Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting on April 6. The meeting was held as a virtual conference. Commission Chair Rachelle Nigro (6E04) called the meeting to order with Michael Eichler (6E01, Vice Chair), Alex Lopez (6E02, Secretary), Frank Wiggins (6E03, Treasurer), Patrick Parlej (6E05), Denise Blackson (6E06) and Kevin Rogers (6E07) in attendance.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Captain Dorrough of the First Police District reported that there had been a slight decrease in violent crime, but a slight increase in property crime in his area. The pandemic had created a significant change in the crime situation in Mount Vernon Square last year, but now things are settling down. The problem of stolen autos is diminishing. The police have set up a Carjacking Task Force.
Captain Augustine of the Third Police District started his report by noting that there was a homicide March 13 on the 600 block of O Street. It is being investigated and should be closed soon. There has been a slight uptick in robberies. One robbery was a pickpocket at Giant, where a panhandler grabbed a purse.
There were seven arrests for the sale of illegal marijuana and other THC products at a house party. While the personal possession of two ounces or less of marijuana is legal, sale of marijuana or possession of marijuana extracts are currently illegal. Commissioner Eichler asked why violations of marijuana laws were being enforced, when other laws, such as the prohibitions on outdoor camping by the homeless, are not. Augustine explained that the police target illegal marijuana sales because, as cash operations, they have led to robberies and violence and even homicides.
Commissioner Wiggins said that police should give more attention to the area across from the Wonder Bread building. Augustine replied that they had established a business beat patrol in Northwest Shaw.
Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS)
Talib Shakir, the Mayor’s liaison to Ward 6, announced that the Coronavirus restrictions in the District will be loosened, with limited outdoor events and libraries and museums allowed to operate at 50 percent of capacity.
Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)
476 K Street NW, dLena. A license request for a new Mexican restaurant on the corner of Fifth and K Streets that will have a sidewalk café. The sidewalk café will close at 11:00 p.m. The commission went over the language of the proposed settlement agreement, which largely covered the limitation of noise. Commissioner Parlej said his constituents support the license. Alex Padro, ABC committee chair, said that the committee reviewed the application and supported the restaurant’s request for a Class C Restaurant license and a stipulated license.
The restaurant hopes to open by May 5, Cinco del Mayo. The commission voted unanimously to support the request for a Class C license and a stipulated license. There was also a unanimous vote to endorse the settlement agreement.
Zoning and Development Committee
36 New York Avenue NW. Request for support of a lot occupancy zoning variance to allow the owner to add an accessory dwelling unit with a garage underneath the property. The commission unanimously approved the request to support the variance before the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
District to Baltimore MAGLEV
Global Government Industry Partners gave a presentation on a proposed magnetic-levitation (MAGLEV) train between the District and Baltimore that would start in Mount Vernon Square. The proposed train could make the trip to Baltimore in 15 minutes. The hope is to eventually have a MAGLEV line that could go all the way from DC to New York City in an hour.
The first step in the approval process is to conduct an Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The review period for the EIS is currently going on, and anyone can submit testimony on it. The final EIS will be released next year. If the EIS is approved and other approvals and financing fall into place, the MAGLEV to Baltimore could be finished in seven years..
Transportation Advisory Committee
Commissioner Lopez said that the committee received a Notice of Intent that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) wanted to install a raised brick median on New York Avenue between North Capitol Street and First Street NW. The median is intended to prevent drivers from making U-turns on New York Avenue. The committee believes that the median will promote traffic safety. The issue was tabled until the May ANC meeting.
ANC Resolution on Illegal Dumping
Commissioner Eichler wanted the commission to approve a resolution to end illegal dumping in DPW trash cans, where people put their trash in public bins. Eichler came up with a three-part resolution calling for: 1) more information on public trash pickups, 2) more research on why there is public dumping and 3) calling on DDOT to design cans that cannot accept dumping of private trash. He said that he was willing to work with other ANCs on the matter. Commissioner Nigro said that private trash dumped in public bins was the bane of her existence. She thought that the fine for dumping should be raised from its current $75 to $500. She also noted that DPW must witness the dumping before they can write a ticket. Eichler offered that fines could support inspectors going through dumped trash to identify its source.
Commissioner Wiggins suggested that the ANC buy “scoop your poop” signs, since dog waste is becoming an issue on his block. Nigro said that DDOT already offers such signs. A resident noted that DPW frequently leaves trash behind when it empties public bins. Commissioner Lopez expressed concern about increased fines for dumping. Nigro responded that the problem is coming from affluent households. The resolution on dumping passed unanimously.
Resolutions on Homelessness
Commissioner Eichler offered a resolution on homelessness. He noted that there were encampments in ANC 6E in the park at New Jersey Avenue and O and on the 1500 block of Tenth Street NW. This led a resident to express concern that the New Jersey Avenue park is scheduled for redevelopment, and that District agencies were not considering the homeless encampment in their plans. Commissioner Nigro noted that a meeting was scheduled for the following evening to review plans for the park with the community. The resolution passed unanimously.
Commissioner Lopez also introduced a resolution for the commission to support the Way Home Coalition’s program to reduce homelessness, which they want to incorporate into the District’s budget for FY 2022. The resolution passed unanimously.
Friends of Bundy Dog Park
The Friends of Bundy Park came seeking support for a new dog park at a renovated New Jersey and O park. There is a currently a dog run at Bundy Park on P Street, but it is not an official Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) dog park since it does not have a source of running water. A new park on New Jersey would allow them to have a District-recognized dog park. Estimates of the cost of bringing water to Bundy Park range from $30,000 to $60,000. Bundy also is not handicapped accessible.
The group has already started the process of applying for a new dog park by circulating a petition to support it and talking to neighborhood groups. The effort should also get support from its ANC. Commissioner Nigro noted that the Bundy group was only asking for part of the reconstructed park and that DPR could still disapprove of putting a dog park there.
Commissioner Lopez cautioned that a resolution could be premature, since DPR would just be announcing the results of a survey tomorrow. Nigro said that DPR wanted an application before they would consider a dog park on the site. The Bundy representatives noted that the DPR survey on what the community wanted in a new park did not include the option of a dog park. They needed a resolution now since tomorrow was the last DPR meeting with the community on the future of the park. A new dog park is needed to meet the needs of the growing number of dog households in the neighborhood. The resolution before the commission supported a new dog park, and passed with six yes votes, one abstention.
ANC 6E will hold its next meeting on May 4, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.