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 <www.respectdc.org>; 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 <www.ancnorm.org>; 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 <http://planning.dc.gov/DC/Planning/Historic+Preservation>; and click on HPRB Meetings.

June: Hine Redevelopment Reviews Resume

Reviews of the historic preservation aspect of plans for redeveloping the Hine Jr High site on Capitol Hill resume in June.  On June 14th, the developers’ revised plans will be submitted to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and will, thus, become public.  On June 21st, ANC6B will hold a special meeting to see a presentation of the revised plans, hear the community’s reactions, and vote on a second resolution. On June 30th HPRB will review the revised plans and, hopefully, this time provide substantive comments (see “recap” below).  [Meeting details under Events & Meetings]

Instead of reviewing the complete site development this time, there will apparently be a focus on the 8th Street SE apartment building and the office building situated at the corner of Pennsylvania Ave SE and 7th Street SE.  While much discussion to date has centered on the apartment building’s front facade, its south side faces Pennsylvania Avenue and is a companion to the office building.  Together these two buildings may be the most critical of the whole mixed use complex as they represent the development itself as viewed from the Eastern Market Metro plaza.

At this time, the review of these two buildings will focus on massing, scale, and height issues.  At a later date, the balance of the project will go through a similar historic preservation review.

To recap:  In April the Hine Redevelopment project was reviewed by ANC6B and the Historic Preservation Review Board.  ANC6B voted 6-3 in favor of a resolution detailing its sense of the community’s attitudes regarding the plans.  As many know, I voted against that resolution.  I did so because I felt it was overly negative and quite biased toward the views of a small minority of the Capitol Hill community.

The HPRB hearing on the plans on April 28th was inconclusive.  Most of the time was spent listening to community views.  In the end, the Board members had little time to react to the presentation and only voted to support the site plan.  This left the important massing, scale, and heights matters for another day.

Redistricting Ward 6

Having attended two meetings on Redistricting last week, I urge you to get involved in the process.  The process to redistrict the 8 Wards in DC based on the 2010 Census is moving quite fast and the next two weeks may be most critical period.

The DC Council’s Redistricting Subcommittee is in the process of drawing up a map and expects to release it within the next few weeks.  Hearings on this “draft” map will follow.  The DC Council vote will be in June with a second vote before the Council recesses at the end of July.

After attending two meetings on Redistricting last week, I urge you to get involved. The process to equalize the 8 Wards in DC based on the 2010 Census is moving quite fast and the next two weeks may be most critical period.

The Council’s Redistricting Subcommittee is in the process of drawing up a map and expects to release it within the next few weeks. Hearings on this “draft” map will follow. The DC Council vote will be in June with a second vote before the Council recesses at the end of July.

The numbers for Ward 6: Our population is now 76,598 (or, was in 2010). Under redistricting, each ward should contain 75,215 plus or minus 5%; or a maximum of 78,976 or minimum of 71,455. Thus under redistricting, Ward 6 could add up to 1,383 or loose 5,143 people and still be “equalized.”.

How to get involved? Sign petitions, yes. But more importantly, email, phone, and visit DC Councilmembers. Tell them you want Ward 6 to remain whole. It is not just about one neighborhood or two, the main argument needs to be that Ward 6 is a diverse and effective collection of neighborhoods and should remain as is. Those who do not live in the Hill East or the Near Southeast below the Freeway–which have been publicly mentioned as possible additions to Ward 8–have to help those neighborhoods stay within Ward 6. [I have a “dog in this fight” as part of my single member district lies within the Near Southeast area.]

Arguments NOT to use: Don’t complain about losing a Zone 6 parking sticker. Don’t criticize any Councilmembers. Don’t make it personal. Don’t offer to give up your right to “one person, one vote”.

If you have limited time, focus on the 3 At Large Councilmembers (who will need your vote in their next election):

CM Phil Mendelson, 202-724-8064 email <pmendelson@dccouncil.us> CM Mendelson is a member of the Subcommittee

CM Michael A. Brown: 202-724-8105 email <mbrown@dccouncil.us> CM Brown is a co-chair of the Subcommittee.

