What will these look like in actuality? Well we all know the G/I street contraflow lanes around the H Street Streetcar. But this rode is actually two feet wider than G/I. Instead, if we look at the 900 block of M St NW we can see the installation that will be here.
This month, I again was only able to make it to the Planning and Zoning and Transportation Committee Votes. Below is a record of the committee and commission votes I took
Planning and Zoning Case 1: 1719 C St SE, for a special exception to use the second story of a new two-story garage as an apartment. This is one part of the zoning code I simply do not understand. If you have a two-story garage that was built in 2013 or earlier, you can use it as an apartment. If you build a new garage, you can use it as an apartment only after five years. What? But if you build a garage now and want to use the second story as an apartment, you need a zoning exception?
Anyway, the applicants want to build a garage and use the second floor here as an apartment. It’s a giant lot (3400 feet), it’s a huge square, the alley is wide, they ensured a home for their trash cans not in public space. These are the kinds of buildings we want, not for the applicant to seek a second unit by building down or adding up or pushing back. Everyone wins here.
The committee unanimously supported this application and put it on the consent agenda.
Case 2: 811 E St SE
This was a straight forward case about adding a non-visible rear addition to a small wood framed building.
The committee voted unanimously to support this application and sent to consent
Case 3: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Resolution of Support for dispposition and a 20-year ground and property lease of the B.B. French School.
There are always some cases where a hearing seems perfunctory but we appreciate CHAW coming to give us an update. This bill will give CHAW the ability to acquire financing for necessary capital improvements and to stay a pillar in our community for another 20 yeas.
Case 4: 620 C St SE
This hearing was continued at last month’s HPRB hearing. HPRB generally approved the design but requested changes and the case come back before HPRB. ANC 6B took the opportunity to also look at those changes.
At the committee hearing, the commissioners presented support the first- and second-floor changes but took no position on the third-floor, instead kicking that to the full ANC with comments to change the rear fenestration. I voted with the majority in these motions
At the full ANC, the applicant presented updated rear elevations along with more renderings and perspectives of the concept.
With little time for in depth discussion, the changes to the first floor and second floor were unanimously approved by the ANC.
Long time readers will recall I supported last month’s design for a mansard addition on the third floor. I thought it narrowly threaded the preservation regulations and should have been approved. Given that, it should be no surprise I also supported the more modern minimally visible third floor addition here, including the rear elevation. For much the same reasons, this is a commercial building on a transitional block that retains only portions of it’s original state.
The ANC first voted to oppose the third floor, a motion that failed 2-4-3. I amended a second motion to support the third floor a that passed 4-2-3.
Case 1-1300 E Street Changes
As discussed in Reimagining E Street, I presented the idea of adding bike lanes to the 1100-1400 blocks of E Street SE and potentially to Potomac Ave or down Kentucky Ave. As the committee meeting, Will Handsfield of DDOT presented the idea of advisory bike lanes. The committee supported my position outlines in the above posts and tentatively supporting the advisory bike lanes, requesting a bit more information. I am authoring a post that will go up later this month or in early may on the concept. The case passed unanimously out of committee and onto the consent agenda
Case 2-Circulator Route Changes at Eastern Market
The committee discussed this cast last month as well without taking a formal position. In the end, we unanimously and vehemently opposed the concept of running the circulator down the 700 block of D and 400 block of 7th. Also I anger tweeted this about the real problem with the design.
Also this is a masterclass in pitting transit users against pedestrians and letting drivers win again. 8 lanes of car use on Pennsylvania, 4 lanes on 7th/8th, and 3 on D go untouched. PEOPLE DRIVING CARS ARE THE PROBLEM. Not the bus. Or pedestrians. Or cyclists. Or the metro. https://t.co/BWWAbNqez9
Full ANC Votes 1) District Soul Food Liquor License Renewal. The ANC moved to delay considering of this case for a month but also issue a formal notice to cure. I’m sure one of our two local newspapers will cover this story, but I could not vote to support this action because we are clearly singling out a new business rather than working with them during the renewal process. If we were two years from renewal and they had been operating this way for an extended period, sure, let’s go wild. But this is a new business in a struggling retail corridor that needs our support. I abstained from the vote because I liked the idea of delaying considering for a month while working with the applicant, but a formal notice during renewal is just unnecessary.
2) 7th Hill/Montmarte and Lavagna Liquor License Renewal Both applicants failed to appear given two opportunities so the ANC moved to formally protest the license. It’s frustrating but since ABRA functionally consolidated all opposition opportunity to the ANC and the ANC only, we need to take no shows seriously. I voted with the majority to formally protest the liquor licenses.
3) Resolution of regarding use of taxpayer dollars for sexual harassment settlements.
I’ll let’s Commissioner Krepp take the floor
Last week DC CFO shared that he doesn’t know how many DC tax $s are used to pay sexual harassment settlement agreements involving DC agency employees. Tomorrow ANC6B will vote on ltr asking him to track this data. Solving #MeToo requires action. pic.twitter.com/gqTRwVCHJF
ANC 6B Transportation Committee Monday, April 1 7:00 PM The Yard Ground Floor Conference Room 700 Pennsylvania Ave SE (next to Trader’s Joes)
Believe it or not, we’re nearing the end of the multi-year process of the dramatic changes on the 1300 Block of E Street SE. There’s no better time than now to reclaim and reimagine the curbside and street use on this block to express our values as a community. We have the chance to turn this (and adjacent) blocks from a wide cut through with industrial uses to a street that serves residents first.
What options do we have for this block?
Raised Mid-Block Crosswalks/Speed Tables: With construction finished, both Jordan Alley (south side) and Carry’s Way (north side) will be incredibly active spaces. The 1300 block is a uniquely long block for our neighborhood. We will all cross mid-block at the alley whether there are crosswalks or speed tables. Raised mid-block crosswalks will make this crossing safer for everyone.
Bike Lanes: E Street is 40 feet wide, two feet narrower than the current engineering minimum for on-street bike. However, we can push District Department of Transportation to engineer options for this block. The is currently no east-west bike lanes east of 11th and south of East Capitol. Lanes here will serve a great need as well as narrow general travel lanes to slow traffic all while maintaining existing car parking.
In-street Bikeshare, in-street scooter/bike parking: Bike lanes also would allow us to ensure the sidewalks remain for the use of pedestrians. With bike lanes, we can move the bikeshare station off of the sidewalk and into a curbside space. Furthermore, as we see more scooters and dockless bikes, we can push for racks and dedicated space not on the sidewalk and free space for strollers, wheelchairs, and families.
Pickup/Dropoff Zones: As the residential projects come online, so will demand for Uber/Lyft/Via and and delivery services. These drivers, now, usually double park. Given the expected demand from the new residential buildings, should we allocate space for these activities? Double parking is frustrating, annoying, and dangerous. Can we design our street to minimize this?
I used an online tool, streetmix.net, to mock up some cross sections for some of these ideas. These haven’t been engineered and the District may shoot them down.
Street and curb uses
Here’s something I dreamed up. I want to hear what you all think about options like that, that retain all previous residential parking (and likely increase it) and allocate road space in ways to protect vulnerable road users and keep sidewalks clear.
E Street with Two Bikes Lanes
Note, here, the drive + parking lanes are 30 feet. This is a standard condition in Southeast Capitol Hill and the streets all tend to be very low speed. Some examples, for context:
16th Street between East Capitol and Kentucky
K Street between 12th and 15th
D Street between 14th and 19th
9th Street between Independence and G
E Street between 4th and Pennsylvania
E Street with one bike lane and sharrows
If engineering prevents two bikes lanes, we can explore a westbound lane with sharrows the other way. Again, this will narrow the roadway, slow traffic, and reallocate space to vulnerable road users. And will allow wider traffic lanes.
