June 2012

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Wednesday June 13, 2012
Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Present: Commissioners Crews, Dixon, Goodman, Price, Richardson, Wilsey and Wirt

  1. Agenda

Motion: Mr. Price moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the agenda as presented.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. Minutes

Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the May minutes as presented.  The motion passed without objection, with the caveat that additions and corrections will be accepted for one week.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson delivered the Treasurer’s Report.  It showed an opening balance of $83,432.64.  There was an interest payment of $.68.  A check was written for $948.20 (Check #1241) to Andrea Ferster for legal services for an ABRA hearing on Xclusive, leaving a balance in the checking account of $82,485.12.  Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.

Motion:  Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the payment of $249.85 to Roberta Weiner for the transcription of ANC minutes, and $65 to Karen Wirt for reimbursement for payment of $65 for business cards for Keith Silver.  The motion passed without objection,

  1. Brief Community Announcements

DC Sustainable Utility

Kamina Newsome, program manager of the DC Sustainable Energy Utility, explained the program, which provides DC businesses and institutions with financial rebates for installing energy-efficient equipment such as commercial lighting, HVAC and compressed air systems, food service and vending equipment, motors and commercial refrigeration.  They also, in partnership with the Industrial Bank, have a program that provides forgivable loan funds of u to $12,000 for home rehabilitation for eligible homeowners who install energy efficient improvements.

Mr. Dixon asked if he could be eligible because his air conditioning needs replacing, and was told that it’s possible.  Ms. Newsome’s contact number is 479-2222.

Murals DC

Nancy Lyons of the Department of Public Works gave a presentation on Murals dc, an anti-graffiti program that is giving grants for the painting of wall murals in graffiti-prone neighborhoods.  She announced that there will be one painted at 3rd and M Street NE, at 179 3rd Street NE, on the Oasis building.  Mr. Goodman said the owner is delighted to apply for the grant.  Ms. Lyons said that Councilmember Graham started the program in Ward 1, on Columbia Road, and there are currently two in Ward 6, one commemorating John Philip Sousa on Pennsylvania Avenue, and one on Barracks Row.  She said they are done with community input, and the artist talks to the community before she/he does anything. For people who are interested in pursuing a grant, she can be reached at 671-2637.  Mr. Goodman said he had heard about the program, and went running to Oasis because they had a large blank wall, and they picked up on it

Turkey Trot Race – November 22

Ellen Harherill, representing So Others May Eat (SOME) gave a presentation, and asked for support for the 11th Annual Turkey Trot 5K race on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, to benefit SOME.  The race starts and ends at Freedom Plaza, and goes east to 3rd Street NW on Constitution Avenue and returns on Independence Avenue,  The race will be from 8:30 to 10:30 am, and set-up will begin at r. Wi5:30 am.  Mr. Wilsey noted that it was an ideal day and time for a race. Motion: Mr. Wilseymoved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to send a letter of support to the Emergency Management Task Force supporting the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day.  The motion passed without objection.

Light Up the Night Race – October 13th (this was discussed later in the meeting)

Julie Hanson, representing the Light the Night Walk for Leukemia on October 13th, presented information on the event, which will be held from 5 pm to midnight from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol.  Motion:  Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to send a letter of support for the event to the Emergency Management Task Force. The motion passed without objection.

First Street NE Renovation

Mr. Goodman reported that the District is getting ready for a major reconstruction job on 1st Street NE.  This was planned a long time ago, but it was delayed because of all the development in the area, but now the time has come to do it.  He said he had attended a meeting about the project and learned it will be from K Street to New York Avenue. He said the street will be completely torn up so they can redo the pipes            and there will be one-way traffic for about a year.  He said he expects it to be very disruptive. However, from K to G Streets, it will just be the roadbed. And when it is completed, there will be a new road, new crosswalks everywhere, and a bicycle track, painted green, starting at Union Station to Pierce Street.

  1. Transportation and Public Space Committee

White Tiger – 301 Massachusetts Avenue NE

Many months ago, Joe Reger, the new owner of the building in which the White Tiger is located at 301 Massachusetts Avenue NE is located, appeared before the ANC to discuss his plans for the building.  At that time, he planned to maintain the White Tiger as his tenant.  That has not worked out, and his tenant will be Pete’s Pizza, a branch of the popular establishment that has branches in Columbia Heights and Tenleytown, This is a request for support of a public space permit for the addition of a twenty-seat glass-enclosed semi-permanent structure outdoors on the 3rd Street side of the building.to the right of the entrance, and an extended awning over another twelve seats to the left of the door, both in public space.  Additionally, a refrigerated trash room will be built inside, and an enclosure will be constructed at the property’s northern edge for paper and where trash will be moved for daily pick-up to mitigate what neighbors say is a constant odor.  Finally, seating on the Massachusetts Avenue patio will be increased from its current 55 to 88.

