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ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman Talks About Capitol Hill’s Major Issues

2019-01-10 12.42.30ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman Talks About Capitol Hill’s Major Issues

by Larry Janezich

Chander Jayaraman was elected Chair of ANC6B last Tuesday.  He previously served as chair during 2016 and 2017.  Capitol Hill Corner asked him to talk about ANC6B’s major issues.

Eastern Market Metro Plaza – He calls it a “game changer development – I don’t want 6B to be a rubber stamp.  I see the ANC as the conduit for concerns and ideas of residents which will be addressed in the planning.”  He says he will likely ask Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk’s Constituent Outreach Task Force to track the development and solicit input from the community, both on the Plaza and the South East Library.  Commissioners Jerry Sroufe and Brian Ready in whose single member districts the respective projects reside would be the liaisons between the task force and the project’s advisory committees.  He said he was gratified that DGS had opened up the Metro Advisory Committee meetings to the public but concerned it had set up one-on-one meetings with the constituent members which could circumvent the open meeting process.

Eastern Market – Jayaraman says Eastern market is the heart of the community because it’s “the spot where different races converge.”  He wants to find ways to get Eastern Market on a better financial footing – especially regarding long term leases for the South Hall merchants – “they can’t continue operation on year to year leases. He says the DGS study on leases was way off, according to merchants, and a second study is coming up.  Jayaraman has initiated the outreach to new DGS Director Keith Anderson for a briefing by EMCAC, and hopes to coordinate a tour of the market for Anderson, CM Robert Wright (chair of DGS oversight committee), ANC representatives and EMCAC members.

Weekend flea markets – He supports the continuation of the flea markets controlled by private operators on the 300 block of 7th Street and the newly reopened C Street between 7th and 8th Streets.  He says they provide opportunities for small businesses who can’t afford high rents:  “If we want more retail, we have to provide appropriate ways for businesses to reach customers.”  He cited Indigo’s graduation from an Eastern Market food vendor to a restaurant on H Street.  He says, “There should be a way for flea markets to coexist with the brick and mortar retail on 7th Street and the incoming retail in the Hine project.  We may have to change the configuration.”

Parking –   ANC6B has tried to make residents of multi-unit buildings ineligible for Residential Parking Permits through agreement with developers but whether that will be effective depends on support from DMV.  Regulations require that developers of multi-unit buildings provide one parking space for every two units, and he thinks the city should incentivize use of those spaces by tenants – in-building parking is expensive and the practical alternative is street parking.  He says that many families have a real need for more than one vehicle, but “I do think the city should revisit its residential parking policy when an individual or household has more than two vehicles.”  And he believes that the city should strongly encourage those with garages and parking pads on their property to use those for their personal vehicles.

Restaurant Trash and Rats – Jayaraman (who also chairs the 6B Alcohol Beverage Committee) says that since all restaurant liquor license renewals are up for renewal this spring, there are opportunities to pressure restaurants – particularly on Barracks Row (he cites Ted’s Bulletin, Mediterranean Cafe and Las Placitas as examples) who are either frequent violators of trash restrictions or not in compliance with what they agreed to in settlement agreements imposing conditions on their licenses – “We’ve made great strides in requiring best operating practices – every new establishment puts trash inside. We want them to succeed but they have a community responsibility as well.”

The troubled 400 block of Eighth Street/Homelessness – Jayaraman says that the troubles on the block are not just a matter of homelessness – “The 400 block of 8th is an economic and social gathering point for people who have hung out there for a long time.”  He says has not seen MPD presence on the block as much as he expected: “One thing we can do is leverage other community resources such as DOH and DOBH mobile units to try to connect the homeless with city services.  In some circumstances, this won’t work.  Some homeless refuse to go to shelters for fear of violence or disease.  I would like to see Community Connections provide more assistance to keep the homeless off the street at night by keeping their lobby open and providing access to shelter, bathrooms and counseling.  It’s a matter of willingness of the organization to bring that in.”  He also discourages residents from providing handouts to panhandlers.

Drugs -He says that the problem is not just K2 – so-called synthetic marijuana – but a combination of powdered heroin and cocaine which has had a “huge impact which I see in my neighborhood.  The use of heroin and cocaine do not manifest itself to the degree that the use of K-2 does, producing comatose users, but some characteristics are the same.”  He sees a link between package theft and drug use, and says we need more action by MPD’s drug intervention task force.

Retail – Jayaraman says landlords in ANC6B’s commercial corridors – Barracks Row, Eastern Market, Pennsylvania Avenue – are asking too much money for rents: “I hope landlords realize they can’t get this kind of money forever. I don’t know that Capitol Hill is dying – there are lots of young families.  But it’s not a cool, hip place to live anymore – as much as near The Wharf or H Street.”  He said we have to be more supportive of businesses and would like to see Union Kitchen – a makerspace for commercial cooks – on Capitol Hill and a Compass Coffee, adding, “Change is inevitable – how we continue is to recognize that and adjust moving forward and increase our efforts to promote it.”