A full agenda for both Planning and Zoning and Transportation
Planning and Zoning
124 11th ST SE (BZA 19976, HPA 19-137), 1639 Potomac Ave SE (BZA 19948), 522 6th St SE (HPA 19-189), 1225-1227 Pennsylvania Ave SE (BZA 19957) These were relatively uncontroversial plans that passed through committee unanimously and onto consent at the full ANC.
This is the sidewalk occupancy for The Eastern Wine Bar. It complies with all the regulations and the owner agreed to widen the clearance between the tree boxes and fence from the minimum six feet to eight feet. This application passed the committee unanimously and was placed on consent for the full ANC.
This is a complicated application that I ran right into a Robert’s Rule cluster of motions and amendments. In the end, I voted in support of the motion to support the first floor fenestration changes and voted against the motion to take no position on the visible third floor.
The building, an original one-story blacksmith shop from 1882, is currently being used as an office. The applicant presented evidence that the first-floor exterior is far from the original layout and the design is restorative in nature. A motion to support these first-floor changes passed 10-1-1 and I wholeheartedly support those changes.
The third-floor mansard, on the other hand, is more controversial. In committee, I opposed this addition. However, after reconsidering everything, I think a visible mansard rooftop addition is compatible with preservation law and the addition is compatible with the Capitol Hill Historic District. It’s a huge ask, but here’s how I got there:
1) This house is adjacent to a commercial area, next to some surface parking lots, and the rear of opposing houses. To quote the preservation regulations, “Pertinent considerations about the relationship of a project to a historic district include its compatibility with its immediate context and not merely its consistency with conditions found elsewhere in the historic district. “ (10A DCMR 2001(c)). The immediate context here is a one-off commercial building breaking up two identical rows of houses across the street from a surface parking lot and adjacent to the brutalist Rumsey Pool.
2) Commercial buildings in a residential zone play a unique role in the Capitol Hill Historic District, but at the same time they are apart from purpose-built residential rows. Their design is often utilitarian and most are not in their original state. This building was originally a one-story commercial building and a second floor was added. At first glance this building seems to be a materially intact, it exhibits a fair amount of change. Regulations state “Pertinent considerations about the historic property include its relative importance, nature of significance, condition, and degree of material integrity.”
Stepping back from the regulations, the adopted law says the intent of preservation is “To retain and enhance those properties which contribute to the character of the historic district and to encourage their adaptation for current use;“ and “To assure that alterations of existing structures are compatible with the character of the historic district” (DC Code 6-1101 2(a)).
To that end, I will make (or support) a motion to support the third floor addition.
The applicants in this case filled in a side yard and added a rear addition four or so years ago. They’ve returned to make changes to the areaway to add a basement entrance as well as redo the entry stairs to create a safe set of stairs and add a larger landing at the door. The committee voted unanimously to support this application.
While we recognize the process wasn’t great and (shock of shocks) DDOT issued permits it wasn’t supposed to, the actual plans for the area way are consistent with the intent of preservation law and in character with the Historic District. The exterior had been redone and regraded many times. The house is not in a continuous row of similar retaining walls at the sidewalk and is next to a non-contributing apartment building. Again, context and integrity (and safety related to aging in place) lead me to support this even though the areaway changes do not strictly conform to design guidelines
This Notice of Intent is to allow the new L’Enfant Plaza-Eastern Market Circulator to turn around without dead-heading to 4th Street. While this design looks good on paper, there is one fatal flaw and I will support any ANC resolution to oppose this change.
Buses are at their most dangerous when they’re turning. And while this change will reduce the number of left turns by one, it does this by remove two signalized left turns into one unsignalized, unprotected left turn right next to a metro station and a heavily trafficked cross walk. There is no way I will support a design that adds an unprotected left to a bus route.
