January 2010

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heritage Foundation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Minutes

Present:  Commissioners Brown, Dixon, Docter, Hamilton, Phelps, Richardson, Silver, Velasco, and Wirt

The meeting opened at 6:59 pm

  1. Agenda

The agenda was approved, as presented, without objection.

  1. Minutes

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

  1. Elections

Ms. Wirt began by saying that Jon Kelly will not be able to continue as Co-Chair of the Transportation and Public Space Committee after June, but the Committee and the Economic Development Committee will be chaired again by citizens.


Motion; Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to retain all the officers in the current positions for 2010: Chair: Karen Wirt; Vice Chairs: Mark Dixon, Charlie Docter; Secretary: Ann Phelps; Treasurer: Tony Richardson.  The officers were elected unanimously.

Committee Chairs

Mr. Hamilton said that he had not been able to find anyone to succeed him as Chair of the Education and Youth Committee. Ms. Brown suggested that someone could be recruited from the community with flyers.  Mr. Hamilton said that one of the Committee members will serve as co-chair, but can’t take the full responsibility.  He gave his phone number– 544-4475—if anyone had a candidate.

Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to elect the following Committee chairs: Planning, Zoning, and the Environment: Rob Amos; Transportation and Public Space: Jon Kelly and Joe McCann; Grants: Lena Brown; Public Space: Mark Dixon; Alcoholic Beverage Control: Ann Phelps.  The Committee Chairs were elected unanimously,

  1. Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson submitted the December Treasurers Report.  There was an opening balance of $77,292.54. There was an interest payment of $0.74 and two District allotment checks for $17,824.40 and $6,274.80.  There were payments of $2,400 to Acoustic Sonic (Geoff Turner) for an acoustic study (Check #1159);  $209 (Check #1160) and $127.50 (Check #1161) to Roberta Weiner for transcription of minutes, for transcription of minutes for the ANC and Transportation Committee meetings, and $195 to Karen Wirt for business cards (Check #1162), leaving a balance of $98.460.98.  Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report.  The motion passed without objection.

Mr. Hamilton said that the ANC has egg on its face because of the cost of the acoustic study. Ms. Phelps added that in the future, the ANC should get a written agreement with any contractor.

  1. Community Announcement

Amanda Molson – Historic Preservation OfficeAmanda Molson, the primary reviewer for Capitol Hill Historic District larger projects. She said she grew up on 9th Street and Massachusetts Ave NE, and now lives in 6B.abd has been with HPO since 200 She announced that it is now easier to get building permits with the one-stop shop at 900 North Capitol Street, where there is always a historian on duty. Guidelines for permits are on the HPO website.  She also announced that the District has been designated as a Historic American Heritage site, and there are grant funds that can be applied for, and she mentioned the Historic Homeowner’ Grants that are available for renovation of historic houses for low income people.  She can be reached at Amanda.molson@dc.gov , 442-8827.  OasisMs. Phelps said that she has been working on Oasis, going to BZA to oppose the transfer of the liquor license and losing, and after losing at zoning twice, she is now looking to ABRA to make sure the establishment follows the law.  She has been working with Capitol Hill North Neighborhood Association to negotiate a Voluntary Agreement with the store, and they have gotten concessions: the name will be changed to Oasis Market, there will be no more.  She said they had gotten the best deal they could, and she thanked the Commission for its support of the long struggle..Ethiopic RestaurantMr. Richardson reported that he has worked out a Voluntary Agreement with the owners of Ethopic restaurant. He said there was a separate protest but he got the neighbors to withdraw and support the VA he had worked out.Healthy LivingJulie Tahar of Healthy Living, to whom the ANC gave a grant to publish a cookbook for the Healthy Living program, which teaches people how to eat healthy food.  She teaches at the Calvary homeless shelter at 5th and Massachusetts Avenue NW, and at Pathways at 4th and Massachusetts Avenue NW where they cook, and she has a junior chef program and teaches basic kitchen skills and they eat meals at the shelter that they prepare.  She showed off the cookbook.Changing the Bank AccountsMr. Velasco asked that the ANC explore changing the bank accounts to a locally-based bank so that the ANC’s money can be re-invested in a locally-based community organization, either a bank or a credit union.  Ms. Wirt suggested that he work with Mr. Richardson to see what the ANC needs.  Mr. Richardson said that he has wanted to remove the money from the current bank because they only do business interest checking.  He also said he also wants to invest in community institutions on Capitol Hill that are easily accessible.

NorthWest One Library

Steve Lilienthal, director of the NorthWest One Library at 155 L Street NW announced that on January 28th from v1-8 p.m. there will be an Open House.  There will be a children’s story time, an author talk. He also announced other programs the library is sponsoring.

  1. Old Business


Ms. Wirt said the Southern Baptist Church project had complied with the conditions of the time extension on the reporting of its grant, and will provide all the proper documents within 60 days after the May 31 end of the program.

Mr. Robinson said that the ANC has to have a discussion of the amount that is distributed for grants, and the grant policies have to be revised.  Ms. Wirt said that the ANC should have an on-line discussion of the issue and make recommendations at the February meeting.  Ms. Phelps said that a year ago she designed a new application, and drafted new guidelines and she would be happy to send out the guidelines for discussion.  Ms. Brown said that everyone should vote on the guidelines and they shouldn’t be decided by a few people and everyone should have input. Mr. Hamilton said that this has been going on for a long time, and it’s unlikely the issue can be resolved by e-mail. Ms. Phelps said the issue had been raised at two separate meetings and that Ms. Brown had moved to table the discussion.  No action was taken

Youth and Education Committee

Mr. Hamilton pointed out that Carl Schmitt, one of his loyal members, was at the meeting.  He said that at the last Committee meeting he had someone from the Chancellor’s office to talk about the teacher’s layoffs, and he did outreach and still ended up with three Committee members as the only attendees.  He said he hasn’t been able to attract people, saying the committee has no control over controversial issues like liquor or zoning, and while the meetings have been wonderful but he can’t go on in a vacuum.

Ms. Wirt said she liked Ms. Brown’s idea to do flyers, and allocating a small amount of funds to do them.  Mr. Phelps said that the schools in 6D should be identified and reached out to.  She said there is a group working on middle schools that could be contacted.

Transportation and Public Space Committee

Morris Place-6th and 7th, G and F Streets NE

Joe McCann presented the issue: Morris Place NE runs between F and G and 6th and 7th Street NE, and is currently one way going west.  The problem is getting access to the street from the South.  This is a request for support for turning the street from one way to two way.

Carl Schmitt, who has lived on the block since 1981 presented his request at the Committee.  He said it had come up about 20 years ago, but it had deteriorated into a racial situation with the previous ANC and nothing ever came of the request.  There are 26 houses on the street, he has signatures from 21 owners, there is a condo on the corner, there is one person opposed at the 6thStreet end, and the others are at the 7th Street end.  He has the support of Mr. Hamilton, the SMD Commissioner and e-mails from MPD and the Fire Department saying there is no problem with the change.  The street is three cars wide, and there are no parking restrictions on the block.  DDOT has not been in contact with Mr. Schmitt.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to support the Committee’s recommendation to send a letter to Gabe Klein, head of DDOT supporting the change of Morris Place NE from one way to two.  The motion passed without objection.

Ms. Phelps suggested that the letter be copied to DDOT staff members Jamie Henson, and Ali Shakiri, and Mayor’s Office staff Josh Hopkins and Alex Rotan,..

555 Massachusetts Avenue NW Parking Vaults

This has been moved to the February meeting.  Mr. Docter said that vault space is ordinarily allocated for residential parking space, just commercial.  He said he has talked with the office of Tax and Revenue and they are reviewing the situation with 555 Massachusetts Ave.

450 5th Street NW

This is a request for support of a public space permit for the Department of Homeland Security; to install a driveway, bike rack, planters, a guard’s booth and bollards at a building occupied by two divisions—civil and anti-trust—of the Justice Department.

Andrew Brophy representing the building’s owner, said that GSA had entered a long-term lease with Justice, and they are there to stay and need security.  They are asking for a driveway cut and two 3 ½” bollards on 6th Street and planters on the 5th Street side.

Mr. Dixon said that the building has a McDonalds on the ground floor and there are homeless people who use it, and he is concerned how this will affect them.

Thomas King, administrative head of the anti-trust division, said that he is working with McDonalds and they try to be respectful of the homeless and work with them. He said the building is now surrounded by planters and trees, and the several hundred Justice Department workers don’t want the building to look overly secure.  He said he has worked with the architect to downplay the look of a secured building,

Ms. Phelps said that her husband works in that building and it’s pretty tight, security-wise.  She said that she does not like bollards.  Mr. King responded that they looked at many solutions, and there’s a minimum number (2) bollards, and the guard booth is set back from the street.  Mr. Hamilton reminded the Commission that it had accepted bollards for the AIPAC building.  Ms. Phelps said that there were not too many for this building.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to support the public space permit for 450 5th Street for a driveway, bollards, guard booth and planters.  The motion passed 7-0-2, with Messrs. Docter and Velasco abstaining.

