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Tag Archive | "ANC 2F"

ANC 2F May Oppose Demolition Permit for Former Sex Club Building


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Sex"

The Men’s Parties club was on the second floor of 1618 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan may vote to oppose the demolition of 1618 14th Street NW, former site of the sex club, “Men Parties.”

At last night’s meeting, ANC 2F’s Community Development Committee (CDC) voted 6-0 to recommend the full ANC not support an application to DC’s Historical Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for a raze permit for the building. The demolition requires permission from the HPRB because the building is within the boundaries of the Fourteenth Street Historic District.

There was a death at the club in 2009 which led DC to file suit to close the club.

Jeff Owens appeared before the committee to plead the case of the building’s owner, Stephen Jaffe. Reports indicate Jaffe has been the owner since before the 2009 incident.

Owens said the building had been gutted and is now exposed to the elements. He also said the building’s perimeter wall is buckling and the floor joists are gone. Neighborhood residents testified the building is neglected and some windows are open permanently.

Owens also said there is a tentative plan for a new building on the site which would have retail on the first floor and apartments above.

Neighborhood residents testified the building has been an eyesore for years and there were many unsuccessful attempts by neighbors to do something about it. One neighbor brought up the owner’s responsibility for the club and the 2009 death.

“He [Jaffe] knows nothing about that,” Owens said.

Members of the committee came out strongly in favor of preserving the building.

“This is the type of case that historic preservation laws have been designed to protect,” said one committee member.

“This is an absolute case of demolition by neglect,” said another.

“It’s a contributing building,” said committee chair Walt Cain, ANC commissioner for district 02.

The matter may be next considered at the regular monthly meeting of ANC 2F. This is scheduled for Wednesday, July 10, at 7 pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.

A notice that an application to raze the building had been filed first appeared at the property in April of this year.

Posted in Politics & GovernmentComments (7)

Cafe Ghana Asks Police for Help with Sidewalk Issues


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Cafe Ghana"

Cafe Ghana at 1336 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The owner of Cafe Ghana asked for assistance from MPD at last week’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle meeting.

After a briefing on local crime by a representative of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the proprietor of the Ghana Cafe (1336 14th Street) told the committee homeless people were harassing people in front of his restaurant.

He also reported homeless people participating in oral sex at a nearby bus stop. By the time police responded, the proprietor said, the behaviors had ceased. The MPD representative pledged to work on the problem.

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Church Street Project: No Parking, Period


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Development"

Site of proposed apartments on 1400 block of Church street NW. (Luis GOmez Photos)

At its regular monthly meeting Wednesday night, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle voted on an unusual residential development on Church Street

The full ANC concurred with last month’s Community Development Committee recommendation to support the application by Brook Rose Development for zoning relief on its proposed development at 1456, 1458 and 1460 Church Street NW. The new apartment buildings, as planned, will contain 37 rental units. The size of each unit will be 250 to 400 square feet, and will rent for $1800 to $2000 per month.

An unusual aspect of the development is that tenants will be required by the terms of their lease to refrain from applying for a Residential Parking Permit (RPP). Applying for an RPP will be grounds for termination of the lease.

It is possible to get information about RPP applications from the DC government through a Freedom of Information act request. Otherwise, DC authorities were “reluctant” to give out this information.

Commissioner John Fanning, 2F-04, had concerns about the monitoring, reporting, oversight and enforcement of this part of the lease agreement.

“I think that we need to have some clearer oversight,” Fanning said.

Commissioner Cain said the developers had promised to report to the ANC on a quarterly basis, and might be open to more frequent reporting if asked. Cain also said there was no enforcement mechanism.

“We’re just going to take their word for it,” Fanning concluded.

There was a discussion of the limits of ANC authority to make and enforce agreements, and also the future of parking regulation in the light of planned changes in DC zoning regulations that will essentially eliminate the requirement for parking in new construction.

The final vote was 7-0 in favor of support the application for zoning relief, with Fanning abstaining.

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M Cafe and Bar Gets Sidewalk Seating


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Cafe"

M Bar and Cafe, possible opening June 15. (Luis Gomez Photos)

ANC 2F Reverses Decision to Block Sidewalk seating for M Cafe and Bar.

