The Week Ahead….

Eastern Market Farmers Line, Sunday, April 2. Circa 11:00am.

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, April 3

  1. ANC6D meets at 7:00pm, 1100 4th Street, SW, second floor.

Among items on the draft agenda:

Public Safety Report – First District MPD (PSA 105 & PSA 106) with Sgt. Barnes.

Pepco Proposed Rate Increase.

Application for Class B liquor license for Sal’s Café, 400 C Street, S.W.

Amendment to Class A liquor license for Masala Art, 1101 4th Street, S.W.

Discussion of Parcel L-1 Hotel at The Yards.

Discussion of modernization funding for Jefferson Middle School Academy.

Extension of PUD for Waterfront Station II.

Extension of PUD for Randall School.

Public Space application for RiverPoint – 2100 2nd Street, S.W.

Public Space application for Peninsula 88, First and V Streets, S.W.

  1. Capitol Hill Restoration Society, Historic Preservation Committee meets at 6:30pm, Kirby House, 520 10th Street, S.E.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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

Among items on the agenda:

Historic Preservation Application for 602 E Street, S.E; Permit/rear addition.

Historic Preservation Application for 913 East Capitol Street, SE; Concept/three-story rear addition.

Bureau of Zoning Adjustment Application for 1 Library Court, SE, for special exceptions from the parking, the penthouse setback , the height, the pervious surface, the rear yard, the side yard, and the rear addition extending more than ten feet past the rear wall of the adjacent building requirements, and variances from the nonconforming structure and the lot area and width requirements to construct a one-story rear addition to an existing one-family row dwelling in the RF-3 Zone at 1 Library Court, S.E.

Bureau of Zoning Adjustment Application for 202 9th Street, SE, for special exceptions from the accessory building lot occupancy, from the accessory building rear yard, and from the lot occupancy requirements, to construct an accessory two-story carriage house for use as covered parking and an office in the RF-1 Zone at 202 9th Street, S.E.

Public Space Application for 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, CAS Riegler Development.

Discussion of Construction Issues & DCRA

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

Among items on the draft agenda:

DCRA presentation on home-improvement permitting – overview of permit application process for minor home improvement projects (fences, interior renovation/repair) and online resources. (Tentative; presenter TBD)

Historic Preservation Application for 17 6th Street, N.E., – Application for concept approval for rear, rooftop, and garage additions.

Bureau of Zoning Adjustment Application for additions at 17 6th Street, N.E., – for a special exception from the lot occupancy and the RF-1 use requirements, to construct a third-story addition with roof deck to an existing one-family dwelling and expand to an accessory building for residential purposes in the RF-1 zone at 17 6th Street, N.E.

Historic Preservation Application for concept approval for 618 3rd Street, N.E. – for front basement entrance, rear addition, and garage demolition.

Historic Preservation Application for concept approval for 622 D Street, N.E. – rear and rooftop additions.

Discussion of DC Comprehensive Plan amendment cycle.

Wednesday, April 5

  1. ANC6B Transportation Committee meets at 7:00pm at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E.

Among items on the agenda:

Presentation on DC’s Vision Zero Initiative with Jonathan Rogers, DDOT.

Discussion of issues to Consider in 2017

Update on SE Boulevard and the Environmental Assessment Process.

Thursday, April 6

  1. ANC6B Alcohol Beverage Control Committee meets at 7:00pm, Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania avenue, S.E.

Among items on the agenda:

Class C Restaurant Liquor license for Sushi Hachi, Inc., 735 8th Street, S.E.

Update on Action Items from March Meeting

  1. ANC 6C Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm at Kaiser Permanente Capitol Hill Medical Center, 700 2nd Street, N.E.

Among items on the agenda:

Uline Loading Zone, 1140 3rd Street, N.E.  Douglas Development, owner of the Uline building that REI is in, is proposing to create a loading zone for pick-up and drop-off on 3rd Street N.E in front of the main entrance. The loading zone would be active between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. The goal is to cut down on any potential congestion from Uber/taxi pickup and drop off at the building.  Representative: Drew Turner, Douglas Development Corp.