The Historic District – “I don’t believe the Historic District needs to go farther east –there may come a time when it’s appropriate, but were not there yet.  In light of so much development in Hill East and with the potential development of RFK there could be segments that become Historic – but not necessarily a straight line extension.”  He says we need a balance between historic homeowners and the drive to make housing more affordable.  The challenge is to find a way to let owners expand their homes to accommodate growing families, while maintaining the character of what makes Capitol Hill unique.  Leaning too far to one side in rejecting everything means we price ourselves out of being a vibrant community. He wants to increase development of alley dwellings and allow second story rear additions.

Hill East – “I’m concerned that outside the historic district that in some ways it’s like the Wild West. He said he lost a vote in his SMD when he tried to use parking regulations to prevent a four story popup in a row of two story houses – “It looks like a middle finger.  Just because something is built by right doesn’t mean it’s right.”

RFK – He’s opposed to development of a new football stadium.  He would like to see a mixed use area – athletic fields and a building with lots of activities for kids, adults and seniors.  He says he could see an amphitheater or maybe a smaller stadium for the Captials or Wizards.  “It would be great to get on a bike at Kingman Park and ride to Georgetown and have various experiences on the way – RFK – Navy Yard – ballpark – The Wharf.  That’s what an international city is – we need to become a more dynamic international city.  A big part of that means how the city is managed – I don’t think city does as well as we could and I think we can do better.”

Reservation 13 – He says he’s glad the first two buildings are going up and want to see other parcels developed and expects ANC6B to continue to have input, especially through the Hill East Task Force.

SE Boulevard – “It will get going again when Barney circle is complete, that will force the issue.  SE Boulevard is needed to reestablish the community connection and the water.  That will promote development all the way down to the water.”  He said that at one time there had been talk of a land swap to redevelop Potomac Gardens – “maybe that’s what we do – build brand new public housing along Southeast Boulevard, move residents there, and raze and rebuild Potomac Gardens.  I don’t know if that idea is going anywhere, but a lot of people recognize it is a valuable property with the potential of providing a lot of revenue to the city.”

“Great Weight” –  CHC wound up the interview asking what can be done to encourage city agencies to give the ANC opinions the “great weight” to which it is entitled by city regulation?

Jayaraman said, “We have to define what the responsibilities of the agencies are by participating in city council oversight and budget hearings and providing input to councilmembers.”  He said it is essential to actively push back against agencies who fail to take ANC opinion into account, citing a recent decision by DDOT to change parking signs on 7th Street outside of Eastern Market without notice or involvement of ANC6B, and ABRA procedures which allow them to strike down an entire liquor license settlement agreement if they disagree with one section of it.

Jayaraman was born in Bangalore, India and moved to Overland Park, Kansas, when he was four and grew up there.   He studied engineering and then and received a degree in  economics at the University of Kansas.  After college, he worked on several Congressional political campaigns, then as a legislative aide for a member of Congress.  He subsequently worked for a law firm, then as Program Manager of Columbia Heights YouthBuild, and as a research associate for Inclusion Incorporated / Inclusion Research Institute (IRI).  After nearly 10 years at IRI, he started Strategic Educational Consulting, LLC [SEDC] – a private, minority-owned small business which provides expert consulting and training services on emergency preparedness and response to various types of disasters.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the JOBS Coalition, and has been a former Board president and alumni representative at The Hill Preschool.  He is actively involved in Capitol Hill Little League Baseball and tutors middle and high school students in algebra.

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A Couple of Recent Vacancies on Barracks Row…

Garrison restaurant closed its doors a couple of weeks ago.  It just never seemed to catch on in the neighborhood or the larger community.

About the same time that City Bikes gave up – maybe a victim of dockless bikes and scooters.

The close up of the sign on the door is below.

It’s been fun…. (click to enlarge)

 

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ANC6B’s Inaugural Meeting Shows Discord Between Residents and MPD

ANC6B. L-R Commissioner Jennnifer Samolyk; Commissioner Denise Krepp; Commissioner Kelly Waud; Commissioner Denise Krepp; Brian Ready, Parliamentarian; Jerry Sroufe, Secretary; Chander Jayaraman, Chair; Commissioner Steve Holtzman; Kasie Clark, Vice Chair; Corey Holman, Treasurer; Commissioner Kirsten Oldenburg.

MPD 1st District Commander, Morgan Kane.

Commander Kane takes questions from the audience at ANC6B last night.

ANC6B’s Inaugural Meeting Shows Discord Between Residents and MPD

by Larry Janezich

Last night ANC6B heard officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) respond to neighbors’ concerns regarding police interaction with three young boys (ages 10-12) last December in front of Frager’s Hardware on E Street, SE.  About two dozen concerned neighbors and activists from Black Lives Matter and The Stop Police Terror Project DC showed up to register complaints about police in a discussion that lasted ninety minutes.

MPD 1st District Commander Kane related the police account to the ANC and assembled residents.  According to her, officers responded to a 911 call from someone who claimed that an elderly gentleman had been threatened with a knife inside the CVS at 12th and E; the caller provided descriptions of three young boys who were alleged to be involved. She said two officers – a primary officer and a partner – responded to the report as a violent assault and possible robbery in progress. The officers located the elderly gentleman and interviewed him.

Meanwhile, a bike unit comprised of a Sergeant and four officers, having heard the radio call and description of those allegedly involved, responded and encountered three young boys matching the description eastbound on E Street.  Kane said the bike unit engaged the kids informally, questioning them regarding a possible crime, and “developing a rapport.” She said the officers told the kids they were not in trouble.

