ANC 6D Report – May 2017

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on May 8. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01), Cara Shockley (6D02), Chair Andy Litsky (6D04), Roger Moffatt (6D05), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06), and Meredith Fascett (6D07) were on the dais. Ronald Collins (6D03) was absent.

Amidon-Bowen Parking
Marty Wells, treasurer of the Amidon-Bowen Parent Teacher Association, requested the commission’s support for converting three metered spaces in front of the school on I Street SW to permitted parking for teachers. He also asked that additional permit parking be created on the school’s side of Fourth Street between I and G streets. This would increase residential parking during non-school hours, Wells argued.

Asked why teachers could not utilize public transportation, Wells replied that their schedules and the required materials made that difficult. “This is not the best option for many of our teachers,” he stated.

The Amidon-Bowen parking lot has 28 spots, but often hosts as many as 40 vehicles.

Chair Litsky stated, “We want to move this forward, but we want to do it properly.” He asked Commissioner Fast to form a committee to make recommendations.

Presenting DPW
Celeste Duffie, a community relations specialist at the Department of Public Works (DPW), visited to brief the commission. She began by giving an overview of DPW’s Helping Hands program, which provides rakes and other equipment to allow residents to clean up their neighborhoods. DPW then schedules a special pickup to gather and cart off any trash.

Discussion quickly turned to the issue of residential parking enforcement. Commissioner Hamilton complained about the lack of ticketing in her single-member district (SMD) directly west of the ballpark, which is often overrun by fans parking illegally. Duffie agreed that enforcement might not be adequate.

Chair Litsky pointed out that the traffic snarls next to the Southwest Fish Market are caused in large part by illegal customer parking on Maine Avenue. “We don’t have enough enforcement,” he stated.

Commissioner Shockley pointed out that a number of curb cuts, particularly for residential parking garages in the Capitol Riverfront, are frequently blocked by illegally parked vehicles.

Commissioner Fast complained that construction workers at The Wharf and other projects were using illegal visitor parking passes to park on the largely residential blocks of G Street between Fourth and Ninth streets SW.

ABC Matters
Chair Litsky pointed out that roughly 30 liquor licenses at The Wharf still have not been considered by the commission. He confirmed with the projects’ representatives at the meeting that the standard operating hours agreed to during the negotiations with the commission during the planned unit development (PUD) process had been incorporated into all Wharf commercial leases.

“You can get as many billable hours as you want, but your hours will be controlled by your Hoffman lease,” Litsky pointedly commented to the license applicants in the audience. “We want to make sure our [ABC] committee does not get whipsawed,” he continued. He urged The Wharf representatives to pressure tenants to get their license requests into the commission before its August recess.

On the recommendation of Commissioner Hamilton, the commission voted unanimously to support the Class B application by Capitol Liquor, 1301 South Capitol St. SW. The new application revised an outdated voluntary agreement while tightening lighting and camera requirements.

The commission voted unanimously to support application and voluntary agreements for:

  • We Work, 80 M St. SE
  • Shillings, 1331 Fourth St. SE
  • Requin, 100 District Square SW
  • Mi Vida, 98 District Square SW

Commissioner Fast abstained on the 4-0 vote supporting the application and voluntary agreement for Kirwan, 749 Wharf St. SW.

2100 Second St. SW Design
The commission considered whether to support the design of 2100 Second St. SW (ZC 17-05), which is subject to review on the terms of the South Capitol Design Overlay. Located at the former Coast Guard site on Buzzard Point, the development will incorporate 480 rental units and roughly 78,000 square feet of neighborhood retail.

A market or small drugstore along with a coffee shop will grace the land-facing sides, while on the river side there will be restaurants. As required by its rooftop penthouse, the project will incorporate 32,000 square feet of onsite affordable housing at 50 percent of area median income (AMI) and another 26,000 square feet at 60 percent of AMI.

The site’s developer outlined plans for increased plantings, permeable sidewalks, and stormwater management techniques planned for the adjacent public spaces. The project also features riparian gardens and bioretention areas. A sundeck and riverside path are planned. It incorporates two pet relief areas, one of which will be indoors, as well as a pet spa.

