Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for September at the Northwest One Library, 155 L St. NW, on the evening of Sept. 3. Commission Chair Alex Marriott (6E05) called the meeting to order with Alexander Padro (6E01), Frank Wiggins (6E03, vice chair), Rachelle Nigro (6E04, secretary) and Kevin Rodgers (6E07) in attendance. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Captain Kim, of the Metropolitan Police Department, reporting for The Third District, said there was extra coverage at Eighth and R and Seventh and S streets, given recent criminal activity there. He emphasized the need for victim-impact statements prior to the sentencing of convicted criminals.
There were four arrests for firearms violations, with three of the four having a record of prior felonies. Nigro asked about the number of auto break-ins on Kirby Street. Kim noted that witnesses to crimes should call 911 instead of getting involved. Citizens can also text 50411 to send an emergency message to the DC Communications Center. Nigro complained about people grilling barbeque on public space on Kirby Street.
Padro said he was pleased to hear about the use of bicycle cops and the number of recent arrests. He was disappointed that serious incidents, such as the assault and beating of an elderly resident on the 1500 block of Eighth Street, were still occurring.
Nigro mentioned a video circulating online of illegal ATV riders in the District, asking whether the police can do anything about them. Kim responded that pursuit is discouraged in order to avoid endangering the public. Police intel units keep track of these groups.
Wiggins noted that there are fewer businesses open on the 700 block of O Street, possibly contributing to more people loitering there. He said that if people do not want to call the police directly, they can call an ANC commissioner to report criminal activity.
The report from The First District said that violent crimes in the area were trending upward, while property crimes were trending down.
Northwest One Project Update
CSG Development’s Simone Goring Devaney gave a presentation on progress on the Northwest One redevelopment project at North Capitol and K streets. The developer, who had successfully competed for the site, formerly known as Temple Courts, plans a three-phase project that will eventually produce 750 units, with about 60% of them being affordable. Former residents of Temple Courts are proposed to occupy 220 of the project’s units. Plans are to break ground on Phase I in the first quarter of 2020. Padro asked if locations have been identified for public art. The response was that public art will come in Phases II and III.
7-Eleven Voluntary Agreement
Marriott introduced a draft voluntary agreement that he negotiated with attorneys from 7-Eleven to obtain ANC support for the public space request for a new store at 504 K St. NW. Previous discussions questioned whether the outdoor tables at the site would be well-managed by the company. The draft agreement has eight basic points for use of the space. It calls for 7-Eleven to close the patio at 11 p.m. nightly, stacking the tables and chairs. There was a concern that people outside a neighboring liquor store could harass people on the 7-Eleven patio. A clause to the agreement would require 7-Eleven to call the police to deal with harassment.
A long discussion on who should be allowed to sit on the patio led to an amendment specifying that only 7-Eleven customers could use the outdoor space. There was also an additional requirement that trash containers be emptied twice a day. The amended voluntary agreement was approved by the commission.
When old business came up on the ANC agenda, Marriott asked the commissioners to reconsider the clause in the agreement that requires outside seating be used by customers only. He wanted the clause taken out of the agreement. His motion passed by a 3-2 vote.
Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Licensing Committee
Rumi’s Kitchen, 640 L St. NW, requested support for a new Class C restaurant liquor license. Atlanta-based Rumi’s is a fine-dining restaurant with a Persian menu that wishes to expand to the District. It hopes to open in December or January. Nigro noted that there was not much activity in the area and that she supported the license. The draft settlement agreement with the ANC calls for a total of 120 seats, with a patio open until 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends. Padro, chair of the ABC Licensing Committee, pointed out that a provision of the draft could not be enforced by the District’s Alcohol Beverage Control Board and should be deleted. The commissioners approved the amended settlement agreement with Rumi’s Kitchen.
A representative from Oyster, Oyster, a new restaurant opening at 1440 Eighth St. NW, came to introduce himself to the commissioners. Oyster, Oyster will be a sustainable restaurant run by award-wining chef Robert Rubba. It will serve mixed drinks. Oyster, Oyster has not applied for a liquor license yet, but will do so in the next month.
Transportation Advisory Committee
Douglas Development is requesting support for a public space application for a disability ramp at the door of its tenant Pearl’s Bagels at 1017 Seventh St. NW. The ramp will require a 2% slope. Alex Lopez, chair of the Transportation Committee, noted that they supported the request, but pointed out the need for saving a nearby tree, and suggested that the developers relocate an existing bike rack when the project is finished. Nigro said that she canvassed the neighborhood about the project but did not receive much of a response. The ANC voted to support the public space permit.
The owner of 454 Ridge St. NW requested the ANC’s support for applications to the Historic Preservation Board (HPRB) and the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). The plans are to build a home on a vacant lot, with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in back. The zoning relief required for the project includes lot coverage, parking and ADU height.
The commissioners took up the request in separate resolutions. First, they passed a motion to support the request to the HPRB to allow a building with a two-story facade and a three-story ADU in the back. Next, a resolution on BZA support for an increase in the building’s allowed floor area ratio was approved. Nigro’s motion not to support the removal of parking restrictions for the site failed. A motion to approve the request to the BZA for relief from current parking requirements was passed.
Padro mentioned that Shaw, along with seven other District neighborhoods, would hold the Art All Night festival on Sept. 14 from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. He noted that last year’s Art All Night was estimated to generate $1.6 million in additional economic activity in Shaw, all from just a $50,000 expenditure by the District government.
Mikaela Ferrill of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services said that she has recently done work about homeless encampments. Padro noted that the District does not have a clear policy on encampments, but he hoped that lessons could be learned from other cities.
Naomi Mitchell from Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen’s office noted that the District Council was going back into session in September. She also said that Councilmember Allen was trying to set up a meeting with the residents of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA to discuss any issues they have with the construction of the adjacent Banneker Academic High School.
Marriott thanked Northwest One Library Manager Bobbie Dougherty and Commissioner Nigro for their efforts to get the building’s elevator repaired and working after being inoperable for months.
The next ANC 6E meeting was scheduled for Tuesday evening, Oct. 1.