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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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by Borderstan.com — March 21, 2013 at 6:39 am 12 Comments

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

Lining up to testify at listening session. (David McAuley)

Neighbors line up to testify at Wednesday night’s town hall meeting on the proposed liquor license moratorium for the 14th and U corridor. (David McAuley)

Sentiment ran almost 6 to 1 against the proposed 14th and U Streets liquor license moratorium at last night’s town hall style listening session.  Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) 1B (U Street),  2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan all sent members to attend the meeting at the basketball court of the Thurgood Marshall Center on 12th Street NW to hear what the public had to say.

About 160 people attended the event, filling every chair, then sitting and standing against the walls. My final count was 47 people testifying against, 8 for and 3 neutral. Of the 47 people testifying against, only two identified themselves as not living in or near the moratorium district. On Twitter, other witnesses put the count at 48 against, 8 for; 46 against, 9 for; and 41 against, 7 for.

ANC chairs in attendance were Tony Norman (1B-10) and Matt Raymond (2F-07). All three commissions sent the chairs of their respective alcohol licensing affairs committees: John Fanning (2F-04), Jeremy Leffler (1B-02) and Kevin O’Connor (2B-02). At least 10 other commissioners from across the three ANCs attended as well.

There are currently five liquor license moratorium zones in DC: Georgetown, Glover Park, Adams Morgan, Dupont West (21st and P NW) and Dupont East (17th Street NW). The 17th Street liquor license moratorium is due to expire in September 2013.

Opening Statements

Leffler called the meeting to order at 7 pm and Commissioner Noah Smith (2B-09) explained the meeting guidelines. The original plan was for each speaker to have two minutes to address the listening commissioners, but due to the overwhelming response, the time was cut back to 90 seconds. As a result, the meeting finished at planned 9 pm time.

Before citizen testimony period, the attendees heard remarks by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Berman of the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), Sgt. Iris Beistline of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and Joan Sterling, president of the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA), the group petitioning for the liquor license moratorium. SDCA membership is limited to residents living between 12th and 15th Streets and S and U Streets NW.

  • ABRA had found that SDCA satisfied the minimum requirement for filing the moratorium petition, Berman said. He also said that the other group who signed the petition, the Residential Action Coalition, had not qualified for standing before ABRA, and would no longer be considered a petitioner. However, the SDCA may continue the petitioning process before the ABC Board, which will next consider the matter on May 22.
  • In answer to audience questions, Berman said that the normal term for moratoriums was five years, but could be renewed. He then said that, once enacted, no liquor license moratorium had ever been dissolved.
  • Beistline said the MPD could not supply relevant crime statistics because there were none available. A new computer system was being put in place, she explained, and some statistics were still inaccurate.
  • Sterling then pleaded the SDCA’s case for the moratorium. She noted the difficulty in getting the DC government to enforce the law concerning the percentage of street frontage that can be given to liquor licensees on any block. (The Uptown Arts District Overlay limits the square footage of ground-floor storefronts serving food/drink on each block to 50% of all square footage facing the street on that block. The percentage was increased to 50% from 25% in 2010.)
  • Sterling also noted that there are now 16,000 combined seats in the establishments of the liquor licensees in the zone. She said that, since the zone had well over 18 liquor licensees, it met ABRA’s definition of an “overconcentration” of licensees. “Moratoriums are temporary,” Sterling added.

Testimony from Attendees

After Sterling’s statement, the floor was turned over to the public. “Let’s keep this civil,” Leffler reminded. People lined up in an orderly manner to speak. Nearly every person stated his or her name and address or ANC district. Here is a selection of comments:

  • “I oppose the moratorium. I vote and I’ll remember.”
  • “This process draws in thousands and thousands of man-hours. It’s a complete waste of resources. Six people made us come here. It’s time to reform the system.”
  •  “I have been awakened at all hours of the night by music I can literally sing along to.”
  • “I’m strongly opposed. I love the vibrancy. It’s just awesome.”
  • “The moratorium is too blunt an instrument.”
  • “There’s no actual evidence that the moratorium will lead to prosperity.”
  • “A lot of people are saying that there are other solutions. What? Will someone pick up my trash?”
  • “Why stall development in the neighborhood?”
  • “Remember the Georgetown moratorium. It didn’t fix the noise, the parking, the litter.”
  • “A moratorium is not right. Hold each bar and restaurant responsible.”
  • “It’s anti-small business, anti-competition. I’m inalterably opposed.”
  • “It’s good to see people getting involved.”
  • “It’s kind of a joke that we’re here tonight.”
  • “I like vibrancy.”
  • “My fear is stagnation in the community,” said a man identified on Twitter as the owner of DC9 nightclub. He went on to say that retail space should be encouraged, ways should be found for rents to be lower, there should be tax relief, and ABRA should be convinced to work on “bad apple” liquor licensees.
  • The only sign of incivility occurred toward the end when one man, a moratorium supporter, decided to take aim at the newly opened Matchox restaurant at 14th and T NW. He disparaged the restaurant and its food, much to the surprise of other attendees.