New Zipcar Spaces, 263 8th Street, N.E.; 1225 5th Street, N.E.  Car sharing provider Zipcar is looking to reserve four street parking spaces within ANC 6C for their cars. The spots are located at (1) the first two spaces at the intersection of 8th Street. N.E. and C Street, N.E., (approximate address: 263 8th Street, N.E.); and (2) the first two spaces at the intersection of 5th Street, N.E. and Florida Ave NE (approximate address: 1225 5th Street, N.E.).

LED Streetlights – The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning to install cool-white LEDs that have a strong blue-wavelength component. The American Medical Association has warned that blue-rich LED street lights cause hazardous glare and are potentially harmful to human health because of their disruptive effect on circadian sleep cycles. To mitigate these potential problems, the AMA recommends that roadway lighting have “the lowest emission of blue light possible.” ANCs 4B and 5B and the Palisades Citizens’ Association have endorsed warm-white LED street lights that comply with the AMA’s recommendations. In addition, more than 150 people from multiple wards have signed petitions expressing concern about blue-rich LEDs and calling for installation of warm-white LEDs. Representative: Wayne Savage, D.C. Street Light Task Force.

  1. PSA 107 will not meet this month.

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The War on Rats – Part II: Residents & City Identify Six Rat Haven Hotspots on Capitol Hill

Six Capitol Hill Rat Haven Hot Spot blocks are marked with red dots. Blue dots mark the sites of green space infestations. Click to enlarge.

The War on Rats – Part II:  Residents & City Identify Six Rat Haven Hotspots on Capitol Hill

by Larry Janezich

ANC6B is waging war on rats in response to expressions of alarm and concern by Capitol Hill residents who live near “restaurant clusters” which provide support for the city’s rodent population.

On Tuesday, March 21, the ANC’s Taskforce on Outreach and Constituent Services co-chaired by ANC6B Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk and Diane Hoskins, held a standing room only community meeting attended by more than 50 residents who took the opportunity to voice their concerns about rats.  The six “restaurant clusters” identified by residents and by Department of Health Rodent Control Chief Gerard Brown include:

Barracks Row; Eastern Market and the 200 block of 7th Street, SE; the 100 block of D Street, SE; the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue; the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue and the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.  Public green spaces flanking Pennsylvania Avenue between 4th and 6th Streets were also pointed out as sites of infestations.

CHC interviewed a number of attendees as to their impression of the meeting and what their take-away had been.  The overwhelming sense of residents is that rats – which have been under control for a while – are back in a horrendous way.  People were incensed and related personal experiences.

A resident of C Street, SE, behind the Tune Inn and the Hawk & Dove said she knocks on the inside of her door before leaving home to scare away rats outside; a resident of 8th Street, SE, walking home after dark, saw 8 rats in one block under the covered walkway on 8th Street next to the Hine project.  A resident of the 600 block of C Street S.E. said defecation in the green spaces flanking Pennsylvania Avenue as well as food leftovers attract rats to the park.  Residents singled out the 7/11 on Barracks Row and Ophelia’s Fish House – both at 8th and C Streets – as examples of egregious trash management offenders, with rats so emboldened or overcrowded that they can be seen on trash bins in the daytime.  The nearby residents showed a video posted to YouTube of the trash conditions at these venues:  See here:  http://bit.ly/2mXnoTf

The rat problem is directly related to a neighborhood’s number of food service establishments with poor trash management policies.  The city has encouraged development of dining destinations, and has lax enforcement of trash and rodent management either deliberately to reduce the hassle factor of operating a restaurant or because they have turned a blind eye to the consequences of the problems associated with development.  Consequently, the residents have been left to fend for themselves.  ANC6B, chaired by Chander Jayaraman, has pioneered the use of liquor license applications and renewals to require restaurants to use best operating practices regarding trash management.  Recently, the ANC won a precedent-setting finding by DC’s Alcohol Beverage Board that trash management can be considered by the ANC in making recommendations on liquor licenses.

