A Neighborhood SE Boulevard

At least 60 people attended a Community Meeting on December 11th, led by Councilmember Tommy Wells, to discuss the pros and cons of 3 SE Boulevard options that have emerged from the 6-month Neighborhood Planning study led by the DC Office of Planning (OP) with the active participation of ANC6B Commissioners and DDOT staff.

This study came about because of 6B’s major disappointment with the options proposed by DDOT in November 2013, as I discussed in my posting DDOT’s Barney Circle & SE Boulevard: Is This What We Want?  In early 2014, ANC6B actively promoted the alternative of planning this new boulevard within the context of the emerging neighborhood. CM Wells intervention during that time made the OP study a reality.

Two of the new options use a large portion of the land area now available for a freeway for housing.  One of these (A) includes a road between Barney Circle and 11th Street SE with two lanes in each direction with the possibility of adding a bus parking/streetcar facility underground.  The other (B) includes a two-lane road without the bus facility.  The third option (C) includes the underground facility but sets aside space above for a linear park and 4 lane boulevard instead of housing.  All options extend the existing 13th, 14th, and 15th Street grid to the new boulevard and, most importantly, provide pedestrian and bicycle access over the CSX tracks to the Anacostia waterfront at Boathouse Row.

While the 3 options are based on detailed knowledge of the available swath of land and surrounding neighborhood, they are conceptual plans.  The next step in this process will be a feasibility study by DDOT that will include traffic flow analysis.  The land area was turned over to the District by the Federal FHWA with the requirement that it be used for “transportation purposes.”  The DDOT study will provide an analysis of the necessary disposition of a portion to use for housing.  DDOT says it does not have a time frame for this study as the elements have not yet been identified but has promised to update the ANC on a quarterly basis.

You can view the detailed OP presentation of Options A, B, and C here.

Also see my A New Vision for the SE Boulevard posting on the previous August 4 presentation of 7 options that form the basis of the current 3 options.

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ANC6B Votes 9 Dec 2014

At our last meeting of 2014, three hours of discussion resulted in about 20 votes, most of them 9-0.  While a host of items (Minutes and zoning cases) were voted on in a block under the consent agenda, the rest of the agenda included:

  • 1 Historic Preservation case (1013-1015 E Street SE). Vote was 8-0-1 to support the application.  This case is troubling to nearby neighbors and others as it converts two individual houses into 6 condo units with the addition of a 5-unit carriage house on the alley in the rear.  Most of the objections cannot be dealt with within the context of historic preservation, so they await the zoning case to follow if the HPRB votes in favor of the application.  My motion to support included the assumption that the Board will assure various aspects are designed in keeping with HPO guidelines.  [Update: On 12/18 the Board denied the application which causes the developer to have to rethink the project.]
  • A long debate on the merits of zoning text amendments proposed by the Office of Planning that are designed to curtail the growing number of “pop-ups” (those 3rd story additions on top of row houses).  The major piece of the proposal would limit the “by right” height of houses in R-4 districts (most of Capitol Hill) to 35 feet with zoning relief through a special exception (SE) process to gain the current 40 feet height.  The Commission voted 6-3 on that piece after lengthy debate on the SE provisions and voted 7-1-1 against the change in definition of a mezzanine, 9-0 on the height of a roof structure, and 6-1-2 on the conversion of a residential structure to an apartment house.  The pop-up provisions affect mainly those areas of 6B not already protected by the CH Historic District.
  • Several liquor license matters, one of which is a major annoyance to 6B.  The ABC Board is requiring us to change text language in our Settlement Agreements that the Board has previously approved.
  • 2 letters to DDOT (8-0 and 9-0).  One asks for the replacement of pedestrian crossings along 11th Street SE at K and L Streets SE that were removed to facilitate vehicle movements among the various new on and off ramps for the 11th Street Bridge.  The other one asks that specific one way streets be converted to two way streets now that the on ramp at Virginia Avenue and 9th Street SE no longer exists.  A 3rd letter to DDOT on the Penn-Potomac pedestrian study has been delayed until January.
  • Lots of other letters; among them were to: (1) HPRB to ask that 6B have an opportunity to review the final plans for renovation of the old Remington’s building at 639 PA Ave; (2) Zoning Commission as a followup to its hearing on the PUD for 1333 M Street SE, which 6B has supported; (3) Dept of General Services asking that it move quickly to start the environmental assessment for the Eastern Market plaza redesign project; (4) Marine Barracks Washington with comments on its proposed Section 106 plans under its study to locate a site for a new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters building; (5) DC Council Chair Mendelson asking that he continue to have a Committee on Education rather than fold education into the Committee of the Whole; and a Resolution on the Pepco-Excelon merger (vote 6-0-3); and Position and testimony on the disposition of two parcels at Reservation 13/Hill East.  [Update: The DC Council has voted to support this disposition.]
  • Then, to close out the meeting, were items pertaining to the end of the year and the upcoming new Commission in January: a preliminary schedule for our 2015 meetings and acknowledgements.  Chief among the latter were a resolution thanking CM Wells for his service to Ward 6 and a resolution thanking the 6 departing Commissioners (Campbell, Frishberg, Loveland, Opkins, Pate, and Peisch) and already departed Commissioner Garrison for their service ranging from 2 to 12 years.

