ANC 6B Report - November 2015

Third and Pennsylvania Starbucks Will Soon Sell Wine and Beer

ANC 6B voted to support the application of the Starbucks at Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE for a liquor license so it can sell wine and beer, a move it plans to pair with new food offerings that appeal to the “singles market.”

Reaching a settlement agreement took some effort on Starbucks’ part, as neighbors attending 6B’s ABC Committee meeting reported overflowing trash cans and rats at the restaurant; one said he had to spend $20,000 to rid his yard of rodents that came from Starbucks. When commissioners asked that Starbucks build an indoor trash storage facility, Starbucks’ lawyer said the store could not afford it, which Commissioner Diane Hoskins called “offensive” in a Hill Rag op-ed. “Starbucks can afford to do the right thing,” she wrote. “The question is, will they?” The ABC meeting ended without a recommendation on Starbucks’ application.

The 6B regular meeting went better for Starbucks, with the store’s lawyer saying he had misspoken. While an indoor storage facility can’t go on the current building, 6B voted to support Starbucks’ application thanks to the restaurant’s agreeing to numerous trash storage measures. Among them are a daily trash pickup, weekly power washing, an agreement not to have trash picked up (or even taken out) before 7 a.m. or after 10 p.m., and “good faith” efforts to do even more if these measures don’t work – including looking into a way to make an indoor storage facility feasible.

ANC 6B will keep an eye on Starbucks, and if all else fails it can contest theliquor license when it comes up for review in the spring (when every liquor license in the city is coming up for review).

Community Connections Is Adding Services

Community Connections, a mental- and behavioral-health provider at 801 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, wants to start offering a half-time primary care facility in its building. Doing so would not require construction or renovation, just a certificate of need from the health department.

ANC 6B wrote a letter to the health department with recommendations for its review of the application, saying that it sees the need for primary care at the site, but also voicing concern that Community Connections’ clients play a significant role in bringing crime to the surrounding area, from loitering and panhandling to sex acts and drug dealing. “Community Connections clearly draws to this neighborhood some of the people who cause these problems but it is not the sole source,” the letter says. It also notes that Community Connections has helped to address the problem by finding housing for its homeless clients, and that its plan for primary care service includes stationing an officer in front of its building.

The commissioners asked that a certificate of need be contingent on Community Connections offering only primary care at its 801 Pennsylvania building to the patients already receiving mental health and substance abuse treatment services there. “This will help to assure the community that this new service will not result in further growth at 801 Pennsylvania Avenue,” the letter concludes.

The application process is lengthy, and a certificate is valid for three years with the option to file for a year-long extension.

Plans for a New Virginia Avenue

The railroad company CSX has submitted renderings of what Virginia Avenue, between Second and 11th streets SE, will look like after CSX is finished rebuilding the tunnel that runs below it. The next step is to engineer construction plans for review by the Public Space Committee of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).

ANC 6B moved to support CSX’s plans, adding recommendations for separate bike and pedestrian crosswalks along the south side of Virginia Avenue from Second to Ninth streets and various measures for street safety like bigger curbs to slow cars down.

A Football Stadium at RFK Is a Bad Idea

Building a new sports facility at RFK Stadium would not bring new jobs or spending to the area regardless of what any politician says, and whatever sports team that occupied a new stadium would probably squeeze District coffers for all it could after moving in. This was the major message of representatives from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, a local think tank, who joined a late October meeting about the future of the RFK site. They also pointed out that investing in a stadium would mean not investing in education or infrastructure, and that the Navy Yard was already growing economically before Nationals Park came to the neighborhood, thanks largely to development near the Metro.

As an example they cited the new DC United stadium going in at Buzzard Point. In that case DC is providing a subsidy of $150 million plus tax breaks for the team, with no agreement about who would cover cost overruns. All that, and DC United has not agreed to provide community benefits like affordable housing, rec centers, or plans for youth employment.

A stadium, as well as parking and recreation, are allowable under terms of the District’s lease of the federal land on which RFK Stadium is built, which runs through 2039. Tearing down the current stadium and building a new one, however, would require an extensive environmental study as well as new financing terms.

Fall Crime Was up in Parts of 6B

In an email to constituents, 6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg outlined fall data for the Police Service Areas (PSAs) that cover 6B, which are 106, 107, and 108. The data was released after mid-November.

PSA 106 saw 88 crimes reported in October, noticeably up from 42 in September and 44 in October 2014. There were 10 robberies and 6 burglaries as well as more thefts (many of those being electronics stolen from parked cars as well as bikes) than usual. At the end of the month the police department had closed three of the robbery cases with arrests.

PSA 107 had 86 crimes reported, the same as September and just below the 91 reported in October 2014. PSA 108 had 60 reported crimes, slightly less than the 62 from September.

ANC 6B’s next full meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

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