November 2011

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NOTE: There were two meetings held in November due to a lack of quorum at the first scheduled meeting.  The November 9 minutes below are followed by the November 21 minutes.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heritage Foundation

214 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Present: Commissioners Goodman, Richardson, Wilsey and Wirt

Absent: Crews, Dixon, Hamilton, Silver

The meeting was convened at 7:10 p.m.  A quorum was not present, and it was determined that there would be discussion of the agenda items with no votes taken, and a meeting would be called subsequent to the meeting to vote on those items that required them.

  1. 1. Agenda

The agenda was adopted without objection.

  1. 2. Minutes

Discussion of the minutes was tabled until the next meeting.

  1. 3. Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Discussion of the Treasurer’s Report was tabled until the next meeting,

  1. 4. Transportation and Public Space Committee

Because the applicant was present, the Committee’s report was moved up in the agenda.  Joe McCann, the Committee chair, reported on the following:

Luke’s Lobster – 624 E Street NW

This is a request for support for an outdoor patio at Luke’s Lobster, a 20-seat restaurant that serves Maine lobster rolls and other seafood and Maine boutique beers.  Brian Holden, representing the establishment, said they want to have five two-top tables outside.  There will be stanchions with nautical rope.  The company has three stores in New York with liquor licenses so they have experience.  They see the outdoor space as a way to add seats, and plan to close by 9 pm during the week.  The chairs will be brought in at night and they are still working on how to secure the tables at night.  He said he had canvassed the neighborhood and Carmine’s takes their tables in, Starbuck’s on the corner of their block leaves them out.  There is one street light.  There will be no waiter service, but there will be trash cans and the tables will be bused regularly.  Nanette Parris, head of the Downtown Neighbors Association, lives in the Clara Barton condominiums in which the establishment is located, and she spoke in strong support for the seating area.  She said she would work with them on any noise problems that arose.  The committee voted unanimously to support the application.

  1. 5. Brief Comments and Commissioner Announcement

Jingle All the Way 8K Race – December 11

St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race – March 13

Leslie Green of the Capitol Running Company, presented information about two races, the Jingle All The Way 8K on December 11, 2011, and the St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race on March 13, 2012.  The two races are identical, and will start at Freedom Plaza.  Mr. Wilsey, in whose SMD the races will occur, said that he had heard from the people at the Marriott that the fence set-up is a problem.  Ms. Green said she is aware of the situation and they are working it out, and there will be carpeting at the door.

  1. 6. Grants Committee

Mr. Crews reported on a grant application for $4000 from Charles Garris and the Innovative School of Creative Arts, an after-school program he runs at Walker-Jones Elementary School. The program serves 60 children and prepares them for a musical performance, teaches them how to use a recording studio to record their performance.  It is then transferred to DVDs and CDs and sold as a fundraiser for the program. The program was funded by the ANC last year and was very successful.

  1. 7. ABL Committee

Mr. Wilsey the Committee chair delivered the following report:

Meatballs – 624 E Street NW

This is a new establishment next door to Luke’s Lobster.  It is also a small restaurant, opening with the involvement of chef Michel Richard, which serves five different varieties of meatball sandwiches served with various sauces and condiments.  They have applied for a Class C license to serve beer and wine, but no spirits. They are still negotiating a voluntary agreement.

Chinatown Market – 521 H Street NW

This is a standard renewal for a Class B grocery store at the corner of 5th and H Street NW that has been a nuisance to the neighborhood for many years.  Neighborhood complaints have included public drunkenness, loitering, noise.  The neighbors are protesting the renewal.  The establishment’s attorney, Paul Pascal, wants to work out an agreement with the community, and the hearing is November 14th.

Mike, a resident of 809 6th Street, around the corner from the establishment, says there has been no opportunity to protest and wants to object to the renewal, claiming the corner is loaded with vagrants and people drinking, and this has adverse effects on property values.  He says they are selling 24 oz. cans, selling to alcoholics and other people of known bad behavior.  He said the 1st District reports 17 calls for disorderly conduct in the past 12 months.  They will continue to work.

  1. 7. Transportation and Public Space (cont.)

Stop Sign at 4th and I NE

Mr. Goodman said that he wanted to discuss the issue of adding a stop sign at 4th and I Street NE, because, while that whole area needs attention to traffic difficulties, and there should be a study on how to make the traffic in that sector more responsive, at that corner there are construction projects on three of the four corners of that block and it is dangerous for pedestrians. It will be discussed at the next meeting.

