Wednesday, March 14, 2012
214 Massachusetts Avenue NE
Present: Commissioners Crews, Dixon, Goodman, Price, Richardson, Silver, Wilsey and Wirt
Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to accept the agenda as presented. The motion passed without objection.
Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to accept the December and January minutes as presented. The motion passed without objection, with the caveat that additions and corrections will be accepted for one week.
- Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Richardson delivered the Treasurer’s Report. It showed an opening balance of $81,731.95. There were three DC Government allotments in the amount of $4,618.47, $5,460.24 and $4,053.47, and an interest payment of $.65. Checks were written to the ANC Security fund for $25 (Check #1227), $270 (Check #1228) to Roberta Weiner for taking and transcribing minutes for the January 2012 ANC meeting; $2500 (Check #1229) to the Mt., Vernon Triangle Community Development District for a grant to advertise for an open-air market; and $1250 (Check #1229) to Ron Dellums for meeting facilitation, leaving a balance in the checking account of $91,819.73. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. The motion passed without objection.
Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to approve the ANC’s Quarterly Report for the First Quarter of FY2012. The motion passed without objection.
Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Price seconded a motion to approve expenditures of $65 for business cards for Mr. Price; $1974 to the Hill Rag and Fagon Community Guide for advertising; $82.38 reimbursement to Mr. Silver for copier cartridges from Staples to print meeting notification flyers; and $234 to Roberta Weiner for transcription services. The motion passed without objection.
Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Mr. Crews seconded an allocation not to exceed $5,000 for attorney’s services in the case of Xclusive, a club that is trying to open at 707 H Street. The owners have failed to show up for meetings or hearings, and it appears, according to Mr. Richardson, that it will be a full-blown protest hearing, for which he feels a lawyer is necessary. He says that the person who has the lease has every intention of turning the place into a nightclub. The motion passed without objection.
- Brief Community Announcements
Race for Hope – May 6, 2012
Danielle Rosenkskruggs, representing the Race for Hope, an event to benefit Brain Cancer, now in its 17th year, said it is 5K race going from Freedom Plaza to the Capitol and back. She said they had rolling closures planned, and would be finished by 11:30 AM. Mr. Wilsey pointed out that it is a walking event and doesn’t block traffic. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to support the race and send a letter to the Emergency Management task Force letting them know. The motion passed without objection.
National Police Week 5K – May 12, 2012
Chris Cosgriff described the race, saying they had a new finish line at G Street for the May 12th 5K event, behind the Building Museum, and they will be having rolling street closures, between 9:00 and 9:45 AM. Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to support the race and send a letter to the Emergency Management task Force letting them know. The motion passed without objection.
Gallaudet Campus Plan
Hansel Bauman of Gallaudet University reported to the ANC that the University is working on a new campus plan, and they have been holding open meetings in the community to listen to community views. They will be having one on April 16th at the Atlas Theatre to listen to community input after which they will present before the Zoning Commission. Mr. Goodman said he would put a link to the plan on the ANC web site. Mr. Bauman added that there would be a meeting on the Gallaudet campus on April 30th.
PZE Committee member Bill Sisolak announced a meeting with the Mayor on reservation 13 on March 22 at the Armory. He mentioned that Reservation 13 will go to Ward 7 when redistricting takes effect, and the Mayor has suggested that this long-term planning effort might be a good location for a Redskins training camp instead of the mixed use residential, commercial, retail development that has been planned. Naomi Mitchell of Councilmember Wells’ office said that the Councilmember is absolutely opposed to that plan, and he feels that the original commitments on that property should be honored. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/ Mr. Crews seconded a motion to send a letter to the Mayor stating that the ANC is totally opposed to any training camp proposal and that the original proposal to turn the land into a mixed use development is what should be implemented. The motion passed without objection.
Fresh Farm Markets
Bernadine Prince, co-executive director of the Fresh Farm Markets, said she had found a potential space to which to move the market from its current space on H Street that has to be given up because of imminent construction. The Ludlow Taylor location is right around the corner on 7th and G Streets and has the advantage of proximity to the current market. They have also identified a back-up site to Ludlow-Taylor at Peabody School, which is several blocks away and would mean losing their current customer base, which they have built over time. The Market runs from April 21 to November, on Saturdays from 9 AM to Noon. A drawback at Ludlow-Taylor is that they would have to pay DCPS $6,092 in fees, $50 for a public space permit, and pay for a custodian. It is, she said, the second strongest market that they run, and they want to keep it going. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to send a letter to Councilmember Wells asking him to intercede with DCPS to get the requested fees for the Market reduced. The motion passed without objection.
Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to support FreshFarm Markets’ efforts to use Ludlow Taylor School for a Saturday morning farmer’s market with the option of exploring other locations if they have to, including 13th and H Streets NE, the former library kiosk site. The motion passed without objection. Fresh Farm Markets will report back on the location decision in April.
Mr. Price reported on the status of the Bikeshare station he is working on for Maryland Avenue, 7th and D Streets NE. He said there are eight design considerations involved in the decision and Maryland Avenue traffic has to be taken into consideration, but the neighbors have given up two parking spaces.
Mr. Price said he is meeting with Councilmember Wells. He is looking for more police patrols in his SMD. He said there have been 15 robberies over two months. The police have gotten on the case and they seem to have been successful in suppressing theft from autos.
Mr. Silver reported on the ANC meeting with Walmart, saying that Keith Norris, who is in charge of the six new stores coming to the District, had been Walmart’s point person and it was a productive meeting. Mr. Norris had been very forthright, and the ANC 6C people had been able to ask direct questions and get answers.
K Street Rush Hour Restrictions
Mr. Goodman reported that the K Street rush hour restrictions that he requested be removed will be removed within two weeks on the 600 and 700 blocks of K Street NE.
He also reported that Trammell Crow has broken ground on 1050 1st Street NW; that he has filed an appeal with the BZA on the Crucible c of o; and that a new business, Tito’s Burritos, will be opening at 7th Street near Gallaudet.
- Grant Liaison
Ludlow-Taylor School After School Programs
Grants Liaison Mr. Crews presented a grant request from Sarah McLean of the Ludlow-Taylor School’s PTA for $4,914.95 for three after-school enrichment programs, including a weekly class at Joy of Motion for pre-school and kindergarten kids; a Kung Fu Club; and Robotics kits for a class. These are extracurricular classes beyond the basic aftercare program and Tanya Watkins, the director of the aftercare program, is increasing the enrollment. The challenge is funding the program—645 of the school’s students qualify for lunch programs. Mr. Richardson pointed out that the grant will have to be changed to support only Robotics kits, as the ANC cannot pay individuals for instruction. These payments to individuals would have to be subtracted from the overall amount. Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to provide a grant of $2,825 for the Robotics portion of the after-school program to the PTA at Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School. The motion passed without objection.
- Public Space and Transportation Committee
435 Massachusetts Avenue NW
This is a request for support for a public space permit for outdoor seating at a Subway establishment at 435 Massachusetts Avenue NW. The store has been at that location for a year. It is Subway protocol to not do outdoor seating until after a year.
The restaurant will have 28 seats and exterior planter boxes. The sidewalk is very wide—23’ from the store entrance to the sidewalk. They will have umbrellas as well as one ADA accessible table. Subway protocol says the furniture has to be updated every three years. Their hours are from 9 AM. to 10 PM. Everything comes in at night and is brought out again in the morning. They will have trash bins. Steve Garber, Subway’s architect, said they have had a sign posted for about a month and have gotten no feedback from the neighbors. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation that the full ANC send a letter supporting the request of Subway for outdoor seating at its location at 435 Massachusetts Avenue NW. The motion passed unanimously.
H Street NE Performance Parking
Committee Chair Joe McCann gave a presentation on Performance Parking. The idea, he said, is to promote parking availability on H Street, and the money raised will come back to the community in the form of grants for transportation-related projects. It will run from I to G Streets, and 3rd to 15th Streets NE. It will be $2 in the evenings for two hours, with a four-hour max and $4.75 an hour at other times.
On the north and west sides of the street there will be Ward 6 residential parking, with every resident receiving a visitor parking pass. Mr. Goodman said that visitor passes are bad things, people can sell them and they will not be used for their desired purpose. A member of the community said they should not be distributed. Motion: Mr. Price moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to send a letter to DDOT stating that Performance Parking should move forward but that visitor parking permits should not be distributed, and saying that the ANC looks forward to working with DDOT to establish a workable system of parking passes. The motion passed 5-2-1, with Commissioners Silver and Richardson opposed.