Residents in the audience suggested additional space for a pet exercise area and pointed out the need for mosquito control.

The commission voted unanimously to send a letter to the Zoning Commission (ZC) in support of the project’s design. It authorized Commissioner Moffatt to testify at the hearing.

Waterfront Station’s PUD Renewal Opposed
The commission considered 375 and 425 M St. SW, the lots on the southern side of Waterfront Station that front M Street (ZC 02-381). It had previously voted in favor of the project, provided it maintained all commitments of its original PUD, the major commitment being that office buildings be built on the land.

The developer wants to modify the original PUD to permit a mixed-use development that will feature ground-floor neighborhood retail and second-floor neighborhood commercial office space, with approximately 300 rental apartments on the floors above. The commission remains steadfast in its view that both buildings should be entirely commercial office. Commissioners are concerned with adding even more residents to an already dense neighborhood. In particular, they want the considerable parking planned underneath both buildings to be available to visitors to the neighborhood at night to take pressure off of curbside parking.

Under new zoning regulations, however, the commission voted unanimously to fill out a Form 130, objecting to the ZC having any set down with the Waterfront Station’s developer.

300 Seventh St.
Urban Atlantic, the developer of 300 Seventh St. SW, sought support for its new design (ZC 17-05), which is under review by the DC Commission of Fine Arts. The building, which currently is an office with ground-floor retail, will be converted into 370 residences that are among the first north of the freeway. The top floor will be sold as condos, while the remaining units, ranging from studios to two-bedroom apartments, will be rented. The ground-floor retail will remain.

The newly reskinned building will occupy roughly the same footprint as the existing structure. It is a matter-of-right project that does not require modification to existing zoning. The new design features recessed courtyards on the northwest side of D Street. The developer will provide a pet relief area and plans to activate the adjacent park.

Commissioners voted to send a letter in support of the project, except for Commissioner Hamilton, who voted against it due to the absence of affordable housing.

An End to Density Trading
Forest City, the developers of The Yards, presented a request for an arcane zoning text change to open the way for the development of the project’s western parcels. This non-historic area between First Street and New Jersey Avenue SE is now home to the Trapeze School.

The original zoning, established in 2003-04, foresaw the development of 1.8 million square feet of commercial office and retail on the site. To facilitate this, the zoning order linked The Yards’ east and west parcels, allowing the trading of density between them.

The current market supports retail and residential rather than commercial office. Forest City wants to decouple the density trading between the east and west sections. The ZC will rule on the matter over the summer. No vote was taken.

Tingey Square
Forest City returned to the commission to request support for its design of Tingey Square, which had been presented last month. Commissioner Fascett told them bluntly that she felt that their plans for a lighted vertical icon in the park missed the mark. She commended them on their addition of a bike lane, segmented parking, and a hotel dropoff area in the revised design.

Fascett asked Forest City to limit the square parking to 10-minute dropoffs. She also asked to add more lighting. The commission voted unanimously to send a letter to the Public Space Committee in support of the design. The commission also authorize Fascett to testify on the Zoning Commission hearing on the matter.

1250 Half St. SE
The developer of 1250 Half St. SE requested support for changes in elevation, materials, retail modifications, and the provision of a bowling alley. Commissioners, finding the changes unobjectionable, concentrated considerable ire on the developer’s plan for an exterior digital display. Their objection echoed similar concerns expressed by the ZC.

The developer pointed out that the signage is permitted under Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen’s (D) recent legislation. It will host paid advertising in concert with signs on neighboring buildings. “Charles Allen still needs to explain his vote on the signage,” Chair Litsky curtly retorted.

The commission voted unanimously to support the developer’s changes while strongly opposing the digital sign.

Other Matters
The commission unanimously approved:

  • the commission’s April minutes
  • support for the Prevent Cancer 5K in the Capitol Riverfront on Nov. 5
  • the quarterly treasurer’s report

A vote on supporting the Returning Citizens Family Cookout was postponed.

ANC 6D will meet on Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m., at 1100 Fourth St. SW, Second Floor. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information.