ANC 6B Report - November 2016

At its Nov. 10 meeting, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B supported an appeal to the Zoning Administrator in regard to a long-delayed construction project and acted on a range of liquor- and zoning-related matters. The meeting also provided a brief forum on problems with Washington Gas’s Project Pipes.

The quorum: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Diane Hoskins (6B02), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Hagedorn (6B05), Nick Burger (6B06), Daniel Chao (6B07), Chander Jayaraman (6B08), Daniel Ridge (6B09), and Denise Krepp (6B10). James Loots (6B03) was present for several early votes.

Long-Delayed Construction

The District's Zoning Administrator decided in July not to issue a stop-work order for construction at 521 11th St. SE (BZA #19369), although the work has been delayed and the most recent permit extension has expired. Back in 2006 the ANC supported both BZA and historic preservation applications for this site. Work was halted, property owner Bernard Renard told the ANC, because of economic conditions at the time. Meanwhile, Commissioner Oldenburg reports, neighbors have been living with partially completed work covered by a tarp. Renard added that construction is often held up for a variety of reasons and that delays are no reason for the ANC to change its position. Some commissioners argued that the neighborhood, as well as the composition of the ANC, has changed substantially in 10 years and that permit expiration should prompt reconsideration. The vote was 8-0-1 (Hoskins abstaining; Loots absent) to follow a Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Committee recommendation supporting appeal of the July decision.

Safeway and SkillZone Public Space Requests

Safeway at 415 14th St. SE seeks changes to curb cuts for new development (DDOT Tracking #182493). The P&Z Committee supported the change: removing two curb cuts, relocating a third, and widening the alley. In addition, however, the committee recommended expressing concerns to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT), more generally, about large delivery trucks navigating residential streets. Further consideration will be part of the large-tract review process for the redevelopment. The vote was 8-1-0 (Oldenburg opposing; Loots absent) to support P&Z recommendations. 

SkillZone, 709 Eighth St. SE, requests public space projection to allow for a ramp and an outward-opening door (DDOT Tracking #184682). Liza Fox, co-owner of the new business, said the changes are necessary to allow for stroller and accessible entrance to the indoor play area for young children. The vote was 9-0 (Loots absent) to support the application.

Tavern License Renewals, Agreements

Bachelor’s Mill/Back Door Pub, 1104 Eighth St. SE, seeks renewal of its Class C Tavern license with cover charge and dancing endorsement (ABRA-011277). Neighbors have expressed concerns about noise and disruptive behavior as patrons leave the establishment. The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee recommended support for the renewal, pending receipt of a signed settlement agreement with new paragraphs on security issues. The pub's manager, Aziz Baseel, addressed some recent incidents and agreed to new security language. The vote was 10-0 in favor of a committee recommendation supporting renewal with a new agreement. 

Phase I, 525 Eighth St. SE, seeks renewal of a Class C Tavern license with cover charge, dancing, and entertainment endorsement (ABRA-001200) and is requesting an extension of the petition date. Commissioner Loots reported concern that the site appears to be closed at present and that reopening might involve a change of use. The owner, meanwhile, fears losing license and endorsements while painting and other renovations are underway. The ABC Committee recommended support for the extension. The full ANC voted 9-0-1 (Samolyk abstaining) to amend that recommendation, reserving the right to protest if the continuance is not filed. The vote was then 9-0-1 (Samolyk abstaining) to support the amended committee recommendation.

Four ABC matters were part of the consent agenda, approved 10-0: protesting, for failure to appear before committee or ANC, renewal of Class C Tavern license with summer garden and sidewalk cafe for Cava Restaurant, 527-529 Eighth St. SE; supporting continuance on renewal of Class C Tavern license with entertainment endorsement for The Brig, 1007 Eighth St. SE; supporting renewal of Class C Tavern license with sidewalk cafe for the 70-year-old Tune Inn Restaurant, 331 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; and supporting renewal of Class C Tavern license with sidewalk cafe for Trusty’s Bar, 1420 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.

Concerns about Project Pipe

Commissioner Hoskins reported a host of neighborhood problems with Washington Gas’s Project Pipe. These include parking, construction, gas leaks, and quality-of-work issues. Cheryl Morse, consumer outreach specialist from DC's Office of the People's Counsel (OPC), and several Washington Gas staff members responded to concerns and provided updates. 

Doreen Hope, community district manager for Washington Gas, said many complaints from ANC 6B regarded pre-work notice. She said that in response the company was making internal changes and crafting a better system for notifying non-customers of upcoming work. In addition, “We've put a more senior, experienced manager on the project – and he will be on site more.” 

Commissioners and community members raised concerns about gas leaks and other safety issues, as well as failures to engage affected community members. Other issues included damage to trees and long-term storage of paving materials. Washington Gas said again that internal changes were underway following complaints and that crews responsible for some failures had been removed. 

Morse encouraged residents to call OPC if emergency no-parking signs appear without proper 72-hour notice. She also suggested taking “before” and “after” pictures, which OPC is sharing with Washington Gas.

Other Actions

Approved, by vote of 9-0 (Chao absent), nomination of Jennifer Howard (6B09) to the P&Z Committee and J. Michael Enrico (6B10) to the Transportation Committee.

Approved, by consent calendar vote of 10-0, a letter to Mayor Bowser regarding lead paint on lampposts and lack of coordination between DDOT, which is responsible for lamppost renovation, and the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE), responsible to test for leaded paint.  

Approved, by consent calendar vote of 10-0, the P&Z Committee's letter to the Zoning Commission in support of planned zoning code changes regarding rear additions and conversions of non-residential buildings to residential (ZC #04-11B); the letter also includes a request for clarification on chimney regulations. 

Signed on, by vote of 8-0-1 (Oldenburg abstaining, Loots absent), to DC Fair Elections Coalition’s letter on small-donor campaign financing; Oldenburg did not object to signing but wondered why 6B was supporting one piece of legislation and not others before the Council's Judiciary Committee. 

Heard an update on education and advocacy from Anacostia Riverkeeper Emily Franc.

Approved, by vote of 9-0 (Loots absent), the ANC's quarterly report.



The next ANC 6B meeting is Tues., December 13 at The Hill Center at 7 p.m.