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by Borderstan.com — June 18, 2013 at 10:00 am 3 Comments

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

"Bike"

15th Street NW Bike lane. (Luis Gomez Photos)

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will repave the two-way bicycle lane on 15th Street NW.

The news was announced at the monthly meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont on Wednesday, July 12. The repaving will be finished by the end of the summer, according to Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, The path runs through Smith’s district.

The bike lanes are in serious need of assistance, with southbound lanes between Massachusetts and K Streets often resembling a washboard.

On his website, Smith adds that there will also be new signs and markings on the path. The news came after the last November’s ANC 2B resolution calling for improvements to the path, and subsequent lobbying of the DC Council.

Smith has also announced that, after ANC prodding, DDOT has agreed to a request to coordinate the pedestrian walk signals through Dupont Circle. It will no longer be necessary for pedestrians to stand on the median between four lanes of traffic when crossing into or out of the circle.

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by Borderstan.com — June 6, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

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

Advisory Neighborhood Committee (ANC) 2B/Dupont‘s committee on development endorsed two local projects at its regular monthly meeting Tuesday, June 4. One of them is the first complete renovation of the 16th Street Scottish Rite Temple. In addition, the Zoning, Preservation, and Development (ZPD) Committee heard a presentation from the DC Office of Planning about how the proposed zoning rewrite will impact the area.

Green Lights for Scottish Rite Temple and 1451 S Street

"Temple"

Hartman-Cox Architects present to ANC 2B on Scottish Temple Renovation. (David McAuley).

The ZPD Committee will recommend the full ANC pass resolutions of support for two projects in 2B. One will be for the Scottish Rite Temple, 1733 16th Street NW, at the corner of S Street.

The 97-year-old building, known officially as “The House of the Temple,” is the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction. This renovation, the first of this building, will improve handicapped access and use, repair and improve air conditioning and other vital systems, add an emergency generator and replace some of the windows. The scheduled start date is early 2014.

Representatives of Hartman-Cox Architects told the committee a few trees on the street will have to be replaced to allow the installation of the ramp for handicapped accessibility. The emergency generator and a cooling tower will be in a separate building, which fronts onto a public alley connecting 15th and 16th Streets. This building will also be renovated and the cooling tower will not be visible from the street.

Some of the green space that faces 15th Street at the rear of the property will have to be converted into a staging area for construction, but will return to green space when the project is completed.

Michael Beidler of Trout Design Studio presented in support of a proposed set-back expansion of 1451 S Street. The plan will add a third floor to the existing house. The addition would not be visible from S Street, Beidler said, although it will be visible from the rear alley. Beilder said one of the abutting neighbors had been contacted already. Commissioner Noah Smith (district 09) said he would visit the other abutting neighbor.

The resolution presented to the full ANC will also say the new construction has minimal impact on light and air quality, and the construction is in line with the character of the street.

If passed, the resolutions will be presented to DC’s Historical Preservation Review Board (HPRB) when the petitioners have a hearing.

Yellow Light: 2112 R Street

Fowlkes Studio appeared before the committee requesting endorsement of their request for zoning relief for proposed construction at the rear of 2112 R Street NW, near the corner of Florida Avenue and across the street from Restaurant Nora. The wooden structure currently in the rear of the house is unsafe to walk on.

The replacement structure would push the rear of the house an additional six feet toward the narrow rear alley and add 54 square feet to the interior of the house. It will also add a four-story-tall spiral staircase on the rear corner of the project, which will lead to an existing roof deck. A representative of Fowlkes Studio said new structure will not be visible from either R Street or Florida Avenue, and some neighbors had been consulted.

The committee declined to recommend the addition for zoning relief, due to the lack of input from neighbors and the ANC. The committee also encouraged Fowlkes Studio to return with some computer-generated images of what the completed project might look like, and said the structure would likely require consultation with both the HPRB and the Dupont Circle Conservancy as well.

DC Office of Planning on Zoning Rewrite

Joel Lawson, associate director of the DC Office of Planning, talked about the planned complete rewrite of the city’s zoning regulations. The changes that will be felt in ANC 2B include:

  • expansion of the downtown overlay district to include all of ANC 2B south of M Street,
  • elimination of car parking space requirements on virtually all new construction,
  • expansion of bike parking requirements on virtually all new construction,
  • requiring car share spaces in new parking facilities.

