December 2011

Subscribe to this Page



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Heritage Foundation

214 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Present: Commissioners Crews, Goodman, Richardson, Silver, Wilsey and Wirt

Absent:  Commissioner Dixon

  1. 1. Agenda

Mr. Wilsey requested the addition of a change in the Meatballs license to the ABL discussion.  The agenda was adopted, as amended, without objection

  1. 2. Minutes

The November minutes were approved by unanimous consent with the caveat that edits can be made for one week.

  1. 3. Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson delivered the Treasurer’s Report.  It showed an opening balance of $88,563.11.  There was an interest payment of $.70.  Checks were written for $1861 to Allied Party Rental for a grant to H Street Main Street (Check # 1215); $185 to Roberta Weiner for taking and transcribing minutes for the October meeting (Check #1221); and $4,000 to the Innovative School of the Performing Arts (Check #1222) leaving a balance in the checking account of $82,517.81.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to allocate $65 for business cards for Mr. Goodman.  The motion passed unanimously.

Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to allocate $352.25 for payment to Roberta Weiner for the taking and transcription of two ANC meetings in November.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. 4. Brief Community and Commissioner Comment

Councilmember Jack Evans

Councilmember Jack Evans addressed the ANC, and introduced Sherry Kimball, his aide,

saying there were two reasons he had come. One is that part of Ward 6 will be absorbed into Ward 2 after redistricting, and when he was elected much of ward 6 was Ward 2, and this redistricting will put downtown back together again.”

He said he wouldn’t trade DC with any other city or country in the world. He said that while the world was struggling the District had a $700 million surplus, and would have a sizeable surplus in 2011.  He said that development is the envy of any city in America.  Of course, he said there are issues and mentioned education and public safety.  He said he was working with Councilmember Mendelson to deliver public safety services.  And the second reason was to say hello and welcome people to the ward,

Bill Sisolak asked about the redistricting proposal, Councilmember Evans responded that the three members of the Redistricting Committee have the plan in the forefront of their consideration.  The ANC Chairs support Councilmember Wells’ recommendations and his recommendation is final. Mr. Sisolak said that the demographer requires that the Committee file a report giving the legal basis for an SMD well below the legal requirement.  The Councilmember responded that the Committee has the discretion to create an SMD—we did that in Ward 2 ten years ago.

Mr. Goodman asked about the NoMa parks legislation and was told that he is working on that, and is going to make it happen.

Flora Lerenman

Flora Lerenman introduced herself.  She will be the new Chair of the Youth and Education Committee. She said she is interested in leveraging funds to be used at the schools for programs.  She announced her email: . Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to appoint Ms. Lerenman Chair of the Youth and Education Committee.  The motion passed without objection.

Footsteps of Children

Donna Muhammad, Ms. Barney and Yvonne Delancey introduced themselves as the organizers of Footsteps of Children.  They have been running a child care center on the Hill for many years, and are expanding with Footsteps for Children, and infant care center, with a qualified staff.

Capitol Hill Classic

Mike Soderman, the new head of the Capitol Hill Classic, said there was talk of moving the race from Sunday to Saturday to accommodate local churches, but in response to a petition, the race route was changed instead.  He said that outreach to the community has been lackluster in the recent past, and he has reached out to the churches and met with all but one that won’t meet with them.  In fact some churches are in favor of the race and have offered to move their services back an hour to accommodate their race, Mr. Crews complimented them on their outreach.  Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to support the Capitol Hill Classic and send a letter to Emergency Management saying that.  The motion passed without objection.

World Mission Society

Jeffrey Jakes and Michael Miller introduced themselves.  They have taken over a church on A Street and will maintain it as a church as it is suitable for their services,  They are aware of the parking issue, and have heard about the parking etiquette to not interfere with resident use of the streets.  They have a Tuesday evening service at 7:30. Joel Kelty said that they should make certain that whatever fixing up they do is within regulations, and they get the proper permits, and they’re aware it’s a historic building and they’re in a historic district.

