ANC 6C Report - November 2015

ANC 6C's November meeting focused on transportation and parking for bikes and autos, as well as commercial signage. All votes were unanimous and all but one vote followed committee recommendations. There were no community comments. The quorum: Karen Wirt (6C02, chair), Scott Price (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), and Tony Goodman (6C06); Daniele Schiffman (6C01) and Chris Miller (6C05) were absent. 

Bikeshare ‘Core’ Expansion?

Joe McCann, for the Transportation and Public Space Committee (TSP), reported on Bikeshare's expansion plan. He commended the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) for moving beyond piecemeal actions with the 2016-18 plan. He summarized the vision, which identifies several bike stations already promised and then divides the city into three zones – high revenue (Mall and Georgetown), “core” and high ridership (downtown and surrounding), and accessible (remainder of the city) – for consideration of new stations.

McCann's letter to DDOT outlines concerns that core boundaries do not accommodate ANC 6C's expected growth and identifies several bike stations, part of existing development plans within 6C, omitted from the list of promised stations. 

Commissioners applauded the letter and echoed its concerns with regard to core boundaries. Goodman noted that some 5,000 new apartments are already being constructed in the Union Market and Ivy City areas along with several new office buildings. Much discussion centered around Price's amendment suggesting specific expansions to the core. The ANC approved TSP's recommended letter, without specific boundaries.

‘Ridiculous’ DDOT Action?

Goodman described problems with a push-for-WALK traffic light at 10th Street and Maryland Avenue NE. This style is usually assigned to low-pedestrian traffic areas, and it is the only such light on that stretch of Maryland Avenue. Goodman called the light dangerous and in violation of DDOT's own policies. A proposed letter requested that the button be removed and the traffic re-timed, while reiterating a similar, previous request concerning a push-for-WALK light near the NoMa Metro Station.

Price objected to the letter's use of the terms “ridiculous” and “demeaning.” Goodman elaborated on why he chose the terms. Eckenwiler supported the language, arguing that it suited DDOT's “needlessly privileging vehicles” over pedestrians. 

Wirt suggested a vote on substance, resolving language later. Price continued to object, however, saying that he and Goodman fundamentally disagree on appropriate ways to address the “action of any DC agency.” When Wirt called the question, the vote was unanimous to support a letter with language to be determined. 

Signage Precedent?

Commercial signage for Keller Williams Capital Properties, 519 C St. NE, resulted in the meeting's longest discussion and the only opposition to a committee recommendation. 

TSP chair Mark Kazmierczak described committee negotiations resulting in support for a public space permit for a ground-mounted sign, angled so as not to be visible from Stanton Park. Price moved to oppose, citing concerns about precedence for commercial signage around the park. Other commissioners objected to sign placement and materials, as well as to previous signage erected without ANC approval. Eckenwiler raised an issue of parking on public space, insisting that it related to signage; the topic was not pursued. 

Joel Nelson, for Keller Williams, argued that “much larger and more visible signs” are allowed without public space permits. He reiterated a desire to work with the committee to “come to something that respects the historic district.” The ANC voted to oppose the permit.

Further Action

ANC 6C created an ad hoc Outreach Committee to improve commission transparency and communication, through website, social media, and other means.

ANC 6C will protest the liquor license application, using up to $5,000 in legal fees if necessary, for XO, 15 K St. NE, based on neighborhood noise and safety complaints over previous special event activity at the establishment.

ANC 6C protests a sidewalk cafe application for 6th & H Bar & Grille, citing applicant's failure to respond to the TSP committee, failure to post the application as required by law, and a settlement agreement prohibiting sidewalk use.

Following a brief discussion of roof setback requirements and a close examination of loading and off-street parking, the ANC supported the Board of Zoning Adjustment application, with an attached memo addressing 6C concerns, for a mixed-used development at N and Patterson streets NE.

ANC 6C also supports the following:

  • “Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults Amendment of 2015” (B21-0326)
  • Mayoral efforts to end homelessness and reduce shelter size
  • Proposed regulations for residential parking permits
  • Rear addition at 602 A St. NE
  • Repaving of 400 and 600 F St. NE
  • Repealing permits on non-conforming structure at 518 Sixth St. NE
  • Extension of hours for Sugar Factory at Union Station
  • Plans for Rock and Roll Marathon, March 12, 2016

Finally, the (non-voting) item on a planned unit development for 301 Florida Ave. NE was skipped due to time constraints. Discussion of public space matters for a Planned Parenthood warehouse conversion, 1200 block of Fourth Street NE, was postponed (again); a hearing is now set for January 2016. 

ANC 6C regularly meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE. The next meeting is on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m.