Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6C
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
214 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Present: Commissioners Crews, Goodman, Richardson, Silver, Wilsey and Wirt
Absent: Dixon, Hamilton
The meeting was convened at 7:00 p.m.
Mr. Goodman asked to add the appointment of his replacement on the PZE Committee to #6, the PZE Committee agenda. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/ Mr. Goodman: seconded a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. The agenda was adopted without objection.
It was decided to table discussion of the minutes until next month.
- Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Richardson delivered the Treasurer’s Report for September. It showed an opening balance of $94,371.47. There was an interest payment of $.79, leaving a balance in the checking account of $94,372.10 there were two outstanding checks, for $279, and for $3,596, leaving a ledger balance of $ 90,506.10 Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.
- Community and Commissioner Comments
Ms. Wirt reported that the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force had announced its recommendation for the Ward redistricting, and had adopted the 6C proposal, including the boundaries the ANC voted to approve last month. The Councilmember forwarded that plan to the Council Redistricting Committee. It is a plan that serves our residents and the city as a whole as well. It will give 6C seven commissioners to deal with its workload, between NOMA, northeast, Union Station and the rest of 6C.
Mr. Crews said that he would like to support a different SMD, one that knits the community together better. The big change is at the southern border; it envelops the north and south of East Capitol St. and changes the boundaries of 6C05. which. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to substitute this proposed SMD for the previous one. Mr. Goodman, said that he appreciated that each SMD will share borders with H Street and is an improvement on the one he designed. Mr. Richardson saw a problem, in the way the SMDs covered H Street, and Mr. Crews indicated that we can jog down – go down to Union Station Metro station, and have the station in the SMD. We could go down to Columbus Circle and around the station. Mr. Richardson said it’s a very narrow strip, affecting only people on 2nd Street. The motion passed 5-0-1, with Commissioner Wilsey abstaining. Ms. Wirt said that the new information had to be forwarded to the Council, and designated Mr. Crews to prepare the communication with the Council, getting email concurrence from the ANC before it is sent.
Kevin Reynolds, walk manager for AIDs Walk described the event. The Walk has taken place for 35 years. It will start and end at Freedom Plaza on October 29.. Runners: will begin at 8:30, walkers at 9:15. Mr. Wilsey said he thinks everything is in order. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to support the AIDs Walk on October 29th. The motion passed without objection.
Race to end Women’s Cancer
Elizabeth Saylor, representing the Race to End Women’s Cancer, said that the race would cover the same route as the Jingle Bells on November 6. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to inform the Emergency Management Task Force that ANC 6C supports the race.
Central Union Mission
Mission director David Treadwell gave a brief update on the status of the new headquarters of the Mission. He reported that they have signed a lease on the property with the District, and they are anxious to hear from the ANC and the community about any ideas they have for the building. They have inherited earthquake damage, are working on correcting that, and are planning on being open for business in June 2013. There are restrictions on retail but they are allowed to have a cafeteria, run with DC Central Kitchen.
SOME (So Others May Eat) has a building at NY and NJ Aves. They hope to take to take over management next year and after the renovation of the building, use it as transitional housing, moving families back in. They are asking for a letter of support for transitional housing usage. Representing SOME were Troy Swadon, and Rachel Nichols, director of housing. The address is 216 NJ Avenue NE. Motion: Ms Wirt moved/ Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to approve the sending of a letter of support. A representative of the Society for the Prevention of Blindness, at the meeting on another issue, said that he works with SOME and supports its work. The motion passed without objection.
Law Enforcement Race and Ride to Remember
The Law Enforcement Race and Ride to Remember will be on October 16th. The money raised goes for the Law Enforcement Museum. There are about 250 runners, and they make certain there are adequate officers at each end of the route. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to inform the Emergency Management Task Force that ANC 6D supports the race. The motion passed without objection.
Better Neighborhood Civic Association.
Ray Valentine, representing the newly formed Better Neighborhood Civic Association, came to discuss the group, which was formed in the “chimney” of ANC 6C after a neighbor was killed on August 28th. The case is still unresolved. People were motivated to act and formed the Better Neighborhood Association to get to the causes of why things like this have happened, They plan to be proactive and do what it takes to make the neighborhood playground area an asset, find a use for a library that’s been abandoned. He said they would let know what they’re doing. They are working through the Mt. Vernon Square Neighborhood Association. (He introduced a woman who spoke, but her words could not be heard on the tape.) Ms. Wirt stated that the ANC gave grants for the kind of projects the group had in mind.