Next Steps

“That was fantastic,” Jeremy Leffler said after the final testimony. “I’m impressed by the turnout, passion and research.” To conclude the meeting, each ANC briefly outlined their next steps.

  • Leffler said that ANC1B’s liquor license affairs committee would meet tonight, March 21, at the Thurgood Marshall Center. A vote on the proposed moratorium is on the agenda. The committee’s recommendation would then be considered when ANC1B has its regular monthly meeting on April 4 at the Reeves Center.
  • Raymond said that ANC2F would have its regular monthly meeting on April 3 and a vote on the moratorium would be on the agenda.
  • O’Connor said that ANC2B would consider the issue on its May 8 meeting, before which he hoped to have one or two more listening sessions.
One after the other neighbors lined up. (David McAuley)

Attendees lined up to speak at Wednesday night’s town hall. (David McAuley)

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by Borderstan.com — March 20, 2013 at 8:00 am 2 Comments

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

"moratorium"

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

Reminder: The town hall format joint meeting of three local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) will take place tonight, March 20, at 7 pm at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW).  ANC 1B‘s website says the purpose of the meeting is to get residents’ input on the proposed liquor license moratorium for 14th and U Street NW area. There will be no votes, motions or resolutions at the meeting.

“We want to be able to address any questions people may have about the process or about specific aspects of the moratorium,” said ANC 2B Commissioner Kevin O’Connor. O’Connor is the commissioner for district 02 and chair of the ANC 2B committee for liquor license issues.

This meeting has also been touted as a “listening session.”

What Will the Commissioners Listen For?

1. The effect of a moratorium on peace, order, quiet and sanitation.

Commissioner O’Connor said that members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) had been invited to the meeting, and what they have to say will be important. In their original petition, advocates of the moratorium point to data, which they say indicates high levels of violent and non-violent crime in the proposed moratorium area.

But others, such as ANC 2F Commissioner John Fanning, contend that moratorium area crime rate “actually declined according to MPD Crime Statistics.” These views cannot both be right, so look for expert testimony on this matter. Fanning is the commissioner for district 04 and chair of the ANC 2F committee for liquor license issues.

2. The effect of the moratorium on residential parking needs and pedestrian safety.

Can the pro-moratorium forces link U Street’s dangerous intersections and parking shortages to the number of liquor licensees? Again, law enforcement’s opinion may be key.

3. Testimony from local business.

The voice of local business has largely been absent from the public discussions at ANC meetings. Commissioners have publicly speculated that current liquor license holders are quietly hoping the moratorium will pass, because a moratorium will both shield them from prospective competitors and increase the value of existing liquor licenses. Of special interest will be statements from small business owners who are also local residents.

4. The number of voices each side can muster.

An obvious and important factor: Partisans of both sides believe that their opponents exaggerate the number of people who support them. The anti-moratorium group characterizes the pro-moratorium side as a small group of NIMBY homeowners. How much pro-moratorium testimony will there be from local residents who are not connected to the Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance, the spearhead of the movement?

The anti-moratorium camp has a strong online presence but can’t seem to always muster a similar number of the live human beings to sit through the often-tedious government meetings where the decisions get made. The pro-moratorium side is not impressed with online anti-moratorium sentiment, petitions and comment.

The pro-moratorium side contends that at least some, perhaps many, of the participants in these activities are not actually local residents. If local residents come out in large numbers to speak against the moratorium, it will put a serious dent in that argument.

What Happens After The Meeting

It’s unclear what the post-listening session game plan is. Can the three participating ANCs speak with one voice?

“Going forward, I think we all agree that it benefits us all to try and take a similar action on the moratorium issue. We have the opportunity to make the greatest impact if we act together,” said O’Connor in an email.

During a recent ANC meeting, O’Connor also said he hoped that the town hall meeting would be the first of several, but there is evidence that the two other ANCs plan to move ahead quickly after this single meeting.

“I intend to offer a resolution for a vote on the moratorium at ANC 2F’s monthly meeting on April 3,” ANC2F Commission Chair Matt Raymond (district 07) said in an email. “It will not be in support of the moratorium. Whether it would be language outright opposing the moratorium or seeking changes to it is something I will decide after March 20.”

