During the discussion of financial reports at the Wednesday, April 14 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B attendees were told that the ANC had been billed the entirety of the $14,000 allocated for legal fees. Counsel was retained to support the ANC protest of an application for a liquor license for Handle19, the bar, restaurant and sports book slated for 319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE.
The District Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (ABRA) informed ANC 6B on April 1 that Handle19 had withdrawn the application. The Handle19 application for in-house sports betting was denied by DC Lottery in February but was expected to be resubmitted. Sports betting facilities, or sportsbooks, operating in DC have to be operated together with another retail aspect such as a convenience store or restaurant.
In January, Commissioner Corey Holman (6B06) made a motion to rescind the allocation of the funds. The motion reallocated them towards restarting the ANC grant program that funds community relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Neighbors had declared themselves parties in opposition to the application. At the December ANC meeting, one representative cited statistics showing that a sportsbook would increase neighborhood crime. Commissioners in accord with them argued that sports betting does not belong in a residential neighborhood and will increase both vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the area.
With the case, commissioners had hoped to establish guideines on appropriate locations for sports book facilities. Materials prepared for the hearing, originally scheduled for April 8, are now on file with the ANC. However, now that Handle19 has withdrawn its application, there has been no resolution on that issue.
At the April meeting, commissioners supported an application for a substantial change in order to add a sports wagering license from the Ugly Mug (723 Eighth St. SE). That application concerned geo-fenced mobile apps for personal phones rather than physical kiosks. The ANC simultaneously supported the request from the same applicant to offer physical consoles for the electronic game of skill Dragon’s Ascent.
Support for Pacci’s Lincoln Park Zoning Adjustment
Commissioners supported a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for a use variance to expand the existing restaurant use at 106 13th St. SE to the cellar and second story of the building. Owner Spiro Gioldasis has been planning to open a Capitol Hill location for his Pacci’s restaurants on the site since 2018.
The building has been used as a restaurant since 1991, but the top floor and cellar are still zoned residential. The use variance would allow the applicant to expand capacity from 40 on the main floor to include an additional 30 in the cellar and 60 on the second floor, a total of 140 seats.
The application had received overwhelming support at the Apr. 6 Planning and Zoning Committee. Upwards of 23 people signed a petition in support of the adjustment. However, the case was pulled from the Apr. 14 consent agenda to give a resident of North Carolina Avenue opportunity to speak.
The resident said the expansion was unnecessary to sustain a business and would create undue traffic and parking issues. There is no parking on premises. Historic buildings are exempt from parking requirements.
Both Gioldasis and his representation said they expect to primarily serve people coming from the surrounding blocks, meaning that most customers will not drive to the area. However, they are willing to work with nearby churches and schools to rent parking if required.
Many commissioners referenced their own families as well as constituents in support of the argument that customers will come from the area via foot or bicycle. Citing the neighborhood desire for a successful business at that location, commissioners supported the BZA application by a vote of 8-0 with one abstention [one commissioner was absent]. Pacci’s Capitol Hill is expected to open by fall 2021. Follow progress on their Facebook Page, www.facebook.com/Paccis-Capitol-Hill-2446906155543427/
NOTE: According to former 6B08 Commissioner Chander Jayaraman, the Office of Zoning missed a notice requirement so they are delaying consideration of the Pacci’s BZA case until May 26. Gioldasis acquired the property in 2018.
In Other Business
The Commission voted unanimously to support
- A concept for a Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for 602 E St. SE to enclose a balcony to add to living space on the rear of the house. Appearing for the applicant, architect Mark Cerny said that he had been part of a 2016 project to open the living space up as a balcony initiated by the previous owner; this project essentially reverses the previous work.
- A New Retailer’s Class “A” Internet License for Select Whiskey LLC, (700 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). The business sells a curated selection of whiskey online. There will be no sales on the premises. A Settlement Agreement (SA) limits delivery hours to 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Commissioners also voted in support of a stipulated license, allowing the business to begin sales immediately pending full ABRA approval.
- A letter to District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Interim Director Everett Lott in regard to the I-695 Ramp Traffic Study Update. The study looks to improve cyclist and pedestrian safety along 11 Street SE between I and N Streets SE. Commissioners said that the study was better than the status quo but does not meet the once-in-a-generational opportunity to advance the city’s safety goals. The letter cites in particular narrowing sidewalks, an excessive number of turning lanes and a need for wider bike lanes.
- A letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and the District Department of Public Works (DPW) requesting that enforcement of Residential Parking Permit (RPP) zones be resumed by August 1, 2021. The letter also requested that towing of abandoned vehicles be resumed in the ANC. Note: On April 19, Mayor Bowser announced that all parking enforcement and vehicle towing as a result of parking violations would resume as of June 1.
- A letter to the City Administrator and Mayor Bowser asking that the city take the lead in finding a new location for a District heliport. Congressional Aviation, which operates the current South Capitol Heliport, will vacate the site in 2022. The company informed ANC 6B that they were no longer interested in seeking to relocate to the corner of 12th and Water Street SE. ANC 6B opposed the heliport on multiple levels, including that it was inconsistent with past community-led planning efforts. The heliport is used by essential services such as Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and local hospital.
Commissioners requested that the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) delay hearing an HPA application to make a rear addition and change in front façade from stucco to wood siding at 420 11th St. SE as they had not yet had any communication with the applicant.
Appearing were Commissioners Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Gerald Sroufe (6B02), Brian Ready (6B03), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), Steve Holtzman (6B05), Corey Holman (6B06), Edward Ryder (6B07), Peter Wright (6B08) and Alison Horn (6B09). Commissioner Denise Krepp (6B10) was unable to attend.
The next meeting of ANC 6B is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, May. 11, 2021. For the most up-to-date information on meetings and how to join a virtual meeting via Webex, visit anc6b.org.
Learn about Commissioners and committees and subscribe to the ANC 6B newsletter by visiting anc6b.org or connect with the commission via email at [email protected] or via @ANC6B on Twitter.