Proposed Weekend Closing at New York Avenue Metro

Ms. Phelps said that Metro, as part of its budgetary cutbacks, was proposing to close the south entrance of the New York Avenue Metro stop.  She said there were 750 new residential units coming on line to add to the residents who already make use of that Metro entrance.  Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Docter seconded a motion to send a letter to WMATA head John Catoe protesting the proposed closing because the NY Avenue Metro stop serves the residents of the NoMa community, and now is not the time to cut service when more people are on the way to use the entrance.  The motion passed without objection.

Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee

Committee chair Rob Amos reported the following:

647 C Street NE

This is a request for support of a BZA application for a special exception to allow a rear sunroom addition to an existing one-family row house dwelling in the R-4 district not meeting the lot occupancy requirements, and variances to allow a second floor addition for use as an art studio to an existing accessory garage not meeting the height and story limitation.

The property is located alongside an alley/easement for six dwellings on his left, and a multi-story apartment building to the rear.  AN existing art studio is located inside the home, but they wished to remove the studio from his house to rear out of concern for his family.  They currently have 60% lot coverage, and are seeking 70%.  The art studio would have minimal facilities (cold running water, no bathroom, no permanent hv/ac units.  Windows would only be located on the front of the garage facing the rear of the existing house.  Any future owner would have to return to the ANC for support of any attempt to convert structure to a rental property. The neighbors have written letters of support. Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the applicant’s request for a special exception and variances for the second floor garage addition at 647 C Street NE.  The motion passed without objection.

216 Morgan Street NW

This is a request for support of a Historic Preservation Review Board application for the addition of a third floor to a 2 story row house, excavation for a new basement apartment, and reconstruction of a missing historic two-story porch on the front.

The renovation of the property requires excavation of the basement and the addition of a third floor to the existing two-story building.  One unit will be the basement and first floor; the second unit will be the second and third floors.  The third floor requires the raising of the roof above the existing 6’ attic and extending the mansard roof to the rear, similar to other renovations on the block.  The property backs up to the Primal Fitness gym, so residential views would not be blocked.  The existing second floor porch would be removed and a smaller porch added, with rear steps to the ground floor.  The property will match existing properties on the block.  He has the approval of his next door neighbor.  Mr. Dixon, the SMD Commissioner for the location, approves.   Motion: Mr. Velasco moved/Ms. Phelps seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the Historic Preservation application for modifications to 216 Morgan Street NW.  The motion passed without objection.

313 I Street NE

This is a request for support for an extension of time for a PUD at this location.

This property was foreclosed on, and RIK DC Investments purchased the property five months ago.  RIK DC is located in Ohio.  They are requesting a two year extension to their PUD, which expires in June 2010, to allow the new owners time to research all their possible options and opportunities for the property.  While the Committee raised concerns about the condition of the property—grass, graffiti, trash, etc.—and the illegal razor wire fence which overhangs the public space.  Since the meeting, the developer has provided a proposal from Long Fence for the removal of the fence, and has received a quote from the H Street Ready to Work program to provide property maintenance.

Christine Roddy, representing the developer, reiterated that the developer wants the time to do studies and assess the possibilities of the space.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the committee’s recommendation to support the request for a two-year extension of the PUD with the following stipulations: a/ a contract is put in place for the maintenance of the property and adjacent public space, and 2/ the removal of all razor wire from the site fence within the public space. The motion passed without objection.

Golden Rule Apartments

Mr. Amos reported on the redevelopment of the former Golden Rule Center site into the SeVerna apartments as part of the NorthWest One Master Plan.  The ANC supported the granting of tax credits for the project, which will be 100% affordable to low and moderate income housing at 30-60% AMI.  There will be a five story building on 1st Street NW and two-over-two townhouses on a newly re-opened L Street, which will provide 60 units in a mix of studios, 1,2,3 and 4 bedroom units,  Priority right to return will be given to previously re-located residents.  The buildings will comply with NoMa streetscape guidelines and Green Communities criteria.  Surface parking will be replaced with underground parking in a future phase of the project. (a mixed income nine-story high rise along K Street is planned in the future through a PUD application.  It was made clear that applications will be provided for the Temple Courts “exiles.”

Mr. Velasco commented that he did not approve of the surface parking and found it a waste of the land.  Mr. Silver agreed.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 p.m.