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Build First At Greenleaf

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D met on May 13. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01, Chair), Ronald Collins (6D03, Treasurer), Andy Litsky (6D04, Vice Chair), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06, Secretary), Edward Daniels (6D07) and Anna Forgie (6D02).

Anthony Dale (6D05) has resigned and did not attend. An election to replace him will be held at the commission’s meeting in October.

Stabilizing Greenleaf Gardens
DC Housing Authority (DCHA) Director Tyrone Garrett briefed the commission on the authority’s plans for Greenleaf Gardens. DCHA, he reported, has put a Request for Proposals (RFP) out for the site’s redevelopment through a public-private partnership. The panel review of the submissions will be concluded this month followed by the selection of a private co-developer. Then the process would move in phases: demolition approval, the issuance of relocation vouchers, relocation of residents and then redevelopment.

The concept of “Build First” was incorporated into the RFP, Garrett stated. DCHA has asked respondents to identify a site within a quarter mile that could be used to build the first units of replacement housing. He pledged a 100 percent replacement of existing units, but did not commit to the replication of the existing apartment sizes. He suggested those interested read the project’s transformation plan online: http://www.dchousing.org/docs/tjjxniuk016.pdf.

There will be a community to discuss the decision, Garrett promised without committing to a timeframe.

“You are talking, but we are not at the table,” retorted Commissioner Hamilton. He complained about the deplorable living conditions at Greenleaf.

Garrett responded by saying that DCHA has been very aggressive in resolving resident complaints. Reductions in federal support have resulted in substandard conditions and maintenance backlogs. “We just don’t want to put Band-Aids on Greenleaf. We are trying to move to long term stability,” he said. “We don’t have the funding to maintain the units to a standard that I would want for my family members,” he said.

The authority is actively seeking permission from US Department of Housing (HUD) to provide housing vouchers to those living in units that cannot be repaired adequately within the next six to eight months, Garrett stated. A relocation team has been established to coordinate the process.

“You need to move faster,” stated Commissioner Forgie.

“It’s not an overnight process,” Garrett said.

Randall School Update
Mark Rivers of Lowe, the developer of the historic Randall School, 65 I St. SW, briefed the commission on the project’s progress. Lowe purchased the 2.7 acre site last July. The Planned Unit Development (PUD) has been approved by the Zoning Commission and all court challenges to the project have been dismissed. Easements with both the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the DC Department of General Services (DGS) are currently under negotiation.

Rivers promised new fencing and activation in the near future. Abatement work on the Randall site will begin in the next few months. Demolition of the back non-historic structures will follow next summer. Excavation will begin in the third quarter of next year. The project is slated to deliver in 2022.

The commission voted unanimously to support the project’s application to the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Attorney General Visits
DC Attorney General Karl Racine (D) briefed the commission on the work of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). The objective of the OAG was “to use the law in a way to have the maximum effect for the most vulnerable,” he stated. To this end, he cited the successful lawsuit against “slumlord” Sandford Capitol, which has been forced to divest its properties and leave the District for seven years.

Racine also outlined the office’s participation in the anti-Trump lawsuits. He stated that he supported Charles Allen’s (D-Ward 6) “Second Chance” legislation provided the judge is permitted to take into consideration the underlying conviction. “DC wants to be fair, just and redemptive,” Racine stated.

 The P Street Cycle Track
Commissioners discussed the recently receive Notice of Intent (NOI) received from the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) regarding its plans for installing a two-way cycle track on P Street between Fourth and Second Streets SW. The plan would replace 26 Residential Parking spaces on the southern side of the street. The commission will take a vote on the project in October.

Vice Chair Litsky led commissioners in criticism of the plan. “Those 26 spots are critical to our community,” he said. Alternatively, he argued for the installation of the cycle track between the existing sidewalk and the wall of Fort McNair. The DDOT representative at the meeting argued that there was insufficient room to accommodate the trail. Commissioners encouraged residents to comment on the project online.

Other Matters
Representatives of Folger-Pratt, the development partner of Bethel Church, requested the commission’s support for the replacement of its current I Street curb cut with one on Half Street SW. The relocation is required by the plans for the church’s redevelopment at 60 I St. SW. The matter-of-right project will rebuild the church together with six-story building incorporating 197 apartments and a 78-spot, below-grade garage. The current curb cut is on Half St. SW. Given that cars and trucks line up for the adjacent DDOT inspection station around the corner of I and Half Streets SW, commissioners expressed skepticism of the plan. They voted to support the curb cut with restrictions on Nationals game days and peak inspection station hours. Two commissioners abstained.

The commission voted to amend its cooperative agreement with Dacha, 79 Potomac Ave. SE, to allow the bar to function for extended hours to accommodate its annual Oktoberfest. Four commissioners abstained.

The commission voted to amend its cooperative agreement with Potomac Distilling, 1130 Maine Ave. SW, to permit a third summer garden.

The commission voted to support a zoning easement for the penthouse restaurant on the 11th story of the Citizen M Hotel planned for 555 E St. SW. After some discussion, commissioners concluded that the bar would not impact neighboring residents.

First District Commander Morgan C. Kane briefed the commission on public safety. Violent crime is her priority, she stated. “I walk these same streets with my four-year old son. So, I understand,” stated Kane.

Kane asked for the public’s assistance in identifying those responsible for the recent murder of a 16-year old in the Greenleaf Senior Building. This was followed two more shootings the next day. A pedestrian was hit in the wrist by a bullet on the 200 block of M Street SW. 13 shots were fired at First and P Streets SW.

Tyler Merkeley announced the winners of the Stadium District Scholarships two $3,000 scholarships: Dannielle Crutchfield and Khadijah Chase.

The commission unanimously to:

  • support So Others Might Eat’s Trot for Hunger on Nov. 28;
  • approved an application for the use of amplified sound for an event at Landsburg Park;
  • supported the new relocation of Richard Wright Public Charter School to a new location on School Street, SW;
  • supported a grant application for exterior painting by Culture House, formerly The Blind Whino, 700 Delaware Ave. SW;
  • supported the digital signage at the Jair Lynch development at 1250 Half Street SE with the caveat that the developer make a $50,000 contribution to both Jefferson Middle School and the SW Library Innovation Lab.

ANC 6D’s next meeting will be held on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at 1100 Fourth St. SW. Visit www.anc6d.org for more information.

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