Meanwhile, the two officers who were talking to the elderly gentleman determined that he said he had been followed into the CVS, had “perceived” a knife, and was scared.  Kane added that “maybe the boys had been playing in a construction site” nearby. Officers determined that there was no robbery and no assault. The elderly gentleman wanted to go home and not pursue the matter.

The primary officer and her partner then met the bike unit and the boys in front of Frager’s, and asked the bike team Sergeant if the kids had a knife and if he had patted them down. The tone the primary officer took with the boys was “strong,” Kane said, offering her view that it reflected the fact that the officer had lost a son to gun violence and her concern that the boys not end up the same way. No knife was found after the pat down.

Kane said: “They should’ve been patted down from the beginning, but the police were trying to make the children feel comfortable.”  The officers huddled, Kane said, to figure out how to proceed, and within 8 minutes of encountering the boys, decided parents had to be called.

The following points were made by members of the audience in response to Kane’s narrative.

  • Black people are being over-policed in this community, often subject to attention from police while carrying out innocuous or ordinary activities.
  • The total length of time of the encounter was 39 minutes – kids were detained after no weapon was found and no crime had been committed – an inordinate amount of time that amounted to a form of detention.
  • Why can’t they see the video from the officer’s body cameras?
  • One of the officers mocked a resident who was videotaping the incident.

In response, Kane stated that “we don’t make up these descriptions”; this was a in response to a violent crime that appeared to be in progress and “we were able to work it out.”

Regarding the inordinate amount of time involved, Kane said, “That’s how long it took for a parent to get there.”

With regard to the release of body camera footage, MPD’s FOIA official, Inspector Parker, cited the expensive redactions to protect identities of children and uninvolved parties passing by, and well as confidential radio communications picked up by the body cams as well as restrictions which protect juveniles.  She said body cam videos are routinely viewed by those directly involved or their attorneys, but whether a video can be released to the public is ultimately in the hands of the MPD police chief.

Kane said the officer alleged to be mocking the resident videotaping was actually laughing and joking with her, encouraging her to come closer to take the video.

When Kane was asked if she thinks there is long-term damage to children from being criminalized, Kane said, “Absolutely. But we give back on the other side … build a foundation of trust. These uniforms are intimidating. I know how the children felt and I’m not down-playing that.  We need to build a rapport….I’m open to however you want to partner….we can’t do it alone.  We need you.  We know what the problem is.”

After some 90 minutes, the discussion wound up with comments from a resident, a woman who one person in the audience identified as having taken a video of the event.  The woman said that she saw this as the beginning of a long hard process. “I’m glad at the turnout tonight – it’s great validation. I had hoped to see MPD open and understanding, but I’m disappointed. You say you understand, but the tone and conversation is telling us we’re not feeling what we feel and not seeing what we saw. I wish you had entered the meeting with an open heart and mind. What we hear is we are wrong and you are right.  I don’t think that’s correct. You have not proven we can trust you.”

ANC6B Chair Chander Jayraman announced that he had been in communication with CM Charles Allen, who asked for time to review the video and have a conversation with MPD. Allen can’t release the video, but he can provide comment and talk publicly about it.

Commissioner Denise Krepp suggested the conversation could continue at the Hill East Task Forcemeeting at 7:00pm at St. Coletta’s on January 28.

In other business, ANC6B elected the following officers: Chander Jayraman, Chair; Kasie Clark, Vice Chair; Corey Holman, Treasurer; Jerry Sroufe, Secretary; and Brian Ready, Parliamentarian.

 

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ANC6A Wades Right into the Parking Swamp

ANC6A. L-R Brian Alcorn, Treasurer; Commissioner Stephanie Zinny; Amber Gove, Chair; Phil Toomajian, Vice Chair; (unnamed commission staff member); Commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert; Commissioner Ruth Hudson; and Mike Soderman, Secretary.

ANC6A Wades Right into the Parking Swamp

by Larry Janezich

Last Thursday night at its first meeting of 2019 at Miner School, ANC6A waded right into the parking swamp when it took up a contentious issue involving the proposed conversion of the former Capitol Hill Community Health Clinic at 201 8th Street, NE, (corner of Constitution and 8th NE) to five residential units .  Seems nearby residents object to the by-right conversion of the building and the addition of four more residential units on the site, largely on the basis of the impact on neighborhood parking.

The ANC’s Economic and Zoning Committee had recommended the Commission support the developer’s historic preservation application, conditioned on the developer agreeing to include Residential Parking Permit (RPP) restrictions in the sales documents for all units, i.e., condo purchasers would have to agree not to apply for RPPs. The developer balked at the contingency, claiming the restrictions were not legally enforceable in court, that HPRB has no purview on parking, and that the developer was providing parking by right in accordance with zoning regulations.

Commissioner Mike Soderman objected strongly to supporting the development without the parking restriction, touting the opposition to the project of nearby neighbor “Senator Nelson,” – presumably former Senator Bill Nelson (Fla.).  former Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.  Soderman said Nelson could not make that night’s meeting but did send a letter.  (CHC sought to obtain the letter to see exactly what the objections were, but despite assurances from Soderman and a nod from ANC6A Chair Phil Toomajian, the letter was not forthcoming.  6A’s lack of transparency is puzzling.)* See Ed. Note below.

