March 2014

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ANC 6C Minutes
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue N.E.

The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m.

A quorum of six out of six commissioners was present (Mr. Eckenwiler, Mr. Goodman, Mr. Kazmerczak, Mr. Price, Ms. Schiffman, and Ms. Wirt)

The agenda was approved unanimously as amended. [Motion:  Mr. Eckenwiler/Mr. Goodman]

The February minutes were approved unanimously with the caveat that any corrections could be submitted within one week of the meeting before posting the minutes on the 6C website. [Motion: Ms. Wirt/Mr. Eckenwiler]

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Price presented the treasurer’s report for February.  The beginning balance was $48,705.79.  There were five withdrawals:  $1,844.34, payment for a Tru Orleans lawyer retainer; $165.00, half year P.O. box rental; $25.00, ANC security fund; $15.00 Bank of America fee for the FY2013 third quarterly report deposit; and $125.92 for the Ibiza lawyer retainer.  There was a DC FY2013 third quarter deposit of

$ 3,337.28, and two interest payments of $.0.40 and $0.37.  The closing balance was $49,868.58.

Mr. Price introduced two new proposed expenses for payment:  an order of new ANC checks (the previous order having lasted 12 years) which should not exceed $50.00, and $95 for ANC business cards for Mr. Eckenwiler.  The treasurer’s report and the expenses within were approved unanimously. [Motion: Mr. Price/Mr. Goodman]

Community Announcements

  1. Mr. Price announced there is a website where more than 250 interested neighbors can keep abreast of the developments at 700 Constitution Avenue N.E. where 147 apartments are being developed:  He mentioned the Rock and Roll marathon on March 15, with road closures north and south on Third Street, but that vehicles could travel east on H to 4thStreet southbound. There will be a third quarterly meeting with the National Park Service on March 19, N.E. Library at 6:30 p.m.  UGA will present its plans for construction of an intern dormitory at 608 Massachusetts Avenue at the ANC 6C April 9 monthly meeting.
  2. Mr. Goodman  stated there will be a meeting on April 2 to discuss the Florida Avenue study, including parts of 6thStreet at Two Rivers Middle School, 1234 4th Street N.E. beginning at 7:00 p.m.
  3. Mr. Eckenwiler announced the schedule for additional open-house hearings pertaining to the zoning regulations rewriting.  The dates, places, and times are on the Office of Planning website.

Committee Nominations

Nominations for citizen members to ANC 6C committees were as follows: (1) Planning, Zoning, and Environment Committee, designation of Lauren McHale as an at-large member; and (2) Transportation/Public Space Committee, designation of Meti Zegeye and Gerald (Jerry) Wall as at-large members.  The members were approved without objection. [Motion:  Mr. Goodman/Mr. Kazmierczak]  Mr. Goodman announced that he had nominated Alex Ripps to serve on the Alcoholic Beverage Committee.  All appointments are on the ANC 6C website.  Several vacancies remain on the Grants Committee and Alcoholic Beverage Committee.

Planning, Zoning, and Environment Committee (Comm. Eckenwiler, chair)

  1. 600 Massachusetts Avenue N.E., HPA 14-190, application of Roberta Lovatelli for after-the fact approval of front landscaping, hearing March 27 or April 3, 2014—Craig D’Ooge, representative.  The applicant installed a paved patio covering the majority of the front yard in 2013.  Upon being cited by DDOT, the applicant sought permission from HPRB to retain the paving with minor modifications.  Commissioner Eckenwiler reported that at the 6C committee hearing, the applicant stated grass would not grow because of tree shade; that paving was justified by a vehicle that had crashed through the fence and into the yard; that neighbors were in support (submitting a petition signed by more than 40 individuals, some of whom lived outside D.C.); and cited as support the zoning regulations imposing minimum pervious surface requirements on private property.  The committee voted 4:0:1 to oppose the paving and require restoration of the green space, citing the DC 2006 Comprehensive Plan policy against paving of public space within historic districts.

At the full Commission meeting the applicant gave a brief history of the past, the present, and           the future.  She stated she did not know a permit is required, but is willing to work with the City to find solutions.  The  representative restated that grass would not grow in the shaded front yard, that all material  used in the paving was permeable, that the applicant had alternative plans for the City to consider ,and that neighbors supported retention of  the patio.  Submissions included messages from D.C. individuals in support and a message from a landscape designer stating grass would not grow in the area. Three ANC 6C residents testified against the application (Bill Crews, Steve Kehoe, [Mr. Kehoe mentioning other ground covers that grow in the shade] and Gary Barbour); two citizens urged working for other solutions (Lisa Hudson, Jennifer Bianca).

The commissioners reviewed photographs from 2004 and 2012 appearing to show grass growing on the site prior to installation of the paving.  In addition to the Comprehensive Plan provision (10-A DCMR 1012.5), the commissioners also considered the language of the official Historic Preservation Design Guidelines for landscaping and landscape features, which state that

To retain the park-like appearance envisioned in the 1870 Act, landscaping is restricted                                                           to flowers, ground cover, grass, low shrubs and trees . . . [S]ubstantial paving of green

space is not allowed. . . .

If a new deck or patio is to be added it should be located in the rear yard. . . . In

some areas, such as front yards affected by the Parking Act, locating a deck or patio in the front yard is not permitted. (Emphasis added)

The commissioners  considered all of the above and voted 5:0:1 (including one abstention) to urge the HPRB to deny the application and require the applicant to remove the paving and restore the green space.  [Motion: Mr. Eckenwiler/Ms. Schiffman] Mr. Eckenwiler accepted a       friendly amendment, which passed as part of the motion, to serve as ANC 6C representative at the HPRB hearing for this application.

