Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Heritage Foundation ;
Present:Commissioners Brown,Dixon,Docter, Phelps,Richardson, Velasco, and Wirt
Absent: Commissioner Silver
The meeting opened at 7:05 pm
Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to accept the agenda. Ms. Phelps asked to have an announcement of meetings on the X2 buses added. Mr. Dixon requested that the grants discussion be moved up before the transportation report. The agenda was approved, as amended, without objection.
Mot ion:Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to approve the July minutes. They were approved without objection.
- Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Richardson submitted the July and August Treasurers Reports. In July there was an opening balance of $78,592.84. There was an interest payment of $0.67. There were no payments, leaving a balance of $78,593.07. In August there was an opening balance of $78,593.07, and an interest payment of $.67. There was a bank charge of $38.64 for new checks, leaving a balance of $78,555.10.
Motion:Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report. The motion passed without objection.
Mr. Richardson presented the Quarterly Reports for the 3rdand 4thQuarters of FY 2008, which had to be voted on again because of adjustments made for the Auditor. He reported that there is no difference in the monetary amounts, but the reports have been re-organized.
Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Mr.Docterseconded a motion to accept the revised Quarterly Reports as presented. The motion passed without objection.
Ms. Wirt reported that the Auditor’s requests for materials from the ANC have been met.
Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to approve the expenditure of $135 for Roberta Weiner for the transcription of ANC minutes for July. The motion passed without objection
- Community Announcements
Resolution Honoring Yvonne Better
Motion:Ms. Brown moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to send a letter from ANC 6D honoring Ms. Yvonne Better. The motion passed without objection.
KomenBreast Cancer Walk
Jason Williams, representing the Washington, DC Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk presented information on the event, scheduled for October 9ththrough the 11th, but will only be ANC 6D on its first and last days. This is a walk that will begin at Nationals Stadium and will only use sidewalks.Motion:Mr.Doctermoved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to send a letter of support for theKomen3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. The motion passed without objection.
Leukemia &Lymphoma Society Walk
Julie Hansen, representing the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, presented details of its 12thAnnual Light the Night Walk, on Saturday October 17th, from 6:30-8:45 p.m. The walk will go fromFreedomPlazadownPennsylvania Avenueto the Capitol Reflecting Pool and back the same way.Motion:Mr.Doctermoved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to send a letter of support for the LightUpthe Night Walk. The motion passed without objection.
Mentors for Higher Achievement
Jessica Thomas, Ward 6 Coordinator for Higher Achievement, a tutoring and mentoring program, presented a request for mentors for the program, which is headquartered atLudlowTaylorSchool. She said the mentors are needed one night a week for 5thand 6thgraders on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evening from 6:00-8:15 p.m. ElizabethEide, a mentor, described her exciting and challenging experience as a mentor and said that college students would be welcome as well as others.
Public Meetings on X1, X2, and X3 Buses
Ms. Phelps announced that there will be two public meetings in support of theBenningRoad-H Street Line Study on the X1, X2 and X3 buses. The meetings, sponsored by WMATA and DDOT, will present preliminary concepts for proposed improvements in the lines. The meetings will be Tuesday, September 22nd, 6:30 -8:30 p.m. at Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10thStreet NE; and on Thursday, September 24th, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization, 3939BenningRoad NE.
Josh Hopkins, the new Ward 6 Outreach coordinator, introduced himself and expressed his commitment to working with the community on whatever is needed, and said that Commissioners should feel free to reach out to him. He can be reached at 340-8313, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Old Business
Ms. Brown introduced Dr. Eleanor Doom, of the Southern Baptist Church External Diploma Program, who presented detailed information on a comprehensive program to afford adults the opportunity to secure high school diplomas by demonstrating their high school level skills by applying their life experiences in real-life situations. The program participants are assessed before beginning the program and work with trained advisors to complete it. The grant requested $500 for the program. In response to a question from Mr. Hamilton, Dr. Doom said that before participating in the program, students have to pass proficiency tests in reading and math, and go into tutoring until they reach eligibility levels if they do not.
Ms. Wirt said she is waiting for a final legal opinion as to whether the ANC can give funds directly to a program (rather than a particular need of the program—e.g. supplies, uniforms, etc,)Motion:Ms. Brown moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to increase the amount of the grant to$1000. Mr. Hamilton further amended it to award $1500 to the organization, pending the outstanding legal opinion. The amendment, and the motion to award the grant, both passed without objection.
