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Naming of Alley Controversial at ANC 7 D

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7D met May 14 via Zoom. Commissioners Siraaj Hasan (7D01), Wendell Felder (7D03, chair), Mike Davis (7D04), Ebony Payne (7D05), Marc Friend (7D06), Brett Astmann (7D07, treasurer), Brian Alcorn (7D08, vice chair), Ashley Schapitl (7D09, secretary) and Brianne Eby-Stockert (7D10) were in attendance. Single Member District 7D02 remains vacant.


Alley Naming

Builder Jeffrey Keil requested the assistance of Alcorn for naming an alley in Square 1084, which sits between 16th and 17th streets and East Capitol and A streets NE. Keil is developing a carriage house on the alley that requires service from DC Water. The utility requires a street address, which the alley does not have because it is unnamed.

Alcorn queried his constituents by flyer, receiving more than 15 suggestions. Those included several “thematic” and “localized” recommendations. “Typically, the District of Columbia looks to designate its public places and spaces to recognize people or institutions that were locally significant,” he said.

Some community members objected to two proposed names, Moriah Court and Mount Moriah Court. These appellations refer to nearby Mt. Moriah Baptist Church at 1636 East Capitol St. NE. The alley, they said, serves as a community space and therefore should be named nondenominationally.

“There are definitely two Hindu families, there are multiple Muslim families and multiple Jewish families who all live and own houses right on this alley,” a neighbor noted. “We play in the alley and our kids play in the alley.”

The church “does not use the alley at all,” neighbors pointed out, suggesting a naming representative of all residents who live nearby. “I don’t have any negative feelings or anything toward them, I just don’t believe that the name is inclusive,” said another. Another neighbor suggested that Friendship Court would best represent the “diverse neighbor group” living there and emphasized that residents prefer a nondenominational name.

Former commissioner Sondra Phillips-Gilbert questioned the neighbor’s relationship and knowledge of the church’s history. “We need to be considerate of the history of the community,” she said. The proposed names emphasized the importance of maintaining the history and legacy of community institutions. “It [isn’t] just about the religion, it is the history,” said Phillips-Gilbert.

The commission took no vote on this matter.


Other Matters

Representatives from Prologis briefed the commission about the company’s proposal to redevelop land decommissioned by Pepco at 3340 Benning Rd. NE as large wholesale distribution centers. Commissioners were concerned about the project’s impact on nearby residential neighborhoods and roadways.

A representative from the Department of Energy & Environment’s RiverSmart Homes Program shared information about how residents can reduce the impact of stormwater runoff through landscaping measures available at a subsidized cost. The program is completely voluntary. Residents can schedule an assessment of their property at www.doee.dc.gov.

The commission voted to:

  • write the DC Department of Buildings (DOB) about after-hours and holiday construction permits for the Old Miner School renovation;
  • ask the DC Council to fund a new library and new recreation center in the Rosedale community;
  • write the National Capital Parks East, Events DC and DOB about the raze permit for RFK Stadium;
  • ask the office of Councilmember Vincent Gray and the office of Councilmember Brianne Nadeau to rename the entirety of Gales Street NE to memorialize Malachi Jackson.

ANC 7D will meet on June 11 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. You can learn more about the commission and register to attend at www.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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