Wednesday July 11, 2012
214 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Present: Commissioners Dixon, Goodman, Price, Silver, Wilsey and Wirt
Motion: Mr. Goodman asked to have a report on the appeal of the Crucible’s Certificate of Occupancy added to the Zoning Committee report. Mr. Dixon wished to discuss a grant to the Boy’s and Girls Club. Mr. Price moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the agenda as amended. The motion passed without objection.
Ms. Wirt thanked Ms. Weiner for her efforts in transcribing the minutes of the special ANC meeting with Walmart, and mentioned that questions submitted to Walmart at that meeting had not yet received a response. Consideration of the June minutes was deferred until the September meeting. Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Walmart minutes as presented. The motion passed without objection, with the caveat that corrections will be accepted for one week.
- Treasurer’s Report
In Mr. Richardson’s absence the Treasurer’s Report was read by Ms. Wirt.
Motion: Mr. Goodman (?) moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the payment of $210 to Andrea Ferster for legal assistance on an ABRA application, $249.85 to Roberta Weiner for the transcription of ANC minutes, and $65 to Karen Wirt for reimbursement for payment of business cards for Keith Silver. The motion passed without objection.
Ms. Wirt said the Quarterly Report for the 3rd Quarter of FY 12 is due at the end of August and it had been circulated electronically if there were any comments. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Goodman (?) seconded a motion to accept the Quarterly Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.
- Brief Community Announcements
Arson Dog Memorial – 439 New Jersey Avenue NW
Walter Gold, Executive Director of the DC Fire and EMS Museum, 439 New Jersey Avenue NW, requested a letter of support for the placement of a sculpture, the National Firedog Monument, outside the DC Fire and EMS Museum, which is located at the New Jersey Avenue firehouse. The monument is a memorial to arson-sniffing dogs, of which there are only 88 in the nation, with three residing in DC. Mr. Gold said all firefighters nationwide will be notified of the placement, and he expects it will become a tourist attraction, drawing people to this repository of DC Fire Department history. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to support the placement of the National Firedog Monument outside the firehouse at 439 New Jersey Avenue NW. The motion passed without objection.
Closeout of JO Wilson Grant
Samantha Caruth of JO Wilson School appeared before the ANC to thank it for the grant for the school’s production of Annie, which they were able to undertake with the Atlas Performing Arts Center. She submitted the grant report.
Report by Mr. Goodman: Items in Addition to JO Wilson in his SMD
2 M Street NE
Construction on 2 M Street NE is moving ahead—they have reached the 4th floor of the building, the first apartment house that’s part of Northwest One. There will be ground floor retail and townhouses for people displaced by the Temple Courts demolition.
Shooting at Ibiza
There was a shooting related to Ibiza, and there will be a Show Cause hearing next week, and all the relevant agencies are actively involved.
The Union Market is getting ready to reopen on August 21. There will be a summer picnic from noon to 6 pm.
National Night Out for Crime Prevention
On August 1st at JO Wilson School there will be an event for the National Night Out for Crime.
NoMa Farmers’ Market
The NoMa Farmers Market is now located in front of the Marriott Courtyard Hotel.
- Public Space and Transportation Committee
The Carving Room – 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW
This is a request for support for a public space permit for the Carving Room, at 3rd where it comes together with Massachusetts Avenue and H Street NW. The owner, Oded Weizmann, was present at the meeting. He is planning a deli and neighborhood bar, with 50 seats indoors and 46 on the patio. It is a residential building, and there is a section in their lease that permits them to have outdoor seating.
The café has a lot of frontage with windows on 3rd and H Street NW. The applicants brought photographs of the kind of tables and chairs they will use, and they plan to use folding furniture so they can be folded at night. They plan to have planters and/or railings to separate the café from the street. Trash will be collected on the inside of the building, and the tables on the outside will be bused.
He will be open to 1 am weekdays and until 2 am on weekends. There will be no music outside. Mr. Goodman said that he goes to the Building Museum and it will be nice to have a nice establishment close by, and made a plea for lots of plants, “the more the better.” Mr. Weizmann said he had leafleted the building about the hearing and the patio and had gotten no response, nor has the ANC. He said he expects to be open by mid-September.
