ANC 6D Report - November 2015

At its meeting on Nov. 9, ANC 6D grappled with an extensive agenda. Commissioners Marjorie Lightman (6D01), Stacy Braverman Cloyd (6D02), Vice Chair Andy Litsky (6D04), Chair Roger Moffatt (6D05), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06), and Meredith Fascett (6D07) were present. Rachel Reilly Carroll (6D03) was absent.

DC United

A representative from DC United reported that attendance at the team's matches was up 20 percent over last season. There was a 55 percent increase in television ratings. The team is about to introduce a redesigned logo.

The DC United Foundation, the representative informed the commissioners, has merged its programing with DC Scores (www.americascores.org/affiliates/dc), a local nonprofit that provides after-school programs in the DC Public and Public Charter schools. Going forward due to the partnership, after-school programming will be the same at Jefferson Junior High and Amidon Elementary Schools.

DC United is moving aggressively with plans for the new stadium, the representative reported. Clark Construction has been selected as the builder and Populous as the architect. DC United will show designs at the commission's December meeting. A groundbreaking is tentatively planned for September 2018.

Commissioner Litsky expressed reservations about the hazards involved in excavating so close to the Anacostia River during the new stadium's construction. “The city basically has been blowing smoke at us,” said Litsky. He asked DC United to provide more details at the December briefing; and suggested the team execute a voluntary agreement addressing such matters with the community. Chair Moffatt and Commissioner Lightman requested a detailed transportation plan for stadium events. “Tell us how they're going to get there,” stated Moffatt.

Restoration of Virginia Avenue Wins Approval

The commissioners considered the revised plans presented by the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) for the restoration of Virginia Avenue SE upon the completion of CSX’s tunnel project. New developments included:

  • completely separate bicycle and pedestrian paths
  • additional lighting for the green spaces planned for the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of Virginia Avenue
  • 20 additional street trees

“People really like the plan,” stated Commissioner Braverman Cloyd.

Other commissioners raised some concerns:

  • the plan should result in no net loss of parking;
  • the 300 block of Virginia Avenue should be placed under residential parking permits;
  • public water connections should be installed to care for the park’s plantings.

Commissioner Lightman asked that the agency coordinate its plans with the DC Department of Parks and Recreation as well as the nonprofit organization redeveloping the 11th Street Bridge. The commissioners voted unanimously in favor of supporting the plan.

Riverside Baptist Church PUD

After deferring, at a previous meeting, consideration of the planned unit development (PUD) proposed for the site of the Riverside Baptist Church at 680 I St. SW by P.N. Hoffman Inc. and the church, the commissioners again took up the matter. The petitioners requested ANC support for changing the existing R-5-B zoning to C-3-A to allow the construction of a new church and a nine-story apartment building with underground retail and ground-floor retail.

Community benefits generated by the project include:

  • affordable housing, 2 percent of units at 50 percent of area median income (AMI), 6 percent at 80 percent of AMI, and 2 percent at 100 percent of AMI
  • reconfiguration and improvement of the intersection at Seventh and I streets including the addition of green space, improved traffic control, and wider sidewalks
  • incorporation of a public water feature
  • no residential parking permits for residents
  • residents to be consulted on selection of the tenant for the ground floor, slated to contain neighborhood-serving retail, a daycare facility, or an urgent care clinic
  • $25,000 set aside to attract either a daycare facility or to help fund an alternative community benefit
  • a rodent abatement program implemented by P.N. Hoffman Inc.

In response to a request at the prior month’s meeting, Hoffman provided a preliminary construction traffic management plan to the commission.

Noting that the enormous amount of construction occurring simultaneously in her single member district is “at its best disruptive and at its worst changing the character of the neighborhood,” Commissioner Lightman, who represents the area, endorsed the project, citing reconstruction of the intersection and sensitivity to the maintenance of green space. With Chair Moffatt abstaining, the remaining five commissioners voted to endorse the Riverside PUD.

1244 South Capitol Public Space

The commissioners considered JBG Companies’ application to allow balconies and awnings of its 1244 South Capitol development to project into public space. The developer plans 290 apartments and 26,000 square feet of retail on the site.

The commissioners raised some caveats about the development:

  • the design of sidewalk pavers be coordinated with neighboring properties to avoid lips or other changes in grade;
  • the bicycle racks be inverted and U-shaped to be child safe;
  • all construction vehicles should enter and exit the site from Van Street SE;
  • the construction traffic management plan be sensitive to stadium events;
  • given the proximity to nearby residences, after-hours construction be kept to a minimum and the commission be provided 24-hour notice;
  • only enclosed tree-watering devices be used to avoid breeding mosquitoes and attracting litter.

The commissioners voted unanimously to draft a letter in support of JBG’s public space application that would incorporate their caveats.

Landmark Application for Fish Market Buildings

Hoffman-Madison Waterfront (HMW) has submitted an application to the District’s Historic Preservation Office nominating the Lunch Room and Oyster Shucking Shed at the Southwest Fish Market as historic landmarks. These two structures are the only remaining elements of the 1916 market.

Representatives of HMW appeared before the commissioners to solicit support for the landmark application. They informed the commissioners that they plan to restore the structures according to the original plans and return both to their historic usage. The commissioners voted unanimously to support the nomination.

Capitol Riverfront Construction Updates

The disruptive construction surrounding 909 Half St. and 82 I St. SE continues, reported Commissioner Fascett. In November there will be increased utility work on both Half and K streets, followed by electrical and sanitary work on New Jersey Avenue and I Street. Concrete work will be completed at 82 I St. by early January. The new section of I Street will open in mid-December.