  1. 8. Economic Development and Zoning Committee

Rob Amos, the Committee Chair, presented the following items:

443-459 I Street NW

This is a request for support of a BZA application for a variance and a special exception for historic buildings as part of a project to develop a residential retail and commercial project at 443-459 I Street NW.

This project was presented to the ANC in March for a two-year extension to the original plans that were approved in 2008.  New owners, represented at the meeting by Jeff Utz, of Goulston and Storrs, have decided to develop the lots and move ahead.  No changes will be made to the originally submitted plans.

The variance is from the lot occupancy requirement and the variances are from the uniform height requirements, the occupancy requirements, the closed court requirement, and the FAR limitations for historic lots to construct an addition of residential and retail building with below grade parking.  There are four buildings, three of which are contributing and have historic facades that will be restored, the third will be razed and reconstructed.  There will be 110 foot, eleven-story residential building with an FAR of 8.0 and 164,912 square feet.  The Committee unanimously supported the request for support.

1232, 1234, and 1236 NewJersey Avenue NW

This is a request for support for a raze permit for three row houses in the Mt. Vernon Square historic district by the Third Street Church of God.  The hearing is scheduled for November 17th.

Pastor Cheryl Sanders of the Third Street Church of God had appeared before the ANC in June, asking to raze the row houses to provide additional parking for their sanctuary and a planned addition.  At that time the full ANC did not support the request because 1/ the three buildings have been neglected by the Church for over 20 years and now they want to remove them to add parking (demolition by neglect); 2/ the homes should have been renovated or sold years ago to provide housing in the area; and 3/ the church cannot now claim that they need additional parking spaces when two years ago when the addition project was approved, it was for fewer parking spaces than the new plans for the addition provides, and no request for additional parking was made at that time.

The houses have not been maintained and Pastor Sanders stated that maintaining them has not been a priority for the church—they have been placing their efforts on other development plans.

Letters opposing the initial raze request have been received.

At the June HPRB hearing, it was decided that the rear portions of the buildings would be approved for razing, but the facades and first 15’ of the buildings must remain.  The church’s structural engineers, however, said that the damage to the front of two of the buildings was more extensive than originally thought, and the facades would not be structurally sound if left.  The third building, 1232 was determined to be structurally sound.  The church is now requesting that all three buildings be razed.

The PZE Committee reiterated its stance that the church was guilty of demolition by neglect, and the buildings should have been maintained and developed or sold. A next door neighbor, Si Kiailian, reiterated her support for not razing the building and requiring them to be redeveloped.  There were no letters of support, but church members in attendance did support the request.  The PZE Committee voted unanimously to not support the request.  The Commission will vote on the request at its next meeting,

1138 6th Street NE – Mt. Olive Baptist Church

This is a request for support for a special exception for a child development center for 50 children, ages six years and under, and 12 staff), and a variance from the lot occupancy requirements, a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions, and a variance from the off-street parking requirements to construct an addition to an existing church structure in the R-4 district. The project was presented by Marty Sullivan of Sullivan, Styles and Barros.  The hearing is scheduled for December 20th.

Mt. Olive Baptist Church is seeking support for zoning approval to construct a child development center in the Church’s old sanctuary building. It will serve up to 50 children, from 6 weeks to 6 years old, and require up to 12 staff members.  Zoning regulations allow a center of up to 16 children.  It will be located entirely inside existing space and will have no outdoor play area to impact neighbors.  The old sanctuary has not been used for over 40 years, and will be renovated.  A covered driveway will also be constructed between the old and new buildings to provide a drop-off/pick-up location.

A variance is requested for lot occupancy requirements  Currently the building is at 63% and the construction of the covered driveway pushes it up to 73%–13% over the permitted maximum.  Another variance is requested for not meeting the required four parking spaces.  The church says it has sufficient parking in the rear,

The Committee recommended unanimously that the request of Mt. Olive Baptist Church be approved by the full ANC, which will vote at its next meeting as to whether to support it.

601 F Street NW-Verizon Center

This was a presentation by Randy Bowe of Monumental Sports and Entertainment of a plan to add digital signage to the exterior of the Verizon center.  The plan is that, beginning in January 2012, signs would be added above McDonalds and Dunkin’ Donuts on 7th Street, and on F Street and H Street.  Ms. Wirt said that in order to do this, they need City Council –passed legislation, and illumination studies, which is done by DCRA. Nanette Paris looked at the legislation, and it doesn’t address any comment by people, and the ANC would like to have some input into what is going on—people problems have to be dealt with.  Mr. Bowe said that he already said he would be happy to work with the Commission when it goes to DCRA, that when the legislation is passed we can apply a process that we’ve developed  There was no resolution, and Mr. Bowe said he would return.