Other changes will have a smaller anticipated effect in ANC 2B. A proposed regulation that would facilitate the development of “granny flats” would not change the zoning regulations for most homeowners in the area. Another regulation encouraging the opening of corner stores was found to apply to only one intersection in the area – Swann and 15th Streets. Commissioner Noah Smith said he knew the intersection well, as it is in his district. He doubted any of the corner lots at this intersection would be likely to host a store.

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by Borderstan.com — May 22, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

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

"moratorium"

Dupont East Moratorium, which includes 17th Street,  went into effect in 1990.  (Luis Gomez Photos)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont listened to the attendees divide evenly for and against extending the Dupont East liquor license moratorium.

More than 30 members of the public attended the listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on 16th Street last night.

Of these, I counted 12 people speaking in favor of continuing the liquor license moratorium in some shape or form. Eleven people urged ANC 2B to allow the liquor license moratorium to lapse.

Length of Residency

Opinion about the moratorium generally seemed to correspond to length of residency in or near the moratorium zone. Several long-term residents spoke in favor of extending the moratorium. Newer arrivals more frequently urged ANC Commissioners to let the moratorium expire.

This moratorium is also known as the 17th Street moratorium, and includes most of 17th Street between P and S Streets NW. It is set to expire on September 23 and has been in effect for 23 years. The most recent renewal of the Dupont East moratorium occurred in 2010.

DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board will ultimately decide the fate of the moratorium. It may extend the moratorium, allow it to lapse, or modify it. Groups of individuals and civic groups, independently of the ANC, can petition the ABC Board to have it extended. However, the ABC Board is legally bound to give an ANC opinion “great weight.” ANC 2B seems to be aiming to have a resolution prepared for ABC Board consideration before the expiration of the current moratorium.

A Restaurant Compromise?

There was one compromise that seemed to have some traction at the meeting. This was to continue a moratorium on tavern liquor licenses, but to lift the moratorium on restaurant liquor licenses. Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, first brought this idea up. O’Connor is the chair of ANC 2B liquor licensing affairs committee.

He mentioned recent work by ANC 2B to modify the Dupont West (a.k.a. “P Street”) liquor license moratorium (document here) to allow unlimited liquor licenses for restaurants. Subsequently, some partisans in both the pro- and anti-moratorium camps mentioned this as a minimally-acceptable alternative to their favored point of view.

Both sides claimed large numbers of non-attending supporters. Those speaking against the moratorium cited a petition containing more than 400 signatures of local residents collected at the time of the 2009 renewal. Pro-moratorium advocates claimed they spoke for the “silent majority” of the neighborhood.

Second Listening Session June 24

Commissioners repeated their timetable for Dupont East liquor license moratorium work. It is unchanged. Local residents will have another chance to comment at a second listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on Monday, June 24, at 7 pm. Representatives of the police and DC’s liquor licensing agency have been invited to give input at this meeting.

On Wednesday, August 7, ANC 2B’s liquor licensing affairs committee will publicly present its a draft proposal for the first time. The full ANC will consider the committee’s proposal at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 14.

In response to an attendee’s suggestion, ANC 2B has pledged to set up a dedicated email address for residents who wish to comment on the Dupont East moratorium but cannot make it to the listening sessions.

Other ANC 2B Commissioners in attendance were Stephanie Maltz, 2B-03, Kishan Putta, 2B-04, Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, Leo Dwyer, 2B-07, and Noah Smith, 2B-09.

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by Borderstan.com — May 21, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

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

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont will listen to local residents’ comments about the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium tonight, May 21, at 7 pm. Members of ANC 2B’s Alcohol Beverage Control Adminstration (ABRA) Policy Committee is sponsoring the meeting. It will be in the ground-floor ballroom of the Chastleton (1701 16th Street NW, between R and S Streets).

There is currently a moratorium on new liquor licenses on 17th Street NW. (Photo: Luis Gomez, One Photograph A Day.)

There is currently a moratorium on new liquor licenses on 17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

This moratorium zone includes most of 17th Street between P and S Streets, and will expire on September 23.