After Commissioner Campbell’s final opportunity to recess 6B meetings, at 10pm some of us reconvened (but did not vote on anything) at Beuchert’s for a bit of cheer.

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ANC6B’s November Votes

With just a bit of overtime on the evening of November 12th, the ANC managed to get through its normal-these-days 2-page meeting agenda: 8 liquor licenses, 3 historic preservation (HP) cases, 4 zoning cases, 4 reports, and 4 letters. Laid out like that it doesn’t seem like much but 1 HP/zoning case and 1 liquore license case each generated a lot of discussion.  We were fortunate that 2 more HP and one BIG zoning case were put off; the former to December and the latter to a Special Call meeting (Nov 19) when the ANC will vote on conditions for its support of a planned unit development at 1333 M Street SE.

During Speak Out, we learned about the organization Victory Gardens DC that is seeking empty or unused plots of urban land to convert into organic farms. One plot currently exists in 6B at 426 15th Street SE.  Then came the Historic Anacostia Boating Association presentation on preliminary plans to create a recreation area and improve the boating facilities along Boathouse Row.  During my first year as a Commissioner, I served as the 6B representative on a DC advisory group to plan the development of Boathouse Row.  That study landed on a shelf somewhere but I found the HABA plans very much in keeping with its conclusions.  In addition, this plan seems to fit nicely with the results of our Neighborhood Study on the SE Boulevard and a developer’s plans for 1333 M Street SE.

Just about everything on the agenda (see it at www.anc6b.org) got an 8-0 or 7-0 or 7-0-1 vote.  The one exception was the new ABC license for Bayou Bakery to operate out of the Hill Center’s Carriage House. After much discussion between attendees and Commissioners and among Commissioners, the ANC voted 5-3 to support the application based on the conditions of a Settlement Agreement (SA)–which ANC had only received at mid-day from the applicant in response to 6B’s proposed SA based on Committee discussions on 6 Nov.  Leading up to the meeting, the ANC had received about 50 emails from residents near and far concerned about hours of operation, trash handling, odors from frying beignets, and noise from delivery trucks, mechanical equipment and music.

So, what did we get?

  • Instead of closing hours at 2am and 3am, the SA supported by the ANC stipulates closing hours of from 9pm to 11pm, depending on the day of the week.  Noise from equipment must meet DC regulations and music cannot be “audible beyond the boundaries of the Hill Center.”
  • Residents asked for indoor storage of food wastes prior to pick up.  The ANC has been asking this of Barracks Row businesses of late; and we all would prefer this as an operating principle, where it is feasible, to discourage rats.  But David Bell’s architectural firm has not been able to accommodate this option within the “build out” of the Carriage House (constricted as it is by both DC and Federal historic preservation standards) so the Hill Center and Bayou Bakery are going to have to work diligently to prove it is possible for humans to properly manage outdoor trash storage, which the Barracks Row restaurants have largely failed to do.
  • Similar internal space constraints pertain to the community request for PCUs rather than a vent system to control odors from deep fat frying. David Guas adamantly rejected, from a chef’s perspective, the use of a vent-less hood similar to those at his Arlington place.  The agreement allows him to use his preferred vent system for odor control; a system that will require regular filter maintenance to assure maximum performance.

