March 9, 2011
Present: Commissioners Crews, Dixon, Hamilton, Richardson, Silver, Wilsey, and Wirt
Absent: Commissioner Phelps
The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m.
Motion: Mr. Crews moved/ Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to approve the agenda as presented. The agenda was approved without objection.
Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the February minutes as presented, with the proviso that they are open for amendment for one week. The motion was adopted without objection.
- Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Richardson presented the Treasurer’s Report for February 2011. The opening balance was $95,798.24 and there was an interest payment of $.73. There was a disbursement of $216 to Roberta Weiner for transcription of the January minutes (check #E1196); $25 to the ANC Security Fund (Check #1197); $385 to Karen Wirt for reimbursement for the purchase of three sets of business cards and payment for renewal of the ANC’s post office box (Check #1199); and $1000 to the Capitol Hill Cluster schools for a grant for planting materials (Check #1200), leaving a balance of $94,172.97. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to accept the January 2011 Treasurer’s Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.
Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/ Mr. Crews seconded a motion to allocate $250 for funds for the transcription of the February minutes. The motion passed without objection. Motion: Mr. Hamilton moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve a payment of $216 to Fagon Publications for an ad in the Fagon Community Directory for 2011. The motion passed without objection.
Ms. Wirt pointed out that Mr. Richardson had received a certificate from the Auditor, one of only fourteen handed out, for “exemplary preparation and filing of ANC Quarterly Financial Reports during FY 2009 and 2010. ANC 6C was one of only 14 of 37 ANCs who maintained adequate documentation to support disbursements and received all FY 2010 Quarterly allotments in full.
- Community Announcements
Capitol Hill Classic – May 15
Don Montuori presented information on the 32nd Capitol Hill Classic, the 10 K race that will be run on Sunday, May 15th for the benefit of the Peabody School. The race will start at Peabody and run to RFK, with rolling closings managed by MPD. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to send a letter of support for the Capitol Hill Classic to the Emergency Management Task Force. The motion passed without objection.
Bike DC – May 22
Rich Baumond, of Bike DC, described a “city-wide” bike ride that will take place on May 22. It will begin at 3rd Street and Pennsylvania Ave NW at 7:30 a.m., and there will be traffic allowed on 7th and 14thStreet. They are expecting about 5000 riders, and will be done in the 6C area by 9:00 a.m. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to send a letter of support to the Emergency Management Task Force in support of Bike DC on May 20th. The motion passed without objection.
Lt. Robert Washington presented information about the firehouse at 439 New Jersey Avenue NW, which is a safe house for troubled youth and people who are in abusive situations. They are also prepared and qualified to do blood pressure and blood sugar checks for local residents. They also have a Juvenile Fire Prevention Program and they check children’s child seats. He said that firehouses generally do child seat installation and mentioned one at 1923 Vermont Avenue NW. He also said that the firehouse has, on its third floor, the Fire Department Museum, which is open Mon.-Thurs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. He said the DCFD is 140 years old this year.
Mr. Hamilton reminded the Commissioners that there was an attempt by Congress to close the firehouse, and it was closed from 1996 to 2000, but Congress realized it was the firehouse closest to Congress, and it was reopened. Bill Sisolak asked about the safe house and if it’s for anyone escaping abuse. Lt. Washington said that it was planned for juveniles, but it’s open to anyone.
City of Hope Walk for Hope – April 10
Joey Farmery of the City of Hope, an organization focused on women’s cancers, presented details of their Walk for Hope to take place on April 10th. The Walk takes place primarily on Capitol Hill and opens and closes in ANC 6C on Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and Constitution Ave NW. The streets will be closed between 10 pm on April 9th for set-up-, and until 5 pm on the 10th to dismantle the equipment. The walkers will be walking between 10 a.m. and noon. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to send a letter of support to the Emergency Management Task Force. The motion passed without objection.
801 New Jersey Avenue NW = Walmart
Mr. Silver said that 801 New Jersey Avenue is the site of one of the four proposed Walmarts to open in the District. He said he had an initial community meeting on February 15th with Councilmembers Wells and Michael Brown in attendance, as well as members of the ANC 6C Zoning Committee. He said that the community involvement is particularly important because Walmart is proceeding by matter of right and doesn’t have to come before the ANC, but he wants them to come before the Zoning Committee. He has set up committees: Infrastructure and Impact, Local Business, Outreach, Community Benefits Agreement, and Traffic and the Environment. He invited members of the audience to get involved in the committees because he wants the activity to be as open and transparent as possible. He said he would like each Commissioner to keep the issue on the front burner, and that Walmart has to be made accountable to the community. Ms. Wirt said that the ANC will devote an entire meeting to the issue. Mr. Amos said that the Bennett Group, which will develop the property, will meet with the Zoning Committee, and he wants to keep them separate from Walmart because there are different issues. The Bennett Group is buying the property from the City. The zoning of the site has been same for the past fifteen years.
Mackenzie Baris of D.C. Jobs with Justice said that that group would have a meeting on March 24th to screen the film The High Cost of Low Wages. Mr. Silver stated
it could also be seen on Netflix streaming video.
