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ANC6B Says Historic District Designation Process Does Not Serve District Residents

Kingman Park Historic District came into being June 24.

ANC6B Says Historic District Designation Process Does Not Serve District Residents

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B has put CM Charles Allen, Mayor Bowser, and the Historic Preservation Board on notice that it believes that the process for designating new historic districts “is not working to serve District residents” and wants the city to review it before any more historic districts are approved.  In addition, the ANC specifically wants clarification of both the ANC’s role and the role of community support or lack thereof in the process.

The charge, detailed in a letter authored by 6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Nick Burger and passed by 5 – 1 vote of the commission, was sparked by the Historic Preservation Board’s (HPRB) recent designation of the Kingman Park Historic District, apparently over the opposition of a majority of the residents, as well as a recent series of inconsistencies in HPRB actions in ANC6B’s jurisdiction.   A case in point regarding the latter was HPRB’s failure to refer a historic preservation application to the ANC after the historic preservations staff made substantive changes to the application and referred it directly to the HPRB for approval.  In addition, the letter cited deficiencies in HPRB’s notification process and ambiguity regarding criteria for adjudicating historic preservations cases.

Regarding the Kingman Park Historic District, City Paper recently reported (https://bit.ly/2Lgwt1p) the DC’s Historic Preservation Office opinion on the changing national climate about what constitutes eligibility for historic designation – broadening the definition of beyond those neighborhoods with unique and historic architecture, to include consideration of the value and meaning that the diversity of minority communities bring to the city.

In accordance with a change in thinking, a long-standing civic group (the Kingman Park Civic Association) filed an application for the Historic District directly with the Office of Historic Preservation (HPRB’s administrative arm), by passing the local ANC, the usual route to historic district designation.  The move was controversial; in general (according to press reports) older residents of the historic black community preferred historic designation while newer residents were wary of the accompanying restrictions which would prevent them from expanding homes to accommodate growing families.

As the controversy played out – apparently without substantial outreach and notification to the community – HPRB appeared to put the onus for community engagement on the ANC7D – home to most of the proposed historic district – rather than on the sponsoring civic association which is customary.  The Friends of Kingman Park civic association, formed to oppose the historic designation, conducted a survey and claimed that 72 % of respondents in Kingman Park opposed a historic district.  Despite the lack of evidence of the support of a majority of residents, HPRB approved the application and Kingman Park Historic District came into being on June 24, though smaller than what the applicants had wanted.  It is noteworthy that HPRB is not required to take community opinion into consideration.

According to ANC7B Commissioner Bob Coomber, “We (ANC7B) heard the applicants twice, but the applicants mostly made ad hominem attacks against me and the Chair, so we didn’t have enough information to vote either time.”  ANC6A, on the other hand, claiming status since two blocks of proposed historic district was in their jurisdiction, voted to oppose the Kingman Park Historic District based on limited communication and outreach and lack of transparency in the process.

Beth Purcell, who is active in historic preservation on Capitol Hill, when asked to comment on the ANC6B’s letter, says that when people come to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society seeking information on establishing a historic district, she urges them to consult their ANC commissioner immediately and get the ANC to sponsor it.  She suggested the letter could have been improved by making a case for adding conservation districts as “another tool in the tool box.”  Purcell said she is not aware of any current plans for expansion of the Capitol Hill Historic District in ANC6B.

An attempt to establish the Barney Circle Historic District in Hill East in 2010-2011 foundered, after it failed to get the endorsement of ANC6B.

Capitol Hill Corner asked ANC6B chair Dan Ridge, who voted for the letter, to comment.  Ridge said that “the Capitol Hill Historic District is a failure at a number of things,” noting it has done nothing to restore the street car routes that made neighborhoods practical for downtown workers and nothing to support the small merchants that make a historic neighborhood work.  He says it has also failed by using the force of law to preserve architectural features that enable passive cooling and heating while doing nothing to incentivize using those features, and nothing to prevent people from filling open courts in the rear that bring in fresh air and daylight to interior rooms.

Ridge asked, “Is Barney Circle (or Kingman Park, or anywhere else in the city) facing the same existential threats that prompted the creation of the Capitol Hill Historic District? No.  Are there residents in these neighborhoods interested in conserving particular qualities of their neighborhood (like architectural forms, air, light, privacy, densities, flora, subsidized auto storage in public space, property values)? Yes.”

Ridge said that there are tools other than a historic district that could be used, citing for example, that the city could move quickly to take remedial action in Barney Circle by paying or eliminating the costs for those who wish create conservation covenants and easements.  “I signed the petition (supporting Barney Circle Historic District) last time,” he said – “I am older, wiser, and kinder now. Who could say whether I would sign another one?”

For the full text of ANC6B’s letter, visit the “Library” on Capitol Hill Corner’s homepage.

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The Week Ahead…and a Look Back at Last Week’s ANC Meetings in Photos.

The Week Ahead…and a Look Back

By Larry Janezich

A Look Back….

ANC6D met last Monday. A DC Housing Authority rep briefed the Commission and residents on progress on redevelopment of the Arthur Capper and Greenleaf mixed use developments and got hammered with questions regarding lack of outreach, possible displacement of residents, and current poor living conditions in DC Housing Authority public housing.

On Tuesday, ANC6B voted to send a letter to city officials asking for a review of the historic district designation process.

ANC6C met Wednesday. It was Commissioner Chris Miller’s last meeting (second from right), since he is relocating. And residents challenged Pepco (see below) over possible dangers of electromagnetic fields associated with the construction of a new Pepco Mt Vernon substation at New Jersey and K Streets, NW.

Concerned residents engage Dr. William Bailey (at left), whose company was hired by Pepco to reassure the public regarding the safety of the Pepco upgrades. Most of those to the left in the photo are Pepco reps.  This isn’t Bailey’s first rodeo.

Here’s a map showing where the Mt. Vernon Substation will go.

On Thursday, ANC6A heard a presentation on Eliot-Hine Middle School Modernization from Oni Hinton and Meg Davis, DCPS (see illustration below), and then heard from ABRA’s Sara Fashbaugh (pictured standing) who urged residents to call ABRA’s inspections office at 202 329 6347 for any issues regarding establishments serving alcohol.

Here’s what Eliot Hine will look like at 1830 Constitution Avenue, NW. Construction starts summer 2018. Completion date: summer 2020.

The Week Ahead….It’s a slow week.  ANCs are already looking toward the August recess.  Meetings resume in September.  

Monday, July 16

ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee Will NOT meet in July. Next meeting: 3rd Monday, August 20, 7:00pm, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, NE.

Tuesday, July 17

ANC6A Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee will NOT meet in July.   The next meeting is scheduled for August 21, 2018 at 7pm.

Agenda not available at press time. 

The Capitol Hill Restoration Society Board of Directors meets at 6:30pm, Capitol Hill Townhomes, 750 6th Street, SE. 

Agenda not available at press time.  

Wednesday, July 18

ANC6A’s Economic Development and Zoning Committee will NOT meet in July.  Next meeting: Wednesday, August 22, 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Sts. NE

Thursday, July 19

Sector 2 (PSAs 104, 107, 108) Community Meeting, 7:00pm, J.O.Wilson Elementary School, 660 K Street, NE.

NOTICE:

For residents considering a run for ANC Commissioner, petitions are available at the DC Board of Elections Office.  Candidates must submit a petition of at least 25 signatures of registered voters in their single member district by Wednesday, August 8, at 5:00pm.   See the following link for more information.  https://dcboe.org/Candidates/Candidate-Guide-to-Ballot-Access

 

 

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DPW Claims on Hill East Parking Enforcement Raises Questions

Friday night’s meeting of the Hill East Task Force. L-R: Commissioner Dan Ridge, Celeset Duffie (DPW) , Johnny Gaither (DPW), Hill East resident, Task Force Chair Denise Krepp, and former Commissioner Francis Campbell.

DPW Claims on Hill East Parking Enforcement Raises Questions

by Larry Janezich

Friday night, ANC6B Hill East Task Force, Chaired by Commissioner Denise Krepp, met to hear DPW officials respond to resident concerns about lack of parking enforcement in Hill East.  Residents say illegal parking is not being addressed either on a day to day basis or on days when events occur at RFK Stadium.