Why not just protest …?  ABRA Settlement Agreements are, as the name implies, a set of compromises between, in this case, an ANC and a liquor license applicant.  An ANC can only vote to support an application or to protest it.  ANC6B votes to protest either because it feels it has a case it can make before the ABC Board to obtain more than the applicant is willing to offer or in order to have more time to negotiate with the applicant. The ABC Board is the only entity that can compel a license holder to take any specific action and the Board tends to dislike any language that doesn’t seem enforceable by its investigators.  Nor, in my view, would the Board ever force an establishment to install equipment that exceeds city codes or any specific technology that meets code. So, we would have had a weak protest case especially over an establishment without any prior history of bad behavior. The Hill Center knows that its reputation will be affected by Bayou Bakery operations and, thus, it will be a major force in assuring those operations don’t negatively impact itself or other neighbors.

Delay the ANC decision?  The ANC had to vote on November 12 on this case. Not voting would have allowed the applicant to obtain the license with conditions in the application. The only way to delay, then, would be to vote to protest. The delay requested by the community was based on the idea that technology would be found that served the applicant’s needs and would fit inside the building. There was no guarantee this could happen and, if not, the ANC would have been in the position of actually protesting the application. And, I repeat, we had a weak case.

Part of my motion to support the SA included language about continuing a dialog among the community, Hill Center, Bayou Bakery, and the ANC.  I haven’t yet figured out how to structure this conversation and am very open to suggestions.  The Hill Center called me the day after our meeting; we discussed SA commitments and ways in which the Center can upgrade its trash handling and storage in anticipation of the future addition of food wastes from Bayou Bakery.  Of note, this trash system is not hidden away in an alley like those on Barracks Row but is literally next to the main entrance of the Center.

[The Bayou Bakery documents from the ANC's meeting are posted at http://www.kirsten6b.org/?page_id=1015.  Once the ANC has a Board Order approving the license, it will be posted on the ANC website.]

 

 

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Proposed Condo/Apt Project at 1013-1015 E Street SE

At its December 18, 2014, meeting the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) voted to deny the historic preservation application submitted for this project.  The developer will now have to decide whether to revise the plans to meet various objections voiced by Members of the Board, or to abandon the project, or to come up with an entirely new concept for the two lots.

At 4pm on Monday December 8, ANC6B was provided with the following revised plans for the above project. 1013 and 1015 E Street SE _ ANC

The revised plans were reviewed by the Commission at its meeting on Tuesday, December 9, and the Commission voted 8-0-1 to support the application while providing a number of comments to HPRB including concerns about the front basement entrances, utility meter placements, and the roof deck on the carriage house in the rear.

Here are the plans submitted to the ANC on Tuesday, December 2, at our Planning & Zoning Committee meeting.

Conceptual Plans–1013-1015 E Street SE

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ANC6B Meets and Votes (Oct 14)

Once again, it took 3 hours to plow through the ANC6B monthly agenda.

The most heated, lengthy debate?  Ugly Mug’s (723 8th Street SE) request to almost double its capacity by building an addition to the second floor with retractable roof in the rear.  This one ended up with the ANC voting 6-0 (with 2 abstentions) to protest the “substantial change” in its ABC license.  Major points of contention: hours that the roof can remain open, total number of added capacity, and lousy trashing handling compounded by former promises not kept and general impacts on the community.

Protesting means that the ANC will have to negotiate terms under the auspices of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration and appear before the ABC Board.  This puts a delay in Ugly Mug’s ability to go forward and a lot of work for the ANC.  Hopefully, the nearby neighbors–who sent Commissioners copious emails in opposition–will provide some assistance.  And, still to be settled: whether or not the building addition will be approved since Ugly Mug is located within the Capitol Hill Historic District.

Another case took up some time: 429 12th Street SE Rear.  This one is a historic preservation/zoning review case.  I ultimately voted against one element of the zoning relief requested because I do not think that the applicant offered the appropriate argument (didn’t “meet the test of the variance”) to gain approval for adding 2 dwelling units in an alley.  My view did not prevail, however, as the ANC voted 5-3 in favor of granting the relief.  I did vote in favor of the other zoning relief requested and voted with the majority on supporting the separate historic preservation case.

Other matters.