At DC Water’s Historic Pumping Station at 125 O St. SE, the agency secured an eight-week, 24-hour construction permit. Permission was granted due to the DC Clean Waters Project’s tight timeline. After being contacted by Commissioner Fascett, the construction team agreed to minimize night drilling and noise from banging buckets.

Florida Rock Bulkhead Replacement

Architects Kelly Drewry and Davis Buckley, employed by Florida Rock Properties, described the deteriorating condition of the waterfront bulkheads protecting riverfront parcels at 25 and 79 Potomac Aves. Dock 79, a nine-story structure comprising 305 residences and 15,266 square foot of retail, is expected to open on the six-acre site in fall 2016. The developer proposes to restore the bulkheads, over the course of six months, with minimal demolition. After some discussion of the 6 a.m. construction start time, the commissioners unanimously endorsed the project.

1000 South Capitol

The commissioners again took up the issue of the variances requested for a partial alley closing and for reduced roof setbacks at Lerner Enterprise’s planned residential building at 1000 South Capitol. The developer plans a 13-story structure with between 300 and 360 residential units.

The variances had been extensively discussed at the ANC’s October meeting. The commissioners requested that future residents be denied residential parking permits as a condition of its support, and that this be incorporated into the zoning order. Commissioners voted unanimously to send letters to the Board of Zoning Adjustment and the DC Surveyor in support of the Lerner project.

Fourth Street Bike Lanes

At the urging of Vice Chair Litsky, the commission discussed DDOT’s plan for unprotected bike lanes on Fourth Street south of M Street. Given the history of accidents at the M and Fourth intersection and the volume of speeding commuters, the proposed unprotected bike lanes would be unsafe, stated Litsky. Traffic-calming measures are required and perhaps protected lanes, he added. Concerned over any opposition to DDOT’s plan, members of the audience questioned whether the commission was anti-bike. Litsky stated that he was an avid cyclist, but reiterated the importance of holding up what he believed to be a half-baked plan.

The commissioners, with Commissioner Fascett abstaining, voted to send a letter to DDOT opposing the plan.

Other Matters

The commissioners discussed the question of whether or not the new DC United Stadium should be excluded from supervision by the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration. It is not clear who will have jurisdiction over tailgating at soccer games at the new site, reported ABC Committee Chair Coralie Farlee. Farlee has asked the Metropolitan Police Department for a clarification. The matter was deferred until DC United’s presentation at the December meeting.

In the absence of a signed voluntary agreement, commissioners voted unanimously to protest Bardo's application for a liquor license at its proposed Florida Rock location.

In the absence of any forensic accounting of the Portals’ original community benefits package, the commissioners voted unanimously to send a second letter to DDOT’s Committee on Public Space opposing any grant of curb cuts to the Portals.

Starting in January 2016, Unity Healthcare will renovate its Southwest location at 850 Delaware Ave. SW, stated Vice President of Clinic Administration Tracy Harrison. The interior change will move all operations to the facility's first floor. Dental services will be discontinued, with patients referred to the organization's new Parkside and Brentwood Square facilities. Currently underutilized, the clinic welcomes all new patients. It can accommodate any health insurance plan and accepts most PPOs.

The First District's Halloween Party was a success with more than 100 kids participating, stated Police Service Area (PSA) 105 Lieutenant Crystal Breslow. In October, PSA 105 saw one sex offense, which was closed with an arrest. Along with PSA 106, there was an increase in robberies; a number involving juveniles in groups of three or four. The First District is allocating increased resources to stem these crimes.

Ryan West from DDOT made a presentation on the agency's State Rail Plan. The study examines heavy rail, both freight and passenger. It is a requirement if the District is to access grants from the US Department of Transportation. While the District's rail lines form a linchpin of the East Coast's transportation network, no largescale recommendations are contemplated due to land limitations. The study will address rail safety including the handling of hazmat materials. Looking beyond the Virginia Avenue Tunnel and Long Bridge projects, it will examine capacity at both Union and L'Enfant hubs as well as raising the notion of additional infill stations. For more information, visit www.dcrailplan.com.

Another DDOT representative reported on the agency’s study of the traffic problems created by the extensive construction between South Capitol and New Jersey Avenue SE. With the new section of I Street SE not yet open, the agency wants to wait for traffic to normalize after its opening to study traffic-calming measures. Commissioners raised concerns about the lack of a crosswalk on the northern side of the South Capitol and I Street intersection. The new ballfields in Randall Field are bound to create an increase in foot traffic headed to the McDonalds on the eastern side of the intersection, resulting in safety issues, commissioners cautioned.

Commissioner Braverman Cloyd abstaining, the commissioners voted in favor of a resolution moved by Commissioner Litsky opposing Pepco's merger with Exelon. “The Public Service Commissioner,” the commissioners resolved, “should conduct comprehensive proceedings to ensure that the flaws in the proposed settlement agreement are fully identified and understood, including holding community hearings with participation by affected customers and groups.”

Commissioner Braverman Cloyd abstaining, the commissioners voted to support a proposal of the Southwest BID, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, and Citelum to illuminate the Francis Case Memorial Bridge. The plan, supported by the US Commission of Fine Arts, will outline the span with blue lights and softly light the structure’s arches.

Commissioners approved the minutes of the October meeting unanimously.

ANC 6D will next meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14, at 1100 Fourth St. SW, Second Floor. For more information visit www.anc6d.org.