Meanwhile, the liquor license affairs subcommittee of ANC 1B will meet publicly the evening following the listening session, ANC 1B liquor license committee chair Jeremy Leffler (Commissioner for district 02) said in an email. A report that there will be an up-or-down vote about the moratorium at this meeting could not be confirmed. Any recommendation emerging from this meeting would then be considered by ANC 1B as a whole.

“It’s my understanding that the full ANC 1B will vote on the moratorium on April 4, the day after ANC 2F does so. I also understand that ANC 2B might not vote on the moratorium until its May meeting,” Raymond said.

“It’s my goal, and I think it’s achievable, that all three of the remaining ANCs that haven’t taken a formal position might be able to agree on identical resolutions, which we believe will carry greater weight with the ANC Board than divergent opinions.”

The fourth ANC, 6E in Shaw, has already voted against the moratorium and will not be participating in the town hall tonight.

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by Borderstan.com — March 19, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 Comment

"moratorium"

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

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 1B, 2B/Dupont and 2F/Logan are hosting a public town hall meeting on Wednesday, March 20 to discuss the proposed liquor moratorium for the 14th and U Streets NW area. The meeting of the three ANCs will take place at The Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW) at 7 pm.

According to the organizing ANCs, “Though this is the only joint meeting being held on the proposal, ANCs may hold additional smaller meetings — decisions or actions will not be taken at this meeting. Organizers intend to give each participant one to two minutes to speak and request that members of the community direct their comments to the ANC Commissioners present.” (See Liquor License Moratorium Roadshow Visits ANC 2F.)

The Proposed Liquor Moratorium

The Shaw Dupont Citizens Alliance (SDCA) and the Residential Action Coalition (RAC) citizen groups have filed a petition with the DC Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to establish a liquor license moratorium zone for the 14th and U Street NW corridor. The two groups request that a circular zone be established that extends 1,800 feet from 1211 U Street NW.

So far, almost 1,000 residents have signed a petition against the moratorium. ANC 1B briefly discussed the proposed moratorium on February 7, but there was no official motion or vote on the meeting or any other aspect of the moratorium. 

The filing of the moratorium petition by SDCA and RAC came just days after Mayor Vincent Gray officially enacted major changes to laws and regulations pertaining to alcohol sales. Among the changes in the law is a provision that would dismiss any liquor license protest by a group of five or more residents if an applicant reaches an agreement with their ANC.

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by Borderstan.com — March 14, 2013 at 6:49 am 1 Comment

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

"nichols"

Sealing the ballot box at last night’s special election. Seated from left are three ANC 2B commissioners: Chair Will Stephens (08), Vice Chair Mike Feldstein (01) and Noah Smith (09). (David McAuley)

Abigail Nichols defeated Dito Sevilla in the special election for the vacant seat on Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont last night, Wednesday, March 13. The final tally was 34 votes for Nichols and 12 for Sevilla.

Nichols will fill the seat for Single Member District 05 until the next election in 2014. The seat became open after Commissioner Victor Wexler resigned after being re-elected in November. Each district has approximately 2,000 residents and there are nine commissioners of ANC 2B.

Gottlieb Simon, executive director of the District Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, acted as election manager. Simon allowed me to observe the vote count, along with Nichols. There was no representative present from the Sevilla campaign. A resolution endorsing the election results  passed unanimously after the results were reported.

Abigail Nichols new 2B05 Commissioner.(Courtesy Abigail Nichols)

Abigail Nichols. (Courtesy of Nichols)

Nichols must now be sworn in by a member of the DC council. Ruth Warner of the office of Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) was present at the meeting and offered to arrange a swearing-in before the next ANC 2B meeting.

ANC Meeting Highlights

The election was held on the sidelines of ANC 2B’s regular monthly meeting. Some highlights from the meeting:

  • The ANC unanimously authorized spending up to $100 for new signs for the park at the intersection of T, 17th and New Hampshire NW (located just north of the Dog Park). The signs will remind that this park is for humans, not for dogs. The police will enforce this rule only after signs have been placed warning citizens, and the wait for signs from the DC Department of Parks and Recreation is too long.
  • The ANC, by a vote of 5 to 0 (with one abstention), voted to endorse proposed additional bus service for lower 16th Street NW. The extra buses will run from 7:30 to 9:15 am weekdays on a short route starting at Harvard Street and ending at McPherson Square. WMATA head bus planner Jim Hamre told the meeting that the extra buses will start on March 25.
  • The ANC unanimously approved Commissioner Noah Smith’s resolution in support of the DC Council’s “Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013.” Smith represents 2B-09.

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