The owners of the new restaurant planned for 414 H Street NE said that it is working with DCRA on plans for how the building will look, and they will remain in touch with the community.
- PZE Committee
PZE Committee Chair Rob Amos presented the following cases:
513 Capitol Court
This is a request for support of a BZA application for a special exception for a massage, skin care, and physical therapy establishment in an office park/residential area at 513 Capitol Court NE. The special exception is required because of the nature of the business and its location. It will be open weekdays and weekends. The owner, Ailie Hamm, has purchased three parking spaces for her clients.
The use of the facility is compatible with the neighborhood, it is not objectionable to the neighborhood and does not have a negative impact on religious, educational or other institutions. The nearest religious institution is Ebenezer’s Coffee House which is also a church, and members of the church are clients of the establishment, Creative Hands, which is moving from a kiosk at Union Station. Ms. Wirt said that Ms. Hamm is her next door neighbor, and many neighbors are customers. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the applicant’s request for a special exception. The motion passed 6-0.
644 C Street NE
This is a request for support of a special exception to allow an addition to an existing one-family row house not meeting the lot occupancy and non-conforming structure requirements. The applicant is seeking to construct a two-story addition onto a one-story existing structure at the rear of the house, and will not be adding to the lot occupancy. However, the lot coverage is over the allowable and the existing court is less than the 6’ requirement, a special exception is required.(Court is 4.9) Light/air: it is not higher than existing houses and will look like the rest of the houses. There are letters of support from the neighbors and no objections. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the request for a special exception at 644 C Street NE. It passed 6-0.
233-235 Massachusetts Ave NE
This is a request for support for a Historic Preservation concept for the renovation of an existing building at 233-235 Massachusetts Ave; NE, offices of the Society for the Prevention of Blindness.
The buildings were originally constructed in 1869/71 as two two-story frame buildings with basements. They were combined in the 1960s during renovation work that demolished the existing party wall. They were originally constructed as residences but later renovations converted them into commercial buildings but the amassing and footprints have not changed since the turn of the century. Little material of historic significance remains on the exterior or interior.
The renovation will work within the confines of a “preservation zone” approximately 20’ from the front façade to the rear to preserve what has been deemed historic. New construction will be at the rear. The exterior façade will again look like two separate buildings but it will be a single building inside. The rear footprint will be expanded to increase usable interior space. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the full ANC support the applicant’s request for support of a Historic Preservation concept review. It passed 6-0.
18 Seventh Street NE
This is a request for support of a Historic Preservation concept proposal to remove an existing rear addition that connects a main house to a carriage house in order to reopen the back yard.
The remaining two-story carriage house will be converted back to a garage with a studio area above. Extensive interior damage is requiring demolition of the interior areas of the house and the interior spaces will be rearranged.
The Committee was concerned about the lack of notification of the neighbors, who did not learn of the project until work had already begun, and they did not see the plans until the PZE meeting, and did not know until then what was happening with the house next door to theirs. They are concerned about the condition of the party wall that will be exposed to the weather, and with damage that may occur on their side of the party wall because of the demolition. At the end of the discussion the architect was to set up a meeting between the owner/contractor and the neighbors to address their concerns. Motion; Mr. Crewsmoved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the full ANC support the applicant’s request, provided that the applicant makes a good faith effort to obtain letters of support from the adjacent neighbors. The motion passed 6-0.
638 A Street NE
This is a request for support of a Historic Preservation permit to allow a one-story garage at the rear of the property. The owner, Bill Sisolak, wishes to replace a small shed and fence at the rear of his property with a two-car garage. The garage will be 12’ high, (2’ higher than the neighboring garage to the west), and it will have two “mock” windows on its east façade to break a solid wall. He is replacing fencing along the property line, and running electricity out to the garage to charge his eco-friendly electric vehicles. Letters of support were provided. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the full ANC support the applicant’s request. The motion passed, unanimously, 6-0.
- Grants Committee
Committee Chair Bill Crews introduced two grant applications:
Southern Baptist Church Diploma Program
This is the third year of this grant of $1500 request by Pastor Eleanor Doom of the Southern Baptist Church for an alternative adult education program that involves components of work as well as classroom activities The students in this performance-based program receive diplomas from DCPS. The have had 80 students in three years. This year, out of 11 students, three have gone to college, two into training programs, and all are employed. Costs for the program total $7500, which includes stipends for four people, and they work with CASA for those funds and materials. Mr. Silver said he sees what Southern Baptist does and that it’s a beacon of hope in the community. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to approve a grant of $1500 to Southern Baptist Church. The motion passed without objection.