At its regular monthly meeting last night, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle voted to endorse an application for a sidewalk cafe by M Cafe and Bar, opening soon at the corner of 14th and R Streets. This reverses a decision made the previous week.

M Cafe and Bar: Outdoor Seating (mostly) Okay

Two weeks ago, ANC 2F’s Community Development Committee (CDC) voted to protest an application for outdoor seating by the soon-to-open M Cafe and Bar (1634 14th Street NW). Representatives of the establishment had not shown up for the committee meeting to discuss the matter.

At last night’s ANC meeting, CDC Chair Commissioner Walt Cain (district 02) confessed there had been a scheduling error. The CDC normally meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month. This is usually the last Wednesday of the month. However, there were five Wednesdays last month. M Cafe and Bar management were told to come on the last Wednesday in May – a week after the actual date of the meeting.

Given the above, a representative of M Cafe and Bar was given a chance to present directly to the full ANC, so M Cafe and Bar can go forward on its plans for outdoor seating in time for the scheduled opening in mid-June. M Cafe and Bar wants to have 51 outdoor seats in all. Of these, 20 tables will be on the 14th Street Side. Six tables will be on an elevated platform facing R Street. An awning will be placed eight feet off the ground, protruding more than six feet on both portions.

There were concerns that part of the proposed design would create a bottleneck on the 14th Street sidewalk. The ANC voted to approve M Cafe and Bar’s request for outdoor seating with a minor modification to relieve the bottleneck.

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Church Street Development: 37 Apartments, No Parking


"Development"

South side of the 1400 block of Church Street NW, just east of 15th Street. The Metropole is visible at the far right. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

At the May 22 meeting, The ANC 2F Community Development Committee heard a presentation from Brook Rose Development on the construction of a multi-story apartment building on the site of 1456, 1458 and 1460 Church Street NW. The developer characterized the present structures on this site as “three small row houses in disrepair”.

Brook Rose Development will request relief from the obligation to supply parking spaces for the residents. The new apartment buildings, as planned, will contain 37 rental units. The size of each unit will be 250 to 400 square feet, and will rent for $1800 to $2000 per month.

UrbanTurf has more details, including artist renderings of what the building would look like. The three Church Street buildings remain, with the developer adding construction behind them.

Normally, DC regulations would require a building with this many units to contain at least 18 parking spaces. Due to space constraints and the long narrow footprint of the site, there is only room for two. If these two spaces were used, it would impede trash collection for the building, the developers said.

After consultations with the DC Office of Planning, the developers were seeking ANC endorsement on a zoning adjustment for the parking space requirement.

“It is physically impossible to put parking on this site,” one of the developers said.

Not only would there be no off-street parking, but tenants would also not have the right to residential parking permits. Applying for one would be cause for termination of the lease agreement. The developers pledged to periodically check for compliance with DC’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). They also said it is possible to register a building with DMW so that residents will not be able to get residential parking permits.

“The appeal is to a carless urban dweller,” a developer said.

The CDC voted to recommend to the full ANC to support Brook Rose Development’s application before DC’s Board of Zoning Adjustment for relief from the parking-space requirement.

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Posted in BusinessComments (5)

ANC 2F Discusses Police Response Times to Crimes


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"ANC"

ANC 2F. Click for a larger image. (DC Board of Elections)

Police response times was on the agenda of Advisory Neighborhood Committee (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle Wednesday, May 22. ANC 2F’s Crime and Public Safety Committee and its Community Development Committee (CDC) met simultaneously in adjacent rooms at the Washington Plaza Hotel that evening.

Public Safety: Response Times

A bicycle theft has prompted ANC 2F to look into local police response times and practices.

At the April ANC 2F meeting, Commissioner Peter Lallas, 2F-01, asked why it took Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officers 15 minutes to respond to his call when he saw someone riding his recently stolen bicycle, even though 47 officers were on duty and there were no other emergency calls at the time.

Chief Cathy Lanier has said the MPD strives for response times of five minutes. The MPD promised to look into the matter.

“If police are not responding as promptly as we’d like them to, that raises several questions,” Lallas said in an interview later. “Do we have enough officers? Do we have the resources available to keep out area safe?”