CM Vincent Orange: 202-529-1962 (this is the only tel number I could readily find for this CM, recently elected) Email probably <vorange@dccouncil.us>

CM Mendelson spoke and answered questions at the Ward 6 Democrats meeting Thursday night. I sense he is focused on “the numbers” rather than keeping neighborhoods together.

The other member of the Subcommittee and a Co-chair:

CM Jack Evans (Ward 2) 202-724-8058 email <jackevans@dccouncil.us>

For a list of all CMs, go to <http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/councildirectory>. ; For the DC Council subcommittee <http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/redistricting2011info>;.

Bits of News …

… from a recent Beat26 Email

CHANGES AT THE PEOPLE’S CHURCH
According to Mark Batterson, lead pastor of the National Community Church, the organization is purchasing The People’s Church building at 535 8th Street SE.  The sale is now under contract and expected to finalize in June 2011. Batterson says, “we are thinking about turning it back [to] a functioning theater of some sort that celebrates it’s history [as the Meader Theatre].  We have more questions than answers but we really know this has potential to serve Barracks Row and the entire Capitol Hill community.”

The National Community Church <http://theaterchurch.com/> has recently purchased the “Miles Glass site” at Virginia Ave and 8th Street SE and adjoining lots on that Square 906.  Concept plans for building(s) on these parcels may be made public in late Spring.

REDESIGN OF THE BAVARIAN BEER GARDEN BUILDING
I do feel a bit vindicated, having taken a few bruises for pushing so hard on the original plans the ANC reviewed in February for this new building at 8th & L Streets SE.  At the March 24th Historic Preservation Review Board hearing a much revised concept plan for the building was approved.  As I said in my blog on 10 Feb: “In my view, the building begged for more simplicity to let its industrial style shine.” It now conforms to that view, thanks to the Board and its staff.  Gone are the multitude of varying materials and the two story rain screen planned for the 8th Street facade.  Also gone is the “deconstructed tower” above the corner entrance.

You can compare the old and new design at <http://www.jdland.com/dc/square906.cfm?tab=no2>. Also on this JD Land site you can view the lots now owned by the National Community Church on Square 906.

GROOVY DC GOES BANANAS
Starting April 1, Groovy DC’s hiatus ends with a temporary move to the second floor at Monkey’s Uncle at 321 7th Street SE.  The card, stationary, gift bags & wrapping paper, party supplies, balloons, journals, candles and other gift items store will be at this location until its new location in the 700 block of 8th Street SE is ready.  Store hours are 11am to 6pm (Tue, Wed, Fri); 11am to 7pm (Thu); 10am to 6pm (Sat); and 11am to 5pm (Sun).  Closed on Mondays.

BARRACKS COMMANDANT’S HOUSE CONSTRUCTION
Marking the beginning of the end of the work in front of the Commandant’s House, the scaffolding is coming down from around the building starting Monday March 28; this work will continue until April 7th.   A large flatbed truck will be parked on the south side of the 800 block of G Street SE during this period.  (I will have more news about this project later this week.)

WATKINS UPDATE SORT OF …
The City Paper has picked John Stokes, DPR’s Chief of Staff, as the best civil servant in the District. The article describes Mr. Stokes as a person “…who gets things done and he’s so everywhere sometimes it seems like there’s more than one John Stokes.” <http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/bestofdc/peopleandplaces/2011/best-civil-servant>. In my personal opinion, Mr. Stokes has been a critical element in helping to resolve tensions created by DPR when the planned renovations of the Watkins fields were suddenly sprung upon the community last fall.  The City Paper has also noted the success of the DC Pop Warner Football League since DPR took over its administration.  The Watkins Hornets team has won national championships in the past two years.

