ANC6A Commissioner Asks MPD for Help on 17th and Benning Road Trouble Spot
by Larry Janezich
ANC6A07 Commissioner Sondra Phillip-Gilbert says she has struggled to get the attention of MPD District 5 officials regarding trouble spots in her single member district including one at 17th and Benning Road. Last Thursday, at a safety meeting/walk following a shooting near 15th and C, NE, which left two wounded and residents alarmed, Phillips-Gilbert delivered an impassioned plea to MPD Officials asking for assistance in her own adjoining single member district. She asked First District Commander Morgan Kane and Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict to come to her single member district and walk with her on a tour of trouble spots. She spoke the hurt and pain she feels because she is unable to help the residents who come to her with their concerns.
Her single member district 6A07 in the northeast corner of ANC6A is bordered on the north by Benning Road and on the east by 19th Street, and largely by 16th Street on the west. The district lies in MPD District 5, outside of First District Commander Kane’s responsibilities. Benedict, an MPD Executive Assistant Chief, participated in last week’s meeting because he is a nearby resident. Fifth District Commander William Fitzgerald was not present at the safety meeting which was in the First District.
Phillips-Gilbert seized the opportunity to draw attention to her problems by inviting Commander Kane and Assistant Chief Benedict to come and walk with me her in the Rosedale Community and provide the same support that they were giving her neighboring ANC district.
She told Capitol Hill Corner, “My concern is that when public safety issues are presented, as Commander Kane stated, we must also include other agencies and resources to lend support to address these public safety concerns.
My concern is that the Rosedale Community does not get the wrap around support and strategy to resolve the chronic public safety concerns. We tend to receive what I call the Band-Aid approach whereby; they give you just enough support from one or two agencies to hold you together until the next explosion hits the community, and then you start the process all over again.
I want to see all agencies and MPD come together to sit down with me and discuss strategies on resolving the chronic public safety concerns at 17th and Benning Road, and other hot spot areas throughout the Rosedale community this year. It is my hope that by the close of the Summer Crime Preventive Program that I can speak on how effective the program addressed the concerns of the community and restored my hope and faith in them all.”
Mayor To Lift Most Covid Capacity Restrictions May 21 – Masks Requirements Remain
by Larry Janezich
In today’s Situational Briefing, Mayor Bowser said she would order lifting of most Covid restrictions on May 21, as the rate of corona virus infections continue to fall in DC. Bars, nightclubs, large entertainment venues, and sports arenas will have to wait until June 11 before limits are lifted.
Residents, workers, and visitors will continue to be required to wear masks.
On May 21, there will be no capacity limits on the following:
Restaurants (bars will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity)
Weddings and special events
Business meetings and seated conventions
Places of worship
Private at home gatherings
Libraries, museums, galleries
Gym and fitness centers
Large sports and entertainment venues will continue to operate under a waiver process
On June 11, there will be no capacity limits on bars and large sports and entertainment venues.
On June 7, 50% of DC government workers will return to work.
On July 12, all DC government employees will be required to return to work.
Presentation: Department of Parks and Recreation – Summer Camps, DC Pools, and Recreation Centers – (Tentative)
Extreme Pizza, 520 8th Street, SE. Renewal Class C Tavern License.
Santa Rose Taqueria, 301 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Request to transfer Class “C” Restaurant license from 301 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, to 313-315 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.
The Eastern Wine Bar, 360 7th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application. Concept: add metal pergola structure for sidewalk café.
420 11th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application. Rear addition and change in front façade from stucco to wood siding.
1525 K Street, SE. Zoning Adjustment Application for Special Exception to construct a rear, one-story addition with roof deck, to an existing, three-story, attached, principal dwelling unit.
313 9th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application for a second story addition to existing two-bay garage.