After public hearings, ANC 2B will make a recommendation to DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board concerning the further extension of the moratorium zone. The ABC Board will then make the final decision. The ABC Board is legally required to give the ANC’s recommendations “great weight,” which often includes addressing an ANC’s concerns in writing in the Board’s final decisions.

ANC 2B may shape its recommendation to the ABC Board in a number of ways. For example, it may recommend that the moratorium be abolished altogether, or that the shape of the zone be changed, or that the number of certain (or all) categories of liquor licenses (e.g., taverns, restaurants) be increased or decreased, or that a certain number of current liquor licensees be given or denied permission to expand their businesses, among other possibilities.

About the Dupont East Moratorium

Some facts about the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium:

  • “[I]t is the Board’s position that moratoriums are not meant to be in place indefinitely. The existing East Dupont Circle moratorium has been in place for over eighteen (18) years and there has been a great deal of change in the neighborhood it is intended to preserve.” This quotation is from the September 24, 2010, “Notice of Final Rulemaking” of DC’s ABC Board. This officially documents the most recent extension of the Dupont East Moratorium zone. It is Notice ID 530510 of the DC Register.
  • The above document is not available on the ABRA web page about DC liquor license moratoriums. The link on this page purporting to connect to this document instead leads you to a transcript of a March 29, 2009, ABC Board fact-finding hearing granting a 30-day extension of the existing moratorium to allow time for administrative processing.
  • There are five liquor license moratoriums in DC. The others are Dupont West, Adams Morgan, Glover Park and Georgetown.
  • ABRA Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Berman said in March that no DC liquor license moratorium, once enacted, has ever been repealed.
  • The previous extensions of the Dupont East Moratorium zone were championed by the Dupont Circle Citizens Association and the Dupont Circle Merchants and Professionals Association.
  • Before its latest extension in 2010, the Dupont East Moratorium zone was extended in 2005-6 (see document here). At the times of both the 2005-6 and the 2009-10 extensions, short-term moratorium extensions were necessary to ensure continuity. This was seemingly due to the slow and laborious process of public hearings, document preparation, voting, appeals, etc., on the full extension. The need to, at the same time, go through the paperwork for temporary extensions resulted in further patchwork of public hearings, documents, etc. This time, ANC 2B appears to be making an effort to have a decision about the long-term future of the moratorium ready for ABC Board consideration before the expiration of the current moratorium in September. If they can do it, it will be a savings in taxpayer money, as well as time and aggravation for everyone involved.

Local residents will have another chance to comment at a second listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on Monday, June 24, at 7 pm. On Wednesday, August 7, ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee will publicly present its a draft proposal for the first time. The full ANC will consider the committee’s proposal at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 14.

ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee can also be contacted by email at abra[at]dupontcircleanc.net.

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by Borderstan.com — May 13, 2013 at 11:00 am 0

"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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by Borderstan.com — May 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 2B Meeting on May 8. David McAuley)

At its regular monthly meeting last night, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont became the last of four ANCs inside the boundaries of the proposed 14th and U liquor license moratorium to condemn it. The vote was 6 to 1 in favor of a resolution against the moratorium; there was one abstention.

Commissioner Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, was the lone vote against the resolution. Commissioner Leo Dwyer, 2B-07, abstained. Commissioner Mike Silverstein, 2B-06, recused himself from the vote. Silverstein recuses himself from all ANC 2B alcohol licensing matters as he also serves on the DC Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board.

ANC 6E/Shaw, ANC 2F/Logan Circle and ANC 1B/U Street have already voted against the proposed moratorium. ANCs are advisory in nature; they cannot approve or reject legislation or rules. The DC Council and city agencies are to give their opinions strong consideration.

The moratorium will be the subject of a public hearing by DC’s Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration on May 22 at 1:30 pm at the Reeves Municipal Building, northwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW. The hearing will take place in the Board Hearing Room, 4th Floor South. The Board is accepting email comment through Friday, May 17.

Next Up: East Dupont Circle Moratorium

The meeting gave one final chance for members and supporters of moratorium petition originator, Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), to repeat their case. Former and current leadership of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association also spoke in support of the SDCA’s petition. A few other members of the community also gave input, and some commissioners spoke about the rationale for their votes.

Abigail Nichols had recently suggested delaying the vote, but she did not propose a motion to do so at the meeting.

After its vote on the 14th and U moratorium, ANC 2B will turn its attention to the East Dupont Circle liquor license moratorium. This moratorium covers most of 17th Street between P and S Streets, and will expire on September 23.

ANC 2B will hold two listening sessions to hear citizen comment on the East Dupont Circle moratorium. The first listening session will be on Tuesday, May 21, at 7 pm, at the Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th Street NW). This is a change from a previously-announced date of Monday, May 20.

There will be another listening session at the Chastleton Ballroom on Monday, June 24, at 7 pm. ANC 2B then plans to role out a draft presentation on the East Dupont Circle moratorium at its liquor licensing affairs committee meeting on Wednesday, August 7. The matter will then be considered by the full ANC at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 14.

Garrison Elementary, Stead Park Battle for DC Funds

ANC2B joined ANC2F/Logan Circle in unanimously passing a resolution in support of accelerated funding for the renovation of Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street). The resolution calls for $16 million in funding for the renovation to be moved from the 2015 DC budget to the 2014 DC budget.

The co-chairs of the ANC 2F Education Committee, Commissioner Matt Connelly, 2F-08, and Evelyn Boyd Simmons, appeared at the meeting in support of the resolution. They brought the fresh news. DC Councilmember David Catania (I-At Large) had just told a community meeting at Garrison the Council had found $8 million in the 2014 budget to begin the renovation.

At the beginning of the meeting, Commissioner Kishan Putta, 2B-04, announced that, after a local show of support and testimony by concerned citizens, the DC Council Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs had recommended $1.6 million for the renovation of Stead Park (1625 P Street) be moved to the 2014 budget. Putta pledged to work to get the recommendation included in the budget when it appears before the full DC Council on May 22.

Hotel Palomar: Valet Parking Problems

The ANC unanimously passed a resolution noting unsafe valet parking practices by the Hotel Palomar (2121 P Street). The Commission noted photographs showing the hotel parking vans and customer cars on the sidewalk of the 2100 block of P Street, and that the ANC and local residents have asked the hotel to stop. Still, the practice continues.

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) asked ANC 2B to produce a document specifying the complaints against the Hotel Palomar, so they can move ahead on enforcement. The resolution is the result.

Food Truck Resolution

ANC 2B unanimously passed a resolution advising the DC Council to reject proposed rulemaking on food trucks and send the matter back to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for review. Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, said the rules as currently written have no procedure for the community. through ANCs, to weigh in on this public space matter. Use of public space is ordinarily an area of ANC input.

There were too many action items for the three-hour meeting time, so ANC2B has scheduled an “Overflow Special Meeting” next Monday, May 13, 7 pm, at the Dupont Circle Hotel (1500 New Hampshire Avenue). Most of the items on the agenda concern Historic Preservation Review Board applications to change or renovate local properties.

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by Borderstan.com — May 8, 2013 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

"moratorium"

The boundaries of the proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U Streets NW.

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

In a long comment posted on the website of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont, Commissioner Abigail Nichols, 2B-05, said she opposes ANC 2B’s resolution against the 14th and U liquor license moratorium and wants to postpone the vote until the following week.

ANC 2B will meet tomorrow (Wednesday) evening at 7 pm at the Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, for its regular monthly meeting. A vote on the resolution is on the agenda.

Nichols writes: “I recommend the ANC give this its best attention by beginning discussion May 8 and continuing to a vote at the special meeting that has been already been called for May 13, 2013, for other reasons. I believe there would be time on the agenda May 13, 2013, to include more on the moratorium petition.”

Nichols also writes about touring the U Street area in the early hours of a recent Sunday morning. She saw pools of vomit, screaming and drug dealing, although police were present. Abigail said her tour on showed “the tip of the iceberg.”

Nichols criticizes the resolution as written, saying: “The proposed resolution objects to the moratorium law itself but could include more information that would indicate whether existing law applies in this case.”

She also calls the resolution “too optimistic about the ability of alternative tools that deal with individual alcohol establishments to preserve the peace, order, and quiet of residential neighborhoods.”

