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Friday, July 19, 2024

ANC 1B Discusses FY 25 Budget

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B held its meeting for May on Thursday May 1. Commissioners Sabel Harris (1B08, Chair), Larry Handerhan (1B01, Vice Chair), Frank Chauvin (1B02), Jamie Sycamore (1B03), Santiago Lakatos (1B04, Treasurer), Alan Kensek (1B05) and Ashleigh Fields (1B07) were in attendance. 

Presentation: DMPED

Nina Albert, the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, came to the ANC meeting to outline provisions of Mayor Bowser’s proposed Fiscal Year 2025 budget. She started by characterizing the state of the District as strong, with crime down, the population still growing and tourism increasing. Still, there was a problem with the lower assessed value in Downtown properties, which would eventually lead to lower tax revenues. Downtown has traditionally produced about 16 percent of the District’s tax revenue, so it needs to get some attention in the government’s investment of its dollars to stabilize its growth in the future.

Economic Development Committee

The commission considered a resolution from the Economic Development Committee on the disposition of 625 T Street NW, a triangular lot across from the Howard Theater. The resolution called for continued study of the feasibility of two proposals for the District-owned lot, one to put an electric car charging station there, the other to install a dog park. Commissioner Chauvin proposed an amendment to the resolution, calling for study of the dog park proposal only. Commissioner Harris objected to the amendment, saying that the space involved was less than Department of Parks and Recreation’s standards for dog parks and that there were already two dog parks within a mile of the lot.

The proponents for the development of the lot entered the discussion. An advocate for the charging station proposal noted that the resolution was the product of a three-hour committee meeting, arguing that the original wording be upheld. He also said that this resolution had to go to the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) by May 24. An advocate for the dog park also said he supported the language in the committee resolution.

A vote on the motion to amend the committee resolution failed in a vote of 1 yes, 6 no’s, no abstentions. A motion to send the original resolution to DMPED passed, 6-1-0.

Transportation Committee

The committee presented a resolution that summed up its position on aspects of the Mayor’s proposed FY 2025 budget. The resolution supported funding for public transportation and supported the hardening of current traffic barriers in ANC 1B. The commission passed the resolution in a vote of 7-0-0.

Alcoholic Beverage Regulation (ABR) Committee

Serve-U-Liquors, 1935 Ninth Street NW. Request for renewal of Class A retail license with a tasting endorsement. The committee supported renewal. Motion to support renewal passed, 7-0-0.

LA Liquors, 1905 Ninth Street NW. A Class A retail license renewal. The committee sought to protest the license in order to negotiate a settlement agreement with the establishment. A motion to protest passed, 6-0-1.

Crush Bar, 2007 14th Street NW. A tavern license transferred from the Owl Room. The committee said there was a need to update the establishment’s settlement agreement. A motion to support the tavern license, with updates to the settlement agreement, passed 7-0-0.

Thurst Lounge, 2204 14th Street NW. The committee wanted to protest the license of Thurst Lounge due to persistent noise complaints. The problem is that their license is not currently up for renewal. Commissioner Harris suggested that the commission write a letter to the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Administration (ABCA) about the noise problem. A motion to write a letter of complaint to ABCA passed 6-0-0.

Best Way Liquors, 2011 14th Street NW. The committee wanted to protest the renewal of the establishment’s Class A retail license. They objected to the store opening early and attracting loiterers with substance abuse problems. The license renewal application asked to open even earlier in the day. The commission voted to protest the renewal in a 3-1-1 vote.

Howard Theater, 620 T Street NW. Request to get a substantial change to an existing retailers’ CX multipurpose facility license. They are expanding their occupancy. They are proposing to add 402 chairs on the first floor and 198 on the balcony, bringing the total number of seats to 1,214. The committee made a number of friendly amendments to the settlement agreement with the Howard. A motion to support their application passed, 6-0-0. 

Public Safety and Community Engagement Committee

The committee got one request for sponsorship from U Street Main Streets. The request is for $3,000 to support their work on the Art All Night festival in September. Commissioner Lakatos made a friendly amendment to add the words “pending OANC review” to the motion. The motion passed, 7-0-0.

Commissioner Fields also proposed that the ANC give scholarships for high school and college students in the neighborhood. Commissioners Harris and Lakatos suggested going to the Office of ANCs to get further guidance on the rules for giving educational scholarships.

Commissioner Fields also suggested a grant to allow the ANC to distribute hygienic supplies to some of the unhoused people at Seventh and T Streets. Commissioner Lakatos said the proposal violated OANC rules for grants, although ANCs did receive a dispensation for such distributions during the COVID crisis.

Zoning, Preservation and Development Committee

2023 11th Street NW. Historic preservation review of proposed addition to the back of an existing townhouse. The committee supported the addition with the caveat that the siding material on one side of the addition be changed. The commission supported submitting the committee’s resolution to the Historic Preservation Review Board in a 5-0-0 vote.

ANC 1B will hold its next meeting on Thursday, June 6, 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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