Lt. Jeff Carroll of the MPD was at the Crime and Public Safety Committee meeting to follow up. Records showed response time for the incident was 14 minutes, Lt. Carroll said. Carroll explained 911 calls are answered by a DC agency called the Office of Unified Communications (OUC). This agency then directs response appropriately. In this case, records showed, the call took 10 minutes to go from the OUC to the MPD, after which the police responded in four minutes.

According to Lt. Carroll, the theft of Lallas’s bicycle occurred at the time of a police shift change. At these times, the police are effectively at half-strength, and criminals know when police shift change occurs.

“The MPD should never be at half strength,” Lallas said.

Lt. Carroll also said the MPD had some relevant internal numbers about staffing and response time. He will look into whether they can be publicly released and report at future ANC 2F meetings.

The above and more will be discussed when ANC 2F has its next regular monthly meeting Wednesday, June 5, 7 pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel, 10 Thomas Circle NW.

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Garrison Elementary Ready for Full Modernization


"Garrison"

Garrison Elementary School. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Last week Garrison Elementary had two events in which neighbors could help the modernization fund for the school.Then DC City Council Education Committee Chair David Catania (I-At Large) announced last week that resources had been identified that will help speed up the first phase of the modernization project.

Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said, “I will support expediting that funding to support Garrison.”

Budget Chair Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) is also supporting Garrison: “I have vowed to make Garrison the gem of a neighborhood school that it should be. The funding I was able to secure for the field renovations last year was a first step, stopping it from closing was next and making sure that the renovations take place in an expeditious manner is part of that commitment.”

Original Timeline was Nine-Year Plan

The original plan of modernization of the school including three phases through 2022. Ann McLeod, Garrison PTA president said, “This is just unacceptable! The school has not been updated since it was originally built in 1964 and its facilities rank among the worst in the district.  The $8 million is a great start. But the Garrison community, led by the PTA, will continue pushing for a full modernization by 2015, as we have been all along.”

In May a resolution was passed by ANC 2F and ANC 2B asking that the City Council appropriate $16 million to fully fund Garrison’s modernization in Fiscal Year 2014 to allow for a complete modernization.

Last year Garrison Elementary School was saved from closure, now it has to be renovated. Garrison is located 1200 S Street NW and serves elementary school for children in both Wards 1 and 2. The school hasn’t been renovated since 1964.

The Deputy Mayor for Education Plan recommends that schools in Garrison’s situation not be approached in phases. “A mere Phase 1 does not address the exterior of the building, which is a huge deterrent to enrollment, in all likelihood does not address ADA compliance, and does not encourage a coordinated approach to improve its 4.5 acres of outdoor space,” Garrison Improvement Project Chair Vanessa Bertelli points out. “It’s time for DC to show it can act as One City and fund the full modernization of a school that has the space and the grounds to be this community’s centerpiece.”

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Two Chances to Help Garrison Elementary this Week


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Garrison"

Garrison Elementary School at 1200 S Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Last year Garrison Elementary School was saved from closure, now it has to be renovated. This week, you have two opportunities to help make it happen.

Tonight at 6:30 pm, Garrison will have its monthly community meeting at the school, 1200 S Street NW. On the agenda will be the plans for a major renovation of the school, plus information about its Spanish-language, arts, music and after-school programs. Babysitting will be provided, plus cake and ice-cream to thank the community for its role in keeping Garrison open.

Can’t make it tonight? On Saturday at 9:30 am, join the conversation with Abigail Smith, DC’s newly-appointed Deputy Mayor for Education, at Luther Place Memorial Church, 1226 Vermont Avenue. The meeting will address a wide range of educational issues and the Garrison renovation is bound to be one of them.

The Logan Circle Community Association is hosting the meeting as part of its “Saturdays in Logan Circle” series. This meeting is co-sponsored by the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and two Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) 2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan.

Garrison Elementary School has not had a renovation since 1964. The renovation, after three delays, was planned to start in 2014, but there is no money for it in the DC school budget until 2015. This past week, ANC 2F passed a resolution asking the DC Council to find $16 million dollars to fully fund the Garrison renovation.

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ANC 2F Discussed Liquor License Renewals, School Renovation, and Policing


"ANC"

ANC2F talks policing. (David McAuley)

From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

At its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 1, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle moved forward on liquor license renewal for the many of the area’s restaurant and bars, but voted to oppose a liquor license renewal for one troubled establishment. In addition, the Commission passed a resolution in favor of the speedy renovation of Garrison Elementary School, and talked with police about perceived shortcomings in local law enforcement.

