ANC 6D Report - March 2017

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on March 13. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01), Cara Shockley (6D02), Ronald Collins (6D03), Andy Litsky (6D04), Roger Moffatt (6D05), Meredith Fascett (6D07), and Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06) were on the dais.

Ward 6 Councilmember Visits

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen visited the commission. Allen reported that he had just finished chairing the oversight hearings of the DC Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety. The committee has jurisdiction over matters affecting the judiciary and judicial procedure that are within authority of the DC Council under the Home Rule Act of 1973. These include the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), youth corrections, fire and emergency medical services, homeland security, campaign finance, ethics, criminal justice, and miscellaneous matters of public safety. Allen is joined on the committee by Vincent Gray (Ward 7), Mary. M. Cheh (Ward 3), Anita Bonds (At Large), and David Grosso (At Large).

As chair, Allen has organized three hearings on making the appointment of Acting Chief of Police Peter Newsham permanent. He has already held one in Ward 8. He will hold another on March 24 in Shaw.

Allen was concerned about recent shootings in Southwest. There have been three in three weeks. One occurred in front of the entrance to the King Greenleaf Recreation Center on the 200 block of N Street. On another day, a man entered the rec center carrying a gun. Allen is working with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to increase security at the center’s entrance without creating a pat-down zone.

Allen has spoken about the shootings with First District Commander Morgan C. Kane. She informed him that the shooting involved a dispute between residents of Greenleaf public housing and a group in Ward 8. Allen reached out to Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White to see if they could work together to quash the disagreement.

Allen expects Mayor Muriel Bowser to submit her budget sometime after April 4. The Council, he explained, would modify her submission, which he expects will be passed by the end of May. The rebuilding of the Southwest Library is fully funded, he reported. The modernization of Jefferson Middle School is fully funded at $80 million. However, he is pushing the mayor to move up the start date.

Allen will hold a Ward 6 Budget Town Hall on April 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Jefferson Middle School, 801 Seventh St. SW.

An audience member raised the issue of gangs of students at the Southwest CVS, 1100 Fourth St. SW. Allen stated that he had conferred with the company’s executives to demand that they increase the store’s security. He also spoke with Commander Kane and the staff at the Southwest Library about the incidents. Apparently, the same kids were harassing library staff and patrons. Library staff identified the instigators. MPD officers paid home visits to their families.

Another audience member who lives in Capitol Quarter next to CSX’s Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction project complained that the noise and vibrations caused by the construction and traffic through the completed new tunnel had damaged his home. Neighbors have demanded the railroad install damping materials. Allen promised to follow up.

An audience member drew Allen’s attention to the District’s inability to plan for traffic and growth in the Capitol Riverfront and Southwest. “The plans for Buzzard Point are complete nonsense,” Chair Litsky added wryly. Allen agreed. He stated that he is pressuring the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) to commit to a minimum of quarterly meetings on the subject.

ABC Matters

The Hotel Beverage Company, 1233 First St. SE, requested a letter in support of an application for a DT License at the Marriott Residence Inn. The license is meant to cover managers’ receptions held in a second-floor meeting room. While commissioners did not object to granting of the license, they did take the opportunity to inform the hotel’s representatives that they were displeased with its digital signage. One member of the audience suggested that commissioners withhold their approval on all matters related to the hotel as a protest. Three commissioners voted to support the license, two voted against, and two abstained.

An application by the owner of Masala Art, 1000 Fourth St. SW, an amendment to his license that would allow the charging of a cover fee for live music and minor changes in operating hours, triggered extensive discussions. Some commissioners were concerned that the restaurant would morph into a nightclub. There was some confusion over who and under what circumstances a cover might be demanded.

One commissioner attempted to fashion an agreement suggesting limits on the hours a cover might be charged. This engendered more discussion. Under questioning by Chair Litsky, the owner admitted that he had not met with residents of The Elliot, which has only recently opened. The commissioners chose to take no action, requesting that ABC Committee Chair Coralie Farlee bring forth a more detailed proposal to the next meeting.

ABC Chair Farlee complained about the slow pace of the applications her committee had received from the establishments sited on The Wharf. Only three have been approved.

Pepco Construction

Pepco Public Affairs Manager Travoris Culpepper briefed the commission on the utility’s plans to relocate two 69-kilovolt feeder lines under South Capitol Street. The utilities must be moved before the rebuilding of the Frederick Douglass Bridge can proceed. The lines will be moved under Half Street SW. Construction will occur from mid-March to the end of April. Crews will splice cables at three manholes:

  • on South Capitol between N and P streets
  • on P Street between South Capitol and Half streets
  • on T Street near Buzzard Point

Project work hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pepco has developed traffic control plans with DDOT, stated Culpepper. “DDOT is not in communication with this ANC,” retorted Chair Litsky. The chair emphasized that construction was occurring amid the baseball season. Other commissioners echoed his concerns. Culpepper promised to transmit the traffic control plan to the ANC in the next week.

Culpepper can be contacted at tculpepper@pepco.com or at 202-872-2024.

555 E Street

CityPartners, responsible for redeveloping the old fire station at 555 E St. SW, presented plans for streetscape improvements adjacent to their new project. They plan to remove the curb cuts installed to accommodate fire vehicles, widen the sidewalk, and add trees. Their objective is to create an attractive, wide sidewalk that will facilitate the extensive retail planned for the ground floor on both the Sixth and E Street sides of the project.

The building’s loading dock will be located on School Street on the northern side. Curbside parking will be restored on east side of the 500 block of Sixth Street.

Other Matters

Commissioners discussed the public space application by Slipstream Coffee, 821 I St. SE, for an ADA-compliant ramp edged by a planter designed to protect the adjacent door. Proprietors had requested a letter of support. There was considerable discussion about the planter’s shape. Commissioners were concerned that no one trip over a sharp edge. Slipstream’s architect agreed to round it. The commissioners then voted unanimously to provide a letter of support. The coffee shop plans to open this coming May.

Cultural DC asked the commissioners to support a new mobile gallery. Housed in a shipping container, the art space will initially be placed on land next to the historic Randall Junior High School, slated for the future Rubell Museum. The cost will total $80,000. Cultural DC asked the commissioners for a letter in support of a $30,000 grant application they are making to the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for the gallery. Commissioners voted unanimously to support the project.

The commissioners approved a letter in support of the Walk to Cure Arthritis on May 21, with Commissioner Shockley abstaining.

The commissioners approved a letter in support of the DC Historic Preservation Board’s historic designation of Federal Office Building No. 6, with Commissioner Collins abstaining.

Chair Litsky reported that he had met with the officials from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) to get a clarification regarding Verizon’s mono-pole installed at Randall Recreational Field. The BZA voted to limit Verizon to a single year due in large part to the commission’s opposition, he reported. The BZA refused to allow any other carriers to collocate on the pole. The matter now goes to the Public Service Commission.

Commissioners listened to a short presentation from the organizers of the 57th Annual Japanese Street Festival.

The commissioners took the following actions unanimously:

  • passed the amended meeting agenda

  • approved the February minutes

  • approved a letter in support of Bike Ride DC, the fundraiser for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, planned for May 14

  • approved a letter in support of the Race for Hope brain cancer run planned for May 7

  • approved a letter in support of locating a BikeShare station at the corner of Seventh and D streets SW

The commissioners discussed a plan by the Department of Parks and Recreation and Casey Trees to plant more trees at Amidon Field, Jefferson Field, and Lansburgh Park, but took no action. The plan is part of the District’s Canopy 3000 Initiative. For more information visit www.doee.dc.gov/service/canopy-3000.

There was no treasurer’s report.

 

ANC 6D will meet on Monday, April 3, at 7 p.m., at 1100 Fourth St. SW. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information.