Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for May 2021 on Tuesday evening, May 4. Due to the restrictions on public meetings caused by the pandemic, 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. There was a quorum to conduct official business.
DPW Director Visits
Acting Director Christine Davis of the Department of Public Works (DPW) joined the meeting to respond to issues raised by a resolution passed last month for the District to address the dumping of private trash in public bins. Davis said that DPW was reassessing its cans.
DPW does issue tickets for private dumping, but it needs to have evidence of the identity of the dumper. Most dumpers are smart enough to avoid leaving mail in their trash. DPW is working on a public campaign against dumping. Nigro asked if DPW could use videos to identify dumpers. Wiggins mentioned the problem of a street memorial set up with beer bottles to commemorate a shooting. Davis said that DPW wants to be sensitive and not clean up memorials too soon after an incident.
A resident said that she sees DPW empty the public cans, but they are quickly filled again. Sometimes the crews let trash spill on the sidewalk when they empty them. Davis suggested calling the Core Team to resolve problems like these. Wiggins added that he had not gotten a DPW response to his 311 requests after three months.
A question came up about DPW’s role in removing homeless encampments. If the District determines that an encampment has to be removed, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) posts a notice, and homeless advocates help people relocate with their belongings. DPW only has the responsibility to remove the remnants of the encampment after people have left.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Capt. Jonathan Dorrough of the First Police District observed that violent and property crimes for the month remained flat compared to the same month last year. He worried about crime going up during the summer. There was a robbery at Tyler House and an assault with a deadly weapon last month, where a gun was pointed at someone after a traffic accident. There was a homicide on First Street when a person drew a gun and was shot in a struggle for it. The incident was ruled a justifiable homicide.
Parlej said he had received complaints about the Patricia Handy Women’s Shelter, which was recently converted to a men’s shelter. Dorrough noted that a women’s shelter may not have as many community issues, but that not every annoyance is a crime. Answering a question about noise from ATVs, Dorrough noted that ATVs were a chronic problem. The police try to identify riders through camera photos. Blackson was concerned that police were not consistently monitoring the 1900 block of First Place NW. Dorrough characterized the problem as a lack of manpower, with 70% of the force for the area monitoring those two blocks.
Capt. Augustine of the Third Police District started by clarifying that while riding ATVs is illegal in the District, owning them is not illegal. There was a homicide April 18 on the 1600 block of Seventh Street, with a suspect arrested. There were a number of violent crimes last month, but most were closed by arrests. April 23 saw a string of airbags stolen from cars parked on Seventh Street from the 1300 block going north.
Wiggins asked about a block party that spontaneously started on Sixth Street the previous Wednesday. Augustine said that the police only heard about the party, which included food trucks, after it started. They brought in some units to monitor the situation, but it was the same night as President Biden’s address to Congress. The block party went from about 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eichler added that some of his constituents were wakened by noise at 3 a.m. Augustine concluded that the police need help from other District agencies to deal with problems like this.
Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)
1748 Seventh St. NW, Angel’s Share: request for renewal of Class A license. The owner was not available for the ANC meeting but did attend the committee meeting. Committee Chair Alex Padro said that the store’s only violation was a sale to a minor, for which it received an official warning. The committee supported renewal of the license. The ANC supported the renewal by a vote of five yeses, one abstention (Blackson had left the meeting).
1618 Eighth St. NW, ABT Liquors: renewal of license request. Padro said that there were some issues Eichler had to work out with the owner, so they want to have the matter deferred until the next ANC meeting.
1550 Seventh St. NW, Grand Cata: renewal of license. Grand Cata had three license violations in 2019, two involving sales to minors. An owner told the ANC that the store now has software that will ensure that IDs are checked and validated. The commission supported the renewal by a vote of five yeas, one abstention.
1401 Sixth St. NW, ABC Grocery: renewal of license. No representative of the grocery attended the meeting, but Padro noted that it had been operating for 28 years and had no infractions over the past two years. Support for the renewal passed, six yeas, one abstention (Blackson returned to the meeting).
446 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Guilford Liquor: renewal of license. Padro noted that it had been under the same ownership for 15 years. It had one violation on the record for failure to have an alcohol manager on duty. The owner said that the problem is being corrected by getting a second certified alcohol manager. Support for the renewal passed by a vote of six yeses, one abstention.
