ANC Again Opposes I Street Zoning Relief in June

ANC 6D June Report

335

The ANC again opposed an application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for special exception and zoning relief to convert a residential building at 622 I St NE into a five-unit apartment. In Oct 27, 2020 ANC 6C opposed a special exception but supported variance relief from 900 sq ft per unit lot requirements. In the letter, the ANC noted that the property extends 81 feet from an adjacent structure, well over 10-ft by right permitted, and added that it was troubling that there was no support from adjacent neighbors.

The applicant appeared before the ANC Planning Zoning and Economic (PZE) development committee earlier in the month, providing the committee with additional materials that made a substantial change regarding the setback from the cornice line, but that otherwise did not address concerns expressed by commissioners last October.

Request More Resources to Encampments
The Commission gave unanimous support for a letter urging the Mayor, National Park Service (NPS) and other agencies to bring to bear all agencies to provide needed services—counselling, treatment, and housing—to encampments in the area. ANC 6B includes encampments under the L and M Street overpasses at First Street NE, as well as on NPS land near Massachusetts Avenue and Second Street NE. Commissioners said conditions have been exacerbated during the pandemic. “This really needs more attention; we’re not getting the job done,” said Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) during the discussion. “This isn’t just about the encampments; we’re trying to address the root causes of the encampment in the first place.”

Drew Courtney (6C06) said outreach workers tell him that, on the ground, all the easy answers disappear, suggesting a balance in the letter between urgency and emphasizing the time commitment required. Outreach organizations spoke to the issue, and Courtney suggested they connect with the ANC grant committee.

Urge DDOT to Fund Parks at Dave Thomas Circle
The ANC voted to send comments on the 65 percent design plans for Dave Thomas Circle to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). DDOT presented the plans during a May virtual meeting of the TPS committee. The ANC supported a letter to the project team and DDOT Director, noting the project has great potential to ensure community safety, “so getting it right is more important than getting it done fast,” said TPS Committee Chair Kristy Kwan. The letter also recommends DDOT:

  • Reduce the number of lanes on New York and Florida Avenues, especially on New York Avenue between Florida and First Street NW; these should be converted to bike lanes
  • Continue bike lanes on Florida Avenue beyond the circle
  • Alter the width of streets to better match speed limits
  • Add design elements to protect sidewalks and park areas
  • Enlarge pedestrian refuges and make them ADA accessible
  • Fully-fund park elements on the same schedule as other elements.

In Other Business:
The ANC unanimously supported:

  • a $3,000 grant for a Story of Our Schools (SOOS) project at Capitol Hill Montessori (215 G St. NE). The full project cost is $30,000; the $3,000 will help pay for the photo mural portion of the museum-quality lobby exhibit. Other funding comes from corporate donations, the Capitol Hill Community Foundation (CHCF), and the school’s parent organization.
  • a protest of a liquor license application for Scissors and Scotch (331 N St. NE), a barber shop and lounge offering haircuts and beverages with an occupancy of 25 people. The opposition is in pursuit of a settlement agreement (SA). The applicant has been cooperative in discussions so far, and ANC indicated they would support a stipulated license once an SA is obtained.
  • A protest of an application for a liquor license for Uncorked (1005 First St. NE) for a class A liquor store. Again, the protest is in pursuit of an SA with support for a stipulated license if necessary.
  • A protest of a liquor license application for Wasted Inc, trading as Crew Hemp Lounge (816 H St. NE). This establishment is located in ANC 6A, which intends to protest the liquor license. Rather than filing a redundant protest, ANC 6C wants to address the possibility of an exception allowing for smoking at this establishment. ANC 6C supported a letter to the DC Department of Health (DOH) opposing any such exception to smoking prohibition if the licensee should seek one. In a note sent prior to the meeting and conveyed to the whole commission by Chair Karen Wirt (6C02), Commissioner Joel Kelty (6C06) relayed that he strongly opposed the liquor license application as it includes a hookah bar, noting that DC has outlawed public tobacco consumption in 2006 and arguing that this should be no exception. Kelty also objects to the applicants’ plan to sell recreational marijuana once it is legalized, saying he wants to avoid the evolution of H Street NE into the marijuana market for the DMV.
  • an application to Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to convert a public alley behind 308 and 310 A St. NE to private space, submitted by the owners of those properties. The property owners of 308 and 310 A Street NE have applied to close the walking alley. The closure does not change the main public alley, said Transportation Public Space (TPS) Committee Chair Kristy Kwan. The property will be divided into two taxable lots and eventually reverted to the owners of 308 and 310 A Street NE. Adjacent neighbors are in support, but the applicants will still need to get support from relevant utility companies.
  • A letter to the District Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) urging them to work with NPS to transfer a parcel of land at Fifth and I Streets NE. For quite some time, former Environment, Parks and Environment (EPE) Committee Chair Joe McCann has been working to transfer Reservation 315 from NPS to DPR. Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) requested a statement from ANC 6C in support of the transfer.
  • A letter to the Office of ANCs requesting authority for ANCs to host hybrid (both in-person and online) meetings moving forward from the pandemic and asking for resources in support of these efforts.

The following ANC 6C commissioners were present at the June 10th meeting: Christine Healey (Secretary, 6C01), Karen Wirt (Chair, 6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (Vice-Chair, 6C04) and Drew Courtney (6C06). Joel Kelty ((6C05), Treasurer) was not present but shared views and positions with the commission prior to the meeting.

The next meeting of ANC 6C is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 14. ANC 6C is meeting via Webex during the public health emergency until at least September 2021. For the most up-to-date information and links to join meetings of the ANC and its committees, visit anc6c.org.