Some restaurants, notably, &Pizza, Eat Bar, and Acqua al 2 have earned praise from the ANC and/or residents for adopting exemplary trash management practices.  Others, such as Capitol Hill Tandoor, are in the process of adopting these practices.  Some, such as the three Spike Mendelsohn restaurants on the 300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, have resisted addressing trash and rodent issues.

Here’s their takeaway:

The Mayor and the City Council have not made rodent control a priority and do not provide the funds or the resources to effectively manage rodents.  The Department of Health has four inspectors for the entire city and 9 abatement employees.

The city does a poor job of enforcing the current regulations.  The Department of Health’s Bureau of Rodent Control (apparently) somehow lost the ability to fine businesses and residences for harborage of rats – read “rat burrows”.  (Ed. Note:  How this happened is unclear, since the law still seems to be in effect.  If – granted it’s a big if – this ability was lost by administrative action, the power to fine should be restored.  See here:  Subchapter I. Bureau of Rodent Control. Rodent harborage prohibited http://bit.ly/2nsLjGf)

Rats are rampant at construction sites.  Developers say city regulations prohibit use of “tracking powder” – a rodenticide “shot” into rat burrows on construction sites – because of hazards to workers.  Baited traps which are permitted are ineffective means of control.

Use by DOH of an effective means of rat control – treating burrows with dry ice, which suffocates rodents in their burrows – was recently suspended because of federal regulations.   EPA prohibits the use of dry ice for rat abatement since it’s not labeled as a rodenticide.  It may be that the agency was prompted to issue its stop use order by protests from National Pest Management Association (and it seems likely the Association will lobby hard to prevent any change in that regulation).  See here   http://usat.ly/2np01xi

Rats are rampant on green space public lands on Pennsylvania Avenue, but confusion among residents and agencies regarding who has jurisdiction to do what often results in nothing being done.

Among the action items to come out of the meeting:

A letter to DOH and city officials advocating a citizens’ enforcement pilot program and activating of the DOH Rodent Control Task Force for hot spots.  (See Part I of CHC’s three part series on rats here:  http://bit.ly/2njUUit)  In addition, DOH will consider additional installation of rat proof trash containers similar to those recently installed on the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Residents are organizing to appear at the city council budget hearings to ask the council to put more resources into rat abatement.

Residents are organizing to reach out to and collaborate with other ANCs and to press the city council for regulations requiring indoor trash storage for businesses serving food.

As reported by CHC, CM Charles Allen has already pledged to “take a crack” at organizing a coalition of government agencies and civic and business organizations to take on the rodent problem.

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Radio Shack/Sprint at Eastern Market Metro Is Closing

Radio Shack Outlet Across from Eastern Market Metro Plaza in its final days. March 30, 2017.

Radio Shack/Sprint at Eastern Market Metro Is Closing

By Larry Janezich

Radio Shack at Eastern Market Metro is closing, and the store’s contents are being sold at a deep discount.  The staff said the store’s final day had not been set and that store was closing “Because the big bosses at Radio Shack decided to close it.”  Sprint, which occupied a portion of the space, moved out last Friday.  Radio Shack took out Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February of 2015 and announced plans to sell some 2,400 stores to a Wall Street hedge fund, Standard General.

Asked for her reaction to the store’s closing, Leah Daniels, owner of nearby Hill’s Kitchen, said that she will miss having them as neighbors; “I’m sorry for the continuing loss of retail on Barracks Row and the Capitol Hill corridor – it shows how important it is for community members to shop in local stores.”

