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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

ANC 2G Talks Zoning and Transportation

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2G held its September meeting on Sept. 14. The meeting was held as a virtual conference. Commission Chair Alexander M. “Alex” Padro (2G02) called the meeting to order. Commissioners Anthony “Tony” Brown (2G01, treasurer), Sranda Watkins (2G03), Sheena Berry (2G05) and Rachelle Nigro (2G06, vice chair) were in attendance. 

Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services

Grace Reeder, the mayor’s community liaison to Ward 2, started by explaining the recent implementation of the mayor’s juvenile curfew effort. It is a pilot, focusing on specific areas of the District where juveniles violating the curfew will be picked up and sent to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services instead of a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) station, so that any family issues leading to the violation can be addressed.

A resident identified himself as the father of a recent victim of a homicide in Shaw. He complained that the mayor had yet to contact him and did not seem focused on addressing the rise in homicides in the District. He also noted that he had not been contacted by Ward 2 Council member Brooke Pinto.

Department of Public Works

Inspector Davis of the Department of Public Works (DPW) started his remarks by noting major dates on the DPW calendar. Because DPW services are seasonally based, 311 requests for alley cleaning and street cleaning end on Sept. 29. Weekly street sweeping by DPW ends on Oct. 31.

Nigro complained that some of her constituents, who had reported neighborhood incidents of illegal dumping, were now getting tickets from DPW even though they were not the culprits. Davis said that he would need to know the details before he could respond. Berry asked why flyers announcing ANC activities were taken off light poles. Davis stressed that regulations required all posted flyers had to be on private property. The only exception is for a brief period during election campaigns.

Events DC

Solana Vander Nat of Events DC reported on the major events at the Washington Convention Center in September. Nigro asked why three of the four red glass kiosks on the Ninth Street side of the center were still empty. Vander Nat replied that the businesses are having problems getting construction permits from the Department of Buildings.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)

1301 Ninth Street NW, The Urban Grape, a new establishment requesting support for a Class C Tavern license for a previously licensed Class A Retail Store. The Urban Grape, an award-winning minority-owned business, started in Boston, Massachusetts. Besides promoting minority winemakers, it has a career development program for students of color.

Padro asked why a retailer was applying for a tavern license. The Urban Grape representative replied that they wanted to offer more than a tasting license would allow. There will be a separate tasting room and a prep kitchen for charcuterie and snacks, but no tavern service. Tasting events would be held before closing at 9 p.m.

Padro said that he supported the license as long as the settlement agreement with the ANC is completed. Berry made a motion to support the license, which was approved unanimously.

Zoning and Development Committee

501 New York Ave. Appeal. Nigro reviewed the situation with the police station at 501 New York Ave. NW. The Department of Corrections (DOC) wanted to modify the station to serve as the location for the District’s holding cells while the MPD headquarters in the Daly Building was being renovated. Due to a lack of candor from the DOC, building permits for the modification had already been issued. This generated widespread opposition to the project from residents, businesses and ANC commissioners in Mount Vernon and Downtown.

Nigro hoped to appeal the issuance of the permits, which can be done within 60 days. She characterized the effort as a “Hail Mary” because the permit applications are still not publicly available. She believed that DOC misrepresented the size and scale of the project. Padro asked if the effort needed a lawyer. Nigro replied that it was too early to say yet. Padro did mention that the DOC made one concession to opponents, saying that no inmates would be released on New York Avenue. Nigro replied that DOC would probably not make good on this promise, doubting that prisoners would be driven somewhere else in town to be released.

The Zoning committee wrote a resolution to support the effort. A motion to support the resolution passed unanimously.

Transportation Advisory Committee

Berry introduced a proposal for a pedestrian crosswalk at the intersection of Marion and P streets. She noted that her predecessor, Alex Lopez, thought that a crosswalk was necessary to protect children coming from the Kennedy Recreation Center. The proposal was to have the crosswalk at the eastern side of the intersection.

Berry and Watkins knocked on doors to gauge opinion in the area. They found overwhelming support for a crosswalk but some concern about a loss of parking spaces. Watkins suggested that a crosswalk on the west side of the intersection would have a smaller impact on parking on the street.

Padro remarked that a crosswalk could improve safety at a dangerous intersection. A resident said that a crosswalk would also need stop signs to make it work. There was a suggestion that a hawk signal, like the one installed at Rhode Island Avenue and Eighth Street, would help secure the intersection. A motion was made to request a crosswalk on the west side of the intersection at Marion and P streets, with stop signs and a hawk signal. The motion passed unanimously.

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