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. [6B consideration delayed until June. New BZA Hearing Date 6/30/2021]
21-261 232 10th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application for Concept Review and Zoning Adjustment Application for Special Exception to construct a three-story with cellar and roof deck, rear addition, to an existing attached, two-story with cellar, for a principal dwelling unit. [BZA and HPRB cases delayed until after ANC 6B June meetings. ANC 6B review delayed until June]
900 South Carolina Avenue, SE. Historic Preservation Application for Concept removal of 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. [Case will be considered in June; New HPRB hearing date 6/24/21 or 7/1/21]
13 7th Street, SE. Bureau of Zoning Adjustment for Area Variance to construct a rear addition to an existing, attached, two-story with basement, principal dwelling unit. [Case will be considered in June; BZA Hearing rescheduled for 6/23/21]
Pennsylvania Avenue Streetlights Project – Update on Traffic Signals. (Tentative)
Presentation: MPD Summer Crime Initiative – Captain Paul Hrebenak, MPD.
Presentaton: Anthony Diallo, Ward 6 Account Manager, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs , Celeste Duffie, Community Relations Specialist, Department of Public Works.
Presentation: Rank the Vote DC – Casey Watts.
Master Liquors at 1806 D Street, NE. Renewal of Class A Retail License. Recommendation: ANC6A protest the application on the grounds of negative effect on peace, order, quiet, and property values, and that the ANC authorize the chair and vice-chair of the ANC and the – of the ABL to represent the ANC in this matter.
Capitol Square Bar and Grill, 1500 East Capitol Street, NE. Application for a Class C Restaurant License. Recommendation: ANC 6A protest the application on the grounds of negative effect on peace, order, and quiet, and on vehicular and pedestrian safety, unless a satisfactory settlement agreement is finalized before the protest deadline, and that the ANC authorize the chair and vice-chair of the ANC, the commissioner in whose SMD the establishment is located, and the co-chairs of the ABL to represent the ANC in this matter.
New H Wine & Spirits, 914 H Street, NE. Renewal of Class A Retail License. Recommendation: Take no action.
Jumbo Liquors at 1122 H Street, NE. Renewal of Class A Retail License. Recommendation: Take no action.
Grand Liquors at 409A 15th Street, NE. Renewal of Class A Retail License. Recommendation: Take no action.
River Mart, 250 11th Street, NE. Renewal of Class A Retail License. Recommendation:
Resolution on the Negative Impact of Fencing Around the U.S. Capitol on Local Transportation.
Letter to DDOT in support of a dedicated parking spot for HIPS in front of their location at 906 H Street, NE, from 11:00 pm – 6:00 am, seven days a week, with the option of a PUDO (pick up/drop off space) during other hours.
Suggested Motion: ANC6A approve a Resolution in opposition to the proposed siting of a public restroom pilot at 17th Street and Benning Road NE.
MPD to Act After Street Fight Gunfire Hits Two Homes on 15th Street NE
Posted May 8, 2021
by Larry Janezich
Thursday evening residents near 15th and C Streets NE turned out for a discussion and safety walk with MPD after violence erupted last Saturday afternoon and a spate of gunshots resulted in the wounding of two individuals and bullets penetrating the interior of two nearby homes and striking the fence of a third.
MPD officials who came out to the meeting included Executive Assistant Chief Ashan Benedict (who has lived in the community for 20 years and who brought his wife and three daughters to the walk), First District Commander Morgan Kane, and Lt. Daniel Dyn.
The meeting/walk was organized by ANC6A08 Commissioner Brian Alcorn whose single member district is divided by the boundary between MPD Districts 1 and 5. ANC Commissioners from abutting or nearby single member districts turned out for the meeting, along with more than 30 residents.
Neighbors say that there are two sites on or near C Street, NE, between 15th and 16th Streets, where troublemakers gather to gamble, drink and do drugs – empty lots off the alley on the north side of C Street in the same block and the triangle park at the intersection of 16th and C Streets, NE. These activities, the neighbors say, have continued despite many 911 calls for police assistance and that the on-going proliferation of a number of minor incidents culminated in the shooting last Saturday.
One neighbor has called 911 “hundreds – probably thousands” of times to little or no effect with respect to resolving the problem. Some neighbors say they feel intimidated and terrorized by the activities. One neighbor whose home was struck by a bullet said that Saturday’s shooting left him and his family feeling threatened inside his own home.
