ANC 6C Report - September 2016

The owner of the XO nightclub (15 K St. NE) attended the meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C in September to enlist help in subduing crime in the area surrounding the nightclub. He said he and his nearly 20 security guards often patrol the area to stop residents from Sursum Corda public housing from breaking into and stealing customers’ cars. Commissioner Tony Goodman (6C06) explained that the development of new residential apartments and retail in the area will start to deter more crime because of the influx of people. Naomi Mitchell from Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen’s office explained that many of those suspected of criminal activity reside in the nearby Tyler House apartments, which will be emptied for renovations in February. That will not solve the immediate matter, she said, but shows coming changes.

The quorum: Karen Wirt (6C02 chair), Tony Goodman (6C06), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), Scott Price (6C03), and Christopher Miller (6C05). Daniel Schiffman (6C01) was absent.

REI Opens Oct. 21

City departments, REI, and neighbors are planning for the expected 5,000 people attending REI’s opening weekend block party and celebration of its DC flagship store, Oct. 21-23. The event includes food trucks, music, classes, and a winter beer garden. The commissioners expressed concern about traffic flowing through the area along M Street NE since the block party takes up both sides of the street next to the REI store.

The mayor’s office agreed to intermittent closures on Delaware Avenue NE but did not support closures on M Street. “For the safety of the people in line, we need to make sure we close down the streets that we can,” Goodman said. The ANC agreed to send a letter to the mayor’s office encouraging measures to ensure safety, including the closure of M Street and Delaware Avenue as needed.

Re-scoping of PUD Applications

With changes to the rulemaking for planned unit development (PUD) applications, the DC Office of Zoning recommended it be given the ability to waive the minimum size requirement for a PUD application. Currently a developer must seek a PUD for any parcel with a baseline of 15,000 square feet, and the office can waive up to 15 percent of the size. The new rule would allow it to waive any amount if need be.

Eckenwiler argued this is a bad idea and does not constitute a “minor flexibility,” as the rule describes. The ANC voted unanimously to send a letter opposing the amendment and allowed Eckenwiler to testify at the hearing on Sept. 22.

DDOT Lays Out Cycle Traffic Plans

Commissioners voted unanimously to support a letter to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) encouraging the immediate implementation of the planned pedestrian enhancements for M, L, and Pierce streets NE and the pilot bicycle track along M Street NE. The pilot plan includes converting streets from one-way to two-way and eliminating one lane of parking. The ANC previously requested DDOT to put in freshly striped sidewalks, ban right turns on red lights, and install lead indicators for crossing lights that allow pedestrians to walk before the driver’s signal turns green. 

Construction Traffic Near NoMa Metro

Commissioners voted unanimously to support Stonebridge Development’s traffic plan during construction on Four Constitution Square, across from the NoMa Metro station on M Street NE. The project requires workers to take over the sidewalk north of M Street during the week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. When the walkway fully closes, the construction team plans to open an additional handicap-accessible crosswalk. Commissioners requested a full stop sign at the site, not just a pedestrian watch sign. Trucks will route along Third Street, Florida Avenue, and New York Avenue NE.

Goodman requested that Stonebridge and the other construction companies active in the area, including the Wilkes Company at 300 M St., meet with him or another commissioner on a semi-regular basis to talk about what routes each project’s trucks will take. Goodman wants to make the developments as safe as possible for surrounding residents. He reiterated his frustration that the plans for the buildings at Constitution Square don’t show retail on the ground floor, which he said kills the neighborhood and threatens safety for anyone walking through the area. “This represents everything that is bad about development,” he said. “Retail makes it safer, more vibrant.”  

Story of Our Schools Exhibit Launches

Students at the Capitol Hill Montessori at Logan school completed their nearly yearlong project looking at the history of the school. The building is named after John Logan, a pro-slavery man turned abolitionist, and the students involved in the project explore that history through the exhibit. Local Capitol Hill resident Jen Harris brought the idea to the school in hopes it will manifest in other schools soon. The ANC approved a $2,500 grant request to help maintain the permanent exhibit for the community and students, as well as assemble a collection of the digital contributions on a website.

NoMa Parks Hires Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

The Nelson Byrd Woltz group will plan and design the park at Third and L streets NE. The firm’s portfolio includes the Brooklyn Navy Yard and the Asia Trail at the National Zoo. The community is invited to an open conversation about the designs on Oct. 18, more details to come.

Driftwood Tests Leaving Windows Open at Night

The Driftwood restaurant at 400 H St. NE will work with neighbors to test having at least one exterior window open until 11 p.m. instead of 10 p.m. If noise levels increase beyond what neighbors want, the experiment can be terminated with three residents’ complaints. The ANC approved a temporary amended agreement to accommodate this. “I think this is a wonderful idea,” Price said. “It’s based upon a mutual sense of trust. It should serve as a model for other changes on H Street.”

Other Actions

Commissioners postponed any decision of support for the historic district nomination of Union Market Terminal. While they expressed positive thoughts on the idea, they agreed to wait for more outreach and the weigh-in from ANC 5D.

Addressing DDOT’s proposed residential parking permit rules, the ANC agreed to send a letter to DDOT opposing the section requiring the rules be implemented ANC-wide. “Our consensus was that’s a really dumb idea,” Eckenwiler said, explaining that a rule for one block may not fit another.

The ANC will send a letter to the Department of Public Works (DPW) requesting more trashcans near Eighth and G streets NE and on the 700 block of Seventh Street NE for increased litter around the 7-Eleven store.

Commissioners agreed unanimously to send a letter encouraging the District to take ownership of the alleys bounded by Fourth, Fifth, F, and G streets NE in order to care for them. Miller noted that a collapsed alley near his home still remains unfixed since it failed around New Years. “Every day a little bit of me dies with that not fixed,” he said. DDOT and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) keep informing him they have teams working on the matter.

Goodman updated the developments in his NoMa area, including that REI’s grand opening in October will also include a La Colombe coffee that will open and close separately of the store. Also, Planned Parenthood’s new location at 1225 Fourth St. NE opened on Sept. 26.

 

ANC 6C regularly meets on the second Wednesday of the month at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave. NE. The next meeting is on THURSDAY, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m., a switch from Wednesday due to Yom Kippur.