The May 9 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C included decisions via the consent calendar on traffic, zoning and alcohol-related matters as well as additional routine votes on liquor licenses, plus discussion and vote on planning and zoning items. Non-voting reports included traffic issues around Union Market, expansion plans for Union Station and an update from Councilmember Elissa Silverman.
The quorum: Christine Healey (6C01), Karen Wirt (6C02, chair), Scott Price (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), Chris Miller (6C05) and Heather Edelman (6C06).
Traffic and Transportation
The Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee reported on Union Station expansion proposals, which include a new H Street pedestrian entrance, a new intersection under K Street and new parking structures. The committee noted that the station is operating over capacity at present and that transportation needs are expected to grow, but objected to proposals for pedestrian entrances surrounded with car activity and more traffic than K Street can handle. The ANC voted, 6-0-0, to submit the committee’s comments, requesting that future plans de-prioritize neighborhood streets for transportation functions.
The TPS committee recommended a comprehensive traffic plan for Union Market as an urgent public safety matter, citing problematic and missing signage as well as narrow and poorly maintained sidewalks originally meant for a warehouse area. After drafting a letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) requesting appointment of a project manager to oversee improvements, the committee belatedly learned of streetscape guidelines developed with no ANC or other public involvement. The ANC voted, 6-0-0, to submit the committee’s letter, with an amendment objecting to previous lack of engagement.
The consent agenda included support for an enclosed sidewalk cafe at Cava Grill, 523 H St. NE, and a letter to DDOT regarding traffic improvements at 1100 Delaware Ave.
Planning and Zoning
Berkeley Square Capitol plans a rear addition to the former rectory of St. Monica and St. James Episcopal Church, 222 Eighth St. NE. Plans for the addition prompted concern about the church’s stained-glass windows, which a community statement called “a defining characteristic of the church for more than 100 years.” However, a light study found that, although the addition will have an effect, light reduction during main service hours will be insignificant. The Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development (P&Z) Committee agreed, 4-1, to support the application as long as church concerns, including vibrations and need for a safety fence, are addressed.
The church also objected to the new building being called “The Rectory,” citing confusion over ownership and concerns that those needing solace might believe they could find it there. The applicant responded by declaring, “We are in the process of erasing the name from our thoughts.” The ANC voted, 6-0-0, to adopt the committee’s position with additional language highlighting church concerns.
A multistory rear addition, requiring both historic preservation and Board of Zoning Adjustment applications, is planned for 734 Fourth St. NE. The ANC heard committee recommendations as well as commissioner and community complaints about the process of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). The commissioners voted, 6-0-0, to support P&Z recommendations contingent on submission of revised drawings, a letter of support to the Historic Preservation Review Board on concept approval and no action on a request for an expedited hearing for special exceptions to lot occupancy requirements.
Permit appeals, with authorization for further negotiations, for 310 E St. NE and 1125 Seventh St. NE, were taken up under the consent calendar.
Alcohol Beverage Licensing
As part of the consent calendar, the ANC agreed to a routine protest and negotiation of the settlement agreement for a new liquor license at Sidamo Coffee and Tea, 417 H St. NE, as well as no protest for license renewals at Capitol Fine Wine and Spirits, 415 H St. NE, and Schneider’s Liquors, 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE.
After brief discussion, the commissioners voted, 6-0-0, to protest and negotiate settlement for a new Class C tavern license at The Ministry, 601 New Jersey Ave. NE, and to protest license renewal to allow tastings at Kogod Liquors, 441 New Jersey Ave. NE, possibly to be revisited after CCNV shelter relocates.
Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), a resident of ANC 6C, shared an update on the Labor and Workforce Committee, which she chairs. She began with Ballot Initiative 77, which would raise the minimum wage for tipped workers, in annual steps, to match that of non-tipped workers by 2026. Legal challenges resulted in placement of the initiative on the June 19 Democratic primary ballot, but independents and those registered in other parties can vote on Initiative 77.
Silverman outlined pro and con for the initiative. Despite recent increases to tipped workers’ wages, some restaurant workers still don’t earn minimum wage; in addition, the #MeToo movement highlights that “women are often forced to take bad behavior in order to get tips.” On the other hand, the initiative would change the revenue model for restaurants. Owners believe wait staff are content with the tip system and “like being rewarded for good service.”
Silverman supports eliminating tipped jobs, citing the problems of wage theft and sexual harassment and saying high-demand hospitality industry jobs should be considered “middle-class.” She reported “concerns about the pace of change” in Initiative 77. Asked if the DC Council could adjust the pace, however, Silverman said, “it is more likely the council would overturn it entirely.”
Silverman also reported a new position at the DC Auditor to monitor city job programs, including summer youth employment and compliance with the First Choice law. In addition, as an initiative of the mayor, the city is launching an Infrastructure Academy, housed in Ward 8, to provide certification and other training toward employment.
Finally, Silverman discussed the need for new quarters for DC Central Kitchen, a program currently housed at the CCNV shelter and finding culinary jobs for 90 percent of its graduates. CCNV is supposed to be temporary, Silverman said, and is scheduled to close in the next few years. DC Central Kitchen, meanwhile, has a $1 million grant for expansion from 9,000 to 40,000 square feet.
The next meeting of ANC 6C will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13, at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave. SE). Visit www.anc6c.org for more information.