Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its June meeting at the Northwest One Library, 155 L St. NW, on Tuesday evening, June 4. Commission Chair Alex Marriott (6E05) called the meeting to order with Alexander Padro (6E01), Michael Brown (6E02, treasurer), Frank Wiggins (6E03, vice chair), Rachelle Nigro (6E04, secretary), Alvin Judd (6E06) and Kevin Rodgers (6E07) in attendance. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
Gerard Brown, manager of the Rodent and Vector Control Division of the DC Department of Health, came to discuss control of the District’s rat population. Over the past five years, the rat population has increased an estimated 55%, largely due to new restaurant establishments. Brown mentioned that the mayor has increased the division’s budget and that he will be making new hires to address the problem. His team will respond to any call for a rat problem within 72 hours.
Nigro noted that there was a particular problem with rats at Fifth and M streets NW. A number of abandoned and badly maintained properties in the area are sources of rats. An attendee mentioned that rats are able to gnaw through the trash cans that the District provides residents.
Brown noted other initiatives to control rats. A pilot program to prevent rats from breeding uses “birth control.” The District has tested two types of smart trash cans, which are still being evaluated. Twelve businesses received government grants to purchase compactors to control their trash, most of them located around Ninth and U streets NW.
ABC Licensing Committee
Padro, chair of the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Committee, said that a meeting the previous week had considered a request for a new liquor license. Select Reserves is taking over a vacant space at 500 K St. NW and is requesting a Retailers Class A Liquor License. It is considering adding a deli and hopes to offer specialty alcoholic items. The ABC Committee recommended approval of the licensing request. The commissioners passed a resolution supporting the new license.
The ABC Committee also considered the renewal of four Class C and D licenses for restaurants: Hanumanh (1604 Seventh St. NW), Rito Loco/El Techo (606 Florida Ave. NW), Le Pain Quotidien (433 Massachusetts Ave. NW) and Nicoletta Italian Kitchen (901 Fourth St. NW). The committee recommended approving all four renewals. The commissioners passed a resolution supporting the license renewals.
Transportation Advisory Committee
Alex Lopez, chair of the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), reported on its review of a public space permit request for Leon (649 Seventh St. NW) to set up a sidewalk cafe. The committee had issues with chairs in one corner of the proposal and access to bicycle racks. The applicant agreed to amend the proposal to address these concerns, so the committee voted to support the public space request. The ANC voted to send its support for the request to the Public Space Committee at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT).
Lopez presented three resolutions that the committee members wanted submitted to DDOT. First, they wanted 4½ Street, between K and L streets NW, converted to a one-way, southbound street. The second resolution was to request a cut in the median at Rhode Island Avenue and Fifth Street NW to allow wheelchair access across the street. The third was to install a four-way stop at the intersection of First and L streets NW. The commissioners voted to support all three resolutions and forward them to DDOT.
Mount Vernon 7-Eleven
Marriott brought up the issue of an earlier request for an outdoor sidewalk cafe from the proposed 7-Eleven store at 504 K St. NW. He noted that the official record for the application was still open, with a hearing on the matter at the end of July. No one representing the 7-Eleven had come before the commissioners to make a case for the permit. Padro added that there was a 7-Eleven in his area on Rhode Island Avenue and that it has had trash problems and not been responsive to the concerns of the community. The commissioners voted to oppose 7-Eleven’s application for a public space permit at its K Street location. They also passed a resolution to have the Office of Planning review the Mount Vernon Triangle Master Plan to see if a 7-Eleven, as opposed to a restaurant, is permitted at that location.
Padro explained that the zoning request for 1547 Seventh St. NW was actually a modification of an existing zoning approval. The previous case envisioned the addition of a third story to the building. Since then, the roof had collapsed, the building was bought by a receiver and the permits had expired. The new owner of the building is actually asking the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for a reduction in zoning relief and plans to put a restaurant in the building by spring 2020. Tony Brown, chair of the Zoning Committee, said the members approved the plans for the building at their meeting the previous week. The commissioners voted to support the BZA application.
A representative from the office of Councilmember Anita Bonds introduced a flyer entitled “What the FY2020 Budget Means for You & Your Family.” The representative explained that the recently passed budget was particularly important in preserving affordable housing. Padro responded that he was disappointed at Bonds’ vote on reserving the old Shaw Junior High School for a future Shaw middle school, and that he considered her a liar, having misrepresented the way that she would vote on three separate occasions.
The commissioners approved two grants to community groups. One was of $3,000 to the Perry School to purchase backpacks and school supplies for 200 students to support them in the next term. The other was of $3,000 to Organization for Training Others in Need (OFT/ON) in partial support of a summer youth program, where participating youngsters will produce a play called “The Lemonade Stand.” Award of both grants is subject to the approval of the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
A representative from AT&T presented on the installation of small cells, new equipment that can support heavier network traffic and future technologies such as 5G. A request for public space permits to install small cells had been submitted to DDOT by three phone companies (AT&T, Crown Castle and Verizon). Small-cell installations, after they receive public space approval, do not need approval from the ANC, although the ANC will be notified before a small cell is installed. Small cells will be installed either on cobra streetlights or wooden utility poles. Installation of a small cell takes about five days.
The Mount Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District asked the commissioners to endorse the reauthorization of its charter as a business improvement district (BID). Reauthorization is required every five years. The commissioners voted to endorse the reauthorization.
Marriott expressed his appreciation for the work that Padro did over the past six months to support the Save Shaw Middle School effort.
ANC 6E held its next meeting on July 2 at the Northwest One Library, 155 L St. NW. The ANC does not meeting in August. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.