Remembering Capitol Hill Watercolor Artist Virginia Warren
by Ron Tomasso FAIA
Capitol Hill watercolor artist Virginia Warren – who died a few years ago at nearly 100 – lived for many years on the 600 block of D Street, SE.
She was an exquisite watercolor artist, and I expect many of her drawings survive in households throughout Capitol Hill, including mine. She preceded the internet age; sadly, I cannot find anything about her or her accomplishments there. It’s an interesting lesson about the mark we leave in life. I knew her in life but had not spoken to her for more than 10 years due to her illness and aging but I have fond memories of her from the time I first moved to the Hill in the early 1980’s. In remembering her I have only those memories and the art she left behind.
Her daughter, Cindy Warren, was the primary caregiver to her mother and I just learned that she recently died. I have not found an obituary for her or for Virginia Warren. Her mother would have been 107 years old this year. Many residents of the Hill will recall Virginia’s watercolor paintings including many scenes of Eastern Market (above) and other Hill landmarks such as Friendship House. I believe Virginia also did house portraits around the Hill (there are other artists doing that now) – she was one of the first.
Virginia and Cindy are survived by Cindy’s son Leo.
CM Charles Allen meets with community stakeholders regarding concerns about issues affecting businesses and the quality of life at Eastern Market and nearby commercial corridors. Time and place have not been announced.
SUNDAY, JULY 4
The annual Fourth of July Parade returns to Barracks Row at 10:00am.
Restoration of Byron Peck’s 12 murals on the walls of the 6th Street, SE, underpass began earlier this month and the actual painting started on Saturday morning. The project is being led by ANC6B Chair Brian Ready who said he had been asking the city to re-do the project for two years before deciding to do it himself. While Ready was collecting paint chips to reproduce the colors, the activity caught the attention of Jim Guckert of Guerilla Gardeners. Guckert liked the restoration project and offered to help. That resulted in a grant from the Awesome Foundation https://bit.ly/2ULpVBP and volunteers from Guerilla Gardeners https://bit.ly/3xcJ51P .
Ready says he hopes the city will help preserve the paintings so “we don’t have to come back and restore it again in ten years”. Guckert says the project will take the rest of the summer and Ready is looking for volunteers to help; work sessions on are on Saturday mornings (except for July 4th weekend) from 9:00am until 11:00am. Those interested in participating in the project can email Ready at www.anc6b.org
Piet Mondrian was the inspiration for the 13 murals on the walls of the underpass painted by Byron Peck in 1988 during the administration of Mayor Marion Barry. Peck still lives and paints in DC. He has created over 80 murals throughout the US and abroad. The murals on 6th Street were supported by a grant from the DC Arts and Humanities Commission and provided jobs for the Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program for youths who assisted with the project.
Until a couple of weeks ago, the paintings have remained free from graffiti for 33 years. Guckert says he hopes the restoration will serve to prevent similar acts of vandalism in the future.
DDOT C Street, NE, improvements update. Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen will be present to give an introduction.
Public space permit application for an outdoor patio at the Capitol Square Bar and Grill at 1500 East Capitol Street.
Update on pending DDOT requests (time permitting)
H Street NE: Joint ANC letter, curb extension, and speed cameras
1200-1500 C Street Traffic Calming Assessment from 2017
All-way stop requests at 14th and A Streets NE, 15th and A Streets NE, 13th and I Streets, NE
Petition to officially name alley “Mamie Peanut Johnson Court.” The alley is the primary access for residences being constructed in the alley lot between 17th Street, 18th Street, E Street and D Street NE.
Request to DPW for a change in trash collection location for K and 9th Streets and West Virginia Avenue, NE, from the front of West Virginia Avenue NE to the alley.
Speed bump TSA for 1000 block 10th Street, NE, (intersection with Florida Avenue NE).
Discussion of pending 311 sidewalk requests.
300 Block 8th Street, NE – parking.
TUESDAY, JUNE 22
ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Discussion of amendment to the Pie Shop Settlement Agreement – Request by licensee to modify current Settlement Agreement to allow entertainment in outdoor spaces.
