ANC 2G Talks S Street Revitalization Project

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2G held its monthly meeting on Dec. 14. Commission Chair Alexander M. “Alex” Padro (2G02) called the meeting to order. Commissioners Anthony “Tony” Brown (2G01, Treasurer), Sranda Watkins (2G03), Steven McCarty (2G04, Secretary), Sheena Berry (2G05) and Rachelle Nigro (2G06, Vice Chair) were in attendance. 

District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Liaison

Christophe Wassmer, the DDOT liaison to Ward 2, joined the meeting to outline current activities in the neighborhood and to identify new needs that the department should address. He displayed a map showing the Traffic Safety Inputs (TSIs) being worked on for the Shaw area.

Construction of the S Street Revitalization Project has started. There are weekly meetings on its progress that he attends. Wassmer also noted an issue with the reconstruction of sidewalks on the 500, 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Rhode Island Avenue NW. Since there could be heritage trees there, Urban Forestry will have to make recommendations before the sidewalks can be improved.

Commissioner Watkins asked about the installation of a crosswalk at Marion and P Streets NW. She wondered why TSI had no hawk signal or stop sign, as the ANC requested. Wassmer said that the DDOT recommendation only called for a crosswalk. If a hawk signal or stop sign is wanted, a new request would have to be made. He said that he could submit a new request himself.

Commissioner McCarty complained that it took DDOT a year to install handicap parking signs for a disabled veteran. McCarty also asked what could be done to stop delivery trucks from entering Blagden Alley.

Commissioner Padro noted that in a neighborhood walkthrough, he had pointed out pedestrian pylons that had been knocked down. He said that they have yet to be replaced. Wassmer responded that he was surprised that they had not been corrected. Padro also said that there were a number of Shaw Heritage Trail Signs that DDOT is responsible for maintaining that had fallen apart and have yet to be restored. Padro closed by reminding Wassmer that the ceremonial signs placed around the alleys of Wiltberger Street have not been moved to their correct locations.

Zoning and Development Committee

932 O Street NW. Request for a special exception from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) to increase lot occupancy to allow renovation. Commissioner Nigro said that the committee supported the request. A motion to support the BZA request passed by a vote of 6 yes, 0 no, 0 abstentions.

501 New York Avenue NW. Commissioner Nigro informed the commission that the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (OANC) was giving grants to ANCs to acquire legal expertise. The grants could be as large as $5,000. She needed the commission’s support for a grant to obtain legal counsel to assist with a zoning appeal of the permit for the DC Jail moving to 501 New York Avenue. A motion to support the grant application passed 6-0-0.

Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee (ABC)

1541 Seventh Street NW, Play DC Restaurant and Lounge. Approval of a new settlement agreement. Commissioner Padro explained that the establishment had presented problems to the neighborhood. It has a tavern license but operates as a nightclub. Neighbors had complained of noise and there had been a shooting inside the establishment.

Padro said that the settlement agreement included a requirement that Play DC participate in the District’s Reimbursable Detail Officer Program. Commissioner Nigro asked that given the establishment’s history, she wondered if they had really changed. A lawyer for Play DC noted that the agreement had a new security plan, including the wanding of patrons coming into the lounge.

Commissioner McCarty asked if the group of five protesting neighbors had supported the agreement. Padro responded that he had sent a copy of the settlement agreement to all of them, that the designated representatives agreed to sign the agreement, and they were told that ANC approval of the agreement would end their protest.

Padro made a motion to for the ANC to approve the settlement agreement. His motion did not get a second. Commissioner Watkins said that she would work with the neighbors around the establishment and help prepare for the commission’s protest hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Board.

Transportation and Public Space Advisory Committee

The committee presented four resolutions to DDOT for the commission’s approval.

400-500 Blocks of Rhode Island Avenue NW. Signs were set up along the median of Rhode Island Avenue on the 400-500 blocks to allow parking on Sundays for a church there. The church is no longer there, so the signs should be removed. A motion to remove the old parking signs passed unanimously.

512 Rhode Island Avenue NW. The vacant lot there is now occupied by the Electric Cool-Aid. There is a curb cut near the corner that is no longer being used. A motion to have the curb cut removed passed 6-0-0.

1400 Block of Fifth Street NW. A request to install speed bumps in the alley next to Bundy Field. There have been reports of cars speeding through the alley. A resolution to request that DDOT install speed bumps in the alley passed unanimously.

500 Block of S Street NW. Commissioner Padro explained that the block surrounded by Sixth Street, Florida Avenue, Fifth Street and S Street was once one of the earliest Black cemeteries in the District, dating back to 1829. The resolution calls for the block to be named Harmonium Square and the alley to be named Columbian Harmony Way. The resolution passed by a vote of 6-0-0.

ANC 2G will hold its next meeting on Thursday, January 11, 2024. 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.