November 2009

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Wednesday, November 12, 2009

Heritage FoundationMinutes


Present:CommissionersHamilton, Phelps, Silver, Velasco, and Wirt

The meeting opened at7:00 pm

  1. Agenda

Motion:Ms. Wirt reported that Chip Glasgow called to report that the Zoning Commission had approved a three-year extension to begin construction at550 K Street NW, and it can be removed from the agenda. Ms. Phelps asked that a grant application from the MPD Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) be moved to the December agenda as Nancy Rosen is looking into pooling resources with other ANCs.Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to approve the agenda as amended.The agenda was approved, as amended, without objection.

  1. Minutes

Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the October minutes, with the proviso that any changes can be made within a week.They were approved without objection.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson submitted the September Treasurers Report.There was an opening balance of $ 79,293.75. There was an interest payment of $0.65.There were payments of $1500 for a grant to Southern Baptist Church (check #1154); $350.50 (Check #1155) and $130 (Check #1156) were made to Roberta Weiner for transcription of minutes, for transcription of minutes for the ANC and Transportation Committee meetings, and the October special meeting, respectively, leaving a balance of $77,311.98.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report.The motion passed without objection.


Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to move discussion about the ANC budget to the December meeting. The motion passed without objection.

Quarterly Report

Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to approve the FY 09 Quarterly Report for the fourth quarter, with the proviso that any changes can be made within a week.The motion was approved without objection.

Level Sound Engineer Expenses

Ms. Wirt reported that the audio engineer that worked on the sound at Level Lounge has submitted a bill for $3450, $1050 more than the $2400 approved at the ANC’s special meeting in October, and the extra funds will have to be approved before he can be paid.She said the extra money was for additional tests he had to perform.Ms. Phelps reminded the body that the ANC had agreed that if the work exceeded the $2400, the engineer would have to return to the Commission before any work was done.Ms. Wirt suggested that the discussion of the appropriation be delayed until the December meeting when Mr. Docter would be present.

  1. Community Comment

Early StagesJustin Thomas made a brief presentation on Early Stages, a new pre-school program of DCPS, located on New Jersey Avenue NE and planned to provide assessments and evaluations about learning abilities for 3-5 year olds, and empower their parents to make good decisions about appropriate services and schooling for their children. They are in the process of making an aggressive effort to identify prospective students, and trying to capture those who are not yet in school. They can be reached at or at 270-3004. Mr. Silver said he would like to meet with him.New Ethiopian RestaurantMeseret Bekela, the owner of a new Ethiopian restaurant at 401 H Street NE introduced herself to the ANC and made a brief presentation about the restaurant. She said she will be applying for a liquor license.Councilmember Wells Office – Naomi MitchellMs. Mitchell announced Councilmember Wells Liveable Walkable Community Awards at the Eastern Market North Hall on December 7th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. She also urged people to submit nominations for the annual awards that will be announced at the reception.

  1. Old Business

Youth and Education Committee

Mr. Hamilton had no report.

Liquor License Committee

Carmine’s Italian Restaurant – 7thStreet NW

Carmine’s is a New York Italian restaurant opening a DC branch.Its hearing is scheduled for November 30th.Ms. Phelps said that there were no issues with the hours for the inside of the restaurant, and everything else seemed to be in order.There were discussions with the Clara Barton building’s residents on the hours for its proposed outside seating, which were resolved.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation and support the application of Carmine’s for a liquor license.The motion passed without objection.

Level Tavern Update

Ms. Phelps reported that after two sessions mediated by ABRA, a Voluntary Agreement has been negotiated and signed, and her committee has voted to support the application.

Mr. Silver expressed his concern about the fate of the license if the building is sold.Ms. Phelps said that if the establishment is sold, the voluntary agreement transfers with the license, so there is no change.She said that if the building is sold, and another person takes over the tavern, negotiations on a VA start from scratch, so that the community is protected no matter the outcome.

Transportation Committee

Jon Kelly and Joe McCann, committee co-chairs presented the committee report.

Muse Valet Parking

They reported that they have moved the staging area for Muse’s6thStreetvalet parking from6thStreettoG Place NW,

PotbellySandwichWorks –637 Indiana Avenue NW

This is a request for support of a public space application extending the use of their outdoor seating from its current six months to 12 months.The committee voted to support the application.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to accept the committee’s recommendation and support the public space application of Potbelly Sandwich Works for an expansion of the use of their outdoor seating.The motion passed without objection.

Toscana –601 2ndStreet NE

This is a request for a public space permit for an enclosed year-round sidewalk café at Toscana, an Italian restaurant at601 2ndStreet NE.Mr. Kelly reported that the committee had not seen the completed renderings of the proposed enclosure at the committee meeting, and the committee had unanimously given their support to the project pending seeing the drawings, which were presented the day before the ANC meeting.

Joe Spinelli, representing the restaurant, explained that there will be an unenclosed café with 12 seats on2ndStreetand an enclosed space with 45 seats onG Street.He said it was the only way to increase seating for the 20-seat restaurant.

Objections were raised to the materials making up the enclosure, and Mr. Spinelli said he was perfectly willing to work with the ANC on improving the design, and that different materials can be used.The Public Space hearing is not scheduled until December 17th, and there was a consensus reached that they would work with the Commission, which they were perfectly willing to do, to improve the design before the December 9thANC meeting.It was agreed that no vote would be taken until the December meeting.It was made clear that no-one was objecting to the outside seating.Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to not oppose the project at this point, and to work to improve the design before the next ANC meeting.The motion passed without objection.