Former ANC Commissioner Francis Campbell was particularly vehement in asserting that there is a lack of parking enforcement in Hill East, saying, “I don’t see them. They have no visibility.  Why are vans and construction vehicles sitting for hours without ticketing? After 6pm I don’t see inspectors.  Enforcement does not happen.”

Johnny Gaither, Deputy Administrator, Department of Public Works Parking Enforcement Management Administration, told the Task Force that his agency deploys two squads of three to four officers each, in two shifts to cover Hill East six days a week, from 6:30am until 10:00pm.  He defined Hill East as the area between 14th and 19th Streets and East Capitol and D Streets, SE.  (DPW does not enforce parking restrictions on Sunday – DOT and MPD provide limited enforcement.)

But DPW Director Chris Shorter was quoted last week in the Hill Rag https://bit.ly/2u2oP4c  as follows:  “We have issued 1,246 citations and 120 ROSA [Registration of Out-of-State Automobiles] warnings starting from 01/01/2018 through present in the Hill East area.”  This would mean that fewer than ten parking citations per day – total – were issued per day by the 6 to 8 enforcement officers covering Hill East area.

A follow-up inquiry to DPW elicited this response:  the 1,246 figure actually represents the number of citations issued between January 1, 2018 and June 14, 2018 in the area defined in the attached map – a different area that the one cited by Gaither.  The map does not represent the full Hill East neighborhood but focuses on the areas adjacent to RFK and the Armory.

The Hill East area covered by the 2 enforcement teams per day, six days a week cited by Gaither remains unclear, as does the number of citations issued in that presumably larger area.

Gaither told the Task Force that there are 220 parking enforcement officers in the city and the number of officers on a squad varies based on absenteeism, but “there could be three – four – five squads in any ward at one time”.  (Parking restriction signage is not equal by ward, meaning some wards would have fewer teams than others.)

DPW’s responses to a list of questions Krepp had asked them to be prepared to answer are as follows:

What is the day-to-day break down of the 1246 parking enforcement citations?  DPW said their General Counsel advised Mr. Gaither not to answer the question and instead ask ANC6B to FOIA the information.  (The Task Force voted to send a letter to the Director, citing the Task Force status as a city agency.)

How many DPW inspectors are assigned to Hill East on days when Events DC is sponsoring events at the RFK?  The numbers do not change and DPW does not staff up for the events.

How many of the 1246 citation were paid?  DPW does not have that information.  (The city collects around $70 million a year in fees for parking violations overseen by DMV.)

Does DPW track on a year by year basis the number of traffic citations issued?  They do and the information is available on the DPW website.  (See below for sample)

What is the city’s policy of parking enforcement on Sundays?  DPW doesn’t enforce parking on Sundays.  (DOT and MPD provide limited enforcement.)

Several years ago, DPW agreed to provide extra parking enforcement inspectors for Events DC sponsored events with greater than 10,000 attendees. Is that agreement still in place?  No such agreement in effect. 

The Hill East Task Force discussed the idea of ANC6B entering into an agreement with Events DC and DPW for additional parking officers to be deployed for Events DC-sponsored events greater than 10,000.  Commissioner Ridge will follow up with the Office of the ANC about the idea.  Events DC and DPW agreed to raise the idea with their leadership.

In addition to Gaither, others attending the meeting included Celeste Duffie from DPW, and Jennifer Lawrence and Villareal representing Events DC – the frequent sponsor of events which occur at RFK.

*Below is a sample of data from the DPW website illustrating the categories with the highest number of recent parking citations:

 

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The Week Ahead… and Sephora Opens Friday, 10am, in the Hine Project

Sephora brings high-end beauty products to Capitol Hill – the 300 block of 7th Street, SE. Opening Friday, July 13, 10:00am.

The Week Ahead… and Sephora Opens Friday, 10am, in the Hine Project

By Larry Janezich

Monday, July 9

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D meets at 7:00pm, at 1100 4th Street, SW. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  DCHA Update on the Arthur Capper / Carrollsburg Redevelopment & Greenleaf Redevelopment .

Presentation:  All Star Week TOPP Update – EOM/DDOT/DPW .

Presentation:  SW BID Presentation RE Food Truck Safety & Regulation.

Presentation:  LimeBike – Maggie Gendron.

Presentation:  Crown Castle Wireless Communications – Adam Shapiro.

Hilton Washington DC National Mall – new restaurant liquor license with summer garden and entertainment endorsement (former license of L’Enfant Plaza Hotel from safekeeping).

Rappahannock Oyster, 1150 Maine Avenue, SW – new tavern liquor license.

ANC letter to ABC Board re actions to be placarded to allow for ANC input.

Letter to DDOT/DOEE RE Air Quality Monitoring & Mitigation for the FDMB Construction (Hamilton).

CTR Scoping Review – 1000 4th St. SW Stage 2 PUD (Moffatt).

Letter for Support for HPTF Financing for 1550 1st St. SW (Hamilton).

Historic Preservation Application for Thomas Law House.

Letter to the FHWA RE Independent Vibrations Monitoring of CSX Rail Operation in the VAT.

Letter to the AG/ZA RE Hotel-Like Rentals w/in PUD-Approved Residential Buildings.

ANC6C Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm at Kaiser Permanente, 700 2nd Street, NE. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

808 7th Street NE, Alley Bar, LLC d/b/a The Little Grand – new application of tavern license

411 H Street, NE, Nando’s Peri Peri – trash violations.

Tuesday, June 10

ANC6B will meet at 7:00pm at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation: Lauren Renford, artist.  Asking ANC support for mural on The Fridge.

714 11th Street, SE – Historic Preservation application for concept/new basement entrance and light-well.

419 Independence Avenue, SE – Historic Preservation application for concept/two-story rear addition.

228 9th Street, SE – Historic Preservation application for restoration.

Letter to relevant parties regarding Kingman Park and historic designation process.

 ANC6C Parks & Events Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Kaiser Permanente, 700 2nd Street, NE. 

Among items on the draft agenda: 

Presentation:  NoMA Parks Foundation – Status update on pending park projects and underpass installation.  Stacie West.

Presentation:  Sustainable DC Plan – Kate Judson, program analyst, DC Department of Energy and Environment.   (The District has released a draft update to its Sustainable DC Plan, first adopted in 2012. The P&E Committee will consider the District’s 5-yr progress report and the draft update, dubbed “Sustainable DC 2.0.”

Wednesday, July 11

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C meets at 7:00pm, Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  Jessica Sutter, Ward 6 candidate, DC State Board of Education.

Mural design, 1005 North Capitol, rear wall, Chapman Todd.

808 7th Street, NE – new tavern license for Alley Bar, trading as The Little Grand, 808 7th Street NE.

Central Armature Works, 1200 3rd Street, NE – Public Space application (construction) .

Visitor Parking Permit Bill B22-0841.

Streetcar, Third Street station.

D.C Sustainability Plan 2.0, new effort to reflect D.C. resident concerns.

NoMa Parks Foundation, status of park projects and underpass installation

Bill 22-683, Substandard and Construction Relief Amendment Act of 2018.

 Bill 22-684, Blighted Property Redevelopment Amendment Act of 2018.

Thursday, July 12

ANC6Z meets at 7:00pm, Miner Elementary School, 601 Fifteenth Street, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  Eliot-Hine Middle School Modernization – Oni Hinton and Meg Davis, Facility Planning and Design, District of Columbia Public Schools.

Presentation:  2019 Liquor License Renewal Process – Sarah Fashbaugh, Community Resource Officer, Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA).

Recommendation: ANC6A write a letter to ABRA to protest the license transfer of Touche (1123 H Street NE) to Smokin’ Pig (1208 H Street NE) unless a settlement agreement amendment is agreed to that states that the kitchen may cease serving food no earlier than one (1) hour before closing time.

Recommendation: ANC 6A send a letter to DDOT Public Space Committee for the public space application by Eliot-Hine Middle School (1800 Constitution Avenue NE) for installation of a staircase and ADA ramp on the C Street side of the school.

Recommendation: ANC 6A send letter of support to DDOT Public Space Committee for the sidewalk cafe application by DC Diner (802 13th Street, NE), conditioned on applicant’s agreement to restriction imposed by a Settlement Agreement.

Recommendation: ANC6A send a letter of support to BZA for a special exception to permit two existing primary buildings on a single record lot at 518 9th Street, NE and 816 E Street, NE.

Recommendation: ANC6A send a letter of support to BZA for special exceptions to construct a third-story rear addition to an existing principal dwelling unit at 1016 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, with conditions.

