Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A Chair Phil Toomajian called the meeting to order at Miner Elementary School, 601 15th St. NE, with Commissioners Calvin Ward, Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, Marie-Claire Brown, Mike Soderman, Patrick Malone and Stephanie Zimny in attendance. Amber Gove was unable to attend.
The meeting opened with beginning-of-year business items, including election of officers, approval of committees and establishment of a meeting schedule.
The officers are unchanged from last year: chair, Phil Toomajian; vice chair, Mike Soderman; secretary, Calvin Ward; treasurer, Stephanie Zimny.
Committee chairs and members are: Economic Development and Zoning – Brad Greenfield (chair), Jake Joyce, Missy Boyette, Michael Hoenig, Stephanie Zimny. Transportation and Public Safety – Todd Sloves (chair), Jeff Fletcher, Andrea Adleman, Hassan Christian, Elizabeth Nelson. Alcohol Beverage Licensing – Jay Williams and Christopher Seagle (co-chairs), Roger Caruth, Michael Herman, Justin Rzepka, Mark Samburg. Community Outreach – Roni Hollmon (chair), Gladys Mack, Joyce West.
Monthly meetings of the commission will be held on the second Thursday of each month (except August) at 7 p.m. All meetings will be held at Miner Elementary School except the July meeting.
Amber Breitenberg of FreshFarm H Street NE Farmers Market requested the commission’s support for a street closing on the 800 block of 13th Street NE (first block north of H Street) on Saturday mornings to accommodate the Farmers Market. The same support has been offered by the ANC since the market’s inception. The commissioners gave unanimous approval.
John Knutsen, First District, Sector 2 captain, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), reported a significant reduction in violent crime within the First District portion of ANC 6A. Every major crime category has dropped. He credits “intelligence based deployment” of officers. He cited “vitally important” private security camera footage as an important tool in solving crimes. He also credited the global thinking of the new sector system, rather than the more segmented police service area (PSA)-approach to policing. The number of mountain bike teams may be increased.
Zimny directed Knutsen’s attention to traffic issues on Linden Court NE. Between 7 and 9 a.m. especially, delivery trucks are blocking egress and creating a fire safety hazard. Knutsen said he would give that some attention. Prostitution continues to be a problem along the K Street NE corridor. Knutsen said that MPD is working to address this and the strip seems quieter. However, prostitution sting operations are very resource-intensive.
Haley Peckett, project manager of the Streetcar Storage and Maintenance Facility Needs Assessment Study, presented the findings of the assessment. To accommodate a planned expansion of streetcar service from Union Station west to Georgetown, additional cars will be required. Currently there is insufficient space to store them. Three possible additional locations have been identified for environmental assessment, all on Benning Road NE: Hechinger Mall (1518) and two Pepco addresses (2934 and 3398). Whichever location is chosen will be “co-developed” to include additional functions. In the case of the Hechinger Mall site, retail would be retained though businesses might have to close during construction. Peckett can be reached at email@example.com.
Alcohol Beverage Licensing Actions
The commissioners voted to withdraw ANC 6A’s protest of Nomad Hookah Bar’s (1200 H St. NE) request for later sidewalk cafe hours. The ANC had entered into a settlement agreement (SA) with the owners that stipulated that the protest would be dropped if an enclosure sufficient to contain the noise were constructed. A neighbor testified that there was no visible change to the tent-like structure since the protest was filed and that he was skeptical that it would offer adequate soundproofing. However, Commissioner Brown and Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee Chair Seagle said that the work was in compliance with DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) standards.
Toomajian pointed out that the SA included a provision to revisit the hours of operation if there were three substantiated noise complaints – sound heard inside individual homes. These should be directed to the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), not the police, at the agency’s hotline: 202-442-4423 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday-Friday; 202-329-6347 from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. on evenings and weekends.
Transportation and Public Space Actions
The commission deferred discussion of the concept proposed in B22-0351, legislation authored by Councilmember Charles Allen to create a school parking zone program. Amber Gove, the commissioner for the single-member district (SMD) most directly affected, was not in attendance. It will be on the agenda when both Gove and Allen can attend. The legislation would address DC Public Schools’ policy that currently prioritizes on-site parking on school property over recreational space for students.
ANC 6A will ask DDOT to investigate pedestrian safety around Miner Elementary School as well as establish or review its “Safe Routes to Schools” plan.
Economic Development and Zoning Actions
ANC 6A will send a letter to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in support of a special exception from the requirement that a rear addition extend no more than 10 feet beyond a neighboring structure, so that a rear addition can be added at 128 17th St. NE.
Reports & Announcements
Toomajian announced that DDOT Director Jeff Marootian will appear at the Feb. 8 meeting of ANC 6A and Councilmember Charles Allen will appear on March 8.
A representative of the DC College Savings Plan gave a presentation. The program is administered by the District government and offers tax benefits (both “state” and federal) to District residents. Savings can be used for any accredited postsecondary education. More details can be found at www.dc529.com.
Miner Elementary School has been selected to participate in the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) RiverSmart program. Per the website (www.doee.dc.gov/service/riversmart-schools), these schoolyard greening projects focus on incorporating landscape design principles that create habitat for wildlife, emphasize the use of native plants, highlight water conservation and retain and filter stormwater runoff. They have the added benefit of being an outdoor classroom that supports effective teaching practices and promotes student learning.
This was the last meeting for Gail John, who has been taking minutes for ANC 6A. Toomajian thanked her for her “outstanding work” and crucial contribution in support of transparency to the community.
Soderman noted that it is possible to donate to funds established by Pepco and Washington Gas to assist residents who can’t afford to heat their homes.
Brown and Zimny accompanied Mayor Bowser during her walking tour of Ward 6. They were joined by Councilmember Allen and were particularly interested in the use of dry ice for rodent control (it asphyxiates the varmints).
Malone expressed concern about the effects on District residents of a possible federal government shutdown, which could come on Jan. 20. He plans to produce a report on the potential consequences for the use of his fellow commissioners.
ANC 6A meets on the second Thursday of every month (except August), usually at Miner Elementary School.
The 6A committees meet at 7 p.m. on the following schedule:
Alcohol Beverage and Licensing, third Tuesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.
Community Outreach, fourth Monday of each month, Eastern Senior High School, 1700 East Capitol St. NE.
Economic Development and Zoning, third Wednesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.
Transportation and Public Space, usually the third Monday of every month, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G St. NE. In February it will meet on the fourth Monday due to the federal holiday.
Visit www.anc6a.org for calendar of events, changes of date/venue, agendas and other information.