January 2019 Committee Meetings

My first meetings as commissioner! ANC 6B had four properties (and five items) on the planning and zoning agenda as well as four items on the agenda for the transportation committee. Let’s get to it.

P&Z Case 1: 628 A St SE (HPA #19-079)
Nothing exciting here, a side addition to fill in a side yard, set back 25 feet back from the front facade. I voted to support and the resolution passed 10-1.
Link to HPRB filing: https://app.box.com/s/dhn9muwq7e6fqor5v5v40hn1w7yanfma/file/377063749958

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)

Anything you do to this building won’t make it pretty, unless it’s getting rid of a the garage and curb cut.

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.

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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.

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