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Hill East Development Discussed: ANC 7D Report

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7D met April 11 via WebEx. Commissioners Siraaj Hasan (7D01), Wendell Felder (7D03, chair), Ebony Payne (7D05), Marc Friend (7D06), Brett Astmann (7D07, treasurer), Brian Alcorn (7D08, vice chair) and Ashley Schapitl (7D09, secretary) were in attendance. Commissioner Milton Hardy (7D04) resigned from the commission on April 7. Single Member Districts 7D02, 7D04 and 7D10 are vacant.

Hill East Development Discussed
In 2021, Mayor Muriel Bowser selected R13 Community Partners to lead a team consisting of Frontier Development & Hospitality Group LLC, BRP Companies, H2 Design Build, Broughton Construction, A. Wash & Associates and U Street Parking to develop a section of Reservation 13 in Hill East. Their proposal, in addition to a Marriott Hotel, includes 1,246 residential units: 407 deeply affordable units, 334 middle income, 500 market rate and 5 reserved for building superintendents. Of the units, 1,116 would be rentals and 125 for sale. The hotel includes approximately 150 rooms and about 60,000 square feet of retail space. A triangular park celebrating the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy is envisioned, as well as a historical and cultural walk to recognize the history of Reservation 13.

“We see this as a community hub,” stated landscaper Sharon Bradley of Bradley Site Design, “so we would like to design it with a lot of community input.” Friend said he appreciated that commitment and hoped that the developers would stay true to it. Schapitl questioned the timeline, given the amount of required utilities work. Construction is slated to begin in a year and a half and take about two and a half years to complete. Community resident Francis Campbell questioned the sufficiency of planned off-street parking, particularly for the hotel, and the height of the proposed development.

The commissioners held no vote on the matter.

Mayor Bowser Visits
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) attended the meeting to discuss her FY2024 budget proposal with both commissioners and residents. Bowser emphasized her “firm” belief that the District’s “renaissance” has been tied to investments in public schools and public safety. She highlighted a bargaining agreement with teachers, capital improvements for schools, the increasing number of officers in the Metropolitan Police Department and “the full spectrum” of violence prevention services.

The mayor took comments and questions related to the proposed improvements at the RFK Stadium campus, proposed cuts to the Circulator bus service across the city, specific traffic enforcement and safety issues on Ward 7 streets, recent shootings and carjackings in the neighborhood and the proposed increase in traffic enforcement cameras across the District, among other concerns.

Bowser spoke about several tough decisions made throughout the budget process as the District reports a downturn in revenues while simultaneously experiencing an increase in costs for the first time since 2009. Representatives from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and members of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) plan to follow up with commissioners and residents regarding specific concerns and updates.

The proposed budget, Bowser explained, is focused on “the basics” and her mission to deliver on long-promised projects and programs.

Protected Bike Lanes for 19th Street
Representatives from DDOT provided an overview of the proposed 19th Street NE redesign project which aims to expand protected bike lanes for cyclists. Some of these protected tracks have been built along 19th Street between D and East Capitol streets NE. The section in discussion has a left-side bike lane which would be modified by the project to be a protected bike lane and would include a crossover into a “more traditional” right-side bike lane.

The public comment period is open for the next month. Representatives expressed interest in feedback pertaining to the best location for the crossover.

Other Matters
The commissioners approved the appointment of community members to serve on five committees: Housing, Economic Development and Economic Justice, Transportation and Public Space, Grants and Community Outreach, Environment and Public Safety. Felder invited other residents to consider joining a committee.

The commission has posted a draft of its bylaws to www.7d0761.wixsite.com/anc7d-1 and will solicit feedback next month.

ANC 7D will meet on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. via WebEx. Learn more about the commission and register to attend the meeting at https://7d0761.wixsite.com/anc7d-1.

Sarah Payne is a reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.

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