Two councilmembers, Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), made an appearance at the Feb. 13 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B, which was the first chaired by Daniel Ridge and the last for Commissioner Aimee Grace as incumbent.
The quorum: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04, secretary), Steve Hagedorn (6B05), Nick Burger (6B06, treasurer), Aimee Grace (6B07), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, vice chair), Daniel Ridge (6B09, chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10).
DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson appeared to speak on the proposed ceremonial naming of the 200 block of Second Street SE as Richard Rausch Way. Rausch, who died in 2007, was a resident of the block, a longtime advocate for DC home rule and a member of the Democratic Party, as well as a national advocate for LGBTQ issues.
The ANC had voted against the naming proposal in December, but Mendelson was not aware of the opposition until the bill was scheduled to be heard by the Committee of the Whole.
At the February meeting, commissioners reiterated their frustration at the lack of communication with the ANC and with residents. Samolyk, in whose single-member district the street lies, said that despite Mendelson’s January appearance at the ANC, she still had not heard from the DC Council on the matter. Samolyk said she received hate mail because of her opposition over the holidays, although she objected to the process rather than to the naming itself. She felt parameters and guidelines should be established for the process, as honorary namings were becoming so frequent as to depreciate their value.
Ridge said that many residents were awaiting the naming of streets and alleys on the Hill to proceed with by-right building, and objected to what might be perceived as the fast-tracking of a ceremonial naming.
The commissioners noted that the bill had been originally introduced by Councilmember Anita Bonds (I-At Large) and questioned why they were not contacted by her or her office in that regard.
Mendelson expressed a desire to restart the process of ceremonial naming afresh.
Councilmember Charles Allen
Councilmember Allen appeared to report on activities of his office over the preceding year. He started by thanking outgoing Commissioner Grace for her work on the Potomac Triangle Parks. Grace thanked him for helping to allocate $500,000 in funding to allow the project to proceed, noting that additional funds are sought for more expensive elements such as a splash pool. Planning will start this spring, and construction is expected to begin in fall.
Allen described the Council’s oversight hearings, set to take place over the next six weeks with a round focusing on operations and another on budget. He called attention to his Budget Town Hall Meeting, set to take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at Watkins Elementary School (420 12th St. SE). Allen promised to raise questions about sexual harassment and settlements during the oversight hearings and to make agency responses publicly available.
Allen said that he was incorporating resident comments about intersection safety and requests for all-way stop signs, saying he was “incredibly frustrated with many responses we got.” Calling it a major priority, he said he would have a meeting with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) the following day where he would raise many of these issues.
Allen said that the DC Circulator route changes expected to be implemented in April, notably a change in connection between Barracks Row and Union Station, were more likely to take effect by July 1 due to a change in the contractor running the bus service that is set for the spring. If changes are delayed, training on the new route would only be required for drivers with the new contractor rather than with both companies. Allen said route changes would help families with students moving from Brent Elementary School to Jefferson Middle School Academy in the fall.
Allen has crafted an overhaul of the Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA), a focus of ANC 6B and Krepp in particular. The legislation is to move forward in the Council during the next few weeks, and Allen expects it to pass and to respond to failings identified in the previous versions.
Community and Commission Announcements
Anthony DeLorenzo, urban planning project manager for the Department of General Services (DGS), announced that the plans for the Eastern Market Metro Plaza will be implemented over the next few months. The request for proposals (RFP) is expected to be issued in March and awarded in April, and comment on the design process should begin in May.
The plaza has a budget of $4.5 million over three years, but DeLorenzo said he expected additional revenue streams will be looked at. He said the RFP process would build on the public input that was begun several years ago by Barracks Row Main Street.
The plan calls for a one-year design phase, followed by one year of construction and delivery in early 2020.
Planning & Zoning Committee
Regarding Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) Square 762 Lot 828, the commissioners heard an application that had been deferred at the January meeting pending corrections to the address used in the application. The application is for special exceptions to construct a two-story family home on a tax lot on Third Street SE. The lot must be converted from a tax lot to a record lot in order to proceed as desired. The resident at 213 Third St. SE, the address originally used in error on the application, was present to oppose much of the application, voicing concern about the address currently in use and its implications to her own taxes.
The applicant’s attorney presented on the exceptions necessary, largely concerning alley length and width required to allow access for emergency services. The commissioners moved to support the application and two additional exceptions presented, pointing out that none were unusual and many were occasioned by the designation of the property as a tax rather than record lot. The application was supported.
Chair Oldenburg presented a letter to DDOT asking it to move forward with traffic studies requested by the ANC on Dec. 13, 2017, at 11th and D streets SE and at 15th and G streets at Kentucky Avenue SE. The letter was supported, 6-1, with Krepp opposing what she felt was the implication that the Hill East studies should be delayed.
Commissioners voted unanimously to support a token rental fee of $1 to be paid to The Yards for shared workspace at the Hine School Project (700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) in fulfillment of the agreement to provide office space to the ANC as part of the project.
Administrative Matters and Committee Appointments
Commissioners voted unanimously to support the renewal of advertising for the commission in the 2018 Fagon Guide to Capitol Hill.
The following were appointed to be chairs and representatives for committees. All were elected by acclamation and with no opposition:
Chair, Planning & Zoning Committee: Nick Burger
Chair, Transportation Committee: Kirsten Oldenburg
Chair, Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee: Chander Jayaraman
Chair, Hill East Task Force: Denise Krepp
Chair, Outreach & Constituent Services Task Force: Jennifer Samolyk
Representative Appointee to Eastern Market Advisory Committee: Chander Jayaraman
The next ANC 6B meeting will be held on March 13 at 7 p.m. at the Hill Center, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.