Stuart Hobson Middle School
This is a request for a grant of $929 76 to the PTA of Stuart Hobson Middle School toward the upgrading of the school’s athletic equipment. The school was represented by Clayton Witt. It is for the locker room, storage cages, shoulder pads (requested funds for shoe strings are for the shoulder pads, not individual students’ shoes). Funds can be given to the PTA. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to approve a grant of $929.76 to the Stuart Hobson Middle School PTA. It passed without objection.
- ABL Committee
Mr. Wilsey presented the following cases:
Luke’s Lobsters – 624 E Street NW
This is a request for support of a CR License for a small café with a small indoor seating area and , if approved an eight seat outdoor seating area. It was agreed that there were public space issues, but not ABL issues. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to support the application of Luke’s Lobster for a CR license. The motion passed without objection,
Daikaya -705 6th Street NW
This is a request for support of an application for a Japanese noodle house with a DJ to play for diners. It is two stories—40 seats downstairs and 70 upstairs. The Committee voted to recommend protesting the licenser until it was amended or reapplied for as a Class C restaurant, and that a VA was reached regarding the DJ.
Several members of the community objected to their application which is for a CT license as opposed to a CR license, because they feel it could become another nightclub with a DJ. Darren Carson, a neighbor, said he likes the concept but not the hours—a 4 am closing on weekends seems extreme and he is worried about smokers standing outside talking at late hours. Terry Carter, who lives at the Cosmopolitan next door to Graffiato, is concerned about people sitting on the steps. If there is no dancing, just eating with piped music that sounds good, but if the license is later sold with a DJ attached it could mean trouble later on. He said he is happy that the owner is going to resubmit his application. In answer to a question, Mr. Wilsey said there is no request for a dance floor, but an entertainment endorsement will increase activity. Mr. Wilsey said the protest will be withdrawn when a new application is filed, but the protest should stand through the next meeting. It’s not a question of supporting the establishment, just the licensee. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to accept the ABL Committee motion and protest the license until it is amended or reapplied for as a Class C restaurant and the VA is reached regarding the DJ. The motion passed without objection.
Po Boys Kitchen – 709 H Street
This will be a New Orleans style restaurant with reggae and jazz bands on occasion. Seating capacity is 99 with outdoor seating for 30. At the Committee meeting Commissioner Richardson expressed concern about the hours and wanted to make certain there was parity in the neighborhood with other establishments regarding hours of operation and wants to work with the applicant on a VA. Rebecca Antoine said she had come to meetings and there was no-one there. Mr. Richardson said it could be revisited at the ABL meeting on November 13th. Mr. Crews pointed out that there was an ANC meeting on November 9th, and it could be revisited then, and between now and then the community can be consulted. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to protest the license application for Po Boys Kitchen on the grounds of noise and hours until a voluntary agreement is worked out with Mr. Richardson. The motion passed without objection.
- Community Comment
Roger Hicks who lives in the 800 block of 4th Street has many issues with TruOrleans on his block. Chief among them is parking: the valet parkers are taking illegal spaces, and there are clear metered spaces on H Street. Then there is the noise, there isn’t a night when it isn’t a problem, and there is public intoxication on 4th Street, and the employees are standing out on 4th Street taking their breaks and making noise. Mr. Richardson said the parking issue on 4th Street exists, and he has been in touch with Councilmember Wells’ office . It’s been going on for several months. ABRA has been out there with the noise, and I’ve been on the phone with ABRA discussing noise and parking. When there are complaints he tries to do something about them. Ms. Wirt said there could be follow-up at next month’s meeting.
Occupy Wall Street
Mr. Crews asked whether he could try drawing up a resolution in support of their goals—jobs etc. and just applaud the spirit of what they’re doing. He said he would send drafts around, Mr. Silver said it was a brilliant idea and to count him in on anything that’s done.
New Buildings in NoMa
Mr. Goodman said that there are new buildings starting construction in his SMD that are matter-of-right buildings that will probably not ever come before the ANC:
- The third building atConstitution Square, 100 M Street NE, has begun construction
- 60 L Street NE – Camden is constructing a 320 unit residential building
Ms. Wirt announced that she had received a letter saying that the Northeast Library at 330 7th Street NE will be undergoing an interior renovation during the summer 2013 and expressed pleasure that the library’s was being updated for the community.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 pm.