ADVANCE NOTICE: Dates of Some April Meetings
Tue 5 Apr: ANC6B Planning & Zoning Meeting
Tue 5 Apr: CHRS Meeting with Hine Redevelopment Presentation
Thu 7 Apr: ANC6B ABC Committee Meeting
Thu 7 Apr: PSA 106 Meeting
Tue 12 Apr: ANC6B Monthly Meeting
Tue 26 Apr: ANC6B Special Call Meeting on Hine Redevelopment
Thu 28 Apr: Historic Preservation Review Board Meeting (Hine Redevelopment project)

I also am trying to schedule an organizational meeting of the new ANC6B Transportation Committee.  Date not yet selected, however.  The ANC’s Executive Committee meets on Tue 29 Mar and sets the agendas for all of its April meetings at that time.  Thus, I will have those details to share mid-week.

FRAGER’S PARADE
In the meantime, I do know that the organizer of the Frager’s Hardware April 16th “Annual Spring Convention” will be appearing before the Planning & Zoning Committee to discuss plans for a parade of school kids and bands, which will  proceed the convention.  As for details, all I know so far is that it is to begin at Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street SE (in front of Frager’s) and the units will march along the west bound lanes of the Avenue to 7th Street, where the parade will turn right and march along 7th Street to Eastern Market.  The west side of PA Avenue will be closed to traffic for about 20 minutes.  The crossing streets (8th-11th Streets SE) will be closed only while the units pass (i.e., not during the entire time of the parade).  The convention will be held in the North Hall of Eastern Market from 10am to 3pm.

POTHOLEPALOOZA
It is pot hole filling season in DC.  If you know of a pot hole in the street or an alley, you can report it in various ways.  Call 311, go to <311.dc.gov>, tweet to <twitter.com/DDOTDC> or send an email to <Potholepalooza@dc.gov>.  I used the latter route last year and got amazingly fast response.  However, I noticed that the hole patch did not last the year and it is once again in need of filling.  Perhaps that is the fate of this type of repair.  Still, better than nothing … and I know how long it takes (a long time) to get a repaving accomplished.

THE CORNER STORE
Lots of happenings at The Corner Store (9th & South Carolina), now through April.  One of my favorites Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen perform on Fri 8 Apr, 8pm.  Donation $20. Rest of lineup with details at <http://cornerstorearts.org/>; click on Events.

ANC6B’s March Meeting

Unhappiness.  For me, that’s the word that best describes the 4-hour March 8 ANC6B meeting.  Some residents are unhappy about the impact on their lives of Barracks Row restaurants and others, over pending plans to build a mixed use development on the Hine site.  And, one resident railed against my recently announced proposal for changes to parking.  The 2011 Commission itself still struggles with its divisions.  Change is tough.

In the midst of all this, the Commission approved 3 historic preservation and 3 zoning cases and added a new consent calendar to its agenda in the hopes of shortening its meetings.  (Once the kinks are worked out with practice, this should indeed save meeting time.  It wasn’t clear to me that it had that affect on its first outing, however.)  The Commission approved a Voluntary Agreement for one more restaurant for the 500 block of 8th St SE (Pacifico) but did so without my vote because I do not think that the Commission ought to make a difference between the closing hours of sidewalk cafes and summer gardens (rooftop or otherwise).  Both generate noise that ends up keeping nearby residents awake at night.  [UPDATE: The protesting residents may have forced this equality to occur in their formal negotiations with the restaurant owner under the auspices of the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration.]

The Commission’s now disbanded 2010 Retail Mix Task Force brought some recommendations to the Commission but no votes were taken, primarily because Commissioners had not had an opportunity to read the task force final report because some of us had not been informed it was available.  Most of these recommendations were referred to relevant committees for discussion before they are brought up for a vote.  Even a committee that did not yet exist got a referral.

Speaking of committees, ANC6B added a new one to its existing two and established two new task forces.  The new Committee on Transportation will be chaired by Commissioner Oldenburg (that’s me); a Task Force on Capitol Hill East, by Commissioner Flahaven (6B09); and a Task Force on Outreach & Constituent Services, by Commissioner Pate (6B05).  All of these new entities have a potential to bring new ideas to the Commission and community but, in my view, they will also generate a lot of work and have the potential to further lengthen the monthly meetings.  In any one month, we could have 5 reports to deal with instead of our current two; from the ABC Committee and the Planning & Zoning Committee.  And, most challenging perhaps, where to find all the meeting space?