Thanks to Heritage Foundation

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to send a letter to the Heritage Foundation thanking them for inviting the ANC to use their space.  The motion passed without objection.

Status Report on Walmart

Mr. Silver reported that the Walmart site is a matter-of-right building and there has been no interaction between the ANC and Walmart. He said that people have very divided views about the project. Now Walmart has agreed to meet with the ANC in a meeting.  Former Congressman Walter Fauntroy will act as facilitator for the ANC and Walmart will have one as well,  It will be a four-hour workshop session  As well as the ANC members, we would like to have Mr. Amos and Mr. McCann represent their committees  The dates are now being worked out.

  1. 5. Transportation and Public Space Committee

Proposed Changes on K Street NE

Mr. Goodman said that K Street NE had become very crowded as an alternative to H Street and has been exacerbated by the construction.  Currently the street has two traffic lanes and parking lanes, except during rush hour when there are three traffic lanes. The idea would be to put K Street on a traffic “diet,” eliminating the third traffic lane during rush hour, adding bike lanes.  He said that ANC 6A had voted to narrow K Street at J.O Wilson School for a drop-off/pick-up. It has already been studied and recommended by DDOT. Motion:   Mr. Goodman moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to send a letter to DDOT Administrator Terry Bellamy recommending that DDOT implement a “diet” for K Street NE including eliminating a third rush hour traffic lane and implementing other traffic calming measures.   The motion passed without objection.  It was suggested that the area from New Jersey Avenue NW to Florida Avenue NE also be included, as a plan is currently in place from New Jersey Avenue to Mt. Vernon Place NW.

1059 1st Street NE

Committee Chair Joe McCann reported that this is a proposal to remove curb cuts on 1st Street and add one on L Street for a garage entrance. This is an office building with retail along 1st Street and a small outdoor space.  Mr. Goodman said that the building is 80% leased and congratulated Trammell Crow, the developer, for doing that.  He said he is working with the NoMa BID on making 1st Street more interesting. There will be a double row of trees, and they have added bike racks on 1st Street. Motion: Mr., Goodman moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to support the Public Space application off Trammell Crow to remove curb cuts on the 1st Street side of 1050 1st Street E, and add one for a garage entrance on the L Street side of the building,  The motion passed 6-0-1, with Mr. Crews abstaining.

21 7th Street NE

This is a request for support of the sale of a short alley behind 21 the Street NE by the City to a private owner.  The neighbor at 701 East Capitol Street has signed a letter of support and the utility companies will not protest.

Mr. Crews said that he’s personally opposed to the privatization of wires and lines, and historic alleys definitely warrant Commission opposition.  The alley is only 15’, but we have no idea what the tax revenues are for the area.  The attorney for the applicant said they were told by the District that the utility pole has an easement and it’s common to have poles on the other side of the alley.  He said he was directed to do this as an alternative to providing access to the front and rear of the house.  Mr. Crews said that adequate notice wasn’t provided to the neighbors.  Marta Wagner said there will be a walkway next to her house that goes around the house to the rear. Bill Sisolak said that he wanted to associate himself with Mr. Crews’ comments.  There is a need to wait until MPD and the Fire Department investigate the site.  Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to withhold support of the alley closing at 21 7t Street NE until Public Space and the City investigate and urge Public Space and DDOT take no action until such investigations occur and are successfully resolved.

Stop Signs at 6th and I Streets NE

Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to request that DDOT install stop signs at the intersection of 6th and I Streets NE, in order to mitigate dangerous conditions for both drivers and pedestrians where there is construction on three out of four corners of the intersection of two one-way streets.  The motion passed without objection.

The report of the Committee was accepted without objection.

  1. 6. Planning, Zoning and the Environment Committee

In the absence of Committee Chair Rob Amos, Committee member Bill Sisolak presented the following Committee report:

644 C Street NE

This is a request for support for a Historic Preservation review of a rear two-story addition above an existing one-story addition. This request was previously approved by the ANC for a BZA hearing, which subsequently approved the project.