Now, technically, this NOI is only for the road changes. I’m fairly agnostic on those. I find the discussion about relieving congestion on 8th street to be a classic failure of DDOT’s engineers looking at level of service for people driving cars, not people walking or cycling. In many ways, a heavily congested 8th street is a feature. I don’t want cars to be able to quickly get to speed with so many pedestrians and cyclists using the street. But, that being said, I’m not sure changing the 700 block of D Street will have that much of an impact on either 8th street congestion or adding cars to the neighborhood.
The committee took no position on this and will have DDOT back next month to continue this discussion.
As expected, it took me one meeting to fall behind on logging my votes. Anyway, February’s ANC 6B meeting was relatively light. Here are the votes.
Captiol Hill Classic: Due to my misunderstanding, the organizers of the Capitol Hill Classic were not invited to the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting. As a neighborhood staple, this vote was relatively perfunctory as nothing changed from last year. The ANC unanimously voted to send a letter to DC HSEMA in support of the planned event routing.
Southeast Library: My feelings are expressed in the committee report but this is a pretty straightforward application, given existing preservation law. The ANC unanimously voted (with three abstentions) to send a letter in support of this application to HPRB.
Office of Zoning Oversight: I will put up a longer post on my testimony, but I voted for and the ANC supported this testimony.
Office of Planning Oversight: Commissioner Sroufe put forward some testimony regarding HPRB’s treatement of non-contributing buidlings in historic distrcits. I agree with him that HPO’s treatment of non-contrbuting buildings is somewhat inconsistent with preservation law. It’s a gray area that needs more legislation or regulations though I think we disagree on preferred outcome (the lax guidelines employed I think are the right option, but clearly not in line with the law as written). I voted to support this testimony but the full ANC opposed it; Commissioner Sroufe will testify as an individual commissioner in lieu of officially representing ANC 6B.
On Friday, February 15, I testified in front of Mary Cheh’s Transportation and the Environment committee on the performance of the Department of Public Works. As a resident of DC, I believe effective parking enforcement is critical for two reasons.
One, many parking violations are a direct threat to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. Oftentimes, like parking in a crosswalk or bike lane, the threat is observable and direct. But often times, especially in our commercial zones, lax enforcement leads to commercial delivery trucks using adjacent bikes lanes or general travel lanes to make deliveries. In these cases, it’s hard to fault the truck drivers when the dedicate commercial space is taken for non-commercial uses.
Second, we live in a relatively dense environment and there’s a unwritten compact we all enter when we move in to be good neighbors. Often times, bad actors take advantage of this compact and lax parking enforcement doesn’t help. All day nonresident parking, parking in alleys, parking in crosswalks, parking too close to corners, failing to register your car in DC, and so many other things violate this compact and it’s up to DPW to enforce them.
Anyway, here’s my testimony: My name is Corey Holman, ANC
commissioner for SMD 6B06. I am here today presenting my own views and not
presenting the views of ANC 6B or any other commissioner in 6B.
Before delving into criticism, I
was to highlight one positive aspect of the work of DPW. Fort Totten Transfer
Station. The employees are a treasure to the city and should be praised for
their work. To make the city dump a clean, easy, and safe environment is not an
easy task and they manage to do it.
Ok now to the reason I am here:
parking enforcement. I will present four major points
1. DPW simply isn’t issuing enough parking tickets 2. DPW isn’t adequately enforcing stopping/standing in bike lanes 3. DPW booting and towing is fundamentally broken 4. Most importantly, DPW’s abdication of parking enforcement is dangerous and antithetical to Vision Zero.
DPW Simply isn’t issuing enough tickets.
OCTO has made nine calendar years of parking ticket data available publicly. That dataset commingles DDOT and MPD parking tickets. Throughout this testimony, I will refer to parking tickets per workday, which removes the days where many tickets are issued by MPD and DDOT. I recognize these numbers will not match DPW’s provided numbers, but I can almost assure you the trends and percentages are about right. And if DPW and OCTO want to update their historical datasets, I wouldn’t complain.