Mr. Price said that this is the second project in two months where they’re using public space for private profit, and it’s a question for the Commission whether there should be a policy on using public space for private benefit.
Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/ Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the request of the Carving Room, 3rd Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW for a public space permit for a 45-seat patio. The motion passed unanimously.
60 L Street NE
This is a request for support for a public space permit for landscaping, planters, and curb cuts for a 321 unit, class A residential building at 60 L Street NE. Mark Bucci, Vice President for Construction of Camden Development, represented the developer at the meeting. The building is located between the NPR building on North Capitol, and a Tishman-Speyer-constructed office building on L Street.
The building will have “top” amenities: the ground floor, where there will be no retail, will have a club room, fitness facility, etc. There will be 3½ stories of below ground parking, including bike racks. The 24’ curb cut is at a private alley next to the NPR building, and is for loading and for garage entry.
The street paving would be to the NoMa standard for aggregate, and the planters will be constructed between the five tree boxes. Mr. Goodman had asked at the committee meeting whether there would be benches and when told no, he suggestion was made that there should either be benches or the planters should be 18” high so that people could sit on the edges. Mr. Goodman said he couldn’t think of a building that doesn’t have benches.
The tree wells will be to DDOT specs –with a three-sided low fence, and they will have the special soil and irrigation systems that are standard current storm-water management techniques. Mr. Bucci said there will be planters at the entry and asserted that it is the softscape that makes the area livable. Mr. Goodman reiterated that the building should be consistent with NoMa standards, with someplace to sit and somewhere to park a bike.
Mr. Dixon said he would like to wait until the building is up before approving anything. He said it’s his neighborhood and the street is narrow and there’s no room to walk now. Mr. Goodman said the sidewalk is 12’, including planters and tree boxes. Mr. Bucci said it’s the same alignment as NPR and the Tishman-Speyer building. Mr. Dixon said there’s no sidewalk and Mr. Goodman said there was a sidewalk before they started. Mr. Bucci said the planters do not touch public space. Mr. Dixon said there’s a serious problem with the homeless, and there is just not enough space. Mr. Goodman said there’s no plan to change the roadbed, so things won’t change. Mr. Dixon reiterated that the Commission was going to okay something where there’s not enough room.
Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Price seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the full ANC support the request of Camden developers for a public space permit for the landscaping, planters, and curb cuts for 60 L Street NE, with additional outdoor bike racks, modified plantings as discussed, such as using planters for the purpose of seating. The motion passed unanimously.
Verizon Center Signage
Mr. Wilsey reported on the status of the proposed signage for the sides of the Verizon Center. He said that the ANC had decided to wait until the Downtown Neighborhood Association, which has voted to oppose the proposal, and the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association, which has not taken a position, had acted. Ms. Wirt said that it sets a terrible precedent with big signs. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to oppose the proposed emergency City Council legislation approving the signage on the Verizon Center on the grounds that the Mayor’s Task Force is about to issue its decision on signage around the city, and there’s no need for special legislation. The motion passed without objection.
- Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee
712 C Street NE
This is a request for support for a historic preservation concept review for a two-story rear addition to a residential property at 712 C Street NE.
The applicant, Todd Ragimov, presented letters of support from the owners of both adjoining properties. Subsequent to the Committee meeting, it was learned that the original place involved demolishing the rear half of the existing historic structure, a fact that the committee was not aware of at the time of its vote. Historic Preservation notified the ANC that the applicant has submitted drawings for a revised plan involving retention of almost all the existing walls/roof structure (except openings to accommodate new doorways). Motion: Mr. Price moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the ANC support the concept for a two-story addition at 712 C Street NE. The motion passed without objection.
124 4th Street NE
This is a request for support for a BZA special exception to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing one-family semi-detached dwelling not meeting the lot occupancy and non-conforming structure requirement, and for an expedited review.
