Nearby Neighbors Oppose Sports Gambling Business on PA Avenue SE
by Larry Janezich
Feelings ran strong last night at an ANC6B sponsored virtual community meeting to hear input from neighbors on the proposed sport betting establishment at 319 PA Avenue, SE. Some 20 residents joined in and many expressed vehement objections. Only one resident voiced support for the business – Handle 19 – which would be the first of its kind in the city. (See CHC post here: https://bit.ly/3byz84y )
Objections centered on the perception of gambling as a business that brings social ills and security risks to a neighborhood of townhomes which surrounds the commercial strip fronting on Pennsylvania Avenue. One neighbor said there were five elementary schools and a dozen day care centers within six blocks, and “alcohol, gambling and kids don’t mix”. A petition of opposition emphasizing that idea is being circulated. Another saw the company as a crime risk which works counter to community efforts to reduce crime. Another said, “I don’t think it’s going to work because we will not let it happen,” adding that neighbors will appeal to Councilmember Charles Allen and Mayor Bowser. Several cited a lack of notice that the license was coming before the ANC.
Ian G. Thomas, attorney for Handle 19, presented the other side, saying it’s better to have a thriving business than an empty building. “The reality is that sport betting is here in DC,” and it’s better to have it happen in a controlled environment than in a bar where wagers can be placed via an app downloaded to a phone. He said that Handle 19 wants to work with the residents and be a good neighbor; “Sports gambling is here, like it or not – we have an additional responsibility to address any ills that come out of it.”
Chander Jayaraman, Chair of the ANC6B ABC Committee, outlined the process and hinted that it might be hard to stop the business from opening because the ultimate decision will be in the hands of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board.
The ANC6B is caught between representing the neighbors who fear their quality of life will be affected and the reality of the fact that ANC opposition would require a majority of the ANC to vote to protest the gambling license (on grounds of noise, detriment to the community or detriment to property values). That would trigger an ABRA required mediation process and if that fails to resolve concerns, the next step would be litigated protest hearing with legal counsel before ABRA. ABRA would finally decide the matters with the usual outcome being granting of the license with conditions.
ANC6B Chair Brian Ready, attempting to arrange a fallback position, suggested another meeting between the community and the owner to work out a Settlement Agreement which would incorporate language to address as many concerns of the nearby neighbors as possible, in case an ultimate favorable decision by ABRA is the outcome.
Jayaraman proposed a one month extension in order to give parties an opportunity to work out operating restrictions for the Settlement Agreement and the owners of Handle 19 said they would consider it.
Otherwise, the matter will be taken up by ANC6B ABC Committee at its October virtual meeting next Thursday, followed by consideration at the full ANC6B meeting on Tuesday, October 13.
Discussion of application by China House at 1601 Benning Road, NE, for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
Discussion of application by DC Supermarket at 539 8th Street, NE, for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
ANC6C Environment, Parks and Events Committee has scheduled a WebEx virtual meeting at its usual time and date for today, but a press time no details were available. (The EPE Committee usually meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7:00 pm.)
Wednesday, October 7
ANC6B Transportation Committee holds a virtual WebEx meeting at 7:00pm.
301 Florida Avenue, NE, Zoning Adjustment Application for a two-year extension of the consolidated PUD approval granted for the property. The approved PUD was for a mixed-use building consisting of approximately 66,010 square feet of gross floor area and a maximum building height of 101 feet. Approximately 61,173 square feet of GFA was approved for residential use (approximately 56 units, plus or minus 10%) and approximately 4,837 square feet of GFA was approved for retail use. The approved PUD included Inclusionary Zoning units at 50% and 80% of the area median income.
622 Eye Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application – Revised application of VBS Community Builders LLC, for a special exception to convert an existing residential building into a five-unit apartment house and for variance relief from the 900-square-foot/unit lot area requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing attached row dwelling.
646 E Street, NE – Historical Preservation Application for concept approval to construct a two story rear addition.
Presentation – MPD Services for the Deaf and LGBTQ Communities – Officer Anthony Walsh
Presentation – Streateries and Arts in the Right-of-Way Program – Emma Blondin, DDOT Transportation Planner, Neighborhood Planning Branch
Letters to Commander Morgan C. Kane, MPD First District, and Commander William Fitzgerald, MPD Fifth District, to raise concerns about reports from constituents that MPD is not in compliance with current health and safety guidelines and other regulations pertaining to ensuring reasonable accommodations for all community members, including sign language interpretation.
Letter to DPR inquiring how they plan to ensure access to recreation centers and facilities for the community going forward.
Approval of a grant in the amount of $3,000 to the Eliot-Hine Parent Teacher Organization for the establishment and operation of a community emergency relief pantry.
Possible consideration of application by De Zhang and Yang You Feng, t/a China House at 1601 Benning Road NE for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
Possible consideration of application by Mochi, Inc., t/a DC Supermarket at 539 8th Street NE (ABRA #074927) for renewal of its Class B Retail License.
Letter to DDOT in support of the proposed Advisory Bike Lane Project on Tennessee Avenue, NE, with certain comments and recommendations.
