The regularly scheduled meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C was held at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave. NE) on Wednesday, September 12.
The quorum: Christine Healey (Secretary, 6C01), Karen Wirt (Chair, 6C02), Scott Price (Treasurer, 6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), Heather Edelman (6C06).
The ANC approved the following motions put forward by committees:
Planning, Zoning and Economic Development
The Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZE) Committee recommended that the ANC support a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application at 1119 Abbey Place NE to enclose a rear porch and construct a second story rear addition. Clarity about lot occupancy was lacking in drawings, so the letter states that support is contingent on lot occupancy being at or under 70 percent.
The PZE Committee recommended that the ANC send a letter to DC Council recommending that the building code be amended so that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) can state the legal days and hours of construction activity on all permits, and that application for exterior alterations or additions include photos rather than drawings indicating affected elevations.
Transportation and Public Space Committee
The Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee recommended that the ANC write a letter supporting the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Notice of Intent (NOI) to place signage at Delaware Avenue and M Street NE prohibiting right turns on red from the northbound lane of Delaware onto M Street because of the danger to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The letter will remind DDOT of the committee’s multiple requests to prohibit right turns from the eastbound lane of M Street onto Delaware because of the danger due to limited sight lines, and their suggestion that Delaware Avenue should be a one-way street.
Alcohol and Beverage Licensing Committee
Chair of the Alcohol and Beverage Licensing (ABL) Committee Steve O’Neal noted for the record that at a September 1st emergency meeting of ANC 6C, the ANC voted to protest an application by Addis Ethiopian Restaurant (707 H St. NE) for a substantial enlargement to their occupancy. The meeting was necessary because the restaurant refused to delay the date of their hearing until after the September 12th ANC meeting.
The restaurant wants to expand to the second and third floors of the building it occupies, which would more than double seating capacity from 59 to 122 and would expand the building’s occupancy load from 65 to 269 on all three floors. The license would also include a permit for live music and a closing time of 2 a.m. Neighbors strongly opposed any expansion. On September 1st, the ANC voted to protest the application.
Transportation and Public Space Committee
Eighth Street Loading Zone
DDOT has issued a NOI that they want to remove 40 feet of residential parking at the southwest corner of Eighth and H Streets NE and replace it with a 15-minute loading zone. The NOI will address complaints that parked cars in the area create a lack of visibility for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. DDOT will create buildouts to lessen pedestrian crossing distance
Commissioner Scott Price (6C03) said that as additional housing is under construction on the block, and parking is already at a premium, he was concerned about removing parking spots. He proposed the missing Residential Parking Permit (RPP) spaces be made up elsewhere on the block, perhaps by asking DDOT to switch a 2-hour parking zone to RPP.
Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) argued that because the area is zoned multi-use commercial (MU4) the block should not qualify for RPP at all, and therefore the request would create a precedent of ANC approval of RPP in non-residential zones.
A letter accepting the proposed changes but requesting additional parking spots in compensation was passed 4-1.
A public space application to establish a mailbox at 508 L St. NE was heard. The application is to install a single-unit six-box mailbox in front of one of the three new rowhouses which contain six new condo units. Initially, the boxes were to be located on the doors, but the United States Postal Service indicated that a single mailbox was necessary for delivery. The application was unanimously approved by the ANC.
Representatives of Capitol Hill Baptist Church appeared in regard to the five rowhouses they are building at 6-14 Sixth St. NE. The project had appeared before ANC 6C for matters of historic preservation in June 2017, and was now being considered by TPS in regard to landscaping, walkways and a driveway. The original application had a curb cut and driveway to a parking lot behind the rowhouses, but last year the ANC recommended against the curb cut. The drawings submitted to the TPS committee this month still showed the curb cut. The TPS Committee also had issue with what they saw as an excessive amount of paving in the public parking, related to the stairways going to the garden level of the rowhouses.
ANC supported the application with the closure of the curb cuts and a reduction in the amount of paving as per an earlier design. The motion carried unanimously.
DC Small Cell Program
The TPS Committee had reviewed the DDOT draft guidelines on the design and placement of small cell technology. The smaller, lower-to-the ground antennae on District utility poles and other public spaces will allow for better cellular infrastructure and fewer dead spots in mobile service. Several wireless providers have already entered into Master License Agreements with the District to do so. Companies will have to submit a DDOT Public Space Application in order to install these. The draft Small Cell Design Guidelines will govern placement and design, including size, location, color and number.
The TPS Committee recommended that the ANC send a letter to DDOT containing the following recommendations:
- The guidelines highlight the requirement that stand-alone poles should not be constructed if existing poles can be used to mount the small cells with a height limitation for antennae of 31 feet, or more than ten percent higher than existing poles, whichever is greater. The committee suggested the limit be the lesser of the two, so that ten-foot antennae cannot be placed on a twenty-foot pole.
- The committee felt that unit installation on newly constructed poles should be greater than 20 feet from historic landmarks and that there was a lack of clarity regarding proximity to federal properties.
- The guidelines restrict the number of antennae per block based on block size. The largest blocks can have up to 12 units, which the committee thought was too high.
- That the guidelines include a limit on the total overall number of cells that can be installed by a company in the District.
- That no more than 5 percent of a tree can be removed to accommodate antennae.
The letter was supported unanimously.
Parks and Events Committee
NOMA Parks Update
M Street underpass lighting installation is complete. Adjustment is being made to lighting programming and sidewalks are being repaired. A ribbon-cutting is being scheduled for later this year.
L Street underpass lighting installation has received final approval from Amtrak. All other permits have been received so construction will begin shortly with an expected completion date in 2018.
Swampadoodle Park (L and Third Streets NE) is expected to have landscaping underway in mid-September. A ribbon-cutting is expected to be scheduled shortly, but the park will be open as soon as it is ready and all inspections are complete.
The Parks and Events Committee wishes to address issues of trash and recycling with Department of Public Works (DPW) at their October meeting, and issues related to Solar Energy in November.
Finally, the ANC voted unanimously to change the committee’s name from ‘Parks and Events Committee’ to ‘Environment, Parks and Events Committee’ to reflect the increased interest of the committee in environmental concerns, largely driven by Chair Joe McCann.
ANC 6C meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month (except August) in the ground floor conference room at the Heritage Foundation (214 Massachusetts Ave. NE). The next meeting of ANC 6C will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, October 10. Learn more at anc6c.org.