ANC 6C Calls Church Window Coverings “An Abomination”

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Neighbors object to the white plastic panels covering the stained glass at World Mission Society of God church at 700 A St. NE.

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C met on Feb. 14 via WebEx. Commissioners Leslie Merkle (6C02, secretary), Commissioner Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04, chair), Commissioner Patricia Eguino (6C06) and Tony Goodman (6C07, vice chair) were in attendance. Commissioners Christy Kwan (6C01) and Commissioner Joel Kelty (6C05, treasurer) were absent.

The World Mission Society of God at 700 A St. NE has installed plastic panels over the exterior stained-glass windows of its historic church. In 2011 at the time of the property’s purchase, the church had elected to remove the windows. The Historic Preservation Office (HPO) objected. The issue ended up in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), which found the windows to be “a key contributing factor” of the historic structure and ordered their restoration. The church subsequently lost an appeal before the Mayor’s Agent. The windows were restored in 2013.

The panels “look terrible” from the exterior, the commission’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development (PZE) committee unanimously concluded, stated Chair Eckenwiler.

“A neighbor said the windows are the eyes to the community and these are huge cataracts over the windows,” stated Commissioner Adelstein.

The District Department of Buildings (DOB) Chief Building Official (CBO) determined the coverings to be storm windows, reported Eckenwiler. Under the District’s building code, storm windows do not require a permit. The HPO’s authority is limited to alterations involving permits, he said.

The installation of the paneling an “end run” around the windows’ restoration, Adelstein said. “This is an abomination.”

Vice Chair Goodman agreed the window coverings are “ugly.” However, the loophole may be sufficient for the church to retain the panels. “They’ve done an end run around the rules, but I think it’s a successful end run unfortunately,” Goodman said.

The commission voted to request the DOB CBO to reconsider the classification of the panels as storm windows.

Other Matters

The commission voted to:

• support the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) plan for bus priority safety improvements along H Street NE between Third Street and Benning Road NE;

• request that the Department of Public Works (DPW) establish resident-only parking (RPP) on the 200 and 300 blocks of A Street NE, C Street NE, Fourth Street NE and Fifth Street NE, the 900 block of Seventh Street NE and the 600 block of K Street NE;

• support the Capitol Hill Village sidewalk survey about sidewalks throughout Ward 6 in need of repair during the upcoming oversight hearings on DDOT;

• support moving the Capital Bikeshare station at 601 Massachusetts Ave. NE to the street on the southeast corner of Sixth Street NE and Massachusetts Avenue NE.

ANC 6C will meet next on March 13 at 7 p.m. via WebEx. Visit anc6c.org to learn more about the commission and register to attend the meeting.

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