More Cookies Than People …

My SMD04 Gathering on July 10th came off without a hitch except that there were more cookies (several dozen) in attendance than residents (1 dozen).

Still, it was a good opportunity for me to learn from constituents.  Like, folks don’t really understand what attaching a Voluntary Agreement to a liquor license means.  Or, as the Hine project progresses, people are forgetting how it started; i.e., the basis for the whole project.  To me, this means that I am not explaining issues clear enough in my various reports (here and via Beat26 emails).  I should listen more.

While the attendees and I spent considerable time discussing the current “headline” issues: Hine and Hill Center, I started off with a list of the kinds of issues/problems I am working on directly with individual constituents.  Like …  sidewalk repairs, parking enforcement, raccoons, Tyler parking lot, replacing curbside parking on 11th Street, pedestrian crossing signals on 8th St, vacant properties, parking around the “new” Watkins field, the 7th & L Market, and so on.

Questions arose about the ANC’s pending decision on Chipotle’s zoning application to open at 413 8th Street SE [ANC will probably vote to support the request with conditions on July 12], the CSX Tunnel project [project fully funded now but no dates yet available for the public NEPA meetings], and Marine Barracks new BEQ [funding being sought and Square 882 seems to be back as Option 1].

I announced that the rate at the public parking lot under the freeway at 8th & I Streets SE has been cut in half to 75 cents per hour.  Hopefully, once the word gets out, more restaurant diners will park in the lot rather than take up residential curbside space in the Barracks Row area.

As to the headline issues: Most of the Hine discussions are captured in previous postings here.  The Hill Center discussions are covered in a recent Beat26 email that I have posted here.

Many thanks go to Kris and Roy of The Corner Store, who provided the space for the meeting.  To check out the wonderful and varied events at this great art space, go to <>.

Talk with Kirsten …

Announcing … the second ANC6B “SMD04” gathering of 2011:

Sunday July 10
2 to 4 pm
The Corner Store (900 South Carolina Avenue)

It is an opportunity for us all to talk informally about neighborhood issues of concern and how to make The Hill and even better place to live.  There may be a Q&A session about 230pm (Stump the Commissioner!) with the rest of the time available to mingle and talk one-on-one.

While the event is primarily for residents who live in my single member district, anyone is welcome.  If you are not sure whether you live in SMD04, check the map (see above).

ANC6B’s June Meeting

The June 14th meeting went on so long (7p to 10p) the Commission had to cut out several items at the end of the agenda as our host had expected us to end the meeting by 9pm.  Still, post meeting, we have been accused of not letting residents speak as long as they wish …

What took up about 1 hour of the 3 was the discussion about and vote on the liquor license application for The Hill Center.  During the week between the ABC Committee meeting (6/9) and the ANC meeting, I spent considerable time communicating with residents who live south, north, east and west of the Center and with Center principals to get their views about the contents for a Voluntary Agreement with the intent to further restrict certain aspects of the license.  As a result, the Center came to the ANC meeting with several changes to the draft and I offered 3 amendments, which were accepted by the Center and other Commissioners.  In the end, the ANC voted unanimously to support the  license application and amended VA.  After the vote, there was a loud boo from many in the audience, mainly my constituents.  I know my vote in favor of the license/VA has angered many of those whose lives have been negatively impacted by the growth of licenses along Barracks Row.  Some think I ought to have offered up even more stringent terms.  I could have done that but would not have gotten concurrence from the rest of the Commission and we all may have ended up with less in the end.

The other controversial item on the agenda was Chipotle‘s application for zoning relief so they can open a fast food restaurant at 413 8th St SE.  Even with several corporate folks attending, the Commission could still not get clear answers to questions.  So that matter has been put off until the ANC July meetings for resolution.

What else happened?  We had two interesting presentations.  One from Respect DC and the other by Pepco explaining their electric meter replacement program.  DC Respect is an organization of people concerned about the quality of life in DC’s communities and committed to securing decent, living wage jobs.  A current campaign is centered on Walmart’s plans to open stores in DC.  [Go to <>; for more information]  Pepco is currently installing Smart Meters at all residences in DC.  The meters are intended to help customers better manage their energy use.  The installation process is quick but most likely will require a cut in electric service for a short time.  [Call 202-833-7500 for more information]  If you have critical equipment at home that would be damaged by a cut in service, you should definitely call and let Pepco know.

Other votes.  The Commission approved a substantial change to the Lola’s (711 8th St SE) ABC license so it can expand two floors above the current ground floor operation.  Two pool tables, a shuffle board table, and a bar will be located on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  Also approved were Verizon’s plans to add three sets of 5 wireless service antennas to the roof of 801 Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Aqua Al 2 restaurant’s historic preservation application to build a one-story addition at the rear of its building (212 7th St SE).  The Commission also approved up to $600 to cover moving expenses for the hopeful move of its office back into the Old Naval Hospital.  Dropped from the agenda due lack of time: the Transportation Committee and the Eastern Market Reports.

Hine Redevelopment Project Update

The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) held its conceptual review of the developer’s plans for buildings on the 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue sides of the Hine site on June 30th.  I was unable to attend so cannot provide my impressions of the hearing.    Commissioner Norman Metzger (ANC6B03) was there, however, and here is his synopsis of the results:

“The HPRB unanimously supported the proposed height, scale, and massing for the parts of the project up for review today, and accepted the HPO Staff Report.  A number of design matters were raised that the Board will consider likely when the project returns after the PUD process is done; for example, the design of the corner at 7th and Pa to provide a visual bond btw 7th Street and Barracks Row, an issue raised by Ken Jarboe today and at [the ANC] Special Call meeting.  The 7th and Pa Ave height issue was hardly mentioned by the Board, other than by the Chair who emphasized that the approval of the height was not to be considered as a precedent, given the special nature of the site.  Next up for the July 28th HPRB is the remainder of the project. ”

On June 21st ANC6B voted 6-3 in support of a statement that was presented at the HPRB hearing by Commissioner Brian Pate (ANC6B05).  Commissioners Metzger, David Garrison (ANC6B01) and I (ANC6B04) had voted in opposition, fundamentally because the statement was crafted in such a way that would have required the 3 of us who voted against the first Hine resolution (April 26th) to abrogate that vote.  Thus, we provided our separate, individual non-ANC6B official testimony at the HPRB hearing on June 30; delivered by Commissioner Garrison.  [Note: Commission By-laws permit such testimony.]

As you can see from the above synopsis, the next step in the HP review of the Hine project will be a conceptual review of the height, scale, and massing of the balance of the proposed buildings on the site: North Residential and 7th & C.  Since HPRB is planning its review on July 28, it seems the ANC will have to schedule a special meeting in July on a date prior to the 28th.  In the Fall, we will all move into the PUD (Planned Unit Development) zoning phase of the project review where a whole different set of issues will be raised.  (If you want to know more about PUDs, go Commissioner Metzger’s <>; for an excellent overview.)

For HPRB background information, such as the staff reports for both the April 28th and June 30th hearings, go to the Historic Preservation Office website <>; and click on HPRB Meetings.