  1. 9. Community Comment

David Presti, who lives around the corner from TruOrleans, said that the establishment is in violation of its VA on two items – it is not following its valet parking obligations and there are a significant number of cars parked illegally in Zone 6 parking spaces.  Mr. Richardson said he would look into it

The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 PM.

_____________________________________________________


Monday, November 21, 2011

Heritage Foundation

214 Massachusetts Avenue NE

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

Absent:  Dixon

The meeting was convened at 7:10 p.m.  This meeting was a continuation of the meeting on November 9th which did not have a quorum.   Many of the items that were discussed at the earlier meeting were voted on at this one.  The material in italics is the discussion that was heard at the earlier meeting relevant to the subject being dealt with at this meeting,

  1. 1. Agenda

Mr. Crews asked to have a discussion of a resolution on internet gambling included under community comment. The agenda was adopted, as amended, without objection.

  1. 2. Minutes

The October 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 presented the Quarterly Report for the 4th Quarter of FY 2011. Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to approve the Quarterly Report for the 4th Quarter of FY11.  The motion passed without objection.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson delivered the Treasurer’s Report.  It showed an opening balance of $94,372.10.  There was an interest payment of $.77.  Checks were written for $125 to Karen Wirt for reimbursement for ANC Post Office Box rental (Check # 1212); $270 to Roberta Weiner for taking and transcribing minutes for the July ANC meeting and the September Transportation Committee meeting (Check #1213); $1,735 to Don’s Johns for a grant to H Street Main Street (Check #1214);   H HHH $1500 to Southern Baptist Church for a grant for its diploma program (Check #1215); $1250 to Hon. Walter Fauntroy for facilitating a meeting with Wal-Mart (Check #1217); and $929.26 to the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools PTA for football equipment (Check #1220); leaving a balance in the checking account of $88,563.11.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.

There was some confusion about the outstanding payments to Ms. Weiner, and one invoice was approved, and a second put aside until the end of the meeting.  Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to approve a payment of $185 to Ms. Weiner for taking and transcribing the October ANC 6C meeting. The motion passed without objection.

  1. 4. Brief Community and Commissioner Comment

Jingle All the Way 8K Race – December 11

St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race – March 13

Leslie Green of the Capitol Running Company, presented information about two races, the Jingle All The Way 8K on December 11, 2011, and the St. Patrick’s Day 8K Race on March 13, 2012.  The two races are identical, and will start at Freedom Plaza.  Mr. Wilsey, in whose SMD the races will occur, said that he had heard from the people at the Marriott that the fence set-up is a problem.  Ms. Green said she is aware of the situation and they are working it out, and there will be carpeting at the door.

Motion: Mr., Wilsey moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to support the two 8 K races presented by the Capitol Running Company.  The motion passed without objection,

DDOT Tree Planting

Ms. Wirt and Mr. Goodman announced that DDOT has 3500 trees to give away to plant in public space.  They come with either bags or tubs, and Mr. Goodman said he was getting 36 trees for his SMD.  They are available through the DDOT website and by calling 311.

Internet Gambling

Mr. Crews offered a resolution on internet gambling in the District. He announced that a meeting sponsored by the DC Lottery was taking place at the same time as the ANC meeting at Eastern Market to brief the public on the arrival of internet gambling in DC as the result of a hidden addition to the DC budget that approved the establishment of betting sites, without any public discussion, hearings or community input.  The only way to stop the new law from going into effect is repeal, and Councilmember Wells has said he will introduce such legislation. This resolution puts the ANC in the vanguard in helping the Council hear what the citizens of the District think.  Mr. Silver said that what has happened is a usurpation of home rule and has illegally taken away the role of the ANCs to ensure that the public has input into a matter as serious as this.  Mr. Goodman added that whatever one’s opinion, discussion is important, even after the legislation has already passed—all for a paltry $8 million.  He said he appreciated Mr., Crews’ efforts and planned to support the resolution.

