Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8F (ANC 8F) met on July 25. Commissioners Brian Strege (8F03, secretary), Edward Daniels (8F04, chair) and Nic Wilson (8FO1) were in attendance. Commissioners Rick Murphree (8F02, treasurer) and Clayton Rosenberg (8F05, vice chair) were absent.
Chair Daniels introduced a resolution decrying alleged unhealthy and unsafe residential conditions at The Onyx, 1100 First St. SE. Opened in 2008, the 14-floor, 260-unit building is managed by UIP Property Management, Inc (www.uippm.com).
UIP was invited to the commission’s meeting, but chose not to attend. More than a dozen angry Onyx residents, however, did put in an appearance.
Residents provided a detailed list of issues. To begin with, they began by narrating the actions UIP allegedly took to stifle tenant organizing. Then, they detailed maintenance failures and building fires.
Residents complained of security failures including non-residents sleeping in corridors and hallways as well as an automobile stolen from the building’s garage.
“It is emotionally scaring every day to walk through those hallways,” a resident stated.
“We are not safe. Everything is wrong in this building,” said another.
Lastly, they complained about a bacterial infection in the water system that feeds the building’s pool that resulted in a number of illnesses.
“UIP must be held responsible for the unhealthy and dangerous environment that they have allowed to continue,” stated a resident.
“They are giving the illusion that it is a luxury high rise. It is no longer a luxury high rise. They are a slum lord.” stated one resident.
Residents reached out to Chair Daniels, who tried to mediate a solution. Daniels found UIP to be non-responsive. He then reached out to the appropriate city agencies and the councilmembers for assistance. The Office of the Tenant Advocate, Daniels reported, is now working with the residents to organize an association. The DC Dept. of Buildings has also inspected the premises and found major infractions, Daniels stated.
The resolution by Daniels requests The DC Dept. of Licensing and Consumer Protection to terminate UIP’s business license. It also asks the DC Dept. of Buildings to conduct more inspections of the property and asks the DC Attorney General to investigate UIP.
The commission unanimously supported the resolution.
Lieutenant Kenneth Taylor briefed the commission on public safety. Motor vehicle thefts have been cut in half compared to the previous month, he reported. The Navy Yard suffered two assaults involving firearms, one of which was closed by an arrest, he stated.
Robberies increased from 10 to 13, one of which has been closed by an arrest. One set of perpetrators used a scooter to rob pedestrians. Theft from autos and general thefts are slightly up, he reported.
Secretary Strege asked whether MPD conducts traffic enforcement. The department primarily relies on red light and speeding cameras, Taylor replied.
Is MPD is properly resourced to make the Capitol Quarter courtyard at 3rd and L St. SE a priority? asked Commissioner Wilson. Crimes of violence take priority over qualify of life issues due to constrained manpower, stated Taylor. He cited Sursum Corda, where 50 rounds were fired on a recent evening as an example.
M Street Dedicated Bus Lanes
The DC Dept. of Transportation (DDOT) is installing a two-way cycle track and dedicated bus lines on M Street between 11th Street and Half Street SE starting on Aug. 7, stated Bicycle Program Specialist Will Handsfield. The agency plans a protected bidirectional bike lane for the north side of the street. A dedicated bus lane and new bus platforms will grace the street’s southern side.
The agency, Handsfield stated, will avoid scheduling construction on game days. However, this may entail doing some night work to keep the project on schedule. The project will take six to eight weeks to complete, weather permitting, he said. It starts on July 31.
Southeast Library Interim Services
The DC Public Library’s (DCPL) Southeast Branch is shutting down for two to three years for renovation. No date has yet been set for the commencement of construction. The SE Library Task Force (www.anc6b.org/committees-task-forces/southeast-library-task-force) organized by ANC 6B has taken the lead on negotiating for the provision of interim services.
The taskforce has managed to secure agreement with DCPL to provide a laptop vending machine and printing services at Arthur Capper Recreation Center (www.dpr.dc.gov/arthurcapper). They are now attempting to add book pickup and drop-off as well. Two DCPL digital navigators will also be stationed at the center to assist users.
The DC Housing Authority (DCHA) replied to the commission’s last letter, stated Chair Daniels. The agency restated its commitment to providing 234 apartments for those displaced by Hope Six redevelopment of the Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Housing Complex (www.jdland.com/dc/capper.cfm). The project which began in 2004 is still ongoing.
DCHA may be examining a land swap to accommodate a public school, Daniels stated.
Secretary Strege reported having some success getting maintenance and landscaping work done on DCHA’s three remaining undeveloped parcels. Two of these are serving as parking for the Nationals, lots run by U Street Parking. The third is simply fenced and remains undeveloped.
The commission requested DCHA to consider allowing residents to park on the Nats lots on non-game days. No accommodations could be made until the current lease with U Street Parking expires, DCHA replied.
DCHA has asked the Zoning Commission, which has authority over Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), for an extension of its current interim uses for the parcels. Commissioners resolved to oppose any such extension, to request adequate maintenance and landscaping be performed on the sites, to allow residential parking in the lots and explore alternative uses for the undeveloped parcel.
Free To Move, a car share service, has parked damaged cars near Canal Park and Cube Storage. DDOT will be reaching out to the company to address the matter.
The commissioner voted to withdraw its protest of a liquor license application for El Rey, 79 Potomac Ave. SE. Approval of settlement agreement was tabled.
The commission approved its financial reports for the second and third fiscal quarters.
The commission voted to protest Tinette’s, 71 Potomac Ave. SE, application for a liquor license in absence of a settlement agreement on the basis of peace order and quiet.
ANC 8F generally meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 26 at DC Dept. of Transportation Headquarters, 250 M St. SE. For more information, visit anc8f.org.