Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for October at the Northwest One Library, 155 L Street NW, on Tuesday evening, Oct. 1. 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) and Kevin Rodgers (6E07) in attendance. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Lieutenant Andelman from the First District reported five violent crimes and approximately 30 property crimes for the month. From year to year, the numbers are flat, although any crime is serious. Lieutenant Ross of the Third District said that in the ANC 6E portion of 3D, crime decreased 30 percent, largely due to a decline in property crimes. There has been an uptick in robberies, but a number of robbery cases were closed lately. Third District’s Captain Kim spoke about the homicide that occurred on the night of Sept. 29 in Shaw. He said that police near the scene at Seventh and S streets NW actually heard the shots fired and immediately came to the scene, where one person was found wounded, who later died. The shooting was not random and probably arose from an altercation, since the victim was found with a gun of his own. Homicide had good leads on apprehending the suspects. The Third District has tried to closely monitor trouble spots identified by the community, with more bike units providing a visible presence in the neighborhood.
Padro stated that there was a robbery just two blocks from the shooting the day after the homicide. There has to be more of a visible police presence in the neighborhood, he said. Kim replied that the Seventh Street area has the highest concentration of officers in the Third District, and that he tries to be responsive to specific requests for patrols.
Wiggins asked if something could be done if a group on a corner is preventing people from using the sidewalk. Kim said that the police should be called if a group is preventing movement on a sidewalk. If there are items left on the sidewalk, the police can call the Department of Public Works to pick them up and take them away.
A member of the audience said that they had lived in Shaw for 10 years but had never felt less safe in the neighborhood than right now. Another resident near Sixth and S streets said that her husband had been recently assaulted there, and that a lady with her stroller had seen someone pull a gun on the street.
Wiggins said that there could be more portable cameras put out, although they are expensive and there is the issue of where they should go. Kim said he would discuss the matter with the ANC chair.
Nigro noted that she always brings up the crime problems at a plot of land owned by the Department of Parks and Recreation at Kirby Street and New York Avenue, but no one in the District government or police does anything about it. She also mentioned that one of her constituents was attacked inside the Kennedy Recreation Center, but no one has tried to rectify the problem.
Padro said his experience shows that only when a zero-tolerance policy is implemented do incidents of violence go down. Brown added that if more residents get involved in addressing the crime problem, the police will become more responsive.
Michelle Garcia, director of the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants, described the services her office provides. The office is a grant-making organization that addresses the needs of victims of crime. It has responsibility for the District’s camera incentive program, under which the government provides rebates to purchasers of private surveillance cameras that could be used to help the police solve crimes. Residents who cannot make the initial outlay can get a voucher from the office to purchase a camera. The office also has a DC Victims hotline where primary crime victims or others affected by a crime can talk about the impact of the event and get direction to social services.
Representatives from PEPCO updated the ANC on the company’s Capital Grid Project to improve the electrical network. Plans include constructing a new Mount Vernon substation at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and K Street NW. The company plans to have a neighborhood advisory committee on the project. Work on the first phase of the grid project, a new 10-mile electrical transmission line, will start next year.
Decriminalizing Sex Work in the District
Yasmin Vafa, from the group Rights4Girls, started a discussion on a proposal before the DC Council to decriminalize sex work in the District. She said her experience working with young girls who had been trafficked argued against the legislation. While a number of states and localities had considered such legislation, the one that did pass a decriminalization law, Rhode Island, decided to reverse itself after seeing the effects. Weakening laws on sex work tends to drive up demand for prostitution and creates a problem with trafficking of young girls and the creation of makeshift temporary brothels. Vafa also complained that the proponents of decriminalization were being disingenuous by naming the bill the “Community and Safety Health Act” and limiting debate by holding hearings on Oct. 17, earlier than had been originally proposed.
Padro moved that the ANC oppose the measure before the DC Council and request to have the scheduled hearing postponed. The motion passed with five yes and one abstention.
Alcoholic Beverage Control
Oyster Oyster, a new restaurant at 1440 Eighth St. NW, asked for ANC support for permanent and stipulated Class C liquor licenses. The restaurant had given an introductory presentation at the September ANC meeting, noting that the establishment at City Market at O would have 40 seats with a small summer garden of 25 seats. The commission voted unanimously to support the license application.
Zoning and Planning Committee
There was request to support a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for 509 O Street NW, a vacant lot, for a variance to increase the floor area ratio and allow a spiral staircase. Committee Chair Tony Brown said that the committee approved the request. The commission voted to support the zoning variance.
Transportation Advisory Committee
A project at 1201 Fourth St. NW wanted support for a public space permit for a front-facing bay window, and for allowing the use of the sidewalk to bring building materials to the project. The commission passed a motion supporting the public space request.
Quadrangle Development asked approval for the transportation plan for a large apartment building it is constructing at 811 Third St. NW. After the presentation began, the chair said he had not been told that the developer was seeking a formal approval. Padro suggested that the commission table the issue and refer it to the next Transportation Committee meeting for review. The motion to table the issue was approved.
Committee Chair Alex Lopez presented draft testimony that the committee wanted to submit on three of four bills being discussed before the DC Council’s Transportation Committee on Oct. 24. The bills are the Vision Zero Enhancement Omnibus Amendment Act, the Mandatory Protected Cycling Lane Amendment Act and the Curb Extensions Act. Lopez said that the draft testimony supports the three bills, although it suggests some changes.
Wiggins said he objected to the provisions of one bill that requires the installation of a new bike lane after every road is repaved. Marriott moved to express the ANC’s support for the Vision Zero Enhancement and Curb Extensions bills to the council’s Transportation Committee. Padro wanted to amend the resolution to have the Vision Zero bill increase the ANC comment period from 30 to 45 days. The amended resolution passed by four yes, two abstentions.
Padro said current plans for the construction of a new Banneker Academic High School in Shaw show that the space allocated to the neighboring dog park and skate park may be as much as 30 percent less than they currently have. Padro asked the ANC to pass a resolution opposing the new plans for the park space next to the school. The resolution passed unanimously.
Next Meeting ANC 6E held its next meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Its meeting for December is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 3. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.