All 10 commissioners were present at the March 9th 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).
The commission voted unanimously to support a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) from Chipotle (413 Eighth St. SE) for a 12-year special exception to zoning requirements in order to allow the fast-food restaurant to continue operation at their current address. The support was conditional on Chipotle incorporating conditions agreed upon with neighbors. Neighbors said that while there had been many concerns with Chipotle over the years, they were all essentially addressed by the agreement made with the applicant in community discussions over the previous months.
The applicant requested a 12-year term for the special exception, hoping to ensure they can complete the entirety of their upcoming 10-year lease. The applicant has worked with neighbors to address concerns with noise, upkeep, rodents and trash and has agreed to rebuild the back yard of the restaurant to include interior trash storage.
Neighbors expressed gratitude for the proprietor’s extensive communication with the community and the effort they put into finding a solution. ANC Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Committee Chair Corey Holman (6B06) also thanked the applicant, his representation and neighbors who negotiated terms that everyone appeared to be pleased with. “This was very productive, and these kinds of relationships are what we would like to see all around the community,” Holman said.
DCRA Allegedly Granted Permits Against Code
The commission voted 9-0 with one abstention to file an appeal to permits issued for construction at 207 Third St. SE. The Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) recognizes the address as a single-family dwelling, resident Brian Wise told the ANC.
Wise said that in May 2020, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) first issued permits allowing the property to be converted from a single-family dwelling into a six-unit apartment. According to zoning regulations, the latter is a non-conforming use. The permits were later rescinded and then reissued and revised. There are two permits currently issued, Wise said, and the last was revised on Feb. 23, 2021.
“For some reason, DCRA is contending that this does not constitute a change of use, and that they have the discretion to determine what the use of the building is or was,” Wise said, citing past documentation for the address with DCRA showing it as a single-family dwelling. ”DCRA does not have the authority to change the use for the last nine years in order to enable a developer to obtain permits that are not allowed by the code.”
Wise said that neighbors had reached out to DCRA. The agency said the permits were issued in error, Wise told commissioners, but the agency refuses to revoke them. Construction on the property began in February 2021, prompting neighbors to bring the matter to the ANC, Wise added.
Holman said the next step would be for the ANC to file an appeal with the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), laying out facts and evidence in the case. Holman said the issue was not the apartment building itself, but the fact that District agencies did not appear to have followed regulations.
“Almost regardless of the merits of the project, there are regulations that need to be followed,” Holman said. “If not here, then where?”
Alvin Jones from District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE) presented on the Solar For All program. DC government will cover the cost of installation for qualified homeowners, who can expect to save $500 a year in energy bills. Interested parties can apply at http://doee.dc.gov/solarforall. Email [email protected] with questions. Income qualifications apply.
Andrew DeFrank presented on District Department of Transportation (DDOT) programs and services. Commissioners expressed concern about delays in Traffic Safety Assessments (TSA). DeFrank said that although the support of an affected commissioner should be sufficient to initiate a TSA, a resolution from the ANC is necessary for certain proposed solutions. Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) pressed him on concerns voiced about Burke Street near RFK, especially in light of development at Reservation 13. Commissioner Alison Horn (6B09) asked the representative about minimum requirements for traffic calming on 17th Street SE and Potomac Avenue SE in her Single Member District (SMD).
Special Exception on A Street SE
Commissioners voted unanimously to support an application for special exception to zoning regulations in order to construct a third story and a three-story rear addition at 1819 A St. SE. Plans also include the conversion of an existing two-story, detached, principal dwelling unit to a three-story, semi-detached, three-unit residential building.
The property is on a corner lot, and Commissioner Krepp asked that the case be brought to the ANC with the hope of additional conversation with the adjacent neighbor, who declined when the applicant asked to schedule a conversation. In supporting the application, the ANC noted the applicant has revised the front window pattern at the request of the ANC P&Z Committee, and has letters in support from neighbors to the west and across the street of the residence.
The Commissioner unanimously supported:
- a letter proposed by Commissioner Horn in regard to funding for public transportation. The letter states opposition to cuts in the FY 2022 budget that would lead to reductions in Metrorail and Metro bus service. It also details the impacts the cuts would have on residents, students, workers, and businesses in 6B, citing in particular the ability of essential workers to travel to work and for students to travel to and from school. It also notes reductions to the B2 route, serving Eastern High School (1700 East Capitol St. NE), and to D6 which links ANC 6B to both downtown and Sibley Hospital as well as five bus lines serving the commercial corridor on and around Pennsylvania Avenue SE.
- a letter in support of the installation of a temporary sculpture at Eastern Market Metro Plaza Park. The sculpture is part of the Art in Bloom exhibit in connection with The National Cherry Blossom Festival. ANC 6B recommended the sculpture be placed in the splash pad section of Parcel 1, which has been unused due to COVID restrictions. The sculpture was placed on March 18 and will remain for ten weeks.
- a request to delay the Protest Petition Deadline for an application from The Ugly Mug Dining Saloon and Valor Brew (723 Eighth Street, SE) to add sports wagering and games of skill endorsements. The request includes sports wagering through mobile app and offer physical consoles for the electronic game of skill Dragon’s Ascent.
NOTE: The next meeting of ANC 6B has been rescheduled to avoid conflict with a holiday or religious day. It takes place at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 14. 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.