Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B held its meeting for October on Thursday evening, October 5, 2023. Commissioners Sabel Harris (1B08, Chair), Larry Handerhan (1B01, Vice Chair), Sean Holihan (1B02), Jamie Sycamore (1B03), Santiago Lakatos (1B04, Treasurer), Alan Kensek (1B05), Ashleigh Fields (1B07) and Tucker Jones (1B09, Secretary) were in attendance.
Department of Energy and Environment Presentation
The ANC received a presentation from Jamie Donovan of the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) on the DC Energy Plan, which is trying to reduce the District’s production of greenhouse gases. A big part of the effort is to move from the use of natural gas to electricity as the primary source of energy.
He noted that gas stoves have proved to be a cause of asthma in children. He showed a map, illustrating the major gas line leaks in the District, which largely affected central DC and Capitol Hill. Donovan stated that DOEE believed that it would be more cost efficient to simply move to electricity as a source of power rather than spending money trying to repair aging gas lines. He also said that the District had one of the best programs to subsidize the move of low income homes to renewable sources of energy.
Public Safety and Community Engagement Committee
Commissioner Fields, the committee chair, started by noting that crime in the District had grown 38 percent compared to last year. Lieutenant Monahan of the Third Police District announced that the robbery suppression effort is now called the Violent Crime Initiative. The police have seen a decrease in violent crime since the initiative started. There is a police camera now operating at Ninth and Westminster Streets. The camera is not continuously monitored, but the footage will be used in investigations of incidents in the area.
Zoning, Preservation and Development Committee
1235 W Street NW. Project to turn a property into four one-bedroom residences. It is being done as a by-right project, but it still needs historic preservation relief. The committee found the project plans to be compatible with the historic district. Neighbors have sent in emails supporting the project. A motion to support the project passed, 5 in favor, 0 opposed and 1 abstention.
Economic Development Committee
The committee will host a community meeting on October 19 to discuss recommendations for the Request for Proposals that the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development will issue to develop the 1617 U Street NW site.
The committee asked the commission to approve a resolution on vacant and blighted properties. ANC 1A passed a resolution on the matter and requested that other ANCs also express their opinions on vacant properties. The proposed resolution for ANC 1B calls for a high-level task force to look at the problem. The resolution on vacant and blighted properties passed.
A student from Cardozo High School was hit by a car on 13th Street. The committee presented a resolution asking for additional safety measures at the intersection of 13th St. and Florida Ave. The resolution passed, 6-0-0.
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation (ABR) Committee
Voodoo, 1334 U Street NW. Application for a new license. The committee did not have a quorum so no vote was taken on the license support request. Some suggested that the ANC protest the license so that they could get a settlement agreement with the establishment. There is a trash issue in the alley. Commissioner Harris made a motion to protest the license, although she noted that she has worked with the proprietor before. The motion to protest passed, 5-0-1.
The committee will also have to deal with the effort to legalize the I-71 cannabis shops in the District. Their next meeting is on October 18.
The ANC will have to hold a special election to fill the vacant ANC 1B06 seat. The Board of Elections has certified three eligible candidates. The ANC will be assisted by the Office of ANCs in conducting the election. Commissioner Harris suggested Saturday, October 28 as a date for the vote.
The vote must be held at a physical location and voters have to come to the site to cast a ballot. The vote starts with a quorum of ANC commissioners opening the special meeting, although some of the commissioners can participate over Zoom. Voting must be open for four hours. The location of the election has yet to be determined.
A motion to hold the special election on Saturday, October 28 passed, 6-0-0. Harris reminded the commissioners that they had to be present to provide a quorum to open the meeting and to declare a winner after the vote.
Ward 1 Council member Update
David Connerty-Marin of Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau’s office gave an update on their activities. The Councilmember will meet with the Westminster Neighborhood Association next week to explain her plan for establishing performance pricing for parking on U Street and its use to support the community improvement district that she wants to set up for U Street businesses.
Nadeau supports the petition to establish an alcohol moratorium on the 1900 block of Ninth Street. She has requested that the Alcohol Beverage and Cannabis Administration not issue any new licenses on the block until it rules on the petition.
ANC 1B will hold its next meeting on Thursday, November 2, starting at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to try to hold this meeting as a hybrid physical/virtual conference. Visit www.anc1b.org for more information.