Liquor License Renewal Season

Forty-seven annual liquor license renewals were on ANC 2F’s agenda. The overwhelming majority were routine and required little or no discussion.

“When I moved here, there were five,” said John Fanning, Commissioner for district 2F-04 and chairman of the commission’s liquor licensing affairs committee.

ANC 2F voted unanimously to support changes in the settlement agreements for two P Street establishments: Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant (1415 14th Street) and Number Nine (1435 P Street). Lalibela will now have food service all night on Friday and Saturday nights, but no outside food service before 10am. Number Nine now has permission to start an eight-table sidewalk seating area on P Street, and also may stay open later on the Sunday evenings before Monday holidays.

An outdoor serving area with five seats on 14th Street for the soon-to-open B Too restaurant was also approved.

ANC 2F voted, also unanimously, to oppose the liquor license renewal request for El Sauce Restaurant (1227 11th Street), on the ground of the establishment’s disturbance of the peace, order and quiet of the neighborhood, as well as possible damage to real estate prices.

El Sauce Restaurant has a history of violent episodes and non-compliance with the law. ANC Chair Matt Raymond (2F-07) brandished a two-page long list of 23 incidents, including five assaults with a deadly weapon (including a brick and a head-butt) and an assault on police. In addition, there have been 11 fines for violations of various types and a long list of lesser offenses. ANC Commissioners reported witnessing fist fights and receiving reports both of harassment of women near the establishment and of operation at 4:30am, long after the licensed closing time.

In 2011, El Sauce was the scene of a murder. Raymond said Police Commissioner Cathy L. Lanier had recommended El Sauce’s liquor license be revoked after that incident. Raymond will ask the DC government’s alcohol licensing authority why Chief Lanier’s recommendation had been disregarded.

Sherry Kimball, constituent services director for Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans, said, “This establishment should surely be closed.”

Commissioner Fanning said he would meet with El Sauce’s owner, who reportedly speaks only Spanish. Fanning pledged he would bring a translator with him to the meeting.

Resolution Supports Garrison Renovation

ANC 2F unanimously approved a resolution urging the DC City Council to accelerate its plan to modernize Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street). Garrison was slated for closing last year and then saved after community opposition.

The present DC budget has no money for Garrison modernization until 2015, when it receive 8 million dollars. The modernization may receive addition funding in later years. The resolution calls for 16 million dollars to be allocated in the 2014 budget.

The resolution notes the school has not been renovated since 1964. ANC Commissioner Matt Connolly (2F-08) said renovations had been delayed three times. Connolly is the co-chair of ANC 2F’s Education Committee.

Sherry Kimball told the committee she thought the resolution was an effective expression of the ANC’s concern about Garrison, but she doubted the City Council would be able to find the required money at this late date.

“It’s not going to happen in 2014,” Kimball said. “But I support the resolution.”

There will be a meeting about the renovation sponsored by the Logan Circle Community Association on Wednesday, May 8, at 7pm at Garrison. ANC 2F, with other organizations, will also hold a meeting on the topic on Saturday, May 11, at 9:30am, at Luther Place Memorial Church (1226 Vermont Street).

Police Hear Complaints From Commissioner

At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Peter Lallas (district 2F-01) told members of the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) about law enforcement problems in his district.

Lallas said bicycles had been stolen from his home on Friday three weeks ago. The next afternoon at 2:30pm, Lallas saw men with the stolen bicycles near his home. Lallas said it took police 15 minutes to respond to his call for assistance. As a result, the men with the stolen bicycles escaped. Subsequently, Lallas did research that found there were 41 officers on duty at that time and there was no other unusual criminal activity going on. Why did it take so long for the MPD to respond?
The MPD promised to look into the matter.

Lallas also said he had received complaint about illegal parking on Sunday mornings in his district. Specifically, people reported illegal parking in bike lanes and areas reserved for residents. Parking enforcement is normally the responsibility of the District Department on Transportation (DDOT), but on Sunday it is the responsibility of the MPD.

“What is the MPD doing on Sunday?” Lallas asked.

Sherry Kimball said the MPD will ticket on Sunday if a fire hydrant or driveway is blocked, but not for parking in residential zones or bike lanes.

