All six members of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C were present at the March 13 meeting: Christine Healey (6C01, secretary), Karen Wirt (6C02, chair), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04, vice chair), Joel Kelty (6C05, treasurer) and Robb Dooling (6C06).
Residents in the neighborhood of K Street NE appeared at the meeting to oppose the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) road diet plans, as endorsed by the commissioners at their February meeting. The group, which had also appeared at the meeting of the TPS Committee, said they had amassed 170 signatures objecting to the reduction in parking spaces. Residents cited hardship to families and seniors and asked if DDOT had conducted studies showing the impact of a reduction of parking spaces on the area.
The road diet extends along K Street NE from First to 12th streets. Bike lanes will be installed from Second to Sixth streets with full-time parking replacing the restricted rush-hour parking from Sixth to 12th streets. Acknowledging opposition, the commissioners noted that District-wide safety was an important priority and pointed to the need for increased alternate transportation with the expected increase in residents. The motion to send a letter supporting the changes, attaching the letter sent last month, was supported 5-0-1, with Kelty abstaining.
Concern about New Restaurant at 707 H St. NE
The commissioners took up two issues in regard to 707 H St. NE, former site of Addis Ethiopian Restaurant. First was a liquor license application from Brothers Burger Bar, doing business as Aroma. Commissioners unanimously endorsed a motion from the Alcoholic Beverage Licensing (ABL) Committee to protest the license. Speaking for the committee, Kelty said that the applicant had failed to respond to an invitation to appear before the committee, and conversation with the applicant had begun only the previous day.
In regard to the same address, the chair of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZE) Committee, Eckenwiler, put forward a motion that the ANC file an appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). Eckenwiler said a new certificate of occupancy was recently issued for the address that appeared identical to one issued last year that was revoked in November because it was in violation of at least one part of the zoning code. That motion was approved unanimously.
Renovations to Folger Shakespeare Library
The commissioners voted unanimously to endorse the application by the Folger Shakespeare Library (201 East Capitol St. NE) for a public space construction permit. The Folger sits in ANC 6B and along the border of ANC 6C. Plans were presented to both commissions. The permit is the first step in making renovations to the building and grounds, planned to begin early in 2020.
Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee Chair Kazmierczak summarized the concept design as presented to the committee. The plans expand the interior rooms into below-grade public space that will include two new public exhibition spaces as well as a gift shop and washroom facilities for the galleries and the theatre, and two elevators for accessibility within the building, including the theatre balconies.
The building’s main entrances will be relocated to new east and west public gardens. Currently the main entrances are accessible by temporary ramps, but these are not graded to support heavier electric wheelchairs. Stairs in the interior also inhibit accessibility to exhibits. These spaces will be made fully accessible. The plinth, the elevated platform along East Capitol Street, will also be made accessible so that visitors can see the nine famous bas reliefs along the facade.
The plans eliminate the turnaround driveway on Second Street and the associated curb cut. The iron fence on Third Street will be removed to open the garden to public use. Much exterior public seating will be added, and the gardens will be illuminated by “discreet” public lighting.
Completion is anticipated in mid-2022, with the reopening contingent upon the preparation of the building once construction is complete. For more information see the feature story in this issue of the Hill Rag.
Issues with Verizon
On consent, the commissioners voted to send a letter to the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) asking why a construction permit was approved for Verizon at 120 Seventh St. NE, apparently without the required photos. Eckenwiler said that photos of the building’s exterior and contextual photos showing the surrounding areas, required in order to assess compliance with the Historical Preservation Act, were not filed with the application.
TPS Chair Kazmierczak said that Verizon had access to its parking lot and loading zone through an alley. A loading zone was established on Seventh Street to facilitate delivery of equipment and materials using dollies because of the narrow alley. However, trucks are often not parking in the designated loading zone but rather drive over public space and sidewalks to access the loading dock, endangering the safety of sidewalk users and causing damage to soil and trees.
With the support of neighbors, the TPS Committee suggested ways to address this. Proposals included fencing or a tree box to protect the trees. DDOT could also install bollards or bike racks strategically placed to prevent truck access. The commissioners unanimously endorsed a motion requesting that representatives from Verizon and DDOT attend the April meeting of the TPS Committee to discuss the installation of some sort of barrier.
The commissioners supported the Great Greater Washington Bus Priority Resolution, which supports the implementation of a citywide network prioritizing bus service, citing the fact that buses are generally the transportation used by disadvantaged riders. Kelty opposed a commitment to work on an issue with details not well-defined, but the motion was supported 5-1.
The commissioners unanimously endorsed a letter of support to the mayor’s special task force supporting the 40th Annual Capitol Hill Classic with a request that DDOT erect no-parking signage along the route at least 72 hours in advance of the race.
The commissioners approved the following items on the consent calendar:
- An application from Cafe Fili (701 Second St. NE) for an unenclosed sidewalk cafe, open until 11 p.m., Sunday to Thursday, and 12 a.m., Friday and Saturday. Many details had been resolved in a settlement agreement with the ABL Committee. The commissioners voted unanimous support, pending the receipt of drawings showing ADA-compliant seating.
- Endorsement of testimony from the PZE Committee regarding the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) on three issues, including stop-work orders, questions about the re-issuance of the certificate of occupancy at 707 H St. NE, and a request that DCRA publish a compilation of the interpretive rules adopted and used by the DC Office of Zoning.
ANC 6C meets at 7 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 will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10. Learn more at www.anc6c.org.