The applicant is seeking to construct a two-story addition over a pre-existing first floor structure at the rear of the house.  The existing court will remain, lot occupancy remains at 69.7%.  The BZA hearing was required because the lot occupancy was above the limit.  Light and air of adjacent properties is not affected, and the structure is not higher than its neighbors.  The Committee had no problems with the request, but did support the idea of removing the vertical siding on the existing first level and replacing it with horizontal siding on all levels of the property.  Motion:  Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the historic review application for a two-story addition to a property at 644 C Street NE.  The motion passed 6-0.

616 – 640 New York Avenue NW

This is a request for support of a Large Area Tract Review from the Office of Planning, and for Special Exceptions and a variance for a new office and retail building in Mt. Vernon Square.

This is a building actually being developed for the tenant of the building, the Association of American Medical Colleges, which has created a dramatic building at the triangular corner of New York Avenue and K Street NW. The building has extensive retail on both frontages as well as incorporating four “historic” buildings into the southeastern corner of the building.  Other features of the building include: large sidewalk areas along the fronts of the buildings; an interior two-story fountain; renovation of the federal parcel at the western side of the site—a new public community space near the water feature.  The plans have already been endorsed by ANC 2C, DDOT, OP, DCPL and, informally by the Mt. Vernon Square Neighbors Association.

There are two separate issues: 1/ Zoning Relief; Penthouse setback – because of the incorporation of the historic properties, the setback of the penthouse does not meet the requirements in one small area; Minimum Number of Parking Spaces; zoning requires 166 spaces for the building and they are only able to provide 162—it would require constructing another level to include the additional four spaces; Mt. Vernon Square Setback Requirement:  requirement for a setback on the Mt. Vernon Square side of the building, would require notching the western side of the building in a way that would make it unattractive and require a new floor plan for the top two floors, adding to the buildings cost.

Large Tract Review by the Office of Planning: Because of the zoning designation of the property (DD/C-2-C) and the size of the development, the property is required to go through a Large Tract Review which enables all interested parties to have a chance to review and make recommendations on the project.  Reviews are coordinated with other city agencies and the community.  It does not result in an approval or denial by OP, but is an administrative review to identify issues and provide feedback to the developer prior to applying for a building permit, Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the applicant’s zoning requests and support of the development in the Large Tract Development process.  The motion passed unanimously, 6-0.

704 3rd Street NW – The Harrison

This is a request for support for a BZA application for variances and special exceptions for a mixed use hotel/residential development at 704 5rd Street.   In September 2011, the ANC unanimously approved the concept.

The variances required are: a variance from the rear yard requirements—because of the location of the building there is no rear yard; a variance from the lot occupancy requirement – the combination of a new and old structure will have 100% lot occupancy, the new section will only have 68% lot occupancy; and for off-street parking, 58 spaces are required, but the building will only provide 30 spaces, 19 spaces less.  While there will be several levels of parking, the historic building hinders the ability to provide additional parking and excavation.  There will be bicycle parking, however.  Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the applicant’s request for zoning variances and special exceptions as requested.  The vote was unanimous, 7-0.

1235 4th Street NW

This is a request for an HPRB application for concept approval for new construction of a single family home in a historic district.  The property is currently an empty lot and the owner wishes to construct a three-story semi-detached house that is 18’ wide ad 51’ deep. It will have a garden at the top of the property and an 8-foot yard separating this property from the neighbors.  The building will be brick, with a slate mansard roof, and a wood projecting bay, and the height and size will be in line with the existing two-story properties along that side of 4th street NW.  The property owner presented three letters of support. The PZE Committee had several recommendations for changes to building’s exterior. Joel Kelty suggested that there may be zoning issues and the applicant check with the Zoning Commission before his hearing, Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Committees recommendation that the ANC support the applicant’s request for HPRB concept approval for the construction of a new residence at 1235 4th Street NW,.   The motion passed unanimously 6-0.

