From David McAuley. Email him at david[AT]borderstan.com.
“We need to listen to the community,” said Gretchen Pfaehler, chair of DC’s Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) last Monday, June 3. Pfaehler addressed the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) at its regular monthly meeting. The meeting was in the Anderson House Ballroom of the Society of the Cincinnati, 2118 Massachusetts Avenue NW.
Public Comment on Historic Preservation
The HPRB and its associated agency, the Historic Preservation Office (HPO), will, through June 24, accept public comment on a major revision to its outline of goals, policies and challenges for historic preservation.
Pfaehler said that some of the major themes that are emerging from public comments are that the agencies must have a “more forceful and convincing message” and also must be “open to new possibilities.”
“It’s been a little too much time since we really heard what you [the community] have to say,” Pfaehler said.
Pfaehler also said she was disturbed by other comments she had heard. Some members of the public told her that, once the public hears about HPRB activity, “the deal is already done,” and it is too late for public input.
“We are working with staff to be far more transparent,” Pfaehler said.
In April 2013, the HPRB and the HPO were the subjects of a sharply critical resolution passed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B/Dupont. The resolution took the agencies to task for ineffective enforcement, lack of coordination with ANCs, unfair reporting and a cumbersome appeal process.
Opposition to Food Truck Regulations
After Pfaehler’s remarks, the DCCA moved on to other business. Communications Committee Chair Susan Volman told the committee that 162 members of the DCCA had been sent an email survey on food truck regulations. Fifty-one people responded to the “unscientific” survey, Volman reported, of whom 71% opposed food truck regulations. Some respondents who opposed the regulations said that the new regulations were an unnecessary blanket on an economic sector that was just emerging.
DCCA Joins Support for Accelerated Garrison Renovation
The DCCA joined ANC 2B and 2F/Logan Circle, as well as many other community groups, in urging more money sooner for the renovation of Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street). The group passed a resolution asking that the renovation be financed in its entirety in DC’s 2014 budget, rather than piecemeal starting in 2014 and then extending into 2015 and later years, possibly as late as 2022. Supporters of Garrison have been actively lobbying to get the original three-phase plan for Garrison’s renovation collapsed into a single project. Garrison has not had a renovation since 1964.
DCCA Protest at Embassy of Congo
Dupont Circle residents, organized by the Dupont Circle Citizens Association, demonstrated in front of the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) Embassy on 16th Street NW. The Congolese government paved the front lawn and chopped down trees. It is unclear how much of a legal recourse the residents of the area have now that the house belongs to the Congolese government. One of our favorite signs was the “Republic of Concrete” left hanging on the embassy fence.
Occupy Lincoln Theatre (Sort of?)
Or not at all. The DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities has taken control of the financially-troubled Lincoln Theatre. DCist has the full story, but the press release from the Commission indicates that the first priority will be to develop a long-term comprehensive plan for the theatre. I’m not toting an MBA and the associated student loan debt, but a functioning business plan would seem like a necessary first step and not particularly novel thinking. No word on the status of the theatre and programming in the meantime, though.
Profile of Vintage Store Foundry
U Street has become the go-to spot for good vintage finds of late, and part of that momentum was generated by Foundry. The owner, Yvette Freeman, lives in the ‘hood on Swann Street NW and painstakingly tracked down prime vintage finds until making her ultimate find — the actual store location on U Street. Washingtonian has a nice profile of the store and Yvette. If you’re looking for a once-worn Motley Crue T, this is not that vintage. Foundry specializes in furniture and adornments like vintage lamps and maps.
From Tom Hay
Opening a restaurant in DC is not for the faint of heart these days. In addition to a tight credit market and sky-high rents, a business owner must meet the city’s regulatory requirements and sometimes face residents who may not want another restaurant in the area — especially one with a liquor license.
Even an expansion into an adjacent space may face challenges.
Jamie Leeds, chef and owner of Hank’s Oyster Bar at 1624 Q St. NW, is in such a situation. Since spring Leeds has been facing two obstacles in her desire to expand into an empty storefront: a group of protesting residents and the complicating moves of a citizens association.
Simultaneously, Leeds wants to get out of the Voluntary Agreement (V.A.) under which Hank’s has been operating since its 2005 opening.
In a nutshell, the protesting residents argue that expansion could be bad for the balance of businesses in the area, and threaten the “peace, order and quiet” of the surrounding area.
The protesting residents also argue that a bad precedent could results if Hank’s were allowed to operate without a V.A. – even though a number of other liquor-serving establishments on 17th St. operate without one. The Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) also opposes the dissolution of the V.A.
Leeds told Borderstan that the major operational restrictions under the V.A. are that Hanks’s must stop serving alcohol two hours before the restaurant’s closing time, and that dinner cannot be served outside one hour before closing time.
In addition to restrictions on hours, the only labeling that can be on the patio umbrellas is “Hank’s Oyster Bar.”
No Decision at Oct. 13 Hearing on V.A.
Despite a nearly six-hour hearing last Wednesday, Oct. 13, before the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board on Hank’s request to terminate its V.A., the hearing ended due to lack of time, without a decision (The separate hearing on the expansion is Wednesday, Nov. 3.)
The parties to the V.A. are a group of six residents, led by David Mallof; DCCA was represented by its president, Robin Diener. All oppose Leeds’ request to dissolve the V.A. None of the six residents live on the 1600 block of Q St. where Hank’s is located.
- 14th and You reports on their Friday-night outing to HR-57 to hear Antonio Parker. Yes, HR-57 is located right here in Borderstan at 1610 14th Street NW.
