ANC 6D Tackles Parking Enforcement

ANC 6D October Report

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A rendering of the development proposed for the site of the current Superior Concrete Plant at 1700 Half St. SW.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on Oct. 18 over Zoom. Commissioners Jared Weiss (6D02, secretary), Ronald Collins (6D03, treasurer), Andy Litsky (6D04), Fredrica (Rikki) Kramer (6D05, vice chair), Rhonda Hamilton (6D06) and Edward Daniels (6D07, chair) were in attendance. The chair announced receipt of a letter of resignation from Commissioner Andrew Bossi (6D01). The commissioners unanimously declared his seat vacant.

Acting Department of Public Works (DPW) Director Christine Davis addressed parking enforcement in ANC 6D. Daniels closely questioned her about the handling of resident complaints about illegally parked cars placed through the 311 system. Many of these, he stated, were closed with the notation, “Vehicle Not Found.” Daniels produced photos to bolster his case.

Johnny Gaither, parking enforcement administrator, stated that DPW had significantly increased enforcement throughout the riverfront neighborhoods. Daniels complained about government vehicles themselves often parking illegally, particularly near the Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) M Street headquarters. How does DPW handle violations by other government agencies? asked Daniels. DPW first tries to work things out with its sister agencies, replied Gaither. Daniels pointed out the frequent parking violations by DDOT traffic control officers (TCOs). “If outreach doesn’t work, we will write tickets,” replied Davis.

Daniels requested increased enforcement against illegally parked delivery vehicles. Litsky praised the increased enforcement activities on Maine Avenue and 12th Street SW adjacent to the Municipal Fish Market. “I saw tow trucks,” he exclaimed.

Litsky and Daniels both pressed Davis to meet with stakeholder agencies to create a new traffic operations plan for the two stadiums. They pointed out that no such meeting had been held since 2019. “My SMD is an extended parking lot for the stadium,” stated Hamilton, decrying the lack of enforcement in her neighborhood.

Kramer and Collins alerted Gaither to illegal parking in the US Postal Service lot by construction workers that makes it impossible for customers to find parking. Expressing sympathy, Gaither stated that any action would require the cooperation of the Postal Service.

Fury with DDOT

Andrew DeFrank, DDOT’s community engagement specialist, received an angry reception from commissioners. “How did we have such a traffic mess for the last two weekends?” asked Litsky. “People are dying because your people are not doing their business,” he added. “Take my anger, deal with it and move it up the food chain,” he said. “There were people sitting in their cars unable to move anyplace, including emergency vehicles,” pointed out Kramer.

I Street SW egress to the proposed development at 850 South Capitol St. SE stirred controversy.

Commissioners questioned DeFrank closely about the recent change in the agency’s Vision Zero initiative. The new initiative is designed to clear the backlog of planned road safety improvements, stated DeFrank.

Commissioners voted unanimously to request a meeting with DDOT before Dec. 15 regarding transportation issues.

Redistricting Discussed

At-Large Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I), chair of the DC Council’s Redistricting Committee, briefed the commissioners. Silverman began by delineating the general principles on which the city’s wards would be redrawn. Any plan must enshrine one person, one vote. It cannot diminish the power of minority voters. Wards should be compact, contiguous and not divide communities of interest. Their populations should not deviate more than 5% from the average.

Silverman summarized the results of the 2020 Census. The average size of a ward is 86,000. The populations of each ward must lie between 81,883 and 90,503. Ward 6 is 17,699 above the upper limit. Wards 7 and 8 are 5,628 and 3,370 under the average respectively.

Redistricting, continued Silverman, is a two-part process. First, ward boundaries are established. Second, the boundaries of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are readjusted. She saw her role as ensuring that the process is transparent and the voices of all interested citizens are heard. Silverman promised her committee would hold meetings in every ward as well as ward-specific hearings. She is visiting every ANC in the District to explain the process. Her committee, stated Silverman, plans to release three draft alternatives before the Ward 6 hearing on Nov. 3.

“Splitting our community at M Street doesn’t lend itself to cohesion,” observed Collins. “One or both wards are going to move west. There is no other way to meet the one-person, one-vote requirement,” she added. “We are going to talk frankly and honestly about race,” she continued.

“We are going to do with respect and civility,” said Silverman. “We will get the agreement of my colleagues and try to do the right thing.”

Daniels asked whether Silverman had a “formula” for “preserving racial voices.”

“It is not a calculation. It is a judgment call,” Silverman answered. “We will look at voting percentages when we add white voters to Wards 7 and 8,” she added.

850 South Capitol St.

WC Smith representatives briefed on the developer’s project at 850 South Capitol St., which was discussed at the commission’s last meeting. They asked the commissioners to support both the building’s design and an additional curb cut. The Zoning Commission is scheduled to review the design on Nov. 8.

Responding to criticisms from the commissioners, the representatives stated that the building will house no studio apartments. They committed to notifying tenants living on the northeast side of the structure that their units’ windows are at risk if the adjacent vacant property is developed. They pledged not to incorporate decorative exterior lighting. They dismissed concerns about the 56 balconies facing the freeway, saying that demand in other similar buildings has been strong. The project is exempt from inclusionary zoning and will not incorporate affordable units, they stated.

The developer committed to using land under I-695 to create a 3,600-square-foot public dog run. The facility features large and small areas, lighting, water stations, fencing and canine playground equipment. It will be open from sunrise to midnight, with a plan for daily maintenance.

The representatives requested support for two curb cuts located on South Capitol and I streets SE. Due to its 20-foot width, the I Street access will incorporate a pedestrian, a bike and an outbound car lane. The project will maintain the existing curb cut on South Capitol as the main right turn into and right turn out of the building to accommodate loading vehicles, for-hire vehicles, deliveries and cars. An extensive driveway will ensure all this activity stays off South Capitol and is confined to the property. Commissioners expressed concerns especially about the safety of the I Street outbound vehicular lane. The developer committed to placing a stop sign at the end of the I Street egress.

“This is a really big building in a problematic spot. If it was smaller and reoriented we would have a different set of concerns,” stated Litsky. He suggested the developer think more ambitiously about the space under the expressway. “I don’t think it’s fair that you bring a project that has no benefits to the community and expect us to embrace it,” added Hamilton.

The commissioners voted to oppose both the public space application and the design. The chair was authorized to testify at the Zoning Commission hearing.

Other Development Matters

Steuart Investment and MRP Realty presented their initial design of the first phase of the development planned for 1700 Half St. SW, the site of Superior Concrete. The commissioners took no position on the design but voted to support the public space application for the development.

The commission’s FOIA application for DC Housing Authority documents related to Greenleaf Gardens’ development was accepted on Oct. 26, reported Kramer. Plans for using part of the Westminster Presbyterian Church development for build-first have been dropped, she stated, but no clear alternative has been offered. Renovations to Greenleaf Senior will begin in 2023 and repairs to Greenleaf Midrise will also be made, Kramer said. The entire redevelopment will be completed by 2032. The final plans are due on Nov. 10, she said.

The commissioners unanimously voted to conditionally support the nearby redevelopment of the Westminster Church property at 400 I St. SW, provided the developers present a plan to extend affordability beyond the 40-year life of the housing credits used for financing and a plan for transportation specifically addressing the impact of protected bike lanes planned for I Street SW and the decorative “Tower of Light” planned for the church.

The commissioners unanimously voted to send a letter to the DC Office of Planning and the Zoning Commission opposing a map amendment for the building planned for the old US Agriculture Building at the corner of Ninth Street and Maine Avenue SW. The commissioners will only entertain supporting the project if Jair Lynch Real Estate, the developer, engages in a planned unit development process to increase the site’s permissible density.

Other Matters

Christopher Dyer, the Department of Parks’ external affairs officer, briefed on DPR’s programs. Visit www.dprprograms.com for more information.

KeShawn Harris of CareFirst gave a briefing on the company’s activities in the District.

Metropolitan Police Captains Jonathan Dorrough and Darren Haskis briefed the commission on public safety. The commission’s west side has experienced an uptick in theft from autos, with L’Enfant Plaza a hotspot. A gun was pointed at a construction worker at The Wharf who had confronted a man stealing tools from his truck. Across South Capitol Street, there has been an uptick in burglaries through unsecured windows and entrances. There have also been six assaults with deadly weapons as well as 10 robberies.

The commissioners unanimously adopted the FY 22 budget.

Commissioners unanimously approved the meeting’s amended agenda and the September minutes, and supported So Others May Eat’s 20th Annual Turkey Trot.

ANC 6D meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of every month. The next meeting is Nov. 8 via Zoom. For more information and links to join ANC meetings, visit www.anc6d.org.