Fiscal Year 2018 saw the fewest
tickets issued of any fiscal year with data available. 4,934 tickets issued per
workday, 17% fewer than any other fiscal year. And before you think this is an aberration,
things aren’t better in FY19. The first quarter in FY19 was saw the fewest
tickets issued per workday of any available quarter, even though that month
included the Vision Zero ticket blitz.
The first chart I included on page 3 shows monthly tickets per workday with a 12-month moving average to remove some of the cyclicality. The moving average shows that in the last 12 months, DPW has issued fewer tickets that any 12-month period with data available. I want you to look at that chart if you can. What is going on here?
DPW isn’t adequately enforcing bike lane violations
In FY 2018, DPW was issuing about 2
tickets per bike lane mile per month. Two per mile permonth. Let that sink in. In FY 2018, that
translates to 2,188. Sure, that sounds like a lot. But thattranslates into two tickets per bike lane mile
per month of workdays. This data is on the secondchart on page 4.
Chairperson, when I put this testimony together, I paused here for multipledays. You bike. You’ve seen what it’s like.
Multiply your bike commutes over a month. Do youonly see two
cars per lane mile per month during the workweek?
And the not-so-shocking thing is, in chart three when you stop looking at per mile numbers, the total number of bike lane violations is down, despite adding over 35 miles of bike lanes from the beginning of the chart to the end. How does this work? That’s chart 3/page 5.
DPW Booting and Towing is Fundamentally Broken
Ok, I presented a lot of data but
indulge me for one anecdote. On February 4 I reported to 311 and tweeted at DPW
at 8:21 AM of a car in a crosswalk at Kentucky Ave and Barney Circle. That car
had $1100 in outstanding tickets and they were old enough for immobilization or
impounding. At 12:37 PM, the car was still there. At 1:16 PM, I received notice
that my 311 request closed with no violation found. At 5:26 PM, naturally, the
car was still there. At 8:43 on the way home from an ANC Planning and Zoning
Committee meeting, the car was still there. At 9:42, MPD Commander Morgan Kane
of the First District copied me on an email tell Johnny Gaither of DPW the car
was still in the crosswalk. Dan Ridge, a neighbor and former ANC Commissioner,
noticed the car in the crosswalk around midnight.
Can you imagine receiving an email
from a District Commander and ignoring it? Well DPW can.
The next morning, this car was not
in the crosswalk so yay. But it was simply moved forward out of the crosswalk
(by whom I don’t know). I put in another 311 request and the car was impounded
that day. Not for blocking the sidewalk but for outstanding tickets and expired
out-of-state registration. How does a car spend the entire day in a crosswalk,
even after being reported through 311? How?
Believe it or not, I don’t want to
do this! But there are countless other violations I’ve reported to DPW, with
the state and license plate to show the car is eligible for boot/tow. In those
cases, why doesn’t DPW send a tow truck or boot team straight there, rather
than a general enforcement person who then has to request the tow. How can I, a
private citizen, be able to better leverage technology like How’s My Driving DC
to determine boot and tow eligible vehicles better than DPW dispatch? It’s just
preposterous. Why am I entering license plate information into 311 requests if
that information isn’t cross referenced against a list of boot/tow eligible vehicles
to determine who to send out?
And one more suggestion to improve
boot and tow operations. Why isn’t there a booter with ROSA enforcement? In the
last week, I’ve requested enforcement three times and tickets were issued overnight.
Great, that seems to be working. But two of those three times the car was eligible
for booting or towing. I would implore you to ask Director Geldart if booters
are included in ROSA enforcement and, if not, why not?