Kane told the group before leading a walk to the trouble spots that she works closely with MPD 5th District Commander William Fitzgerald and that one of the things police need to do is to disrupt gambling activities – “that’s one of the strategies we employ.” Part of the difficulty in enforcement is that some of the activity occurs on privately owned vacant lots and part because these activities happen on either side of an MPD District dividing line. She spoke of the importance of bringing other city agencies to the table to address issues – including crisis response teams, substance abuse teams and parking enforcement.
Executive Assistant Chief Benedict backed up Kane’s commitment to the goal of making sure all residents are able to walk safely in their community, saying he has lived in the community for 20 years and was here today with his family because “this is my community and I wanted to be here”.
Councilmember Charles Allen – who joined the virtual meeting – said he had had a preview of the presentation, and had found it “phenomenal” and “stimulating – filled with space and light”, adding “I think you’ll be super excited to see where we’ve landed.”
Here Are the Latest Design Concepts for SE Library
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 6, 2021
On Wednesday night, DC Public Library held a virtual community meeting on the $23 million renovation of the Southeast Library, and Quinn Evans Architects gave Capitol Hill residents a look at the latest schematics for the plan. Representatives of Quinn Evans took attendees through a PowerPoint presentation.
The Upper Floor Plan: Here is adult collection, the media collection, a study room, and a staff workroom. The floor will be accessed through the original 7th Street entrance and the west stairwell/elevators via a new entrance on South Carolina Avenue.
Here’s a rendition of the Upper Floor looking toward the 7th Street entrance, showing the skylight and the light well. Furniture is notional and may not reflect what will finally be placed.
The Ground Floor Plan will feature a large meeting room, a study, a conference room, community computing, holds and new books, a circulation work room and storage. Friends of Southeast Library will have a storage room here to hold books donated for book sales.
Here’s a rendition of what the Ground Floor will look like from the 7th Street side conference room looking to the west end of the library. The “goldenrod” painted stairwell and elevators will permit access at the west end of the library, again via the new South Carolina entrance. Access is also permitted via interior stairwell descending from the main 7th Street entrance.
The below grade Lower Floor Plan includes: the elementary collection, spaces for programs and activities, the picture book collection, the early learning collection, and the teen collection. It also has staff rooms and the manager’s office. Natural light from the light well will be supplemented by a skylight running the length of the building over the underground extension of the below grade floor on the library’s south side. This level will be accessed directly from the new entrance on South Carolina.
Here’s a rendition of the Lower Level showing the underground southern extension lit by its own skylight as well as the central light well.
And here’s a rendition of the new entrance from South Carolina Avenue.
Designers say the renovation will provide:
25% more meeting/conference spaces
Almost 50% more computer space
Double the space for adult seating
3 times the space for children and families
3 bookable group rooms
Ground floor meeting story hour space
Entry level access for children’s programs
Age specific active learning spaces
Nine fold increase in children’s seating
Children’s collection increased more than 50%
The current library is closing at the end of 2022 and the renovated library will reopen in the spring of 2024.
Hotel/Airbnb Disrupter Sonder Expands Operation off Lower Barracks Row
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 5, 2021
Murillo/Malnati Development Group is changing the use of what was to be a 49 unit apartment building overlooking Virginia Avenue Park at 818 Potomac Avenue, SE, to what will functionally be self-service hotel. In its new incarnation, the building will be managed by the billion dollar disruptive hospitality startup Sonder, and the 49 units will join 32 short term rental units in an adjacent building at 816 Potomac Avenue also owned by Murillo/Malnati and already being operated by Sonder.
The change comes as a matter of right, but the developer has to come back to the city via ANC6B because they need a special exception for not having required loading. Although scheduled for next week’s meeting, 6B’s consideration was postponed until June, when the Zoning Adjustment Application will come before the BZA.
Sonder is a short term hospitality company that operates like a combination Airbnb and hotel. The company offers apartments like an Airbnb but in buildings they own or lease which are licensed as hotels. The rentals operate on a self-sufficiency model, but the company claims they offer the best of both of the hospitality worlds they target. Units have ready-to-cook-in kitchens and washers and dryers. So far, Sonder has apartments in 26 cities here and abroad. Sonder also operates The Avenue Flats in Del Ray, Alexandria and The Grace in Old Town, Alexandria.