Ms. Wirt mentioned that the applicants benefiting from the grant have to be in the ANC 6C area. Mr. Hamilton said that grants should be based on merit, not only on where the applicants live. Ms. Phelps reminded the Commission that in January she had drafted proposed changes to grant requirements and was shot down, and the requirements for grants should be changed and added to the by-laws.
John Kelly co-chair of the Transportation Committee presented the Committee’s report.
This is a request for support of a Public Space application for an outdoor café at the Absolute Thai restaurant at521 G Street NW. Miles Grove, of the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) said that it is a great restaurant and a real asset to the community, but he questions the outdoor seating on 6thStreet which is 12’ from the entrance of a residential building on 6thStreet, and provides a great deal of density. Mr.YodchaiHorcharoen, the establishment’s owner responded that he is going from two tables of four from three tables of two, and will have portable planter boxes at the perimeter. He said the tables would be moved every night, at 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 p.m. on weekends. He said that he has not filed for an extension of his ABC license to the outdoor café yet because he needs the Public space permit first.Motion:Mr. Dixon moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion that the ANC support the Public Space Permit application as written. The motion passed without objection.
145 NStreetNE (US Department of Justice)
This is a request for support of a public space application for a guardhouse and flagpole at a new Department of Justice facility at 145 N Street NE. Mr. Kelly said that it is a high security federal building that requires the guard station. He said the sidewalk is 25’ wide, and building is 6’-8” feet. The flagpole is not in the same location as the guardhouse.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to adopt the Committee’s recommendation to support the application for a Public Space Permit for a guardhouse and flagpole at the new Department of Justice Building at 145 N Street NE. The motion passed without objection.
Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee
Capital Place, 2ndand G Streets NE
This is a request for a delay of two years to begin PUD project because of the downturn in the real estate market.
Tony Noble, representing the Dreyfus Co., the developer, and ChristyShiker, ofHollandand Knight were present.Motion:Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to support the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the applicant’s request for a delay of up to two years for the project at Capital Place and request that the applicant continue to maintain and secure the properties and work with the residents an DDOT on bettering the corner of 3rdand H Streets NE.
Mr. Amos reported that the developer had explained that the current economic conditions are preventing them from moving forward and are requesting a delay; the PUD was approved a year ago. They have taken actions to safeguard the properties: the buildings have been secured; fencing has been erected around the perimeter; Senate Place Property Managers are watching the properties; and rodent control comes every two weeks. Raze permits are in place to allow the project to start as the economy improves. They expressed a willingness to assist in improving the corner of 3rdandG Street.
Mr. Richardson said that some residents have complained about the conditions at the site and need a contact phone number. DruryTallentraised the issue of222 G Street NE, a row house that Dreyfus acquired in order to widen an alley. He said there’s no reason why Dreyfus can’t sell it. Mr. Noble responded that it is part of the PUD, and the side yard is to be used to widen the alley. Ms. Phelps said that Dreyfus could at least get the trees out of the house, and it would be worth fixing up because the vacant property tax rates are so onerous. Mr. Noble said he would ask his principals about finding a solution. Ms. Phelps said it has to be maintained.Motion:Ms, Phelps offered a friendly amendment to the motion, which was accepted to encourage the sale of the G Street property, or maintain the property so it doesn’t look like it’s vacant. The motion passed without objection.
705-707 6thStreet NW
This is a request for support of a BZA application seeking a variance from the rear yard requirements, variance from off-street parking requirements and a variance from residential floor area requirements to allow construction of a two-story commercial building with offices and ground floor retail uses in the DD/C-2 district. The BZA hearing is October 27th.
Paul Millstein of Douglas Development and Carolyn Brown, ofHollandand Knight were present.
The applicant is seeking the variances as they renovate the property and construct a new façade. The off-street parking variance is requested to remove the need for two required spaces, as there is ample off-street parking as well as several parking lots on the block. The building is not a historic structure. Applicant is hoping to obtain one or two commercial (retail) tenants, with possible use of a roof deck/terrace. The committee asked about changing the current siding of the roof stair structure and that the “green” roof remains.Motion:Mr.Doctermoved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the applicant’s request as specified with additional stipulations that glass be used on the sides of the roof stair structure and that the roof landscaping remain regardless of the use of the roof. The motion passed without objection.
Downtown Zoning Regulations
The Zoning Commission hearing on the rewrite of the Downtown Zoning Regulations has been postponed until November 2, giving the ANC time to comment. Mr. Amos reported that at the Committee meeting Mr.Docterhad reviewed the proposed document and that many questions remained, such as: what does it solve?; what doesn’t it solve?; what area does it cover?; what are the major changes required in the existing zoning regulations?; what is the impact on the existing design overlays for various areas?
