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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

A Quiet Sunday in Dupont, Emergency Rulemaking, and More…

Neighbors-

I hope you are staying healthy, and if able, staying at home. I wanted to provide an update on a few items, expand on a couple others, and share some of the pieces I have been reading.

Emergency Rulemaking Regarding COVID-19
Today, Mayor Bowser clarified emergency rulemaking as it applies to restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, and multi-purpose facilities.

To comply with DC Health’s prohibition of mass gatherings and achieve the public health goals of social distancing, restaurants and taverns shall:

  • Ensure that no more two hundred and fifty (250) people are present in the space at the same time
  • Suspend the use of bar seating
  • Suspend service to standing patrons
  • Limit individual table seating to six (6) persons or less
  • Ensure that tables (including booths) that are occupied by patrons are separated by at least six (6) feet of distance

Also be mindful that all Department of Public Works facilities, similar to all non-essential agency events, gatherings, and meetings, are closed until March 31

(And to whomever was golfing in Stead Park this morning – just because there are closures – please do not do that!)

More information at coronavirus.dc.gov.

What I’ve Been Reading
I know there has been no shortage of COVID-19 stories out there. Here are four I recommend:


Washington Post: Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” – a
set of visualizations that use variables that change every time the page loads, describing how COVID-19 may spread with various societal changes.

DCist: Local Campaigning Is All About Shaking Hands And Knocking On Doors. But Now, That’s Changing – a focus on Ward 2 campaigns and the decisions that were made on Thursday and Friday. 

The Atlantic: The Dos and Don’ts of ‘Social Distancing’ – one of the best pieces I’ve read on trying to gauge what is and is not appropriate, hearing from various types of experts, in the current crisis.

Washington City Paper: What’s Been Canceled in D.C.: An Updated List​ – the title speaks for itself, but the bottom line is if you don’t need to go, don’t.

ANC Meeting Cancellation and Future Meetings
I worked with other ANC commissioners to cancel Wednesday’s ANC 2B meeting shortly after the Mayor’s state of emergency and public health emergency announcement around 4 p.m. that day. This was actually a complicated situation for us at the time, as Wednesday’s recommendations were to postpone “non-essential mass gatherings, including conferences and conventions,” but the Mayor had not halted the processes and agencies that Advisory Neighborhood Commissions have great weight on. In other words, processes regarding alcohol licenses, public space permits, etc. were slated to continue as planned and by not having an ANC meeting, we could be effectively cutting out the neighborhood’s input. The Zoning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment, for example, didn’t decide to move their cases until Friday. I am going to remember Wednesday as the day things in D.C. quickly escalated from “serious” to “emergency” in a matter of hours and I believe we did the correct thing by cancelling our meeting. I’m aware of other ANCs in the District that still conduced meetings after Wednesday’s announcement, and respect their decision to hold theirs. 

Thankfully, we coincidentally had no zoning or historic preservation cases on our agenda, and the items before ABRA I anticipate we were likely going to take no action on (which is effectively an approval through omission… more on that later). Other items might be rescheduled to another meeting if the timing works out.

A suggestion I got from a few people was along the lines of having a meeting online but unfortunately it is not legal under the current law. In fact, even in normal circumstances, if a commissioner is sick or traveling, they cannot call in or be video conferenced into an in-person meeting and be considered present. But that may change…

Emergency Legislation
District Council Chair Phil Mendelson will be introducing emergency legislation next week that may work to seek relief for small businesses and workers, protections for renters, spare neighbors from evictions or utility cutoffs, and more, including letting Advisory Neighborhood Commissions meet remotely. While I, and many of you, have experience working remotely, using teleconferencing platforms, and while public video streaming on platforms like Periscope, Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook are relatively easy for consumers, conducting a virtual ANC meeting will have a serious set of challenges. These challenges include making sure the public is able to have input fairly and equitably, providing access to those who may have technology access challenges, and being completely accessible to those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. These are issues I will be working with the Office of ANC and our ANC Chair in the coming weeks prior to our April meeting, in the situation where we may need to conduct it remotely under the emergency legislation.

