A Subdivision, Riggs Place, the DCJCC, Universalist National Memorial Church, and more…

Hi neighbor,

Thank you, everyone, who stopped by to say hello at the 17th Street Festival! I really enjoyed catching up with you, as well as meeting new neighbors.

The next ANC 2B Meeting will be Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m., 1717 Massachusetts Ave NW, Room 500. It’s a full agenda, and I’ve incorporated some of the items into my update below.

Alley between the 1600 Block of Q and Corcoran Sts NW

Following up from news in July, I received confirmation that the alley bound by the Q Street, 17th Street, Corcoran Street, and 16th Street will begin construction starting within the next couple weeks. Work is estimated to take two weeks, weather permitting. The entire alley will be re-done, including the entrances on Q and Cocorcan. This is a project we were able to get prioritized thanks to support from Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse, residents of the Cairo, the Mayor’s office, and our council member’s office.

1630 Riggs Place NW

The owner of 1630 Riggs Place hired esteemed architect Robert Gurney to design a canopy on the roof of a previously-approved rear addition to the building. One of the goals of the design is to respect a prior 2016 ruling by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) by making the structure separated from the rear façade, contrasting modern with historic. They are working closely with the Historic Preservation Office (HPO), adhering to the historic preservation guidelines, and are on the ANC 2B agenda for Wednesday.

1733 16th St NW

The Supreme Council is on our agenda for Wednesday, however it is simply regarding the subdivision of their lot that includes the Masonic Temple. As the HPRB already made a decision regarding the subdivision in the concept review in May of this year, it is somewhat duplicative work to approve the subdivision again. I had received advice that the ANC 2B did not need to chime in again, but as it is a noticed matter before the HPRB, we decided to put it on our agenda so the applicant can answer any further questions about the subdivision itself.

Edlavitch DCJCC

I was honored to be a guest at the reopening of the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center on Q and 16th Streets. We’re lucky to live within blocks of this stellar center for arts, culture, fitness, wellness, children, and the welfare of our community. I’m personally excited about the newly constructed Cafritz Hall, a state-of-the-art cinema space. See some of their upcoming events: JxJ.

17th and Corcoran Sts NW

Many have asked me recently about our neighbors experiencing homelessness on the corner of 17th and Corcoran. While everyone I talk with tends to respect the rights of people in public space, there have been some issues with illegal drug use, open defecation and urination, and harassment. I have been in preliminary discussions with the Department of Human Services and the Mayor’s office on what we as a community can do to help these neighbors in a situation that has taken a turn for the worse in the last couple months.

1727 S St NW

The owner of 1727 S St NW is proposing a rear addition and conversion to eight rental units. I worked with Commissioner Sampson to gather a meeting with approximately ten neighbors, the architect, builder, and owner to discuss the project. The overwhelming primary concern from neighbors was the change in density. While it is next to a 12-unit apartment complex on one side, the abutting neighbor and most of the block are rowhouses, generally not configured into multiple units, let alone eight of them. The concept abides by zoning requirements, and they are adhering to recommendations from the HPO – which does not rule on the number of units in the building. The case will be before the HPRB, so the ANC 2B plans to chime in on the project at Wednesday’s meeting. While there does not seem to be any major concerns from a strictly historic perspective, the owner has incorporated some of the requests from neighbors into his plans and has made a number of commitments regarding trash, parking, and lease terms, and other items beyond the scope of historic preservation in efforts to be a good neighbor.

16th and Corcoran Sts NW

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT), after a request made by a Corcoran Street neighbor and I, are conducting a Traffic Safety Assessment on 16th and Corcoran where pedestrian safety is impacted by fast-moving drivers who at times do not stop for pedestrians. Pylons that remind drivers to stop for pedestrians frequently get run over and destroyed. New pylons were installed on August 5 and one of them is already gone. They confirmed on August 21 they will replace it again, and they are seeking help from MPD to potentially have enhanced speed enforcement.

1461 S St NW

Zeta Phi Beta recently purchased this historic property, home to African-American poet and playwright Georgia Douglas Johnson, and has requested a zoning variance so part of the home can be used as an office for Zeta Phi Beta staff. While the conversion of housing to office space is generally opposed by neighbors, I have received very positive testimony about this specific case. I believe this is a special exception for an extraordinary organization with deep roots in the neighborhood and worthy of the variance.

1810 16th St NW

The Universalist National Memorial Church is seeking a zoning modification to accommodate more shows for the Spooky Action Theater. While neighbors I have heard from are generally supportive, there are concerns about the potential impact of additional cars in the neighborhood, especially as their vehicle parking is with a relationship with the Supreme Council and use the lot behind the Masonic Temple.

2401 Kalorama Rd

Bonus link: Just a short hike out of our ANC is the oldest house in D.C., built in 1754. It recently got a brief writeup in Architectural Digest.

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As always, keep in touch!

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