425 I St. NW, Eye Street Cellars: renewal of license. Padro mentioned it had been in business for over 35 years. The store had one sale-to-minor violation, which was its second infraction. It now has technology to scan and verify IDs to prevent this problem. The committee recommended supporting the renewal. Renewal was supported by the commission in a vote of six yeses, one abstention.
500 K St. NW, Select Reserves: request for license renewal. In business for five years, with no violations in the last two years, it gained approval for its request by a vote of five yeas, one abstention.
1027 Seventh St. NW, Petite Cerise: request for a new restaurant license from the proprietors of The Dabney restaurant in Blagden Alley. The committee supported the request after a settlement agreement was drafted. The restaurant will seat 150 with 25 seated outdoors from 7 to 10 p.m., 11 p.m. on Saturdays. A motion to support a license for the restaurant passed with five yes votes, one abstention.
Zoning and Development Committee
473 Ridge St. NW: project going before the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). The planned addition, which adds a second floor to the back of the building, can be done as a matter of right, but it has to be reviewed by the HPRB because it could be seen from the street. The architect said that he had trouble contacting neighbors about their opinions on the additions, but that he understood that the Historic Preservation Office had. Nigro said that she had not heard any complaints about the project. A motion to approve supporting the project before the HPRB passed unanimously.
Alley Naming Resolution: discussion. Committee Chair Tony Brown explained that the northeast area of Shaw around the Howard Theater has seen a lot of development recently and that some people thought it was losing its historic character. The hope is that giving the neighborhood’s alleys historic names would help restore knowledge of the past. He noted that John Shaw, a resident of Wiltberger Street, has been gathering information about the history of the area, doing research at the DC History Center and the Historic Preservation Office. Shaw said that the first thing he learned was that the new name should not be called an alley, since officially naming an alley is a very involved process. The use of Way or Plaza would be preferable. The proposal was to support honorary designations for three alleys in the area recognizing historic institutions: Holzbeierlein Bakery Way, the Joe and Mae Hurd All Sports Club Way and Wiltberger Clubhouse Way. The motion to support the honorary designations passed unanimously.
Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)
425 I St. NW, Chez Lilly: public space request for a sidewalk cafe. The owners noted that their original design had been modified to increase accessibility. A motion to support the public space request before DDOT passed unanimously.
The committee received a notice of intent (NOI) from DDOT to construct a raised median on New York Avenue at First Street NW. A resident expressed a concern that drivers turning left on First Street would frequently hit the median. However, after consulting with Blackson and others, Lopez thought that the improvement would bring benefits that should be supported. His motion to support the median passed unanimously.
Another DDOT NOI would restrict left turns from southbound Seventh Street NW onto K Street, with the erection of flex post to prevent such turns. That morning, there was a crash at Mount Vernon Square. The motion to support the move by DDOT to prevent left turns from Seventh to K streets was approved unanimously.
The committee asked the ANC to pass a resolution to fully fund the provisions of the District’s Vision Zero law, which intends to eliminate pedestrian fatalities. The resolution passed unanimously.
May Special Meeting
ANC 6E held a special meeting on May 18 to consider its comments for the environmental impact study for a proposed magnetic-levitation (MAGLEV) train between the District and Baltimore that would start in Mount Vernon Square. The document is in the form of a letter that does not take a position for or against the MAGLEV but points out gaps in the plans that need attention before the project can move forward. Eichler said he had made additional edits to the letter, moving some of the detailed points to an attachment so that it would not be too long.
There was disagreement about a line in the second paragraph stating that residents were excited by the potential of the MAGLEV. Some thought that it expressed explicit support for the MAGLEV. Nigro said that in her community meetings some were excited by the MAGLEV and others concerned about the effects its construction would have on the neighborhood. Wiggins said his constituents had a similar mix of opinions. A resident said he thought an earlier version of the document actually had the ANC opposing the project. Eichler saw little difference between the current letter and earlier versions, except that some points had been moved to an attachment. Nigro suggested removing the offending sentence and accepting the rest of the draft. A motion to do so passed unanimously.
ANC 6E scheduled its next meeting on Tuesday, June 1, at 6:30 p.m. Plans were to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.