ANC 6A Report - December 2016

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A Chair Phil Toomajian called the meeting to order with Commissioners Calvin Ward, Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, Matt Levy, Omar Mahmud, Mike Soderman, Patrick Malone, and Stephanie Zimny in attendance.

Toomajian began the meeting with a thank-you to Mahmud, who did not stand for reelection and will leave the ANC at the end of December. ANC 6A01 will be represented by Marie-Claire Brown. Mahmud has served as vice-chair of the ANC for several terms and as chair of the Transportation and Public Space Committee for over a decade. He will continue in that position into 2017.

Toomajian reported that plans for affordable housing at the R.L Christian Library site have been disrupted because a grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) did not materialize.

He directed attention to a Washington Post article on the Youth Rehabilitation Act, noting that 121 adults who received reduced sentences under its provisions went on to commit murder. He expressed his concerns to Councilmember Charles Allen.

Toomajian asked that neighbors take the time to thank police officers or offer friendly “hellos” when they see them on the street. The police are making an effort to develop rapport with the public and will appreciate community members responding with similar efforts.

Community Outreach Actions

Dana Wyckoff, chair of the Community Outreach Committee, reported that grant applications are in development but none are ready for consideration. Toomajian reminded those present that the ANC has funding for grants and is eager to receive applications. Grants must benefit residents of ANC 6A and cannot duplicate city services. Organizations requesting funding must be registered nonprofits. A link to additional information is on the homepage at anc6a.org.

Alcohol Beverage Licensing Actions

The commissioners voted unanimously to support a stipulated license for Bespoke 1337 LLC (1337 H St. NE), but to reserve the right to protest the full license until after the Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee has considered the application at its December 2016 meeting.

The Commission voted 7-1 (Phillips-Gilbert opposed) to protest the request for an Entertainment Endorsement by Ben's Chili Bowl/Ben's Upstairs (1001 H St. NE) unless the establishment agrees to a settlement agreement that prohibits entertainment on the roof deck and in the sidewalk cafe.

Economic Development and Zoning Actions

A motion that was tabled in November (to be heard in December) was sent back to the Economic Development and Zoning Committee to consider new information. The matter concerns the application by the owners of 600 Ninth St. NE (BZA #19355) for variances from the non-conforming structure and rear-yard requirements, to permit the location of multiple decks over an existing rear-attached garage. ANC support was to be conditional on the support of neighbors, several of whom are opposed.

ANC 6A will sponsor an application to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for historic designation of Emerald Street NE (including a portion of 14th Street). In a discussion that lasted over an hour, supporters of the designation referenced the eight public meetings that had been held on the subject since September. In an unusual outreach effort, every homeowner was approached at least twice and flyers were distributed to each household in advance of the meetings. Several meetings were attended by Historic Preservation Office (HPO) staff and other experts, the most recent two including moderators. The measure is favored, roughly two-to-one, by residents within the proposed historic district. Historic district supporters are concerned about the threat of what a neighbor termed a “middle finger” popup; one recently appeared just a block away.

This is only the first step in a process that will take at least several months. HPRB will make the final determination on the award of historic designation.

The vote was 5-3 with Soderman, Zimny, Toomajian, Levy, and Mahmud in favor. Opponents have been vocal and, in some cases, hostile, prompting Soderman to ask that residents remember the importance of neighborly relationships. He lives in a historic district, appreciates the benefits, and does not find it to be an inconvenience. In explaining his support for the measure, Levy pointed to the thorough outreach efforts and the clear evidence of majority support from those who would be affected. Zimny, who lives on Emerald, noted that development that would destroy the charm of the street is a very real threat and that a historic district is the best safeguard. Emerald Street runs east-west from 13th to 14th streets, south of F Street and north of E Street NE.

Reports & Announcements.

Toomajian reported that there will be a public meeting on the future of RFK Stadium at the Convention Center. The meeting is currently scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 5, at 6:30 p.m.

Toomajian has nearly completed his participation in the Metropolitan Police Department’s Community Engagement Academy. He recommends the experience to other community members, who may register at mpdc.dc.gov/page/community-engagement-academy.

The Urban Forestry Administration has been given oversight of trees on properties of the Department of Parks & Recreation.

Commissioner Zimny is working with the owners of Chik-fil-A (formerly Checkers, in the triangle on the 1400 block of Maryland Avenue and G Street NE) and Councilmember Allen’s office to address traffic-flow concerns. The restaurant will not have indoor seating – only drive-through.

Councilmember David Grosso will attend the February ANC meeting.

Councilmember Charles Allen will attend the March ANC meeting.

 

ANC 6A meets on the second Thursday of every month (except August) at Miner Elementary School. The 6A committees meet at 7 p.m. on the following dates:

Alcohol Beverage and Licensing, third Tuesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center.

Community Outreach, fourth Monday of each month, Maury Elementary School.

Economic Development and Zoning, third Wednesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center.

Transportation and Public Space, usually third Monday of every month, Capitol Hill Towers; will meet on the fourth Monday in January due to a federal holiday.

Visit www.anc6a.orgfor calendar of events, changes of date/venue, agendas, and other information.