DPW’s abdication of their core responsibility is an affront to Vision Zero
Not let’s thread data and anecdote. While it’s easy to brush off my testimony as someone screaming into the wind about rules or revenue, it’s not. Parking enforcement should be a core part of Vision Zero. I’ve attached four pictures on page 6 of cars parked in the 600 block of 1st street NE commercial loading zone all from different days forcing commercial trucks to park in the bike lane. Starting in 2016, four months after the protected bike lane was installed, only one ticket is issued every 2.8 workdays. Do you know what this means? A never-ending parade of commercial vehicles parked on the sidewalk and in the protected bike lane because DPW can’t be bothered to enforce the commercial loading zone. Time after time, cyclists and scooterists are forced into the general travel or onto the sidewalk violators go unpunished. This data is in chart 4/page 7.
Before finishing, I want to point out this testimony along with pictures, charts, Excel workbook and python source code for pulling the data is available on my website, coreyholman.com, and I can provide the code and data to the committee or DPW if requested.
ANC 6B held three committee meetings this month though I failed to attend the ABC Committee meeting (Read about The Eastern, a wine bar coming to the Hine School at Barred in DC)
Transportation Committee Item 1: Bike Racks ANC 6B is putting together a list of needed bike racks by SMD. In our SMD, I requested back racks where room exists along Pennsylvania Avenue, near the CVS at 12th/Pennsylvania Ave SE, and at 14th/E and 14th/D. We neglected to vote on this so the list will come back to the committee next month.
Transportation Committee Item 2: Reimagining the 1300 Block of E Street SE Beginning a long conversion, I presented to the committee an idea to reconfigure the 1300 block of E Street to the first 40-foot wide two on-street bike lane street in the city. The committee was generally positive to the idea but concerned about commercial traffic to/from Safeway and the number of turns into the alleys for parking in the new residential development. I will post in the near future more details including meeting dates and a general timeline.
(Copied from committee report) Beth Purcell represented Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the applicant of the landmark nomination. Ms. Purcell presented on the history of the building including tracing the history beginning with the Boston Public Library through the Carnegie Foundation to Southeast Library. The committee provided a list of questions in advance and Ms. Purcell provided detailed written answers (attached) as well. After a discussion about the role owners play in landmark designations, the committee recommended unanimously the ANC support this application on consent, but will be looking forward to letters of support from the Department of General Services, DC Public Library, and Friends of Southeast Library.
P&Z Committee Item 2: 411 4th St SE (Copied from committee report) Applicant presented a design for a rear addition that will not be visible from any street and doesn’t go past the two adjoining neighbors. The committee received letters of support in advance of the meeting from adjoining neighbors. Commissioner Brian Ready praised the applicant for their outreach efforts including discussing plans with all neighbors on the street. The Committee voted unanimously to support the application
Update 2/14/19: This case will be handled at the staff level
(Copied from committee reports) Applicant presented the plans for a 13-foot rear addition, the last three feet being the amount that triggered the need for special exception. Earlier this year, the committee received a letter of opposition and motion was filed with BZA for party status in opposition from an adjoining neighbor for an earlier iteration of plans. After discussions with the neighbor, including exploring a third-floor addition, an agreement was reached for the 13-foot addition and the opposition dropped. The applicant indicated the other adjoining neighbor supports the project but hasn’t provided a letter. The Committee voted unanimously to support the application.
P&Z Committee Item 4: General Discussions *The architect for 1322 D Street SE indicated that her clients were eager to reach agreement with the opposing neighbors because the Office of Zoning is taking sometimes up to 18 months to issue full orders with a party in opposition. I agreed to pull data from the office of zoning website and look into this and create testimony for performance oversight of the Office of Zoning. I will post a longer item about this closer to the oversight date, February 28. *Jerry Sroufe, commissioner for 6B02, outlines some of his issues with the Historic Preservation Office’s handling of non-contributing buildings and he will be writing testimony for HPO oversight in the same day as OZ oversight *I broached the subject of conservation districts. Again, this is the last of a long discussion that I will be having with affected SMDs, OP, architects, preservationists, YIMBYs, developers, and all other affected parties. See Capitol Hill Corner’s Overview here.
