Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on April 9. Commissioners Meredith Fascett (6D07, chair), Cara Shockley (6D02), Ronald Collins (6D03, treasurer), Andy Litsky (6D04, vice chair), Roger Moffatt (6D05) and Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06) were on the dais. Gail Fast (6D01, secretary) was absent.
The Yards: The Next Phase
Forest City, the developer of The Yards, presented plans for the project’s second phase just to the east of the baseball stadium. The area is six blocks long and two blocks wide, stretching from M Street SE to the Anacostia River.
The fulcrum of this new neighborhood will be the new One and a Half Street SE. Running six blocks through the center of the development, 70 feet wide, it will be designed as a “woonerf,” a Dutch term for a road that mixes pedestrian and vehicular traffic, much in the manner of Wharf Street SW.
Cars will be confined to an off-center median designed to slow their speed to five to 10 miles per hour. The developer plans to close the street for special events. Curbside parking will also be designed flexibly so that it can repurposed. The commissioners reacted to the design with skepticism, objecting to the lack of definition between pedestrian and vehicular domains.
Under intense questioning, the developers clarified that One and a Half Street SE would remain private. The Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District (BID) and Forest City would oversee street closings, representatives stated. The DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) would retain control all the side streets.
Chair Fascett called for a traffic management plan. Pointing to the problems on Wharf Street, other commissioners argued against its utility. “I want you to think long and hard about this,” stated Litsky.
Forest City also presented plans for two buildings, one office and the other residential, that share a single platform atop Parcel F on N Street SE. The combined structure is a total 315,000 square feet with two levels of below-grade parking. The residential component consists of 342 rental units, 20 percent of which would be affordable at 50 percent of area median income. The entire structure would be wrapped in ground-floor retail.
The commissioners considered a license and community agreement for Officina, 1120 Maine Ave. SW, for the third time. The establishment was applying for a Class B license for its ground level and a CR license for its upper three floors.
The discussion between lawyer Andrew Kline and the commissioners became contentious. At issue were the requirements of the establishment’s lease, The Wharf’s planned unit development (PUD) and the scope of operations proposed for the first floor. Kline and his client asked for flexibility to use the ground-floor outdoor space for seating for fast casual dining.
Commissioners objected, stating that they had been promised an Italian-style specialty grocery during the negotiations, with outdoor food displays. They remained concerned on the impact of a ground-floor restaurant on nearby pedestrian circulation. Kline threatened to move forward without commission backing, claiming his client was being “jerked around.” “You usually go directly to hearings because it increases your billable hours,” retorted Litsky tartly.
The commissioners voted unanimously to oppose the license on the grounds of “peace, order and quiet,” but appointed a subcommittee with the authority to negotiate a settlement and withdraw the proposal.
The commissioners considered an application by DC United to transfer a license from the Capitol One Arena to the new stadium with an entertainment endorse. Shockley strongly objected to the hours proposed for the summer garden, which would be permitted to operate until 2 a.m. “It’s a residential neighborhood, not an entertainment district,” she stated. A majority of the commissioners (three) voted in favor of the license and associated community agreement, with two in opposition and one abstaining.
The commissioners considered a liquor license, an associated community agreement and a sidewalk cafe public space application for Oath Pizza, 110 M St. SE. They had concerns about siting 12 tables in the tight quarters in front of the restaurant, cramped by the neighboring Metro entrance and bus stop. They also worried about carryout customers temporarily parking in the adjoining alley, thus blocking access to the parking garage of the adjacent property. Nevertheless, commissioners voted in favor of the license and community agreement with one abstention. They then unanimously voted against the public space application.
Carmon Windham gave a presentation on the work of the Office of the Attorney General, outlining its priorities and responsibilities.
Cecilia Lane from the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) outlined the measures her agency is undertaking to retrofit Amidon Park to conserve stormwater. The contract will be finalized by June 1. DOEE will return thereafter to provide more details to the commission.
The commissioners voted, with two abstentions, to support the provisioning of a cycle track on Second Street SW between the soccer stadium and Fort McNair They added their concerns about its impact on residential parking to their letter. Community members expressed concerns about the loss of 20 parking spots on the west side of Second Street. They suggested the District add parking on Q Street.
The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to the DC Zoning Commission complaining about the addition of digital signage to existing buildings. The DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is routinely approving such signage for buildings that did not apply or disclose their intention to add such during Zoning Commission design review, commissioners pointed out. “Can we get an opinion on this rogue process?” asked Fascett.
The commissioners voted unanimously to:
- approve the March minutes;
- ask DDOT to release its study of the vibrations caused by trains in the new Virginia Avenue Tunnel. and reduce the speed of trains running through it;
- support the closing of Maryland Avenue SW for the Eisenhower Memorial;
- thank ANC 6D Executive Director Shaun Carter for his service;
- support the March of Dimes race on April 22 and the Girls on the Run on June 3;
- support the Duck Drop event put on by the SW Business Improvement District;
- support a liquor license and voluntary agreement with the Boomerang Boat, adjusting the dock location, business name and noise hours;
- support a liquor license and community agreement for Capitol Liquors, 1301 South Capitol St. SW, which restores the right to sell singles;
- support a public space application for Peter’s Coffee, 1115 New Jersey Ave. SE, for a sidewalk cafe featuring six tables;
- request the DC Council to add funding to the Southwest Library for the provision of an opening day collection, furniture and a 3-D printer;
- authorize Vice Chair Litsky and Chair Fascett to testify on the commission’s behalf at the hearing on the DC Waterfront Act.
The next ANC 6D meeting will be held on May 14 at 7 p.m. at 1100 Fourth St. SW. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information.