Motion: Mr., Crews moved/Mr. Silver seconded the following resolution:

Whereas the online/internet gambling/Gaming including computerized slots legislation was inserted into the DC December 2011 budget without public discussion or public hearings, contrary to the principles of open and transparent government, and

Whereas the potential negative economic impacts associated with bringing on-line gambling supported and operated by the District of Columbia Government every day until 4 am may include increased police protection, alcohol beverage control, zoning and fire safety enforcement, specialized protection against hacking of the DC government website and its gambling site, and increased addiction treatment vastly outweigh the projected annual financial benefits to the District that might be realized by its implementation.

Now, therefore be it resolved that ANC 6C supports the immediate repeal of the “Lottery Modernization Amendment Act of 2010” and a moratorium on the implementation of DC Government online/internet gambling/Gaming including computerized slots so that this issue in stand-alone legislation can be thoroughly vetted in an open and fully transparent manner with proper public consideration, comments, hearings and recorded vote by the Council of the District of Columbia and approval and signature of the Mayor.

Support of the resolution was unanimous.  It will be forwarded to Members of the Council the Mayor, and groups opposing the law,

  1. 5. Grants Committee

Mr. Crews reported on a grant application for $4000 from Charles Garris and the Innovative School of Creative Arts, an after-school program he runs at Walker-Jones Elementary School. The program serves 60 children and prepares them for a musical performance, teaches them how to use a recording studio to record their performance.  It is then transferred to DVDs and CDs and sold as a fundraiser for the program. The program was funded by the ANC last year and was very successful.

Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to approve a grant of $3370 to Charles Garris and the Innovative School of Creative Arts.  The motion passed unanimously.  Mr. Silver noted what a remarkable effect the program had on the children who are in it.  Mr. Richardson mentioned to Mr. Garris that they would have to work out how the payments would be made to meet the requirements of the DC Auditor.

  1. 6. Public Space and Transportation Committee

Luke’s Lobster – 624 E Street NW

This is a request for support for an outdoor patio at Luke’s Lobster, a 20-seat restaurant that serves Maine lobster rolls and other seafood and Maine boutique beers.  Brian Holden, representing the establishment, said they want to have five two-top tables outside.  There will be stanchions with nautical rope.  The company has three stores in New York with liquor licenses so they have experience.  They see the outdoor space as a way to add seats, and plan to close by 9 pm during the week.  The chairs will be brought in at night and they are still working on how to secure the tables at night.  He said he had canvassed the neighborhood and Carmine’s takes their tables in, Starbuck’s on the corner of their block leaves them out.  There is one street light.  There will be no waiter service, but there will be trash cans and the tables will be bused regularly.  Nanette Parris, head of the Downtown Neighbors Association, lives in the Clara Barton condominiums in which the establishment is located, and she spoke in strong support for the seating area.  She said she would work with them on any noise problems that arose.  The committee voted unanimously to support the application.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to support the public space application for Luke’s Lobster, 624 E Street NW.  It was approved without objection.

Stop Sign for 4th and I NE

Mr. Goodman asked that the ANC send a letter to DDOT requesting that stop signs be installed at 4th and I Streets NE.  He said that while the traffic in that entire area requires analysis and action, this particular corner needs immediate attention: 4th Street is one-way going south, and one way going east, and three of the four corners have construction projects blocking visibility for both pedestrians and traffic. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to send a letter to DDOT requesting stop signs for the intersection.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. 7. Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee

Rob Amos, the Committee Chair, presented the following items:

443-459 I Street NW

This is a request for support of a BZA application for a variance and a special exception for historic buildings as part of a project to develop a residential retail and commercial project at 443-459 I Street NW.  

This project was presented to the ANC in March for a two-year extension to the original plans that were approved in 2008.  New owners, represented at the meeting by Jeff Utz, of Goulston and Storrs, have decided to develop the lots and move ahead.  No changes will be made to the originally submitted plans.

The variance is from the lot occupancy requirement and the variances are from the uniform height requirements, the occupancy requirements, the closed court requirement, and the FAR limitations for historic lots to construct an addition of residential and retail building with below grade parking.  There are four buildings, three of which are contributing and have historic facades that will be restored, the third will be razed and reconstructed.  There will be 110 foot, eleven-story residential building with an FAR of 8.0 and 164,912 square feet.  The Committee unanimously supported the request for support.

Mr. Silver asked about the problematic relocation problems of the bicycle shop, and whether it had found a place to move to.  Mr. Amos said that it was moving in to the space being vacated by Fun Fair Video!  Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the developer’s request for variances and special exceptions from the BZA.   The motion passed 6-0.