ANC 2B heard public comment on the liquor license moratorium at the March multi-ANC listening session as well as at a separate listening session for ANC 2B residentsANC 6E/ShawANC 2F/Logan Circle and ANC 1B/U Street have already voted against the proposed moratorium. The city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration is required to take serious consideration of the opinions of ANCs before it decides whether to send the moratorium to the DC Council.

Nichols was elected to serve on ANC 2B in a special election in March.

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by Borderstan.com — May 8, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

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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by Borderstan.com — May 7, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

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

"ANC"

Map of ANC 2B. (DC Board of Elections)

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont seems set to become the fourth and last ANC to say no to the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium at its next public meeting on Wednesday, May 8. The meeting will be held at 7 pm at the Brookings Institution (1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW).

On May 4, ANC 2B published a draft resolution on its blog rejecting the moratorium. It reads, in part:

… be it RESOLVED, that ANC 2B advise the ABC Board to reject in its entirety the pending petition to create a retail liquor license moratorium zone in the Historic 14th and U Street Corridor and to decline to move forward with any rule-making process to effectuate such a moratorium zone;…

ANCs are advisory in nature; they cannot approve or reject legislation or rules. The DC Council and city agencies are to give their opinions strong consideration.

A note accompanying the draft resolution encourages interested individuals to contact their ANC 2B commissioners in advance of the May 8 meeting. There is also a comment section on the draft resolution page. In addition, ANC 2B Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, whose district is most directly affected by the proposed moratorium, has set up a separate page for comments.

ANC 2B’s blog also notes “there will only be a limited time to debate the matter at the [May 8] meeting.”

ANC 6E/Shaw, ANC 2F/Logan Circle and ANC 1B/U Street have already voted to condemn the proposed moratorium.

The moratorium will be the subject of a public hearing by DC’s Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration on May 22 at 1:30 pm at the Reeves Municipal Building, northwest corner of 14th and U Streets NW. The hearing will take place in the Board Hearing Room, 4th Floor South. The Board is accepting email comment through Friday, May 17.

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by Borderstan.com — April 25, 2013 at 11:00 am 1 Comment

"Stead"

Rendering of the proposed Stead Park redesign. (Courtesy of Friends of Stead Park)

This Monday, April 29, supporters of the Stead Park upgrade will testify before the DC Council Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs in support of an advanced timeframe for park improvements.

As things stand with the current proposal, funding for these upgrades will not come until fiscal year 2015 and the earliest that any construction will begin is fall 2014.

As a member of Friends of Stead Park (FOSP) and a commissioner of ANC 2B, Kishan Putta is organizing the testimony following the securement of $1.6 million in funding for the project from the Council and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DCDPR).

This action from FOSP comes on the heels of their having spoken with Mayor Vincent Gray at the public Ward 2 Budget Town Hall. It was at this Town Hall that the mayor expressed an interest in speeding up the timeframe of the upgrades to the park after hearing of both the community’s excitement for the upgrades and the community funding that will go with city funding.

FOSP was bolstered by the mayor’s reaction and, according to Putta,”The April 29 meeting will be an opportunity for members of the community to speak before the committee about why the timeframe for the Stead Park upgrades should be advanced.

Upgrade Plans

The upgrade plans for Stead Park include shade trees and benches along the perimeter of the playing field, a jogging/walking track, a performance stage, a miniature water park for children, and maintenance of the playing field that will continue to accommodate two simultaneous games.

Members of the community agreed upon these plans after two years of discussion and consensus building, which included a series of community meetings with the FOSP Board of Directors. The new plans are designed to make the park more usable and better suited for the changing community.

Involvement

Anyone interested in supporting an advanced timeframe for park improvements may send short letters of support kishan.putta[AT]dupontcircleanc.net before this Sunday, April 28. Community members are also invited to join the hearing at 10 am on Monday, April 29, before the Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs at the Wilson Building, Room 412.

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by Borderstan.com — April 18, 2013 at 8:00 am 3 Comments

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

"Moratorium"

ANC 2B/Dupont held an additional listening session on 14th and U liquor license moratorium on April 17. (David McAuley)

The liquor licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont held an additional listening session on the proposed 14th and U liquor license moratorium yesterday evening, April 17. About 20 people attended.

If you subtract ANC Commissioners, citizen members of ANC 2B’s liquor licensing affairs committee, members and supporters of moratorium petition originator Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), former commissioners, spouses of commissioners, and Borderstan, the total number of citizens who got listened to was less than eight.

