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Comments on Proposed Amendments to the Comprehensive Plan: Southeast Boulevard

The District Office of Planning (OP) is nearing the end of a now four-year process to amended one of the most consequential documents in the government, the Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is made up of two maps that dictate future growth and land use changes, and many chapters which detail city-wide plans as well as specific plans for neighborhoods. The changes to this plan must be approved by the DC Council. Last year, the Council approved changed to the Framework Element which is the guiding principles of this plan. In October of 2019, OP release proposed changed to the maps and remaining elements of the Comprehensive Plan.

As ANC Commissioner for 6B06, which includes part of the Capitol Hill Planning Area and Lower Anacostia and Near Southwest Planning Area, I took specific interest in these areas as well as the two maps, the Future Land Use Map and Generalized Policy Map.

The Comp Plan Amendment Process has called for detailed comments from ANCs. Below are my proposed comments on the Comprehensive Plan related to Southeast Boulevard, which I will be moving at ANC 6B’s February Planning and Zoning Committee. These comments are draft and have not been voted upon and do not currently represent the view of the Commission.

As part of the 11th Street Bridges Project, the District removed the stub of the Souhteast freeway from 11th Street to Barney Circle from the interstate highway system and marked it for conversion to a “Boulevard.” This process started in 2005. Unfortunately in 2013, then-Mayor Vincent Gray “temporarily” rebuilt the freeway mostly because he believe it would help speed up his commute from his Ward 7 home to the John A. Wilson Building downtown.

Beginning in 2014 through now, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and OP began a series of studies on how to remove the temporary freeway stub and turn that area into an urban boulevard with land available for housing and other uses. I fully support this plan. Bringing Southeast Boulevard to grade is one of the few opportunitites we have in the District to simply Build More City. Further, this will allow pedestrian connections to M Street SE and the Anacostia River.

One concept from OP’s 2015 Southeast Planning Study

Proposed Comments

The quoted text below is the comment I will move at ANC 6B’s February Planning and Zoning Committee on February 4 and will likely be up for discussion at the full ANC meeting on February 11.

ANC 6B fully supports the goals for housing creation laid out in the Mayor’s May 10, 2019 Order Housing Framework for Equity and Growth and subsequent October 15, 2019 Housing Equity Report: Creating Goals for Areas of Our City. As one prong to bridge the 1,120-unit gap of Affordable Housing production, ANC 6B fully supports the proposed revisions to the Capitol Hill Area Element regarding Southeast Boulevard. There are few areas to simply create more city blocks and this is a unique opportunity to create land to meet the market-rate and committed affordable housing needs of the city and Capitol Hill Planning Area.

Given the financial constraints of the project, ANC 6B understands the needs for other municipal uses of the land below a new Southeast Boulevard, including a potential bus garage for DDOT. ANC 6B recommends codification of a process in the Comp Plan that will push the District Department of Energy and Environment to take the lead on any such use, under the auspices of the transportation, environmental, and newly adopted resiliency elements and guided by an unwavering sense of environmental justice and equity. Specifically, ANC 6B recommends detailing the potential negative impacts of a new bus garage including mitigation of impacts on air quality, neighborhood traffic, and increased noise.

A newly created Southeast Boulevard will be adjacent to Hopkins Apartments, a DCHA public housing community. All development in newly created land must be sensitive to the current uses and the improvements and benefits from the changes must be shared with all residents including those in Hopkins.

The land created by Southeast Boulevard serves as the perfect buffer between the existing moderate density rowhouse neighborhoods to the north and the proposed high density uses to the south. Given the uncertainties of future ward redistricting and legislative action, ANC 6B recommends the land for Southeast Boulevard be changed in the Future Land Use Map to Medium Density Residential and Low Density Commercial rather than maintaining the existing Production & Technical Employment designation. Further, we recommend this change extend all the way to M Street SE incorporating a small but impactful triangle (Square 1024, Lot 0808) owned by CSX, whose industrial uses are incompatible with the surrounding FLUM designations.

ANC 6B is excited to be an equitable partner in housing development, and encourages OP to work with its sister agencies to expeditiously move plans forward for Southeast Boulevard.

