Mayor Bowser, responding to an increasing number of COVID infections in the city and the nationwide surge in the number of cases, today announced new restrictions in an attempt to flatten the curve and reduce the need for hospitalizations.
Starting Wednesday, November 25:
Restaurants may stay open until midnight, but alcohol sales, service, and consumption (excluding carry-out and delivery) must end at 10:00 p.m. [Effective Monday, December 14, The maximum indoor capacity of restaurants is reduced from 50% to 25%.]
Indoor gatherings may not exceed ten people. This applies to indoor home gatherings as well as any indoor gathering that is not subject to other rules (e.g. restaurants and houses of worship).
The number of people inside houses of worship indoors at any one time is reduced from 100 people to 50 people. Maximum allowable capacity is reduced from 50% to 25%. The lower of these two numbers is the maximum capacity at any one time indoors for houses of worship. Virtual services, rather than in-person services, continue to be encouraged.
The limit for outdoor gatherings is reduced from 50 to 25 people.
Non-essential, non-retail businesses are strongly encouraged to continue telework.
Gyms, private trainers, and other businesses and recreation centers must suspend all indoor group exercise classes and all outdoor group exercise classes of 25 or more people. [A Mayor’s Order and guidance on sports and recreation will be forthcoming.]
The live entertainment pilot is temporarily suspended. Entities previously granted a waiver for the live entertainment pilot will be contacted about their ability to proceed with acts or performances that have already been booked.
All testing sites will be closed on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day.
Starting Monday, COVID testing will be expanded. For Capitol Hill and nearby, testing will be available MONDAY – FRIDAY, 2:30pm 7:30pm, at a new location at Nationals Park – Geico Garage, South Capitol Street, SE and N Street, SE.
The Engine 8 testing site at 1520 C Street, SE, will be in operation Tuesday, 2:30pm – 7:30pm; Saturday, 12:00noon – 4:00pm, and Sunday, 12:00noon – 4:00pm.
Capitol Hill Art League Winners Circle Exhibit at Frame of Mine Thru December 9
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 19, 2020
Capitol Hill Art League Winners Circle has an on-going live gallery exhibit featuring Capitol Hill Art League members.
Once a year CHAL awards their members who won awards in previous exhibits their own group show called Winners Circle. This show features all mediums of art and each artist selects one work to display. All of the art work is framed and will be featured online, for sale, and in the gallery.
Featuring: Louise Holland, Kim DiDonato-Murrell, Linda Norton, Karen Cohen, J Jaffery, Judy Searles Ken Bachman, Nan Raphael, Deb Furey, Erika Rubel, Rindy O’Brien, Tamora Ilasat, Mike McSorley, and Jane Mann.
Location: Frame of Mine Gallery, 545 8th St SE, Washington DC
Now thru December 9, 2020
Frame of Mine and Capitol Hill Art League feature the artwork on their websites.
This afternoon, Diego Garcia, Project Manager for Eastern Market Metro Plaza renovation issued the following statement: “I’m pleased to announce that after the final round of voting, the winning artist for the Eastern Market Metro Park artwork installation is Jay Coleman with his concept submission of two hands making a heart.
In terms of next steps, DGS will be working to contractually bring Jay Coleman on board. From there, DGS will work with Jay to develop a design schedule that will incorporate opportunities for DGS, DPR, and the EMMPAT to provide feedback at different intervals in the design.
I’m looking forward to working with everyone on this art work and delivering a final product that the Capitol Hill community will be proud of!”
Members of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Advisory Taskforce went through several rounds of voting, leading to the final sellection.
Parking issues at Maury Elementary School. DDOT has agreed to locate 8 street parking spaces adjacent to the school on 12th Place NE, to be used by school staff during DCPS work hours via ParkMobile app. Outside DCPS work hours, the spaces could operate as Residential Permit Parking (RPP) zone or pay-by-cell parking open for use by the public. These spaces are already designated as “no parking during school hours”. Some concerns noted by residents include:
The calculation for the cost for the use of the Parking APP may be incorrect – possibly $648 per year rather than $3,240 per year.
Remind DDOT of prior request for ROP on west side of 12th Pl. and RPP from 6 pm – 7 am on east side
Public Space application for Paving: Driveway(s) at 1518 North Carolina Avenue, NE.