As part of the renovation of the building, Mr. Reger plans to move the kitchen, currently on the second floor, to the first floor, as well as installing a pizza oven, and claims that the enclosed addition is needed to compensate for the seating that will be lost, He claims that customers do not want to walk up a flight of stairs to sit on the second floor. Chairman Joe McCann of the Transportation and Public Space Committee said the Committee voted unanimously at its meeting to not approve the project until it saw information that having a glass enclosed space was necessary for his business.

Mr. McCann also reported that people at the committee meeting were also concerned about the effect of the addition on the streetscape, the potential for an increase in noise and the presence of tour buses bringing people to the restaurant.  They were assured by the co-founder of Pete’s Pizza, Joel Mehr, that they do not want tour buses, but are looking for a local and family clientele.

Mr. Reger said he has done outreach to the neighborhood, and spoken with residents on 3rd Street, and has letters of support from people at 310 and 314 3rd Street.  He said he has been working with the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) because part of the building is historic and part is not.  The addition will be on the historic portion of the building, and because of that must be a semi-permanent structure.  He said he will also build a trash enclosure for trash, and to hold garbage, which will be in a refrigerated room inside, until the daily garbage pick-up happens.  Mr. Reger also said that the trash enclosure will serve as a noise barrier on 3rd Street.  He said there will be something in the lease prohibiting tour buses, but that Pete’s will have to negotiate a voluntary agreement

Doris Blackman, at 318 3rd Street, said she had lived on the block off and on for 64 years.  She left and came back to the house where she grew up.  She is concerned about the “change of scenery”.  She thought the White Tiger was going to be renovated.  She said she is concerned that there will be nowhere to park and she has difficulty walking.  She is also concerned that the buses will eventually come, and trash will be an issue.  She asked that the ANC not approve the public space permit because of the parking within a two block radius.  She said she doesn’t seeing it working.

Anthony Ballustian, who is on the condo board at City Vista, said he is excited about a new retailer coming to the neighborhood.  He said he was sure there would be a plan to address the issues and he was in support of the project.  Andrew Poncheralso spoke in favor of the development. He said he lives on 3rd Street, and thinks that White Tiger had its run, and it will be nice to see something     new.

Betsy Gardner, who lives on 3rd Street, said she like the Pete’s people, but wants to make sure that the quality of life issues get written into an agreement—such things as the use of the Heritage Foundation parking lot on the weekend, noise and odor issues.  Mr. Crews asked for some examples, and she responded that they have said they will not throw bottles into the trash after 10 pm, and that there will be daily garbage pick-up.

Beck Hellius, another resident, said she doesn’t understand the need for an “encroachment” on the street; it’s large and adds to the bulk of the outside. She also spoke about the parking. And said she has had to sit for 45 minutes waiting for a space in front of her house.

Kay Elsop, at 319 3rd Street, said she is quite concerned about the increased density of the seating on the 3rfd Street side, going from four to 30.

Mr. Crews said that no-one has addressed the issue of using public space for private gain, and asked whether dumpster space is being rented. He said that it’s curious that HPRB isn’t concerned about what the public space is being used for.  Mr. Goodman said that something similar was approved for Toscana.  He said it’s a very legitimate concern, but not without precedent.

Mr. Crews said L’Enfant said that areas in DC were supposed to be park-like, and adding more seating to that corner is inappropriate.  Mr. Goodman said he would like to see more landscaping.  Mr. Reger said he is taking up broken and stained concrete and replacing it with hedges.  The project’s architect said he could add more greenery and put in more planters, along with the permanent iron fence, on the Massachusetts Avenue seating area which will act as a buffer against noise.

Mr. Price asked where the authority came from to enclose public space with a permanent fence, and said that people give away public space far too easily.  The architect responded that that there is no change in the sidewalk, which remains the same depth.  Mr. McCann said the streetscape is not hurt, and in fact, improves the look of the street.