The meeting was co-chaired Commissioners Kevin O’Connor, 2B-02, and Noah Smith, 2B-09. O’Connor is the head of ANC 2B’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Committee, which handles liquor licensing affairs. Smith’s district partly falls inside the proposed moratorium zone.

At its May 8 meeting, ANC 2B will decide if it will join three other ANCs in voting against the moratorium petition.

Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance Presentation

  • The SDCA was given a chance to lay out its case once more. Joan Sterling, SDCA president, repeated her contention, made at the March 20 town-hall-style listening session on the moratorium and elsewhere, that DC law has changed in regards to how many liquor licensees in an area constitutes an “overconcentration.”
  • It was formally 18, Sterling said, and now the law merely says “several.” This interpretation of DC law has been disputed by moratorium opponents.

Anti-Moratorium Voices

  • One of the citizens who was listened to confessed that he no longer lives in ANC 2B. He has moved from ANC 2B to the corner of 14th and Belmont, in ANC 1B. “When a moratorium happens, here’s what happens. Fifty to 250 thousand dollars goes into the pockets of current liquor licensees,” he said. He called instituting a liquor license moratorium “rewarding bad behavior. To legislate this is to me really unhealthy. It’s not the way a free society should be doing these things,” he said.
  • An ANC 2B resident from the 1800 block of Corcoran Street spoke against the moratorium. “A moratorium is too drastic a step to take,” he said. “It doesn’t make a distinction between good and bad players.”
  • Later, another man, identifying himself as a 12-year resident, also recommended that ANC 2B vote against the moratorium. Speaking about the two other liquor license moratoriums now in place in the Dupont Circle area, he said: “The moratoriums have been a factor in displacing the gay community.”

Not the Tool to Fight Crime, Noise

  • Later, speaking about the crime and noise associated with a concentration of taverns and restaurants, Smith said: “A moratorium is not the tool to fix these problems.” He then asked, “What will happen the day after the moratorium?”
  • SDCA Secretary Elwyn Ferris replied, “I don’t know if it will alleviate the problem, but it will not aggravate the situation.”

Pro-Moratorium Voices

  • A woman with a baby said that neighboring ANC 1B was at fault. “I’m totally for the moratorium. ANC 1B is very dysfunctional, not like [ANC2B] Dupont Circle. There is only one tool left to put a break on what is going on. There are lot of new families on the U Street corridor who have the same opinion as myself.”
  • A former ANC 2B vommissioner said about the moratorium: “It’s a safety net thing. It can just be there and not be a force for good or bad. A moratorium is protective of individual rights.”
  • Another former commissioner said: “People who are affected by noise need our protection. This is a tool whose time has come.”

Everyone Agrees: Enforcement is a Problem

  • Partisans of both sides seemed to agree that troubles getting effective law enforcement on existing rules is a big part of the problem.
  • One person complained that, when there is a concentration of liquor licensees near one another, police will not act on noise complaints because they say that they cannot determine who is the offending party.
  • There was a discussion of another example of ineffective law enforcement, concerning the rules governing the Uptown Arts-Mixed Use (ARTS) Overlay District, which say that more than 50 percent of the frontage in any block in the U Street area cannot be liquor licensees.
  • Enforcing these rules requires coordinated action between multiple DC agencies. This does not occur frequently. (See 14th & U: Approval for More Bars, Restaurants Expected.)

Next Steps

O’Connor closed the meeting by saying there would be no vote that evening. He said that he might try to convene a liquor licensing affairs committee meeting before May 8. This is the date of the meeting when ANC 2B will decide if it will join three other ANCs in voting against the moratorium petition.

Other ANC 2B commissioners in attendance were Stephanie Maltz, 2B-03; Kishan Putta, 2B-04; Abigail Nichols, 2B-05; and Chair Will Stephens, 2B-08.

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by Borderstan.com — April 16, 2013 at 8:00 am 0

"moratorium"

The area of the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U area.

The ANC 2B/Dupont liquor licensing affairs subcommittee will host a listening session Wednesday evening, April 17, on the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium. The location of the forum is the Chastleton Cooperative Ballroom, 1701 16th Street NW. Time is 7 to 9 pm.