Discussion of whether to create a coordinated list of ANC 6A paving priorities (per PaveDC) and, if so, how should the list be developed.
ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.
ANC6B Piqued at City Over Gambling, Eastern Market & the Boys and Girls Club
by Larry Janezich
Posted November 11, 2020
ANC6B’s met virtually for 4 and ½ hours last night and there was plenty of grumbling about the short shrift city government gives the community representatives. Resentments flared on the city council’s failure restrict sports gambling from setting up shop in neighborhood commercial districts, on DGS’s lack of response to community concerns on Eastern Market, and on DMPED’s lack of transparency and response to ANC concerns on development of Reservation 13.
Handle 19 – Sports Wagering.
ANC6B voted 6 – 2 – 1 last night to formally protest ABRA issuing a liquor license with a gambling endorsement to Handle 19, the sports book/restaurant that owner Shane August wants to open at 319 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. The protest was made on the basis of peace, order, and quiet and parking and vehicular/pedestrian safety.
The proposed business is in Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk single member district. She said proponents and opponents handled the controversy well, and said, “Unfortunately, this is just not the right location (because there are too many close by schools.”
The proposed hours for Handle 19 are 11:00am until 1:00am, Sunday thru Thursday, and 11:00am until 2:30am Friday and Saturday. Gambling would have to cease at midnight every night.
Handle 19’s attorney Ian Thomas said he couldn’t speculate on what would happen if the protest is successful and the liquor license is denied, but could say that Handle 19 doesn’t need an alcohol license to have sports wagering or serve food. He said the Handle 19 has partnered with a restaurant group that has a number of restaurants throughout the city to run the food and beverage side of the business.
As the process plays out over the next few months, there is a slim chance that a Settlement Agreement might be reached as the result of ABRA required mediation. It is also likely that if the protest fails and ABRA grants a liquor license, the agency will impose some operating restrictions on Handle 19 to address community concerns.
Commissioners Kelly Waud and Corey Holman voted against the protest, the former saying she had a hard time seeing how Handle 19 differed from a restaurant, and the latter supporting a settlement agreement noting that although poorly implemented, “it’s the law.”
Commissioner Steve Holtzman responded, saying the high volume of traffic in and out of Handle 19 would burden an already stressed traffic infrastructure and present a danger associated with conditions that accompany that.
Commissioner Jerry Sroufe said “the City Council didn’t do us any favors, and should have considered where sports betting establishments can occur.”
ANC6B also took umbrage at the recently released Eastern Market Strategic Study for not specifying the ANC’s a role in the future governance of Eastern Market, voting 8 – 0 – 1 to send a letter to DGS and to Councilmember Charles Allen asserting that the ANC expects to have a significant role in any future governing structure. Further, the ANC will clarify its expectations once DGS responds to questions submitted to them by the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee, which features ANC representation.
The $300,000 study, commissioned by DEMPED, outlines a process for implementing a recommendation that Eastern Market transition to a joint public/non-profit governing body, but was vague about community representatives who would be participating both in the implementation and ultimately in governing the Market. One of the questions the ANC wants an answer to – as expressed in the EMCAC letter to DGS referenced above – is a request for details about how members of the implementation committee will be selected.
Commissioner Chander Jayaraman spoke for most commissioners when he said, “I’m very concerned that the role of the ANC is being marginalized. We have a greater role to play in the governance of the Market.” He called for setting a marker with a letter to DGS and Allen, expressing the ANC’s concerns.
EMCAC Chair Donna Scheeder was on hand to offer reassurances. She said it was “shocking” that the study team did not consult the ANC during the writing of the report, but that the process of figuring out how to govern Eastern Market would be a long one and would involve writing new legislation, providing plenty of opportunities for the ANC to make its position known.
Boys and Girls Club
ANC6B frustration at lack of response from DMPED about Reservation 13 boiled over on the issue of the Boys and Girls Club development. As reported earlier in CHC, economic considerations scuttled developer Joel Kelty’s original plan to redevelop the site, and – with the backing of DMPED – Kelty came up with a new 100% affordable housing project instead of the mixed affordable/market value project originally planned. But authorization for the original project will time out in the next month or so, and the “term sheet” for disposition of the public land needs to be extended by the city council. Initially, Commissioner Denise Krepp wanted ANC6B to oppose the extension until DMPED responds to a list of questions on Reservation 13 which she and the ANC6B Hill East Task Force sent to DMPED. Other commissioners thought it unwise to do anything to impede progress on the Boys and Girls Club.
Commissioner Corey Holman, Chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee, suggested a letter to the city council, requesting that the city deny the term sheet change unless DMPED responds in writing no later than Friday, November 20, to ANC6B and community questions on Reservation 13. The letter also requested any city council consideration of the term sheet change not happen before the council’s scheduled December 1 legislative meeting, to allow possible ANC consideration of the matter. The motion to send the letter was adopted, 7 – 2 – 0.
Folger Park Vets & American Legion Post 8 Undaunted by Rain
by Larry Janezich
A sparse crowd turned out on a rainy day for the Veterans Day Commemoration in Folger Park this morning, but American Legion Kenneth H. Nash Post Commander Jason Secrest said it was important that the ceremony be held.
Ward Six Councilmember Charles Allen spoke to some 25 residents and neighbors who faced down the weather. Allen spoke of “service – it takes care of others and puts ourselves last, which is what we see in our community and the leadership of the community.”
Featured speaker NBC4 Investigative Reporter Scott MacFarlane reflected on a phrase on a plaque inside the Post, calling on members to “Inculcate individual obligation….” MacFarlane said this means being civic minded – community minded – being an example of what we all could be. He went on to say there has never been a more important time to inculcate individual obligation in our community and our nation.
American Legion Post 8 hosts this annual Veterans Day event in Folger Park, opposite the Post on the corner of 3rd and D Streets, SE.
The invocation and benediction were provided by the Reverend Alisa Wailoo, Capitol Hill Methodist Church.
Jason Secrest, Commander, Kenneth H. Nash American Legion Post 8 presided over the ceremony. Music was provided by The US Army Brass Quintet.
ANC6B Poised to Formally Protest Sports Gambling on PA Ave SE
By Larry Janezich
Driven by staunch opposition from nearby residential neighbors, last Thursday night, ANC6B’s Alcohol Licensing Committee voted 5 – 0 to protest Handle 19’s application for a liquor license with a sports gambling endorsement to operate at 319 PA Ave SE. The recommendation will go to the full ANC6B (virtual) meeting for a vote Tuesday, November 10.
The full ANC is all but certain to ratify the protest and convey that decision to the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA). That agency will schedule a hearing to hear from both the ANC and neighbor organizations which have joined the protest as well as from the applicant. Next, ABRA will schedule a mediation to see if the opposing sides can find common ground and agree to limitations on the operation that would resolve residents’ concerns. If that fails, ABRA will move forward to a full protest hearing where the matter will be litigated – involving legal counsel, witnesses, and cross examinations before ruling on the case.
Applicant and owner of Handle 19 Shane August’s position is that gaming is legal in DC and he has every right to open a gaming business and restaurant.
Brian Wise, representing some 20 nearby neighbors told the Committee that August had refused to meet with them to discuss their concerns. One neighbors attending the virtual meeting cited a study demonstrating the decrease in property values and increase in community crime associated with gaming establishments. ANC6B Commissioner Steve Holtzman said the issue is not about gaming but about the impact of the business model on the neighborhood, particularly the increase in traffic on PA Avenue and demand for parking that the business will generate. Karen Clay, principal at nearby St. Peter School, said the proposed drinking and gambling venue producing winners and losers will present a danger to school children dismissed at 3:30pm.
The proposed establishment will seat 60 people but total occupancy would be 199. Neighbor Joyce Jones pressed August what the 139 patrons who are not dining will be doing. Handle 19 attorney Ian Thomas said they’d be at the bar. Jones, replied, “I get it – hanging out.”
Following the 5 – 0 vote to recommend a protest, Chair Brian Ready, a Las Vegas native, asserted that gaming is legal everywhere in Nevada and the quality of life is not worse than in DC. None the less, he said his constituents overwhelmingly oppose gaming at the proposed location, and as their representative, he would have to vote to protest.
At the end of the meeting, August said they were steadfast and focused on their game plan and looked forward to being part of the neighborhood. August then added, almost as an aside, “We’re willing to operate without alcohol.” The meeting adjourned without discussion of the comment. Afterward, ABC Committee chair Chander Jayaraman told CHC, “That goes completely contrary to what (Handle 19 attorney) Ian Thomas said they wanted to do, which is to run a restaurant with sports betting as an aside.”
An issue which has not surfaced in the debate in ANC6B is the potential for other establishments on PA Avenue SE – or new ones – to pursue gaming licenses in order to remain competitive should Handle 19 prove to be successful. This possibility came up in a discussion of gaming in ANC6C last month.
On October 14, ANC6C discussed games of skill in anticipation of applications for gaming licenses for H Street, NE, establishments. Commissioner Joel Kelty expressed strong reservations. He noted that the city council had authorized three forms of gambling: DC Lottery, games of skill, and games of chance. He said he was not opposed to gambling but doesn’t want sports betting in H Street bars and restaurants because “licensing gaming establishments will lead to less diversity in retail and more bars and restaurants”. It would be better located, he said, downtown or in an arts and entertainment district. In addition, he said he is opposed to the co-existence of alcohol and gambling, and noted that gaming decreases revenue for DC Lottery.
Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School – Olatundun Teyibo, Director, NAF Academy of Engineering
Recommendation: ANC6A approve a grant in the amount of $1,000.00 to the Ludlow Taylor Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for the continual use of IXL for virtual education.
Recommendation: That ANC6A approve a grant in the amount of $1,000.00 to the Ludlow Taylor Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for the continual use of City Year to support best educational practices in the classroom.
Recommendation: That ANC6A approve a grant in the amount of $1,000.00 to the Ludlow Taylor Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) for school supplies.
Transportation and Public Space
Recommendation: ANC 6A send a letter of conditional support to DDOT for a fence in public parking at 205 15th Street NE, provided that it be placed on the line in the site drawing that the applicant provided to the ANC, that it not exceed 4 feet in height and that it be lattice (as specified in the application) or other open construction (at least 40% open).
Recommendation: ANC 6A send a letter to DDOT of opposition to DDOT for a shed in public parking at 205 15th Street NE, as the useis incompatible with public parking.
Recommendation: ANC 6A complete the public restroom pilot survey indicating a first choice of locations at 8th and H Street NE and a second choice at 12th and H Street, NE, plus a note in the comments section in support of other locations on H Street NE.
Recommendation: ANC 6A send a letter to DDOT in support of Traffic Safety Assessment Service Request for a red-light camera at the intersection of 9th and C Street, NE.
Economic Development and Zoning
Recommendation: ANC 6A send a letter of support to BZA for special exceptions to permit construction of a second story rear deck addition to an existing semi-detached principal dwelling unit at 722 19th Street, NE.
Recommendation: ANC 6A send a letter of support to BZA for a special exception to relocate 8 of the required parking spaces to the adjacent street to enlarge the outdoor play area at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Avenue, NE.
Suggested motion: Letter to DDOT in support of the Traffic Safety Assessment Questionnaire submitted by Mr. Burnett, including ANC6A support for the request for installation of speed humps on 18th Street, NE, at Gales Place, NE and Rosedale Street, NE.
Suggested motion: ANC6A send a letter to DCPS Chancellor Ferebee reflecting community concerns regarding the firing of School Without Walls Principal Trogisch.
Last Thursday, the Friends of Southeast Library got a status report on DC Library’s plan to renovate SE Library. Martha Saccocio, Assistant Director, Communications & Community Engagement, DC Library, said that conversations were ongoing between the design team of Quinn Evans and city agencies, including the Office of Planning, the Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Transportation, and the Board of Zoning Adjustment, among others. Work is scheduled to begin in 2022 with the goal of finishing in 2024.
The Library anticipates a community meeting in December to introduce the design team’s development ideas to the public. She said the project was on track to achieve the expansion of the library to 18,500 square feet by creating additional space horizontally beneath the building and laterally beneath the north and south gardens, as well as on the parking lot behind the building. The project will require a zoning adjustment because the current structure already exceeds the allowable lot occupancy.
In a related matter, Saccocio said that reopening of Southeast Library before construction begins would be contingent on the city reaching Phase III in the reopening plan under the Mayor’s COVID Public Health Emergency. Reopening will be customized for each location and book circulation (and safety) will be prioritized. Currently, Northeast Library has opened but with limitations. See here: https://www.dclibrary.org/northeast