The Rumsey renovation will include space for small businesses and vendors as well as seniors. The DC budget which the City Council approved last Tuesday contained full funding for the renovation of Rumsey Aquatic Center to add a second floor for seniors and additional space on the ground floor to support Eastern Market vendors, DC makers, and small businesses. The project will also include renovation of the pool. According to CM Charles Allen, who pushed for the funding the Rumsey project, the Mayor has nixed the idea of pursuing senior housing at Rumsey but, he says, initial plans provide for significant space for an upstairs programming for senior services space that would also be able to utilize the pool for expanded services and activities. The second and final vote on the budget will be on May 30.
There’s talk about reopening the Rumsey Center’s entrance on C Street. Not many residents know that the entrance to the Rumsey Aquatic Court was once on C Street, SE. Here’s a street view of the south side of the building.
The former Kenny’s BBQ takes on new life. According to @BarredinDC, the Popal restaurateur clan who opened Lutece (Georgetown), Lapis (Adams Morgan), and the now –closed Berliner (Georgetown Waterfront) plans to reopen the former Kenny’s BBQ at 723 Maryland Avenue, NE, as a Mexican restaurant named Pascual. Kenny’s BBQ closed suddenly without explanation in July of 2022.
Here’s a view of the on-going buildout.
ICYMI Redevelopment of Union Station. May 12, the Federal Railroad Administration released a revised concept for the $8.8 billion renovation. Comments are welcome until July 6, after which a final review will occur and planning for construction will begin. The FRA will hold two public hearings next month. This will be the first renovation of the 115 year old station in thirty years. The rendering of the new train hall is from U.S. Fine Arts Commission.
There’s some new paint on The Fridge. But sadly, the gallery currently seems to be dormant.
The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 21, 2023
Monday, May 22
ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
CRYSP—a discussion of ideas for improving Lot 6 of RFK Campus with Anne Corbett CRYSP is an organization which advocates for recreational facilities for local residents and manages The Fields at RFK Campus forEvents, DC. For more info, go here: https://cryspdc.org/
ANC6B Southeast Library Task Force will hold an in-person meeting on Monday, May 22, 7:00pm, in Southeast Library, lower level.
Discussion of prospects for interim library space and an update about the effect of renovation on nearby residents.
Tuesday, May 23
ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Discussion of application by Kitchencray H LLC t/a Kitchen Cray at 1301 H Street, NE, for Substantial Changes to its existing license.
ANC6B Parks and Public Space Taskforce will hold an in-person meeting at 7pm at 700 Pennsylvania Ave, SE; Conference Room 2074 (entry adjacent to Trader Joe’s).
This initial meeting of the task force will involve identifying issues, problems and opportunities, establishing boundaries, and evaluating promising procedural strategies. Our meeting will necessarily consider also a brand new issue within our committee’s purview: a recent report that is highly critical of the actual service that the National Park Service provides for DC parks. See here: https://go.gwu.edu/npsreport
Julie Rupert, Assistant Chief of the Juvenile System, Office of the Attorney General, (OAG)
ANC6B Special Committee on Public Safety (file photo)
OAG Juvenile Justice Official Talks about Balancing Accountability and Rehabilitation
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 17, 2023
Monday night, Julie Rupert, Assistant Chief of the Juvenile System, Office of the Attorney General, (OAG) gave an overview of the Office of the Attorney General’s Juvenile Justice System to ANC6B’s Special Committee on Public Safety.
Some of the main takeaways:
There has been an increase in certain types of offenses by juveniles – car thefts, carjackings, gun possession and shootings., more now than pre-pandemic. (“The media would have you believe there are much much more,” Rupert said.)
Generally, OAG policy is they don’t charge youths under 13 but there are exceptions and some 12 year olds are charged if their behavior presents a significant danger or has occurred repeatedly and OAG believes the criminal justice system has to get involved – that there needs to be accountability and services put in place.
It is hard to say what the causes are, but the pandemic left many youths unsupervised and in unstructured environments with neighborhood mentors instead of school-based mentors.
The OAG is processing fewer cases today than pre-pandemic because they are filtering out cases that don’t need to be in the juvenile justice system and are connecting youths with more pre-charging services.