Toward the end of the meeting, there was a update on the Performance Parking Pilot (PPP) Program.  Part of that briefing involved the plans proposed for changes in part of 6B04 (see Parking tags).  But, the briefing also mentioned ongoing discussions with DDOT that might extend the PPP boundaries even further to areas of 6B03, 6B04, and 6B05 north of Pennsylvania Avenue.  And, sandwiched somewhere in the middle of the meeting was some time devoted to the Hine Redevelopment project but no votes … just speeches and announcements of process (see Hine tags).  The special meeting, approved by the Commission, to be held on March 15 is THE time for lengthy discussions.  I urge you to attend, if only to listen, because any write up on that meeting will be complicated indeed.

Whither Goes Hine?

I cannot stress too strongly that everyone in the CH community needs to get involved in the review and decision process on the redevelopment of the Hine Jr. High site at 7th & Pennsylvania Ave SE.  The buildings erected in this large site and what they will eventually contain (i.e., offices, residents, retail, and perhaps a hotel) are going to change our life on the Hill.  It is up to the community to make sure that change is mostly positive.

ANC6B is now leading the review of the historic preservation (HP) component of the project and in the Fall will be engaged in its zoning aspects.  (This latter stage is called a Planned Unit Development or PUD and you can go to Commissioner Metzger’s blog <www.ancnorm.org> for a PUD 101 discussion.)

If you tried to attend the ANC’s Planning & Zoning meeting on March 1, you know what a debacle it was regarding the HP case.  We have learned from that experience and gotten our act together.  The Commission has now planned a series of meetings to assure that everyone will have an opportunity to contribute to the dialog on this very important but complex Capitol Hill project.

Tue March 8, 630pm: ANC6B Regular Monthly Meeting. Location: Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, 522 7th St SE
The Hine HP case is already on the agenda but the Commission will not be voting on it as previously planned.  Instead, we will use this time to explain the ANC process going forward in full.  We will vote to request the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to delay its consideration of the Hine project until April.  We may provide a short briefing on the HPRB process, as we understand this HP case will cycle through the Board several times prior to any final decisions and we expect each cycle to include an ANC6B and, thus, community review.  The  agenda of the full meeting is at <www.anc6b.org/nextmeet.html>.

Tue March 15, 6pm to 9pm:  Special ANC Meeting on Hine.
Location: St. Coleta’s School, 1901 Independence Avenue SE.*
There will be 3 basic sections to this meeting: (1) a full presentation by the developers on the project as it currently stands; (2) questions and comments by interested community groups and individuals; and (3) questions and comments by the Commissioners.  The developers’ most recent presentation is at: <http://hineschool.com/design-concept/>, select “Hine Community Concept Presentation” at the bottom left side of the screen. This will open a PDF file. There is also an article about the plans in the March 2011 Hill Rag, pages 38-40.

*Note: St. Coleta’s is walkable from the Station Armory/RFK Metro Station (two stops from Eastern Market) and there is a parking lot on the premises.

Mid April (evening, other details TBA): Special ANC Meeting on Hine.
The ANC will hold another special meeting on Hine.  At this meeting, the ANC will hear any new information the developers or the community wish to present and will vote on its position on the project.  This position will be transmitted to the Historic Preservation Review Board for its April 28th meeting.  Most likely, the ANC will also testify at the Board meeting.

I urge you involved yourself and your neighbrs in these discussions.  So far, those providing input to the developers have naturally been the nearby neighbors who will be directly affected by the demolition, construction, and ultimately the buildings that arise.  But, the project belongs to all of us.  In addition to the above formal meetings, I would like to hold series of informal, small meetings between now and mid-April with 6B04 residents to help me out with my vote.  I can meet you at my house, your house, on a park bench, over a latte … days, evenings, weekends. Just let me know where to be and when.