Plans for the building at 717 D Street, SE, are uncertain.  Long time Capitol Hill investor Maurice Kreindler owns the building, as well as several other adjacent properties, including the currently empty former Long and Foster location next to Starbucks and the currently empty pet store next to the building housing &Pizza – which Kreindler also owns.  A source familiar with Barracks Row businesses told CHC that Kreindler has expressed a desire to put a restaurant in the Radio Shack location.

Update:  Barracks Row Executive Director Martin Smith told CHC, “We’ve already reached out to the landlord about helping to recruit a new tenant … and I think the space has great visibility and a lot of potential. I know a few different retailers that have been interested in space on Barracks Row for a while that might be a good match for something that size.”  As CHC has reported previously, the asking price per square foot for leases in the 700 block of Barracks Row are among the highest in the city.

 

 

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The War on Rats – Part I: ANC Task Force Launches First Strike

A victim of DOH’s Rodent Control Team’s efforts on the 600 block of D Street, SE, next to the trash enclosure behind Sanphan Restaurant. According to ANC6B Commissioner Samolyk, Reportedly, DOH was called in to issue a fine for improper trash management.  Photo taken Wednesday morning, circa 9:00am. 

The War on Rats – Part I:  ANC Task Force Launches First Strike

By Larry Janezich

On Tuesday, March 21, ANC6B’s Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force held a SRO community meeting in Hill Center to discuss the issue of rats on Capitol Hill and to hear from Department of Health (DOH) Rodent Control Chief, Gerard Brown.  A report on that meeting will be posted in Part II of CHC’s three part series on ANC6B’s on-going war on rats.

Two follow up actions have occurred as the result of the meeting.  The first occurred last Friday, when the Department of Health’s Rodent Control Task Force was deployed to attack rat harborage and trash issues on the 300 and 600 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, and adjacent streets – identified as two of the most serious infestations.  The Rodent Control Task Force has identified some 300 rat burrows in and around Capitol Hill’s restaurant clusters – the areas which draw and sustain the city’s rat population.  Burrows in the 300 and 600 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue were treated with rodenticide powder – shot into the burrows – which accumulates on the animals’ fur and is ingested as the rodent grooms itself.

ANC6B Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk accompanied the abatement team and told CHC that although restaurants are the main attractant; residents have to do their part as well, citing birdfeeders in yards and dog poop in tree boxes, both powerful attractants for rats.  The DOH Rodent Control Team targets hotspots throughout the city every Friday.

The second initiative which resulted from the Tuesday meeting was a letter from the ANC Task Force co-chairs – Samolyk and Diane Hoskins – to DOH chief, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, and copied to DOH Vector Control Chief Gerard Brown and the offices of CM Charles Allen and Mayor Bowser.  The letter asks DOH for support for a citizen-assisted “Clean Trash” Enforcement Pilot Program on Capitol Hill.

The proposed program would address the personnel shortage currently hampering the operation of the Department of Health – Rodent Control currently has only four inspectors for the entire city, and 5 – 7 employees involved in abatement.

The pilot program would create a mechanism which would allow residents to report problems to the DOH which would then be able to act without sending an inspector.  The ANC commissioners believe such a program will stimulate citizen interest in the problem and create a supplemental level of enforcement for the DOH.

A copy of the letter appears below.

Forthcoming.  Part II in CHC’s three part series will report on the ANC’s Task Force Community Meeting to discuss rats.  Part III will take a broader look at ANC6B’s War on Rats.

March 28, 2017

Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt

Director, District of Columbia Department of Health

899 North Capitol St NE

Washington, DC 20002

RE: Establishing a Citizen-assisted “Clean Trash” Enforcement Pilot on Capitol Hill

Dear Dr. Nesbitt:

Last week, ANC 6B Outreach and Constituent Services Taskforce, hosted more than 50 residents from Capitol Hill to discuss widespread and deeply held concerns with rat activity in our Capitol Hill neighborhood. While we are the co-chairs of this Taskforce, we write this letter on behalf of our single member districts and not on behalf of Commission to expedite sending this letter.

To state a summary of the meeting plainly, the rats are out of control. Residents all over Capitol Hill waited patiently to share their concerns for over two hours. The dramatic and unwelcomed uptick is intensely acute in parts of our neighborhood where residential areas are right next door to commercial and restaurant areas. We attribute chronic poorly managed trash and grease handling as a primary contributor to our undesirable rat populations.

During the meeting, we identified two priority areas for closer neighborhood coordination and partnership with the Department of Health:

Active DOH treatment of all active rat burrows with neighborhood assistance in identifying troublesome areas

Aggressive DOH enforcement of unsanitary trash and grease management practices with neighborhood assistance in identifying problem areas

We understand that fixing this problem will not happen overnight but need your assistance, especially in these two areas.

We believe that establishing a citizen-assisted “clean trash” enforcement pilot program in Capitol Hill would allow for a major step forward to strongly discouraging unsanitary trash and grease storage. While current DOH enforcement resources are extremely limited, neighbors are eager to assist DOH in making enforcement progress. We enthusiastically support this pilot program concept and welcome the opportunity to work alongside you and your staff to make this a reality.

We believe this pilot, when realized, would leverage citizen interest in cleaning up our neighborhood while expanding the capacity of your enforcement officers despite limited resources.  We look forward to discussing further and making “clean trash” the rule as opposed to the exception.

Sincerely,

Diane Hoskins                                                                                      Jennifer Samolyk

Commissioner ANC 6B-02                                                                 Commissioner ANC 6B-01

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EMMCA Lawsuit Brings Transparency to City’s Real Estate Deals with Developers

EMMCA Lawsuit Brings Transparency to City’s Real Estate Deals with Developers

by Larry Janezich

Eastern Market Metro Community Association (EMMCA), today claimed victory in their effort to force the city to publicly disclose contracts with private developers for the lease or sale of public properties.

In September 2014, Attorney Oliver Hall filed a lawsuit in DC Superior Court on behalf of EMMCA as represented by its steering committee – Marci Hilt, Carl Reeverts and Gerald Sroufe – to require DMPED to comply with DC’s Freedom of Information Act which provides for public disclosure of any contract dealing with the receipt of expenditure of public funds.  Although the requirement took effect in November 2001, DMPED has apparently failed to comply with it.   Known as Land Disposition Agreements (LDAs), the contracts reveal the tax breaks, subsidies and incentives that DMPED gives developers who take possession of former public properties around the District.

DMPED initially opposed the lawsuit, but eventually reversed its position and agreed to disclose the contracts on its website.  EMMCA subsequently dismissed its claims pursuant to a settlement agreement executed earlier this month.

“EMMCA has done a great service for all District residents,” said Hall. “DMPED has been willfully flouting its disclosure obligations under the FOIA for the past 15 years, leaving District residents in the dark about the terms by which it leases or sells valuable public properties like schools, libraries, police and fire stations to private developers at rates far below their fair market value.”

DMPED now has dedicated a section of its website which provides links to electronic files of contracts executed with developers since 2001.  Also, a new DMPED policy requires that DMPED project managers ensure that contracts for their projects are posted on the agency’s website.

EMMCA Steering Committee member Marci Hilt said, “People in the Eastern Market neighborhood know all too well that when DMPED is allowed to negotiate these deals without disclosing the terms to the public, taxpayers often lose.  We saw that in the Hine Junior High School deal, where taxpayers will pay millions for benefits and amenities the developer took credit for providing. This includes $50,000 to improve the Eastern Market Metro Plaza and $75,000 to finance building a playground.”

Hall noted, “The public needs to be vigilant to ensure that all District agencies, not just DMPED, disclose the information required by law.”  If DMPED fails to post these documents in the future, EMMCA, or any other organization or person, can file suit to bring the agency back into compliance.

EMMCA is an unincorporated non-profit organization founded in 2008 to promote the civic interests and enhance the quality of life for DC residents who live in the area near the Eastern Market Metro.