Addressing the revolving door between the justice system and poor neighborhood environments will be an difficult expensive process.
The following is a summary of Ruperts remarks on the OAG and prosecution of delinquent juveniles which she made to ANC6B’s Committee.
The OAG Juvenile Justice System is similar to the adult criminal justice system but the activities, mechanics and procedures vary. The juvenile system deals with those under the age of 18 who have committed crimes in DC. Charges can only brought against youths under 18 – but supervision extends to an individual’s 21st birthday. The Juvenile Division is focused on rehabilitation – driven by the belief that rehabilitation is the best way to reduce recidivism.
Youths can either be arrested based on probable cause or by submission of a request to OAG which generally comes after an MPD investigation. OAG reviews the facts and if it finds merit submits it to the court which decides if an arrest should be made.
Once an arrest is made the individual is presented to the court within 24 hours. The youth is on a lock up list and the OAG has to make a decision whether to charge the case in juvenile court.
If the AG is considering charging the case, OAG has to decide if there is probable cause and whether the evidence supports proving a case beyond reasonable doubt. If the evidence is deficient and OG can’t prove the charge, they would not prosecute and case ends there – unless it’s diverted.
If not charged, and the alleged offense is lower level, non-violent, and the alleged offender’s first time, OAG has the option of diversion: referring the youth to a program of pretrial supervision with case workers similar to probation officers who connect youths to mental health assessment or other community-based services. Participation is voluntary and the family agrees to take part in the diversionary program.
At the Initial arraignment if the AG seeks pretrial detention OAG has to show probable cause at a hearing and needs to have a witness appear before an arraignment judge in Superior Court – a mini-trial. The court hears what the individual is accused of and if the judge finds probable cause, the court can order detention or pre-trial placement. In that case the government has to show significant risk to persons or property and no life restrictive needs. Currently, there is a “least restricting or no detention presumption” for most offenses but a judge may order security detention. Several years ago, the city council passed a law setting presumption in favor of detention for violent offenders.
If OAG charges a case, it begins the life cycle of the Juvenile Justice System.
The case can be resolved by a plea, a trial, or by different court programs. The Juvenile Justice Diversion program addresses special needs and focuses on mental health services involving frequent appearances in court. For example, the HOPE Court (Here Opportunities Prepare you for Excellence) is for victims of sex trafficking. These options involve different tracking levels – youths can be sentenced with a plea, without a plea, or as a condition of post-sentencing.
In Juvenile Court, sentencing is called disposition. There are only two options for disposition:
Probation – community based supervision by the court’s social services division which handles both pre-trial and post-trial supervision. Probation can only be for a maximum of one year and a judge decides the conditions, and
Commitment to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services and that can be for any period of time up to the person’s 21st It’s a common misperception that commitment means being sent to the juvenile detention center, but that is one of three options.
Commitment can be to a DC government agency independent of the court which has legal custody and supervision, and the agency decides where the youth lives and goes to school and other conditions.
Commitment can mean the youth remains at home or in a mid-level staff-secure group home with different kinds of treatment and services, and with ability to leave the building.
The highest level of commitment involving someone who the court feels is a danger to the community or presents the danger of committing a violent offense or for a multiple offender or where other ways have already been, is commitment to a secure facility in Laurel, MD. Commitment is not for a length of time, but to a program which typically lasts nine months to a year.
Community criminal justice advocate Anthony Petty with Neighbors for Justice, offered his insight regarding the need to relocate youths once they leave the structured environment of the rehabilitation system. Petty says there are currently no relocation programs and youths don’t have lot options to place kids once they leave institutions. He said, “They leave and just run wild and go back to the same environment and there’s a good chance kids go back doing same things they have always done. Once youths in the system go home, the structure is not here and in the households they’ve been living in it’s very hard to change. They speak about their safety – it’s their number one issue – and the only way they feel safe is to arm themselves.”
Rupert said that it takes a multi-prong approach involving education, housing, and jobs – a multi-system approach is needed to be successful in breaking the barriers to a successful transition.
The Special Committee on Public Safety will meet next in mid-June and will discuss the Office of Unified Communications and the recent failure of the 911 System.