Residential Parking Changes in 6B04

This is an update to my January 10 posting “Residential Parking Near Barracks Row” and the subsequent January 16 update.  (See January 2011 Archives)

Based on the comments Commissioner Metzger and I received from residents on our January 2011 document “Draft Proposal on Changes to Residential Parking in Blocks near Barracks Row” and subsequent discussions with DDOT, the agency has agreed to extend the operational boundaries of the Performance Parking Pilot (PPP) within 6B04, and below Pennsylvania Ave, up to 11th Street SE and south to include I Street SE.

Several years ago DDOT added 9th Street SE below Pennsylvania Ave and the 800 blocks of E and G Streets SE to the Performance Parking Pilot area created when the Nationals Stadium opened.  Thus, these blocks were posted with Zone 6 Only parking signs on one side of the street and new Residential Parking Permit (RPP) signs on the other side.

The Zone 6 Only side (red signs) restricts curbside parking to cars with Zone 6 stickers, Monday through Saturday, 7am to 930pm.  The other side of each block has “extended” RPP signs that restrict non-Zone 6 cars to 2 hours, Monday through Saturday, 7am to 930pm.  Because of the two-hour grace period, non-Zone 6 cars can park on those sides of the street starting at 730pm.  [Note that regular RPP signs are in effect Monday through Friday from 7am to 830pm.]

With this extension of the PPP boundaries, plans are to install Zone 6 Only signs to the following:

900 and 1000 blocks of E Street SE, south side of the street
900 and 1000 blocks of G Street SE, north side of the street
900 block of I Street SE, north side of the street
1000 block of I Street SE, south side of the street
500 and 700 blocks of 10th Street SE, west side of the street

The new RPP signs will replace existing RPP signs on the alternate side of these blocks.  (And, there may be an option to lengthen the hours of these signs.) As a result of this extension of PPP, all residences on the newly included blocks will receive an annual Visitor Parking Pass.

The 700 block of 9th Street SE is not included in the above because similar changes there are planned in conjunction with security-related changes to curbside parking along the south side of the 800 block of G Street SE (i.e., in front of the Commandant’s House).

Since DDOT is not requiring block-by-block petitions before these changes are made, I would like to get feedback ASAP from those affected.  The feedback I received based on the draft discussion document was positive with one exception.  In addition, there were some who were ambivalent as they did not feel these changes would have much impact on the residential parking congestion in the area. If necessary, I am more than willing to set up a petition process so that blocks can opt in or out of these changes.

Commissioners Metzger, Garrison, and I have also been working with DDOT, Barracks Row Main Street, and CHAMPS on improving the use of the public parking lot under the freeway at 8th & I Streets SE.  Those details, along with the above, will be announced at the March 8 ANC6B Meeting, along with preliminary discussions with DDOT on possible further extension of the PPP boundaries.

ANC6B’s February Meeting

The key community items on the agenda were the Bavarian Beer Garden (8th & L Streets SE) HP case and the VAs for Nooshi and Moby Dick restaurants (524 8th Street SE). Both located within 6B04.

On the historic preservation issue, I tried to convince my fellow Commissioners to cause a month delay in the HPRB hearing on plans for a rather unusual building proposed to house the new Bavarian Beer Garden. This delay would provide the HP office staff more time to work with the owner and architect to assure the new building would be “compatible” with its surroundings (the requirement for new construction in a historic district). But, I failed to convince more than 2 of my fellow Commissioners.  In the end, the Commission voted 7-3 to support the plans with some concerns noted.

My concerns about the design? Proposed is a one story building next to 2-story and 3-story historic buildings; a confusing statement of presence along 8th St SE, part of a two block segment of Barracks Row that already lacks any pedestrian level interest; two entry doors out of proportion to 3 large windows; no information provided about materials to be used except for and overuse of wooden rain walls; the “deconstructed” (CHRS description) tower at the corner; and on and on. In my view, the building begged for more simplicity to let its industrial style shine. BTW, the Vision for the Lower 8th report asks for “meritorious” developments in the area that “respect historic structures.”  I do not think this design meets that standard either and, as such, sets a low standard for what may be proposed for other lots in the area. Hopefully, the HP Office staff and members of the Historic Preservation Review Board will still have time to provide appropriate design critique when they review the application on February 24th. Anything is not better than Nothing.