Mr. Price said he supported the committee’s viewpoint and would like to see more information. Mr. Goodman said he supported the changes—the northern bump-out, the trash enclosure. Mr. Crews noted that they are not blocking the sidewalks, sand the neighbors would be better off if there is enclosed space and if the trash is enclosed, and not in public space.

Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to advise the Public Space Committee that ANC 6C will support the request by Joe Reger for a permit for a semi-permanent enclosure with 20  seats, a trash enclosure, and an increase in the seating on Massachusetts Avenue from 55 to 88 seats, that the perimeter of the Massachusetts Avenue frontage is fine and the matter of most concern is that no trash be stored in public space, and that the seating enclosure be no larger than that shown on the plans.  The motion passed 4-2-1, with Ms. Wirt and Mr. Price in opposition, and Mr. Dixon abstaining.

Verizon Center Signs

Mr. Wilsey reminded the Commission that it had voted to take no position on the issue of a proposal by the Verizon Center to place large signs, both moving and fixed, on the F Street and 7th Street sides of the building until the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) and the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association had acted on the issue.  The DNA has met, he reported, but the Penn Quarter group has not yet taken its position.  He introduced Nanette Paris, DNA president, who reported that the DNA had heard from Monumental Sports, and they had a problem with the process; the Mayor has a task force that is looking at billboards and signs, and should be issuing a report soon. DNA is concerned that Verizon Center will gain an unfair advantage if their request is granted by the Council prior to the new regulations being enacted.

Motion:  Mr. Wilsey moved/’Mr. Crews seconded a motion to approve what the two groups agree to, and if there is no agreement, a vote will be taken at the July meeting. The motion passed without objection.

Banners for the Mt. Vernon Community Improvement District

Bill McLeod, Executive Director of the Mr. Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District, presented a program of banners to be hung on 40 light poles on 4th Street NW between New York and Massachusetts Avenue NW.  They will be 2’ x 3’, and will use photographs.  They will be hung 20’ off the sidewalk over the sidewalks.

Mr. Goodman said, humorously, that he objected to the banner that said “No Gridlock” because there are not enough bike docks in the area.  MR. Dixon said the project should be approved because they will look nice.  Motion:  Mr. Dixon moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to approve the banners proposed by the Mt. Vernon Triangle CID.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee

600 F Street NW

Mr. Wilsey, chair of the Committee, presented information on a new upscale Japanese cocktail lounge to be located in the basement of the OBA Bank building at 600 F Street NW.  It will hold About 40 people and have a standing area. The establishment is in ANC 2C, but 6C has an interest in it.  It was approved by the Committee 5-0. Motion:  Mr. Wilsey moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to support the Japanese cocktail bar at 600 F Street NW.

Fuel – ? H Street NE

Fuel, a new gourmet pizza restaurant scheduled to open on H Street, has applied for a liquor license since the last meeting of the ABC Committee, and has not yet signed a voluntary agreement.  MR. Wilsey requested that the ANC protest the license on the grounds of peace, order and quiet as a placeholder to give the ANC standing until a VA is signed. Motion: Mr. Price moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded motion to protest the license of Fuel until a VA is signed with the establishment.

Hill Country Barbeque at the National Building Museum

John Shaw of Hill Country Barbeque, a neighbor of Mr. Wilsey on 7th Street, would like support for a stipulated liquor license to run an outdoor barbeque restaurant for the summer at the Building Museum, 700 6th Street NW.  He said it would run from 5 pm until about 11 pm, and possibly during the day on weekends for families.  They hope to start in mid-July, and plan to have a hot/cold truck ferrying food and drink back and forth to the restaurant.  It will be on the 5th Street lawn.  The members of the ANC responded very positively.  Motion:  Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to support a stipulated license for Hill Barbeque at the National Building Museum. The motion passed without objection.

  1. New Business

Initiative 70

Mr. Goodman explained the provisions of a petition for an initiative that may appear on the November ballot: Initiative 70, The Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012, which will, if passed, prevent corporations, LLCs and partnerships from contributing to local election campaigns. The organizers of the petition are currently seeking signatures.  Councilmember Wells is actively promoting the legislation, and Mr. Goodman asked that the ANC send a letter of support for the initiative to the City Council. Motion:  Mr. Price moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion that the A send a letter of support for Initiative 70 to the members of the City Council. The motion passed without objection.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm.