ANC 1B Discusses Developments and Licensing

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B met on Thursday April 6. Commissioners Sabel Harris (1B08, Chair), Larry Handerhan (1B01, Vice Chair), Sean Holihan (1B02), Jamie Sycamore (1B03), Santiago Lakatos (1B04, Treasurer), Alan Kensek (1B05), Mark Johnson (1B06), Ashleigh Fields (1B07) and Tucker Jones (1B09, Secretary) were in attendance.

The meeting was conducted as hybrid at the DC Housing Finance Agency with some participants connecting via Zoom.

Interim Deputy Mayor Keith Anderson

Before the formal start of the commission meeting, Keith Anderson, interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, presented on the Mayor’s proposed FY 24 budget.

He noted that hard choices had to be made, with cuts in some programs required due to the revenue projections provided by the DC Chief Financial Officer. A current priority was trying to bring Downtown DC back to its pre-pandemic vitality. Federal workers, who ordinarily count for 190,000 people per day downtown continuing to work at home, Anderson reported, has had a significant impact.

Still, there are areas that have been maintained. Although the $100 million dollars devoted to the Housing Production Trust Fund in the budget is a lower amount than previous years, it is still substantial. The District has put approximately $1 billion dollars into the Trust Fund and has met about 80 percent of its goal for building affordable housing units. 

Public Safety and Community Engagement Committee

The committee received a sponsorship request from the Purpose Party for one of their events in front of the Reeves Center. They usually distribute food and hygiene products to the community during their events. The sponsorship request was for $500 to cover the cost of hygiene products. The commission voted to approve the sponsorship.

Zoning, Preservation and Development Committee

1815 Eighth Street NW. Support for special exception zoning relief. The project is an addition with a proposed third floor and a rear addition that will extend past the rear wall of adjacent properties. The committee supported the request as long as adjacent property owners gave letters of support for the addition. A property owner to the north provided a letter, while the property to the south had an absentee owner who never responded. An owner of a nearby property gave his concerns about the addition. The committee chair suggested that the commission support the variance. A motion to support the special exception zoning relief passed.

1901-1911 Fifth Street NW. Parcel owned by Howard University. They are requesting zoning relief to allow the construction of offices. Currently the land is only zoned for residential use. Committee recommended supporting zoning relief. A motion to support passed.

Economic Development Committee

1617 U Street NW. The Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) wants to issue a Request for Proposals to dispose of the public property on the block bounded by U Street, 16th Street, V Street and 17th Street, currently occupied by a fire station and the Third District police station. The commission had a draft resolution in support of a zoning Map Amendment from the Office of Planning, rezoning the site from MU-4 to MU-10 to increase the density allowed.

Commissioner Kensek said that he looked forward to having affordable housing on the site, but since he could not get guarantees for facilities and building setbacks, he could not vote for the resolution. Commissioner Fields said that she also had concerns about the resolution and Commissioner Sycamore stated that he could not support it, as is. Commissioner Harris noted that the Map Amendment would automatically trigger the provisions of Inclusive Zoning +, which would require a large percentage of the housing units to be affordable. As a result, she was voting for the resolution.

A number of neighborhood residents, some who have lived in the area for decades, objected to the Map Amendment. Some questioned why the site had to be given to a developer. Couldn’t the District develop the site itself without having to adjust to the whims of a profit-making business? There was also the belief that upzoning to an MU-10 site would overwhelm the area.

The DC Zoning Commission Board will address the issue on June 24. An amendment to the resolution was proposed that asked for a study of the displacement in the neighborhood that could be caused by a large project on the site. The amended resolution passed 7-1-1.

Transportation Committee

The committee presented two resolutions to the commission. The first was in support of more bus shelters. The second was a resolution to oppose the reductions in service proposed for the Circulator bus and the Metro yellow line north of Mount Vernon station. Both motions passed.

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation (ABR) Committee

Commissioner Holihan, the committee chair, presented four settlement agreements which were approved en bloc by the commission:

  • Pho House (634 Florida Avenue NW)
  • Wet Dog (2100 Vermont Avenue NW)
  • Andy’s Pizza (808 V Street NW)
  • Red Lounge and Hookah (2013 14th Street NW)

Gramophone, 647 Florida Avenue NW. License renewal. The committee recommended filing a protest, given the concern of neighbors about noise. A motion to protest the license passed.

New Business

Mirror Lounge, 1920 Ninth Street NW. Commissioner Houlihan found that there was a fifth settlement agreement to be approved by the commission. A motion to approve passed.

Commissioner Sycamore asked to be permitted to change his vote on the 1617 U Street Map Amendment from an abstention to a No vote. The commission allowed the change.

ANC 1B will hold its next meeting on Thursday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. Visit www.anc1b.org for more information.