Discussion of amendment to the Gold Room Settlement Agreement – Request by licensee to modify current Settlement Agreement to allow entertainment in outdoor spaces on Sunday-Thursday 12:00 pm -10:00 pm, and Friday and Saturdays 12:00 pm -12:00 am.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23
ANC6A By Laws Review Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Discussion of the standard and approaches to be used for reviewing special exception requests to regulations governing the building of a rear wall that extends more than ten feet past an adjoining property.
1226 Duncan Place, NE. Zoning Adjustment Application for a special exception from the lot occupancy restrictions, the minimum rear yard requirements, and the rear addition restrictions, to raze an existing rear addition and construct a new, two-story, rear addition.
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ANC6B Votes to Appeal DoorDash’s Building Permit for Capitol Hill DashMart
by Larry Janezich
Posted June 10, 2021
Last Tuesday night, ANC6B voted unanimously to appeal DoorDash’s building permit to renovate the old Frager’s building on E Street, based on their assertion that the site’s parking spaces and loading provisions are illegal.
Prior to the vote, ANC6B Planning and Zoning Chair Brian Holman told his colleagues that there are currently no legal parking spaces for the site and no legal loading platform. The practical effect is that DoorDash’s proposed business will interfere with the use of public space, specifically the sidewalk and E Street bike lane. He said he had received 46 emails supporting an appeal. If the appeal moves forward it goes to the Board of Zoning Adjudication for a hearing, possibly in January. In the interim, the permit could be withdrawn and revised and resubmitted.
(The Board of Adjudication could revoke the permit, or find that the use of non-conforming parking spaces and loading dock are ok owing to prior use.)
Neighbors say that DoorDash (according to their building permit) would bring a “storage of goods and delivery by drivers” business to the middle of an otherwise residential block. Such a business is not appropriate, they say; because some 100 vehicles will pick up orders every day, there are no legal parking spaces and no legal loading platform and that will interfere with the use of public space in front of the building.
DoorDash says there are no grounds for appealing the permit. DoorDash’s attorney, Kyrus Freeman, partner in the real estate section in the Washington office of Holland & Knight, says that DoorDash’s by-right project has non-conforming parking and loading space which is grandfathered in by Zoning Regulations.
Building owner John Weintraub’s attorney, James Loots, said that appealing a building permit to determine which tenant occupies the space is not an appropriate use of the law.
The open discussion revealed new details on the operation:
Hours of loading and pickup initially will be from 8:00am until midnight.
Deliveries will occur between the hours of 8:00am and midnight with 100 to 150 couriers (pedestrian, bike, and auto) over the course of a day.
If demand justifies it DoorMart could operate from 6:00am to 3:00am.
DoorDash has a five year lease on the space.
DoorDash is talking to DC Murals to add value to the building.
Josh Neergaard, DoorDash’s project manager, said that there is no legal basis for the appeal and that DoorDash views it as an abuse of the process. He said DoorDash could continue to operate while the building permit is under appeal. Cars will use parking in front of the building. Employees will use public transportation or park elsewhere. Vendors will be limited to use of small box trucks for deliveries. He said, “We are committed to operating responsibly and safely and will work with neighbors collaboratively on an operating plan. Whether the appeal goes through or not we will work in the building.”
During discussion of the motion to appeal, members of the Commission and nearby neighbors made the following points:
Commissioner Oldenburg: The bottom line is can loading be done legally? She said she would vote in favor of the appeal as the only way we may get an answer to the question.
Former Commissioner and nearby resident Nick Burger: An appeal triggers a Zoning process with the potential for neighbors to work out issues. Enforcing parking on public space and bike lanes is difficult.
Former Commissioner Chander Jayaraman: DoorDash has no control over their contract drivers – they can fall back on saying “We told them to do this – they didn’t do it….We should err on the side of caution”.
Neighbor: DoorDash drivers are contract employees and DoorDash has less responsibility for their actions.
Neighbor: What DoorDash sees as an abuse of the process is viewed by neighbors as their only opportunity to resolve problems if DoorDash makes promises they don’t keep.
Neighbor: Parking is inadequate for delivery drivers and employees.
