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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.