Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting on October 6, 2020. The meeting was held as a virtual conference. Commission Chair Rachelle Nigro (6E04) called the meeting to order with Alexander Padro (6E01), Michael Brown (6E02, Secretary), Frank Wiggins (6E03, Vice Chair/Treasurer) and Kevin Rogers (6E07) in attendance. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Captain Dorrough of the First District reported a homicide in September and an incident at the 7-Eleven on K Street. Commissioner Rogers stated that a police camera had been moved, which subsequently led to a homicide. The police replied that they did move the camera, but it is not known if it led to the homicide.
Rogers also complained about car break-ins on First Street. Dorrough said that thefts from autos were down 35 percent last month, but there are still incidents where multiple car windows are smashed in to rob autos. There is also still a problem with stolen autos in the Mount Vernon area.
There has been an increase in criminal activity around the former Sursum Corda area. Rogers said that residents were pressing him about the problem. Dorrough replied that they cannot have an officer everywhere all the time, but that they are constantly looking at the best way of deploying personnel.
Captain Augustine and Lieutenant Daee gave the Third District report. There were a significant number of gunshots reported over Labor Day weekend around Fifth and O Streets. There was also a homicide on the 600 block of O Street, but it did not seem to be related to the previous activity.
On September 23, police and the FBI went into the Second Northwest Coop to serve search warrants for narcotic violations. They made a total of nine arrests. The 600 block of L Street has seen a series of car break-ins recently.
Commissioner Nigro wanted to thank the police for their presence on the 400 block of N Street and at the Second Northwest Coop. Commissioner Padro mentioned that there had been a shooting on the 1300 block of Eighth Street. The police said that there had been narcotic arrests on the block and that the shooting is being investigated.
Zoning and Planning Committee
944 S Street, NW. This request was for support of a proposal going before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). The owners want to add a partial third floor to their home. Part of the new addition might be able to be seen from the side street, which would be a problem except that there has been new modern construction on nearby 10th Street. Commissioner Padro noted that the project’s architect has been helpful in dealing with alterations to other historic homes on the block. He made a motion for the ANC to support the request to the HPRB and the motion passed unanimously.
Parcel 42. A proposal from the Office of Planning to change the zoning for Parcel 42, the vacant, city-owned lot on the corner of R and Seventh Streets. The proposal is to change the zoning from R2 to R4, allowing higher density development on the site. The current R2-Arts District zoning restricts a building to 70 feet in height, while R4 would allow a 100-foot building on the lot. The new zoning would be compatible with the District’s Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Duke Small Area Plan that Planning uses to guide development in Shaw.
Brown said that the motivation for the change in zoning is an effort to avoid the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process, where developers can ask to build at higher densities than existing zoning would ordinarily allow. Some projects in the District have been held up when activists went to court to challenge PUD approvals. The proposed change in zoning for Parcel 42 would eliminate a need for a developer to negotiate with the ANC for community benefits. Brown did say that the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) has agreed to establish a process to allow the community to comment on building design and neighborhood benefits.
Commissioner Padro noted that the ANC had recently seen a developer ask for a zoning map amendment to avoid community input. After hearing from DMPED about their plans to continue community input in development projects approved as map amendments, he hopes that this will be a model for future such projects in the District. Commissioner Nigro said that she is excited about the initiative and the prospect of developing something on Parcel 42, a site that has seen a lot of false starts in the past.
Commissioner Michael Brown made a motion to support the rezoning of Parcel 42. Commissioner Padro offered a friendly amendment to stipulate that the Office of Planning allow community input in this and any future zoning map amendments, which was accepted. The amended motion passed unanimously.
20 Massachusetts Avenue, NW. The owner of this commercial office building is requesting support from ANC 6E as a neighboring ANC for redevelopment. The project, which will require two special zoning exceptions, has already received the support of ANC 6C. The building currently has one federal tenant, which will move out next year. The redevelopment will include office space, create a more active space around the building, a restaurant at the top, a hotel on the middle floors and two floors of retail at the street level. Commissioner Rogers, whose district is nearest to the site, said that he was happy with the project. Padro made a motion to support the requested zoning variances and to inform the Board of Zoning Adjustment of the ANC’s approval. The motion passed unanimously.
Transportation Advisory Committee
The committee met on September 29 to discuss the S Street Revitalization Project proposed by the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT), which would improve the section of S Street between Fourth and Seventh Streets and part of the 1700 block of Sixth Street. DDOT had done outreach in the community, including a walkthrough with neighbors to go over possible improvements. The Transportation Committee was unanimous in supporting the project, although they also had a list of recommendations for improving the plan.
Commissioner Padro mentioned that any redevelopment should maintain street access for the LeDroit Post Office if a portion of S Street is closed to traffic. He made a motion to accept the recommendations of the Transportation Committee and convey their approval to DDOT and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen. The motion was approved.
The committee also presented a resolution related to Lot 803, a small triangle of land that is part of Parcel 42 on R and Seventh Streets. The committee complained that the sidewalk at the south end of the lot narrows to three feet. They argued that a fence demarcating the lot is in the wrong place, reducing the space for the sidewalk. The resolution asks that DMPED, which controls Parcel 42, move the fence to the actual property line of Lot 803 so that DDOT can install a wider sidewalk. The commission passed the resolution unanimously.
PEPCO Capital Grid
Travoris Culpepper gave an update on PEPCO’s Capital Grid project to improve the resiliency of the utility’s infrastructure. The project will install a new 10-mile transmission line in the District and upgrade three transmission substations, including building a new one in the Mount Vernon Triangle. There will be an advisory group formed to get community input on the construction of the Mount Vernon substation. The entire grid project will take 10 years, but the work on the Mount Vernon substation will start in January 2021, with completion expected in early 2023.
ANC 6E will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.