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Metro Transit Police Talk About Shooting at Potomac Avenue Metro Stop

MPD 1st District Community Advisory Committee held a virtual meeting last night. Among issues discussed was the recent gun violence at Potomac Avenue Metro.

Metro Transit Police Talk About Shooting at Potomac Avenue Metro Stop

by Larry Janezich

Posted February 8, 2023

Update:  5:00pm, Wednesday.  After a Metro employees was killed a week ago, this afternoon Mayor Bowser announced a new public safety partnership between MPD and WMATA that would provide increased police presence at five Metro Stations in the city during the morning and evening commutes:  Gallery Place, Metro Center, Union Station, Georgia Avenue, and Congress Heights.  Metro Transit Police are already maintaining a higher presence – for the time being – at Potomac Avenue Metro. 

Last night, Captain Beau Perrizo, Commander of Metro Transit Police (MPT) District 3, talked to the MPD 1st District Citizens Advisory Committee* about last week’s shootings at Potomac Avenue Metro Station.  The virtual meeting which provides an opportunity for MPD brass to interact with residents is held monthly. 

Perrizo said MTP was surprised at the recent gun violence at Potomac Avenue Metro because “we don’t usually face that issue.”  In response to the shootings, he said, MTP has detailed a lot more officers to the 3rd District system by paying overtime.  The increased presence includes plain clothes officers, Special Response Units, and Explosive Ordinance Disposal officers.  He said that teams of plain clothes officers ride the buses every day. 

Replying to a question from Robert Pittman, President of the 1st District CAC, about how long the increased police presence at Potomac Avenue Metro would last, Perrizo said that as always, staff is deployed based on crime data and complaints. 

He added, “Transit crime is not often seen in the First MPD District and not at Potomac Avenue Metro Station.  One tragic incident is the reason for increased police presence in this one station.  There is no reason to believe it is an ongoing issue or related to crime in the overall system.”  Near the end of the meeting, he offered a comment that provided additional insight on the shooting:  “Since the pandemic, there are more mentally unwell people in the system and more people on edge.”

The MTP 3rd District includes rail and bus transit including the Branch Avenue, New Carrolton and Potomac Avenue stops as well as the stations up to L’Enfant Plaza.  MTP jurisdiction extends to rail transit, buses, transit facilities, parking lots and to the area within 150 feet of any bus stop – although in the latter case MTP relies on MPD police for street crime. 

Fare Evasion

Perrizo was also asked about fare evasion on Metro.  (The city barred arrests but allowed citations for fare evasion in 2018, and enforcement effectively ceased.  Metro estimates the loss of $40 million annually through fare evasion.  Metro decided to enforce fare evasion by resuming issuing of citations last October.)

Perrizo said, “Metro is always looking for ways to enforce fare evasion but you can’t enforce your way out of the problem.  Metro’s latest position is that they do not want to change the basic look and operation of the fare gates.  Our system doesn’t operate like most systems. Our goal is to allow large numbers of people through small spaces.  NYC turnstiles work because there are so many more stations.  Metro is always looking for a better solution.” 

He made the following points:

  • DC is still experiencing a high level of fare evasions – issuance of citations ($50) has increased since Metro began citing fare evaders. There are different fines in different jurisdictions ($100 in MD and VA). 
  • The most effective way to keep the system safe is fare enforcement at the gate.
  • The lowest incidence of transit crime is associated with highest the level enforcement of fare evasion.
  • DC law provides no mechanism for requiring compliance (no arrests) – there is no application for civil violation if a jumper flees, ignores an officer, or refuses to provide ID.

L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station

Perrizo fielded another question about transit crime at L’Enfant Plaza.  He noted that L’Enfant Plaza has its own MTP District – the 2nd District – which has the largest number of officers in the system.  As a transfer point, more people move through the station.  Many are juveniles and their coming together associated with dismissal from school results in fights, but, he said, there is not a lot of serious crime.  There has been a reduction in disorderly conduct and misdemeanor assaults because there are a lot of officers here.     

Overall, Perrizo said, the uptick in property crime and gun violence is scattered over the system.  Younger adults don’t have anything going for them in life – there are more guns and simple arguments escalate.  He said, “There was a time when juveniles were responsible for most of the crime.  Now, half the crimes are committed by adults.”

According to ANC6B09 Commissioner Matt LaFortune, there will be a community safety meeting on Thursday from 6:30-8:00pm at Chamberlain Elementary School, 1345 Potomac Avenue, SE, for the neighbors around the Potomac Avenue Metro Station.  MPD, Metro Transit Police and others will participate.

*The MPD 1st D Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) is one of the advisory panels in each police district that provides the district commander with information and recommendations from the community on the public’s safety problems and police service needs.  Regular CAC meetings in each district allow residents to meet and discuss police-related issues with the commander. The meetings also provide an opportunity for police officials to assess the impact of their crime-fighting efforts on the community.  See here: https://1dcac.com/ and here:  https://mpdc.dc.gov/page/citizens-advisory-councils-cac

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The Week Ahead …& Some Photos from the Past Week

A makeshift memorial pays tribute to Robert Cunningham, a Metro mechanic who died Wednesday morning at the Potomac Avenue Metro Station on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  Cunningham intervened in a hostile confrontation on the station platform with an active shooter to “prevent what could have been another mass shooting,” in the words of a WaPo editorial.  There were other heroes that day who disarmed and subdued the suspect when he boarded a Metro car and threatened to kill more people. Friday morning MPD and Metro Transit Police handed out hot chocolate to Metro riders at the Potomac Station.  That helped to relieve the dread, but not the profound feelings of sadness that enveloped the station, evident even later in the day.  See the WaPo editorial here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/02/03/metro-subway-shooting-robert-cunningham-hero/  

The current drycleaners and former long-time barber shop at 601 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, kitty corner from Stanton Park, is going residential.  Schmidt Development has a proposal before ANC6C to raze the site and construct a three story residential building.  Since the building is a “non-contributing structure,” (i.e, does not reinforce the cultural, architectural, or historical significance of the Capitol Hill Historic District) there’s no problem with demolishing the building, but HPRB still needs to sign off on what replaces it.  That process starts with the ANC, and ANC6C’s Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee had some problems with the design elements at last Thursday night’s meeting.  The committee voted 7 – 1 against recommending that the full ANC support the plan.  The developers will likely come back to the full ANC on March 8 with tweaks to the design in hopes of winning support. 

There’s considerable activity at the former BB&T Bank at 317 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, which appears to be undergoing some expensive interior renovation.  Beyond saying that the site would not be a restaurant, workers deflected questions about the future tenant. 

Signage on the rear wall of the retail outlet could be an indication of what kind or retail is planned. Taste Budz.

Also last Thursday night, the Friends of Southeast Library (FOSEL) met to elect new officers.   Succeeding long time president Neal Gregory will be Capitol Hill author Robert Pohl (11 o’clock center in black sweater).  Also elected were Vice President Bob Gellman, Secretary Elizabeth Teegarden, and Treasurer Mary Granger.  All were elected unanimously.  ANC6B Commissioner David Sobelsohn was on hand to explain the functions of the new ANC6B Southeast Library Taskforce, meant to help find space to operate during the two year renovation of the library which will close later this year, represent the concerns of neighbors to DC Library, and provide input on any design tweaks that arise.  Community members can hear more on this at Tuesday night’s ANC6B meeting (see below). 

Pacci’s Trattoria keeps teasing the community regarding its opening on Lincoln Park.  The latest is that it will happen this coming week.  Last Thursday, they fired up the pizza oven. 

Here’s a shot of the dining room. 

And here’s Chef Luis Flores – a longtime associate of owner Spiro Goldasis. 

The Week Ahead …& Some Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

Posted February 5, 2023

Monday, February 6

ANC6C Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6c.org/hot-topics/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • The Royal Sonesta Capitol Hill, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.  Application for a new Retailer’s Class “C” Hotel liquor license.
  • Ted’s Bulletin, 1005 First Street, NE.  Application for a new Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant liquor license. 

Tuesday, February 7

ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6b.org/calendar/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • 2023 Capitol Hill Classic – May 21, 2023
  • 130 E Street, SE. Historic Preservation Application for a two story rear addition above an existing one-story structure (on a three story house).
  • 732 7th Street, SE.  Historic Preservation Application for a vertical and rear addition to an existing one-story non-contributing commercial building. Proposed building to be four stories.  
  • 4-5 Library Court, SE.  Zoning adjustment application for a Special Exception to combine one tax lot and two record lots in the RF-3 zone. 

ANC6C Environment, Parks and Events Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6c.org/hot-topics/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • K Street Underpass Virtual Gallery – Brian Smith – NoMa Bid’s Director of Planning & Economic Development – will discuss the new gallery installation which is scheduled to go-live in February. The underpass is located between 1st and 2nd Streets, NE. 
  • Swampoodle Terrace – The Committee and NoMa Bid will discuss how things are going at Swampoodle Terrace, which opened to the public this past October.

MPD 1st District Community Advisory Council will hold a virtual meeting from 6 pm – 7:15pm for an open public safety discussion including updates on gun violence and the recent murder at the Potomac Avenue Metro, with First District Commander Tasha Bryant. 

Wednesday, February 8

ANC6C will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6c.org/hot-topics/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Discussion of K Street Underpass Virtual Gallery.
  • Discussion of Swampoodle Terrace.
  • The Royal Sonesta Capitol Hill, 20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.  Application for a new Retailer’s Class C Hotel license.
  • Ted’s Bulletin, 1005 First Street, NE.  Application for a new Retailer’s Class C Restaurant license. 
  • 718 3rd Street, NE.  Public Space Application to replace existing exterior metal/concrete to all metal stairs and stoop.
  • The Boiling Crab, 400 H Street, NE.  Public Space Application re trash room design review.
  • Report on Buildings Strategic Enforcement Plan. 
  • 601 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.  Historic Preservation review of plan to raze/ construct new three-story residential building.
  • 523 2nd Street, NE.  Historic Preservation review for rear/third floor addition and rear alterations. 
  • 616 Lexington Place, NE.  Historic Preservation application for rear/upper-floor addition. 

ANC6B Transportation Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6b.org/calendar/

Among items on the draft agenda: 

  • DDOT Updates:
    • 9th & I Streets, SE, Intersection
    • Community Petition for Traffic Signal at 11th and D Streets, SE.
    • 19th Street & Potomac Avenue, SE, Corridor Safety Project.
  • Incorrect Restoration of 4th Street, SE/South Carolina Avenue Pedestrian Safety Features.
  • Letter to DDOT re: ANC 6B TSI locations that did not make the initial list of 200 priorities.
  • Letter to DPW re: Virginia Ave bus.   
  • Upcoming Transportation Committee Meetings – Special Session on Electric Vehicles

Thursday, February 9

ANC6A will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6c.org/hot-topics/

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  Vacant/Blighted Properties in ANC 6A – Mark-Anthony Tynes, Account Manager, Office of the Director, the Department of Buildings. 

  • Consent Calendar:
    • Appointment of resident members to the Community Outreach Committee: Angelique Dorazio-Sanders, Clare Dougherty, Elizabeth Corinth, Stephanie Myers, Gail Sullivan.
    • Letter to the Department of Public Works (DPW) in support of curbside composting and additional compost drop off facilities.
  • Smokin’ Pig at 1208 H Street, NE.  ANC 6A to take no action with regard to the application for renewal of its Class C Tavern License.
  • Motion that ANC6A oppose the application of Vybrations Restaurant and Lounge at 1123 H Street NE for a Class C Restaurant License unless a settlement agreement is entered into prior to the protest date.
  • Motion authorizing ANC6A  Commissioners Gove, Chatterjee or Shapiro to testify at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) performance oversight hearing, requesting: 1) improved responses to rising traffic violence, 2) increased transparency in the traffic safety investigation process, and 3) increased automated traffic enforcement and—through the Department of Public Works (DPW)–booting and towing of chronically violating vehicles.
  • Motion to appoint appoint Erin Blumenthal (6A02) as a member of the Alcohol Beverage Licensing (ABL) Committee.
  • Motion to appoint Ayisha Lockett as a member of the Economic Development and Zoning (EDZ) Committee.

ANC6B Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6b.org/calendar/  

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Hill East Burger, 1432 Pennsylvania Avenue, NE.  Request for an Entertainment Endorsement for Retailer’s Class “C” Tavern License. 

Saturday, February 11

  • Friends of Southeast Library hold their monthly second Saturday book sale from 10:00am until 3:00pm at Southeast Library. 

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The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

Ruta Ukrainian Restaurant will open near Eastern Market next month, a source tells CHC.  The space was formerly occupied by the short-lived Newland and before that, the long-time neighborhood favorite Montmartre. 

Dima Martseniuk, formerly an executive chef in NYC’s East Greenwich Ukrainian restaurant Veselka for more than 12 yearsn will head up the kitchen.

So what’s on the menu?  Not sure, but items from every Ukrainian restaurant menu include the national dish of Ukraine – borscht with sour cream, varenyky (Ukrainian pierogi), cabbage rolls, goulash, potato pancakes, and Kyiv-style chicken. 

The name comes for a Carpathian legend that tells that the “Red Ruta” is a yellow flower, and on the magical night of Ivana Kupala (the summer solstice) it turns flaming red for just a few minutes. The legend says that the lucky one who finds the flower and plucks it during those few minutes will find true love.

Barracks Row’s Tortuga is temporarily closed.  A source says it will reopen sometime in March rebranded as a Mexican/Latin restaurant. 

Installation of a canopy for Potomac Avenue Metro Stop appears to be scheduled for May.  According to ANC6B09 Commissioner Matt LaFortune, who is acting chair of ANC6B’s Transportation Committee, the installation should happen  following the current escalator replacement project. The construction team will gain access to the site around May 1st and the installation will likely take three weeks in total.  All work will occur at night and the team will notify adjacent properties in advance.

Sources say the long-awaited Pacci’s Trattoria on the East side of Lincoln Park at 106 13th Street, SE, is scheduled to open January 31 this week.  The building formerly housed the Park Café, Ninnella, and the Lincoln Park Kitchen and Wine Bar.  Owner Spiro Goldasis has another Pacci’s Trattoria in Silver Spring, Maryland.  You can check out that menu here:  https://www.paccistrattoria.com/

Rewild has opened its houseplant boutique at 232 7th Street, SE, across from Eastern Market.  Here’s a photo from inside.  Rewild has outlets in Shaw and Ballston – and in the U.S. Botanic Garden.  See here: https://rewilddc.com/   The last occupant of the space back in the 1980s was Ainilian Gallery – an art gallery run by Capitol Hill artist Agnes Ainilian.

On Thursday, January 26, MLK Library opened a new exhibit, Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley: Let the World See.  The exhibit runs through March 12.  The Library is also showing a companion exhibit, Mothers of the Movement – focusing on local Black women activists.  The exhibits platforms the advocacy of Emmett Till’s mother and the role family, community, and the Black press played in telling his story and keeping his legacy alive.  The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is bringing this exhibit to D.C.

ICYMI – February 15 will mark the permanent closing of the Penn Quarter Regal Cinema – along with 39 other locations – after owner Cineworld filed for bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy follows precipitous decline in box office receipts owing to the covid pandemic from which the industry has not recovered.

The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 29, 2023

Monday, January 30

ANC6B’s Executive Committee will hold a virtual meeting to set the agenda for the February monthly meeting.

ANC6B will meet next on Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00pm.  The meeting will feature appointments to the ANC’s four committees as well as to the new Special Public Safety Committee and to the Southeast Library Task Force.   See here for more information:  https://anc6b.org/

Wednesday, February 1

ANC6C’s Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 6:30pm. 

To join the meeting, go here: https://anc6c.org/hot-topics/

The agenda was not available at press time. 

Thursday, February 2

ANC6C’s Transportation and Public Space Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm

To join the meeting, go here: https://anc6c.org/hot-topics/   

  • 718 3rd Street, NE. Construction Permit Application by DDOT.  Replace existing exterior metal/concrete to all metal stairs and stoop. Same location, same dimensions, and similar design.
  • The Boiling Crab – Trash Room Design Review. 

Friends of SE Library will hold their monthly in-person meeting at 5:30pm in SE Library, lower level.  Anyone wishing to join FOSEL is welcome to attend. 

Note:  Call for ANC6B Southeast Library Taskforce members:  Later this year, the Southeast library will close for extensive renovations. These renovations may take as long as two years, or  longer.  ANC6B will establish a Southeast Library Task Force to address issues related to the renovation, especially interim services and the effect of construction on the neighborhood.

In addition to the ANC commissioners, our Southeast Library Task Force will have resident members to be appointed by the ANC through their commissioners. For the foreseeable future, the task force will meet virtually, using Zoom or WebEx, so Taskforce  members will need decent Internet access.  Eventually, task-force members may need to help scout out potential neighborhood locations for interim services, though some of that work can be over the telephone.

Concerned residents are urged to join the Taskforce to help provide guidance to city officials regarding the effects of the renovation on the community.  For more information, contact: 

David Sobelsohn, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner, ANC 6B03 at anc6b03@gmail.com   

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Capitol Hill Art League Members Only Art Exhibit: 1/28 – 2/24, 2023

Skyline: Ragnar Thoresen

Barriers and Chains: Martin de Alteriis

C&O Canal: Steve Kunin

Capitol Hill Art League Members Only Art Exhibit: 1/28 – 2/24, 2023

The Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL) member show, entitled “Locally Inspired” will run from January 28 through February 24 at the Frame of Mine shop, located at 545 8th Street, SE. on Barracks Row.

The theme, “Locally Inspired” will be represented by symbols, images, people and scenes – art that represents “local” to us.

The following artists are featured in the show: Anne Albright, Kenneth Bachman, Julie Byrne, Martin de Alters, Tara Hamilton, Steve Kinin, Nipun Manda, Carolyn Rondthaler, Amanda Schwartz, Ragnar Thoresen, Alexandra Treadaway-Hoare, Elin Whitney-Smith, Jan Zastrow, and Karen Zeus.

The Art League invites you to visit the gallery when shopping at Frame of Mine (https://www.frameofminedc.com/ ) as well as viewing it online at the Capitol Hill Art League website at: https://www.caphillartleague.org/locallyinspired2023.

The Capitol Hill Art League is a visual arts program of The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW). For more information about CHAL, visit the website at www.caphillartleague.org

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Neighbors Skeptical about Arrival of Vybrations on H Street, NE

1123 H Street, NE, the proposed future home of Vybrations – a 350 seat upscale vegan restaurant.

Neighbors Skeptical about Arrival of Vybrations on H Street, NE

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 26

Last Tuesday, Sean Morris – an attorney who represents clients seeking a liquor license – came before ANC6A’s Alcohol Beverage Licensing (ABL) Committee, in support of an application for a liquor license by the owners of Vybrations – a proposed 350 seat “upscale” vegan restaurant at 1123 H Street, NE.  The location is the former home of both the notorious XII Lounge and Touché Supper Club. 

XII Lounge – whose raucous tenure was characterized by violence and violations of its settlement agreement with the community – ultimately had its license suspended. 

XII was succeeded by Touché which had a fraught relationship with neighbors involving multiple complaints about noise from the venue’s roof deck resulting in ANC6A’s protest of the  renewal of the license.  ABRA renewed the license but Touché closed after running afoul of the law at a December 23, 2017, event which apparently involved bartering and consumption of marijuana, which is prohibited in an establishment holding a liquor license.

Given that history, some 20 plus neighbors at Thursday night’s virtual meeting expressed skepticism that the new venture was primarily a restaurant, especially since the application includes a request for an entertainment endorsement both inside and outside on the 50 seat rooftop terrace and hours of operation until midnight on weekdays and 2:00am on weekends.

Morris disclosed during the meeting that the owners have another restaurant – Shark Bar – in Waldorf, Maryland.  A frequent form of entertainment at that restaurant is billed as Live Band Karaoke.  Morris says the entertainment for Vybrations will be rhythm and blues, jazz, and Latin jazz.  Here’s a link to Shark Bar’s FB page. 

Nearby residential neighbors are loathe to revisit their experiences with the previous occupants of 1123 H Street.  The prevailing concern is noise, but other issues raised include hours of operation, parking, sidewalk line management, late night departures of patrons moving noisily through neighborhoods, and smoking on the rooftop terrace.  One neighbor said “350 seats is not a restaurant, it’s an entertainment venue.”  Residents were also disappointed that the owners did not appear at the meeting to answer questions which Morris could not.

Owners hope to open in late spring or early summer.  Morris stressed the intention of the owners to be good neighbors and to ensure that anything happening is in keeping with the character of the neighborhood.  He assured neighbors that all of their concerns could be addressed in a community Settlement Agreement which the owners would be amenable to signing.

The proposed restaurant lies in the Single Member ANC District of Commissioner Mike Velasquez, who was unable to attend the meeting.  He sent a statement which ABL Committee Chair Erin Sullivan read on his behalf. 

The statement spoke of the need to balance the desire for the proposed restaurant to succeed with the concerns of the neighbors who “don’t want to relive the nightmare caused by previous businesses.”  He said that he thinks the ANC can strike a balance while being mindful of past traumas, and that “I’m particularly concerned about an entertainment endorsement and hours of operation for inside and outside.  Live entertainment on the roof top until midnight during the week is a non-starter.” 

Chair Sullivan followed up; telling Morris the ANC was likely to seek an agreement banning music on the rooftop.  Morris said his clients respect that and are not looking for anything out of character for the neighborhood.