  • The ANC voted in favor of the renewals of 3 ABC licenses (7th & L Market, Capitol Supreme Market, and Roland’s); the last case (Yes! market) needs a bit more negotiation on the Settlement Agreement so the ANC voted in favor of a protest in order to provide the time needed for that discussion with the applicant.  (ANCs only have three ways to vote on liquor licenses of all kinds.  We can vote in favor of the application, vote to take no position (virtually the same as the former), or vote to protest.)  In Yes! case, our protest vote is a technicality quite unlike the protest vote on Ugly Mug.
  • 8 Historic Preservation cases received ANC support
  • 2 Transportation Committee letters (Red light camera request for 7th & Pennsylvania Ave SE and Comments on the DC Circulator Transit Development Plan) got unanimous votes in favor.  Both draft letters are included in the Oct 8 Committee report.
  • 3 votes taken by the Executive Committee on September 30th were ratified.  Two involved our pending office move from the Hill Center to Eastern Market.  (Note: The ANC like all ANCs gets a stipend from DC but it is not sufficient to pay office rent at the Hill Center or elsewhere any more.  As a government building, rent at Eastern Market is free.  For a while, however, we will have to put up with the fact that the space is only valid as storage.  CM Wells office got us this far and is still working on getting the space approved for human occupation. In good weather, you may find us outside under the shed with our laptops.)

That about covers the major votes.  If you see something on the agenda that you want more information about, let me know.

Note: This article is a slightly edited version of the one I sent out to all subscribers of my Beat26 Newsletter.

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Kirsten Runs Again

STICKER 3inch.indd

I have had a wonderful–OK, sometimes frustrating–but productive time being the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for ANC6B04 since December 2007.  If you live within ANC6B04 (see map above), I hope you will vote for me on November 4th so that I can serve another 2-year term.

Here are some details about how I have served Capitol Hill and hope to do so in the 2015 and 2016:  Re-Elect Kirsten 2014

 

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You Can Order VPPs for 2015 Now

DDOT has opened up its system for ordering 2015 Visitor Parking Passes.  Go here and select “Pre-register for a 2015 VPP” at the bottom of the page, then follow the prompts.  If you have a problem with your address, call DDOT at 202-671-2700 and talk with a staff person.

The addresses in the system were cobbled together from several different DDOT databases and don’t seem to have been “synchronized.”  It is inevitable that some addresses people enter and the form in which they enter them will generate various types of error messages.  When I did my request, I simply entered my address as “# Street name Type SE” and my address popped right up.  Others have been told to enter just the # and Street name without any caps or punctuation.  This is the minimalist method of querying databases.  If you want to fiddle with the system, go right ahead.  But, my suggestion is to simply call the DDOT number and let the staff person figure it out for you.

The website also has a link to complete information on the VPP system.  Eligibility is explained in full there or you can go to my VPPs Change. Somewhat. article and read point #5.

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VPPs Change. Somewhat.

DDOT has proposed rules for the annual Visitor Parking Pass (VPP) system that was first introduced in 2007 in some parts of DC.  Most residents within ANC6B became eligible late last year.  On September 9, ANC6B will be voting on comments on the proposed rulemaking recommended by the 6B Transportation Committee.  See the Committee’s September report for details.

Here’s some important information about current and future VPPs:

  1. The current VPPs show an expiration date of September 30, 2014.  However, DDOT has extended this expiration date to December 31, 2014.  The agency will be mailing a postcard notice of this to all households who received FY2014 passes.
  2. In the future, VPPs will be issued by calendar year.  Thus, the next VPP will be for the year 2015.
  3. DDOT will not automatically mail out any 2015 passes. Everyone who wants one will have to “opt in” by requesting a 2015 pass either by telephone (202) 673-6813 or online.
  4. You cannot apply for this 2015 pass until the proposed rules are finalized … sometime in October.  If you apply too early you will receive an FY2014 pass (if you don’t already have one).  If you still want an FY2014 pass, order it soon.  UPDATE 9/26: DDOT will accept requests for 2015 passes starting on October 1 and plan to mail out 2015 passes in December.
  5. Ward 6 residents who live on a Resident Permit Parking (RPP) block are eligible for a VPP but only one will be issued per “housing unit” defined as “a single family home (attached, semi-detached, or detached), a residential unit in a condominium, a residential cooperative unit, a residential unit in a flat, or a residential apartment in an apartment building.”  (If the website VPP request system rejects your address, call the number above or the one on the home page of the website and a staff person can probably approve it as long as it’s a valid address.)