Neighbor: The space is too small for the business DoorDash is trying to put there. How will DoorDash coordinate 100 drivers a day using those four spots?
Neighbor: The impact of the proposed use is counter to ongoing residential use of the block. Load is the real issue and we need to hold them legally accountable.
Winding up the debate, Holman asserted that any reading of the regulations requires a loading platform. He expressed disappointment that DoorDash did not reach out to the community prior to applying for building permit. He said that DoorDash’s claim that their operation will not be a detriment to the community is “an insult to us in the community” and he expressed gratitude to Frager’s for relocating in the neighborhood during their period of recovery.
Afterward, the motion to appeal the permit passed 9 – 0 (Commissioner Krepp was absent but had previously announced her support for the motion to appeal.)
Hayden’s, Inc., 700 North Carolina Avenue, SE. Renewal of Class “A” Retail Liquor License.
Chat’s Liquors, 503 8th Street, SE. Renewal of Class “A” Retail Liquor License.
818 Potomac Avenue, SE. Zoning Adjustment Application – Modification of Significance to change the principal use of and add special exception relief for the approved project at 818 Potomac Avenue, SE. Applicant wants to change the approved long term residency use to short term residency and remove the requirement for a loading dock
13 7th Street, SE. Zoning Adjustment Application for Area Variance to construct a rear addition to an existing, attached, two-story principal dwelling unit.
241 11th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application – infill dogleg; rebuild existing one-story garage as a two-story dwelling.
515 5th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application to construct two-story addition at rear.
647 A Street, SE. Zoning Adjustment and Historic Preservation Application for Special Exception to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing, attached, two-story principal dwelling unit
Gandel’s Liquors, 211 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Tasting Endorsement for Class A Retail – Liquor Store.
JJ Mutt Wine & Spirits, 643 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Renewal of Class A Liquor License.
South East Market & Liquors, 1500 Independence Avenue, SE. Renewal of Class A Retail Liquor License.
World Wine and Spirits, 1453 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Renewal of Class A Liquor License with Tasting Endorsement.
Albert’s Liquors: 328 Kentucky Avenue, SE. Renewal of Class A Retail – Liquor License.
Harvest Tide Steak House: 212 7th Street, SE. Application for a Retailer’s Class C Restaurant License.
Santa Rosa Taqueria 301 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. Application to transfer a Class C Restaurant License to a new location.
900 South Carolina Avenue, SE. Historic Preservation Application. Concept: remove awning and bays at front and add two new door openings; add two window wells at west elevation and larger basement areaway at rear; new window openings at rear second story; new openings and cladding at rear one-story addition; new openings at one-story garage.
733 8th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application to add two stories plus penthouse to existing two-story building.
Potential Appeal of Building Permit for renovation of the former Frager’s Hardware store and 1323 E Street, SE.
Presentation: Executive Office of Mayor Bowser FY 2022 Proposed DC Budget – Dr. Chris Rodriguez, Director, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA).
$1,500 grant to Serve Your City/Ward 6 Mutual Aid.
Resolution in support of rank choice voting.
Toki Underground at 1244 H Street, NE. Application for a Class C Tavern License.
Dangerously Delicious Pie Shop, 1339 H Street, NE. Request to amend Settlement Agreement to permit outdoor entertainment.
Exotic Wine & Spirits, 801 Maryland Avenue, NE. Application for a Class A Retailer’s License.
Cru Hemp Lounge at 816 H Street, NE. Application for a Class C Tavern license.
Letter of support for DDOT’s proposed Option 3 on the 800 and 900 blocks of West Virginia Avenue, NE, (1-way with protected bike lanes) plus additional traffic calming measures, such as high visibility raised crosswalks and/or speed humps.
Letter of support to DDOT for the permit application for Capitol Square Bar and Grill at 1500 East Capitol Street, provided that the application be amended by the applicant to provide 15 feet of passageway on all sides of the patio; the outdoor patio cease operations at 10:00 pm on Sunday – Thursday and 11:00 pm on Friday – Saturday; and the patio capacity be limited to 35 seats and 40 standing.
Letter of support to DDOT for a permit application to be filed or already filed for a reinforced fence at 1369 C Street NE, including a new enclosure of the driveway, provided that the fence design conforms to the existing fence height and openness.
Letter to DDOT requesting speed humps, raised crosswalks, and other traffic-calming measures on the 1500 block of Isherwood Street NE.
Letter to Mayor Bowser and the DC Council in support of full funding for the Vision Zero Act in DC’s FY22 budget.
Resolution providing comments regarding the DDOT’s draft MoveDC 2021 update.
Helicopters and Emergency Vehicles to Converge on US Capitol Building Monday Morning
by Larry Janezich
On Monday morning, the US Capitol Police will hold a routine training exercise with federal, state and local agencies which will involve emergency vehicles and low flying helicopters. Timing is uncertain, but the last one occurred – without notice – at 6:00am on a Sunday morning.
The notice of the event may have had something to do with CM Charles Allen unhappiness over that previous training event in February.
At the March meeting of ANC6C, Allen complained that several weeks earlier he was walking his dog near Stanton Park early one Sunday morning and saw military helicopters “30 feet off the ground” coming from the direction of RFK Stadium to the Capitol, without notice. He said that was “incredibly disrespectful to the Capitol Hill neighborhood” and he was visibly annoyed at the idea that someone in the Pentagon thought that a training mission to evacuate the US Capitol at 6:15am was a good idea.
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ANC6B Appears Ready to Take on DoorDash Over Parking/Loading Dock Issues
by Larry Janezich
Posted June 4, 2021
Last Tuesday, ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted unanimously to recommend that the full ANC appeal DCRA’s issuance of DoorDash’s building permit for renovation of the old Frager’s Hardware store at 1323 E Street, SE. DoorDash plans on using the location for a warehouse distribution center for last mile delivery of convenience items. The recommendation comes up before the full ANC at its meeting next Tuesday where passage is virtually certain.
DCRA’s appeal process is backed up owing to the pandemic and a hearing is not likely to occur until January. In the meantime, it’s unclear what happens to work on the project while an appeal is pending.
The Committee says the building permit is flawed – that it claims four private parking spaces and a loading dock when in reality the existence of those claims is based in part on the use of public space. In addition, the building permit does not address required screening, lighting, zoning use and trash issues.
Actually, Frager’s Hardware had operated at the location for years without its incursion into public space being challenged, but things are different now. When it opened the temporary Frager’s on E Street in 2015, the site was surrounded by commercial and non-residential property. Now the site is a commercial island in a sea of new high rise residential property. In 2015, neighbors and the city looked the other way in the aftermath of the devastating 2013 fire which destroyed the beloved store on Pennsylvania Avenue. Holman says, “It would be a shame if the neighbor’s leniency grandfathers in a greater nuisance.”
DoorDash Manager Josh Neergaard told the committee at last Tuesday night’s virtual meeting that he is committed to operating the parking and loading dock legally. He called the planned DoorMart a small convenience store with 10% pickup by purchaser and 90% delivered by foot, bike, or car within a 3 – 5 radius. He suggested there were ways to work around the problems perhaps by converting street parking into a commercial loading zone which would be used two or three times a day.
Holman said that the city could resolve the major issues by granting a special exception to accommodate the company’s needs, but DoorDash has not filed for a special exception. Holman stressed that any agreement with the ANC can’t be legally enforced – but a special exception granted by the city can. As is, he said, the site doesn’t comply with zoning restrictions and can’t be used without mitigation from the Zoning Commission.
Holman says the solution is going through the special exception process which would include mitigating the impact of the business on the neighborhood, and he hopes DCRA reexamines and revokes the permit on its face when it reviews it. The applicant can then revise the building permit application to address ANC concerns and resubmit. Holman allowed that no one good compromise will make everyone happy.
Former ANC6B Commissioner Nick Burger lives on the block and worries about DoorDash overburdening the site and then finding out it can’t handle it. He says that even with a valid permit there will be a use issue – what was formerly a retail outlet is now a warehouse. He and other nearby residents are concerned about the amount of traffic the business will attract to the street.