ANC7D has a lot on its large plate. Photo and text by Hilary Russell.
ANC 7D monthly meetings have full agendas, given that its 10 commissioners represent a large territory: Hill East, Kingman Park, Congressional Cemetery, Kenilworth East and Eastland Gardens, Mayfair, River Terrace, and Rosedale. Recent meetings have lasted considerably more than two hours, though two commissioner positions (Mayfair and River Terrace) remain vacant.
The May 9 meeting included consideration of Parkside, a massive “master-planned community” by City Interests Development Projects located on Kenilworth Terrace NE. Commissioner Ebony Payne detailed the need to allow vehicular left turns onto Oklahoma Avenue, improve intersection safety, and integrate drop-off and other requirements of Blow Pierce Elementary School into the 19th Street Bike Lane Project. See here for more: https://bit.ly/3Woz7b3
Commissioners heard from Ward 7 liaisons in two offices—the Mayor’s and Councilmember Vincent Gray’s—and from representatives from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Anacostia Riverkeepers; Marshall Heights Community Association; Events DC; and CRYSP DC, which manages the fields in the RFK campus.
The meeting noted the following upcoming events:
Another “Kidical Mass” DC family-friendly bike ride is planned for Capitol Hill on May 20 at 4 pm.
On May 23 at St. Coletta’s, the Hill East Civic Association will host presentations by developers on Reservation 13 and RFK from 6:30 to 8 pm.
WELLderness, a weekend outdoor series of Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens includes yoga, tai chi, an Indian dance workshop, and sessions titled journaling in nature and intuitive eating.
DC’s “Truck Touch” Day, on June 3 at RFK Festival Grounds from 8 am to 1pm, offers children and adults opportunities to climb into DC vehicles that clean and repair streets, fix traffic lights, collect trash, and shovel snow, as well as other fun family activities.
Kitchen Cray on H Street, NE, wants a stipulated (meaning they can start operating immediately) Tavern License with Entertainment Endorsement. Last Thursday, it appeared that ANC6A was ready refuse to support the request and took it off the agenda at the last minute to give the restaurant’s management time to meet with the ANC and the community. Some of the nearby neighbors think the proposed business model for the venue is a disaster for the neighborhood and think that the restaurant already launched a nightclub in violation of its license. Commissioner Mike Velasquez gave Kitchen Cray credit for acknowledging its mis-steps and said he was hopeful of having a productive conversation with management and neighbors this coming week.
Penn and Potomac Avenue Traffic Circle. CM Charles Allen reports that the project is funded and construction will begin next year to make the intersection safer and more welcoming. At Tuesday night’s ANC6B meeting,, Commissioner Matt LaFortune, Chair of the 6B Transportation Committee, announced the project director will provide an update at the June meeting of the Committee on June 7.
Movement on the development of the H Street Auto Zone site. ANC6A Commissioner Mike Velasquez told ANA on Thursday night that the site’s owner WestMill Capital Partners – expects Auto Zone to move from its H Street location by the end of summer when its lease expires. Afterward, the parking lot will be fenced off to mitigate on-going parking lot issues until construction starts. A pre-development Zoning Hearing will occur in September.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse – a Friday night film in Lincoln Park. Photo: Amber Gove
Friday night, MPD First District sponsored this year’s first Friday Night Films in Lincoln Park. This is an occasional event coordinated through ANC6A. ANC6A Chair Amber Gove, who was on site Friday night, said she was exploring other Friday nights to schedule repeat events, but noted that show time depends on darkness and the best time from that perspective is late spring and early fall. As it was, it was nearly 8:30pm before Friday night’s film started.
Popcorn and lemonade were courtesy of MPD as well. Photo: Amber Gove
The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 14, 2023
The Week Ahead…
Monday, May 15
ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
Presentation: DC Office of the Attorney General Public Safety Division.
Discussion – 911 System.
Identify agenda items and potential Expert/Guest speakers for next meeting.
Tuesday, May 16
Virtual CHRS Preservation Café at 6:30pm.
Joanna Kendig, a local historian and CHRS board member, will present a virtual Preservation Café on the history of our DC water and sewer Infrastructure. Running water and modern sanitation are necessary for healthy living. We now take them for granted, but they were non-existent when the District was first established in 1793. Learn about the development of these essential services which evolved as our city grew to become a modern metropolis.