Proposed changes to the Future Land Use Map referenced in comments

Rezoning Maritime Plaza, 1333 M St SE, and District-Controlled Reservations

The triangle formed by 12th St SE, Southeast Boulevard, and Water Street SE is currently zoned high intensity industrial uses. At ANC 6B’s Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on Tuesday, September 3, I will propose to rezone this land to medium density commercial zoning, to preclude any future industrial uses on this land.

Current Use and Zoning

Before delving into the history of this site and the process for rezoning, let’s take a look at the current state. There are three properties owners and one long-term ground lease holder.

Source: Google Maps 3D View, annotated by me.
  • The red parcels are owned by Washington Gas. After decades of remediation after life a coal-fired natural gas plant, Washington Gas entered into a ground lease with a series of entities to develop what is now known as Maritime Plaza, two office buildings. The current lease holder, which has about 85 years to run, is Corporate Office Properties Trust.
  • The purple land is owned by a LLC controlled by Crescent Heights, a large developer, with an approved Planned Unit Development for 673 apartments and a fair amount of public space improvements. This PUD has already filed for a time extension and likely will not be moving forward until Southeast Boulevard development and connection across the CSX tracks proceed.
  • The green parcels were historic National Park Service land. The sites were transferred to the District on November 7, 2008

The subject properties are all zoned PDR-4, the highest intensity industrial zoning possible. From the DC Zoning Handbook:

The PDR-4 zone is intended to permit high-density commercial and PDR activities employing a large workforce and requiring some heavy machinery under controls that minimize any adverse impacts on adjacent, more restrictive zones and minimize non-industrial uses.

The Rezoning Process

Historically, most rezoning took place as part of a specific zoning process called a consolidated planned unit development (PUD). However, because of recent legal issues, the PUD has fallen out of favor and there have been a number of simple rezoning cases lately. This is good for someone like the ANC, who really doesn’t have the capability or time to create new processes.

The rezoning process requires a series of steps, detailed later, and a legal justification for this changed based on the Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia. We will first focus on this.

Future Land Use Map

The Future Land Use Map (FLUM) designates areas into broad categories of where use of land should go in the future. For example, much of Capitol Hill is designated Moderate Density Residential, which is the category for attached rowhouses and small apartment buildings. In the case of the land at issue, the entire triangle is designated as both of medium density commercial and institutional.

Medium Density Commercial: Defines shopping and service areas that are somewhat more intense in scale and character than the moderate-density commercial areas. Retail, office and service businesses are the predominate uses. Areas generally draw from a citywide market area. Buildings are generally larger and/or taller than those in moderate density commercial areas but generally do not exceed eight stories in height.

Institutional: Includes land and facilities occupied and used by college and universities, large private schools, hospitals, religious organizations, and similar institutions

I mentioned earlier the FLUM designated broad categories of use. The comprehensive plan gives examples zoning for each FLUM category. Medium Density Commercial is defined as “generally do not exceed eight stories” and “generally include C-2-B [ZR16 MU-5-A], C-2-C [MU-6], C-3-A [MU-7], and C-3-B [MU-8]. These are commercially zoned mixed use districts with both development standards and use regulations that would preclude uses currently allowed in PDR zones. The current zoning of this triangles is inconsistent with the Future Land Use Map.

Generalized Policy Map

The triangle is question is designated as Land Use Change Areas in the Generalized Policy Map (GPM). Then GPM designates land into various buckets, but the land use change areas are lands where rezoning should take place. Rezoning this triangle is consistent with the Generalized Policy Map

Non-Map Elements of Comprehensive Plan

In addition to the maps above, which are likely sufficient for the rezoning to be approved, there are other elements in the comprehensive plan that further give weight to approving this application. The formal applicaiton will details these elements (it’s a lot of work), but they boil down to efficient land use, improving access to the waterfront, revitalizing neighborhood, balancing growth, and lots of other portions.

The Rezoning Process

First and foremost, let’s recognize that ANC is exempt from filing and hearing fees related to rezoning. Without this, I would not encourage the ANC to take on this effort. A private owner would have to pay a $325 filing fee plus around $75,000-$150,000 in hearing fees. (11 DCMR Table Z § 1601) depending on the final zone.