  1. 640 Lexington Place N.E., HPA 14-218, application of Peter Grimm for alternation/addition to the third floor of an existing rowhouse in the historic district, hearing March 27 or April 3, 2014—Eric Peterson, representative. The proposal is to expand the third floor by raising the roof  line.  At the 6C committee meeting members were concerned that the addition would be visible from eye level on the opposite sidewalk, whereas all other homes on this street had a uniform roof line as constructed by the same developer circa 1912-1913.  The committee recommendation was to support the application subject to (1) receipt of letters from adjacent home owners and (2) demonstration that the addition not being visible from the opposite sidewalk.  The commissioners voted unanimously to support the committee’s  recommendations. [Motion: Mr. Price/Mr. Eckenwiler]
  2. 501 H St. N.E. (nonvoting item)—Informational discussion of plans by Douglas Development for plans on site. This is the third time a project update briefing has been presented. The applicant plans to file its PUD application in March.  Main developments since the last briefing include the decision to enclose the truck loading dock, reduce lot occupancy to about 76 %, configure the modular apartment configuration to allow for more multi-bedroom units, and furnish 6 dedicated or car-sharing spaces.  Discussion included ways in which RPP would be denied these tenants.
  3. 410 E Street N.E. (nonvoting item)—Informational discussion by Stuart Hobson School improvement team on possible plans for an athletic field and below-grade parking garage—Phillip Brady, representative.  The school hopes to reestablish the northern third of the city square as a play/practice field with artificial turf.  Option 1 (cost: $1 million) restore the play field and provide 28 spaces by converting curbside spaces on 4th, 5th, and E  (with objections to parking on F) from no parking  8 a.m.-4 p.m. to reserved parking for teachers and staff (“authorized vehicles”) for this time period.  The school would monitor the parking. Option 2 (cost: $6 million) is to excavate a one-level below-grade parking garage below the play field with about 54 spaces and build a new play field on top.  The option is not yet fully funded, although the D.C. Council has reportedly has expressed support.  Some comments at the committee level included negative impact of ventilation of fumes and exhaust on the F Street side, excessive cost of $100,000 per vehicle, and F street retaining wall height remaining the same. No application will be submitted until/unless complete funding is approved for Option 2.

Transportation/Public Space Committee (Joe McCann, chair

  1. H Street truck loading zones—Mr. Eulois Cleckley provided an update of the DDOT study observations from 3rdto 14th along H Street.  Alleys are not wide enough for trucks and are in bad condition.  Fifth Street is narrow so the loading zone likely will be on Sixth Street.  There will be 10 loading zones on numbered streets intersecting H Street.  DDOT is issuing tickets to trucks double parking on H Street.  Several comments at the meeting included restricting trucks on 6th Street, as it is a “collector road;” a request for no loading zone on 7th Street; and finding ways to generally keep trucks off residential streets.  DDOT is working to encourage smaller trucks and making fewer deliveries.  Loading zones on numbered streets would return to residential parking after 6:30 p.m, Mon.-Sat.  Additional comments are welcome in the next few weeks.  DDOT observations will continue.  Mr. Cleckley was asked to redouble efforts to consider needs of residents for parking.
  2. H Street performance parking community benefits—Mr. McCann stated that $506,000 is available in grants for community improvements derived from performance parking revenues on H Street.  Projects must be near the H Street corridor.  Mr. Goodman presented photos and application proposals he prepared for the 17 projects suggested for ANC 6C, including safety improvements in areas like the NE Library and enhancements around J.O. Wilson School to crosswalks and bike lane striping, bike racks, ADA ramps, recycling containers, call box repairs,  tree box fencing, and other safety improvements including raised crosswalks and signs.  The commissioners voted unanimously to support the 17 proposed projects, with Mr. Goodman designated as the representative (with Mr. McCann as his alternate) to take the lead in the submission of the application.  Feedback from ANC 6A and DPW is requested. [Motion: Mr. Goodman/Mr. Eckenwiler]  In the process of collecting project ideas it was discovered that there are a number of sidewalks in 6C in need of repair.  Mr. McCann said his committee will address these concerns at its April meeting.  Mr. Patterson from DDOT will be invited to give the status of the performance parking study.

Grants Committee (Sonte DuCote, chair)

In the absence of the chair, Mr. Kazmierczak presented the Grants Committee report. The Peabody School Early Childhood Campus garden program seeks a grant for the Capitol Hill Cluster School PTA, $2,736.32.  The money would be used to (1) restore garden areas affected by construction at the school, maintain garden structures, (3) support FoodPrints program activities, and (4) maintain the food and habitat gardens.  Materials to be purchased include a new redbud tree, stones and other garden structures, topsoil and fertilizer, journals for students of the FoodPrints program, and mulch.  The commissioners voted unanimously to support the grant.  the check would be made out to the PTA.  [Motion:  Mr. Kazmierczak/Mr. Eckenwiler]

Other Announcements

  1. Mr. Goodman mentioned that Ibiza had its status hearing at the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Agency.  The protest is ongoing.
  2. Mr. Eckenwiler mentioned that Island Dyes appears to be setting up shop with sales of drug paraphernalia at 331 H Street.  He asked for support for a letter to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development requesting further investigation as such sales are illegal in D.C.  ANC 6C had been informed previously that an optician had applied for a D.C. grant to open at this address.  The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter expressing support for the optician but raising concerns about the nature of business of Island Dyes. [Motion:  Mr. Eckenwiler/Mr. Goodman]
  3. Mr. Price requested a letter of  thanks and appreciation for the work of Shauna Holmes, who has retired.  She worked for preserving historic district guidelines on behalf of CHRS.  The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter commending Mrs. Holmes for her work.  [Motion:  Mr. Price/Ms. Wirt]

Meeting Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.