City Agency Slow to Call Out Reg Violations in Capitol Hill Student Rooming House
By Larry Janezich
Posted May 12, 2023
A rooming house at 101 5th Street, NE, owned by a Las Vegas Real Estate Investment firm has housed 20 students from Delaware and New York since the summer of 2022 without a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) or a rooming house license. The students are participating in the Universities’ Semester in DC Programs. Capitol Hill has a growing number of residential properties repurposed for corporate use (violating city regulations) but whose owners suffer little or no sanctions for doing so. ANCs are almost powerless to address the issue and city agencies, in the words of an ANC6B commissioner referring to the same problem on New Jersey Avenue, SE, “don’t want to do anything about it.”
ANC6C Commissioner Jay Adelstein, investigating on behalf of concerned neighbors, recently ascertained the number of students occupying the house and where they are from.
In response to neighbor concerns, DLCP and DOB determined in September of 2022 that the owners of 101 5th Street were in violation of DC laws: 1. Engaging in business (rooming house) without a housing transient license endorsement and 2. Operating after a business certificate of registration has been terminated.
But it took until first week of May 2023 for DLCP and DOB to start enforcing the law by prohibiting further operation because of the lack of a CO and rooming license and because 101 5th Street failed a CO inspection on May 4.
Valerie Jablow, an education blogger who lives on Capitol Hill near 101 5th Street, NE, has been engaged with city agencies on the use of the property for the past ten months. Last Wednesday night, she appeared before ANC6C for the second time on the matter, and again citing 101 5th, urged ANC6C to work with ANC6B to ensure proper use of neighborhood buildings and proper licensing.
Commissioner Adelstein complimented Jablow saying that “you have not only shaken the branches but shaken the trunk and apparently have the attention of both DOB and DLCP… they’ve reached out to the University of Delaware … I think it’s on course for resolution . The bigger problem is the commercialization of our residential properties on The Hill.”
Commissioner Joel Kelty said he wanted “to note that ANC6C has spent many many years attempting to bring the failures of former DCRA now DOB and the professional licensing division of the former DCRA to light and so we are sympathetic to your concerns…”
A time line of mile stones in story of the search for accountability is revealing:
July, 2022 – Valerie Jablow raised concerns with city agencies about the property when the house was being renovated without the owners getting permits. The city issued a stop work order and levied fines before work resumed on the renovation.
September, 2022. DLCP and DOB, determine that the owners of 101 5th Street were in violation of DC laws: 1. Engaging in business (rooming house) without a housing transient license endorsement, and 2. Operating after a business certificate of registration has been terminated.
October 13, 2022. Notice of Infraction was sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings for adjudication. (That case was still awaiting adjudication in May of 2023. Meanwhile, rooming and apparently business meetings continued without disruption DLCP.)
January, 2023. People are seen leaving the property on weekday evenings without suitcases, but in business attire and with briefcases, suggesting that they were conducting business there during the day, then leaving at day’s end.
Mid-February. The property still had no rooming house license and no CO.
March 13. In response to neighbors’ inquiries, DCPL certifies that there are currently no active licenses for 101 5th Street and that the Notice of Infraction sent to the Office of Administrative Hearings for adjudication was still pending. DCPL refused to comment on the Notice of Infraction but said community members “are welcome to file a FOIA request in the meantime.”
March 28. Jablow testified before Council on DOB oversight hearing to support enforcement of license requirements re operation of any hotel or inn in DC and asked that DOB’s ability to keep corporation from pretending to be actual people who occupy a house be ensured.
April 12. Jablow emails ANC6C Planning & Zoning Committee asks why 101 5th Street has been allowed to operate without a license and asked the ANC to 1. reach out to other city agencies to ask how they define how a corporation “resides” in a house, 2. work to stop unlicensed rooming houses and prohibit use of neighborhood properties as offices, and 3. better align property taxation, zoning, and permitting with use to combat tax and other building fraud.
May, 2023. DLCP and DOB prohibit 101 5th Street from operating as a rooming house because of the lack of a CO and rooming license and because it failed a CO inspection on May 4.
Jablow expresses her concerns to the University of Delaware which replies that it is seeking details from the housing provider.
May 9 – DLCP contacts the University of Delaware and says “we’re beginning a conversation with the schools involved now to see what steps will taken with regards to further enforcement action.”
May 9 – Jablow emails Emir Gur-Ravantab | Account Manager, Office of the Director [DLCP], to inquire what happens after the universities’ Semester in DC ends on May 20 with respect to the suspected business activities at 101 5th Street?
May 10 Emir Gur-Ravantab | Account Manager, Office of the Director [DLCP] replys:
“I understand your concern given that you’ve been seeing this building operate as a business illegally for some time now. I know that action may seem inert due to the time frame it’s been taking, but there is action from our end in the pipeline; the complaint filed earlier in the spring when I first contacted you carries several thousand dollars in fines, and is now going through the legal motions. As a reminder, Notices of Infraction from DLCP must first be processed through the Office of Administrative Hearings, after which they become public, and payment is due. If unlicensed business activity continues, beyond May 20th or at any time, our agency will continue to issue NOIs with fines worth thousands of dollars to enforce the owner into compliance. In certain cases, we can also issue a cease and desist order, but that would need to be approved by our legal office. Due to the structure of DC law and our agency’s policies, we must utilize our method of issuing citations first before being able to take any drastic measures, i.e., cease and desist order. The only time otherwise where business activity can be swiftly shut down or otherwise interfered with is in the case of a life or health safety issue, which would involve action from either DOB or DC Health, depending on the issue, and not a call that DLCP can make. I hope this clarifies a few things. Warm Regards,”
What’s missing from the reply is an explanation for the months of delay in addressing the issue, either to stop the illegal occupancy or ensure safe operation at 101 5th, until May of 2023. Further, the email allows the reader to infer that there is no remedy to the purported use of a corporate-owned residential property for business or political meetings.
The case of 101 5th Street illustrates what appears to be city government tolerance of corporate use of Capitol Hill’s residential properties – much desired owing to their proximity to the U.S. Capitol, bars, restaurants and the Metro. But, as Jablow put it in correspondence with CM Briane Nadeau and Council Chair Phil Mendelson, “I want to point out that if DLCP refuses to enforce the law in this case, or construes its duty to end at enforcement, DC will see only more of this behavior, especially in close-in areas of Capitol Hill, where improper use of residential properties as corporate spaces can be lucrative and convenient when the law is not enforced. This in turn violates the expectation of DC residents living in residential areas like mine, which is that the properties around them coded for use as residential are, in fact, residential.”
DDOT employees use white paint on sidewalks to mark a hazard when they go into the field to validate a complaint.
Pedestrian Safety Advocacy. Scott Price, representing the CHV, appeared before ANC6B’s Transportation Committee to present an CHV initiative to address Capitol Hill’s dangerous brick sidewalks. According to Price, DDOT has different standards and goals for automobile hazards vs. pedestrian hazards. DOT has three days to fix potholes vs nine months for sidewalks – and, regarding the latter, meet that goal 54% of the time. The issue is systemic and DDOT is dealing with it on a case be case basis.
CHV’s plan is to set up a system whereby residents can send a photo and location of CH sidewalks in need of repair, and CHV will file a request for them with DDOT and monitor progress on repair and maintain a data base.
CVH will take this presentation to ANC6A and 6Cto seek advice regarding CHV goals and methods.
ANC6B’s Southeast Library Task Force met Sunday afternoon in Southeast Library. The group received an update from the Chair – Commissioner David Sobelsohn – on the search for interim space/servces for a bare bones library operation during the two years SE Library will be undergoing renovation. Sobelsohn reported on three possibilities under consideration. 1. A bookmobile can be rented for an estimated cost of $70,000. 2. The former Covid Center on Barracks Row at 507 8th Street is available at a discounted rate of $20,000 a month. 3. The Arthur Capper Recreation Center at 1000 5th Street, SE, has free space which is potentially available, though admittedly out-of-the-way for some current users of SE Library. The group discussed the urgent need to express community concerns to both Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen and Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White (Chair of the Council’s Committee on Recreation, Libraries and Youth Affairs). The group feels that support from the two Councilmembers is essential if the budget is to contain any funds for interim space/services. The Council will hold an initial vote on the Budget on May 16 and a final vote will follow on May 30. The Task Force will next meet at 7:00pm on May 22, in SE Library.
