ANC 2G Talks Public Safety

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2G held its monthly meeting on November 9, 2023. Commission Chair Alex Padro (2G02) called the meeting to order. Commissioners Tony Brown (2G01, Treasurer), Sranda Watkins (2G03), Steven McCarty (2G04, Secretary), Sheena Berry (2G05) and Rachelle Nigro (2G06, Vice Chair) were in attendance. 

Third Police District Report

Officer Christopher Vandenberg of the Third Police District joined the meeting but did not have any information on crime statistics for the month.

Commissioner Watkins asked if the Third District was continuing Police Service Area walks with citizens. There had been previous walks with Lieutenant Romeo. She said that she has seen an improvement in public safety conditions in her neighborhood.

Commissioner Brown said that there had been a rash of rear break-ins on his block. He said the police promised to respond with more resources to the area. Commissioner Nigro said that there had been a problem with criminal activity in an alley in her district, but that it has calmed down. She asked to have a police foot patrol in her neighborhood. Vandenberg responded that there is a focused patrol in the area, but they can only spend 30 minutes per location because of staff shortages. He also noted that there was a problem with postal box keys being stolen twice from the 400 block of M Street NW.

Commissioner Berry asked for more information about the incidents at Giant, where windows were shot out. Vandenberg said that the investigation is now in the Detective’s office. Two police units are currently assigned to the area.

Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto

Bryan Romanowski reported on the work of Councilmember Brooke Pinto’s office. The Judiciary committee that she chairs is focused on her Secure DC effort to address public safety issues in the District.

The committee has held hearings on the efficacy of current violent interruption programs. There will be a hearing on November 29 to review the Mayor’s proposals for changes in DC law to address crime. The councilmember has also led safety walks in every ward, including Ward 2, to identify public safety issues on the streets.

Romanowski met with the Shaw KIPP school, along with DDOT, DPW and MPD, to see the situation when school let out. Currently, the periods of dropping off and picking up students at the school have a chaotic quality. KIPP and District agencies are trying to come up with methods to improve the situation. An additional raised crosswalk may be installed on P Street to enhance safety there.

S Street Revitalization Project

Abdullahi Mohammed, District Department of Transportation project manager, outlined the agency’s work on the S Street Revitalization Project. The project, which dates back to 2009, intends to improve the sidewalks and streetscape on S Street from Seventh to Fourth Street and the 1700 block of Sixth Street NW.

Construction on the project, which has already started, will widen sidewalks, make them ADA compliant, and add new tree boxes and lighting to the street. There will always be a lane open on S Street during construction in the spring and summer of 2024. Project plans include permanently closing the section of S Street between Florida and New Jersey Avenues in the winter of 2024. The project will be completed by April 2025.

Commissioner Padro asked about truck access to the US Post Office if a segment of S Street is closed. The response is that trucks can still get to it on Florida Avenue. Padro added that the community has been waiting for the restoration of the streetscape since the street was widened in the 1960s.

Zoning, Planning and Historic Preservation Committee

1706 Seventh Street NW. Support for a special exception application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment by Jake’s Tavern. The establishment wants to use the second floor of the building for events and customer overflow. This would require the construction of a new staircase at the back of the building, which would increase the lot occupancy of the building, which is already beyond what is currently allowed. Committee Chair Nigro said that the committee unanimously supported the exception. The ANC voted unanimously to support the zoning exception.

501 New York Avenue NW. Nigro announced that the Zoning Commission has accepted the appeal of the issuance of the building permits for the proposed new jail on New York Avenue. They will hear the appeal in February or March 2024. She asked the commission to designate her as the ANC’s representative for the appeal. A motion to make Nigro the commission’s representative passed unanimously.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)

1604 Seventh Street NW, Baan Mae. Request for a new liquor license. The establishment is a new Laotian restaurant in the location of a previous one. A settlement agreement was completed with the previous occupant, Hanumahn, now to be executed covering the new license. The request is also for a stipulated license. Support for the licenses passed unanimously.

1251 Ninth Street NW, Union Kitchen. License renewal with a tasting endorsement. The establishment has been open since 2017. Commissioner Padro mentioned that Union Kitchen’s investigative history included two violations in 2020 for no manager on duty and not posting its license. Commissioner McCarty asked about the number of Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board against the company by union organizers. The owner explained that the workers had organized to form a union, but later decertified it. McCarty asked how the enterprise could be operating as normal with the number of ULPs filed against it. The commission supported the renewal with a vote of 5 yes, 1 no.

ANC 2G will hold its next meeting on Thursday, December 14.  The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc2g.org for more information.