- Transportation and Public Space
Roti – 1275 1st Street NE
This is a request for support of outdoor seating at Roti, 1275 1st Street NE. It is in the same row as Tynan’s and Potbelly, for which the ANC has recently approved plans for outdoor seating.
Rudy Prieto, owner of Roti, a new Mediterranean grill, would like to have 14 tables outside his establishment. Most of them will be two tops, but there will be two four-tops. They will be square tables with stacking chairs. There will be free-standing umbrellas, each of which will cover three tables. Like the other establishments in this row, there will be no stanchions, fence or barrier separating the tables from the sidewalk. The tables will take up about 10’ feet of space directly outside the restaurant. There will not be trash cans outside, but the tables will be bused and there will be trash cans right inside the door.
The hours of business will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and 11 am. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They will be closed on Sundays. The tables and chairs will be brought in at night, and will be stored off-site during the winter.
Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation and support the Public Space permit application for Roti, 1275 1st Street NE. The motion was unanimously approved.
- Alcoholic Beverage Committee
Boundary Road – 414 H Street NE
Andy Kline, the attorney for the restaurant and Brad Walker and Ed Leopold, the owners, presented information on Boundary Road, a new “rustic, farm-to-table restaurant to be located at 414 H Street NE. The restaurant will have 65 seats, and would like to have entertainment for private parties. They said they think it is a perfect neighborhood for what they have in mind. The hearing is scheduled for March 22nd.
Sally Donner, who lives on 5th Street NE, said she has negotiated VAs for other establishments in that neighborhood. She is concerned about the parking, and said there would be a severe parking problem, and was also concerned about hours and noise. She said the Zoning Overlay was specific that the six or seven blocks east of 8th Street were zoned to be residential. It’s changed dramatically since the Overlay was instituted.
Mr, Wilsey said there were several issues: hours, a CT license, live entertainment, and parking. Ms. Donner said that 32 yearsa ago she worked with John Wilson to close a Chinese carryout in the same location. Joel Kelty asked what the size is, and was told it is 6000 sq. ft., including a mezzanine; the building footprint is 2000 sq. ft.
Mr. Walker said that they are designing the space to build out a space on the side to keep the trash inside. There will be trash pick-up every day. Parking could be a problem, there is a small space, but they are planning a neighborhood spot where many people will walk, or take advantage of zone parking on H Street. He also said they will provide incentives for people to take public transportation, He said he will have, at most, 22 employees, and he has an intention of hiring local people as far as possible. Ms. Baris asked whether there would be bicycle racks, and was told that they are part of the business plan for the restaurant.
A community resident suggested building a parking facility for the neighborhood. Mr. Crews said he had hit the nail on the head. He said that planners think you’ll cut down on parking when you make parking hard.
Mr. Richardson said he would be holding a community meeting to iron out the details of the VA. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/ Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to protest the license for Boundary State until there is a signed voluntary agreement. The motion passed without objection.
Watershed – 1225 1st Street NE
Mr. Kline, also representing Todd and Ellen Grey, the owners of Watershed, who are applying for a new license for a new restaurant in the Hilton Garden Inn at 1225 1st Street NE. He said they will be running a fine dining restaurant and doing room service as well. They own a highly rated fine dining establishment downtown. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to support the granting of a license for Watershed. The motion passed without objection.
- Planning, Zoning and the Environment Committee
Mr. Amos presented the following items:
218 Morgan Street NW
This is a request for support of a BZA application for a variance from the lot occupancy requirements and a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions to reconstruct a flat (two-family dwelling) with attic addition in the R-4 District at premises 218 Morgan Street, N.W. The hearing is scheduled for April 12th.
Nancy Green-Johnson, the owner, is seeking a variance to allow an attic addition (higher height of what was the previously existing attic) when reconstructing the non-conforming property (maximum lot occupancy)
This house was one of the two houses that collapsed last spring after construction in the adjacent property caused the collapse. Both properties were later razed and could not be preserved. Applicant is rebuilding the non-conforming house (75% lot occupancy rather than 60%) and is seeking the variance to allow the attic height to be increased – allowing additional use of the attic space. The additional attic height will not cause the building height to exceed 40 feet. The previous front elevation of the property would not be different from what it was previously, however the roof line behind front façade changes from a flat roof to a gabled roof and since the house is on an alley, the change would be visible from the street or alley. Other properties on that same block have previously been approved for similar variances allowing additional attic height/space; in fact the house that was the cause of the collapse (216 Morgan Street) had been approved for the zoning variance.
The house is on an alley, and the other adjacent house was demolished, so no letters of support were requested.
Mr. Crews asked whether the rear porch was counted as part of the lot occupancy, and was told that it was.
Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to accept the committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the applicant’s request for a lot occupancy variance and nonconforming structure variance. The motion passed without objection.
443-459 I Street NW
This is a request for a two year extension for a previously HPRB‑approved building concept. The hearing is scheduled for March 24.
The applicant is seeking a two year extension to an HPRB concept approval in order to allow a potential purchaser of the property to complete their due-diligence for the property. IBG is the potential purchaser of the property. They plan to develop the property as approved in the concept. A letter of intent to purchase was provided to the PZE Committee.