Going through Hell: The Divine Dante. At the National Gallery, April 9 – July 16 – West Building, Main Floor.
Going through Hell: The Divine Dante exhibits some 20 works from the National Gallery’s collection, including paintings, early printed illustrations by William Blake, pieces by Auguste Rodin created for his sculpture The Gates of Hell, and a collage by Robert Rauschenberg.
And while you’re at the West Building, if you have an extra hour, these tours start from the Rotunda.
Lola’s, 711 8th Street, SE. Application for an Entertainment Endorsement for a Class C Tavern License.
Mason & Greens DC, 400 8th Street, SE. New Application for a Retailer’s Class “B” Full-Service Grocery Store License.
706 15th Street, SE, Project. Zoning Adjustment Application to construct a rear deck addition, to an existing, attached, two-story with cellar, principal dwelling unit.
DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) Interim Director, Shirley Kwan-Hui.
C Office of the Tenant Advocate’s (OTA) Education & Community Outreach team (E&O).
Alcohol Beverage Control Committee
I Egg You, 517 8th Street, SE. New Application for a Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant license.
Democratic National Committee. Request to amend the existing Settlement Agreement to increase the hours of operation and sales, service, and consumption of alcohol. Current: Mon-Fri: 11:30 am – 1:00 am. The requested hours are: Sun-Thur. 7:00 am – 2:00 am; Fri-Sat. 7:00 am – 3:00 am.
Planning and Zoning Committee
Request for Oversight by Council of DOB Vacant Building Enforcement.
235 12th Street SE Project. Historic Preservation Application. To add a third floor and roof deck to an existing two story row house and construct and to add a second story/accessory dwelling unit to an existing garage structure.
Alley Closing in Square 762 Project. Application to close NE portion of existing alley system in Square 762. (Square 762, Abutting Lots 842, 843, and 823). Between 2nd & 3rd Street SE; Pennsylvania & C Street SE.
Report for the Southeast Library Task Force.
Public Parks and Recreation Spaces Task Force.
Report for the Public Parks and Recreation Spaces Task Force.
Report for the Special Committee on Public Safety.
Report for Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee.
David Epley, Associate Director, Data & Benchmarking Division, Department of Energy & Environment.
Motion ANC 6A take no action with regard to the application of Gallery O on H at 1354 H Street, NE, for renewal of its Class C Multipurpose Liquor License.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of support to DDOT for the four Notices of Intent for reducing the speed limit from 25 to 20 mph, and to request DDOT provide a status report on other pending ANC 6A requests.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of support to DDOT for the Notices of Intent for the 8th Street Bus Priority Project.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of support to DDOT for Public Space Notice #10994457, and requesting DDOT give the ANC 30 days’ notice to review such requests in the future.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of support to DDOT for Public Space Notice #10994461, and requesting DDOT give the ANC 30 days’ notice to review such requests in the future.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of support to BZA for a Special Exception to construct a two-story rear addition, to an existing, attached, two-story with cellar, principal dwelling unit at 424 10th Street, NE.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter of support to BZA for: Request for a Special Exception to construct a third story addition to an existing, attached, two-story with cellar, flat at 1112 8th Street, NE.
Alcohol Beverage Licensing
Motion that ANC 6A not support the request of KitchenCray at 1301 H Street, NE, for a stipulated Class C Tavern License with Entertainment Endorsement pending ABRA’s consideration of its application for a substantial change to its existing license.
Motion that ANC 6A support KitchenCray’s request for stipulated license with entertainment on the lower level only, on the condition that they sign a Settlement Agreement, with ABL Chair Erin Sullivan, ANC Chair Amber Gove, ANC Vice Chair Keya Chatterjee, Commissioners Mike Velasquez and Robb Dooling all authorized to represent the ANC in this matter.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter to DPR Director requesting:
an explanation for the lack of programming at Sherwood over the last two quarters and specific plans for programming in Q3 and Q4;
2. plans for improvement in routine maintenance of the building and ground and cleanliness in the outdoor areas surrounding the building;
3. confirmation of alternative plans for a hypothermia shelter for Winter 2024.
Motion that ANC 6A send a letter to Councilmember Allen reaffirming ANC 6A support for the DC Streetcar extension to Benning Road Metro Station.
The shaded dog leg on the right is the deadend alley the Conservative Partnership Institute proposes to privatize.
This image shows the three buildings which would become one building after consolidaton of four separate lots into one lot.
This architect’s rendering shows the three proposed additions (in pink): two additions to the former Capitol Lounge building and one addtion to the My Eye Doctor building. The latter backs up to 203 3rd Street, SE, an apartment house which is also owned by CPI. CPL also owns two town houses on 3rd Street adjacent to the apartment building, 205 and 207 3rd Street. Building number 3 is a garage which is part of the 203 3rd Street property which currently is not directly connected to the apartment building.
Here’s the architect’s rendering of what the patio would look like, framed by the three addtions. Note the upper right where the depiction appears to show an event space on the roof of the additon to the rear of 203 3rd Street.
Here’s the architect’s rendering ot the street scape on the south side of the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. The tall blue and red buildings at center and the tall white building at right are all owned by CPI. The Heritage Foundation owns the lower building between the red and white structures.
Conservative Group Seeks Closure of Capitol Hill Alley for Patriot Row HQ
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 7, 2023
The Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) has retained one of the largest legal firms in the country to help privatize a public alley on Capitol Hill to facilitate combining several properties on the 200 block of PA Ave, SE, for its new headquarters.
Last Thursday night, Christopher Cohen, land use counsel for Holland and Knight, David Cheney of Core Architect + Design, CPI’s COO and CPI’s President and CEO appeared before ANC6B’s Planning and Zoning committee to support CPI’s application to privatize the dead-end alley behind the former Capitol Lounge at 229-231 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. That property is one of nine recently purchased by CPI – at a reported cost of $41 million – on the block bounded by 2nd and 3rd Streets SE and PA Ave and C Street SE.
According to Cohen, the purpose of privatizing the alley is to enable the consolidation of three separate buildings into what will legally become a single building and will enable rear additions to two of the buildings. The privatized area would become an outdoor patio in connection with the single building and would remain open space. (Later, the architect for the project said in response to a question from a committee member that the additions could be done as a matter of right regardless of the privatization.)
CORE Architect David Cheny elaborated that the patio would be an extension of the Capitol Lounge to provide additional seating and kitchen space as well as a connection to the carriage house at the rear of the property. Renovating the former Capitol Lounge would make the restaurant compliant with DC code and thereby more attractive to a potential operator who would reopen it.
ANC Commissioner Kasie Durkit asked Cohen about the legal standard for closing the alley. Cohen said the standard is that the alley is not necessary for alley purposes. He explained that after the Office of DC Survey receives an application for closure, DC agencies and utilities – including the ANC – weigh in. After any objections are resolved the matter proceeds to DC Council for a public hearing, then the Mayor would sign legislation privatizing the alley if approved by DC Council.
Durkit also asked Cohen how he would respond to the argument that this is private conversion of public space, i.e., closing an alley to convert it to private use.
Cohen said he wasn’t sure he understood the question.
Durkin said that some might object that what was once public space is now private space and would push back on an encroachment onto a public area.
Cohen’s response was to refer to the process: there’s an application to close the alley – it’s reviewed – it goes to the city council – and the mayor signs it…it doesn’t happen overnight. He said the space was dedicated as public space over 100 years ago – it was once private property – and that sometimes alley closings are “reset” especially when an alley is not necessary for vehicular access.
This elicited a question from a nearby resident who calculated that some 1,000 square feet of alley space valued at $400 a square foot would translate to $400,000 and wondered who pays for this. Cohen responded that there is no payment involved other than going through the process – that (the transfer) is not transactional.