Police representatives proposed setting up an enforcement test area to investigate the extent of the problem.

Visitor Parking Program to Change

Later in the meeting, Commission Walt Cain (2F-02) reported DDOT is working on an overhaul of the citywide visitor parking program. All details of the program are not yet worked out, but the revised program is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2013.

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ANC 2F Ed Committee, Pat Mara Talk School, Parent Issues


From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.

"Mara"

Patrick Mara at ANC2F education committee meeting. (David McAuley)

Local parents and DC Council candidate Pat Mara participated on April 13 in a wide-ranging discussion about the state of local public education.

Those interested resisted the siren call of a beautiful Saturday morning in spring to turn out at a meeting co-sponsored by the Logan Circle Community Association and Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F. The meeting was at Luther Place Memorial Church and was led by ANC 2F education committee co-chair Evelyn Boyd-Simmons.

The Headache of School Admissions

The conversation returned again and again to the difficulty parents have negotiating DC’s patchwork of lotteries and admission criteria for local charter schools, exam schools and feeder schools.

The next meeting of the ANC 2F education committee is scheduled for May 11, 10 am, at Luther Place Memorial Church, 1226 Vermont Avenue NW. On the agenda is “all things Garrison,” said Boyd-Simmons, referring Garrison Elementary School, 1200 S Street NW.

“This is super important. We have a situation where a number of parents in Ward 1 and Ward 2, but also all over the city, may know where they’re sending their child to elementary school. But that trajectory upward to middle school and high school is much more uncertain to parents. As many parents say to me, it shouldn’t be this difficult,” Mara said in an interview after the meeting.

Mara is the Ward 1 Member on the DC State Board of Education and a candidate in the April 23 special election for an At-Large Council seat.

Parents aren’t the only ones worried about progressing through the DC education system.

“I had a fifth grader ask about grade point averages,” said Cardozo High School Principal Tanya S. Roane at the meeting. “They want to know academics. Life is different now than when we were young. Children in this age are about competition.”

Principal Roane’s Tough Road Ahead at Cardozo High

It is Roane’s first year as Principal. She told the committee about the challenges facing Cardozo High. Next year, Cardozo will become a school for grades 6 through 12 after Shaw Middle School is shuttered. The third floor of the Cardozo High building will become a completely separate Middle School, Roane said. The new middle school on the third floor will have 150 students total.

Roane also said she had a problem retaining students at the school.

“I ask kids: what’s the problem? Perception of the school,” she said.

The school has a 44 percent graduation rate, Roane said. (A Washington Post article from April 2012 put the graduation rate at 39.9 percent.) But this number is misleading because students who leave for a charter school are counted as dropouts. In addition, Cardozo has the second-highest ESL population in district, and students in the English as a Second Language program normally get an additional year of instruction.

“We get penalized if they don’t graduate in four years,” Roane said.

Roane is convinced the school is improving. “People are saying that this is a better place.”

She talked about some of the improvements taking place at the schools, including a community-accessible year-round swimming pool (“a lap pool, not Olympic-sized”), a health suite with a GP on staff, and a no-charge day-care center.

“We’re increasing Advance Placement courses. I’m trying to start a college credit program. If we have something to offer that another school doesn’t, that will make us stand out,” Roane said.

This year, Cardozo High students also built a house on 13th Street NW.

“The house sold,” Roane said. “We didn’t get any money.”

Principal Roane emphasized her open door policy. She hosts a coffee hour on the first Tuesday of each month. On the third Wednesday of each month at 5:15 pm, there is also an open meeting with school contractors. This takes place at Cardozo High School @ Meyer, 2501 11th Street, NW.

“We are changing perceptions,” Roane said. “And having community people come in.”

“[Principal Roane] has taken over Cardozo just this academic year,” Mara said later. “There is a great need for improvement at Cardozo, and I think she may just be the principal to move the school to the next level. But there are great problems with truancy. There are great problems with engagement. I think, from a programmatic standpoint, if you don’t have the capacity at the school, you can’t offer things like athletic programs. You can’t offer things like arts and music, or at least nothing outside a very core basic class required for graduation. You can’t offer a diversity of languages. So she’s up against a lot, but I do think she is the right person.”

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