ago took an opportunity to transfer here to a new job with MGM. He said Capitol Hill was his first choice for a place to live and that his attraction to the neighborhood was the defining reason he wanted to move here.

Ready is not new to community service.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Down Syndrome Organization of Southern Nevada and was a volunteer at the Children’s Museum in Las Vegas.  Professionally, he belongs to the National Bar Association.  One of his heroes is Barack Obama, who he credits with inspiring him to run for office, get involved in the community, and help to make it better in any way possible. He praises DC Council Chair Phil Mendelsohn’s calm and collected demeanor in presiding over the council as well as Charles Allen, for whom he went door-to-door in the last campaign.  Ready says, “In a community I really love, I wanted to contribute and help make it be all it could be by becoming an ANC Commissioner. It’s the most rewarding job I’ve ever had, even if we don’t get paid.”

One of the things he’s passionate about is advocating for a living wage.  He says, “The District has a high minimum wage, which is great, but there are still low wages in this area where the cost of living is high.  I ask, ‘Where do they live – hospitality is the number two job creator in our area, so where do they [hospitality workers] live? They can’t even afford to live in our scariest neighborhoods.  I’m saying that if you can’t provide a wage where a minimum of 50% of your staff can rent or buy in the city, you should not operate.”

He has other passions, including kites. “I love the Kite Festival coming up.  In Vegas we actually had a park where kite enthusiasts come every week to do sport kiting and tricks. I look forward to going to the National Mall in March and flying a kite.”  Working out is another passion and he works out at Sport & Health 4 or 5 days a week.   Ready is also a musician – he plays violin and percussion – another of his heroes is a high school music teacher who recruited him for the school’s marching band.

Ready says he’s working on a list of goals for his term of office, but for now wants to focus on “absorbing the information coming at me and getting it down and keeping everything together.”  He says that as Chair, he’ll continue the commitment he made when he ran for the ANC – to check his ANC email account every day and respond to every email within 24 hours.


Filed under Uncategorized

Neighbors Vexed at Persistent Homeless Camp Under Freeway at Third Street, SE

Encampment under the Third Street Overpass.

Neighbors Vexed at Persistent Homeless Camp Under Freeway at Third Street, SE

By Larry Janezich

The homeless encampment under the freeway on 3rd Street, SE, was the focus of a heated discussion at ANC6B’s February meeting on Tuesday night.  Residents around Garfield Park expressed their frustration that the city is not moving more aggressively to ban the encampment near the Garfield Park and nearby schools.  Much of the outrage is the result of an act of public defecation which, according to Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, was witnessed by a family who complained to her.  Samolyk and some residents want to know why the city council can’t ban encampments near schools and parks.

It’s complicated.

CM Charles Allen, who attended the meeting, told the ANC and residents that the council could do that, but the minute they did, they would be hit with a lawsuit on behalf of the homeless which could jeopardize – as have similar lawsuits elsewhere – the city’s over-all protocol for dealing with homeless encampments.

Monica Merk and Jessica Smith, encampment coordinators with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, were on hand to explain what that protocol is. An encampment is defined as a place of residence on public property or an accumulation of personal belongs left on public property.  There are 30 known encampments in the city and DHHS encampment task force has the capacity to do 16 clean ups a month. After receiving a complaint, the process begins with engaging the encampment residents to see what services they need and to encourage them to take advantage of city provided services and shelters.  DHHS does an inspection for public health and safety, looking for rodents, trash, and bio-hazards.  If tents – for example – block a sidewalk and prohibit passage, the encampment can be banned, as one was recently at an underpass on K Street, NE, in NoMa.

If there is a serious public safety risk HHS can do an immediate disposition.  If not, they do a standard disposition, which requires giving 14 days’ notice to the encampment residents of a pending cleanup.

HHS continues to visit the encampment during that period to engage the residents and urge them to take advantage of city services.  On the day of the cleanup, residents are warned that cleanup is imminent.  Exceptions are made for tents and belonging of residents in dire straits such as hospitalization.  Cleanups are dependent on weather, and are postponed during precipitation or cold temperatures and are a coordinated effort among several city agencies, including MPD, DPW, DHS, and DDOT.  DC has no authority to address encampments on private or federal property.

