Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E held its monthly meeting for November 2021 on Tuesday evening, November 2. Commission Chair Rachelle Nigro (6E04) called the meeting to order with Michael Eichler (6E01, Vice Chair), Alex Lopez (6E02, Secretary), Frank Wiggins (E03, 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
Captain Small of the Third District reported that crime in the ANC’s area had gone down significantly. The only violent crimes during the previous month were a female struck by gunfire on M Street that was closed with an arrest and a report of a gun discharge on Ridge Street. Commissioner Nigro noted that she had asked for additional patrols in these areas. She also inquired about the status of carjacking cases. Small replied that except for the recovery of a stolen car, the cases were still open. He concluded that there has been a significant reduction in violent crime and crime in general.
Captain Dorrough said that the First District had a pretty good month. The only reported violence was a robbery in front of Walmart and a domestic assault incident. Property crimes were also down significantly. The number of reported stolen autos, historically a major problem in the Mount Vernon area, was also down.
Councilmember Elissa Silverman, the Chair of the DC Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting, came to discuss the District’s redistricting process, which is coming to a decision point. The District is required to balance the population between the eight wards every ten years. The results of the 2020 Census meant that Ward 6 would have to lose population, while Wards 7 and 8 have to gain population. After holding hearings, the subcommittee developed three “discussion maps” to focus the debate on where to draw new ward boundaries. Silverman said that she was trying to keep communities of interest together. For example, a historic district could be considered a community that should stay in one ward.
Commissioner Nigro commented that most neighborhoods do not mind which ward they are in as long as the neighborhood stays together. Commissioner Lopez complained about the same areas moving back and forth from one ward to another every ten years. Commissioner Eichler asked if there would be a change in zone parking designations, which were previously based on ward boundaries. Silverman replied that although some on the Council have talked about changing the rules for parking, they would not change right now. The redistricting process has to finalize ward boundaries by December 23. Over the next year, new ANC boundaries will be developed.
Alcoholic Beverage Control Licensing Committee (ABC)
1011 Fourth Street NW (JOKR US Corp.). Request for support of a new Class A retailer license. JOKR is a new concept of food delivery that currently has stores in New York, with deliveries of orders within 15 minutes. Customers will also be able to walk in and order provisions on a computer screen. They are hoping to partner with local providers of food stuffs.
Alexander Padro, the chair of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Licensing Committee, said that the committee supported the license. Commissioner Nigro mentioned that JOKR had already signed a settlement agreement that included provisions for limiting noise and trash.
Commissioner Rogers made a motion to support the license, which passed by five yes votes and one abstention. Nigro also offered a motion to accept the settlement agreement with JOKR and send it to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The motion passed with five yeses, one abstention.
1025 Fifth Street NW (Bartaco). Request for Class C license for a new restaurant. They are finalizing construction and might open in November. Their hours will be from 11:00 a.m. to midnight. They will have a summer garden, sitting on private space, that they have agreed to close at 11:00 p.m. Because they are opening soon, they are seeking a stipulated license. Padro said that the committee was pleased with the restaurant’s planned hours and supported both its liquor license and a stipulated license. Commissioner Parlej said some residents were concerned about noise, but that the settlement agreement has the same conditions as other ANC 6E agreements. He made a motion to support the permanent and stipulated licenses, which passed unanimously.
Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC)
The committee had three issues that required the ANC’s support.
Fifth and S Streets. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) issued a Notice of Intent to install an all-way stop at the intersection of Fifth and S Streets NW. Commissioner Lopez, the chair of the Transportation Advisory Committee, requested that the ANC support the move. The motion to support passed unanimously.
Bus-only Lanes on Seventh Street. Lopez said that the committee was considering methods of improving bus transportation on Seventh Street, given that the capacity of Metro Rail is currently diminished. They wanted the commission to send a letter to DDOT to establish bus lanes on Seventh Street between Massachusetts Avenue and Florida Avenue to improve service. Lopez mentioned that DDOT already had plans to make the length of Seventh Street from Pennsylvania Avenue to Massachusetts Avenue a no-car zone devoted to only buses and bicycles, although the plan has been put on hold.
Commissioner Wiggins noted that there were several apartment buildings along Seventh Street that would have their parking taken away. Then Commissioner Michael Shankle, who represents ANC 2C01, joined the discussion to argue against the proposal. He said that the proposal for a no-car Seventh Street Downtown was never fully discussed with the community and that it was strongly opposed by residents, business owners and the Downtown BID. He said that DDOT has virtually abandoned the project. Commissioner Eichler suggested that given the Climate Crisis, there should be a move to discourage car use and push people to use public transit. Commissioner Nigro said that she understood that the residents and business community Downtown opposed the bus-only proposal.
Given the disagreement, Lopez suggested two separate motions. The first motion called on DDOT to study and propose a design for bus and bicycle lanes and other infrastructure that will improve transit service on Seventh Street NW between Massachusetts Avenue and Florida Avenue. That motion passed, five yeses, one no. The second motion would have asked DDOT to reengage its efforts to implement its plans for Seventh Street but was dropped after there was little consensus on how it should be worded.
Wiltberger East Alleys Designation Act of 2021. The committee also wanted the commission to support a resolution regarding the ceremonial naming of three alleys that was going before the DC Council Committee of the Whole in a public hearing the next day. The act, which was shepherded by Wiltberger Street resident John Shaw and former ANC commissioner Alexander Padro, will designate symbolic names for three alleys in the Wiltberger Street area. The three alleys named by the act: Holzbeierlein Bakery Alley, Joe and Mae Hurd All Sports Club Alley, and Wiltberger Club House Alley, recognize the business and social activity that occurred in this historic area. Commissioner Lopez said that he was going to testify in favor of the Act and that he wanted the commission to endorse his testimony to ensure that it was given “great weight” by the Council. Lopez made a motion to have the commission support his testimony, which passed unanimously.
ANC 6E will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc6e.org for more information.