The commission then plunged into a parliamentary quagmire, first agreeing to Soderman’s motion to NOT send a letter of recommendation by a vote of 5 – 2.   When the developer complained he had never seen an ANC vote not to send a letter, some commissioners sought to revisit the issue but the Commission was uncertain how to revive a measure what had been tabled (killed).  Finally, following a muddled interpretation of Robert’s Rules of Order, the commission resurrected the letter in the form of a motion to send a letter of support without the parking restriction language.   That motion failed 3 – 4.

Apparently, leaves ANC6A with hands tied, not able to send any letter – one of support, a letter in opposition, or even a letter stating it has no opinion.  This amounts to a forfeiture of the opportunity to weigh in on the Historic Preservation application at all.

Other ANCs have tried to leverage their “great weight” authority using unconventional means.  ANC6B has used liquor license renewals to pressure bars and restaurants to adopt best operating practices, and, like ANC6A Thursday night, has tried to use the parking issue (technically a matter for the DDOT or the Zoning Board) to influence the outcome historic preservation cases overseen by the HPRB.

What this means is that with no recommendation from the ANC on the historical preservation application, the Historical Preservation Review Board is likely to approve the application as is.  In the end, the developer will likely get the greenlight to proceed with the project and the ANC will have demonstrated they did their best to respond to neighbors’ concerns.  Everybody’s happy.  Except the neighbors.

In other business, the ANC elected its officers for the coming term:  Chair, Amber Gove; Vice Chair, Phil Toomajian; Vice Chair, Amber Gove; Secretary, Mike Soderman; Treasurer, Brian Alcorn.

Update:  Ed. Note.  CHC obtained the letter from another source.  The letter, on Nelson’s retired Senate letterhead, and signed by three other neighbors, reads in part:

“We want it to be clearly understood that we support the redevelopment and revitalizing of older buildings particularly projects that add to the appearance of the neighborhood, increase safety and add to property values…..

But to be supportive the process must involve the inclusion of neighbors before being rushed through the required various levels of review and approval. To date only a handful of individual neighbors have been made aware of the clinic project and/or contacted and shown the project plans. We were contacted first by ANC6A Commissioner Mike Soderman who directed us to Bobby Akines of Ditto.  The outreach has essentially been initiated by the neighbors and not by Ditto. As a result, the balance of the neighborhood is being ignored.

In addition, it appears that all redevelopment details, including the relocation of the main entrance, have been finalized without any neighborhood input.  It also appears to be on a ‘fast track” for final approval without additional opportunities for more neighborhood consultations.

We are asking to delay taking any action on this project until we and other neighbors have had the opportunity to discuss this major renovation project and to attend a Meeting and present our thoughts and concerns to you.

We fear that without a careful review of the plan for the relocation of the main entrance to face the west side of 806 Constitution and the resulting new increased foot traffic, the proposed use of the space between the building and the adjacent building at 806 Constitution as “commons” area, and other critical aspects of the plan more challenges will arise which will leave the neighborhood with no recourse.”

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ANC6C Hears Appeal for More Affordable Housing at High Density Development in NE

ANC6C:  L-R Robb Dooling, Mark Eckenweiler, Vice Chair; KarenWirt, Chair; Christine Healey, Secretary; Joel Kelty, Treasurer; Jay Adelstein.

ANC6C Hears Appeal for More Affordable Housing at High Density Development in NE

By Larry Janezich

The ANC heard a report from Mark Eckenweiler’s Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee on the six proposals to develop 2 Patterson Street, NE, the 42,252 square-foot city-owned parking lot at North Capitol and New York Avenue.  UrbanTurf summarizes the six proposals for high-density mixed-use development here:  https://bit.ly/2soj53r

The committee report, according to Eckenweiler, stopped short of making a recommendation, and instead analyzed the pros and cons of each of the six proposals.  The Deputy Mayor’s Office of Economic Development is expected to select a developer in February.  Eckenweiler outlined the relative differences in the percentage of affordable housing of the proposals and commented on the proposals’ disparity in their approach to providing parking.  City agencies are required to give “great weight” to ANC recommendations and opinions.

About ten members of Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) showed up for the meeting and spoke of the need for affordable housing in the area.  They urged the commission to give consideration to the proposals maximizing the potential for affordable housing.  WIN is a “broad-based, multiracial, multi-faith, nonpartisan, districtwide citizens power organization, rooted in local congregations and associations” –  its website says it is committed to training and developing neighborhood leaders to address community issues, and to hold elected and corporate officials accountable in Washington DC.

In other business, of its first 2019 meeting, ANC6C elected officers, as follows:  Karen Wirt, Chair; Mark Eckenweiler, Vice Chair; Christine Healey, Secretary; and Joel Kelty, Treasurer.

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Capitol Hill Corner – The Week Ahead…

The 200 block of 7th Street, SE, looking south at circa 4:00pm today.