While it wasn’t germane to the historic preservation issue, I am also concerned about the roof deck facing 8th Street SE that the owner sprang on the Commission with the building design. At no time during all the discussions on the application for the liquor license was the Commission informed about this aspect of the Beer Garden operation. Not being informed otherwise, my expectation was for an open area at ground level from which all the noise (loud voices and oompah band music) would be generated. The building design includes such a ground floor space on the L Street side of the building. But, a roof top operation will disburse noise in different ways. The Commission did express concern for the safety aspect of this open area.

The Voluntary Agreements for Nooshi and Moby Dick were approved by the ANC. Late last year, the ANC voted to protest these two liquor license applications, based on several factors including over concentration of licenses in the 500 block of 8th. A residents group also formally protested. Not mentioned at the ANC meeting was that the Commission had VA documents to vote on because the residents had decided not to fight this one to the bitter end. The owners’ lawyer had said during ABRA negotiations that he would advise his clients to not sign an VA with the ANC unless the residents group also acquiesced. Granted, it is the concessions that the restaurant owners agreed to which enabled the residents group to drop its protest, albeit reluctantly. I thank the residents for taking the difficult step they did on these applications. I do not expect this to be precedence setting, however.

Hine Redevelopment

Not unexpected, a large crowd (of maybe 100 or so?) turned out at the ANC6B hosted Hine Redevelopment Meeting on Wed 2 Feb.  Stanton-East Banc, the developers of the site, made an hour long presentation.  A Q&A session followed.

[The redevelopment of the Hine Jr High site will have a major impact on Capitol Hill, situated as it does in the 700 block of Pennsylvania Ave SE.  The project has been in play since early 2009 when the city “surplused” the school.]

Much has changed with the plans for a mixed use (retail, office, and residential) development on the Hine Jr. High School site since the original August 2009 plans submitted for the RFP.  (Not surprising, since much has changed in the marketplace during that time.)  The total size the project has been reduced by 85,000 square feet.  Two previously announced occupants of the office space (Shakespeare Theater and IRD, as well as the Tiger Wood Foundation) have had to pull out of the project because of their inability to secure funding.

Overall, I liked what I saw.  Instead of one building facing Pennsylvania Avenue, there will now be two, breaking up the mass along that block.  The building along 7th Street SE will be the retail and office component.  This building will have either a residential section or a boutique hotel at the corner of (newly opened) C at 7th Streets.  A residential building will line 8th Street; unknown yet whether the units will be condos or rentals.  A linear courtyard will separate the two buildings on the interior of the block.  A second residential building with retail on the ground floor will face south and be situated between an existing alley and a newly opened C Street.  There are still plans to accommodate the Sat/Sun flea markets by closing the 7th Street side of “new” C Street on the weekends.  Missing from the plans presented on Wednesday night were the architectural details of the building facades.  These drawings will be done in time for the historic preservation review, scheduled for March.

The developers are also conducting a required multi-faceted study to understand the transportation impacts of the development.  The presentation last night was focused on only the traffic circulation and parking portions of the study.  It seemed to generate the most questions of the evening.  Many others in the audience seemed to be interested in the residential units, especially the opportunity to move out of multi-story Capitol Hill townhouses and into flats.

What’s Next?  The ANC anticipates that it will be doing its formal review of the historic preservation aspects of the project during its March meetings (Planning & Zoning Committee, Tue Mar 1, and Monthly meeting, Tue Mar 8).  Then, possibly in the Fall, the zoning reviews of the development will commence.  This Planned Unit Development (PUD) process is rather complicated.  (Commissioner Metzger has posted a “guide” to PUDs on his blog <www.ancnorm.org>)

When will the project become a reality?  Sometime in 2015.  Perhaps.