There are 21 Single Member District (SMD) seats up for grabs on the November 6 ballot in three different local ANCs: 2B/Dupont, 2F/Logan and 1B, which includes most of the U Street corridor. Recently we introduced you to the candidates, including Joel Heisey (see Know the Candidates in Contested ANC Races). He faces John Fanning for the ANC 2F-04 seat.
Now, it’s Question and Answer Time on the issues.
Borderstan: What will be your first priority/new initiative if you are elected to ANC 2F and why?
Heisey: As odd as it sounds, I’d like to revise the committee membership composition. The ANC is increasing from six to eight Single Members. Existing rules would put 17 people on each committee, an unworkable and sometimes unachievable number. A new structure has been proposed that would allow 11 committee members, a much more workable size. The first real policy initiative would have to address proposed changes to the Alcohol Control Board’s procedures and enforcement of licenses. Current legislation before the DC Council would weaken community input to the licensing procedure and possibly lead to more noise and trash violations going uncorrected.
Borderstan: How will you engage your constituents on issues so that your decisions reflect that of the majority of your Single Member District?
Heisey: A principal goal of mine is to increase community input and involvement with the ANC. Many residents are simply too busy to attend meetings, so I want to get the ANC to improve the website and notification procedures. Electronic notification of issues with responses posted to a bulletin board could be one of the approaches to encourage community discussion of issues.
Borderstan: Becoming “the next Adams Morgan” is a consistent fear expressed in ANC 2F meetings. Would you support a liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor? If so, why? If not, why?
Heisey: I would prefer to take advantage of the protection offered by the Arts Overlay Zoning District covering the 14th Street corridor. A moratorium for a problem that does not yet exist seems detrimental to the potential businesses that would be beneficial to the neighborhood. The Arts Overly regulations limit restaurant/bar usage to 50 percent of each block’s frontage. This provision should be strongly maintained. Doing so will naturally limit the number of liquor licenses that can be issued and prevent the corridor from becoming a single use area like Adams Morgan.
Borderstan: Do you believe the voluntary agreement process for liquor license applicants needs to be changed? If so, how?
Heisey: The process does need to be revised. Having to object to an application in order to work with the applicant is not a constructive way to begin a relationship between a business and the community. Voluntary Agreements serve a very useful purpose, but the “voluntary” is a bit of a misnomer. I would like to see a more cooperative procedure for reaching these agreements about hours of operation, noise, trash and other issues that impact neighboring residents.
Borderstan: Logan Circle and the 14th and U corridor area is now a destination spot for people throughout the DC Metro area, especially on weekends. Do you believe that the police presence, particularly on the 14th Street corridor, is adequate, especially on weekends?
Heisey: The MPD officers working in the Logan Circle PSAs are doing a wonderful job with policing, responsiveness and community awareness. A greater presence focusing on burglaries and street crime would be more beneficial than simply a show of force along 14th St. MPD resources are stretched. I want to see them used in the most effective manner possible.
Borderstan: The pace of development is rapid in the area, especially along 14th Street NW. Do you think more commercial buildings would be good for the area, as opposed to more residential buildings?
Heisey: One of the observations from current business owners is the lack of pedestrian traffic during the day to support their businesses. I think some commercial development could help existing businesses and draw new desirable retail shops to the area.
Borderstan: Do you support the new restricted Residential Park Permit pilot program implemented through ANC 2F in late summer/early fall 2012? Tell us why or why not.
Heisey: There are two parts to the parking program: (1) limiting one side of the street to Resident Only parking and (2) introducing a new visitors parking permit. Most of the restricted parking signs have been installed throughout the neighborhood. My concern is about removing half the available spaces for residents’ visitors and workmen without implementing a visitor’s parking permit, as is presently happening. There are valid issues and concerns due to the lack of specificity in the visitor’s permit proposal as it now stands; however, I do support implementing a revised visitor parking program allowing: residents without cars who use Zip Car and like services to park; residents’ guests ability to use the restricted street parking while visiting; and, contractors to have visitor’s parking while doing work at residents’ homes.
Borderstan: Of the many possibilities being discussed to alleviate parking constraints in ANC 2F is the construction of parking garages along or near the 14th Street corridor. Do you support these efforts?
Heisey: Yes, I would definitely be in support of increasing the amount of available parking for guests to patronize our local businesses.
Borderstan: Are there types of business in our neighborhood that stand out as something we need more of in the area? If so, can you name three?
Heisey: The Studio Theater was an early icon of Logan Circle. With it, other theaters grew and some have unfortunately left. More theater spaces would be good to retain this important neighborhood identity. Restaurants naturally followed and will keep coming. I like seeing the galleries and furniture stores establishing a presence. These businesses become a destination draw to support the theaters and restaurants. The basics of grocery, hardware, drug store, dry cleaner, copy shop, barber/hair salons, pizza shop, liquor store(s) and bike shops seem to be met. Maybe others with more imagination than I have will have more suggestions. As an old timer though, I do miss the repair garages when I get a nail in the tire.