David Martin of Kent Street Properties LLC., the owner of the property, wants to construct a two-story 12’x12’ addition at the rear of his property. The property abuts five different north-south lots fronting on Constitution Ave. and shares a long boundary with 120 4th Street NE to the south. The applicant had submitted support from one neighbor, but others had objected. The applicant, as well, submitted plans that showed only his property without indicating the impact the addition would have on the neighboring properties. The Committee had expressed concerns that the light, air, and privacy of the neighbors would be affected, and that the applicant had not provided adequate plans/evidence showing otherwise.
Mr. Martin appeared at the ANC with plats and drawings showing the addition in relation to the surrounding properties and strongly promoted the idea that the addition would be an improvement to the property and give the neighbors a more attractive view. The neighbors, however, thought otherwise, and several presented written testimony, with maps and drawings showing the impact the addition would have on their properties:
Jane Mulvey, 327 Constitution Avenue, said that she and her husband, who have lived at that location for over 10 years, spoke about Mr. Martin’s request for an expedited review of the project and feels strongly that there should be a public hearing to address the issue and more fully explore the proposal. Her concern is that the addition will impede her view of sky and trees and affect the natural light, and the construction will affect plantings in her yard.
Preston Dunlap, the owner of 120 4th Street NE, said that he never received any information on Mr. Martin’s plans, contrary to regulations. He also objects to what he calls misleading statements in Mr. Martin’s presentation to the Zoning Commission, particularly one that says “there will be no adverse effect on the neighboring property owners.” He listed the ways in which the project will affect his property including light, air, and privacy. He requested the ANC oppose the request.
John Collins, an attorney who resides at 104 4th Street NE, referring to Mr. Martin as the Virginia Developer, said that there were many misleading statements in Mr. Martin’s presentation, including that he was the occupier of the building, which he is not, and that he is planning to “flip” the building once it is reconstructed. He says that Martin gave the wrong dimension of the lot occupancy, and he has violated his building permit. He also said that Martin has already constructed an illegal shed on the property and installed a port-a-potty.
An email was received from Commissioner Bill Crews, in whose SMD the property is located and who was not at the meeting, saying that he would oppose the request.
Mr. Martin said he hasn’t misrepresented anything, and that the shed is for construction equipment, and the port-a-potty is in the yard because he was not allowed to put it in the alley.
Committee Chair Mark Eckenweiler said that there are two issues, the application, and the expedited review. He said that if the ANC applies for party status, then the item can be removed from the expedited agenda, but sometimes they wait until the day of the hearing to do that, Mr. Price asked whether Mr. Martin had been to CHRS yet and was told that he did, and no action was taken.
Mr. Goodman said that the issue is a special exception, not a variance, in which case windows and roofline could be a problem as well.
Motion: Mr. Price moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation and oppose the application of Kent Street Properties LLC for support of a BZA for a variance for 124 4th Street NE. The motion passed 5-1 with Mr. Dixon (?) in opposition.
1005 North Capitol Street NE
This is a request for support of a BZA application for variances and special exceptions by Be the Change for the construction of a new building with residential, retail and office buildings in the C-3-C District.
The variances are from the court width and area requirements; from the off-street parking requirements; and from the loading berth depth and service delivery requirements. Special exceptions are from the rear yard requirements and the roof structure setback.
This project was approved by the ANC in April. Be the Change is the development arm of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church. This will be an affordable rental apartment building of about 124 units, about half will be affordable housing for people at 60% of AMI, the other half is for veterans who have exited homelessness. There will be on-site social services, and small apartments.
Mr. Dixon said he was concerned about its proximity to a 200-year old church, and Mr. Eckenweiler responded that this zoning relief is being done to avoid damage to the church.
Motion: Mr. Price moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support the request of Be the Change for zoning relief.
Mr. Dixon said he can’t imagine why they want to build there, and he’s against it. Mr. Goodman said he wants to thank the developers for providing all the affordable housing. Chapman Todd of Be the Change said they have met multiple times with the church and the pastor. They have modified the design after consultations with the church, and they will continue to work with the church–this is a faith-based effort and so they are attuned to the church. The motion passed 6-.0, unanimously.