Resident committee member Corey Holman, former ANC6B Chair and former chair of 6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee, followed up on Cohen’s response to Durkit’s question about taking public land for private use. Holman said, “I don’t think pointing to the regulations is helpful. You are taking what is a public alley and using if for private and literally walling it off. I need a better response to that. Casting the argument in terms of the application reclaiming land that was originally private doesn’t hold. I just need a better response to the claim you’re taking public land for private good. Second, (in response to an assertion by Cohen that the alley closings do not involve the Comp Plan) … it’s completely at odds with a plain reading of the Comprehensive Plan that says ‘protect Capitol Hill’s historic alleys’. Closing a public alley for private use is completely at odds with the Comp Plan. It’s curious that the Comp Plan is not meaningful in this context… every word is meaningful… (saying that) the regulations don’t matter is not helpful and doesn’t assuage me. The applicants need a better response to these two questions.”
Commissioner David Sobelsohn provided a response to Holman, citing his own work in pioneering community benefit agreements as a commissioner in ANC6D. Sobelsohn said that in instances where public land was transferred for private profit, ANC6D told developers “we need you to make specific benefits to the community – whatever we can negotiate.” He said, that is why the new Rubell Museum in SW provides free admission for DC residents … “That’s how we resolved it in 6D. I suggest we start doing the same thing in 6B.”
Holman said he totally agrees with Sobelsohn and encouraged the ANC “to follow Sobelsohn’s lead on this process, if it should move forward….”
There followed a discussion about how to proceed and at what point the Committee should make a recommendation to the full ANC whether to support the application for closure. Cohen expressed his willingness to return before the Committee at its June meeting when the applicants would have a better idea of any issues the project faces as the result of feedback from city agency comments to the Office of the DC Surveyor and a better idea of when they might expect to proceed to a hearing before the city council.
Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Frank D’Andrea brought the discussion to a close, saying “It’s pretty clear…there’s going to be some sort of ask for some sort of public benefit. I encourage applicants to come back next month when hopefully there will be more input from other agencies and we can comment on that then.”
Commissioner Jerry Sroufe, in whose single member district the project lies, offered a motion to inform the full ANC that the committee is continuing the conversation with the applicant at the next meeting of the Planning and Zoning Committee. The motion was agreed to unanimously.
The Conservative Partnership Institute is chaired by former Senator Jim Demint who founded the organization after he was bumped from the leadership role at the Heritage Foundation. Former WH Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is listed as the organization’s Senior Partner – ahead of President and CEO Ed Corrigan and COO Wesley Denton.
Ward 6’s Bike & Roll to School Day Began in Lincoln Park This Morning – Photos
By Larry Janezich
Posted May 3, 2023
The Ward Six participation in the 12th annual National Bike & Roll to School Day launched from Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill this morning. The event highlights the benefits of active transportation to school and promotes safe and accessible spaces for all active trips. The crowd of several hundred bikers – kids and parents – began assembling in the park at 7:30am. There were other celebrations in the city marking the day but this one in Ward 6 was the largest.
The event featured a host of local and national officials including Ward Six Councilmember Charles Allen. Mayor Bowser was scheduled to attend but was a no-show. The DC government’s television crew provided live coverage of the event anyway.
Allen singled out event organizers Suzanne Wells, President, Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization (center) and Sandra Moscoso, board member of the D.C. Open Government Coalition, School Without Walls HSA, and Ward 6 Public Schools Parent Organization (at left) as the “stalwarts who get things going every year.”
The event closed with a performance by the Eastern High School Blue and White Marching Band.
At 8:15am, the crowd split up and departed the Park for their respective schools. Here, the Payne School contingent – one of the largest – rolls out.
“Framing A View” – A Capitol Hill Art League Exhibit at Frame of Mine Gallery
The Frame of Mine Gallery offers this special venue featuring the Capitol Hill Art League, offering a range of creativity, multi-media creations. The art is on display through June 23rd in an exhibition at the Frame of Mine Gallery located at 545 8th Street, SE.
With the theme “Framing a View” artists offer such views in painting, photography and digital art media.
The following artists are featured in the show: Tara Hamilton, Carolyn Rondthaler, Elin Whitney-Smith, Karen Zens, Lisa Bernstein, Kimberly Brammer, Julie Byrne, Joseph Springer and Alexandra Treadaway-Hoare.