- From Greater Greater Washington: Lewis calls out the antis: Roger Lewis criticizes neighborhood opponents for their vociferous opposition to the Wisconsin Giant and to the Tenley-Janney public-private partnership. He writes, “Some residents of the District cling to a suburban mentality. This mentality, coupled with government mismanagement, can obstruct desirable redevelopment. Living in cities means accepting and even embracing change.” (Post)
Borderstan.com learned that Joel Lawson resigned over the weekend as president of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA). John Hockensmith is currently serving as Acting President. What was noteworthy is that Lawson resigned at a time when DCCA is involved in the discussions with Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B and businesses over the 17th Street NW Liquor License Moratorium.
Borderstan.com asked Lawson to provide a statement regarding his resignation; it follows. An email query to Hockensmith regarding Lawson’s resignation has not been answered as of this time.
Note: If you are wondering, What’s this 17th Street-liquor-license-moratorium-brouhaha all about?… check out the links at the bottom of this posting (following Lawson’s statement) for more information.
Statement by Joel Lawson:
Well, if you plan to attend an ANC 2B/Dupont Circle meeting this year, I would pick the one next Wednesday. On the March 11 agenda are two notable items:
- “Report by the ad hoc Committee on the Dupont East Liquor Moratorium; consideration of proposed resolution on same.” This is the big kahuna and you canfind the committee’s recommendations here.The report presents the committee’s position on the 17th Street liquor license moratorium, which goes to the full ANC. This is a long and old story and I won’t go into the details here, but you can see Borderstan postings here and here. Long-time residents of the neighborhood will understand what the words “17th Street, liquor license moratorium, JRs Bar and Grille, DCCA and ANC 2B” all have in common. Note: ANC Commissioner Jack Jacobson (2B-04) has a posting on his Web site about the committee’s recommendation.
- “Presentation by DDOT on 18th Street Reconstruction project and announcement on 15th Street decision.” Probably nothing too exciting here, but it will be interesting to see if Borderstanians have anything to say about DDOT’s plan to put bicycle lanes on 15th Street NW while leaving traffic one-way north. See the Borderstan posting here.
The full agenda is below. Remember that West Borderstan is part of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle, while East Borderstan is in ANC 2F/Logan Circle. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center at 16th and Q NW.
The next membership meeting of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) is this Tuesday, December 2, at the Phillips Collection gallery at 1600 21st Street NW, from 7 to 9 p.m. “Artful Evening at the Phillips” is the theme of the meeting with a tour of the “Christo & Jeanne-Claude: Over the River” exhibit. A reception follows at Mark & Orlando’s Restaurant, 2020 P Street, NW. This event is free and open to everyone. For more information about DCCA, contact President Joel Lawson.
David at Greater Greater Washington critiques D.C. Chief Financial Officer’s presentation/performance at the Dupont Circle Citizens Associaton (DCCA) meeting last Monday night, November 3:
I expected to find a confident, intelligent financial manager with a through grasp of DC finannces in DC CFO Natwar Gandhi when he spoke at the Dupont Circle Citizens’ Association meeting on Monday. What I discovered was a confident, intelligent financial manager who dodged almost every question and didn’t seem to know quite as much about DC’s financial situation as most of the audience had hoped.
Councilmember Jack Evans led off the discussion, framing DC’s $131 million budget shortfall as peanuts compared to our much more troubled neighbor states – Maryland with a $2 billion deficit even with slot money, and a $3 billion hole in Virginia. DC’s budget problems come from two main taxes: the capital gains tax, which will bring in $70 million less than projected (since most people won’t have any capital gains next year) and the deed and recordation tax ($50 million under projection), since real estate sales will slow.
News from Joel Lawson, president of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA):
- What: DCCA is sponsoring, “DC’s Financial State: Discussion with Dr. Natwar Gandhi and Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward 2).” A discussion of the city’s financial portrait and projections as it navigates the current economic crisis.
- When: Monday, November 3 at 7 p.m.
- Where: German Historical Institute, 1607 New Hampshire Avenue NW.
- Who: Dr. Natwar Gandhi, DC Chief Financial Officer; Jack Evans, DC Council Finance Committee Chair.
- More Information: Email Joel Lawson or call him at (202) 215-7809.
From Friends of Jack… the next monthly meeting of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) is Monday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m. at the Universalist National Memorial Church, 16th and S Streets NW (northwest corner).
Don’t miss the upcoming DCCA Monthly Membership Meeting: “Notorious Scandals of Dupont Circle.”
- Body parts blown onto rooftops in 1919!
- Hope diamond purchase negotiations in a bedroom closet
- Titanic survivor who lived on New Hampshire Avenue
- The Holocaust hero who once lived on Corcoran Street
- Bizarre Last Will & Testament of Robert Dyrenforth
- And much more…
Where: Universalist National Memorial Church, 16th and S Streets NW (northwest corner)
When: Monday, October 6, 7:30pm
Wine, Cheese and Hors d’Oeuvres to Follow Meeting
Historian, Paul Williams has been researching Dupont Circle houses and their occupants for more than fifteen years. During that period he has uncovered everything from the mundane to the outright bizarre, with murders, sex scandals, exploitive divorces, and society curses! You may think that youths throwing eggs on Halloween night, public drunkenness and live music are more recent events, but Williams will present evidence of these scandalous and shocking events that have been happening in Dupont Circle for well more than 120 years!
Williams is a graduate in Historic Preservation from Roger Williams and Cornell University, and is currently serving as the Executive Director of Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets.