DGS Delays Construction Application

ANC 6B Report

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B held the December meeting of the full commission at the Hill Center on Tuesday, Dec. 10, with a quorum of eight commissioners. On the dais: Gerald Sroufe (6B02, secretary), 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). Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01) and Brian Ready (6B03, parliamentarian) were not present.

Eastern Market Metro Plaza
The Department of General Services (DGS) has delayed its presentation before the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Public Space Committee on the Eastern Market Metro Plaza (EMMP) Park project. The DGS team was scheduled to go before the committee on Dec. 12.

Commissioner Holtzman said that commissioners had received an email indicating that the DGS team had planned to seek approval for the plaza construction, but not on the plans presented to the ANC in October for changes to area transportation. Those plans included a reversal in the direction of traffic on D Street SE and the closure of the two sliplanes at the intersection of Eighth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE, near Trader Joe’s to the north and Dunkin’ Donuts to the south. He said the one-month delay would allow the DGS team to do greater outreach in regard to the transportation changes.

Holtzman said it was likely DGS would go before the committee in January, when, he said, it is likely to get approval to begin construction in February on both elements.

*UPDATE: At the Jan. 14th meeting of ANC 6B, Holtzman said that DGS had again delayed the application and was now expected to appear before the Public Space Committee at their Feb. 27 meeting.

To Elect New Chair in 2020
At the Dec. 10 meeting Jayaraman announced that he will not continue to serve as chair into the next calendar year. First elected as a commissioner in 2012, Jayaraman previously served as chair in 2017. At the meeting he said that he was stepping aside to allow other commissioners a chance to take the role. He will continue to serve as commissioner.

In October, Jayaraman announced that he would run for the Independent at-large seat on the DC Council currently occupied by David Grosso. Grosso announced that he would not seek reelection in the Nov. 3, 2020, election. Ward 8 State Board of Education (SBOE) representative Markus Batchelor declared his candidacy in September.
The ANC will elect a new executive at the January 2020 meeting.

Commission Urges Mayor to Reject a Water Street Heliport
The commissioners voted to send a letter to the mayor voicing strong opposition to apparent plans by Congressional Aviation to relocate its heliport and operations to the site of the former DC Gas Light Company’s East Station at 12th and Water streets SE. At the Nov. 12 meeting of ANC 6B, Assistant City Administrator Jay Melder told the commission that he “fully expected” Congressional Aviation to come to the District with a request for the site.

The letter urges the mayor to publicly reject this plan. In their letter, the commissioners wrote that they recognize the critical service provided by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) air support unit through contract with Congressional Aviation and that MPD and other agencies should initiate a public and transparent process to find a new home for the heliport.

Holman said it was clear to him that the private operator was using the MPD contract as leverage to secure a private heliport facility, noting efforts as recently as 2013 by Eleanor Holmes Norton to restore commercial helicopter flights in the District. Commercial helicopter flights have been prohibited in DC since 2001.

Holman said that the National Park Service (NPS) had informed him that remediation of the land was complete, with vegetation installed, and that remediation of the river is underway. Holman said that NPS will not allow the land to be developed until 2023.

Mayor’s Office Declines to Name Schools in Assault Cases
Krepp asked Tyler Williams, the Ward 6 liaison from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS), if the mayor intended to reply to a September request for the names of the schools involved in six sexual assaults in District schools this year. Williams read a statement from DC Public Schools (DCPS) indicating it had decided not to reveal the names of the schools. According to the statement this decision was made “in order to protect the victims and prevent speculation and gossip about the school communities.” The statement added that mayoral orders require DCPS to keep complaints and investigations “as confidential as possible.”

“In the context of all this ongoing work and our notifications to the relevant school communities, we do not see any additional overall benefits to your request that might outweigh the reasons above,” Williams read.

Krepp said that pursuant to the Clery Act, every college and university in the country has to report sexual assaults on campus annually, meaning that information can be easily obtained. In light of that, Krepp said, it simply does not make sense that DCPS will not reveal the school names.

Other Business
The ANC voted to:

  • Protest an application for liquor license renewal by Bricklane Restaurant (517 Eighth St. SE) pursuant to a resolution of neighbor concerns with noise and trash management.
  • Support the application for a Class C restaurant liquor license by Ambar (523 Eighth St. SE) pending the receipt of a signed settlement agreement (SA). If a SA is not received by the status hearing scheduled for Dec. 12, the ANC reserves the right to protest.
  • Support a resolution calling for the prevention of the sale of flavored tobacco vaping products in the District.
  • Send a letter congratulating Hill resident Deborah C. Jones on her upcoming retirement from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The next meeting of ANC 6B will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). Most ANC committee meetings in January will take place on alternative dates to avoid conflicts with religious holidays. Visit www.anc6b.org for more info; email [email protected] or find @ANC6B on Twitter.