Congresswoman Norton Pays First Visit to ANC 6B

ANC 6B Report - June 2019

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton presented before Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B at the June 11 meeting. Many audience members thanked the Congresswoman for her work over the last 26 years.

Norton offered extensive comments on President Trump’s recent announcement that he would appear at this year’s District Fourth of July festivities. Noting that Fourth of July celebrations on the National Mall are “apolitical”, Norton said that Trump intended to change that by relocating the festivities from the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial and speaking at the event. “That is what he intends to do now, steal the Fourth of July from Americans,” she said, adding that she was working to prevent the changes.

In her presentation, Norton highlighted efforts she has made towards DC Statehood, as well as legislation she has introduced in order to achieve Home Rule, or control by District residents of their own affairs.

On the matter of DC Statehood, Norton noted that the first official hearing of HR51, the bill she sponsored to advance DC Statehood in the House of Representatives, is to be held July 24. As of June 11, 206 representatives have agreed to support it, and Norton said that she expected the bill to pass in the House, although she was doubtful it would be considered by the Senate.

The Congresswoman said she is advancing legislation giving DC the right to call out the National Guard as well as to create a DC state attorney accountable to the District, rather than to Congress. She said the easiest way to facilitate the latter would be by achieving statehood but wants to approach it from both directions. Accountability to the District would help fight the rise in gun violence, she argued.

Norton has successfully introduced bills to extend the lease between the National Park Service (NPS) and the District at RFK Stadium, she said, and has introduced a bill allowing the District to purchase the land at RFK Campus at fair market value, saying that the Mayor had ‘wiped the state clean’ by removing the NFL from consideration.

The Congresswoman expressed surprise when residents described the illegal use of residential properties in the area for political events and fundraisers. She also voiced opposition to recent moves by the Architect of the Capitol to allocate more space to government parking, saying that it would be worth addressing representation by the Architect of the Capitol on the District Zoning Commission.

Norton thanked the commissioners for their time, expressing surprise that she had never appeared before ANC 6B. “I live right down the street, and I regularly go to ANC meetings,” she said. “I don’t know how I missed my own ANC 6B.”

Norton said people should feel free to tell her whatever they think she should know, even to speak to her in the street. “I urge you; it really works to stop me to say something or ask something,” she said.

Small Cell Antennae Coming to Area
Commissioner Jennifer Samolyk (6B01) said that she had received five notifications for the installation of small cell antennae in her Single Member District (SMD) alone, with construction likely to begin in four or five months.

Samolyk said that while the ANC had been under the impression each installation of towers designed to facilitate 5G cellular technology would be heard before the ANC, as long as work adheres to guidelines set by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) the carriers are only required to send a letter. Chair Chander Jayaraman said he thought the ‘nebulous’ nature of the guidelines could be an issue moving forward.

Samolyk asked for a special call meeting of ANC 6B so that residents and commissioner could discuss issues surrounding aesthetics, health and construction of the towers with cellular providers and DDOT representatives.

ANC 6B Votes to Protest District Soul Food Liquor License
In May, the commission issued District Soul Food (500 Eighth St. SE) a Notice and Opportunity to Cure three issues within 30 days, and asked that the business accordingly agree to defer the deadline to protest the liquor license. The proprietors were asked to address issues of trash and noise, produce documentation from the District Department of Health (DOH) proving they had an exception to permit indoor smoking in the restaurant’s cigar lounge, and address complaints of the smell of cigar smoke from neighboring restaurant Trattoria Alberto (508 Eighth St. SE), which would involve window replacement.

Jayaraman said that the owners were working in good faith but required additional time to address the issues, in particular the window replacement. However, having deferred the hearing date in April, Jayaraman said the only option left that would preserve the rights of the ANC to negotiate a Settlement Agreement was to protest the application, which commissioners supported by a vote of 8-0-2.

Bullfrog Bagels Enters Good Neighbor Agreement
There was lengthy discussion about an agreement entered into between the community and the owner of Bullfrog Bagels (317 Seventh St. SE). Facilitated by Chair Jayaraman, the ‘Good Neighbor Agreement’ helps both parties address various concerns, notably with noise, issues related to early deliveries and rear alley use as well as parking. There was some debate about the limitations on rear deliveries prior to 7 a.m., but agreement in principal was reached and the application for license renewal was supported by the commission by a vote of 9-0-1.

Other Matters
The Commission voted to support:

  • a Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for a rear, side, and third-story addition to an 11 1/2 foot-wide rowhouse at 142 D St. SE. The addition is similar to an addition next door and is not visible from the street in front of the house. There was no opposition from neighbors after outreach.
  • a Public Space Application for a historic wayfinding sign by the Capitol Riverfront BID on the 1000 block of Eighth Street SE.
  • proposed rulemaking in regard to on-street parking for persons with disabilities that would add metered handicap parking zones to the central business district and areas near Nationals Stadium, including four SMDs located in ANC 6B. Only one per block would be permitted, and all would be installed in commercial areas.

The Commission voted to support alcohol license applications from:

  • Medium Rare Barracks Row (515 Eighth St. SE)
  • The Ugly Mug Dining Saloon and Valor Brew Pub (723 Eighth St. SE)
  • La Lomita Dos (308 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)

The Commission voted to oppose an alcohol license application from Le Pain Quotidien (666 Pennsylvania Ave. SE), as representatives did not appear either before the full commission or the commission’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee the week prior.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B held the May meeting of the full commission at the Hill Center Tuesday, June 11. On the dais: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02, Secretary), Brian Ready (6B03, Parliamentarian), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Holtzman (6B05), Corey Holman (6B06, Treasurer), Kelly Waud (6B07), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, Chair), Kasie Clark (6B09, Vice Chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10).

The next meeting of ANC 6B will take place at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 9 at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). ANCs do not meet in August. Visit anc6b.org for more info, email 6b@anc.dc.gov or find @ANC6B on Twitter.