ANC 6C Report - October 2016

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C conducted all votes during the first half of its one-hour October meeting, quickly dispatching a variety of zoning, alcohol beverage, and other neighborhood matters. The commissioners moved announcements and non-voting items to the second half, when a quorum was no longer present. 

The quorum: Karen Wirt (6C02, chair), Tony Goodman (6C06), Scott Price (6C03), and Christopher Miller (6C05). Daniel Schiffman (6C01) and Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) were absent, and Miller left at 7:30 p.m.

Revised PUD for 220 L Street

The only agenda item generating community discussion was a revised planned unit development (PUD) application for 220 L St. NE. The revisions include elimination of an L Street curb cut and below-grade parking with the addition of six grade-level parking spaces, plus a bikeshare station and a contribution of $10,000 toward a public dog park. The Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee (PZE) recommended support for the PUD, contingent on plans being filed with the Zoning Commission consistent with information provided to the committee. 

Ryan McGinness, PZE vice chair, reported that one nearby neighbor has concerns, including possible damage from construction and the scale of the project compared with existing buildings. The homeowner told commissioners his primary concern is the replacement of public alley access with an easement, possibly curtailing owners' rights. Commissioner Tony Goodman argued that this is standard PUD language. The motion was amended, however, to reference the homeowner's utility concerns. The commission voted 4-0 to support the revised application, contingent on the zoning filing and removal of utility poles. 

Additional PZE Matters

ANC 6A is protesting the building permit for an 18-unit apartment construction at 1511 A NE, a site downzoned in 2015. PZE recommended support for the neighboring commission with a similar protest. The protest was approved, 4-0. 

McGinness reported PZE members split on the issue of a variance to allow a rear deck on an existing single-family dwelling at 712 Eighth St. NE. Some members said supporting the variance was inconsistent with ANC policy, but most thought the five-percent addition to lot occupancy minor. Support for the variance was approved 4-0.

Grant Applications 

Capitol Hill Village, a nonprofit supporting aging in place, requested a $2,500 grant for one seminar in a series. The commissioners voted for the grant, 4-0, directing the treasurer to deduct from the grant sum any items not fundable per regulations. 

Leslie Barbour, co-chair of the Grants Committee, arrived after the vote. She reported that the committee hopes to see an additional application for another seminar in the Capitol Hill Village series. In addition, two applications, previously submitted but in need of amendment, from other organizations are expected in the next grants cycle. 

The committee seeks more applications from local nonprofits. Goodman pointed out that the committee can spend without applications and offered some spending suggestions.  

Crime Near XO Nightclub

Ermiyas (Jeremy) Asfaw, owner of the XO nightclub (15 K St. NE), asked for assistance in addressing nearby crime, particularly on the property of U-Haul Moving and Storage (26 K St. NE). In the absence of a fence around that property, he reports, trucks and the spaces between are used for criminal activity and evading police. Asfaw spoke with the U-Haul location manager, who says erecting a fence is not within his authority. 

The club owner also requested the ANC's help in brightening up the street, saying, “it's a forgotten area without enough lighting.” Goodman, whose single member district encompasses both U-Haul and XO, agreed to assist in resolving this situation.

Parks and NoMa Vision

Christine Healey, chair of the Parks and Events Committee, updated efforts to coordinate two conflicting sets of NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) guidelines. After a community meeting in late October and the creation of new guidelines, specifics will come before the ANC. Goodman said the ANC had been part of the DC Office of Planning’s process for “NoMa Vision” guidelines, while the other set came directly from the BID without community input.

Healey also reported on the visit of Peter May, associate regional director for lands, planning, and design at the National Park Service (NPS). May told the committee that, because the District is considered a “federal agency” by NPS, NPS can transfer land to the District without an act of Congress. There was some discussion among commissioners of the extent and implications of this statement. 

The committee also discussed with May concerns about memorials in residential neighborhoods and problems with the fountains at Union Station. Currently 10 NPS memorials are planned for the Capitol Hill area, Healey said. Meanwhile the Union Station fountain is part of a $12 billion backlog of maintenance issues for NPS. 

Liquor Licenses and More Zoning

The ANC's consent calendar included a number of alcohol beverage issues as well as zoning and public space matters. The block vote does not permit discussion and relies heavily on recommendation from committee reports. 

Regarding liquor, the ANC approved changes to a settlement agreement with Driftwood Kitchen (400 H St. NE) slightly extending opening hours; approved change to the settlement agreement with Wunder Garten (150 M St. NE), adding 75 people to occupancy and changing license class; protested, pending a settlement agreement, a Class C liquor license for Wydown, a coffee bar in the Apollo Building, 700 H St. NE.

In zoning-related matters the ANC directed Goodman to serve as lead in devising a benefits agreement in reference to the PUD for 1200 Third St. NE. The commissioners supported construction of two carriage houses at 730 and 732 Third St. NE. McGinness reported that the Capitol Hill Restoration Society supported the construction and that one neighbor approved and one disapproved; the PZE Committee did not find the objections compelling and recommended support. ANC 6C opposed application for a consolidated PUD and zoning map adjustment related to 400 Florida Ave. NE; as part of the report Goodman described this project as “the worst ever seen” in his years on the ANC, noting that it provides a poor pedestrian experience with little street-level retail and only three parking spots for 300 units. 

The ANC supported an historic trail marker at Fourth and H streets NE for Cathy Hughes, founder of Radio One, long housed on H Street. 

Announcements

A spokesperson for DC statehood encouraged voters to obtain and read the draft constitution before voting. A representative for Ashley Carter, a Ward 6 resident and candidate for at-large seat on the State Board of Education, shared information about the candidate. 

Commissioner Goodman offered a quick update on apartments and offices under construction in his single-member district. He noted that, following ANC complaints regarding the lack of street-level retail at 150 M St. NE, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote “a blistering letter” demanding a safer, community-friendly streetscape. He added that Planned Parenthood is open and serving women without protest. Commissioner Wirt announced that Richard Merkle will replace John Wirt on the Transportation and Public Space Committee, and praised new brick sidewalks, which Commissioner Price called a “waste of money.” Price congratulated the Hill Rag on 40 years in the community. 

 

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