The map amendment process goes somewhat like this:

  1. Distribute a Notice of Intent to File to all affected property owners and the affected ANC 45 days before filing a map amendment. ANC 6D in this case would likely also have to be noticed
  2. The applicant must attend a duly notice meeting of the affected ANC in the 45-day period. Again, in this case ANC 6D would likely be considered an affected ANC but 6B, of course, would be taking the lead on this and discussing at their meetings
  3. A complete application including the following:
    1. A completed application form
    2. A certified plat of the subject property prepared by the Office of the Surveyor
    3. A map showing the location of all properties, existing zoning, and proposed zones
    4. A description on the amendments consistency with the Comp Plan
    5. A statement of outreach to the community, OP, and the ANC.
    6. The name and addresses of all owners within 200 feet of the subject properties.

So after the 45 days notice period, the ANC can file this application. Within 5 days, the office of zoning will review for completeness.

ANC 6B Should File a Map Amendment to Rezone This Land

Given the consistency with the Comprehensive plan as well as preventing future adverse industrial uses, I will encourage ANC 6B to move forward with rezoning this land at this month’s meeting. I will take feedback from commissioners and committee members to the final zone, but I want to stress this is less about adding density and more changing by-right use permissions.

Reversing the 500 and 700 Block of 15th St SE Bike Lanes

Tonight, Wednesday June 5th, I will present concept ideas and a request to convert the existing southbound bike lane on the 550-700 blocks of 15th St SE to a contraflow northbound lane. There are two reasons for this. One, 15th St NE/SE is entirely northbound except for this one block. And, two, to better connect to the forthcoming changes to the complex intersection of 15th, Kentucky, Potomac, and G.

Here’s a quick mockup of the design:

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.

Another good example, where we can see the inevitable double parking from enforcement failures, is the 1400 block of N ST NW

This is a solution that increases bike connectivity and doesn’t impact parking. It’s a win-win all around.

ANC 6B March Committee Votes

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.

124 11th St SE BZA Files
124 11th St SE HPRB Files
1639 Potomac Ave SE BZA Files
522 6th St SE HPRB Files
1225-1227 Pennsylvania Ave SE BZA Files

360 7th St SE (Public Space #107125654)

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.

620 C Street SE (HPA 19-222)

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.

209 C St SE

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

Transportation Committee

DDOT NOT 19-001 (700 Block of D Street changes, to support Circulator Turnaround)

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.

ANC 6B February Meetings

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.

Onto next month

DPW Oversight Testimony

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.

1: 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?

2: 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 per month. Let that sink in. In FY 2018, that translates to 2,188. Sure, that sounds like a lot. But that translates into two tickets per bike lane mile per month of workdays. This data is on the second chart on page 4. Chairperson, when I put this testimony together, I paused here for multiple days. You bike. You’ve seen what it’s like. Multiply your bike commutes over a month. Do you only 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.

3: 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?

4: 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,, and I can provide the code and data to the committee or DPW if requested.

Python Source Code:

Excel Workbook: DPW.xlsx

February Committee Meetings

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.

P&Z Committee Item 1: Landmark Nomination for Southeast Library

(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

P&Z Committee Item 3: 1322 D Street SE

(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.

January 2019 311 Followup: TREES!

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.

This relatively young elm on the 400 block of Kentucky, unfortunately, will have to be removed sooner rather than later.

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:

  1. Work with a pressing need to be down this winter, is overdue, or was never completed despite a closed work order
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

These three 100-year olds will be removed form the 900 block of 14th Street SE. It’s sad to see, but it’s important to make 311 inspection requests whenever you see fungal growth, failure to left out, or physical damage.

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

Link to Spreadsheet

January 2019 Full ANC Meeting

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.

Rather than recap, I will point to multiple sources:
News: Captiol Hill Corner | WUSA9 | FOX5 | Hill Rag
First hand twitter threads: Zach W | SURJ DC

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.

The latest iteration of 121 7th Street SE.

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.

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:

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:

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:

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: (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.