250 K Street NE
This is a request by the K Street Developers s for a two-year extension of Phase 2 of a two-stage PUD that the ANC originally approved, and because of an inability to complete financing and legal difficulties with TIAA-CREF, a partner in the project, is unable to move forward at the current time. They have every intention of completing the project, which is a residential building.
Mr. Goodman, in whose SMD the project sits, spoke strongly in support of the project, saying that he hopes the project gets built, and that Mr. Cohen been a wonderful neighbor, sponsoring the summer movies on the building lot and making many other contributions to the neighborhood. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Price seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to support K Street Developers’ request for a two-year extension of its PUD for 250 K Street NE. The motion passed without objection.
The Crucible – 16 M Street NE
Mr. Goodman reported that the hearing on The Crucible’s Certificate of Occupancy was scheduled for the next week, and in truth, the club has proved to be a good neighbor. Skanska owns the property, and there have been no problems. The biggest fear in the community has been that it operates like other clubs, but it hasn’t. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to authorize ANC 6C to withdraw its BZA appeal if the Commission can come to an agreement with the club; and to authorize Mr. Goodman to negotiate that agreement, which should contain a/ not operating late hours with loud music; and b/ not renovating the roof for an outdoor venue. Mr. Goodman said that such an agreement would not be filed with ABRA but will provide guidelines for the Crucible, and a template for other similar establishments.
Mr. Dixon said he would appreciate it if there were a meeting with the Northwest One community before the hearing. Mr. Silver asked if it’s a sex club, and Mr. Goodman said yes, but it is a private membership club that requires advance membership. One cannot join on the same day on-site. Mr. Price said it’s up to the SMD Cmmissioner to reflect the views of his constituents. Mr. Goodman said there will be a copy of the agreement on the web site.
The club’s owner added that he has 1800 members, who are quite respectful, civic minded people. He said they’ve been there seven months and there hasn’t “been a peep out of them.” The vote on the motion was 6-0, unanimous.
Skip Coburn, Executive Director of the Nightlife Association, said that The Crucible has been a member for ten years and it is totally in compliance with all the regulations and rules. There has never been a problem with MPD or ABRA.
- Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee
Mr. Wilsey reported that councilmember Graham has introduced the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment, which deals primarily with hours of sales, including Sunday hours. There is only one issue –the proximity of sales locations to residential buildings, and the bill should be amended to include that language. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to send a letter to the Council members suggesting that the Omnibus Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Amendment be amended to include in §25.446 (f)(2) “proximity of sales locations to residential . Buildings.” The motion passed unanimously, 6-0. Mr. Price said Mr. Wilsey and Mr. Goodman should work out the language.
Fuel Pizza and Wings – 600 F Street NW
Mr. Wilsey presented information on Fuel Pizza and Wings, 600 F Street NW, which is located in ANC 2C, and which wants a license for beer, a small proportion of its sales. The issue is that there have been complaints from neighbors on the potential for noise from their patio, which will be open until 1; 30 am. Mr. Coburn said they want the late hour because of the possibility of late events at the Verizon Center. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to protest the license for Fuel until a Voluntary Agreement is worked out between the ANC and Fuel. Mr. Coburn suggested that the agreement be the same as that with the Green Turtle. The motion passed unanimously, 6-0.
- New Business
Grant for Uniforms for Boys and Girls Club
Mr. Dixon introduced Alvin Judd, coach of the #2 Police Boys and Girls Club football team, who was requesting $2150 for uniforms for his team. He said the club had been in DC for 52 years, and they have raised half the money they need elsewhere and the $2150 is half the amount they need.
Ms. Wirt reminded Mr. Judd that the uniforms were not to be given to the players but kept as the property of the Club. Mr. Judd said he understood and the uniforms are kept locked in a closet at the club. Ms. Wirt said that for the sake of the Auditor, the ANC requires a statement stating that the uniforms are not gifts. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Price seconded a motion to support the request by the Boys and Girls Clubs for $2150 for uniforms, contingent of the receipt of a letter stating that the uniforms will not be given to the players. The motion passed unanimously.
Matthew Kozey, a candidate for ANC 6E, what is now Commissioner Silver’s seat, introduced himself.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm