Why Not More Community Grants?


Chair Amber Gove (6A04) convened the March 11, 2021 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A via Zoom with Commissioners Keya Chatterjee (6A01), Phil Toomajian (6A02),  Mike Soderman (6A03), Laura Gentile (6A05), Robb Dooling (6A06), Sondra Phillips-Gilbert (6A07) and Brian Alcorn (6A08) all in attendance. 

Residents Say ANC Grant Funding Inadequate
During last October’s ANC6A meeting, the Commissioners approved a proposed budget for the coming fiscal year that included $5,000 for community grants. By the March 2022 ANC 6A meeting, this money had already been allocated to community organizations, but ANC6A had failed to communicate to the public, or even to the members of their own Community Outreach Committee who continued to field grant applications despite the lack of available funds. This breakdown in communication led to an application being considered for a local non-profit, Serve Your City, that, due to the zero balance in grant funding, had to be rejected, or at least tabled until further funds become available. During the ensuing conversation between Commissioners and the public, some referenced the healthy savings of ANC6A with an account balance north of $23,500 and questioned why more of this money has not been offered to community causes, especially in light of the overwhelming negative effects the pandemic has had on many 6A residents.

Commissioner Alcorn, treasurer for 6A explained that the DC government has not yet released this year’s funding and has not confirmed when the ANCs can expect to receive their respective allotments. Because of this, ANC6A must currently fund all of its monthly expenses out of its savings and given the current budgetary delays within the DC government, Commissioner Alcorn suggested preparing for a worst-case scenario in which the ANC must pay for all expenses without additional funding for another 12 months. Multiple meeting attendees argued, however, that even if the ANC does end up paying it’s bills out of pocket for the next 12 months, it will still have many thousands of dollars that could be made available to the community during a time when residents need every bit of assistance. In response, Commissioner Gove committed the Commissioners to reexamining the ANC’s budget and grant allocations for the future and to readdress this issue soon.

Alcohol Beverage Licensing (ABL) Committee
The Commissioners voted, unanimously, to send a letter to ANC 6A ABRA licensees via mail to physical addresses and/or e-mail regarding recent amendments to ANC 6A’s template settlement agreements as well as ANC 6A’s intent to cease enforcement of anti-loitering provisions in existing settlement agreements, and further authorize expenditure up to $150.00 for the costs of paper, printing, and postage. The Alcohol and Beverage Licensing Committee meets at 7:00 pm on the third Tuesday of each month.

Transportation and Public Space (TPS) Committee
The Commissioners voted unanimously to send a joint letter with ANC6C to the District Department of Transportation, (DDOT) requesting a comprehensive review of safety and traffic concerns on H Street NE from North Capitol to 15th Street NE.

The Commissioners voted, unanimously, to co-sign a letter with ANC 6C to Mayor Bowser, the DC Council, DDOT, and the District of Columbia Office of Planning (DCOP) regarding solutions for H Street NE.

  • The Commissioners voted to designate ANC 6A Chair Amber Gove, or another Commissioner authorized by the Chair, to provide testimony on behalf of ANC 6A at the March 23, 2021 roundtable “Transportation in the District After the Pandemic”, sponsored by the DC Council. The vote was 6 in favor with Commissioner Phillips-Gilbert in opposition and Commissioner Gove abstaining. Commissioner Phillips-Gilbert voiced her concern that allowing any one Commissioner to speak on behalf of them all may lead to a misrepresentation of individual opinions. In response, Commissioner Gove committed to sharing her proposed talking points via e-mail in the week before the roundtable discussion.
  • The Commissioners voted, unanimously, to send a letter to DDOT requesting an extension on the review date for Public Space Permit Application #361713 for 424 11th Street NE,replacement of retaining wall, until after the April 8, 2021 ANC meeting, to provide adequate time for public notice and review.

The Transportation and Public Space Committee meets at 7:00 pm on the third Monday of each month. 

Economic Development and Zoning Committee

  • The Commissioners voted not send a letter to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) opposing the Application for a special exception from the rear addition requirements to construct a two-story with basement addition to an existing, nonconforming, two-story with basement, principal dwelling unit at 1637 D Street, NE(BZA Case #20414) in the RF-1 Zone. Commissioners Chatterjee, Dooling and Toomajian voted in favor, Commissioners Soderman, Alcorn, Gentile and Phillips-Gilbert voted against and Commissioner Gove abstained.
  • The Commissioners voted, unanimously, to send a letter of conditional support to BZA for a special exception for constructing a second dwelling unit at 135 13th Street, NE(BZA Case #20471) in the RF-1 Zone with the caveat that the owners make best efforts to get a letter of support from 1326 North Carolina Avenue NE.
  • The Commissioners voted to send a letter of conditional support to BZA for a special exception under the new building development requirements and an area variance from the loading berth requirements to permit the construction of a new mixed-use residential building at 1101 H Street, NE(BZA Case #20455) in the NC-17 zone with the caveat that the trash management and traffic management plan be provided before the March 2021 ANC 6A meeting; the trash management plan is responsive to the neighborhood’s concerns; that there be Resident Parking Permit (RPP) restrictions added to the condo bylaws and sales documents; and that the plans include 39 indoor bike parking spaces and eight outdoor bike parking spaces. The vote was six in favor with Commissioners Chatterjee and Dooling in opposition.

The Economic Development and Zoning Committee meets at 7:00 pm on the third Wednesday of each month.

Other Business

  • The Commissioners voted, unanimously, to send a letter to WMATA expressing support for the continued operation of bus transit, particularly lines used by transit-dependent neighbors and residents of 6A and Ward 6.

Visit www.anc6a.org for a calendar of meeting times, meeting agendas and other information.