- PZE Committee
Committee Chair Mark Eckenweiler presented the following cases.
700 A Street NE
This is a request for support of an HPRB application for permission to replace stained glass windows on a church building.
Six months ago, the former Unity Church, a Victorian building at 7th and A Street NE, was purchased by the World Mission Church, which is, according to Earle Horton, their representative, an offshoot of the 7th Day Adventist Church. The applicant claims that it was unaware that the property was in a historic district, and that it didn’t know whether the existing stained glass windows are original to the building. The Church has begun removing the windows, including a large rose window on the 7thStreet side of the building without seeking permission. Mr. Horton asserted that they did not know there were regulations to follow and permissions to be gotten before any modifications to the building were undertaken. They are now seeking permission to replace the windows with clear glass.
The Church, in keeping with its beliefs, as indicated in a page from their by-laws, believes that idols and stained, colored glass windows are against the teachings of the Bible and therefore cannot be allowed in any building that belongs to the church. They say no representational or geometric figures can be displayed, asserting that they are inconsistent with the Bible and that “any geometric pattern associated with the worship of God, and in particular the cross, is considered by God to be an idol and is forbidden.” The Church has covered many of the windows in the building with brown paper to hide the glass.
The Historic Preservation Office staff has directed the Church to reinstall the windows and apply for permits before moving forward with removal of about 50 stained glass windows and replacement with clear glass. The PZE Committee report states there was a discussion about whether the Church’s First Amendment right to exercise its religion was being interfered with, with attorneys present saying that the Supreme Court has ruled that the right of free exercise of religion does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid law.
Mr. Crews said he has gotten at least seven or eight letters about the issue because this is a contributing structure to the historic district, and these are “special” windows. He said the church has the responsibility to do due diligence, It’s clear what the rules are, and there is no excuse for their behavior. Mr. Richardson said he could understand how some windows could be removed prior to the application, but that HPRB has to decide whether they’re “special “ windows.
Ms. Wirt asked whether a compromise would be possible, e.g., remove but store the windows, preserve them until they leave and replace them. Mr. Crews said that was not an option.
Joel Kelty said that he was going to buy the building but the windows would have had to be replaced, and they are special windows so it would have been a problem. Keith Bridger said it was a historic district and the rose window is on a primary façade, and must be replaced. Margaret Love said she sees the windows from her porch, and the same rules ought to apply to everyone. Marta Wagner and Michelle Brevard also spoke to the importance of the windows.
Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to advise the Historic Preservation Review Board to determine that the windows cannot be removed because they are a contributing part of a historic district and they are special windows. The motion passed 5-1-1, with Mr. Richardson opposed and Mr. Silver not voting.
- Kwame Brown
Kwame Brown spoke for a few minutes on the condition of the District of Columbia and introduced his chief of staff, Megan Vahey.
- ABL Committee
Zuppa Fresca – 250 K Street NE
Mr. Wilsey said that the request for the license was advertised broadly and no one was opposed. The space is designed for a restaurant, and the hours are not excessive. It’s a good addition to the neighborhood. Motion: Mr. Wilsey moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve a VA and permanent license for Zuppa Fresca, an Italian restaurant at 250 K Street NE, the Loree Grand. The motion passed without objection.
The Carving Room – 300 Massachusetts Ave NW (Mass. Court)
This is a restaurant will offer house-cured meats and house-made pickles. Motion: Mr.Wilsey moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to approve a license for the Carving Room, 300 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The motion passed without objection.
Ibiza – 1st and Patterson Streets NW
Mr. Goodman reported that this is a request for support for a nightclub license with a VA. The club has a loud roof deck, without permits. It’s supposed to serve meals, but doesn’t. The Hilton across the street can’t rent rooms facing the club because of the noise, and he is working with the NoMa BID to see what they can do. Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Mr.Wilsey seconded a motion to send a letter to ABRA asking for a show cause hearing. The motion passed without objection.
- Additional Business
Mr. Crews announced a CHRS Preservation Café at Ebenezer’s Café on 2nd Street NE, where Amanda Molson of the Historic Preservation Office will discuss new window regulations.
Sekou Biddle, democratic candidate for At-Large City Councilmember, presented a brief biography and explained why he thinks he deserves the votes of DC voters..
The meeting was adjourned at 9:13 p.m.