As is its custom for all liquor license applications, the Committee voted unanimously to protest the application unless a Settlement Agreement is reached prior to the ABRA protest deadline of February 13.  ANC Chair Amber Gove, Vice Chair Keya Chatterjee, ABL Committee Chair Erin Sullivan and Commissioner Mike Velasquez were empowered to represent the ANC to negotiate and agree to a Settlement Agreement.  The issue will be considered by the full ANC at its February 9th meeting during its plenary session (as opposed to the consent calendar). 

Should the ANC go to protest, the usual procedure is for ABRA to require mediation to try to resolve issues before a Protest Hearing date of May 3rd. 

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The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

Today marked the advent of the Year of the Rabbit in the Chinese Lunar New Year.  The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of Washington, DC in partnership with the DC Mayor’s Office on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs organized the annual parade in China Town.

Sunday night, reflected light gave a different look to the Eastern Market Metro Plaza…

and to the Plaza’s Northeast Quadrant where lies the children’s playground. 

CHC found Triple Candie working on a new installation today at their exhibit space in the former Li’l Pub at 655 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  Triple Candie is a research-oriented curatorial agency run by art historian co-founders Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett, pictured above.  Their purpose is to create alternative exhibition methods making that the object of critical focus rather than what is displayed (which for the most part does not include original artworks).  Go deeper here:  http://www.triplecandie.org/

CHC returned later in the day to photograph the latest “curatorial riddle” installation in the 22 square foot space.  The first puzzling assemblage appeared in the space in December, 2021.    

Here’s a detail of the piece which may reference a new documentary on the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last Friday.  Here’s a link to the AP News story:  http://bit.ly/3wkHZSu

The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 22, 2023

Monday, January 23

The ANC6A Community Outreach Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Additional site for Food Waste Drop Off for composting.
  • Honoring the late William Outlaw.

Tuesday, January 24

The ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee Meeting will home a virtual meeting at 7:00pm. 

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/ 

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Discussion of application by Vybrations Restaurant and Lounge at 1123 H Street, NE, for a Class C Restaurant License.
  • Discussion of application by Smokin’ Pig at 1208 H Street, NE, for renewal of its Class C Tavern License.

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ANC6A Committee Balks at Major H Street NE Development Over Lack of Retail

Developer Aanjay Bajaj of District Growth plans a major development on the 1000 block of H Street, NE. Here’s a first look at the developer’s preliminary rendering shown to the ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee Wednesday night.

Here’s the corner of 10th and H Street, NE as it looks now. Photo: Google.

ANC6B’s Economic Development and Zoning Committee met Wednesday night to consider Bajaj’s Zoning Adjustment Application for the project.

ANC6A Committee Balks at Major H Street NE Development Over Lack of Retail

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 18, 2023

Wednesday night, the ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee postponed further consideration of local developer Sanjay Bajaj’s plan to put up a $30 million 80 unit residential project at 1010 H Street, NE – without providing any retail.  Bajaj’s company is District Growth, which has built projects in Wards 4-8.  Committee Chair Brad Greenfield told the developer’s representative that the lack of retail was a sticking point and that to his knowledge; the ANC had never supported a development on H Street that didn’t have a retail component. 

The developer’s position, as expressed by attorney Meridith Moldenhauer was that zoning does not require retail for the project and though the developer had considered it, the requirement for a 14 foot ceiling height for first floor retail presented problems.  In addition, she said, given the market the developer felt an all residential project would be more successful.  Bajaj told mark Buckshon of Washington Construction News that he decided against adding retail in order to “maximize the number of units and reduce the complexity of the project.”  He hopes to break ground at the end of 2024.  The time line for the project anticipates delivery in 18 months.

The by-right project is five stories high, and will provide 80 units (rental or condo undecided) with 10% Inclusionary Zoning affordable units.  The building site was assembled from numerous parcels and five of the facades of buildings on those parcels will be preserved and incorporated into the project. 

Though it’s a by-right project, the developer is seeking a zoning adjustment for three exemptions from zoning regulations: those governing new construction on lots less than 6,000 square feet, a requirement regarding alley access, and regulations which would require providing 13 parking spaces (the developer wants to provide 8).  The Zoning Commission is required by city regulations to give “great weight” to the recommendations of the city’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.  Committee consideration is the first step, followed by consideration by the full ANC.  The full ANC rarely overrides the recommendation  of one of its committees.  

Commissioner Mike Velasquez and resident committee member Mike Cushman were all over the retail issue.  Velasquez:  “Developers have to balance the profit motives with the needs of the community…I will not support this project until you come back with retail.”

Cushman expressed similar concerns:  “There should be retail on the ground floor…this is a major retail corridor in NE.” 

Moldenhauer said she had heard the commissioners “loud and clear” and would convey those views along with the emotion with which they were expressed to the developer.  She stated again that the client had considered retail and said she wasn’t sure what “the level of possibility is.”  She suggested they could come back to the Committee in February after she briefs the developer. 

Greenfield suggested a meeting with the nearby neighbors and inviting the developer to the meeting.  He indicated the committee would organize the get together.  

The consensus of the committee was to table further consideration of the Zoning Adjustment Application until next month.  The developer’s zoning adjustment hearing is scheduled for March. 

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The Week Ahead & ANCs Elect New Officers & Photos

Last Monday:  At ANC6D former commissioner Andy Litsky put in a guest appearance to conduct the election of officers.  Elected were Rikki Kramer, Chair; Bob Link, Vice Chair; Secretary, Bruce Levine; Treasurer, Ron Collins.  The vote was 6 – 0 – 1.  Commissioner Gail Fast abstained.  There’s a vacancy in ANC6D 04.  Nominating petitions are available and due to be filed no later than January 30.  The ANC will schedule a special election.  ANC commissioners told MPD during the Safety Report that they were feeling pressure from constituents about the presence of guns in the area and wanted to know what the strategy was for combatting gun violence.  The commission said there would be a continuing dialogue with MPD on the issue.  DCHA Directors Brenda Donald brought a contingent of staffers to update the commission on the Greenleaf Public Housing Redevelopment.  Chair Rikki Kramer told Donald that the commission expects to be a partner regarding input on the project “as opposed to just being fed information in updates.”  The commission also fired off a letter to the Zoning Commission pointing out that none of the ANC’s six recommendations regarding PUD amenities and benefits related to the mixed use project at 807 Maine Avenue had been incorporated in the developer’s proffer.  The Commission will reach out again to the developer in search of concessions.  It seemed to this observer that there was an unusual degree of tension during the meeting which could make for interesting future meetings. 

On Tuesday, at ANC6B’s January meeting, commissioner Edward Ryder won a cordial contest with commissioner Chander Jayraman for ANC6B chair.   Former Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg conducted the election of officers.  The results of the election were as follows:  Chair, Edward Ryder; Vice Chair, Chander Jayraman; Treasurer, Frank Avery; Secretary, David Sobelsohn; Parliamentarian, Kasie Durkit.  Sobelsohn came to the meeting armed with a portfolio of suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the ANC.  Among them was the re-establishment of the long decommissioned Public Safety Committee and a Task Force on the South East Library Renovation.  The latter is intended to act as liaison between residents and the library regarding establishment of interim services while the library is closed and regarding the impact of construction.  Some commissioner had reservations about establishing a Standing (permanent) Public Safety Committee whose purpose was vague and impact uncertain.  Southeast’s Librarian Julia Strusienski offered comments assuring the ANC that DCPL takes interim services very seriously and has every intention of interacting with the ANC on that subject and on a construction plan.  In the end, the ANC voted to establish a Special Committee on Public Safety (expires in one year unless reauthorized) and a temporary Task Force on Southeast Library (which also has to be reauthorized annually).  Currently, none of the four ANCs that inhabit or lie close-in to Capitol Hill has a Public Safety Committee.  ANC6D receives a monthly Public Safety presentation from MPD from the First District. 

On Wednesday, ANC6C elected officers with former commissioner Christine Healey conducting the election – the ANC statute requires ballots be tallied by someone not on the commission. The new officers are as follows:  Chair, Mark Eckenweiler; Vice Chair, Tony Goodman, Treasurer, Joel Kelty; Secretary, Leslie Merkle.  Healey noted that an on-going issue for the coming year will be monitoring of the Union Station Expansion Plan.  The commission subsequently appointed Healey to represent the ANC at Union Station development meetings and file reports through the ANC6C Transportation Committee.  On another matter, the ANC questioned the proffered community benefits associated with the PUD process for the development of 300 M Street, NE.  At issue was whether the $225,000 in proffered community benefit funds should be used to do work which is the responsibility of the city, i.e, improvements for sidewalk and streetscape.  During the period for community comments, Valerie Jablow, community activist and education blogger, raised questions about the corporate ownership of Capitol Hill residences by corporate entities and their use for purposes other than residences – an ongoing problem for both ANC6C and ANC6B.  The commission’s Grants Committee’s recommendations for a $4000 grant for Capitol Hill Montessori PTSO for an Urban Food Forest and a $10,000 grant for Stuart-Hobson Middle School PTA Auditorium renovation (painting) were approved by the Commission. 

Thursday, ANC6A elected new officers for two year terms as follows:  Chair, Amber Gove; Vice Chair, Keya Chattergee; Secretary, Rob Dooling; Treasurer, Steve Moilanen; Parliamentarian, Laura Gentile. It was a short meeting, with the bulk of the time devoted to looking ahead at upcoming issues.  Two major H Street, NE, developments are on the horizon, a mixed use project at 1000 H Street and development of the Auto Zone site.  Troublesome traffic issues will continue to need to be addressed – of prime concern is the dangerous 12th and H Streets intersection, the site of recent pedestrian-vehicle accidents.  Public safety is an on-going concern among residents.  Chair Gove noted that the First District Citizen Advisory Committee meetings are “woefully under attended given the level of concern about crime.”  The next Citizens Advisory Committee meeting will be on February 7 and residents will have 90 minutes to interact with MPD and hear details of the status of crime investigations. 

Despite the disappearance of promotional imagery from the front window, Rewild looks on track to open the long empty space at 232 7th Street, SE, across from Eastern Market.  Here’s a shot from a Rewild FB post of on-going work inside.  Rewild has outlets in Shaw and Ballston – and in the U.S. Botanic Garden.  See here: https://rewilddc.com/  The last occupant of the space back in the 1980s was Ainilian Gallery – an art gallery run by Capitol Hill artist Agnes Ainilian.

Progress at the forthcoming Manny & Olga’s Pizza over at 1430 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, is incremental.  But the menu sign is up.  This will be the company’s 12th outlet.  Here’s a look at their on line menu:  https://www.mannyandolgas.com/menus/   

The Week Ahead… & ANCs Elect New Officers & Photos

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 16, 2023

The Week Ahead

Tuesday, January 17

ANC 6A Transportation & Public Space Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For information on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • 11th Street, NE, traffic safety concerns
  • Traffic Safety Investigation (TSI ) process (Amber Gove) Discussion of TSI 2.0 process and collection of additional input on prioritized locations.
  • Proposal of a 4-way stop sign at 14th Street and Tennessee Avenue NE.
  • Neighbor concerns regarding ineffective speed table on 1200 D Street (Laura Gentile)
  • Community discussion and input to send to DDOT re 11th Street ,NE, (East Capitol Street to Florida Avenue NE).

Wednesday, January 18

ANC 6A Economic Development & Zoning Committee will hold a meeting at 7:00pm. 

For information on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • 1000–1016 H Street, NE. Zoning Adjustment Application – Request for Special Exception relief from the minimum vehicle parking requirements and from the access requirements and special exception relief from the development standards to construct a new, detached, five-story with cellar and penthouse, 80-unit apartment addition, to existing mixed-use buildings

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The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from Last Week

ANC6C Commissioner Joel Kelty tells MPD Chief Contee and Others that crime in ANC6C remains “out of control.”  In an email to Contee last week, Kelty included an image of a robbery outside of his home on January 5 captured by a security camera.  An excerpt from the email follows:

Kelty:  “Last night at 10pm a robbery occurred right in front of my house.  This was a brutal violent assault that occurred on a well-lit street and not particularly late at night.  The victim was savagely beaten and seriously injured.  It has my neighbors extremely upset, concerned and in fear of their personal safety…My constituents and I are extremely concerned with the high level of both property crime and violent crime that we are experiencing in ANC6C.  The crime problem in our neighborhood is the worst it’s been in the 22+ years I have lived here…It seems clear from these two incidents as well as other recent crimes that the people engaging in this behavior are doing so without fear of consequences and with total disregard for the common values of civil society.  Please note that we’ve been highlighting this issue for at least the past two years.  Enclosed are letters the ANC sent in October 2021 and October 2022 requesting concrete action regarding crime impacting our neighborhood.  Whatever measures MPD has implemented in response to these letters (if any) have not been adequate and additional options must be considered and implemented.” 

ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee met Tuesday night to consider a Historic Preservation Application and a Zoning Application to build a garage and second story apartment on Brown’s Court.  Although a nearby neighbor raised objections that their privacy and quality of life would be adversely affected the argument was not enough to overcome clear sympathy among committee members for the city’s need for more housing.  A motion to support the plan was agreed to 9 – 2 and the issue was forwarded to the full ANC6B meeting on Tuesday. 

The ANC6B Transportation Committee met Tuesday night to discuss upcoming transportation issues during the coming year, i.e., which should have priority regarding working collaboratively to make sure the voice of the ANC is heard.  Among those noted were:  reducing traffic dangers near schools, EV charging issues including charging wire hazards and EV charging station placement, sidewalk café safety, the new Traffic Safety Input program, methods to slow traffic, improving 11th Street as an approach to the new bridge park, proposals changing the basis for residential parking, better communication between residents and the DDOT and its contractors, construction signage, and tracking the Penn Potomac Intersection Project budget.    

ANC6B ABC Committee met on Thursday night.  A liquor license renewal for Ginza Karaoke and a new license for Pacci’s Trattoria were approved unanimously.  Regarding Pacci’s. owner Spiro Goldasis says opening has been delayed by the city where his Use and Occupancy Permit which is working its way through the bureaucracy.  He expects to open “by the end of the month.”  The committee also discussed upcoming issues for 2023.  The list includes consideration of taking an organized approach to Settlement Agreement compliance, addressing the issue of regulating shops which gift cannabis for insignificant purchases, and monitoring the proliferation of sports wagering which seems to be suffering administrative problems by the vendor. 

The Friends of Southeast Library (FOSEL) held an in person meeting in SE Library Thursday night and began the transition to new leadership after long-time President Neal Gregory’s decision to step down from that post.  Vice President John Wennersten presided.  A new slate of officers was nominated as follows:  President, Robert Pohl; Vice President, Bob Gellman; Secretary, Elizabeth Teegarden; Treasurer, Mary Granger.  A vote will occur at the group’s next meeting on the first Thursday of February, following the opening of the floor for other nominations.  Also attending the Thursday night meeting, was newly elected ANC6B03 Commissioner David Sobelsohn who announced his intention to ask the full ANC to establish an ANC6B SE Library Taskforce to liaison with the community regarding the upcoming redevelopment of South East Library.  The library is in Sobelsohn’s single member district.  The full ANC will meet this coming Tuesday.  Wennersten commended Gregory for his long service as president.   

Friday, January 6.  The Capitol Grounds were closed to visitors on the anniversary of the insurrectionist attack on the US Capitol. There was a heavy police presence on the East Front and the bicycle rack fences up all the way around the Capitol.  First Street on the East side of the Capitol was closed and there were USCP support vehicles along the east curb in front of the Library of Congress. 

On the West Front of the Capitol, there were fewer Capitol Police, but one standing on the Capitol side of the low stone wall on First Street across from the Grant statue was carrying an automatic rifle.  The USCP communications truck which is usually seen only at demonstrations and special events was parked on the West Side of the Capitol.  CHC asked a USCP officer if the grounds had been closed all week or just today.  He said just today because it’s January 6 and that the grounds would probably be open tomorrow.

The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from Last Week

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 8, 2023

Monday, January 9

ANC6CD will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:  https://www.anc6d.org/virtualmeeting/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Election of officers
  • Public Safety Report
  • Presentation: Update on Greenleaf Redevelopment – DCHA
  • Update on Pepco Capitol Grid Project
  • Update on 807 and 899 Maine Avenue
  • Update on 1301 South Capitol Street
  • Update on Early Childhood Center at Amidon Bowen

Tuesday, January 10

ANC6B will hold a virtual Special Call Meeting at 6:45pm to elect ANC6B officers.

To join the meeting, go here:  https://anc6b.org/meetings/january-2023-meetings-of-anc-6b/

ANC6B will hold its virtual January Meeting a 7:00pm. 

To join the meeting, go here: (same as for the Special Call Meeting)

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Harvest Tide Capitol Hill DC, 212 7th Street, SE. Request for an Entertainment Endorsement for its Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant license. 
  • Rose’s at Home, 721 8th Street. SE. New Class “B” Internet Retailer selling beer and wine online only for off-premises consumption. 
  • Pacci’s Trattoria, 106 13th Street, SE. Request for a New Class “CR” Restaurant License with a total capacity of 85 people. 
  • Ginza BBQ Lounge and Karaoke Spot, 526 8th Street, SE. Renewal of Retailer’s Class C Tavern License.  
  • 637 A Street SE. Special exception to construct a detached, two-story accessory garage with dwelling unit, and convert to a flat, an existing attached, two-story principal dwelling unit
  • 637 A Street SE. New two story carriage house to replace existing one-story garage, with second floor accessory apartment.
  • Proposal to reestablish an ANC 6B telephone number and Formally Change ANC 6B Address to 700 Penn Office Building
  • Proposal to Revive the ANC 6B Public Safety Committee
  • Proposal to establish a Southeast Library Task Force

Wednesday, January 11

ANC6C will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here: https://anc6c.org/january-2023-virtual-meeting-details/

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Election of ANC Officers
  • Appointment and Election of Committee Members and Officers
  • The Ministry, 601 New Jersey Avenue, NE, Suite 102. Renewal of Retailer’s Class “C” Tavern license.
  • Sidamo Coffee & Tea, Inc., 417 H Street, NE. Renewal of Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant.
  • Purl, 644 H Street, NE. New Application for  Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant license.
  • Hillsdale College, 219-299 Massachusetts Avenue, NE. Public Space Application for plaza alterations. 
  • FedEx, 300 Maryland Avenue NE. Public Space Application for Knee wall to 30”,
  • Giant Foods, H Street NE. Application for curb cuts. 
  • Discussion of Union Station Expansion Project
  • 300 M Street, NE, Zoning Application. Informational presentation.
  • Upcoming Council performance oversight hearings on the Department of Buildings.

Thursday, January 12

ANC6A will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

  • Election of Officers: Chair- Amber Gove; Vice Chair – Keya Chatterjee; Secretary – Robb Dooling; Treasurer – Steve Moilanen; Parliamentarian – Laura Gentile).
  • Election of members and leaders of the permanent Committees for 2023: Economic Development and Zoning Committee – Brad Greenfield (Chair– 6A06), Tim Drake, Michael Cushman (6A04). Transportation and Public Safety Committee – Shaun Lynch (Co-Chair), Caitlin Rogger(Co-Chair – 6A07), Jeff Fletcher(6A07), Hassan Christian. Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee- Erin Sullivan (Chair – 6A06), Kara Hughley (6A05), and Joe Krisch (6A01) Community Outreach Committee- Adina Wadsworth (Chair- 6A07), Jessica Clark, Kelsey Grimes.
  • Cru Hemp Lounge at 816 H Street, NE. Motion the ANC take no action on application for renewal of Class “C” Tavern License.
  • Motion that ANC6A send a letter to DDOT and MPD expressing grief for the loss of our neighbor Ralph Williams to a car crash on the 900 block of K Street, NE, in November 2022, in an area where ANC 6A has repeatedly expressed concerns about traffic safety.
  • ANC6A requests:
    1. More information about the incident;
    2. A response on DDOT and MPD short and long-term plans to address the safety issues previously identified by ANC6A
    3. Immediate traffic calming measures

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Romantic Movie Will Feature Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Octet Productions sets up on the NE quadrant of Eastern Market Metro Plaza to film a scene from A Kismet Holiday.

Octet Producers Chuck and Bree West (center and right) confer during a break in the shooting.

Romantic Movie Will Feature Eastern Market Metro Plaza

by Larry Janezich

Posted January 7, 2023

Thursday morning found a local production company filming scenes for A Kismet Holiday, on Eastern Market Metro Plaza near the children’s’ playground.  The holiday love story is based in DC and is a spinoff of the 2001 film Serendipity which starred John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale.

The film is the latest project of Octet Productions, owned by Executive Producer Chuck West and Creative Producer Bree West.  According to Bree West the film portrays a couple who meet “in a series of serendipitous path-crossings, overcome obstacles, and experience some Christmas magic which works in their best interests.” 

She added, “It’s important to showcase the beauty of our own city and to employ its residents.  Washington is home to a lot of different things and destinations and this movie shows off the heart of the city.  It’s a beautiful love story and you can feel the beauty and love on the set.” 

Assistant Director Al G. Sillah (in white sweatshirt) gathers crew members before the shoot for a Safety Meeting – part inspiration, part aspiration, part expression of gratitude, part prayer circle, and part bonding ceremony. 

The film will feature scenes in every quadrant of the city.  West said that after the morning shoot, the company would move to Northwest where a holiday tree vendor has kept a Christmas tree lot open past the holidays so a scene could be shot there. 

From left, A Kismet Holiday Director, Chazitear, Octet Creative Producer Bree West, and Octet Executive Producer Chuck West.

OCTET Productions was founded in 2015 and is based in DC.  Their website lists 15 productions – for more info, go here:  https://octetproductions.com/   Octet is active in the academic community and works with Duke Ellington School, Howard University, American University, and Bowie State University in film production education programs.  According to their website, Octet partners include BET, BETher, TVOne, and UMC.

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