The DMPED website listing contracts can be found here:  http://dmped.dc.gov/node/1019962

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The Week Ahead….

The former Imani Temple at 609 Maryland Avenue, overlooks Stanton Park and began life as a Presbyterian Church in 1891. It was purchased by Morningstar Community Development in 2015 and is joining its host of Capitol Hill brethren already converted to condos.

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, March 27

  1. CANCELLED ANC 6A Community Outreach Committee meets at 7:00pm, Maury Elementary School, Multi-Purpose Room, 1250 Constitution Avenue, NE (Enter from 13th Street).
  1. ANC6B Comprehensive Plan Working Group meets at 7:00pm, in Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. The purpose of the first of several meetings is to provide the opportunity for the community to provide input into the city’s long-term plan for the neighborhood.  See here:  http://plandc.dc.gov/

Tuesday, March 28

  1. ANC6B Executive Committee meets at 7:00pm in Hill Center, to set the agenda of the April meeting of the full ANC.

Wednesday, March 29

  1. Community meeting on Watkins School Programming will occur at 6:00pm at Watkins at Hine Middle School, 1830 Constitution Avenue, NE. Community input will be sought on use and programming at Watkins Elementary School and Recreation Center.  This meeting will be led by staff from DC Public Schools, DC Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education.

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Update on Redesign of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Architect’s rendition of the redesigned Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Update on Redesign of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza

Councilmember Allen Asks Mayor for FY ‘18 Funding

by Larry Janezich

CM Charles Allen told CHC at his community office hours at Radicci on Friday morning, that he has asked Mayor Bowser for FY 2018 funding to initiate the redesign and development of Eastern Market Metro Plaza.

Allen said he expects the development will happen in phases, and acknowledged that Parcel 1 (where the children’s playground funded by community benefit funds from the Hine Project will be built) would be the easiest and least expensive place to start.  ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman told ANC commissioners recently that funding for the first year planning and development of Parcel 1 will cost $3 million.  CHC has previously reported that the plans for a children’s playground on Parcel 1 is moving forward here:  http://bit.ly/2n0M1g4

The redesign project will also include the expansion of the Southeast Library under 7th Street, with an above ground entrance on the Metro Plaza.  Funding for the initiation of the expansion reportedly has already been included in the FY ’18 budget.  Allen says that the first year of funding for the library would typically be devoted to planning, with funding for construction following in the subsequent fiscal year.

The City Council will hold hearings on the Mayor’s budget in April and May.  Allen said that if funds are included for work on the Eastern Market Metro Plaza, he will fight to keep them in – and if they are not, he will fight to include them.

The organization behind the redesign is Barracks Row Main Street, who used congressionally ear-marked funds to hire architect Amy Weinstein to create a plan to redesign the plaza about two years ago.  CHC reported on the June 16, 2014 meeting of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Task Force to hear Weinstein describe the final plan here:  http://bit.ly/2mOFrHG

The redesign plan was referred to the Department of General Services (DGS) for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) some 18 months ago and appears to be in limbo.  DGS already knows a lot about the EIS for Metro Plaza, since a study was done for construction of the metro.  It is uncertain why the DGS has not made public the result of the EIS for the redesign; calls and emails to the DGS Office of Public Information were not returned.  Asked why he thought DGS had not reported out the EIS, Allen said, “Because they’re slow as molasses.”

Asked for comment on the status of the redesign, BRMS Executive Director Martin said:  “BRMS is fully committed to moving forward with the Eastern Market Metro Park project for this important L’Enfant-designed public space at the heart of Capitol Hill. Two years ago, we completed a year-long community input process that resulted in a world-class design that enjoys broad community support. We are continuing to brief city officials on the design and seeking support for the necessary funding to see it go from a concept to a reality. We are hopeful that the needed funds can be included in the city’s FY18 budget. In the meantime, BRMS has agreed to take the lead on utilizing the funds from the Stanton Eastbanc Community Benefits Agreement that were set aside for a playground and other improvements to construct an interim playground on the northeast parcel. This interim playground will provide Capitol Hill residents with a preview of the park’s potential while also providing a place for local children to play while the overall plan is being finalized and readied for construction.”