Recommendation: ANC6A send a letter of support to BZA for a special exception to construct a rear roof deck and access stairwell at 1318 Constitution Avenue.

Recommendation: ANC6A send a letter of support to BZA for a request to construct a rear addition to an existing nonconforming structure at 121 Tennessee Avenue, NE, with conditions.

Capitol Hill Restoration Society Zoning Committee meets at 7:30pm, Kirby House, 420 10th Street, SE. 

Agenda not available at press time. 

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Barracks Row July 4th Parade – Pols and People – Photo Essay

Semper Fi.  (click to enlarge)

Mayor Bowser

Director of DC Department of Energy and Environment Tommy Wells

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen

DC Councilmember at Large Elissa Silverman

The theme of the Capitol Hill BID this year is “Everything’s coming up roses on Capitol Hill”

Waiting for the parade.

Crowd shot, Barracks Row, July 4th Parade.

Crowd shot, Barracks Row, July 4th Parade.

Crowd shot, Barracks Row, July 4th Parade.

Crowd shot, Barracks Row, July 4th Parade.

Crowd shot, Barracks Row, July 4th Parade.

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“District Soul Food & Lounge” to Open on Barracks Row in Former Banana Café

The Banana Cafe on Barracks Row will become the District Soul Food & Lounge in September

“District Soul Food & Lounge” to Open on Barracks Row in Former Banana Café

by Larry Janezich

Two Brothers Soul Food, a popular but short-lived restaurant on Route 1 outside the Beltway has chosen the former Banana Café on Barracks Row as their new home.  According to ANC Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg, in whose district the restaurant lies, the restaurant plans to open in September.  Banana Café closed last December, when owner Jorge Garcia-Meitin Zamorano retired.

District Soul Food owners Chris Everett and David Roundtree announced last November that they were closing Two Brothers after seven months and relocating.  The restaurant opened in May of 2017 and had experienced a number of structural issues with the building, which eventually drove the decision to relocate.

The menu will feature authentic Southern cooking, heavy on fried chicken, pulled pork, fried fish, collard greens, baked beans, etc.  Oldenburg says that the owners will offer live jazz in the former piano bar on the second floor.  Everett and Roundtree are partners in other real estate deals, but relative newcomers to the hospitality business – Two Brothers was their first venture as restaurateurs.

The space is undergoing renovation, which, according to ANC Commissioner Chander Jayaraman will include plans for indoor trash storage.  Jayaraman, as chair of ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee, has been a strong advocate of indoor trash storage, and developed a strategy of using alcohol beverage license applications and renewals to encourage Barracks Row restaurants to provide indoor storage to combat rodent issues.

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The Week Ahead….

The lunch menu at Market Lunch, Eastern Market. Cash only.

The Week Ahead…

by Larry Janezich

Monday, July 2

ANC6B Transportation Committee will meet at 7:00pm, at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Discussion with Lee Goodall, Head of DDOT Community Engagement, on resolution of outstanding ANC 6B requests.

Discussion on obtaining Resident Only parking restrictions.

ANC6C Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee which usually meets on the first Monday has postponed its meeting until next Monday, July 9.

Tuesday, July 3

ANC6B Planning and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00pm, at St. Coletta of Greater Wasington, 1901 Independence Avenue, SE. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

1515 E Street, SE – Application for Zoning Adjustment, special exception to permit constructing a two-story rear addition to an existing principal dwelling unit.

714 11th Street, SE – Historic Preservation Application, concept/new basement entrance and light-well.

419 Independence Avenue, SE – Historic Preservation Application, concept/two-story rear addition.

Wednesday, July 4

Independence Day. 

Barracks Row Independence Day Parade starts at 10:00am. 

Thursday, July 5

ANC6b Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee meets at 7:00 PM at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Discussion of orderly process to verify compliance with Settlement Agreements.

ANC 6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee meets at 6:30pm, Northeast Library, 7th and D Streets, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda: 

Discussion of pending Council legislation – On July 12, the Council’s Committee of the Whole will hold a hearing on Bill 22-683, the Substandard Construction Relief Amendment Act of 2018 and Bill 22-684, the Blighted Property Redevelopment Amendment Act of 2018.