There was a consensus that the restaurant was a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.

Mr. Silver said that he had thanked Mr. McCann at the October meeting for the great job he was doing for the committee, and wanted to extend that to Mr. Kelly as well.

Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee

Committee Chair Rob Amos reported on the PZE Committee actions at its last meeting:

NPR –1111 North Capitol Street

This is a request for support of a concept design for new National Public Radio headquarters at1111 North Capitol Street NE.The committee recommended that the full ANC support the project unanimously.

Mr. Amos reported the following:

  1. The new facility will be a renovated building with some new construction; renovations will occur to a historic structure originally built for C&P telephone in 1927.
  2. Why this site? Close to public transportation (over 1/3 of employees commute by Metro), very visible site—close to Capitol, Union Station, and other vital landmarks.
  3. NPR has outgrown its existing building and needs a building which will allow them to build a state-of-the-art digital newsroom as well as meeting and auditorium space.
  4. NPR plans to restore the building and incorporate into the emerging neighborhood.
  5. NPR is planning for a LEED Gold building and is planning for the building to be visibly green in nature.
  6. The original plan for development was 500,000 sq. ft. with 11 stories; this has bee3n modified to 300,000 sq. ft. with no more than 6 stories; the FAR is 4.5 of an allowed 10.4; 40% will be 4 stories, 60% will be six stories up to a height of 90 ft of the 130 feet allowed.
  7. They will add a new entrance to the building to draw attention to the building and purpose of building; one of the goals of the building is to show the activity going on in the building and move that action out into the public spaces and make it visible (as much as possible from outside the building.
  8. NPR will remove the non-historic 1950’s addition, replacing the windows (keeping the look and feel), closing two side bay openings to the north, the water tower is to be removed, and satellite dishes will be installed on the roof, but will be non-intrusive to the immediate streetscape.
  9. One issue raised is the lack of retail for the public on the ground floor.The building will have amenities (cafeteria, lounge, gym) for staff, but not open to the public.NPR says the building and its purpose is not conducive to retail.

The NPR representative said they are excited about the site and helping to revitalize the neighborhood.The building entry and plaza represents community involvement—the plaza will provide breathing space and available space for NoMa community, and will be transparent.The open lobby will have exhibits on the building’s history and NPR’s.

Mr. Velasco said the building is “fantastic”.Ms. Phelps said she lives four blocks away, and goes by there all the time.She said she looks forward to having the building in the community.She asked about bicycle parking and was told that there was bicycle parking space in the building, and showers and changing room for employees.Mr. Silver said he is represents the adjoining SMD and his constituents are looking forward to having the building in the neighborhood.

Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion that the ANC accept the committee’s recommendation to support the concept design for the NPR building at1111 North Capitol Street.The motion passed 4-0-1, with Mr. Hamilton abstaining.

200 K Street NE– Cohen Project

Ms. Phelps explained that the developer of the project at200 K Street NEis requesting a minor modification to the PUD in Zoning Commission order 05-36.She said Phase 1 of the project is almost completed and he is asking for a change in the Covenant covering the rent structure in Phase 2.

Currently, the Covenant states that for affordable housing, the payment of the buyer or renter on a given unit of affordable housingshall not exceed an amount equal to thirty-eight percent (38%) of an income equivalent to 80% of the Area median Income for the Washington DC Metropolitan Statistical Area and adjusted for family size, as determined annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, 30% of the buyer’s or renter’s monthly household income.

Mr. Cohen wants to modify that to delete “30% of the buyer’s or renter’s monthly household income,” on the grounds that they need assurance that the rent for a particular unit is fixed, and not dependent on the income of a particular resident, and the owner would have a disincentive to rent to tenants with an income of anything less that 80% of AMI.Ms. Phelps pointed out that artists, particularly, whose income fluctuates, would have to move if their income was reduced.She said she read the Covenant, and read the submission and it can be supported.She said the request is on the consent calendar at the Zoning Commission, but that the ANC should weigh in anyway.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to support the application for a minor modification of the PUD for200 K Street NE.The motion passed without objection.

225 E Street NE

This is a request for support for an HPRB application for a2-story rear extension to a house at 225 E Street NE,It calls for the removal of an existing two-story addition and its replacement with a new two-story addition on an existing concrete pad (an earlier plan to add a basement which required additional supports was scrapped).The committee voted unanimously to support the application.

There are no zoning issues, as it falls within the 60-40% guidelines, and there will still be ample backyard space.It will be changed from a three bedroom, one bath house to a three bedroom and den, two bathroom house.A passageway on the right side of the building (facing the front of the house) will provide air and light for the adjacent building.

The only issue is a tree in the backyard that is close to the house and may have to be cut down.

Mr. Amos reported that the owners appeared at CHRS, which had several issues, all of which have been resolved.

Glenn Cadoret, one of the building’s owners said that one issue with CHRS was with embossed cement blocks, which is one of the materials to be used.CHRS objected because of some structures they had seen with the blocks that were unattractive.Mr. Cadoret said it was sloppy masonry work, not the blocks.He said there is no public view of the addition, and they want to use those blocks.There was consensus among the ANC members that they had no problem with the blocks.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to support the HPRB application for an addition at 225 E Street NE.The motion passed without objection.

  1. New Business

Ms. Wirt asked that Commissioners bring to the next meeting the names of people and organizations who should receive letters of thanks and appreciation from the ANC.

Ms. Phelps suggested that citizen chairs of committees should be on that list, and it was suggested that Councilmember Wells staff be included.

The meeting was adjourned at7:50 p.m.