Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for November on Tuesday evening, November 10. Due to the restrictions on public meetings caused by the Coronavirus crisis, 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), 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 gave the report for the MPD First District. He said that there had been an increase in activity in the Mount Vernon Triangle. Property crime has stayed the same, but there have been increases in reports of stolen autos, and violent crime has doubled. The stolen autos are largely the result of delivery drivers leaving their cars running. The number of stolen autos has quadrupled from last year, with Mount Vernon being a particular hot spot.
There were a number of shootings in the First District in October. Activity in Chinatown has actually decreased, although it is in the same PSA as Mount Vernon. Massachusetts Avenue seems to be the dividing line. There were robberies at the Mount Vernon 7-Eleven and at the Smoothie Cafe, but MPD has been able to successfully close these incidents.
Commissioner Wiggins wondered if the homeless encampments in the area were a source of crime. Dorrough said that the homeless were actually one of the parts of the population most vulnerable to crime.
Lieutenant Daee gave the crime report for the Third District. They have ticketed idling cars to reduce stolen auto incidents. We should expect an increase in thefts from autos and porch package thefts as the holidays approach. Residents should try to use options like the Amazon lockers at supermarkets to receive packages from online purchases. There seems to be a trend of Hondas being broken into in order to steal their air bags.
Commissioner Nigro said that people had found it difficult to make police reports for thefts from autos. There might be a problem with the 911 protocols of the Office of Unified Communications. Commissioner Padro said that the problems of criminals hanging out on the 1300 block of Eighth Street seemed to be successfully addressed, although it appears that they had moved to the 600 block of O Street. Daee said that they are trying to discourage residents holding block parties in the area. Wiggins said that it was disheartening to just see the problem move.
Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee
Commissioner Padro, chair of the ABC Committee, started by explaining that there were two license renewals to discuss, but the committee had not been able to make contact with the applicants. The two establishments were Safeway (490 L Street, NW) and Walmart (99 H Street, NW). The latest placards for renewals do not have contact information for the applicants. When Padro contacted the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration for the information, he was told that he would have to make a Freedom of Information Act request to get it. The ANC has dealt with these establishments before, but when Padro contacted their previous legal representatives, he found out that they were no longer working for the applicants.
Padro suggested that given the situation, the ANC had to protest the renewal of the licenses for both Safeway and Walmart. He noted that both stores had violations on their records. He offered separate motions to protest the renewal of the licenses of Safeway and Walmart before the Alcohol Beverage Control Board. Both motions passed unanimously.
Zoning and Planning Committee
1320 – 1322 Eighth Street NW. Request for support of a project going before the Historic Preservation Review Board. The project involves two existing two-story townhouses with a new addition built behind them. The project will have a total of nine units with three parking spaces. An earlier version of the project had a penthouse that could be seen from the street. The latest version has the addition set back far enough to not be seen. Padro said that the committee met with the developer twice and now supports the project. The ANC voted unanimously to support the project.
454 Ridge Street NW. Requested support for a series of zoning variances from the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The owner wanted to expand his current house to build a small unit for a family member. He also needed to convert a non-conforming lot to a record lot. The ANC unanimously passed a motion to support the owner’s petition to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
ANC 2021 Budget
Commissioner Wiggins introduced an ANC budget for Fiscal Year 2021. Besides charges for communications and office supplies, it budgeted $25,000 for community grants. A resident commented that there should be a budget item for a lawyer to negotiate Planned Unit Development agreements with developers coming to the ANC for support. Most of the commissioners did not think that this was necessary. The proposed budget passed unanimously.
ANC 6E will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, December 1 at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.