The original HPRB concept was approved in 2006 but expired in 2008. The applicant at that time, Walnut Street Developer, chose not to request an extension for the property. The current applicant does not know why previous owners did not seek an extension at that time but they are willing to pick up the project and develop it.
HPRB is allowing the potential owner to request an extension at this time. The applicant states that no changes will be made to submitted plans; it will still include residential and retail components. Historic facades will be preserved, restored, and incorporated into the development as specified by the original concept.
Existing tenants of the property and residents were supportive of the project; additionally IBG has entered into discussions with the BicycleSpace, a successful retail shop in the development, about moving to a temporary space during the construction and remaining as a retail shop in the project.
A letter of support for Scott Fuller and IBG was received from Rachelle Nigro, the current ANC 2C04 Commissioner and a previous Director on the Yale Lofts Board. Mr. Silver said he wants to be actively involved with BicycleSpace.
Motion: Mr. Crews moved/ Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the applicant’s request for a two-year extension for the previously approved HPRB concept. The motion passed without objection.
450 K Street NE
This a request from Douglas Development for approval of a concept design for a thirteen-story residential building on a vacant lot. The hearing date is March 24th.
The project will be 246 rental residential units and ground floor retail space. Residential will be a mix of studios, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and 2 bedroom/den units. On-site parking is included; the ratio is 1 space for every two units. Bicycle usage and parking is provided and strongly encouraged. Kettler Management will manage the residential units.
Retail heights will be 14’-16’, actual tenants/use for space have not been set. The second story will include a courtyard, fitness center, café, and club room. The building is planned to be LEED Silver.
Construction should hopefully begin in Q4 2011/Q1 2012 with occupancy in 2014. The development will use 400 Massachusetts Avenue and The Whitman as models for the look and feel of the facade. Actual façade plans are still under development but are looking at a mix use of brick materials and glass. The right side of the façade will be more traditional with a more contemporary feeling left side.
The project will require zoning variances and the principals will return to the PZE Committee and ANC after those requests are filed and a hearing date set. Variances sought may include rear yard minimum, roof structure setback, and loading dock berth requirements.
A member of the community asked whether they will hire from the community. Mr. Silver said he feels comfortable with the group, and he plans to hear the community’s views. He said that Mr. Dixon would meet with Council Chair Kwame Brown about hiring. Motion: Mr. Silver moved/ Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the applicant’s request for HPRB concept approval for 450 K Street NW. The motion passed without objection.
I-395 Air Rights Project
This is project of the Dreyfus Company, and they are seeking approval of a first-stage PUD, a consolidated PUD and a PUD-related zoning map amendment in the C-4 zone district to construct a mixed use project of office, residential and retail uses on a platform above the Center Leg Freeway (I-395) between E Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW.
The applicant came before the PZE Committee in response to changes requested at the January 24th, 2011 Zoning Commission Hearing. At that hearing, the applicant was asked to address concerns with the buildings in the north block, the retail strategy – particularly its relationship with Massachusetts Avenue, and the massing of the south block development. All the changes described were made at the request of the Zoning Commission but these modifications still further refine the same goals that Louis Dreyfus has always had for the project.
The North block has now been redesigned as two buildings rather than three buildings. The covered courtyard has been removed and replaced with a 60’ wide corridor between the buildings. The western building will appear as two separate buildings but it will be connected by a step-down connector between the two towers. The northern block will have a granite base with a glass structure above it. The applicant is still investigating the correct connections between glass panels.
Primary retail has been moved to front Massachusetts Avenue and down into the building corridor. Additional retail is available if needed; otherwise it could be office space. The retail plan focus is still restaurant/market with additional service retail opportunities. Total minimum retail is now 63,120 square feet (originally 75,000 square feet) but additional retail space is available should the market support it.
South block massing has been reduced; it will be two buildings connected with an atrium. The sidewalk setback at E Street has also been increased to 14’. Total FAR for the project is now 8.75 (originally it was 8.9 FAR). The changes described above represent an increase in the FAR for the North block but a reduction in FAR for the South block. Block FAR breakdown is: North block – 8.92 FAR, Middle block – 8.1 FAR, and South block 9.0 FAR (0.5 reduction in previous South block FAR).
Mr. Silver said he has some concerns with the building, but he is impressed with the Dreyfus Group which is going to work with the community. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the increased focus on Massachusetts Avenue retail, the refined corridor, and the massing of the south block. The motion was accepted without objection.
- Grants Committee
Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to change the name of the Committee to Community Outreach. The motion passed without objection.
- Community Comment
Mark Dixon requested a reorder of his business cards, an expense that has already been approved for all ANC 6C commissioners.
Bill Sisolak called to the ANC’s attention an article in the March Hill Rag about federal “reasonable accommodation” zoning exceptions, and how it is being abused by District zoning and DCRA officials. What it means is that if a person is disabled, full lot occupancy can be used, and people who are not disabled are taking advantage of it. Ms. Wirt suggested that action should begin at the PZE Committee level
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.