As to the name: “sonder” is a Portuguese word meaning – among other things, “to probe”. But it probably comes from John Koenig’s forthcoming The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (Simon & Schuster, November 16, 2021), i.e., “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dictionary_of_Obscure_Sorrows
District Soul Food on Barracks Row Falls Victim to Pandemic
by Larry Janezich
Posted May 3, 2021
District Soul Food is closed. David Roundtree, the restaurant’s chief operation officer, told Capitol Hill Corner this morning, “We’re moving”, adding that details on the move would be forthcoming.
The restaurant opened in February of 2019 bringing “soul food with a French connection” – to Barracks Row. At the time, Roundtree said they were trying to set themselves apart by offering a full service restaurant with live music and a cigar lounge all in one.
The restaurant has struggled during the pandemic and the health and safety restrictions imposed by mayoral order.
The restaurant joins a host of other Capitol Hill restaurants which closed because of the COVID virus, including, Montmartre, 7th Hill Pizza, Aqua al 2, Capitol Lounge, Emilie’s, Wisdom, Finn McCool’s, Tortilla Coast, and Hank’s Oyster Bar.
The “Happiness” Art Show at Frame of Mine Store on Capitol Hill opened Saturday and will run through June 19. The Gallery is located at 545 8th Street, SE. The show is sponsored by the Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL).
Participating artists were asked to explore their art interpretations of “happiness” using any media, including photography. CHAL invites you to visit the gallery when shopping at Frame of Mine as well as viewing it online at the store website at: www.frameofmine.dc – the art may be purchased through the store.
The following artists are featured in the show: Anne Albright, Ken Bachman, Sally Canzoneri, Karen Cohen, Martin DeAlteriis, Elizabeth Eby, Tara Hamilton, Louise Holland, Steve Kunin, Victoria Lakes, Bennett Lowenthal, McCain McMurray, Heidi Nielson, Ann Pickett, Martha Pope, Nan Raphael, Carolyn Rondthaler, Judy Searles, Alexia Stefanovich, Rifat Taher, Karen Van Allen, Elin Whitney–Smith and Karen Zens,
Scissors & Scotch, 331 N Street, NE. Request for ANC6C Support for new liquor license. (From the website: “The Scissors & Scotch experience offers a complimentary cocktail, coffee, or cold one with every haircut, plus a full-service bar and lounge, because we know you’ll be ready for round two.”}
Capitol Fine Wine and Spirits, 415 H St.reet, NE. Renewal of Class A retailer’s license.
Kogod Liquors, 441 New Jersey Avenue, NW. Renewal of Class A retailer’s license and request to terminate the Settlement Agreement.
Courtyard by Marriott Washington, 1325 2nd Street, NE. New retailer’s Class B liquor license. Washington DC
Cru Hemp Lounge, 816 H Street, NE. New retailer’s Class C restaurant liquor license.
Tuesday, May 4
ANC6C Environment, Parks and Events Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
360 7th St SE: The Eastern Wine Bar. Historic Preservation Application. Concept: add metal pergola structure at sidewalk;
420 11th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application. Rear addition and change in front façade from stucco to wood siding.
1525 K Street, SE. Zoning Adjustment Application. Special Exception to construct a rear, one-story addition with roof deck, to an existing, three-story, attached, principal dwelling unit.
POSTPONED –818 Potomac Ave 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.
232 10th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application and Zoning Adjustment Application. Conception Review and Special Exception to construct a three-story with cellar and roof deck, rear addition, to an existing attached, two-story with cellar, principal dwelling unit. [Applicant has requested a delay in BZA Hearing Date to 6/9/2021]
313 9th Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application. Second story addition to existing two-bay garage. [Will be considered only at full meeting on May 11]
POSTPONED – 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. [Case will be considered in June. New HPRB hearing date 6/24/21 or 7/1/21]
POSTPONED – 13 7th St SE; Zoning Adjustment Application. Area Variance to construct a rear addition to an existing, attached, two-story with basement, principal dwelling unit. [Case will be considered in June; BZA Hearing rescheduled for 6/23/21]
Wednesday, May 5
ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee
220 H Street, NE, aka Senate Square. Zoning Adjustment for a modification of consequence to an approved 2005 PUD to allow the required affordable housing units to be rented rather than sold.
