DLCP Presentation Generates Disappointment at ANC 6B

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Appearing at the May 9 online meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B were the following: Frank Avery (6B01, Treasurer); Jerry Sroufe (6B02); David Sobelsohn (6B03, Secretary); Frank D’Andrea (6B04); Kasie Durkit (6B05, Parliamentarian); Chander Jayaraman (6B06, Vice Chair); Vince Mareino (6B07); Edward Ryder (6B08, Chair); Matt LaFortune (6B09).

A few commissioners expressed some disappointment with a presentation by DC Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) Interim Director Shirley Kwan-Hui. Kwan-Hui spoke largely about the city’s overall budget and economic prospects. However, commissioners said that given the agency was only created Oct. 1, 2022, they wanted to hear specifically about DLCP’s budget and activities.

Commissioner Vincent Marieno asked if DLCP has published any information on the economic impact of licensing. He wanted to know if DLCP had investigated whether licensure requirements are acting as barriers to entry for certain professions. Kwan-Hui said the agency is only six months old and has not yet done analysis of this kind. However, she said surveys conducted as part of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s “comeback plan” looked at responses on that subject; DLCP is using these in part to ensure there is less disparity in access and that returning citizens have access.

Kwan-Hui added that DLCP has partnered with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) to make a licensing portal. That system is currently in beta, but will be a one-stop place to assess licensing requirements and submit applications for all professions and businesses. Mareino said the old portal favored people with a college education and English as a first language, and was optimistic about the new portal.

Secretary David Sobelsohn asked a question about the overall District budget, asking Hui if the $10 million allocated in the budget towards the Southeast Library Modernization Project included interim service funding. The DLCP Director said she did not have the answer but promised to get back to him prior to the council vote, scheduled for the following day.

Commissioner Matt  LaFortune suggested that the director impress the importance of a permanent appointment at DLCP to the Mayor. LaFortune pointed out that, according to DC Statute, if the Mayor fails to nominate a person within 180 days of the establishment of the subordinate agency vacancy or the date of vacancy, no District funds may be expended to compensate any person serving in the interim position. Kwan-Hui has been Interim Director for DLCP since the agency came into being on Oct 1, 2022 and has therefore exceeded that term. Kwan-Hui thanked LaFortune for his comments.

Conservative Institute Wants to Privatize Alley
Commissioners announced that representatives for the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) will appear at the June 13 meeting of ANC 6B. CPI has purchased several buildings on the 200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE and is applying to privatize the alley behind the properties, which include the former Capitol Lounge, and call it “Lincoln Court.” Representatives told the May 4th meeting of the ANC Planning and Zoning Committee that privatization would allow for rear additions to some of the buildings and a patio in the center.

At that meeting, committee members brought up issues with egress. They also expressed concern with public property being reassigned to private use. Committee members stressed that more details would need to be provided at the June meeting of the full commission, including responses to issues raised by residents and the committee. They also expressed a desire for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA).

At the meeting of the full ANC, Commissioners said there was a long road to go before the CPI plan could be become a reality. The ANC will first officially weigh in and then the proposal needs to be approved by DC Council as it involves a private taking of public property.

Commissioner Sobelsohn suggested that he connect ANC 6B with an area CBA expert, an idea that was welcomed.

Parking on Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Commissioners said that parking is allowed in the new red bus lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue SE outside of rush hour where construction is complete. If there are no paper “no parking” signs posted, motorists can park outside of rush hour. In the morning that means no parking westbound from 7:00 a.m. through 9:30 a.m., and in afternoon parking is not permitted in the eastbound bus lane from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Commissioners ask that if you are hearing otherwise, even from the Department of Public Works (DPW), which writes traffic citations in the District, let your ANC Commissioner know.

The ANC Voted to:

  • Protest an application for a Class “C” Restaurant alcohol license for I Egg You (517 Eighth St. SE), the new breakfast concept from the founders of CHIKO, in pursuit of a Settlement Agreement (SA). The protest cites concerns with trash disposal and rodent control on the property.
  • Support concepts for an Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for a third floor and roof deck to an existing two-story rowhouse at 235 12th St. SE. Plans also call for the addition of a second story or accessory dwelling unit to an existing garage structure fronting onto Gessford Court SE. One resident opposed the application, saying it was incompatible with the street, but commissioners said they were unconvinced by the argument.
  • Defer consideration until June 13 of a request to amend the existing SA for National Democratic Club (30 Ivey St. SE) to increase the hours of operation and sales, service and consumption of alcohol. The delay came as residents said they had learned of the plans the prior day and wanted to discuss concerns with noise and hours of closing. Manager Zac Hoffman said that he had gone door-to-door on the surrounding streets, apologizing to those he had not met. He said that the club wanted to allow for weekend services and for events such as weddings. Current hours are Monday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. Requested hours are Sunday to Thursday 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Friday to Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m.

ANC 6B next meets 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 13. See the agenda and information on how to join at anc6b.org