It  will be an additional opportunity for commissioners to hear community opinion from 2B residents before the full ANC votes on the moratorium at its next meeting on May 8. The subcommittee will formulate a recommendation to the full ANC after this listening session.

The session is scheduled from 7 to 9 pm at the Chastleton Cooperative Ballroom, 1701 16th Street NW. The website of Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, has more information.

Of the four ANCs within the proposed moratorium zone, three have already voted against it. DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Board is currently soliciting direct public comment in writing and inviting the public to testify at a hearing on May 22.

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by Borderstan.com — April 15, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

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

The Cherry Blossom Festival is over, the tourists are gone, and even the Nationals have left town. It’s time to divert yourself with a little local politics.

Monday and Tuesday offer local events in Borderstan as DC’s special election for an At-Large City Council seat enters its last lap. On Wednesday, you can get nostalgic for last month’s town hall meeting as Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont holds another liquor license moratorium listening session.

Monday: The Black Cat

If listening to politicians drives you to drink, Loose Lips At-Large Candidates Debate at the Black Cat, 1811 14th Street NW, will be for you. There will be four DC Council contenders present: Republican Patrick Mara, and Democrats Matthew Frumin, Elissa Silverman and Paul Zukerberg. Questioning the candidates will be Jonetta Rose Barras of the Washington Examiner, Tom Sherwood from WRC-TV/Channel 4 and Alan Suderman (the city politics columnist “Loose Lips”) from the Washington City Paper. Doors open at 7 pm.

Alcoholic refreshment will be served. It seems unlikely any of the candidates will be buying.

Tuesday: The Dupont Circle Hotel

Tomorrow night, show your support for your candidate at the Ward 2 Democrats At-Large Straw Poll. The poll is open between 7 and 8 pm at the Dupont Circle Hotel, 1500 New Hampshire Avenue. Any Democrat living in Ward 2 is eligible to vote. Most of Borderstan south of U Street and west of 9th Street is in Ward 2. Unsure if you live in Ward 2? Check here.

"Local"

Ward 2 Democrats Web Site Screen shot.

This one promises only “light refreshments”.

Ward 2 Democrats seem to be trying to keep the straw poll a secret. Their Facebook page hasn’t been updated since a previous straw poll was held in March 2012. The organization’s home page looks like this:

Wednesday: Chastleton Cooperative Ballroom (tentative)

If the DC City Council is too distant and abstract, Wednesday is an opportunity to get more local.

ANC 2B liquor licensing affairs subcommittee will host a listening session on the proposed U Street liquor license moratorium. This will be an additional opportunity for Commissioners to hear community opinion from 2B residents before the full ANC votes on the moratorium at its next full meeting on May 8. The subcommittee will formulate a recommendation to the full ANC after this listening session.

The session is scheduled from 7 to 9 pm at the Chastleton Cooperative Ballroom, 1701 16th Street NW. The website of Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, says the location is “tentative and will be confirmed.” Check the site before setting out.

Of the four ANCs within the proposed moratorium zone, three have already voted against it. DC’s Alcoholic Beverage Board is currently soliciting direct public comment in writing and inviting the public to testify at a hearing on May 22.

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by Borderstan.com — April 11, 2013 at 11:32 am 2 Comments

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

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B, at its monthly meeting last night, April 10, unanimously supported a request by the Embassy of Indonesia to erect a statue of a Hindu goddess on public space on Massachusetts Avenue NW. It also unanimously called on DC’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO) to improve its operating procedures and communication both with ANCs and with the public.

"ANC"

An edited photo showing how the sculpture will appear in place on Massachusetts Avenue NW. (David McAuley)

Statue of Saraswati on Public Space

The Commission heard a presentation by Heru Subolo, Minister-Counselor for Press and Information Affairs of the Embassy of Indonesia, asking for ANC support for a proposed statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science, to be erected on a public space next to the grounds of the Embassy at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW.

Subolo told the committee that the statue had been approved by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Foreign Missions. Subolo also said that the planned site for the statue had been moved, at the request of the DC government’s Historic Preservation Office (HPO), from its original planned location at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 21st Street (also adjacent to the Embassy), to a location next to the sidewalk further west along Massachusetts.

