ICYMI: Opposition Continues to Handle 19 License at ANC 6B

February ANC 6B Report 

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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

All 10 commissioners were present at the Feb.9 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (secretary, 6B02), Brian Ready (chair, 6B03), Kirsten Oldenburg (parliamentarian, 6B04), Steve Holtzman (vice chair, 6B05), Corey Holman (treasurer, 6B06), Edward Ryder (6B07), Peter Wright (6B08), Alison Horn (6B09) and Denise Krepp (6B10).

Changes to Vaccine Registration in March
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) discussed upcoming changes to the District’s COVID-19 vaccination registration system and plan at the Feb. 9 meeting.

Allen told commissioners that DC Health would meet later that week to revise the tiered system that has been in place since early January. (An announcement was made at Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Feb. 11 Situational Update.) Allen said that he had heard from neighbors frustrated by the process and by the fact that many, although eligible, were still unvaccinated. “The weekly pitting of neighbors against each other to compete for a small number of vaccine doses is not the best way to do this,” Allen said. “It creates a lot of frustration. It also, of course, creates a system that has significant disparity, which we have seen play out.”

Allen said he was pushing for DC Health to create a preregistration system, such as those used in other jurisdictions, notably in New Jersey and Oklahoma. With preregistration, residents would enter necessary information prior to vaccines becoming available. DC Health would then contact eligible vaccine recipients by tier as appointments become available.

Allen said that a preregistration system would reduce stress and also make registration more accessible to those without access to internet or who are less technologically savvy. He said that early messaging by DC Health about priority access to registration by ZIP code was unclear. While 20002 was included in the latest priority list, the 20003 code, which covers much of Capitol Hill, was not.

“A lot of Ward 6 neighbors reached out to me to say that Ward 6 was ‘excluded’ from vaccines, and that is, of course, not the case,” Allen said.

In fact, according to data provided by DC Health, as of Feb. 6 Ward 6 had the highest number of fully vaccinated individuals by ward in the city, with 1,119 people fully vaccinated, compared to 390 and 334 in Wards 7 and 8 respectively.

Still, Allen said that he did not think ZIP codes were the most efficient method of organization. He said that there is a lot of disparity among residents in the 20003 code, adding that he hoped the District would find better ways of reaching the most vulnerable.

In addition to the creation of a central registry, Allen pointed to two changes that were likely to be made to the District vaccination plan.

First, it was likely that pregnant women will be moved to a place closer to the front of the line. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that pregnant women are at greater risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19, they do not qualify for earlier vaccination in DC.

Second, Allen hoped there would be revisions to the age cohorts used in the tier system. Currently, individuals are either categorized as 64 and over or from 18 to 64 – a large range that Allen said he hoped would be subdivided, for instance from 50 to 64.

However, Allen said the District simply needs more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. While the Biden administration increased the District’s weekly shipment by 15 percent last week, that was still insufficient to meet District needs. “That will remain a source of conflict and frustration until we get more doses coming out,” Allen said. “The demand for doses is going to outpace the availability, time and time again.”

UPDATE: DC Health announced that in March, residents would be able to sign up for a preregistration system that would notify applicants when they are eligible for registration. Read more about what is known here.

Opposition Continues to Handle 19 License
Commissioners discussed the status of the liquor license application for Handle 19, a restaurant and sportsbook planned for 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. On Jan. 28, the Office of Lottery and Gaming issued an executive order denying the application for a sports wagering license, citing background-investigation evidence that the applicant did not meet the requirements for licensure. That is separate from the liquor license.

Commissioners briefly debated the merit of revisiting the allocation of $14,000 toward legal support in the ANC protest of the Handle 19 liquor license. It was decided not to make any changes to avoid an impact on the protest process. Commissioners also cited the unique nature of the applying business, and the role of the case as precedent for future sports wagering applications in the bounds of the ANC.

ANC 6B filed a motion to dismiss the liquor license application on the basis that Handle 19 does not qualify as a restaurant according to the DC Code. That motion was dismissed the day after the February meeting by the Alcohol Beverage Control Board, which said that the question could only be resolved at hearing. The protest hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m., April 8.

UPDATE: According to an article published in internet trade publication Sportshandle  Handle 19  has withdrawn the application to reapply in the next 60 to 90 days. In order to reapply, Handle 19 had to forfeit the initial $100,000 application fee.

In Other Business
The ANC unanimously voted to support a resolution addressed to the DC Council and Mayor Muriel Bowser asking them to oppose permanent fencing around the Capitol grounds and to work with the US Capitol Police to ensure the restoration of bicycle and pedestrian access to the grounds. They also asked that Independence and Constitution avenues, currently blocked by fencing at Second Street, be reopened as soon as possible to restore transit routes. Finally, the ANC requested that if permanent measures are implemented, that addressees work with federal authorities to ensure integration with the landscape and that access is still possible to all public parks and paths accessible prior to Jan. 6, 2021.

ANC 6B voted unanimously to reestablish the following committees and task forces, reelecting the incumbent chairs:

  • Hill East Task Force (HETF), Denise Krepp
  • Livable Communities Task Force (LCTF), Steve Holtzman
  • Delegate to Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC), Gerald Sroufe
  • Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee, Brian Ready
  • Transportation Committee, Kirsten Oldenburg
  • Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Committee, Corey Holman

The Working Group on Barracks Row was renamed the Capitol Hill Business Interest Working Group and its purview expanded to assisting all local businesses, not just those on Eighth Street SE. Brian Ready will be the sole chair of the committee. Last year, he co-chaired with then-6B08 Commissioner Chander Jayaraman.

24 resident members were also appointed to committees:

Planning and Zoning Committee

  • Lauren Friedman (6B01)
  • Bryan Dierlam (6B02)
  • Gerardo Mijares-Shafai (6B03)
  • Frances McGaffey (6B04)
  • Ken Jarboe (6B05)
  • Ryan Danks (6B06)
  • Sharon Ryan (6B07)
  • Amanda Thomas (6B08)
  • Daniel Garry (6B09)
  • Francis Campbell (6B10)

Alcohol Beverage Control Committee

  • Janice Kruger (6B02)
  • Katherine Szafran (6B03)
  • Clare Palace (6B04)
  • Ellen Opper-Weiner (6B05)
  • Chander Jayaraman (6B08)
  • Ryan Fochler (6B09)

Transportation Committee

  • Floyd Brown (6B01)
  • Kevin Morarity (6B02)
  • Brian Kirrane (6B03)
  • John Manley (6B04)
  • Paul Hyden (6B06)
  • Stefan Katz (6B07)
  • Carol Grissom (6B08)
  • John Ten Hoeve (6B09)

The next meeting of ANC 6B is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 9. For information on meetings and how to join a virtual meeting via Webex, visit www.anc6b.org. Learn more by visiting www.anc6b.org or connect with the commission via email at [email protected] or Twitter @ANC6B.