Commissioners Object to Process for Boys and Girls Club

ANC 6B Report

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District Department of Transportation (DDOT) representative Will Handsfield presented drawings showing the advisory bike lanes proposed for Kentucky Avenue between East Capitol and 15th Streets SE. Screenshot: ANC Oct. 13/Webex

Developers are seeking an extension to the agreement on disposition of property, which expires Dec. 4, and to contract terms. The latter would involve changing plans for the development from a 50 percent affordable condo building to a 100 percent affordable senior rental.

“ANC 6B supports the adaptive reuse of the Boys and Girls Club (261 17th St SE) as affordable senior housing,” read the ANC motion. “However, because of the continued failures of DMPED [Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development] to engage the community, we ask the vote not be taken until Nov. 17 or later to ensure ANC 6B and affected neighbors have more time to evaluate the proposed changes to the term sheet.”

At the Oct. 13th meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B, commissioners voted to support the “plans but not the process” in the ongoing redevelopment of the Hill East Boys & Girls Club.

Century Associates Developer Joel Kelty presented the project before ANC 6B, saying the original plans proved not “economically feasible” due to rising construction costs.

The changes allow Century to seek the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), which provides a tax incentive to construct or rehabilitate affordable rental housing for low-income households.

DMPED Representative Erica Dukes said there was interest in having the DC Council approve the extension and project terms at the same time.

However, Dukes could not confirm a date for the hearing, or whether it would take place after Nov. 10, the day of the next full meeting of ANC 6B. If the latter is the case, it would allow for another month of community discussion on the project.

The previous Century Associate proposal, selected for the Boys and Girls Club by DMPED in 2017, was a 29-unit for-sale condominium project, including five units at 50 percent Area Median Income (AMI), five units at 80 percent AMI, 17 market rate units and two guest suites for use by guests of the residents. The original project also emphasized co-housing, a European model designed to foster social interaction among the residents.

The new proposal consists of 39 rental units, all at 60 percent AMI. The plan still includes the community non-profit space in the lower level. The model has moved away from co-housing due to inefficiencies in the building and concerns raised by the pandemic and is arranged through a 99-year lease with the District

The Century Associates project is the result of a 2017 RFP process for the site, which was purchased by the District in 2010. A 2014 RFP was cancelled after neighbors called for a lengthier commitment than the proposed 25-year lease.

Capitol Hill Village (CHV), a non-profit that provides support and resources to Capitol Hill residents as they age in place, strongly supported the 2017 plan. A CHV representative said that while there was disappointment that co-housing was no longer a part of the project, the organization supports affordable senior housing.

Some commissioners pointed to problems with the process by which the contract terms would be changed, comparing this situation to an earlier move by DMPED to put Permanent Supportive Housing in a building under construction on Reservation 13. Some said the changes to the contract were significant enough to require a new RFP process.

DMPED representative Grace said that a new RFP process was not necessary because the basic elements of the project have not changed, noting it was still residential in nature, intended for seniors and involved the same developer.

Kentucky Ave Bike Lanes
The committee voted 7-0-2 to support a District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Notice of Intent (NOI) to install advisory bike lanes on Kentucky Ave. SE between East Capitol St. and 15th St. SE, install contraflow and regular bike lanes on Kentucky Ave. between G St. and Barney Circle SE as well as to modify parking. Advisory bike lanes have already been installed on E St. SE.

Preliminary modifications reduce north-bound travel to one lane in the area. A DDOT representative said they would work to create better connections between bike lanes and sidewalks to Barney Circle, and that DDOT had received a request for traffic calming “pretty much in this whole area.”

Residents had expressed concern about the effect of the design on parking space and about the aesthetics and effect of the use of pylons at the intersection of Independence and Kentucky Avenues SE with 13th St. SE.

Discussion on Sports Wagering License Deferred
Alcohol Beverage Committee (ABC) Chair Chander Jayaraman (6B08) said that discussion of the application by Handle19, an establishment planned at the site of the former Stanton Greene (319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE), to add Sports Wagering to the ABRA Class “C” Restaurant license had been deferred to November to allow for greater conversation with the community. The hearing had already been deferred once in October. The applicant has agreed to request an extension to the protest hearing deadline to after Nov. 12, Jayaraman added.

Commissioners Voted to:

  • Support a letter with a vote of 6-2-1 to DC Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser asking that the extension of alcohol service to 4 a.m. for a 14-day period around the inauguration, from Jan. 9 to 24, be reversed. The change was passed as part of the July DC Budget Act in order to help businesses recover revenue, but commissioners were concerned that increased hours of sale would spread COVID-19 and had the potential to aggravate feelings of protesters who could be present in DC at the time.
  • Support a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for the addition of three units to a 14-unit apartment building at 400 Seward Sq. SE. Originally on consent, the case was heard because BZA requested the applicant file a motion to waive the requirements for notification of the leasees. Representatives explained that these notices were issued by Office of Zoning (OZ) and had in fact been sent, but only after the required deadline. OZ asked the applicant to submit the waiver on their behalf, as directed by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG). After clarifying that tenants had received notice in multiple formats, commissioners supported the application 8-1-0.
  • Unanimously support a Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for a one-story rooftop addition to a garage at 514 Archibald Walk SE, with the caveat that discussions with the neighbors be ongoing.
  • Support proposed rule-making by DDOT on revisions to Residential Permit Parking (RPP) and Temporary Parking Pass (TPP) programs, while expressing concern that reliance on digital technology in the revisions could disadvantage residents who lack connectivity.
  • Support a motion to create an annual award conferred by ANC 6B for outstanding public service, 7-0-1, provided the discussion of individual job performance of nominees can be confined to Executive meetings so as not to be shared with public.

Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, ANC 6B held the October meeting of the full commission on Tuesday, Oct. 13th via Webex with a quorum of eight commissioners. Appearing were Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02, Secretary), Brian Ready 7(6B03, Chair), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Holtzman (6B05), Corey Holman (6B06, Treasurer), Kelly Waud (6B07, Parliamentarian), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, Vice-Chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10). ANC 6B09 is currently vacant.

The next meeting of ANC 6B is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10. For the most up-to-date information on meetings and how to join a virtual meeting, visit anc6b.org.

Learn about ANC 6B and committees and subscribe to the newsletter by visiting anc6b.org, email [email protected] or find @ANC6B on Twitter.