The community presentation of the final plan is here:  http://bit.ly/2nSxnFs

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The Week Ahead….

The view from Peregrine, circa 8:30am, March 18, 2017

The Week Ahead….

by Larry Janezich

Monday, March 20

  1. ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee meets at 7:00pm, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G Street, NE. Photo ID required.

Agenda not available at press time.

  1. Tuesday, March 21

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00pm at Sherwood Recreation Center (10th and G Streets, NE

Among items on the agenda:

Discussion of request for new CT license filed by Dio, LLC t/a Dio Wine Bar, 904 H Street, NE

Discussion of request for new license to be filed by Quara Ethiopian Fusion Restaurant, 818 H Street, NE

  1. ANC6B Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force meets at 7:00pm, at Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

Rats on Capitol Hill Discussion

Remarks by Director Gerard Brown, Department of Health, Rodent and Vector Control

Neighborhood Concerns Discussion

Recap Abatement Opportunities & Next Steps

Brainstorm April task force meeting agenda topics

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

Wednesday, March 22

  1.  Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee meets at 7:00pm  in the North Hall of Eastern Market.

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ANC6B Moves Playground on Eastern Market Metro Plaza Closer to Reality

The site of the planned Eastern Market Metro Playground, March 18, 2017, circa 9:00am.

Schematic of Eastern Market Metro Plaza. Playground would be located on Parcel 1.

ANC6B Moves Playground on Eastern Market Metro Plaza Closer to Reality

by Larry Janezich

Last Tuesday night, ANC6B signed off on combining the $50,000 pledged by Hine Developer Eastbanc  for EM Metro Plaza landscaping with Eastbanc’s pledge of $75,000 for a playground on the northeast quadrant of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza (Parcel 1 above).  The combined fund will be used for a playground to replace the “guerrilla playground” of plastic toys that neighbors contributed to the space before the city removed them last summer.

The resolution supporting merging the funds, which was adopted 9 – 0, was offered by Commissioner Diane Hoskins, in whose single member district the whole of the Eastern Market Metro Plaza lies.

The total of $125,000 is more in line with what will be necessary for the playground after taking into account establishing a safe play surface and a Historic Preservation Review Board-approved fencing.

Both pots of money were part of a community benefit package negotiated by ANC6B on behalf of the community, to partially compensate it for loss of open space occasioned by construction of the Hine Project.  Two other benefits resulting from the construction are a child care facility within the development and ANC6B office and community meeting space.   Under the terms of the agreement, the funds for the playground have to be contributed prior to the city issuing a certificate of occupancy for the office component of that project.  Eastbanc expects to apply for the certificate of occupancy in June or July.

Under the resolution the landscaping funds will be joined with and transferred to Barracks Row Main Street – which set up a non-profit to accept the money – who will undertake the coordination with the city for creation of the playground.

According to Barracks Row Mainstreet Executive Director, Martin Smith, ”If all the stars align, the playground could be up and running this summer.”  That’s a heavily qualified estimate, but if BRMS can pull it off, they deserve the applause of the community.  In any event, odds seem good that the playground will happen this year.

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Residents Close Deal on Ambar Indoor Trash Storage After ANC Bogs Down on Jurisdiction Issue

ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman (at left), tells Ambar owner Ivan Iricanin (standing) that he can’t support the Historic Preservation Application without a commitment for indoor trash storage. Also pictured, left to right, Commissioners Burger, Loots, Grace, and Hagedorn.

Residents Close Deal on Ambar Indoor Trash Storage After ANC Bogs Down on Jurisdiction Issue

by Larry Janezich

The first item on ANC6B’s agenda Tuesday night following the outpouring of community outrage at the city’s inability to deal with rats (see here: http://bit.ly/2mQRCFS), was the Historic Preservation Application for the planned roof deck on Barracks Row’s Balkan Restaurant Ambar.  The ANC has been pressuring Ambar to store trash indoors as part of the on-going battle against the rats of Barracks Row.

