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?