Mr. Amos said that Travis Parker, of the Office of Planning (OP) would attend the Committee meeting on October 7thto discuss these outstanding issues, which will enable the ANC to draft a response prior to the hearing. He said the Committee would meet on September 16thto draft questions to present to Mr. Parker.
Mr.Doctersaid that the zoning changes should be looked at, and since they involve thethezoning provisions of the code there is an opportunity to put inotherprovisions of the zoning code. He said that if people have ideas about amendments, they should put them in. Mr. Grove said that he feels that agencies don’t care about zoning overlays, and that all of downtown is zoned as commercial.
Licensing and Permits Committee
Level Lounge,315 H Street NW
Mr.Docterreviewed the current situation with Level Lounge,315 H Street NW.PouyaYousefi, the owner, has applied for a tavern license and there are questions about the amount of noise the space, which involves three stories of a five storytallbuilding, would generate in the neighborhood.
Chris Thompson, who runs a residence for women next door to the proposed establishment, said that the proposed establishment abuts her location and they will share a wall. She expressed her concerns about people loitering outside the club, and closings at 2 or 3 a.m. She also mentioned the Madrigal and Sonata apartment buildings as being affected. She is concerned about what it means for the community, and while she is not part of the official protest she has been working with the protesting group. She expressed concerns about how the business will operate, and said the business plans are not firm enough.
Mr.Doctersaid that there are still outstanding issues with the voluntary agreement, which is being negotiated, with a hearing scheduled for October 14th, including how many people will be allowed on each floor, and most importantly, soundproofing. He said that an expert is needed to give an opinion to make certain the sound doesn’t get into the neighboring apartment building from what is a 5-story brick building.Motion:Mr.Doctermoved that the ANC and whoever else retain a sound expert toadviseon what is the best way to assure the sound doesn’t travel.
Mr. Hamilton said that it is difficult to believe that it is legal to approve funds for acoustics, and questioned the ANC’s role in such a project. Mr. Dixon replied that the ANC should have input. Ms. Phelps said she is not sure what the ANC is approving because there’s no dollar amount attached to the motion. Mr.Doctersaid that if the ANC got an expert it could push the owner to soundproof the building. Mr. Hamilton said he is not comfortable asking for money, and would be more comfortable asking ABRA for continuation on the hearing to work on the VA. Mr.Docterwithdrew his motion.
Mr.Yousefisaid that he has looked into acoustic engineers–people who come in andadviseon things like soundproofing, equipment placement and ambient sound. He said it’s an unnecessary expense for the ANC and for the residents. He said that brick and double-paned glass windows are great sound-proofing materials.
Miles Grove said that the building adjacent to the club is an old building and the bass comes through. This is a great time to look at it—before it’s done. If they believe in their dream, he said, now is the time to do something so that it’s not a problem in a year.
Ms. Wirt said it looks as though we can work with the applicant. Mr.Yousefisaid he wants to limit the number of people in the club.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to send a letter to ABRA asking for a delay in the hearing in order to explore questions of sound-proofing and to enable the ANC to work with the Applicant and protest group to seek solutions to outstanding issues. The motion passed without objection.
Bistro Cacao,318-320 Massachusetts Avenue NE
This is a request for a stipulated license for Bistro Cacao,318-320 Massachusetts Avenue NE(former site of Two Quail),anew French bistro. Scott Rome is representing the establishment. A VA has been drafted, and issues of hours and delivery times have been resolved.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to accept the committee’s recommendation and approve the stipulated license and the voluntary agreement for Bistro Cacao. The motion passed without objection.
Momiji,503 H Street NW
This is a request for a substantial change in an already existing license forMomiji,503 H Street NW, to extend its hours and be open until 2 a.m. seven days a week.Motion:Ms. Phelps moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion accept the committee’s recommendation to supportplacardingthe establishment to extend its hours. The motion passed withoutobj
Mr. Richardson announced that Kelly’s had come to an agreement and the issues of deliveries and hours had been resolved.
Ms. Phelps announced that the ANC had lost its case at BZA, but has filed for reconsideration. The license for the establishment is out of safekeeping, and mediation is scheduled for October 2nd.
Youth and Education Committee
Mr. Hamilton announced that Peter McPherson, president of the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools will speak at the next Committee meting on September 23 atSpecialtyHospital.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:44 p.m.