ANC 6B Report - March 2016

Development at Watkins Alley

Opal, a developer behind a number of residential projects around the District and Maryland, has proposed a 44-unit project at Watkins Alley, at 13th and E Street SE. It will be a mix of rowhousees and condos, with a pedestrian walkthrough that will lead to a small courtyard. Along E Street, the tallest building would be 42 feet, while the tallest in the project overall would be 56 feet. Opal has proposed a below-ground parking garage, 48 spaces for cars and 48 for bikes.

Opal has submitted a Planned Unit Development application to the DC Zoning Commission, meaning it is offering a number of community benefits in exchange for some exceptions from the zoning law. At press time, those included installing new tree boxes on both E and 13th, building one of the townhouses specifically for seniors, funding landscaping and removing the kiosk at the Potomac Avenue Metro plaza, paving part of the alley with asphalt and installing mirrors, signs, and cameras to make the alley safer, and creating a plan to plow snow from in and around the alley anytime it snows more than three inches.

In a letter to 6B commissioners, who met just after press time to vote on whether to support the PUD application, a group of nearby neighbors asked that the northern half of the north-south part of the alley be made wider, and that the ANC support the application only after police could assess safety concerns with the alley. Another neighbor wrote to voice “unconditional support” for the project. “I believe that Watkins Alley will be an asset to our neighborhood, transforming a commercial warehouse into an attractive infill residential development,” read the letter.

6B commissioners met on Tuesday, March 29th to vote on whether to support the application. A meeting was planned for the week prior, but only three commissioners attended, which fell short of a quorum.


Crime in 6B

“The 2015 upsurge in violent crime has made many residents of Capitol Hill feel not safe in their own neighborhoods,” read a recent email from 6B chair Kirsten Oldenburg to her constituents. “So, what has to happen to make people feel safe again?  I don't know how to answer that question; I have been following neighborhood crime for so long I have been through many spikes; crime goes up and crime goes down but always there is a baseline; as long as I live in an urban area, there will be crime.”

Oldenburg went on to outline February 2016 crime data for police PSAs 106 and 107, where members of her single member district live. PSA 106 saw 51 total crimes in the month, down from January’s 60 but up from February 2015’s 33. The number of robberies, nine, was higher than usual, and most occurred during daylight or dusk; all but one were east of 7th Street. PSA 106 also saw 24 thefts, up from January’s 17, but fewer thefts from auto.

PSA 107 saw 70 total crimes, similar to January’s 71 but higher than February 2015’s 50. There were six robberies, with all but one occurring at night and all but one on the southeast side of Capitol Hill. Thefts and thefts from auto were (29 and 30, respectively) about the same in February as January of this year, but higher than in February of 2015 19 and 25). There’s a PSA 107 meeting with Lieutenant Eddie Fowler on Thursday, April 7th, at 7p.m. at the Northeast Library, at 330 7th Street NE (at the intersection with Maryland Avenue).


Transportation in 6B

6B sent a letter to DDOT saying that a number of curbs in the area were "upturned or otherwise damaged" during snow removal from January's blizzard. The letter asked for a repair plan and a clarified timeline, noting that the 311 system lists "due dates" of June and July of this year for curbs along E Street SE. "If the dates listed are the planned completion dates," the letter read, "6b requests that DDOT speed up these repairs.

"Many of these damaged curbs are trip or fall hazards, and we would like to see them addressed as soon as possible."

Elsewhere, DDOT recently finished a traffic calming study at 12th and G Streets SE, and determined that there isn't reason to install the all-way stop sign that 6B requested last July. It will install "highly visible" crosswalks on all sides, and add signs in the middle of each crosswalk saying that it's the law to stop for pedestrians.

Transportation committee members discussed other ways to make the intersection safer, including asking Potomac Gardens if a large van that parks at the intersection once a week and blocks driver visibility could park on the property instead. Another suggestion was to add signs to the G Street stop signs to note that cars on 12th street don't stop.

ANC 6B’s next full meeting will be Tuesday, April 12th at the Hill Center, which sits at 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

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