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Sunday, April 14, 2024

ANC 1B Talks Public Safety, Zoning

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B held its monthly meeting Thursday Jan. 4. Commissioners Sabel Harris (1B08, Chair), Larry Handerhan (1B01, Vice Chair), Sean Holihan (1B02), Jamie Sycamore (1B03), Santiago Lakatos (1B04, Treasurer), Alan Kensek (1B05), Miguel Trindade Deramo (1B06), Ashleigh Fields (1B07) and Tucker Jones (1B09, Secretary) were in attendance. 

Presentation: Council member Robert White

Sean Cuddihy from the office of At-Large Councilmember Robert White came to the ANC to outline the council member’s recent work. This year Council member White has become chairman of the Committee on Housing, which also has responsibility for some social service agencies, such as the Department of Human Services, as well as the Office of ANCs. He noted that the committee has tried to put more money into Emergency Rental Housing Assistance and rapid rehousing programs than was originally in the mayor’s budget.

Cuddihy noted that a bill was introduced by Council member Janesse Lewis George to set up a new agency to build social housing in the District. Social Housing has been used in other world cities, starting with Austria, to provide reasonably priced housing. Lewis George’s bill would create a new agency to purchase land and construct new housing that would be owned by the District but managed by private firms.

The bill requires that newly built units have 30 percent devoted to low-income tenants and 30 percent to moderate income tenants, with the remaining 40 percent of units allowed to be market rate. The hope is that the market rate rents would subsidize the operations of the entire building. The experience of Montgomery County, which has just established a social housing program, indicates that the cost per unit is similar to that in the District from its Housing Production Trust Fund.

Something must be done to expand the effort to create more reasonably priced housing in the District, Cuddihy said. Median incomes in the District went up 25 percent over the past ten years, while rents rose 45 percent over the same period.

Election of Officers

The commission elected the following officers: Chair: Sabel Harris; Vice Chair: Larry Handerhan, Treasurer: Santiago Lakatos and Secretary: Miguel Trindade Deramo.

The Standard Operating Procedures of ANC 1B call for nominations for the leadership of ANC committees be done in a two-week period. Anyone can serve as a committee chair. Chairs are selected by a vote of the ANC in February.

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation (ABR) Committee

There was no committee meeting last month. Commissioner Jones asked if the committee would be responsible for licensing for cannabis establishments. The committee chair confirmed that it would.

Public Safety and Community Engagement Committee

Commissioner Fields started by posting the current Office of ANCs (OANC) rules for ANC sponsorships.

Fields said that she would like to hire a Neighborhood and Marketing intern. She would also start a mentorship program with Cardozo High School.

In terms of crime, Fields said that there was only one homicide last month. Most recorded crimes involved theft. Commissioner Handerhan noted that the homicide was in LeDroit Park. A community meeting would be held the following Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Zoning, Preservation and Development Committee

1332 T Street NW. Applying for a variance to build a second story addition abutting an alley that would not be an additional living space. The committee supported both the application for zoning relief and the plan going before the Historic Preservation Review Board. Motions to support both the zoning variance and HPRB submission passed the commission by a vote of 8 yeses, 0 nos and 0 abstentions.

931 S Street NW. Asking for a Board of Zoning Adjustment exception to put an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on top of a garage. The block has a number of ADU additions already. The committee supported the application. Support for the exception passed, 8-0-0.

Economic Development Committee

Lindsay Hicks, Executive Director of U Street Main Streets, gave an update on the organization’s activities. Their Holiday Market in December was successful. Salah Czapary, Director of the Mayor’s Office for Nightlife and Culture, is planning to speak with the owners of U Street establishments. 

A Zoning Commission hearing on the map amendment for 1617 U Street is scheduled for January 8 at 4:00 p.m. There is also a second hearing on January 18. The Office of Planning’s proposal for upzoning the site has been modified due to comments from the public. New setbacks to buildings on the site will now be required.

ANC 1B will hold its next meeting on Thursday, February 1, starting at 6:30 p.m. Plans are to hold this meeting as a virtual conference. Visit www.anc1b.org for more information.

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