Letter to DDOT in support of public space application for a fence on public space at 1660 Gales Street NE, conditional on the Commissioners receiving additional detail.
Letter to DDOT requesting a postponement in an application to install a garden shed on public space in a corner lot at 205 15th Street, NE, owing to insufficient information.
Letter of support to BZA for a special exception to allow construction of a one-story rear addition to an existing attached flat at 128 12th Street, NE.
Letter of conditional support to DCRA for the raze permit request to demolish a single-bay accessory garage at 1511 A Street, NE, a four-bay accessory garage at 1513 A Street, NE, and a six-bay accessory garage at 1515 A Street, NE.
ANC6B Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Yotel Public Space Application. The Liaison Capitol Hill is becoming Yotel Washington DC. This public space application includes exterior cladding chain at main entry facade, columns and restaurant entry, replacement of existing illuminated sign on existing canopy, addition of lighted aluminum arch at the main hotel entrance, addition of a 3D Illuminated floor mounted sign, addition of 3 retractable canopy structures on existing roof deck, replacement of furniture faux green wall at the roof penthouse exterior wall and new existing lighting changes, replacements of existing furniture, existing planters and umbrella at the outdoorsidewalk seating for the existing hotel.
DDOT proposed rulemaking on visitor parking passes. The committee will review a notice of proposed rulemaking on annual visitor parking passes, which include the following changes: 1) Eliminate the requirement that DDOT provide annual visitor parking passes in a physical format, allowing DDOT to either continue the distribution of physical annual visitor parking passes, distribute annual visitor parking passes through an online system that requires the recipient to print the pass, distribute electronic passes through an online system, or a combination of these options. 2) Effectuate the transfer of responsibility for the issuance of temporary visitor parking passes from the Metropolitan Police Department to DDOT.
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Tara Hamilton and Karen Zens are members of the Capitol Hill Art League and long-time residents of Capitol Hill. The Hill art framing shop, Frame of Mine, is the venue for a show displaying their art created during the current Coronavirus pandemic.
The artists present 2D and 3D art which depict both abstract and realistic subjects using a variety of materials. The exhibit displays work with brilliant color palettes and unique interpretations using watercolor, collage, printmaking and paper constructions.
Tara has paired her watercolor paintings with re-imagined collage creations made by using cuttings from material used to sew facemasks for neighbors.
Karen’s works include mixed media prints that evoke her last pre-pandemic trip – to Southern Spain- and paper sculptures constructed from earlier paintings.
All work is for sale. The artists will donate 50% of the proceeds to Martha’s Table. In its 40th year, the organization is working to support our neighbors in the face of COVID-19 and the many other challenges affecting D.C. families.
The art can be viewed at Frame of Mine during store hours in accordance with the store’s visiting policy. www.frameofminedc.com
In addition, the works may be viewed at these social media links:
Karen Zens Instagram: @shamusspringer
Tara Hamilton Instagram: @tara.hamilton.148
The Colors of the Quarantine will be on display at Frame of Mine from October 4- November 7, 2020.
Frame of Mine Gallery, 545 Eight St SE, DC. (two blocks from Eastern Market Metro.) Gallery hours are: 10:00am–6:00pm (M-F) and 11:00am–5:00pm (Sat). Closed on Sundays.
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Construction to Close Most of Eastern Market Metro Plaza Starting this Month
by Larry Janezich
Thursday night, DGS Project Manager for the Eastern Market Metro Plaza renovation conducted a virtual briefing for the community on the construction plan for Phase 2 of the Eastern Market Plaza Renovation Project, which includes the parcel where the entrance to Metro is located.
Council Member Charles Allen participated, saying he was excited at this new step, and reiterated his goal of making the plaza “a place to walk to, rather than a place to walk through.” He pointed to how the community comes together at the nearly-complete playground and said that the renovation of Parcel 2 and the Southeast Library, (which will begin in late 2021) will be the final pieces in making the plaza a phenomenal space.
Here’s the construction time line for Phase 2.
Most of the space on Parcel 4 where lies the entrance to the Metro will be closed by a construction fence starting later this month. Construction begins in October and ends in April 2021.
Also fenced, Parcels 3&6 (north and south triangles at 8th and PA Ave) – construction begins in October and ends in February of 2021.
All landscaping will be installed beginning in March of 2021.
ADA ramps, sidewalks, and “bump outs” (narrows crosswalks and slows traffic) will be constructed as they are reviewed and approved. The community will be given two weeks’ notice of construction.
Artists for the 3-D interactive artwork which will be a feature of Parcel 4 will submit concepts by October 15.
There will be a “table top” (an extended speed bump) to connect the Southeast Library to the Plaza.
In addition, the weeks ahead will see the close out of Phase 1, Parcel 1, containing the playground. Remaining work:
Install shade structure over the playground starting October 5 requiring the closure of the playground for five days.
Completion of the 9th Street water connection will take at least two more weeks.
Installation of the monumental wayfinding panel in mid-October.
Replacement of dead trees and plants will take place in mid-October.
Installation of handrails at the step east of the board walk.