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.