The location is currently fenced in. Subolo said that the fence would be removed to make the statue accessible to the public.

“I’m really happy to open up a fenced space,” said Kevin O’Connor, ANC commissioner for district 2B-02.

“This is a wonderful addition to our neighborhood and to our nation’s capital. Hindus across DC and around the world are ecstatic about this beautiful statue of Saraswati. It is so fitting that it will be installed just a stone’s throw from the also magnificent statue of Mahatma Gandhi — the only statue of a Hindu in DC,” said Kishan Putta, ANC 2B-04 commissioner.

The ANC voted 9-0 in favor.

Resolution on Historic Preservation Office

The DC Historic Preservation Office (HPO) has a new draft plan for the next four years and is soliciting comment. ANC 2B took the opportunity to approve a resolution outlining the ways it believes that the HPO and its parent organization, the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), could work more effectively with ANCs and the public.

The resolution noted the following problems, among others:

  • Effective Enforcement: “…Frequently, violators pay a limited fine, sometimes as little as $500, but are not forced thereafter to actually correct the offending construction or work….”
  • Notice to ANCs: “…The HPO/HPRB is the only regulatory board that does not currently send a notice document directly to ANCs for each application within the respective ANC that will be on the board’s agenda. This is contrary to the practice of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, the District Department of Transportation Public Space Committee, the Board of Zoning Adjustment, and the Zoning Commission….”
  • Ensuring Timely and Fair Staff Reports: “…The HPO needs to release draft staff reports in time for relevant ANCs to weigh in and respond, before the HPRB hearing on the matter….In addition, the HPRB needs to ensure that staff reports are fair and cite all relevant precedent….”
  • Fair Appeals Process: “The plan should address the process for appealing an HPRB decision, which can be costly and slow….”

The ANC vote was 9-0.

1412 T Street New Construction

The Commission approved a resolution calling for a one-month delay in a new construction project at 1412 T Street. The proposed construction is a two-unit residential structure on a vacant lot. Both T Street neighbors adjacent to the location spoke last night.

“We totally welcome a new building,” one said. “But this is a total aberration on the block.”

“This is not in the context of the block,” the other agreed. “But I’d love to see a property there.”

The Commission agreed that the height and depth as proposed were not appropriate. It requested additional information from the developer’s representative and referred the matter back to the Zoning, Preservation, & Development Committee for reconsideration at its next meeting on May 7.

Liquor License Moratoriums

Commissioner O’Connor said that the ANC 2B Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) Policy Committee would hold an additional listening session about the proposed 14th and U Street liquor license moratorium next Wednesday, April 17, at a location to be determined. The hearing will focus on ANC district 2B-09, which falls within the boundaries of the proposed moratorium.

O’Connor also said that he will present a “game plan” at ANC 2B’s May 8 meeting concerning the Dupont East Liquor License Moratorium, which will come up for renewal in September of this year. This moratorium is in effect on 17th Street. O’Connor is the chair of ANC 2B’s ABRA Policy Committee.

New ANC 2B Email Addresses

The Commission announced improvements to its website. On ANC2B’s commissioners and staff page, there are now group addresses which will deliver email to the entire ANC or its subcommittees through a single address. The addresses are:

  • for all ANC2B commissioners: [email protected]
  • for the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration Policy Committee: [email protected]
  • for the Zoning, Preservation, & Development Committee: [email protected]
  • for the Community Involvement Committee: [email protected]

ANC2B serves the Dupont Circle area.

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by Borderstan.com — March 28, 2013 at 9:30 am 0

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com.

borderstanLogo

News from Dupont-Logan-U Street.

The candidates in the April 23 special election for a DC At-Large Council seat will be available to answer your questions tonight at the ANC 2B candidate forum. Six of the seven candidates are confirmed.

Candidates for the election include Michael Brown, Anita Bonds, Matthew Frumin, Elissa Silverman, Paul Zukerberg, Perry Redd for the Green Party and Republican Patrick Mara. The election will take place on April 23. The seat is temporarily being held by Anita Bonds; it opened up when At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson was elected Council chair in November.

Moderators for the evening include NBC 4’s Tom Sherwood and Mark Segraves. The meeting is open to the public and will start at 7 pm at the American College of Cardiology, 24th and N Streets NW.

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