Street Trees! A thing we can’t live without and unfortunately requires a lot of day-to-day oversight/haranguing of DDOT’s Urban Foresty team. Winter is an especially productive time for tree requests as most services can only be performed when the tree are dormant (this is especially true for the remaining old growth elms on Kentucky Avenue). For my initial foray into 6B06’s backlog of 311 requests, I delved into all tree related requests in 6B06 in the DC Open Data set (which starts completely in 2012). There were 549 requests in 6B06 during that time.
I presumed pruning requests from before 2017 and inspection requests before 2017 without comments were resolved. This eliminated 177 of the 549 requests, leaving 372 requests.
From here, I got to walking around the neighborhood. 351of the 372 requests were completed or presumed completed (it’s difficult to tell if pruning needs were met without leaves). Many of these had closed work orders associated with them making the job a bit easier.
Of the remaining 21, the issues broke down into a couple of buckets:
Work with a pressing need to be down this winter, is overdue, or was never completed despite a closed work order
Open work orders that are simply working through the DDOT system. In many cases, these trees are dying (not dead) and can probably last another season. However, I will ensure all leaf out in Spring before summer tropical weather and ensure emergency removal if they don’t.
Work that requires a medium-term effort (in many cases, these involve construction-related trees). As commissioner for 6B06, I will work with all the developers to ensure they replace their damaged trees and beautify their streets when their projects are done.
I’ve written a letter to DDOT’s arborist for Ward 6 requesting the tree issues in bucket 1 get addressed before the end of winter. Those trees/stumps are at 1414 E Street SE (side/Elm tree removal), 1356 G St SE (overdue removal of maple), stump removal and replant at 542 14th St SE, and a request for a quick replant at 1402 E St SE,
After leaf-out this spring, I will revisit this task in an effort to add more planting/removal/pruning/inspection requests for every street tree in 6B06
Phew, what a night. In many ways, I feel ANC 6B was lucky to host a community meeting between our neighbors and MPD regarding the stop-and-first incident of three children in December. Recognizing my place in this system, I ceded any role in this conversation to those whose lived experiences trump mine.
Onto the business and votes, with my rationale for each vote
ANC 6B did not hold an alcoholic beverage committee meeting this month, hearing the only case (ABRA-096910) to extend Sunday patio hours for Little Pearl to 11:30. I voted on this case knowing it could be compared to our negotiations with patio hours for the 1401 Pennsylvania Ave/Neighborhood Restaurant Group project. I didn’t vote lightly on this. In the end, the patio’s location towards Pennsylvania Ave and the immediately adjacent neighbors presenting no opposition, I voted to amend the settlement agreement and support a stipluated license to extend Little Pearl’s patio hours to 11:30 on Sundays.
There were three planning and zoning committee items on the full agenda. I voted to support the HPA applications for 628 A St SE (HPA #19-079) and 302 South Carolina Ave SE (HPA #19-140) as detailed in my committee post.
121 7th Street SE came to the full meeting with a new design. As detailed in the committee post, no amount of work will change the fact that the building is ugly (though less ugly than at committee). However, it’s clear the building is consistent with the preservation law and regulations. The ANC voted 6-4 to oppose the application on narrow grounds of front and rear fenestration. I think in the end, the motion could have been identical just changing a word from oppose to support. I voted against the motion to oppose because I believe the addition, while ugly and needing some fenestration changes, is consistent with preservation law.
No other votes of consequence were taken at the meeting. The new officers were unanimously elected and business votes related to budget matters were taken.
P&Z Case 2: 302 South Carolina Ave SE (HPA #19-140) This was, in my opinion, a relatively simple application. Rear additions are acceptable in a historic district when compatible. It doesn’t matter if it’s visible from a street or not. The level of scrutiny should be higher and this project meets it. I voted to support and that passed 11-0 Link to HPRB filing: https://app.box.com/s/dhn9muwq7e6fqor5v5v40hn1w7yanfma/file/375008432748
P&Z Case 3 and 4: 121 7th St SE (HPA #19-078, BZA #19898)
Historic Preservation: In this case, an applicant is proposing a large upper and rear addition to a non-contributing building. In my opinion, this building is ugly and will always be ugly as long as the curb cut and ground level garage are retained. No amount design will get around this problem. I voted to against a motion to oppose this project. The motion passed 6-4. I am unsure of my vote in the full ANC and will spend some time studying the existing preservation law. Why? Because applications for non-contributing building in historic districts are similar to what I would envision for conservation districts so I want to get this right and see what historic district-lite is like in practice.