1138 6th Street NE – Mt. Olive Baptist Church

This is a request for support for a special exception for a child development center for 50 children, ages six years and under, and 12 staff), and a variance from the lot occupancy requirements, a variance from the nonconforming structure provisions, and a variance from the off-street parking requirements to construct an addition to an existing church structure in the R-4 district. The project was presented by Marty Sullivan of Sullivan, Styles and Barros.  The hearing is scheduled for December 20th.

Mt. Olive Baptist Church is seeking support for zoning approval to construct a child development center in the Church’s old sanctuary building. It will serve up to 50 children, from 6 weeks to 6 years old, and require up to 12 staff members.  Zoning regulations allow a center of up to 16 children.  It will be located entirely inside existing space and will have no outdoor play area to impact neighbors.  The old sanctuary has not been used for over 40 years, and will be renovated.  A covered driveway will also be constructed between the old and new buildings to provide a drop-off/pick-up location.

A variance is requested for lot occupancy requirements  Currently the building is at 63% and the construction of the covered driveway pushes it up to 73%–13% over the permitted maximum.  Another variance is requested for not meeting the required four parking spaces.  The church says it has sufficient parking in the rear,

Mr. Goodman said that the building has been vacant for a long time, and while you can tell that it’s vacant, it’s well tended and in good condition, He said he appreciates efforts to upgrade and expand the building, and he said the neighbors are concerned about parking, and the drive-through is an interesting idea–turning off the street, pull into the driveway  There will be a long window for drop-off and pick-up and the cars will be spaced out over a few hours and there are lots of ways to get out of the alley, and there is public transportation for staff.  The neighbors have a problem with Sundays.  The church has been a good neighbor, and its efforts are appreciated.

Rev. James of Mt. Olive sad he’s been there for 17 years.  There’s a need for child care in the community and we want to fill it.  Mr. Silver said that Mt. Olive has been a beacon of hope to the community, and asked whether the church can provide the space for 50 children.  Marty Sullivan responded that it is a large space, 40,000 square feet, 20,000 per floor.  They are digging down to the basement—it will be a total of 18’ for the two floors, and there will be solar panels on the roof.

Motion: Mr., Goodman moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion that the ANC accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the special exceptions and variances requested by Mr. Olive Church.  Mr. Crews offered a friendly amendment to advise the BZA require that drop-offs take place in the driveway, and add the direction—north or south—as a condition.  The amendment was accepted and the amended motion passed 6-0.

1232, 1234, and 1236 New Jersey Avenue NW

Mr. Amos mentioned that the hearing date had passed on this request for a raze permit, but the permit had been denied, and they plan to appeal to the Mayor’s Agent.

  1. 8. ABL Committee

Meatballs – 624 E Street

This is a new establishment next door to Luke’s Lobster.  It is also a small restaurant, opening with the involvement of chef Michel Richard, which serves five different varieties of meatball sandwiches served with various sauces and condiments.  They have applied for a Class C license to serve beer and wine, but no spirits. They are still negotiating a voluntary agreement.

Jonathan Theriault, the manager of Meatballs, was present and stated that they want to add beer and wine, and want a Class C license—no spirits. The hours would be the same as Luke’s, their next door neighbor.  He said the people in the condo are very supportive, and only one person has objected.  The voluntary agreement is still being negotiated, but they expect to finalize it. The request had passed the committee 3-0. The hearing is scheduled for December 9th Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to protest the license until the Commission receives the signed paperwork from Meatballs, and Mr. Wilsey is authorized to represent the ANC in this matter.  The motion passed 5-0-1, with Mr. Crews abstaining.

  1. 9. Unfinished Business

Treasurer’s Report

Because of confusion over Ms. Weiner’s invoice for September and October, the following motion was passed: Motion:  Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to allocate up to $200 to pay Ms. Weiner for transcribing minutes prior to the next ANC meeting.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. 10. Community Comment

Capitol Hill Classic 

Mike Soderman and his wife introduced themselves as the new chairs of the Capitol Hill Classic 10K race and walk for the benefit of the cluster schools.  They are PTA parents, working on outreach to get more people involved. The route has been changed, and while they’re working to meet the concerns of the 5th Street Baptist Church, they’re steadfast in keeping it on Sunday.  They are working on logistics and logistical plans to simplify things.  Mr. Crews said that churches don’t have a veto. Mr. Soderman said there hasn’t been a lot of outreach recently, and they don’t want the success of their fundraising to go to waste.  He said that last year $35,000 went to MPD for their services, and is working to not have a repeat performance this year,

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.