Samolyk told the encampment coordinators that people in the encampments do not meet the legal definition of city residents and objected to references using that term, and the “most vulnerable.” She said, “I’ve lived in the neighborhood 20 years and I’ve never seen what we are seeing now.  Why can’t they be placed in a homeless shelter?”

The simple answer is that the homeless often reject going to shelters and can’t be forced to go into one.  There are a complex set of reasons why; some feel they are safer outside, some reuse to give up or abandon their belongings or pets, some have their entire life possessions in a tent and would lose all of it if they go to a shelter.  Some fear bedbugs and some have been assaulted in shelters.

Last week, DHHS cleaned up the encampment on Third Street after 14 days’ notice. Smith said inspectors found no biohazard.   Within 24 hours it was back.  The encampment had been dismantled before DHHS arrived and trash had been picked up and bagged by former residents for pick up.  DHHS checks it regularly and keep engaging the residents of the camp, searching for a solution to their long term housing needs.  DHHS will continue issuing two week notices of pending cleanup of the camp.   Smith says that city agencies and service providers including the Department of Behavioral Health, DHHS, and Community Connections are in constant communication on encampment issues.

One resident called it “outrageous” that no protection from an encampment near schools is being offered for children.  That prompted Allen to ask the resident to specify the perceived risk and noted that he had walked the area with Commander Kane of the 1st District who could not find any criminal activity.  The resident implied that with an encampment close to a school and playground, the risk was apparent, referring to the residents of the encampment as “obviously transient”.

Allen replied he was “not comfortable with the way the resident was describing the homeless”, adding that here were multiple reasons for homelessness including eviction and job loss – “It’s not one thing.  None of us want to be in a tent … to say they are inherently a risk to children … we need to be careful. I’m not seeing illegal activity. If there is, we’ll be there, and if the risk is understood we’ll mitigate it and make an appropriate response.”

Responding to those who think the city isn’t tough enough on the homeless, Allen said, “I respectfully disagree we try to do too much.  DC is in a better position that other cities which are not doing the things we do, and that has made their problem worse.”

Allen urged residents to attend upcoming budget town hall meetings – both the Mayor’s and his own Ward 6 Budget Town Hall at Maury Elementary (TBA), calling it an opportunity for all of us to engage – a forum to encourage “feedback about where we need to do more and where we need to do less.”

For more on encampment protocol and a list of upcoming encampment protocol engagements, see here:

To report an encampment, call (202) 727-7973 or send a detailed description to the contact below:  Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services


Filed under Uncategorized

Update on the Southeast Library Renovation

Residents weighed in on design elements for the renovation of Southeast Library in Eastern Market’s North Hall on Saturday. Organizers said the flow of interested residents was steady.

Here’s the first of three collections of options residents were asked to consider. The other two collections of options are below. Click to enlarge.

Update on the Southeast Library Renovation

By Larry Janezich

Representatives of the development/design team undertaking the $23 million renovation of  Southeast Library met with Capitol Hill residents at Eastern Market on Saturday.  Residents had an opportunity to take a survey as well as express preferences for design elements under consideration for the renovation.  DC Public Libraries selected the firm of Whiting-Turner to be the project’s contractor and Quinn Evans as the Architect of Record.  Alos on the team is Tappe Architects which specializes in library construction.

Saturday’s event marked the beginning of the process of public engagement and was intended to be a quick hit to capture input from those not inclined to get to a public meeting. The first community meeting on the project is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3, in the North Hall at Eastern Market.  The purpose of that meeting will be to allow residents and library users to take a deep dive into the design elements.

As the design proceeds, support will be sought from the ANC, the Historic Preservation Review Board, and the Commission on Fine Arts.  The developer is still in the process of determining if review by the National Capital Planning Commission will be necessary.

The development team is in the midst of a 90 day “due diligence” period to assess the technical requirements for the construction.  One part of that assessment is the collection of soil borings to check for contamination and the water table.

The design process is expected to take at least a year and Southeast Library is expected to remain open into 2021 with an anticipated closure for renovation close to the end of 2021.  The hope is to reopen in 2022, the 100th anniversary of the library.

The survey is online and can be found here:

Comments Off on Update on the Southeast Library Renovation

Filed under Uncategorized