ANC 6B Report

ANC Opposes Liquor License for Penn Avenue Sportsbook

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A pedestrian walks by 319 Pennsylvania Ave SE in September, 2020. At their November meeting, ANC 6B voted to oppose a liquor license from an applicant planning to open a sports book at the venue. Photo: E.O’Gorek/CCN

Commissioners voted 6-2 with one abstention to protest an application for a new liquor license from Handle19, a sports betting restaurant planned at 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, formerly Stanton Greene. The proposed venue would include dining on the main floor, while the second floor is earmarked for televised games and betting at eight kiosks.

When businesses are purchased, licenses are passed along with the sale, including Settlement Agreements (SA) between the licensee and the community as represented by the ANC. This is a new application, however, and no SA has so far been negotiated, but ANC 6B Alcohol Beverage Committee (ABC) Chair Chander Jayaraman (6B08) said it was likely that the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), which regulates licenses, would compel the parties to do so, given community feeling.

Handle19 does not need an alcohol license to operate a “sportsbook” or sports betting venue or to serve food. Handle19 Attorney Ian Thomas, who appeared at the meeting, said that he did not know how plans would be affected if the application is denied. He said that owner Shane August has a partner to provide food and beverage services.

Two different groups of residents have declared themselves parties in opposition to the application. At the meeting, one representative cited statistics showing that a sportsbook would increase neighborhood crime. Commissioners in opposition argued that sports betting does not belong in a residential neighborhood and will increase both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area.

Other commissioners argued that the ANC should pursue a SA rather than oppose the application, saying that many of the concerns about Handle19 did not differ from those about any other restaurant, despite the role of sports betting. A date for the hearing before ABRA has not yet been set.

ANC Opposes Boys & Girls Development Until ANC Gets Answers
Commissioners voted to approve a letter to DC Council requesting that the city deny a new term sheet for redevelopment of the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club (261 17th St. SE) unless the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) responds to ANC questions about the project and Reservation 13. The letter also included a request that DC Council not consider the matter before Dec. 1 to allow for further community discussion.

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.

At the October meeting of ANC 6B, the developer Century Associates Joel Kelty told commissioners that the original plans proved not “economically feasible” due to rising construction costs. Century has converted to 100 percent affordable rental from 50 percent affordable condos for purchase, with the support of DMPED. At that time, Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) questioned whether the changes merited an additional RFP process.

At the November meeting, Krepp proposed a letter opposing the extension unless ANC 6B got answers from DMPED about this project and about development on Reservation 13. Other commissioners were hesitant to derail any development on the site. A second letter, requesting DC Council refuse the extension of the agreement with Century unless the ANC got answers from DMPED, passed 7-2.

Commissioners Want Role for ANC in Eastern Market Future
Commissioners voted 8-0-1 to send a letter to the Department of General Services (DGS), managers of Eastern Market, and to Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) noting that as elected representatives of the community in which the market is located, they were surprised that they were not specifically named in the Strategic Plan for Eastern Market.

Commissioners said the letter was necessary because the role of the ANC needed to be asserted from the beginning of the process.

The study, commissioned by DMPED and conducted by Architrave P.C., makes 12 key recommendations. Primary among these is that the recommendations be guided by an implementation committee, and that Eastern Market should eventually be managed by a nonprofit private-public partnership. Aside from government and DC agencies, the report does not specify the composition of these groups, other than suggesting they be composed of “stakeholders”.

Read the strategic plan in its entirety online at https://scottbetz.wixsite.com/easternmarketplan

Kentucky Ave. Bike Lanes
The ANC unanimously approved a letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in regard to the Kentucky Avenue bike lanes. During the October meeting of ANC 6B, commissioners voted to support the concept for the bike lanes. However, owing to the late arrival of drawings, commissioners voted without specific details on the route. Once that detail was provided, residents on the 100 and 200 block of Kentucky Avenue raised concerns with the plans. Commissioners Holtzman and Oldenberg said between the correspondence addressed to themselves and Councilmember Allen, hundreds of emails had been exchanged on the topic. Many are seniors are concerned with the impact of the loss of parking spots on safety and mobility. Others took issue with the positioning of a new crosswalk, and many thought the use of temporary measures such as pylons and paint was ugly and unsafe.

The ANC approved a letter asking DDOT to consider suggestions from residents, including: repositioning the 13th Street crosswalk, the north bike lanes and making changes to the intersection at Kentucky Ave and East Capitol Street. If these alternatives are rejected, the ANC asks DDOT to explain why. The letter also notes an offer from Councilmember Allen to find capital funds for permanent installation of road alterations, and asks DDOT to commit to an assessment of the efficiency and safety of the changes within two years and to convert changes to permanent landscaping depending on the availability of these funds.

The ANC also voted to support:

  • A letter to DDOT requesting that they undertake a traffic assessment to convert Burke Street SE from two-way into a one-way street by a vote of 8-1-0. Appearing at the meeting, former ANC 6B10 Commissioner Francis Campbell said that Burke Street currently functions as a cul-de-sac between Independence and Massachusetts Avenue. According to current plans, once Reservation 13 is developed Burke Street and Massachusetts Avenue will be the only streets that extend into the development. Campbell said he wants to increase traffic safety, avoid increased traffic once development increases and to avoid the use of Burke Street as a route for buses and service vehicles in the future.

ANC 6B held the November meeting of the full commission on Tuesday, Nov. 10th virtually via Webex with a quorum of nine commissioners. Appearing were Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02, Secretary), Brian Ready (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, Dec. 8. For the most up-to-date information on meetings and how to join a virtual meeting via Webex, visit anc6b.org.

ANC 6B has been working to update its website. You can visit the new site, learn about Commissioners and committees, and subscribe to the newsletter by visiting anc6b.org or connect with the commission via email at [email protected] or find @ANC6B on Twitter.