CANCELLED: ANC6B Transportation Committee *No Monthly Meeting for May* [The update on traffic signals regarding the Pennsylvania Avenue Streetlights Project will be heard at the Full ANC6B meeting on May 11.]
DC Public Library will hold a virtual Southeast Library Community Meeting at 6:30pm.
Caruso’s Grocery – Italian Restaurant at The Roost – Opens Next Week
by Larry Janezich
Caruso’s Grocery opens this week. The Roost’s Culinary Clubhouse at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, has one standalone restaurant – Caruso’s Grocery. It’s modeled on a classic southern Italian red sauce- red banquette-old school type eatery – like AV’s, for those who remember the iconic New York Avenue eatery favored by Members of Congress and neighborhood diners alike.
According to Chef Matt Adler, after a soft opening this weekend for friends and family, the restaurant will open for limited reservations on Wednesday, May 5th, and fully open a week later on May 12th.
The menu is not on their website yet, but it will feature traditional Italian – items including Chicken Parmesan, Shrimp Scampi, Penne alla Vodka, Mozzarella en Corozza, Sole Francaise, Garlic Bread with Four Cheese Sauce.
According to the website description, the beverage program will feature affordably priced Italian wines by the glass, carafe, and bottle, along with a short reserve list – and a selection of Italian-style pilsners and sours sourced from Italy. Vintage cocktails include an Espresso Martini, Limoncellotini, Mulberry St. Cosmo – all featuring house made liqueurs from Show of Hands, the Roost’s separate cocktail bar. Classic espresso rounds out the beverage menu.
Caruso’s chef, Matt Adler, spent most of his career focused on regional Italian cuisine. Adler has worked with top chefs including Alain Ducasse and Michael White. An opportunity to serve as opening chef to Osteria Morini in the Capitol Riverfront in 2013 brought him to DC. Osteria Morini received two and a half stars from both the Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine. Caruso’s was inspired by Adler’s father’s upstate New York restaurant called Scoozi. Adler partnered with Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) on the development of The Roost and Caruso’s Grocery in 2019. Besides the Culinary Clubhouse at The Roost, Michael Babin’s NRG also owns Iron Gate, Hazel, Bluejacket, and Churchkey, The Partisan and several outlets in Virginia, including the Evening Star Cafe, Buzz Bakeshop, Columbia Firehouse, Vermilion, and Rustico.
Community activist Barbara Riehle died on April 18 at George Washington University Hospital after a long illness.
She spent her career working for Senator John Chafee and his successor, Senator Lincoln Chafee. After retiring she became active in community and local politics. In 2008, she founded the Eastern Market Metro Community Association to oppose an early concept for the redesign of Eastern Market Metro Plaza which would have diverted east-bound traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue around the north side of the proposed “Town Square” past her front door.
After those plans were shelved, EMMCA took on developers of the Hine Project to oppose the mass, density and design and the cozy political relationships which many suspected led to the selection of Stanton/EastBanc as the developer. EMMCA had advocated for a smaller development proposed by another developer, DSF/Street Sense/Menkiti.
As part of that effort, she and her husband, Thom, recruited a slate of ANC6B candidates to challenge what they saw as an entrenched Commission which in its support for Stanton/Eastbanc was out of touch with some in its constituency. That effort resulted in the election of several reform candidates and new leadership for the ANC.
EMMCA subsequently fought for several years for a better design for the project and to reduce the height of the building. They also pushed to require developers to provide an education component, prohibit retail on 8th Street, minimize parking, and eliminate the segregation of affordable housing.
Barbara Riehle was also active in education and local school issues through MOTH – Mothers on the Hill and the Capitol Hill Montessori School.
She was a native of Providence, RI, and came to Washington in 1974 – marrying Thom Riehle in 1986. She was preceded in death by her husband Thom, and her son, Peter. She is survived by a daughter, Anna, and numerous siblings and relatives in Rhode Island.
According to the family, a memorial service in Washington will be held at a date and time to be announced. Donations in her memory may be made to Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian’s Community Action Group, Capitol Hill Village, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, or Capitol Hill Montessori. For more information and to leave condolences, here’s a link to the Providence Journal obit on the Legacy website: https://legcy.co/3t0SMxk