Other Permits  The proposed rulemaking includes a section on on Temporary Home Heath Care Provider Parking Permits and Temporary Visitor Parking Permits.  Both of these permits exist now and there are no changes in them; DDOT has included them in the proposed rulemaking so that all similar parking pass systems are in one place in Chapter 24 of Title 18 of DCMR.  The Health Care permit is obtained from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  The Temporary Visitor permit is, as most know, obtained from MPD and is valid for up to 15 days.

Enforcement et cetera  At a meeting with DDOT on the VPP proposed rulemaking, I was told that Parking Enforcement officials (Department of Public Works) will soon carry devices enabling them to scan the ID# on a VPP to determine if it is valid.  Currently, DDOT sends information about reported and voided stolen or lost VPPs to DPW but it is not clear that parking enforcement officers use the information in any way.  I was also told that 2015 VPPs will be mailed to the name of the person applying rather than “current resident.”  That person will, then, become responsible for assuring that their VPP is not used fraudulently.

NOTE:  This posting is an edited version of a Beat26 Newsletter I sent out to subscribers on 9/8/2014.  See Contact Me above If you wish to be on that email list

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11th Street Westbound On Ramp Reopens

Late Friday, August 22nd, DDOT reopened the 11th Street SE westbound on ramp to I-695.  This access point was closed about 2 months ago to enable the 11th Street Bridge project to realign the roadway up and over the future exit ramp onto I Street SE at 9th Street.  Vehicles traveling north or south on 11th Street can access the ramp at a signalized intersection.

11th Street Ramp to I-695WB_I-395

View looking west of realigned 11th Street Ramp to Westbound I-695

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Planned Condo Building for 11th & I Streets SE

UPDATE of 10/29/2014: The HPRB requested several changes to the design of this building at its meeting on 9/18.  The changes will now be reviewed by the Board in November.  Accordingly, the ANC will also review the changes at its Planning & Zoning Committee meeting on Wed 5 Nov and will vote on the changes at its monthly meeting on Wed 12 Nov (see meeting details on the Events & Meetings page).

Below is the revised front elevation.  According to the architect, the changes from earlier versions (see further below) include the base material, a simplified front entrance, and removal of the 11th and I Street separate entrances.  All units will now be accessed through the main entrance.

11th Street Facade as of October 2014

11th Street Elevation as of October 2014

UPDATE of 9/26/2014:  Both the ANC and the Historic Preservation Review Board have approved this condo project for 900 11th Street SE.  But, at the Board hearing on 9/18, Members asked for several changes in design from what the ANC and others saw on 9/2.  Below is a view of the 11th Street side of the building with these changes.  They include the elimination of “stoops” for duplexes along 11th and I Streets and a reduction in height of the main entrance feature.  Scroll down to compare with previous designs.

Elevation 1 - scheme  - small7-1

11th Street Facade, as of 9/26

ANC6B’s Planning & Zoning Committee–at its 9/2/2014 meeting–recommended that the ANC support the historical preservation application for a new condo building at 900 11th Street SE.  The ANC will vote on the application at its monthly meeting on 9/9/2014.

Below are some of the designs (a perspective and north and west elevations) presented to the Committee.  ANC6B had reviewed a different design at its Planning & Zoning meeting in July 2014 but final review/vote was delayed until September 2014.  These current plans will be considered by the Historic Preservation Review Board during its September meeting.

The developer is Madison Investments and the architect is Jeff Goins of PGN Architects on Capitol Hill.  Madison plans to include 49 units in the building; five units along 11th Street and one on I Street will be duplexes with street entrances.  There will be parking on site for 30 vehicles (23 spaces underground) and 49 bikes with access to the garage via an existing rear alley.  This will result in the closure of 3 existing curb cuts increasing the availability of on street parking spaces.  Ten percent of the building’s units will be affordable.

11th Street Condo Perspective Sep 2014

Perspective View of West Elevation along 11th Street SE

Condo 11th & I SE 11th St Elevation Sept 2014

11th Street Facade (West Elevation) for Conceptual Review September 2014

Below for comparison is the July 2014 design for the West Elevation.

Condo 11th St July 2014 design

July 2014 Design of West Elevation

Condo 11th & I SE I St Elevation Sep2014

I Street SE Facade (North Elevation) for Conceptual Review September 2014

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