Technically, Historic Preservation is far removed from the issue of rodent control, and the ANC was trying hard to find a way to signal the applicant and the city the degree of their commitment to use every tool available to impose best operating practices on restaurants in ANC6B.  Ambar plans to add an additional 50 seats in a new roof top dining area with a retractable glass roof, doubling their daily production of trash.

ANC6B Chair Chander Jayaraman and Commissioner Diane Hoskins maneuvered to find a way to tie the trash storage issue to the Historic Preservation Application.  Other commissioners balked, saying that although they might support the trash storage requirement, that matter would be more properly addressed when Ambar came back to ask the ANC’s endorsement for a “Substantial Change” in their liquor license.

For his part, Ambar owner Ivan Iricanin told the committee that while his plan provided for indoor storage of grease, indoor trash storage was impossible – there just wasn’t enough space.

For Committee Chair Chander Jayaraman, who has made best practices for Barracks Row restaurants the cause célèbre of his Chairmanship, this was too much: “I’m disappointed.  You said you would try and now you’re saying ‘no’ – we want you to succeed, but not at the expense of giving up on indoor trash storage and rodent control.”

The commission deadlocked on three attempts at incorporating language related to trash storage in their recommendation to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) before finally voting 6 – 4 (with Commissioner Nick Burger changing his vote to aye to dispose of the issue) to take “no position” on Ambar’s Application.  With the matter referred up to HPRB with no mention of trash, Ambar owner Ivan Iricanin left the room.  Hot on his heels, however, were the Barracks Row neighbors who were determined to use the momentum of the community’s heated antipathy to rats to wring a commitment on indoor trash storage from Ambar.

In the ad hoc hallway meeting which followed – Ambar neighbors Linda Elliott, Linda Young, and Catherine Szafran – with support from the Mayor’s Ward Six representative, Kelly Jeong –  convinced Iricanin to commit to indoor trash storage in exchange for community support before the Bureau of Zoning Adjustment for a variance to allow Ambar to extend their building three feet to the property line, allowing additional square feet for all three stories of his building.  They told Iricanin this was feasible because of precedents set by Matchbox and CAVA.  In exchange, and if successful, Iricanin agreed to carve out enough extra space on the first floor for indoor storage of trash, recycling, and grease.  ANC6B had previously pitched this to Iricanin who resisted it as too difficult and time consuming, but neighbors were able to overcome those reservations.  Several Commissioners, when told of the outcome of the hallway negotiation, seemed pleased at the outcome.

Elliott cited the other Barracks Row restaurants, e.g., &Pizza, which had adopted best practices and told Iricanin, “We want to make you another example of a good way to address the issue.”  She later told CHC, “The goal is to show Councilmember Allen what works on the 400 and 500 blocks of Barracks Row and build a city-wide model on that.  Compactors and sheds have been tried and are not effective.  Indoor storage is the only way to fix this, from an efficiency and marketing point of view.  Getting rid of or minimizing the food source is huge step toward mitigation.”

The need for a better strategy is obvious.  CM Allen has pledged to take a crack at it, and it should be city wide.  If Allen needs a place to start, how about addressing the enforcement problem?  Here’s an idea.  The Office of Rodent Control is understaffed.  Give it more funding.   Why this easy remedy hasn’t already been taken is hard to understand.  And, according to Elliott, the Office of Rodent Control has lost the ability to issue fines for trash storage infractions or the existence of burrows.  They should have the same ability as the Department of Public Works or the Department of Health.  Give it to them.

ANC6B’s Community Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force, co-chaired by Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk and Diane Hoskins, will hold a community meeting on the rodent issue on Tuesday, March 21, at Hill Center.  Gerard Brown of DC Rodent Control will be a featured speaker.

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