“We have a murder problem in this ANC,” said Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) Chair Daniel Ridge, noting two deaths in the ANC over the previous week at the June 12 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B. Ridge recognized the loss of USA Today reporter Oren Dorell, who on June 8 was killed while riding his motorcycle on H Street NE in a collision with an apparently drunk driver. He also announced the death of Wykeena Ferguson, who was shot to death in an apparent domestic altercation June 10 on the 700 block of 12th St. SE.
The quorum: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Jerry Sroufe (6B02), James Loots (6B03, Parliamentarian), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04, secretary), Steve Hagedorn (6B05), Nick Burger (6B06, treasurer), Kelly Waud (6B07), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, vice-chair), Daniel Ridge (6B09, Chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10).
Crown Castle Government Relations Manager Carly Didden appeared on behalf of the wireless infrastructure company to announce that they had entered into an agreement with the District to improve cell phone service by installing antennae on streetlights. The project is funded by wireless carrier companies. This should lead to improved service and fewer dropped calls, she said. Didden intends to visit the ANC again after the company and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) determine their preferred designs.
Community Speak Out
Representatives of the DC Circulator came to present on the new routes, particularly the Eastern Market-L’Enfant Plaza (EMLP) Route, effective June 24. They noted that there is a loop near the Eastern Market Metro, and that the first stop will be on Pennsylvania next to the Metro Escalator and the last stop will be on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, next to Trader Joe’s. There will be additional game day service to Audi Field on the EMLP route beginning two hours before kick-off, serving the stadium from both directions at two stops: one at Half Street & O Street SW and one at Potomac Avenue and Half Street SW. The service will not be offered for the July 14 inaugural game due to road closures related to MLB All-Star week but will begin for the next game July 25.
Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Committee
The ANC heard the application for a Tavern License with sidewalk café for Barracks Lane Restaurant (517 Eighth St. SE), which would be open Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., Friday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. with sidewalk hours from 10 a.m. to midnight.
Prior renovations to the building had taken place without the input of the ANC. During those renovations, the kitchen was built against the back wall preventing the addition of an interior trash room. The ANC and applicant Ehalmi Ikhiar, who also owns Brick Lane restaurant (1636 17 St. NW), had reached a settlement agreement, and the applicant agreed to incorporate an indoor trash room as part of any future renovation or construction. Expressing confidence in Ikhiar, the commission supported the application 6-0 with three abstentions.
Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Committee
The business of the Planning and Zoning Committee occupied much of the rest of the meeting.
HPA 526 Eighth St. SE
A Historic Preservation Application (HPA) was heard for 526 Eighth St. SE, consisting of a concept design for a new three-story mixed-use building in the parking lot at 536 Eighth St. SE. Owner Chris Martin of Martin-Diamond Development has purchased the lot and wants to erect a three-story mixed-use building. Neighbors were concerned about garage access in the alley, and the loss of the mural painted on the side of the neighboring building. The applicant had met with neighbors who expressed optimism about the relationship with the applicant. The applicant was encouraged to incorporate public art to replace the loss of the mural on the side of Nooshi Restaurant (524 Eighth St. SE), which would be partially obstructed by the building. The concept design was supported unanimously.
HPA 232 South Carolina Ave. SE
The commission heard a concept design as part of an HPA for a front and side porch at 232 South Carolina Ave. SE. Noting that the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) had asked him to revise the design so that the front porch of his home would match those of other homes on the street, the applicant added that the concept had the support of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS).
The next-door neighbor appeared with representation to object to the construction of the porch. He argued that the porch would be significantly increased and that it was historically inaccurate based on the appearance of the home in 1994.
After noting that the redesign was not significantly larger, just a different configuration and the historical standards were based on the appearance of the home in the 1940s the application was supported 7-2 with one abstention.
BZA 322 Eighth St. SE
A Board of Zoning Amendment (BZA) application was heard for a special exemption to construct a second story on an existing garage at 322 Eighth St. SE. In response to objections from neighbors, the applicant had removed a roof deck from the design, opting for a balcony instead.
Neighbors expressed concerns about the impact of construction on the alley and access to the garage, and about the impact on parking in the neighborhood with the addition of another residence. The major concern expressed was regarding privacy, as the windows of the proposed residence could look into neighboring yards and structures.
They also expressed concern about the approval of the alley dwelling as establishing a precedent, to which Commissioner Nick Burger (6B06) noted that alley dwellings already exist throughout the ANC and that the construction of such dwellings was one of the goals of the 2016 amendments to the Zoning Code.
In regard to privacy concerns expressed by residents living across the rear alley, Architect Jennifer Fowler noted that they were separated from the proposed residence by a 30-foot alley and several garages. She acknowledged the legitimate concerns of the next-door neighbor, who expressed concern regarding privacy in her backyard. The owner expressed willingness to discuss design changes to ensure her privacy.
Commissioner Burger put forward a motion supporting the application while noting unresolved issues of the adjacent neighbor in particular with regard to privacy. The support acknowledged planned conversations between the applicant and neighbor to address these concerns and the ANC expectation that this conversation would take place ahead of the BZA hearing. Commissioner Ridge will attend as a representative of the ANC. This motion passed 8-2.
The next meeting of ANC 6B will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). As the ANC does not meet in August, that will be the last full meeting until September 11. Visit anc6b.org for more info.