Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for October 2021 virtually on October 5. 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.
Police Service Area (PSA) Reports
Lieutenant Donigian of the First Police District reported that overall crime had gone down 27 percent from last year, although there were five violent incidents the previous month. Among them was a stabbing in the Walmart parking garage, an incident where a gun was brandished during an altercation, a shooting on First Place, which led to non-life threating injuries but required several surgeries, a knife brandished during a shoplifting and a stabbing in a personal argument.
Captain Small of the Third Police District said that crime increased by nine percent in 3D. Robberies were down as well as thefts from autos. Most violent crimes had been domestic incidents. There had been some success in reducing auto thefts. The availability of home video camera footage had helped the police in apprehending and holding criminals.
Councilmember Charles Allen
Naomi Mitchell of the office of Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen reported that the first building in the redevelopment of the Sursum Corda has been topped off. The developer has now named the project Banner Lane.
The other big issue for Ward 6 is the ward redistricting process. Ward 6 is now the District’s largest ward and must lose people in order to meet the population limits of DC’s redistricting law. The first Council vote on ward boundaries will be on December 7. The boundaries of advisory neighborhood commissions will not be established until June 2022.
Encampment Pilot Program
The Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Wayne Turnage, along with senior members of the Department of Human Services, attended to explain their new program to move the homeless out of tented encampments throughout the city into stable housing. The program was controversial and there had been a death at the encampment at the park on O Street and New Jersey Avenue the night before the meeting.
Jamal Waldon, the program manager for the encampment program, started by noting that the pilot will begin at encampments at NOMA, E Street and the New Jersey and O Street park. They made contact with the people at New Jersey and O in September and there are currently 32 people on their list. There are also 16 additional people not on the list who moved to the park after the program started. The program tries to match people to rapid rehousing or permanent housing.
Commissioner Nigro noted that the park is in her single member district and asked if the people not on the name list were aware of the program. Waldon said that they are in constant contact with everyone in the park. Nigro said that she wanted to be informed of any issues. She told the audience that there had been a horrible death the previous night at the encampment caused by a fire. Waldon mentioned that after the fire occurred, a team from Fire and Emergency Medical Service was dispatched to instruct the residents on fire safety.
Commissioner Lopez asked if the planned closure of the park on November 4 was still going ahead. The response was that the date was still tentative, depending on when everyone living in the park had services established. Lopez also asked how the effort could avoid a repeat of the violent incident at NOMA where heavy equipment hit a resident that was still in a tent. The Deputy Mayor objected to the characterization of the incident as a violent one, the implication being that it was deliberate. While the resident was taken to the hospital, he was not seriously hurt, and was provided housing after his release. Commissioner Rogers revealed that he became homeless in 1988 and was out on the streets for two years. One problem he noted that the programs that they had for the homeless back then were not available today.
Zoning and Development Committee
614 S Street NW (S Street Village). Request from Manna, Inc. for support for a zoning map amendment. Committee Chair Tony Brown explained that Manna had first come to the ANC in 2017 to make a change in the District’s Comprehensive Plan. Manna and the New Community Church have been in Shaw for 40 years, starting in an era when things were much rougher than today. They have renovated approximately 500 homes for sale to low-income families in Shaw, 2000 citywide. Now they are redeveloping their earliest projects on S Street, including New Community Church, to expand and keep neighborhood families from being pushed out. The map amendment will allow more density for the project. There will be a new office building, restoration of the church and residential units on the upper four floors of the seven-story building. There will be 80 units of housing, all affordable. The hearing date before the Zoning Commission should be at end of the year. Brown said the committee supported the project, but recommended restrictions on residential parking. Commissioner Lopez made a motion to support the map amendment request. The motion passed unanimously.
1251 Fourth Street NW (Hoagie House). Tony Brown explained that there were three different parts of the project. After a long presentation, Commissioner Nigro made a motion to support the design concept being presented to the Historic Preservation Review Board. The motion passed.
Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)
The TAC brought the following issues to the commission:
- A request to create a curbside loading zone at 838 Second Street NW (Capital Vista), to improve waste pickup. The request for support was approved.
- A request to convert a temporary permit for an enclosed sidewalk cafe into a permanent sidewalk cafe at 640 L Street NW (Rumi’s Kitchen). The request was approved by the commission.
- A letter to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) pointing out traffic problems on K Street since the installation of protected bicycle lanes, largely due to the misuse of new pickup-drop off zones that had been established. The commission passed a motion to send the letter to DDOT.
Retraction of Grant Approval
The commission retracted a grant it gave to the Judah Project at its previous meeting. The Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (OANC) rejected the grant, questioning the number of people in the community that would benefit from it. Commissioner Lopez asked if there was some way of appealing the decision. Commissioner Nigro noted that this was not the first time the commission had to retract a grant due to a OANC ruling.
The commission also saw presentations from:
- The DDOT H Street Bus Priority Program, where options for improving the X2 Metro Bus route were offered.
- Chris Dyer, who introduced himself as the new Department of Parks and Recreation liaison to Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
- PEPCO, which gave a presentation on the Mount Vernon Connected Communities Program.
ANC 6E will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, November 2 at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.