Commissioners Alex Padro (6E01), Anthony Brown (6E02), Frank Wiggins (6E03, vice chair and treasurer), David Jaffe (6E04, secretary) and Alex Marriott (6E05, chair) made up the quorum to conduct official business at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E March meeting. Alvin Judd (6E06) and Kevin Rogers (6E07) were absent.
Congresswoman Norton Visits the Meeting
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton was on hand at the March meeting as a special guest and informed the attendees and commissioners of her latest efforts to represent DC residents in the House of Representatives. She said she is focusing a lot of her efforts on infrastructure and is sponsoring a bill that will bring amenities to the Waterfront area that will increase revenue. She serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure committee and said that she is happy to take land away from the federal government and give it to DC taxpayers. Norton also noted that the site where the old Walter Reed Hospital is located is a huge tract of land that can bring in money if redeveloped.
Because of her legislation, Norton said, more people are moving to DC to attend college. An easier requirement to register DC automobile tags has helped keep residents from relocating to Virginia and Maryland. She also noted that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail service is crucial to the region, and she is working to improve it. She said that Anacostia is a possible future site for the Department of Homeland Security, and that in the event of a government shutdown, the DC budget will remain unchanged.
DC Fire and EMS Representative
Doug Buchanan of DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) visited the meeting to speak about a change that will improve response times to emergency calls. Buchanan said that EMS gets too many calls from residents who do not need to go to the hospital. Calls will now go through a procedure in which a medical specialist will decide if an ambulance is needed. For lesser emergencies, a primary-care representative can be consulted, and free transportation will be provided for clinic visits. “Lights and sirens should only be used for critical situations and not belly aches,” said Buchanan.
A Visit from NPS
Vincent Vase, chief of visitor services for the National Park Service (NPS), was on hand to inform everyone that he is taking care of the rehabilitated Carter G. Woodson Home and that NPS has grant money to provide transportation for kids to visit the home. He also reminded everyone of the upcoming Frederick Douglass bicentennial celebration and said that the Frederick Douglass Home will be open in the evening of the Fourth of July, when visitors will be able to watch fireworks all over the National Mall from Cedar Hill.
Time Extension Request for K Street Hotel
A time extension was requested for a 14-story hotel to be developed on 313-317 K St. NW. A representative of the development project said that it had secured financing and drawn the interest of operators. The representative said that his client initially had trouble getting funding at the end of 2017, and has had to wait to file for a building permit due to the constraints, but would like to file by this summer.
The commissioners voted to support the time extension provided that the property has two floors of below-grade parking and a valet service is provided within that space. The vote of support will be communicated to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA).
Modification Request for Darth Vader Building
A representative of Douglas Development requested a minor modification for an existing planned unit development (PUD). The modification request is for a structure also known as the Darth Vader Building, located at 111 Massachusetts Ave. NW. The request is to redo the facade and add density to the building. To increase the view of the building, the front entrance green wall will be shifted up. The commissioners supported the request.
HPRB Support Request for Fifth Street Hotel
A representative of the Hilton Hotel chain requested support for a Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) application. The 11-story hotel will be located at 1800 Fifth St. NW. The property will be wedged between two historic buildings, and the representative said that the developer intends to preserve the historic facade on that site. The structure will have a double-height lobby with a ground-level loading area at the rear of the building.
The representative is seeking relief for the loading area, for windows for guest rooms and for floor-to-ceiling clearance on the ground floor. The requirement is a 22-foot clearance but they can do no more than 20 feet. There will be a restaurant and lounge with a small number of tables, and no music will be offered. The representative said he has two letters of agreement from nearby garages that can provide up to 20 spaces. The commissioners voted to support the request and asked the representative to continue cooperating with surrounding property owners.
ANC 6E will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on April 3 at the Shaw/Watha T. Daniel Library, 1630 Seventh St. NW.
Steve Holton can be contacted at [email protected].