ANC 6D Report - March 2016

At its meeting on March 14, ANC 6D held a dialogue with city officials about the proposed Delaware Avenue Family Shelter. Issues involving development and alcohol licensing rounded out the agenda.

Commissioners Marjorie Lightman (6D01), Stacy Braverman Cloyd (6D02), Chair Andy Litsky (6D04), Roger Moffatt (6D05), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06), Meredith Fascett (6D07) and Vice Chair Rachel Reilly Carroll (6D03) were in attendance.

 

The Proposed Delaware Avenue Shelter

Commissioner Braverman Cloyd summarized the Commission’s position on the Mayor’s plan to locate a homeless shelter next to the historic Friendship Baptist Church on Delaware Ave. SW. She began by pointing out a number of other pieces of public land that might be better suited for a homeless shelter such as the Fire Engine Repair Facility, and the parking lot in front of the Department of Motor Vehicles operation on M Street SW. She reiterated the significant challenges of building next to the old Friendship Church which is a historic landmark. Even if these things were not the case, Braverman Cloyd objected to the short duration of the proposed lease with the private developer.

She reiterated the Commission’s view that facilities to house homeless families should be “adequate, dignified and safe.” She stated on the commission’s behalf the following conditions for the ANC’s support of the Mayor’s initiative:

  • a meeting between the Commission and the administration;

  • a hearing on the Ward 6 shelter conducted in the neighborhood;

  • no suspension of customary zoning and other regulatory reviews that require the Commission’s input;

  • an amendment to the legislation that creates committees to choose the shelter operator made up of stakeholders;

  • no dormitories: all rooms in the facility must have private baths;

  • onsite laundry, computer and recreational facilities;

  • operating funds should be provided for the Randall Recreation center;

  • a Housing First plan for Greenleaf;

  • more support for the nearby Unity Health Center;

  • additional operating funds for Amidon Elementary and Jefferson Middle Schools;

  • a water fountain for humans and a kids playground in Landsburg Park;

  • creating a crosswalk on the northern side of the South Capitol and I Street intersection.

Rear Admiral Christopher Weaver, Director of the DC Department of General Services (DGS), and Jay Melder, Chief of Staff of the Department of Human Services (DHS), were called before the Commission to answer questions on the mayor’s proposal.

Chair Litsky began by pointing out that the mayor’s promise of creating a well-designed, attractive facility in his mind rang hollow. The architect selected had won no awards nor possessed a DC license, he informed city officials.

Weaver and Melder defended the administration’s plan. 24/7 onsite security would be provided by the shelter operator, they stated. That non-profit will receive roughly $2 million dollars a year to run the facility.

“It is not right that you are bringing the homeless, but not services,” stated Commissioner Hamilton.

Another $2.5 million are planned for the provision of wrap-around services including mental health and job counseling, Melder responded.

The building lease will have a 15-year term with two options for extensions. The historic church will be preserved, stated the two officials. All lead and asbestos will be abated.

Why were no city-owned sites considered? asked Commissioner Braverman Cloyd. It was the best site for programmatic reasons and will be a complement for the Small Area Plan, Weaver answered.

There will be a minimum of one family bathroom in every four-room unit, stated Melder. There will be microwaves for heating meals. All family members will have their own bed and a desk. There will also be age-appropriate play space outdoors.

There will be 10 percent private bathrooms or more. There be a minimum of one bathroom for every four families, stated Melder. Braverman Cloyd questioned the provision of shared bathrooms. “So it is better for a family to lock their child in the bedroom when they go to the bathroom and leave that child unattended or is it better to take the child to the bathroom with them?”

Weaver promised that the Commission would be able to review the facility plans, but cautioned that the site was very tight. Significant design changes are unlikely. “There will be a dialogue,” Weaver stated.

Commissioner Lightman was not mollified.

“I am perplexed. What I hear from you is state-of-the-art institutionalization. We live in a community of apartments and houses. If we build a shelter of young families in a traumatized state, shouldn’t they come into the community with the kind of housing the community has in general? Lightman asked rhetorically.

 “Why aren’t we rethinking it so instead of creating a newer and better institution, we create temporary homes for these people? You’re building an apartment building. We build apartment buildings in this part of the city with regularity that is mind-boggling. We’ll give you developers who can shoehorn houses into spaces that you would not believe. So don’t tell us about space problems! We want to know why you are building an institution and not homes that people can use temporarily,” Lightman stated.

The Commission unanimously adopted a resolution incorporating its concerns to be forwarded the DC Council and Mayor Bowser. It can be viewed at: http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/content/anc-6ds-caveats-proposed-war....

