ANC 6B Supports Bayou Bakery Liquor License

November ANC 6B Meeting Report

At its November meeting, ANC 6B voted 5-3 to approve a liquor license for Bayou Bakery, which is moving into the Hill Center’s carriage house. 

Concerned with potential pollution, odor, noise, and rats from outdoor trash storage, a number of neighbors asked Bayou Bakery to withdraw its application and consider a compromise in the lead up to December’s meeting. They argued that without much trouble, Bayou Bakery could work a better venting system for its kitchen and sound-proof fencing for its HVACs into its settlement agreement. The neighbors also said the restaurant hadn’t exhausted its options for finding a way to store trash inside, which is the best guarantee for keeping rats away.  

A Bayou Bakery representative, however, said that the restaurant had met the bar for a liquor license and that remaining concerns were beyond ABC jurisdiction. Without a Bayou Bakery withdrawal, the commission had to vote one way or the other. (It’s worth noting here that Bayou Bakery modified its proposed settlement agreement just before the meeting, leaving commissioners no room to amend it.)

A majority of the commissioners agreed that the Hill Center would be a more vigilant landlord than most and that a restaurant there shouldn’t be scrutinized the same way as one on Barrack’s Row, where the rats are out of control. 6B chair Brian Flahaven also pointed out that with liquor licenses up for review citywide in 2016, Bayou Bakery would essentially have a two-year trial period that he felt it deserved.

6B will consider its stance on Exelon’s takeover of Pepco at its December meeting

With Midwestern energy giant Exelon’s purchase of Pepco looming, ANC 6B considered sending a letter to city council asking that they urge the Public Service Commission to make the deal contingent on certain guarantees for DC customers. Drafted by the 2.0 Working Group, a collection of environmental advocates, the letter asks that Exelon commit to assisting low-income customers in paying their electric bills, to exceeding the Commission’s targets for reducing power outages, and to working toward renewable energy in the District.

Ultimately, the 6B voted to wait on deciding whether or not to sign the resolution, with a number of commissioners saying that another month would give them time to get a more complete picture of the issue. 6B will take the matter up at its December meeting. 

Ivan Frishberg (6B02) did not hold back his disdain for Exelon at the 6B meeting, saying the company has a bad track record on renewable energy and that it uses its influence over state lawmakers “not sparingly.”

“Many people oppose this,” Frishberg said. “We should aggressively push to get what we want from this deal.” Later, Frishberg commented, “there’s a point at which a fair deal for us looks like no deal for them.”

A Pepco representative present at the meeting urged the ANC to hold off, charging that it would be premature for an ANC to chime in given that testimony before the Commission had only just begun. For his part, Frishberg said that Pepco only wanted ANCs to hold off so they wouldn’t affect the Council.

6B is open to the Olympics in DC, but wants details from organizers

6B invited Russ Ramsey, the chair of DC 2024, the group that hopes to bring the Olympics to DC, to its next regular meeting. 

“Before our commission can consider supporting your efforts,” the commission said in a letter, “we need an opportunity to learn more about your plans.”

The letter then went on to list concerns about which venues are being planned for the land surrounding RFK, Reservation 13, and the DC Armory, plans for how spectators will travel through the city, how much DC will have to invest in the bid and the breakdown of public vs. private dollars, and how DC 2024 will engage with Capitol Hill neighbors.

Bob Sweeney, a DC 2024 representative who was at the meeting, said his organization had reached out to incoming councilmember Charles Allen and that it welcomes a long conversation with the community.

Plans to expand boathouses on the Anacostia’s western bank

The Historic Anacostia Boating Association plans to renovate boating facilities along Boathouse Row, as well as add a recreation area that will give the community better access to the waterfront. 

“We have history that we would like to maintain,” said HABA chairman Steve Ricks at the 6B meeting. He spoke on behalf of four boating clubs, two of which have been operating for over 100 years. He also said that HABA wants to provide “affordable, recreational boating for the community.”

Ricks outlined a proposed facility that includes a 228-slip marina, office, picnic, and sand volleyball space, parking, and a pier for water taxies. Its boat ramp will also allow boats to enter the water from somewhere other than the National Harbor or National Airport. 

Ricks also noted that an updated Boathouse Row will go well with the apartment complex planned for 1333 M Street SE as well as the Southeast Boulevard project. HABA is now moving from design concept to fundraising,

6B updates its list of vacant and blighted properties

6B’s Outreach and Constituent Task Force updated its list of vacant and blighted properties, adding four to its list of homes that fit the definition and four to its watch list. 6B then sent a letter to the city’s Vacant Building Enforcement Unit, listing all eight new properties as well as ten others that were already on one of the two lists. It also sent letters of notice to each property owner. 

According to Outreach and Constituent Services chair Brian Pate (6B05), sometimes a letter from the ANC has been enough to get a property owner to fix their home so it is no longer in violation. 

It’s certainly worth it to avoid the city deeming a property as vacant or blighted: vacant houses have to pay an additional 5% property tax, and blighted ones have to pay an additional 10%.

Officials are getting closer to a final plan for the Southeast Boulevard

The Office of Planning will present its final concepts for the Southeast Boulevard at 7 p.m. on December 11 at the Friendship School. Final plans will very likely emerge from one of the three proposals that the Office of Planning is going to present, and a number of commissioners said they look forward to the community giving input. Ward 6 councilmember Tommy Wells and representatives from DDOT will be at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Freeway is set to temporarily re-open in early 2015.

Next Meeting: ANC 6B’s next regular meeting is on Tuesday, December 9th at 7pm at the Hill Center.