Zoning: We spent a fair amount of time on this and I was the only vote against a resolution of no stance on this case as I would have voted against this application for a special exception for cornice removal. I felt the applicant didn’t do a good job explaining why a historic district property should get this relief while so many non-historic district properties have to set their upper additions 3-4 feet back. After doing some research earlier today, I came around to support the cornice removal special exception after figuring out the standard employed by OP and the BZA on removal of rooftop elements. In the end, it appears the BZA application will be pulled, but this zoning discussion was a great learning experience. Link to HPRB/BZA filing: https://app.box.com/s/dhn9muwq7e6fqor5v5v40hn1w7yanfma/file/377025869189
P&Z Case 5: 156 Duddington Pl SE A straight forward zoning variance case whose exceptional practical difficulty is an small lot (891 square feet). I voted in support and this case will be on consent. It may or may not come back to ANC for historic preservation review. Link to BZA filing: https://app.dcoz.dc.gov/Content/Search/ViewCaseReport.aspx?case_id=19933 (click on “View Full Log on the right)
Transportation Committee Item 1: Reversing 700 Block of D Street SE (In front of Hill’s Kitchen and adjacent businesses) Unfortunately this was supposed to have more information but turned into more of a catch-up session for new commissioners. Soon, DDOT will present final plans to reverse traffic on this stub of D Street and there will be a longer public meeting and discussion of this. Click here to see the last plans that were available, from mid 2018, showing the potential traffic and circulation flow around these blocks.
TC Item 2: RPP Only parking on one side of the street As the rulemaking expanding the regulatory authority for RPP-only parking winds its way through the bureaucratic morass, ANC 6B is leading the way on understanding the implications and seeking consensus from constituents to move forward. DDOT Presented on the process and indicated the final rulemaking will mostly match the proposed rulemaking.
For SMD 6B06, I am not ready to move forward with a request and instead will reach out to residents on all blocks to gauge interest. To be quite frank, I’m disappointed in these rules and think it papers over the actual problems with residential parking. Passing the onus from DDOT to ANC commissioners is abdicating responsibility for effective curbside management. Those who best know DC Municipal Regulations should not get their way; DDOT should proactively promote responsible regulation. At no point in this presentation did we discuss whether we should make RPP only blocks, just how to do it.
I outlined my views on RPP in my candidate statement to Greater Greater Washington on RPP, which details more of my issues with the current regime.
TC Item 3: No Right on Red at Four Intersections in ANC 6B For a committee that is gung ho for Mayor Bowser’s tepid steps into Vision Zero, it was not a surprise ANC 6B’s Transportation Committee unanimously voted to support with these proposals.
TC Item 4: ANC 6B Bike/Scooter Parking Needs As I mentioned on Twitter, I sought out to to get support for bike racks on-street in every commercial block in ANC 6B. When it was obvious there wasn’t the appetite for such a move, as it would take away parking and require a formal Notice of Intent process, I backed off. We ended up deciding to compile a list of more locations for standard bike racks (in the “furniture” zone between the sidewalk and curb). I believe much of the low hanging fruit has been picked by DDOT and the Capitol Hill BID so this list won’t be very long. When we get more dockless bikes with lock-to requirements, I have a feeling we will quickly be revisiting this.
That’s it for committee meetings this month. Please join us at the Hill Center on Tuesday, January 15 for our first ANC meeting of the year. MPD will be there to address the incident at Frager’s last month.