The Commission directed Commission Braverman Cloyd to testify on its behalf at the March 17 DC Council hearing on the Mayor’s plan for neighborhood homeless shelters.

 

Public Safety Report

Sergeant Architzel provided the commissioners with a public safety briefing. In PSA 105, there were no homicides, sexual assaults or robberies involving a gun. There were two purse snatchings and one robbery at knife point. In addition, there were two burglaries, one car stolen and 18 thefts. Two of three robberies were closed with arrests.

The recent barber shop shooting on Barracks Row was closed with three arrests. The incident was a revenge attempted killing. The victim was the alleged shooter in an earlier killing at Greenleaf.

In PSA 106, there were two assaults involving deadly weapons other than guns and knives. There were four robberies at gunpoint as well as two others. There was one burglary. There were 10 thefts from automobiles. Thefts were up 31 percent over the previous period.

 

Activating Waterfront M Street Parcels

Representatives of Charles E. Smith offered details of their plan for programing the two undeveloped parcels of Waterfront Station that border M Street SW. Aya will provide a farmers market beginning in May and continuing through November.

The United Social Sports Kickball League will also hold games on Wednesdays from April through July. Discussions are in process with the DC Bocci Leagues to host their games.

The Southwest Friday Night Craft Market will return from May through October. Smith will be adding Adirondack chairs to its existing picnic tables. They are considering installing a dog park.

 

The Wharf

The Commission voted unanimously to provide a letter of support for The Wharf’s Second Stage PUD involving the 7th Street Recreational Pier. A presentation had been made by PN Hoffman at the previous meeting.

Representatives from PN Hoffman outlined minor modifications planned for Pier 4, which had been the subject of a presentation at the February meeting. The developer is planning on taking advantage of new zoning regulations to modify the building’s roof to replace a mechanical penthouse with occupiable space. To obtain city permission for this, they will make a contribution to the Housing Production Trust Fund.

As a result of their set down with the DC Zoning Commission, the developer also has made changes in the Pier 4’s basic design. The square footage of the third floor of the building has been reduced. It now steps down in relation to the existing head house with an entry limited to two floors. The corners have been softened. The transparency of the top floor has been increased. There are now two small mechanical penthouses as opposed to one. Commissioner Litsky expressed concerns about the usage of the third floor amenity space. Representatives replied that it is not an event space. The Commission unanimously voted to send a letter in support of the Pier 4 design to the Zoning Commission.

 

Miscellaneous Matters

Michael Crawford, the Chief of Staff at Unit Healthcare, appeared before the Commission. He stated that the organization was in favor of co-location within future Build First redevelopment of Greenleaf Gardens.

The Commission voted unanimously to:

  • send a letter in support of the Southwest Business Improvement District’s plans to park its trucks at 290 Second St. SW;

  • send a letter to the council asking for the inclusion of PSA 106 in the city’s Security Camera Rebate Program;

  • support the move of Precinct 131 from Van Ness Elementary to the new community center near Capitol Quarter;

  • pass a resolution requesting the city to check on the remediation and community health of the construction on Buzzard Point;

  • send a letter in support of the Southwest Cherry Blossom Fireworks planned for April 9;

  • send a letter in support of the 56th Annual Japanese Street Festival which is being held for the first time in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood;

  • send a letter in support of an application by the developers of 25 M St. SE for modifications to the building smaller and higher increasing penthouse occupiable space;

  • send a letter in support of afterhours construction at Van Ness Elementary;

  • to request the city fix a sinkhole at the crossing of M Street SW between the northeast and southeast corners of Fourth Street.

ABC Committee Chair Coralie Farlee reported that bans on pub crawls were beginning to be included in voluntary agreements attached to liquor licenses.

Chair Farlee asked the Commission to approve the application of Masala Arts for an entertainment endorsement and license renewal. Commissioners voted unanimously to do so.

Farlee also requested the Commission support the renewal of the Skyline Hotel’s liquor license. Representatives of the hotel assured commissioners that they had taken concrete actions to control the noise during the hotel’s pool parties. No outside promoters would be allowed to hold events there. Also, the hotel manager will have control of the volume of the outdoor sound system. The Commission supported the hotel’s renewal application unanimously.

The Commission voted unanimously to author letters of support for The Race for Hope (May 1), The Army 10 Miler; The National Triathlon (Sept. 11); The Scope It Out 5k (March 20). The Commission at the urging of Commissioner Lightman deferred taking a position on the DC Bike Ride (May 22) until the April meeting.

ANC 6D will meet next at 7 p.m. on April 11 at 1100 Fourth St. SW, Second Floor. For more information, visit www.anc6d.org.