ANC 6C Report - February 2017

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen attended the February meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C to inform the community about his new role as the chair of the Council’s Judiciary Committee. The committee oversees 35 agencies involving campaign finance, the board of elections, policies, and more. “If I make a decision you like, you get to support that,” he said. “If I make a decision you don’t like, you can hold me accountable.” He also updated the commissioners on the “Hands Off DC” effort to stop Congress and Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz from interfering in DC legislation and policies.

The quorum: Karen Wirt (6C02, chair), Heather Edelman (6C06), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), Christine Healey (6C01, secretary), Scott Price (6C03, vice chair), and Christopher Miller (6C05, treasurer).

Neighbors Fight for Carriageway on Eighth Street

The commissioners supported a historic preservation application for a third-story addition and one-story garage with a studio at 108-110 Eighth St. NE. Commissioners expressed concerns that the garage not exceed the current footprint, the demolition of an abutting wall to the neighboring property, and the slope of the garage roof for drainage. The architect explained that the abutting wall is in imminent danger and must be rebuilt.

Neighbors remained divided on the changes to the house and its keeping with the historic nature of the other houses sharing the alley. The size of the addition overwhelms some, but most just want to be sure the development doesn’t shut off the historic horse carriageway, a design that has been disappearing on Capitol Hill. The ANC voted to support it so long as the design keeps the garage within the original footprint and brings the carriageway back to the yard.

Removal of Roof Challenges Historic Nature

Commissioners voted 4-2 in support of a third-floor addition at 646 Sixth St. NE, which includes removing the current roof, dormer, mansard, and cornice designs. Commissioners argued that the architecture should not intrude visually on the pattern of the other rowhouses, which means allowing for more provisions on other aspects of the design. 

Updates at Union Station Entrance

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) are working to upgrade the First Street entrance to Union Station. The plans include a stairway and ramp outside of the station on the sidewalk and relocating the entrance more to the north. The commissioners voted 5-1 to oppose the plans because the sidewalk is already crowded in that area and the increased foot traffic could pose a danger. Commissioner Eckenwiler criticized WMATA for waiting until the last minute to consult the ANC and not sharing its studies.

Vision Zero Criticisms

The Commission supported a letter to DDOT opposing the regulations and fines for the new Vision Zero plan for traffic and pedestrian safety. A fine for dooring a cyclist comes in at $100, far too low, commissioners argued. Driving on the sidewalk is fined the same amount as a bicyclist hitting a pedestrian. A driver of a car, truck, or SUV will be fined $150 if they hit a cyclist, the same as a cyclist hitting a pedestrian. “There was no proportionality,” Eckenwiler said. “You have a lot of fines for varying degrees of infractions that are the same amount.”

Hardscaping at 300 Maryland Ave.

The ANC voted unanimously to oppose the retroactive application of hardscaping that was put in at 300 Maryland Ave. NE. The public-space application never came through the ANC, so the commissioners didn’t have a chance to criticize the hardscape design, which goes against the District’s goal of more greenery.

The Alley Saga Continues

Commissioner Miller again updated the commissioners on alley repairs that have been on hold for more than a year in his district. DDOT hired a contractor, but the contractor refuses to work until the District determines who is at fault and liable for the damage – DC or the homeowner of the property that abuts the alley. It’s now 14 months and counting.

Eckenwiler to Testify on YRA

Though Commissioner Price had questions on the nature of the testimony, the ANC agreed unanimously to let Eckenwiler testify on the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA). “If you’re cutting people leniency and they go out and reoffend, they aren’t getting rehabilitated,” Eckenwiler said. Price wanted to be sure the review includes a change to add more accurate reporting on the cases to better understand what works and what doesn’t.

Other Actions

Commissioner Edelman updated the commissioners on the homeless community underneath the tunnels at K, L, and M streets NE. The District posts signs to have the residents clear out in 14 days, but they often just return. Edelman said she’s working on a more permanent solution for the safety of the homeless and the residents.

The ANC approved a $543.94 increase to the Little Free Libraries grant budget to add another little library to the four already planned.

Eckenwiler agreed to testify at the oversight hearing for DC Water and outline the problems with the agency’s incorrectly posting “No Parking” signs. “All of the signs all had different permit numbers, all are for other blocks and are posted only the night before,” he said.

On the issue of Sanctuary Cities, the ANC voted in support of the mayor’s standing with the Council in listing DC as a sanctuary city.

The ANC unanimously supported a grant for Casey Trees to do landscaping at the intersection of Seventh Street, Constitution Avenue, and Massachusetts Avenue NE.

DDOT’s K Street traffic study from North Capitol Street to Florida Avenue NE is now available online.

The ANC 6C Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee now meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Northeast Library (330 Seventh St. NE).

 

ANC 6C regularly meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE. The next meeting is March 8 at 7 p.m.