Notes from ANC6B Nov 2011 Meeting

The November 2011 meeting brought ANC6B back to the Old Naval Hospital (The Hill Center) after an absence of over a year.  We had presentations by and Q&As with Councilmember-at-Large Michael Brown and Matthew Marcou of DDOT’s Public Space Operations Project and … voted 9-0 (i.e., unanimously) on just about everything.

The Commission supported ABC license renewals for Marvelous Market, Motts, Rolands, Southeast Market, and Harris Tetter; the latter two contingent on a new, signed Voluntary Agreements.  Voted to protest the license renewals of 7th & L Market and Pennsylvania Avenue Market.  And, voted to take no action (i.e., remain silent) on the renewals of Congress Market, P&C Market, and Yes Organic Market.   Voted to support the application of Pound the Hill (621 Pennsylvania Ave SE) for an ABC license so the establishment can serve beer and wine with its new dinner service.   Also approved were the historic preservation applications for 117 C Street SE and 629 Pennsylvania Avenue SE (La Plaza restaurant, which plans to add a 2nd story to its building).

The Commission voted to send letters to (1) MPD requesting the deployment of photo enforcement technology on 17th Street SE, (2) FHWA and DDOT about the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel Project, and (3) the DC Protective Services Police Department requesting it provide crime report data for the Reservation 13 area of Hill East.

Plus, the Commission voted to revise its October 2011 Resolution on Redistricting because of decisions CM Wells has made to recommend that 6B not lose territory to 6C as was proposed by the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force.  Unfortunately, Councilmember Brown, during the meeting seemed to suggest that the DC Council Subcommittee on Redistricting, which he co-chairs with Councilmember Jack Evans, may decide to adopt the Task Force reports rather than the Ward Councilmembers’ recommendations based on those reports. (Is this just a ploy to leverage bargaining?)  Ultimately and rather quickly this citywide redistricting process has to be concluded with a DC Council vote by the end of December 2011.  CM Brown was unable, however, to provide any hearing schedule information.

Opposed by the Commission was an application for zoning relief (two “use variances”) at 1200 Potomac Avenue SE because the applicant never managed to provide any cogent rationale for the zoning change.  The applicants have proposed to establish a coffee shop on the ground floor and a pet supply store on the 2nd floor.  The zoning relief is required because the building is in a residence zoned area and neither commercial business is allowed “by right.”

The Commission voted 8-0-1 on the slate of Resident Members for its newly formed Subcommittee on the Hine PUD. The confirmed Resident Members and the organizations or groups they represent are: Roger Tauss (EMMCA), Steve Sweeney (Eyes on Hine), Bill Pate (residents in 200 block of 8th St SE), Ken Jarboe (At Large), Monte Edwards (EMCAC), Julia Christian (CHAMPS), and Gary Peterson (CHRS).  In addition, Commissioner Brian Pate was confirmed as vice-chair; joining Commissioner Ivan Frishberg, chair.  All other ANC6B Commissioners can serve on the subcommittee.  [I was the 1 abstaining vote on the slate.  If you want to know why, read “If I Were Chair …” below. And, if you want to know more about PUDs, visit Commissioner Metzger’s blog:]

If I Were Chair …

As a community we have completed the conceptual historic preservation review on the Hine Redevelopment Project. We will soon enter into the next phase: zoning. This PUD or “planned unit development” process will take as many months as did the first phase. Perhaps longer. My guiding principle has been and will continue to be that this project will affect ALL of us who live on Capitol Hill. Ultimately, what gets built on the Hine site should reflect the entire community.

Thus, if I had been entrusted with the challenging job of chairing ANC6B’s Subcommittee on Hine PUD, I would’ve gone out of my way to make sure that Resident Membership on the subcommittee could not be perceived as biased toward any one perspective and was broadly representative of the residents and businesses on the Hill.

First, if I as a Commissioner already represented nearby residents, I would’ve asked a fellow Commissioner to be Vice chair whose constituents live away from the Hine Redevelopment site to assure a wide diversity of residents were represented within the leadership on the subcommittee. Second, I would’ve selected some of the ablest, most experienced community members to serve. Third, I would’ve asked that the three ‘nearby neighbors’ groups, who have made the most noise about the project to date, select one joint representative for the 6B subcommittee. And, I would’ve found other 6B residents to serve on the subcommittee because, again, this development will affect ALL of us who live on Capitol Hill, not just the residents and businesses who abut it.

Commissioner Frishberg, who is Chair of the 6B subcommittee and whose single member district includes the Hine site and thus represents one of the nearby neighbors groups, has done it differently. He has selected Commissioner Brian Pate, whose single member district includes two of the “nearby neighbors” groups to be Vice chair. And, all three of the “nearby neighbors” groups (EMMCA, Eyes on Hine, and 200 Block of 8th Street SE) have been individually nominated to serve as Resident Members. Hopefully providing some balance, knowledgeable representatives of longtime Hill organizations–CHAMPS, CHRS, and the Eastern Market Citizen Advisory Council—have been asked to serve along with former Commissioner Ken Jarboe, as an At Large Resident.

How the dynamics of the subcommittee will play out are unknown. But, I plan to be fully engaged in and watchful of the PUD process going forward.  And, I urge you too to get involved.

The first meeting on the subcommittee is Monday, November 21 at 7pm at the Hill Center’s 3rd floor conference room.  If you cannot attend, then come back here where I will post my meeting notes.