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, January 14

ANC6D meets at 7:00pm, 1100 4th Street, SW

POSTPONED UNTIL TBA.  Among items on the draft agenda:

Introduction of DC Nightlife Mayor Shawn Townsend

Public Safety Report- First District MPD (PSA 103, PSA 105 & PSA 106) Capt. Mongal, Capt. Dorrough, Lt. Lavenhouse

Presentations:

Amidon Field Environmental Restoration Project – Cecelia Lane, DOEE

 FreshFarm Markets Letter of Support – Carrie Hildebrandt

Walters (address not listed by ANC) –  new Tavern liquor license w/Entertainment endorsement plus Sidewalk Cafe & Summer Garden

Waterfront Station/1000 4th Street SW PUD –  Zoning Commission Application

555 E Street project update

950 South Capitol Street Public Space Construction Permit Application

DDOT Notice of Intent re “No Turn On Red” signs

Letter to DDOT and WMATA RE Public Comment Period Regarding Parking Space Removal for Buses

Election of 2019 Commission Officers

CANCELLED.  RFK Redevelopment – Community meeting with Events DC – today – RFK Stadium – 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

Southeast Library Coffee & Conversation, 2:00pm, 403 7th Street, SE.

Starting on January 14, we will be hosting the bimonthly program Coffee & Conversation. Come to the library’s meeting room at 2 :00pm for a cup of coffee and conversation with your peers and neighbors. This program will take place on the second and fourth Monday of every month. To learn more about Southeast Neighborhood Library events, please visit: https://bit.ly/2RIwxOa

Tuesday, January 15

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

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentations:

Commander Morgan Kane, First District MPD

Phil Mendelson, DC Council Chairman

Danny Boy LLC., d/b/a Little Pearl; 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE; Request to amend Settlement Agreement to change Sunday Hours of Operation, Sales, Service and Consumption within the interior of the Premises and Summer Garden to 7:00am. to 11:30pm. Current hours are 7:00am to 9:00 pm.

156 Duddington Place, SE; Special exception to construct a one-story rear addition to an existing, attached principal dwelling unit.

Review of DDOT Notice of Intent on Establishment of “No Turn on Red” Restrictions at Selected Signalized Intersections.

628 A Street, SE; Historic Preservation application re concept/two-story rear and side, one-story rooftop addition.

302 South Carolina Ave. SE; Historic Preservation application re concept/rear addition.

121 7th Street, SE; Historic Preservation application re concept/three-story rear addition, one-story rooftop addition, alter front façade.

121 7th Street, SE; Special exceptions to construct a third story and rear addition to the existing, two-story, attached principal dwelling unit.

Election of Officers and appointment of committee chairs.

ANC 6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Discussion of request for a change in hours for Dynamix Lounge at 1220 H Street, NE,  (Retailer Class C Tavern license).

Wednesday, January 16

ANC6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee is scheduled to meet at 7:00pm, Sherwood Recreation Center, Corner of 10th and G Streets, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda: 

1511 – 1515 A Street NE – Zoning Adjustment application to subdivide existing lot and construct three new attached flats.

913 7th Street NE – Zoning Adjustment application to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing, attached principal dwelling unit.

Thursday, January 17

Sector 2 (PSAs 104, 107, 108) Community Meeting, 7:00pm.  Location TBA. 

Special Event:

Happy Hour fundraiser for Coast Guard Mutual Assistance to help member of the US Coast Guard who are not receiving pay during the current government shutdown. 

Kenneth H. Nash Post #8 on Capitol Hill will be conducting a special happy hour fundraiser at its post at 224 D ST SE Washington DC 20003, from 5:30PM to 8PM on 17 January 2019. The fundraiser will be headlined by Nashville recording Artists ‘Wil Gravatt’ band (https://www.wilgravatt.com/). The cost of the event is $10. In addition, The Post will be conducting a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction. The Post has started a Go Fund Me Page for those who wish to separately donate (https://goo.gl/N4Unca). All proceeds from the event go to Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.

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Toney Wine Bar “The Eastern” Slated for Hine Project

It looks like the new  7th Street wine bar will be occupying a couple of thousand square feet on the right end of the papered over windows – marked by orange liquor license placards.  The Hine Project loading dock is on the right.  

Toney Wine Bar “The Eastern” Slated for Hine Project

by Larry Janezich

There are few details about plans for a new upscale wine bar on 7th Street, SE, in the Hine Project’s prime retail space.  What we do know is that the owners – reputed to be the group behind Barrel (the rustic whiskey lounge at 613 Pennsylvania Avenue) – have applied for a Class C Tavern license, and could open next summer.

The license application says the tavern will operate as a wine bar serving a limited food menu. Total occupancy will be 75, with seating for 55, and a sidewalk café with 30 seats.  Hours of operation and alcohol beverage sales, service and consumption inside premises and for sidewalk Café will be Sunday through Thursday 9:00am to 2:00am Friday and Friday and Saturday 9:00am to 3:00am, though times are often scaled back by the ANC via a settlement agreement.

Any entertainment endorsement – permitting live bands or DJs – must be applied for separately, but the current application does not anticipate that.

More information should be forthcoming when the application comes before ANC6B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Committee, likely February 7.  The protest petition deadline and requests to appear before the ABC board must be filed by the petition deadline, February 25.

The owners have engaged Andrew Kline’s Veritas Law firm which specializes in representing hospitality clients in matters before the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.  In the past, applicants have engaged the firm when they anticipate push back from nearby neighbors.

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Neighbors Protest New Bikeshare Rack at 11th and C Streets, SE

DDOT installed this 19 bike Bikeshare station last week at 11th and C Streets, SE.

Another view.

Neighbors Protest New Bikeshare Rack at 11th and C Streets, SE

by Larry Janezich

Residents near the intersection of 11th and C SE say that despite 160 signatures (many from customers of the adjacent dry cleaner) opposing the installation pictured above, DDOT brushed aside their concerns and installed the Bikeshare rack anyway.

The issue came before the ANC6B Transportation Committee in November where several neighbors and the owner of the dry cleaning establishment protested the proposed installation, citing the loss of parking, the impact on the dry cleaner who has been using the non-designated space in front of his business as a loading zone, and the aesthetics of having a station in front of a residence.  After hearing the concerns, the committee bucked the issue up to the full ANC6B meeting a few days later which heard protests from other neighbors who added objections based on safety and lack of notification.  In addition, concern about the loss of property value seemed to have figured into the opposition.  The Commission subsequently voted 7 -3 to support the bike station.

DDOT and two ANC commissioners from the affected single member districts had surveyed eight potential sites for a new Bikeshare rack to fill a gap in stations centered near 11th and C Streets.  DDOT determined that this location was the best alternative based on safety, proximity to bike infrastructure, distance from other stations, and “its minor impact on resident parking.”

On December 13, one resident, saying she was writing on behalf of some 30 concerned neighbors, wrote to Jeff Marootian, Director of DDOT, formally contesting the effort to place the Bikeshare based on lack of due process and safety.  DDOT, replied that an appropriate response would be forthcoming to “everyone who has inquired or raised concerns about this bike share station installation.”

ANC6B Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk, whose single member district is near the Capitol Building, weighed in, emailing DDOT that neither she nor the neighbors had been given adequate notice and said “it is very disheartening that DDOT is rushing to get this bike share installed without adequate debate.  Honestly – I was shocked at the ANC meeting by the presentation by DDOT.  It was almost like if you don’t say “yes” right now- we will put the bike share in another ANC.  It was a take it or leave it ultimatum.”  Commissioner Denise Krepp from Hill East wrote Marootian chastising DDOT for a dismissive attitude about residents’ concerns.

The Bike Share rack was installed on January 10.

Newly elected ANC6B Corey Holman, who often opines on transportation and parking issues, posted a couple of tweets supporting the installation, one showing a graphic which he said demonstrated the need for the Bikeshare rack.  One of his Holman’s Twitter followers asked:

“Did the owner that owns the cleaners have a problem with it?”

Holman replied, “Yes, the dry cleaner and the property owner both had issues, because parking of course. This took away two non-legal parking spaces that were being used for both loading and all-day parking. 19 bikes or 1 car was an easy choice for me in committee and full ANC supported 7-3.”

To which the Twitter follower replied, “Interesting.”

Holman told CHC, “Filling in the gaps in the bike share network is a huge win for residents and visitors of 6B and I hope DDOT continues to find appropriate sites to continue expanding the network.”

The issue is the latest of the transportation and parking issues which promise to dominate the public space discussion in coming months.  Last Wednesday night, ANC6B’s Transportation Committee approved a plan to solicit recommendations from 6B’s commissioners locating dockless bike racks in their SMDs to accommodate city requirements that dockless bikes must be locked between trips.

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The Week Ahead….The ANCs Get Down (To Business)

Caught in Mid-Flight. Eastern Market Arts and Craft Vendor. Sunday, January 6, circa 9:10am.

After being sworn in last week, commissioners of Capitol Hill’s four ANCs get down to business in January, with the swearing in of new officers and appointment of committee chairs: ANC6A (Thursday, January 10), ANC6B (Tuesday, January 15), ANC6C (Wednesday, January 9), ANC6D (Monday, January 14).  ANC6A and ANC6C meet this week.

The Week Ahead…

by Larry Janezich

Monday, January 7

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

Among items on the draft agenda:

DC Live, LLC d/b/a Elevate, at 15 K Street, is requesting a substantial change in Class C Alcohol Beverage Tavern license, proposing to add a 52 seat sidewalk café.

Tuesday, January 8

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

Among items on the draft agenda:

628 A Street, SE  –  Historic Preservation application – concept/two-story rear and side, one-story rooftop addition.

302 South Carolina Avenue, SE – Historic Preservation application – concept/rear addition.

121 7th Street, SE – Historic Preservation application – concept /three-story rear addition, one-story rooftop addition, alter front façade.

121 7th Street, SE; BZA application – to permit a third story and rear addition to the existing, two-story, attached principal dwelling unit.

156 Duddington Place, SE – BZA application – to permit one-story rear addition to an existing, attached principal dwelling unit.

1322 D Street, SE; [POSTPONED AT REQUEST OF APPLICANT AND ARCHITECT]  BZA application to permit a two-story, rear addition to an existing, attached principal dwelling unit.

Wednesday, January 9

ANC6C meets at 7:00pm at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Presentation:  Shawn Townsend, New D.C. Director of Nightlife and Culture

Election of Officers and Committee Chairs; Confirmation of Committee Members

Consent Calendar (approval en bloc without further discussion)

913 7th Street, NE, Zoning Adjustment application—Special exception to construct a two-story addition.

434 4th Street, NE, Zoning Adjustment application – Special exceptions to construct a penthouse stair enclosure.

224 C Street NE, Historic Preservation application –Concept approval for a second-story garage addition.

Additional items: 

DC Live, LLC d/b/a Elevate, 15 K Street NE, Liquor license amendment to permit a new sidewalk café.

Union Station expansion, update.

M Street and Delaware Avenue NE, update.

Fancy Radish, 600 H Street NE, Public Space application for a sidewalk café.

West Virginia Avenue NE Triangle Park, update.

No Turn on Red installations, Notice of intent.

634 Lexington Place, NE, Historic Preservation application—Concept approval to alter roofline to create a third floor and create a basement entrance.

2 Patterson Street NE—Six respondents to DMPED’s RFP for development at this site

NoMa Parks update

Sixth Street water main—D.C. Water

ANC6B Transportation Committee meets at 7:00pm, in the Conference Room, Ground Floor, The Yards, in the Hine Project, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

Among items on the draft agenda: 

Compilation of ANC6B List of Bike Rack Needs.

Review of D Street Turnaround for Circulator Bus.

Review of DDOT Establishment of “No Turn on Red” Restrictions at Selected Signalized Intersections.

Thursday, January 10

ANC6A meets at 7:00pm, Miner Elementary, 601 15th Street, NE.

Among items on the draft agenda: 

Election of officers and members and leaders of the permanent committees for 2019.

Dynamix Lounge (1220 H Street NE) – Alcohol Beverage Licensing application – request to extend its hours of operation, sale of alcohol, and live entertainment (Friday – changing from 2:00 am to 3:00 am closing time and opening at 11:00 am Sunday instead of 12:00 pm.)

Duffy’s Irish Pub (1016 H St. NE) – Public Space application for a sidewalk café under certain conditions.

Letter to Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Muriel Bowser, D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, and all At-large Councilmembers joining Councilmember Allen in opposition to a new NFL stadium on the RFK campus site.

1210 Maryland Avenue, BZA Application for zoning adjustments to permit addition a rear deck addition to an existing attached principal dwelling unit in the RF-1 Zone.

 Letter to DDOT conveying a petition requesting resident-only parking signs for the 1000 block of F Street, NE, and the 800 block of 8th Street, NE.

ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Committee which normally meets at 7:00pm on this day has not scheduled a meeting in January. 

Saturday, January 12

Friends of Southeast Library Book Sale, 10:00am – 3:00pm – Southeast Library.  Community Volunteers welcome to help set up at 1:00pm on Friday, January 11. 

The Corner Store hosts an Art Reception 4:00 – 6:00pm.  NEW Beginnings All Women Artists Group Art Show featuring small and affordable artwork under 12 inches, by Ann Pickett, Linda Button, Robin Brown, Karen Cohen, Heike Gramckow, Kate McConnell, Karen Zens, Nan Raphael, LIsa Allen, Maremi Andreozzi, and Anna Katalkina.  The Corner Store, 900 South Carolina Avenue, SE. 

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Radically Anti-Car Because of Parking: Outgoing ANC6B Chair Dan Ridge

Dan Ridge, Outgoing Chair of ANC6B

Radically Anti-Car Because of Parking: Outgoing ANC6B Chair Dan Ridge

by Larry Janezich

CHC talked to Dan Ridge, outgoing ANC6B Chair, about his decision not to run for ANC6B again and his service on the Commission.  An edited version of that conversation follows.

Ridge cited two reasons for not seeking re-election: “I’m so anti-car I’m far beyond the mandate my constituents gave me – I don’t think I can go back and get a mandate in line with my views.” Ridge also says he is recovering from some medical issues which make it difficult to do the detailed work involved.

So, why anti-car?  Ridge, a former 20 year owner of a 1977 Fiat X1/9, said, “I was raised a car guy.  I love cars – I have always loved cars.  I once worked for Formula One at the Grand Prix in Italy doing computer work in their broadcast center.  I collected every Road & Track magazine from the late 60s until a few years ago.  One of the things that interrupted that was ANC service.  I have become radicalized anti-car in a way I never expected – not on climate or environmental or petroleum – but on parking.”

“Essentially every contentious issue taken on by the ANC where the contention came from constituents – you could find parking at its root.  And it made me come to think we are addicted to cars.  I really re-evaluated.  Often, taking a position against cars was the only way to settle some of these issues.  There was a case where people on same side of one square had radically different ideas whether a street should be one way or the other way and that came down to cars and traffic.  And in trying to be a good listener and servant the way to reconcile views is to burn it all down.  That’s where I find myself now.”

Ridge has a self-parking electric car (parked off-street) which saves on average 2 feet of parking space because it parks in smaller spaces.  Ridge says that doesn’t solve the problem – “people expect to store a 4000 pound piece of machinery [in public space] for ten cents a day.”

Asked what drew him to run for the ANC, Ridge said, “It’s a cliché to say my heart is in service, but it is.”  In 2016 while shoveling snow in his alley during Snowmageddon, a neighbor told him there was a rumor that he was going to run for the unexpired term of Commissioner Brian Flahaven who had relocated that winter.  Ridge says, “I had heard no such rumor,” but decided to use the tactic on other neighbors who he thought would do a great job.  He found no takers.  So, Ridge said, “When nobody will do a thing, I do that thing – following G.K. Chesterton, ‘When a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly’.  The bar was low.  All I knew was somebody had to do it.”

“But there was another thing,” he said, “another reason I was primed to do this.”  He had a job interview with a hedge fund technology company where some of his former NASA co-workers had ended up.  Ridge says of the interview, “It was terrible. Terrible.  I think I sabotaged the interview when I realized 30 seconds into it I could not do this work.  It was extractive – like timber mining but the environmental costs are higher.  Basically, I can only do public benefit work.”

Looking back on his experience as a commissioner and Chair of ANC6B, Ridge said the ANC is highly effective if representing community interests on zoning, historic preservation, alcohol licensing, transportation and public space, but the case volume takes up so much time and energy, it is less effective on other things.   He cited ANC4C’s vote to request an investigation into whether CM Brandon Todd misused constituent’s email addresses to aid Rhonda Henderson’s campaign for the Board of Education.  Ridge said, “It’s hard to see 6B taking something like that on after bike share and zoning commission issues.  There’s not a lack of appetite … it’s just we have a higher case load than other ANCs.”

Asked what role he sees for himself post-ANC, Ridge says, “Well, I don’t need to look far to imagine a role because everywhere I look, there [former commissioner] Francis Campbell is.  I don’t mean to be flip.  I spend a lot of time thinking about homelessness and mental illness, particularly about how to preserve dignity for people who choose to stay on the street.  That’s a much harder problem than finding the will to build more beds or do more rapid re-housing.  One thing I’d like to do post-ANC – having done homeless sleep out events – is to figure out how to cut and fold left over Coroplast [corrugated plastic] protest and yard signs into a better sleep surface against concrete than soggy cardboard.”

On the related topic of affordable housing, Ridge says, “That’s one reason I’m interested in alley renaming – alley lots are one of the few reservoirs for affordable housing space on Capitol Hill.”  DC regulations require an address for a building permit, and alley lots in unnamed alleys, have no address.

The logical approach to affordable housing is increased density, and citing a recent DC Housing Authority (DCHA) presentation to ANC6B seeking support to extend the use of a city-owned square as a parking lot for 5 years – again delaying proposed construction of mixed income affordable housing – Ridge’s takeaway was that DCHA prefers not to re-house displaced residents in condos because of condo fees – and would rather use row houses.  Ridge called it “heartbreaking” to see a city agency gravitating to low density housing for people who could benefit from higher density.

That’s why Ridge is “super-excited” about the new development of micro units going up on Frager’s former garden site on Pennsylvania Avenue.  He says what developers are doing is establishing a market for units of a few hundred square feet, which is dignity-preserving for those needing affordable housing.  He says, this “creates a template for co- housing – the kind that Capitol Hill Village is involved in with the former Boys and Girls Club – assisted living run more efficiently.”

Another of Ridge’s interests is his desire to see is a “makerspace” in Ward 6 which would benefit both children and the community.  A makerspace goes beyond the craftsy workshop that comes to mind.  (See here: https://bit.ly/2Rmt5bz)  Ridge says a revolution in the kinds of tools has produced laser cutters and 3D printers which are safe and much more approachable by children who can use them independently.  He says constructing physical objects gives kids a better relationship with the world.  Historic preservationists would find a maker space beneficial since all the machines you need to reproduce otherwise unreproducible fixtures would be available to them.

Ridge says he has a couple of interests in solar power.  “I’m intrigued that city regulations allow an owner with solar panels installed to block increase in height on a neighbor’s house.  I think that’s terrible public policy and the way to make plain it’s terrible policy is to encourage it.”

“One thing I tell neighbors is if they want to insulate themselves against pop ups, put a solar panel on the roof of every other house and you’ve blocked increase in height much more effectively than screwing around with a bunch of zoning cases.”

I think solar is great, and a capital investment with a useful life of decades … there is a window of several years where low-rise minded individuals can weaponize current policy to their benefit and that they should.  In the longer term the only way to block popups is through easements.  The city should make it much cheaper to record light easements … thousands of households would benefit from selling a light easement to neighbors and thousands of households would benefit from exchanging mutual light easements for solar installations.”

Circling back to parking to wind up the interview, Ridge added, “One car thing I wish to pursue post-ANC is to establish a city program to buy and retire unwanted cars.  It would accomplish what I want while seeming to be about ‘creating’ new parking by getting underused cars off the street.  I would estimate that there are at least dozens of cars in my SMD that are held by car hoarders. Many others sit on the street with flat tires and dead batteries for months. I would fund the program with a Residential Parking Permit (RPP) surcharge.”

Ridge moved to Potomac Avenue in 2003 when his wife was finishing graduate school in Berkeley, California, and ready to move back to the area.  They have a 10 year old daughter and an 8 year old son.  Ridge works as a computer scientist for a non-profit research institute

ANC6B will elect its new Chair and other officers at it first meeting in 2019 on January 15th at Hill Center.

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