ANC 6C Transportation and Public Space Committee will meet at 7:00pm at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, 700 2nd St. NE, Room G3-G4. 

Among items on the draft agenda:

Central Armature Works, 1200 3rd Street, NE –  | Application for a permit for construction in the public right of way. Work includes walkways, ADA ramps, driveways, storm water management tree pits, new trees, street lights, and bicycle racks. The project covers the extent of the Central Armature Works property line, on M Street between 2nd NE and 3rd NE, and 3rd Street between M and Florida Ave.

Visitor Parking Permit Bill – Councilmember Allen has introduced a bill to limit the number of days a person may be issued a temporary visitor parking pass (the 15-day passes from MPD, not the annual visitor pass you can have mailed to you each year).  http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/40361/B22-0841-Introduction.pdf

Friends of Southeast Library meet at 5:30pm in Southeast Library, lower level.

Friday, July 6

ANC6B Hill East Task Force will meet at 7:00pm at St. Coletta of Greater Washington, 1901 Independence Ave SE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Briefing by representatives of the Department of Public Works on parking enforcement. Multiple commissioners have received numerous complaints regarding the lack of parking enforcement during the week (Maryland drivers and construction workers) and on weekends (attendees at EventsDC sponsored events at RFK).

Saturday, July 7

Community Clean-Up.  The next community clean-up is July 7th at 9am. Volunteers are asked to report to one of the seven sponsor sites and litter-patrol the streets for an hour.  Bags and sanitary gloves provided.

Please RSVP to CleanCapHill@gmail.com in advance and let them know which site you’ll be going to so we can coordinate coverage.

The seven sponsor sites are:

– Atlas Vets 1326 H St NE

– Congressional Cemetery 1801 E St SE

– The Pretzel Bakery 257 15th St SE

– Fulcrum Properties Group 1328 G St SE

– 7-Eleven 1501 Independence Ave, SE

– Trusty’s restaurant/bar 1420 Pennsylvania Ave SE

– Capital Candy Jar 201 15th St NE

 

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Breaking Ground on the Southeast Safeway Development

The ground breaking.

Lisa Jones, resident of Potomac Gardens (foreground) listens to presentations on the development of Beuchert’s Park.

Charles Allen: “We build more affordable housing in Ward 6 than any other ward in the city.”

A broader view.

Foulger-Pratt’s rendering of the finished product.

Breaking Ground on the Southeast Safeway Development

by Larry Janezich

Safeway and its developer partner Foulger-Pratt, along with Councilmember Charles Allen, a Mayor’s office rep and the project’s financier dug their shiny new shovels into a long box of sand yesterday, symbolically breaking ground on the Beckert’s Park mixed use development on the site of the Southeast Safeway.

The project will take two years and when complete will deliver 325 luxury apartments, 8,500 square feet of neighborhood retail, and a new and larger Safeway store to the community.

Prior to the ceremonial launching, Lisa Jones, a nearby resident told Capitol Hill Corner:

“I’m going to miss my neighborhood market.”

“Where do you live?”

“Potomac Gardens.”

“Where are you going to shop?”

“Harris Teeter.  High.  I can’t afford Harris Teeter.”

Capitol Hill Corner asked Tim McNamara – Senior Real Estate Manager for Safeway – what his vision was for the new Safeway in light of competition from Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and now Trader Joe’s, and what Lisa Jones would find when the new store opens.

McNamera said, “We’ve been on this site for 38 years.  The store will be new and modern – and larger.  We’re going from 50,000 square feet to 60,000 square feet.  We know how to compete – we will continue to have lower prices than Harris Teeter.”

In his remarks to the assembly, CM Charles Allen welcomed the opportunity to use space in a different way, lauding the new housing units and that 45 of the 1 and 2 bedroom apartments will be “affordable” – meaning that they will be available to those earning 60% of the Area Mean Income – about $52,000 to $60,000 a year.

Foulger-Pratt will own the residences while Safeway retains ownership of the store.  Foulger Pratt intends to own their part of the project “forever” according to one of their speakers.  The Safeway will employ 180 – many of the previous employees will return and new workers will be hired.  The store will feature home delivery, as well as a “Drive Up and Go” pickup service.

According to a Foulger-Pratt press release: “Resident amenities include a club room, outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, a shared workspace business center, dog washing station, bike storage and a 6,000 square foot multi-purpose, multi-media sport court…..Beckert’s Park will reference the site’s history (of the beer garden and amusement park that once occupied the site) but also reimagine it as a chic garden and amusement-like park that brings people from the Capitol Hill neighborhood together….”

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Barracks Row’s Most Troubled Block – ANC Task Force Takes a Close Look

Capitol Hill residents and stakeholders met Monday night to discuss Barracks Row “pain points.”  Click to enlarge.

MPD First District Commander Kane (center said police presence on the block would be increased. Also pictured at left is First District Captain Knutson.

Police presence on Barracks Row, circa 8:30am, Tuesday.

Police presence, Barracks Row, circa 7:45pm Tuesday.

Barracks Row’s Most Troubled Block – ANC Task Force Takes a Close Look

by Larry Janezich

Monday night, Jennifer Samolyk’s ANC6B Outreach Task Force convened residents and stakeholders to take a hard look at Barrack Row’s most troubled block – the west side of the 400 block, opposite the Fire Station.

The businesses on that side from north to south include Starbucks, &Pizza, The Nail Spa, Popeyes, Be Here Now Yoga, Chipotle, Eat Bar, Bolis Pizza, Capitol Hill Tandoor and Grill, Chi Ko, Bank of America  ATM, a for-lease retail space, and  7-11.

Attendees wanted to know why the west side of the block is a gathering place for panhandlers and people with mental or substance abuse problems.  That environment fosters drug sales, bathroom issues, littering, and frequent encounters with unconscious substance abusers.

One resident said he does not walk his child down the block.  Commissioner Samolyk said she doesn’t either.  MPD First District Commander Kane, who was at the meeting, said she has a child and walks on Barracks Row, adding, “I see what you see…it’s gotten worse…it’s on our radar”.  When asked why people hang out on the 400 block, she said,”I don’t know.”  Kane acknowledged a need for stronger enforcement in order to send a message, but that strong enforcement is tempered by police having to distinguish criminal acts from mental or substance abuse issues …”We try to be understanding but when problems escalate, we have to take action”.  She expressed concern about taking somebody who can’t take care of themselves and putting them into the criminal justice system.  Kane pledged to double the police presence in the area, assigning a second MPD police officer to the block, providing a police presence from 6:00 or 7:00am until 9:00 or 10:00pm.

Martin Smith, Executive Director of Barracks Row Main Street, citing his background in urban planning, had some answers why the block is in trouble.  His list included the number of empty stores (Tandoor Grill and the for-lease space), restaurants which are not open during the day (Chi-Ko and Eat Bar), the dead space in front of the Bank of America ATM, national chain outlets which are unresponsive to complaints and community concerns (7-11, Starbucks, Popeyes and Bank of America), and the lack of public occupation of public space (no sidewalk cafes).  He said that the block provides food outlets with “more affordable dining options” which are more likely to be patronized by panhandlers operating on the block.  He pointed to the wide sidewalk and large spaces where people can sit without obstructing the flow of pedestrian traffic.  Finally, he cited his experience in engaging a panhandler who had been arrested “100 times”; when asked why he keeps doing it, replied, “because I make a lot of money and nothing ever happens (to me). “

A Barracks Row business owner from the 700 block asked Smith to pressure businesses on the 400 block to police their public space, saying, “…the block is incredibly dirty – filthy”.  Smith said that “We try as much as we can – the 400 block is challenging…we urge businesses to engage with the public space, but they say it’s not a high priority”.

Community Connections, which provides behavioral and primary health care coordination for DC’s marginalized residents coping with mental illness and addiction, has a treatment center adjacent to Barracks Row.  Representatives stressed their willingness to engage and cooperate and liaison, and said few of the habitués on Barracks Row are their clients.  (An MPD officer familiar with the block, when told of Community Connection’s claim, disagreed, saying 9 out of 10 of people hanging out on the block are clients of Community Connections.)

ANC6B Chair Dan Ridge urged the Task Force to propound at least one recommendation to forward to the full ANC for action, suggesting advocating for a bill now in committee providing for public bathrooms.  There are other recommendations which would be helpful, such as urging the owner of Tandoor Grill to erect a construction fence in front of the closed restaurant, urging Community Connections to take stronger measures to see that their clients do not remain in the area following treatment, and demanding that Bank of America take accountability for their trash strewn and problematic ATM (the card accessible door has been broken for days, allowing free entry into the space).  In the end, however, the Task Force was satisfied with the airing of issues and the promise of increased police presence on the block.

The Task Force meeting revealed how difficult it is to address what Samolyk called the “pain points” on Barracks Row.  MPD First District Captain Knutson emphasized that MPD can make arrests and increase enforcement  – “…that’s an easy fix, but it doesn’t solve the problem”.  It’s more difficult to address the underlying structural problems.  This reporter’s take-away from the meeting?

Vague promises were made of greater liaison between stakeholders (MPD and Community Connections and Sasha Bruce Youthworks and Community Connections), but no concrete plan about how to coordinate efforts to resolve outstanding issues emerged.

MPD has limited ability to deal with individuals causing quality of life problems (anti-loitering laws have been ruled unconstitutional).  In addition,  the criminal justice system is overwhelmed which leads to failure to prosecute and quick release.  Also, possession or sale of the synthetic drug K-2 which is largely responsible for the substance abuse issues on the block is not illegal.

Community Connections has limited capability to influence their clients to be good neighbors and is short funded to boot.

Sasha Bruce Youthworks doesn’t really deal with the Barracks Row demographic of those causing problems on the 400 block.

Sympathetic residents who support panhandlers are part of the problem.

Barracks Row Main Street doesn’t have the money to address the structural issues or help businesses on 400 block beautify their operations.

The difficult underlying structural problems on the block remain difficult problems.

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The Week Ahead….ANC6B Task Force Tackles Barracks Row Problems Monday – SE Safeway Groundbreaking on Wednesday

The west side of the 400 block of Barracks Row, anchored by 7-11 on the south and Starbucks on the north, will get a close look by ANC6B Task Force Monday night – see below. Click to enlarge.

The Week Ahead….ANC6B Task Force Tackles Barracks Row Problems Monday – SE Safeway Groundbreaking on Wednesday

by Larry Janezich

Monday, June 25

ANC6B’s Community Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force meets at 7:00pm, first floor conference room in the Hine Project at 700 Pennsylvania Ave SE. The entrance is next door to the ground-level entrance to Trader Joe’s.

Agenda:

The agenda will include a discussion of the pedestrian and patron climate on 8th Street along Barracks Row.  Representatives from MPD, 7-11, and other civic organizations will be invited to attend and share updates and strategies for addressing recent complaints of harassment and other issues along the corridor.

The task force has also invited brief presentations from Grif Johnson representing ‘Quiet Clean DC’ to talk about a leaf blower bill before the DC Council and a brief presentation from the DC ReInvest Coalition regarding DC’s relationship with Wells Fargo.

For more information, please contact O&CS task force chair Jennifer Samolyk, Commissioner 6B01 at 6b01@anc.dc.gov

ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee meets at 7:00pm, at Eastern High School, Parent Center (Enter from East Capitol Street).

Agenda:

Presentation on Eliot Hine Modernization Project.

Tuesday, June 26

ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center.

Agenda:

To set the agenda for the July 10th meeting of ANC6B.

Wednesday, June 27

Groundbreaking for the development of the Southeast Safeway at 415 14th Street, SE will take place at the site at 9:30am on Wednesday, as reported last week by The Hill Rag.  Construction of the five story mixed use residential/retail project will take two years and bring 325 apartments, a new Safeway, and 403 below grade parking spaces to the neighborhood.   Capitol Hill Corner reported details on and renderings of the project here:  https://bit.ly/2yDj41t

Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00 pm, North Hall, Eastern Market.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Update on Budget Matters

Market Manager’s Report

Capital Improvements subcommittee Report

Thursday, June 28

Capitol Hill Restoration Society Members Forum, 7:00pm, at Hill Center. 

Agenda:

Presentation:  Mapping Early Washington – DC history specialist Brian Kraft will present his current research on mapping early Washington which will include historical background on landownership, early developers, and early residents.   This event is open to the public.

Friday, June 29

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen holds community office hours at The Pretzel Bakery at 15th and C Streets, SE, from 8:00am – 9:30am.   

 

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