1232, 1234 and 1236 New Jersey Avenue NW

Last month, the ANC rejected a request by the Third Street Church of God for a permit to raze three historic buildings at 1232,1234, and 1236 New Jersey Avenue NW,  HPRB also denied the application and voted to support the Staff Report and Recommendation that the permit be denied as “inconsistent with the purposes of historic preservation law.  The Church now intends to appeal the case to the Mayor’s Agent, which is next step in the process.

In the course of the HPRB hearing, it was revealed that one of the three buildings was maintained by the Church because it was used for storage while the other two continued to deteriorate.  They were also spending money developing plans for additions to their existing buildings. The committee believes this is a “self-inflicted wound,” and a clear case of demolition by neglect. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to support the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC oppose the request to the Mayor’s Agent to raze the properties at 1232, 1234, and 1236 New Jersey Avenue NW and instruct the PZE Committee to draft the appropriate letter opposing such a raze request.  The motion passed 4-2 with Commissioners Richardson and Silver in opposirion.

The Crucible – 16 M Street NE

Mr. Goodman reported that The Crucible, a private club at 16 M Street NE that was formerly in Southeast is seeking a building permit.  The club is less than 600’ from a residential area.  It’s on the same square as Ibiza and Fur. He said that there are clubs in DC and elsewhere that you become a member at the door Motion: Mr., Goodman moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to appeal the decision of the Zoning Administrator that this is a private club to the BZA; and that Mr. Crews and Goodman are authorized to act on behalf of the ANC in this matter.

Mr. Goodman said that they have been bringing in outside promoters and will sell liquor without needing a license.  Frazier Botsford, the club’s owner spoke and said there were no memberships sold at the door, they sign in on line to make certain they are registered. He said they were very discrete, very private, and he was very civic-ly responsible.  He said he wants to be part of the community, and let the community use the building for meetings.

Mr. Goodman said it is a residential neighborhood, and the club has a five-year lease.  Mr. Kelty said that the ANC should maintain a sharp focus on the zoning issues involved. It may not be palatable to some people, but the membership issue has to be respected. Mr. Silver asked how the issue is dealt with when there are 600 or more residents.  Mr. Crews said the ANC doesn’t want to appeal the building permit but needs the ability to have better oversight over the club.  Mr. Botsford said he understood the problem.  Mr. Goodman said that if the ANC decides to appeal it can always be withdrawn.

The report of the Committee was accepted without objection.

  1. 7. ABL Committee

Committee chair Mr. Wilsey said there had been no committee meeting but there were three items the full ANC would have to take action on:

Hikari Sushi and Sake Bar – 644 H Street NEU

Mrs. Chun and her attorney, Ed Grandis, took questions The premises are brand new, have been gutted from what they were before. There is no entertainment endorsement contemplated, and there will be valet parking, and the trash will be handled by a local dumpster which will be located on the back of the building.  This is an application for a stipulated license. Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion that the ANC approve the VA for Hikari, and support the granting of a stipulated license.  The motion passed 6-0.

Xclusive -707 H Street NE

This is a new club with live entertainment. Mr. Richardson said he has gotten emails and calls from neighbors.  Georgina Artolan, who lives three doors in from H Street said that hours should be limited, there, should be no live music, and noise from the alley should be limit.  A VA should be negotiated.  It was suggested that the owners go for a license—they are serving good African food, a CT license would not be in keeping with the quality of the food, Mr. Richardson said the establishment would be pretty large—three stories.  Mr. Kelty said he had concerns because they haven’t complied with the overlay.  He said the applicant applied for a CT license, but is calling it a restaurant.  With a three story building, he’s afraid they’ll go beyond their FAR.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to protest the application of Xclusive on the grounds of peace, order and quiet until a VA can be negotiated and questions can be answered, with Mr Richardson designated to represent ANC 6C.  The motion passed 6-0.

Meatballs – 624 E Street NW

Mr. Wilsey reported that Meatballs, the new establishment at 624 E Street NW has changed its hours to mirror those of Luke’s Lobster, its neighbor. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to send a letter to ABRA informing them of the change.  The motion passed unanimously, 6-0.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:14 p.m.