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 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  Once the ANC has a Board Order approving the license, it will be posted on the ANC website.]



Kirsten Runs Again

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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


Planned Condo Building for 11th & I Streets SE

UPDATE of 12/30/2014:  The HPRB requested more changes to this building at its meeting on 12/4.  The applicant has, accordingly, made several changes to the design including setting the “penthouse” structures away from the south party wall, removing window wells along the corner of 11th & I, and reducing a large bay to multiple bays.  The revised 11th Street elevation is below:


Here is a link to the full set of revised plans that includes the rest of the elevations, details on the roof deck and other features:  11th & I Condo revisions of 12-17-14

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

ANC6B Nixes $250K Fund

At its Special Call meeting on July 10th, ANC6B voted 6-0 to send a letter to DDOT and FHWA in response to the Virginia Avenue Tunnel Final EIS.  I was there.  I should have voted in opposition.  In the light of day I regret not doing so.

Most of the letter is fine–continuing the same themes of 4 previous VAT letters–but at this meeting, I had voted in opposition to two amendments: the VAT Mitigation Fund and the Hazardous Materials clause.  For very different reasons.

The haz mat clause was crafted on the fly and sub amended several times.  By the end, I was not sure what the final clause said.  I voted against it.  I also felt that the clause–whatever it said–was sending a message to the entire DC Government and that our FEIS letter was the wrong place for it.  A better place would have been as a follow up to the ANC’s March letter to Mayor Gray.

On the $250K: The FEIS provided this money to ANC6B (and another $250K to ANC6D) to use as mitigation payments to residents and businesses who end up “inconvenienced” during tunnel construction.  Granted this offer is problematic.  First ANCs can’t accept more than $1,000 per year from any one source.  Second, imagine trying to define “inconvenience”.  So, it is clear that the ANC couldn’t be the receptor but that is not to say that ANC6B could not designate that these funds go to a 3rd party.

I tried to soften the strident language of Commissioner Peich’s amendment on the funds.  All I wanted was more time.  The Commission in voting as it did denied me the opportunity to research options and to get feedback on the fund concept from my constituents who live and work near Virginia Avenue Park, right in the heart of the tunnel construction.  I just needed more time.  There was no reason for the ANC to reject these funds at this time.  They wouldn’t have been paid out by CSX until “major construction activity” begins.

Any body want to guess how far away that is?  Given that those who are opposed to this project in any form will probably sue once the Record of Decision is issued, major construction could be a year or more away.  And, when it does happen, my ANC6B04 constituents won’t be able to apply to a migration fund for some relief.  These are the same people, by the way, who have been directly inconvenienced by the building of the 11th Street Bridge in the last five years.

NOTE: Two of my colleagues reject my interpretation of the impact of the fund language in the ANC letter.

ANC6B & its SMDs Get Scrambled

The Ward 6 ANC Redistricting Task Force (TF) has completed its work and will now be reporting back to Councilmember Wells, who appointed its members.  At this point, ANC6B has not fared very well, to say the least.  Several blocks north of Independence Avenue SE have been given to ANC6C, and the TF has created a Single Member District (SMD) boundaries map for what remains of 6B (without a formal vote on it by 6B Commissioners).

The TF map is here: It places current 6B01 Commissioner David Garrison within 6C while reducing 6B from 10 SMDs down to 9.  [Artifact: Since the 2000 Census redistricting, 6B has had 11 SMDs but one of them is the DC Jail so it effectively has been a 10-member commission.  During the 2010 Census Ward redistricting process, the jail ended up in Ward 7.]

According to the TF approved map, I live in SMD06.  If I run again in 2012 and win, I would represent an area bounded by 11th (on the west), 15th (east), C (north), and G (south) Streets SE and including a strip I find difficult to even describe.  Only 4 blocks of my current SMD04 are included in this new SMD06.  Thus, many of the residents I have come to know and issues I have worked on for the last 4 years (such as, Marine Barracks, Lower 8th, Hill Center, Barracks Row, Performance based parking, and so on) would be outside my district, beginning in January 2013.  The same type of situation exists for  just about every other current 6B Commissioner’s SMD.  In two cases, existing Commissioners would have to run against one another in 2012.

If 6B has to live with the borders voted on by the TF, I prefer this 6B alternate SMD map which was also prepared but rejected by the TF.  It does not change the SMD in which I live so radically but does create a 9-member commission.  I have not analyzed how the other current 6B SMDs are affected by this map.

I do not know how the other Ward 6 ANC’s & their SMDs have fared in this process but I suspect better than 6B has.

But, the game is NOT over.  It is now Ward 6 Councilmember Wells turn to have his say on how he thinks the ANCs in his Ward ought to be organized.  At this point, I do not have information on how his process will unfold.

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 <>.