Electronic Games of Skill and Sports Wagering
“A game of skill or a mini slot machine?” asks WAMU. The Games of Skill Consumer Protection Emergency Amendment Act of 2019 (PDF) was signed into law on February 27, 2020, paving the way for the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) to allow “Electronic Games of Skill” in neighborhood restaurants and taverns. This is very similar to how Sports Wagering is regulated under the Sports Wagering Lottery Amendment Act of 2018 (PDF). Now that both Electronic Games of Skill and Sports Wagering are legal, businesses in the District can have it by changing their license.

My personal point of view is that I am generally against Electronic Games of Skill, Sports Wagering, as well as the lottery and most gambling in fact. I understand that my personal point of view is not aligned with many, and thank you to those who have reached out to me on both sides of this. I also understand and respect that this is now the law. If we were to consider trying to restrict these activities in our neighborhood, ABRA allows us to protest licenses for establishments based off three appropriateness standards: 

  • The effect of the establishment on real property values
  • The effect of the establishment on peace, order, and quiet
  • The effect of the establishment upon residential parking needs and vehicular and pedestrian safety

It is difficult to make a case that some of the bars and clubs in the neighborhood will be altered under one of those appropriateness standards if they add Electronic Games of Skill or Sports Wagering. In other words, this is an annoying thing to have before this ANC in general as for those who are opposed to it, it is basically to trying to telling a bar they can still do something that’s legal (sell alcohol) but not do something else that’s also legal (have games or wagering), but not having an appropriateness standard to protest it with. This is different than having an entertainment endorsement on a license, for example, where we could arguably say it could have an impact on peace, order and quiet.

I will be monitoring how this plays out in the coming months, and if the impacts are negative, I will be looking at how this can be regulated differently or disallowed at the Council of D.C. level as the tools available to the ANC in this case are egregiously limited in my opinion.

Corcoran and 17th Street NW
A number of neighbors (and the Washington City Paper) inquired with me about the encampment cleanup scheduled a few days ago. I have been in touch with DMHHS and a contact at the mayor’s office and will know more later in the week. Miriam’s Kitchen, one of the organizations partnered with the District of Columbia on efforts to end chronic homelessness, has set up a fundraiser to ramp up efforts in respond to COVID-19.

Keep in touch. Stay healthy everyone.

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

A brief ANC agenda, Q Street to be closed, upcoming elections, and more…

Neighbors-

Tomorrow’s ANC meeting (PDF Agenda) has a light agenda. Mikko, an establishment widely supported by neighbors, is planning on changing their hours of operations to those similar to neighboring businesses (and aligned with ANC 2B guidelines). Some establishments are going through the process to implement electronic games of skill and sports wagering, there are a few minor public space applications, and there are a few proposed resolutions that build upon on earlier work from the commission. If you have any questions or feedback about any item on the agenda, as always, please let me know.

COVID-19
The District government has set up a website for information regarding the novel coronavirus, COVID-19: coronavirus.dc.gov. This is the primary site I use to get the latest official information as it pertains to D.C.

1615 Q St NW

On March 28, 2020, the 1600 Block of Q St NW will be closed. There will be work to set up a mobile crane beginning at 1 a.m. to then install a cooling system replacement for the Cairo at 1615 Q St NW. I have been assured that noise will be kept as minimal as possible overnight, although realistically, I understand there will be people working in the street through the early morning to set up for the workday. The north side of block will also have the sidewalk closed, so this will impact residents at the Cairo as well as neighbors in 1625 Q St NW and 1633 Q St NW.

Ward 2 Council: Upcoming Primary and Special Election
We in Ward 2 currently do not have a council member due to the resignation of Jack Evans. I am thankful Council Chair Phil Mendelson’s office has taken on Evans’ constituent services liaison, so we still have a contact at the council who is dedicated to Ward 2 issues until we have a permanent council member this summer. Here are important dates to mark:

  • June 2, 2020: Primary election. Those registered as Democrats in their voter registration will be able to vote in the Democratic presidential primary as well as the Ward 2 council Democratic primary. Those registered as Republicans or another party will vote in the primary for the corresponding party. As it is very likely that the Democrat running for Ward 2 council will win the general election in November, in many ways this is the de facto election to choose our next council member for 2021.
  • June 16, 2020: Special election. This election is open to all registered voters to determine the replacement council member for the rest of 2020. 

I recommend checking your voter registration with the D.C. Board of Elections.

16th Street NW

Last month I was on WUSA 9 with Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau regarding the the 16th Street NW Bus Lanes Project. During rush hour, over half of the people using 16th Street are in a bus, but busses account for only 3% of the vehicle traffic. The dedicated bus lanes would work to make busses travel more efficiently and create a more attractive compared to bringing cars into our neighborhood. It has been a project planned for many years, something I have been asked about for years, and I’m thankful it is finally coming to fruition this summer. I also attended a recent meeting with a group of neighbors opposing parking being removed on 16th Street, and I have been receiving feedback from all angles regarding this project. I’m making sure feedback is being brought to the right departments to see how possible externalities can be best mitigated.

17th and Corcoran Sts NW
I am continuing to communicate with the Mayor’s office, the Department of Human Services (DHS), and the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS) regarding the encampments on 17th and Corcoran. The latest from DMHHS: “Between DHS, DMHHS, and Miriam’s Kitchen, this site was visited roughly 4 times per week for the month of February. The residents are certainly being engaged and are being offered services. We have a scheduled cleanup engagement at this site for Thursday, 3/12, around 11 a.m.” I understand this situation is complicated and I am continuing to connect neighbors with government where I am able to.

Thanks for reading. Send me a note if you’d like to chat about anything!

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Amending the Comprehensive Plan, New 🍕 Pizza, Dupont Resource Guide, Ward 2 Candidate Forum, Change at Mikko, and More…

Neighbors-

Hope your 2020 is off to a great start! The next ANC 2B meeting is Wednesday, February 12th at 7:00 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Room 500 (Agenda PDF).

Amending the D.C. Comprehensive Plan

Thank you to those who contacted me and other commissioners over the last couple months regarding the proposed amendments to the D.C. Comprehensive Plan. To recap from a prior newsletter, and the Office of Planning’s overview (PDF), The Comprehensive Plan “is a high-level guiding document that sets a positive, long-term vision for the District, through the lens of its physical growth and change.” The ANC 2B has been engaged with this process since 2016, and has formally provided input in January 2017May 2017, and February 2018. Feedback provided to ANC commissioners from neighbors and neighborhood organizations over the last few months have been compiled and consolidated into a draft motion that will be discussed at our next ANC 2B meeting on Wednesday, February 12. This builds upon the work of the ANC 2B has done to date. If you have any further questions or suggestions for this draft, please give me a ring or send me a note! Again, thank you to all of you who have provided me feedback on this.

1801 18th St NW – Pupatella

At the location of Rosemary’s Thyme Bistro, Washingtonian’s Anna Spiegel confirms rumors of Pupatella moving in. I frequent the original Pupatella location near Ballston (which was recently named one of the top 10 pizzas in the region by the Washington Post), and have visited their location in Richmond. I’m exited for the pizza as well as the space to be revitalized. They are targeting an opening this spring.

Dupont Circle Resource Guide and Comprehensive Street Outreach Network

By request of many neighbors, the Mayor’s office, the Department of Humans Services, and the Department of Behavioral Health have released two brief resources: the Dupont Circle Area Resource Guide (PDF)  and the Comprehensive Street Outreach Network fact sheet (PDF). These resources are an overview of many of the questions I receive on who to call and which agency is responsible in various scenarios, as well as outlining the outreach network that exists for those experiencing chronic homelessness. In our neighborhood, Miriam’s Kitchen has an outreach team and in my strong opinion are worth supporting.

Alice Carter
As most of you know, Alice Carter who lived with chronic homelessness on 17th and Corcoran passed away in late December. Washington Blade’s Lou Chibbaro Jr. digs into some of the broader issues surrounding Alice’s condition and death, and highlights the severity of gaps in our systems to properly respond to those suffering from addiction and experiencing homelessness on our streets. It is an important read.

Ward 2 Candidate Forum – Tonight!
The Sierra Club is hosting a Ward 2 Candidate Forum on Environmental Issues tonight at the Edlavitch Jewish Community Center, with most of the candidates running to be our next councilmember. I will be attending. Say hi if you see me! If you miss this one, there will be another hosted by the LCCA and DCCA on March 5.

1636 R St NW – Mikko

One of my favorite places to visit in the neighborhood, Mikko, is seeking a change to their license to serve at hours comparable with neighboring restaurants. After discussions with me, other commissioners, and neighbors, they decided to abide by Dupont Circle ANC 2B’s Policy and Procedures Manual which has guidelines for sidewalk cafés. The change will allow them to serve outdoors until 11 p.m. on most days and to midnight on Friday and Saturday. The feedback I have received about Mikko has been overwhelmingly positive and I think they have been fantastic and cooperative neighbors to have. If you have any thoughts about Mikko’s change of license or want more information, please let me know. I would expect to see placards on the building in the coming days with more details. This will likely be on our ANC 2B agenda in March.

1601 Massachusetts Ave NW – Embassy of Australia
The Australian embassy is seeking some minor changes to their ongoing renovations, which will be heard by the ANC 2B this month. Details here.

1315 16th Street NW – Rogue Hotel
The Rogue Hotel is seeking an extension to a zoning adjustment order that was previously granted. The ANC 2B will be briefed and I anticipate unanimous support. Details here.

1737-1741 N Street NW – Tabard Inn
The Tabard Inn applied to be a historic landmark. The application has been professionally prepared and I have not heard any opposition, especially as it is the ownership of the building who are seeking the designation. We will hear an overview by the ANC 2B this month.

As always, keep in touch! I have been working in coffee and lunch meetings with neighbors, so if you’d like to sit down and chat, I am happy to do that! Nonetheless, shoot me a note with what’s on your mind!

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Happy Holidays, Street Sweeping, and the Cairo on WAMU

Neighbor-

First, some sad news: if you hadn’t heard already, Alice Carter, who most of us either know or recognize living on 17th and Corcoran, died last week. Homelessness in our neighborhood has been brought up repeatedly in the last few months, and Alice’s death strikes at the severity of our growing needs for shelter, housing, and LGBTQ services. I’m continuing to work with the Mayor’s office, other Commissioners, and other agencies in support of connecting those experiencing homelessness with services the District provides. This story was covered in the Washington Post and Washington Blade. This season I have donated to Miriam’s Kitchen, a local organization dedicated to ending chronic homelessness.

1615 Q St NW

The Cairo was featured in a story on WAMU on the District’s height restriction and the cost of housing. A 19-minute version of the story was also an episode of the What’s With Washington podcast. A good recap of the Height of Buildings Act as well as some expert perspectives on the future.

Street Sweeping Timing

A neighbor asked why street sweeping streets run from March until October, when the need for sweeping seemed to be about a month off; April to November, perhaps, might make more sense. Director of Public Works (DPW) Director Geldart tells me, “one thing to take into account is that from November through January we do leaf collection throughout the city. For every street we do two passes which includes leaf removal and street sweeping.” So even if street sweeping isn’t weekly, every street in the District gets swept twice. Further, “the drivers assigned to the sweeper program are also assigned to the leaf season program. We also found out that the sweepers really don’t work well when we have a lot of leaves at the curb side. The vac systems works best.”

Do You Want More Street Sweeping Streets?

A few neighbors inquired on turning 15th Street and 17th Streets into street sweeping streets to encourage better turnover of parking spaces for residents, prevent the street from being used as long-term vehicle storage, and to keep the streets cleaner. The process includes a major hurdle: signatures from 80% of residents along the street where street sweeping is proposed. This is something I strongly support, and would willing to help lead, although if I get feedback that this might not be supported by a number of our neighbors, I’ll listen and will not strongly pursue it. The full version of the petition and instructions are here. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or would be willing to help gather signatures.

Micromobility Corrals

Following up on a prior newsletter, at our last ANC 2B meeting, we supported the micromobility corral proposed by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in front of 1928 17th St NW. As for the proposed corral opposite 1755 Q St NW, other commissioners and I received mixed feedback and we requested to have a month delay on responding. There is overall agreement that the visibility of the driveway across from 1755 Q St NW is dangerous and the removal of a parking spot makes sense for safety and better visibility of oncoming traffic. However, there is disagreement among neighbors if it is the best location for a micromobility corral. A prevailing idea brought to us is to have a micromobility corral at the corner over 18th and Q instead, which would better support Imperial House and other buildings closer to that intersection. For the area across from 1755 Q St NW, the recommendation then would be to simply remove the parking spot and not having a corral there, simply for safety. This will likely be on our agenda in January.

Happy Holidays

I’m thankful to serve you on the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, and I’m grateful for all of the feedback, questions, and comments you’ve given me this year. Thank you. Whether you’re spending this time with family, friends, traveling, or savoring solitude during this peaceful time, I wish you the best and look forward to 2020. Keep in touch!

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

New Micromobility Corrals, the Comprehensive Plan, a Filming, and a lot more…

Neighbors-

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. 

The next meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission is Wednesday, December 11, 7:00 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Room 500 (Agenda PDF). 

17th and Corcoran Sts NW

I’ve been working with the Mayor’s office regarding the encampments on the corner of 17th and Corcoran Streets. DHS has scheduled an encampment cleanup on December 12, and I’ve attached an Encampment Protocol Engagement FAQ, which I recommend to all neighbors curious about encampments. There are groups working to reach out to neighbors experiencing homelessness to connect them with services and shelter, and I’m continuing conversations on this topic as winter approaches. Related: Street Sense Media hosted a forum in NoMa about encampments, which the City Paper covered last week.

1726 20th Street NW
For those who miss Filter, which used to be at 1726 20th Street NW, I’m happy to see Emissary will be taking the space. In addition to being a coffee shop they also provide cocktails and local beer, so they are applying for an ABRA license: “A community-centric coffeehouse serving tea, espresso drinks, pastries, baked goods, and prepackaged food items in a casual setting. The licensee is also requesting an entertainment endorsement indoors only to provide live entertainment. Total occupancy load is 31 with seating for 10 inside the premises and 6 seats on the summer garden.” As this specific location historically has not served alcohol, I look forward to hearing more about how similar or different they will operate 1726 20th Street compared to their P Street location.

1832 15th St NW

Last Wednesday, the owners of 1832 15th St NW met with the Zoning, Preservation, and Development (ZPD) Committee and neighbors regarding a special exception to add another floor to their garage and to extend 13.25 feet back from their existing home. The ANC 2B last year supported a similar special exception a couple doors down and there are other properties on the block that have extensions and second floors on their garages. This property, however, has received an unusually high amount of testimony. The ZPD Committee agreed there was no issue with the proposed addition to the accessory dwelling unit, and ultimately wanted to see a revised shadow study based on the latest plans to show that the proposed changes are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the zoning regulations and maps, and shows it will not tend to affect the use of neighboring property adversely. We intend on seeing this by Monday evening, prior to our meeting on Wednesday.

1700 Block Q St NW and 1928 17th St NW
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning to install two more in-street micromobility corrals in our neighborhood. These are on-street locations with space for bicycles and scooters in efforts to reclaim more sidewalk space. Many times they are placed at intersections in effort to create better sight lines and visibility for motorists as well. Two examples you may be familiar with are in front of the bike shop on Q St NW near 14th, and a newer one on Q and 20th. The two new locations proposed (rough highlighting mine):
Opposite 1755 Q St NW (Between Dupont East and Imperial House)

1928 17th St NW (In Front of Three Fifty Bakery & Coffee Bar)

As the ANC 2B has made multiple requests to have more this kind of infrastructure, especially as many neighbors want scooters off of sidewalks. I anticipate we will be supportive of DDOT to get these built.

Comprehensive Plan

The Comprehensive Plan, the “high-level guiding document that sets a positive, long-term vision for the District, through the lens of its physical growth and change,” has been going through an amendment process that started in 2016. The ANC 2B over the years have had meetings on this topic and passed three resolutions (Jan 2017May 2017Feb 2018). In October of this year, we were informed the ANC 2B’s recommendations are being recommended for adoption. We’re in the middle of a 3.5 month final feedback window, ending at the end of January 2020, to provide additional language changes and further recommendations. Commissioners on ANC 2B have been receiving feedback, and I have been attending public meetings as well as meeting directly with the Council and the Office of Planning on the Comprehensive Plan. If you have any feedback, suggestions, our would like to know more information, please let me know in the next couple weeks.

Filming: New Hampshire Ave at 18th, Q, Corcoran, and R Streets

On December 18 or 19, depending on weather, some streets will be closed starting at 6:30 p.m. for filming a scene for “Without Remorse,” a film based off the Tom Clancy novel of the same name. See the above map.

Sustainability Guide for Older and Historic Buildings

The D.C. Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and the Historic Preservation Office (HPO) created a new draft Sustainability Guide. Topics include walls, windows, doors, and adding solar and green roofs, and a lot more.

1412 Q St NW – The Bike Rack
Sadly, last weekend, the Bike Rack near the corner of 14th and Q St NW, closed, but it’ll remain a bike shop: Conte’s Bike Shop is taking over the space going into 2020.

15 Dupont Circle NW
Ampeer Residences, also known as the Patterson House, which will be in our agenda in January, was in Urban Turf regarding their proposed conversion. “The project’s owners have filed for a modification which would convert the use of 31 of the market rate units from residential to lodging, effectively operating part of the building as a hotel.” I’m actively learning more about this proposed conversion, and I appreciate the feedback I have received thus far.

1615 Q St NW

I hosted WAMU’s Martin Austermuhle and George Washington University’s Christopher Leinberger on the roof of the Cairo to discuss the Height of Buildings Act, which the Cairo inspired. With recent discussions on housing needs and density in the District, the topic of the height restriction will be part of What’s With Washington series, likely airing and online next Tuesday.

Washington Area Bus Transformation Project
The Washington Area Bus Transformation Project posted their Action Plan (Executive Summary PDF) earlier today. Specific to our neighborhood, the “16th Street bus lanes are expected to be implemented in 2020. DDOT is launching a Bus Priority Program Fall 2019/Winter 2020.” Information specific to the 16th Street NW Bus Lanes Project is at 16thstreetnwbus.com.

Thanks again for reading! If you have any feedback or opinions about any of these items, please let me know. If you’d like to see archived newsletters or to share this with a neighbor, please visit tinyletter.com/s4xton.

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

New pedestrian changes, alley fixes, rat tips, and more…

Neighbor-

The next ANC 2B Meeting is November 13 at 7:00 p.m.View the agenda here (PDF).

It has been an exciting few weeks! Recently I was able to join Mayor Bowser in a walk through the neighborhood. The walk included delegation of staff members and District department heads to see issues and progress on a block by block level.

It was a good opportunity to extend beyond the normal chain of command and speak direct to people in charge about what neighbors have been inquiring about.

17th and Corcoran Streets NW

In the last few weeks, the District has performed an “encampment cleanup” and has since followed-up with those living on 17th and Corcoran Streets NW. If you walk near that intersection, you likely have noticed a couple of changes, but in some ways things have reverted to how they were a month ago. To reiterate from prior emails, most people I talk with respect the rights of people experiencing homelessness to use public space, but there is frustration with public drug use, defecation, and harassment of neighbors, restaurant patrons, and neighboring businesses. The latter, per multiple reports from 17th Street businesses, is still occurring as of last week. I have been in regular conversations with the Mayor’s office and there will be continued outreach to these neighbors to help connect them with services the District provides. I am anticipating an update from the Mayor’s office at our next ANC meeting Wednesday evening.

In the meantime, if you see activity that is not of an emergency nature that should be reported, call 311.

With cold weather returning, if you see someone experiencing homelessness and in danger of hypothermia, contact the Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093.

This intersection is not unique, and the Washington City Paper recently profiled exchanges regarding encampments in NoMa. I’m glad neighbors have been more civil in Dupont.

Rats

With the changing seasons, there’s a renewed focus on rodent control, especially as rats and other rodents seek winter shelter. DC Health has a list of tips, many of which boil down to making sure no garbage or food are outside in a manner rodents can get to. I have had good success working with the Department of Health’s Rodent Control Program, which performs inspections and abatement on site. You can call 311 to have this done. If you see issues with neighboring properties or businesses that might be contributing to a rodent problem, talk with them directly to see if it can be resolved. If you’re having difficulty with a neighbor or do not feel comfortable talking with them, feel free to let me know and I can reach out to them directly.

Sidebar: in this Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine, the Blue Collar Cats program was profiled. I have met with Humane Rescue Alliance about this program a few months ago. While I do not believe there are any cats planned to be added to our neighborhood, I’m glad there are a few cats that do patrol our streets and alleys for rats and mice! Thank you, neighbors, who help take care of them.

Zoning, Preservation, and Development Committee

As Chair of the ANC 2B’s Zoning, Preservation and Development Committee, there were no cases before us in November, but there are a couple zoning cases I am aware of that are coming up in December and January:

1832 15th Street NW
The owners of this single family row house are proposing to construct an addition in the rear of their property and add a second story to an existing detached garage to expand their living space. This project has already been approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board and are seeking a special exception with the Board of Zoning Adjustment to proceed. This case will be heard by our ZPD Committee on December 4 and the full ANC 2B on December 11.

15 Dupont Circle NW
Ampeer, also known as the Patterson House next to the Iraqi embassy on the corner of P St NW and the eastern side of Dupont Circle, is seeking a modification of significance for a special exception to allow lodging use with the mix of approximately two thirds residential and one third lodging. This case will be heard by the full ANC 2B on January 8 and our ZPD Committee prior to that TBA.

Please let me know if you have an opinion on either of these cases.

15th Street NW

Responding to requests from neighbors, the Department of Public Works conducted street sweeping on October 17 and November 7 along the 15th Street protected bike lane as well as the row of parking along it. Workers did much of this by hand as well as using leaf blowers to get under stored vehicles.

1500 Block Alley Between Corcoran and Q Streets NW

Workers are repairing the damage done by utility work on the alley between Corcoran and Q Streets NW. Previously the cut up alley was patched with asphalt and I’m thankful it is being restored.

Leading Pedestrian Intervals

Pedestrian walk signals are improving across the District with Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs). LPIs are where a signal is given for those walking a few seconds before a green light to cars to provide a head start and priority, per DDOT, improving “pedestrian visibility by establishing a presence in the crosswalk before turning vehicles start moving.” DDOT published a map of the changes effective November 8, and will also:

  • Create 29 new pre-timed crossings, eliminating the need for pedestrians to push the “walk” button, bringing this feature to 98 percent of the intersections in the downtown network during high-demand hours;
  • Adjust signal timing to improve bicycle mobility along high-demand bike corridors such as R Street NW; 15th Street NW, and M Street NW;
  • Adjust late-night signal timing programs along specific corridors to discourage speeding;
  • Modify traffic signal sequences to reduce conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians at 14 intersections, including protecting right turns at three intersections along the 15th Street cycle track; and
  • Install two new exclusive pedestrian cycles at the intersections of 20th Street NW and Virginia Ave NW and Connecticut Ave NW and Desales Street NW.

16th and Q Streets NW

The “Little Library” on the northeast corner of 16th and Q has reemerged as one of the best book exchanges I’ve ever seen. Here’s some history in the Washington Post on its prior iteration. Go visit the new one!

P Street NW

I was honored to be a volunteer again for the Annual Little Goblins Parade, presented by Moms in Logan Circle and supported by Friends of Stead Park and a range of sponsors. A joy to see so many performers, kids, and parents taking over our streets for the afternoon. I’m looking forward to it next year!

All I have for now! Keep in touch!

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17th and Corcoran; a new Shop Made in DC, and more…

Hi Neighbor-

Hope your autumn is off to a good start!

17th and Corcoran Sts NW – Traffic Safety Assessment

Earlier this month, DDOT began a Traffic Safety Assessment for 17th and Corcoran Streets. While at times this is a fairly quiet intersection, in some situations it is very dangerous for pedestrians, dog walkers, bicyclists, motorists, and delivery drivers alike. The two main types of reports I’ve received are that some vehicles do not see the stop signs when there is low traffic, and when there is high traffic all lanes can be fully or partially blocked, forcing cars and bicycles to squeeze between parked vehicles. After the assessment, DDOT may apply simple fixes including but limited to more visible signage, lane delineation, and paint. If there are significant changes to the intersection proposed, the ANC 2B will be noticed to receive further input.

My take on this assessment as well as 17th Street overall is to ensure the safety of neighbors, increase the amount of pedestrian space, have protected space on the street for bicycles and scooters so they stay off the sidewalks, and to have a lot more loading and unloading space to support our neighborhood businesses which rely on large shipments, deliveries, and patrons being picked up and dropped off. 

Thank you to neighbors on Corcoran who helped get this Traffic Safety Assessment started. I anticipate more news on this in the coming months.

17th and Corcoran Sts NW – Encampment
I am continuing to work with the Mayor’s office, in concert with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services to address the growing encampment of neighbors on 17th and Corcoran Streets. Thank you to those of you have let me know about your thoughts, as well as keeping me informed of what you’ve seen. As a community, everyone who has spoken to me has been compassionate about wanting to make sure neighbors experiencing homelessness can be connected to resources that help. If someone is willing to receive shelter, the emergency shelter hotline is (202) 399-7093. As well, if you see a resident experiencing a psychiatric emergency, trauma, or substance abuse, the 24-hour Department of Behavior Health Community Response Team can be reached at (202) 673-6495. I am anticipating more information about this intersection in a few weeks.

15th Street NW – Street Sweeping

I’ve confirmed with the Department of Public Works that they’ve acknowledged requests to get 15th Street NW swept, although the timeframe for completion isn’t confirmed yet. The primary issue with street sweeping 15th Street is that without a curb, a different, more limited, type of vehicle needs to be used. The bike lane also needs to be swept. Another issue with 15th Street is that there are vehicles stored there long-term, which in addition to taking away active parking spaces from residents and visitors, contributes to sand, rocks, and other debris collecting. I am seeking better long-term solutions for this.

1600 Block of Q and Corcoran Sts NW – Alley Work

The alley work between Q and Corcoran Streets was completed ahead of schedule! Please let me know what you think, especially after we get a significant rain storm (maybe Wednesday?) as I’m anticipating better stormwater flow.

S Street NW Dog Park
The ANC 2B, in its October 2019 meeting, voted 7-0-0 to urge the Department of Parks and Recreation to repair and possibly replace the turf in the S Street Dog Park that is years past its warrantee. This is not a guarantee work will be done, but the start of a process to get this heavily-used park in better condition. 

Traffic Camera Program to DDOT
Earlier this month, the District’s automated traffic enforcement program (speed cameras, red light cameras, etc.) was transferred from MPD to DDOT. While this change is controversial to some, I am hopeful as I have more productive working relationships with DDOT in regards to street safety. Over the last year, I’ve cumulatively received requests for better speed and stoplight enforcement on every single street in our part of the neighborhood, and I’ll be working with DDOT in the coming weeks to see where automated enforcement might help.

1710 Connecticut Ave NW – Shop Made in DC
Shop Made in DC, supporting the D.C. maker community and the only store dedicated Made in DC products, formerly at 1330 19th St NW, is having a grand opening at their new location this weekend at 1710 Connecticut Ave NW. I am thankful for the Dupont Circle BID and the many others who worked to help keep this shop in Dupont!

1330 19th St NW – Swingers
The ANC 2B took no action (i.e. “no opposition”) on a new alcohol license for “Swingers,” a higher-end miniature golf concept with two locations in London, which will be taking the space of Buffalo Billiards and Shop Made in DC.

Another Perspective
The Chair of the ANC 2B, Daniel Warwick, began a newsletter in August, and features his perspectives and information on neighborhood issues. Warwick has been on the ANC longer than all but one sitting commissioner and I particularly recommend this newsletter for his experience and insight on matters. It’s a must-read if you’re interested in happenings on the west side of Connecticut Ave NW, where he resides. View the newsletter or sign up.

17th Street NW between P and R – High Heel Race

This year’s 17th Street High Heel Race is Tuesday, October 29. Even though the race doesn’t start until 9 p.m., people start gathering to see participants as early at 6 p.m. If you see me down there, please say hi!

Keep in touch! Let me know how things are!

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

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.

Thanks for reading! If you find this newsletter useful, perhaps a neighbor would too! Feel free to forward it, and if you received this forwarded to you, please sign up!

As always, keep in touch!

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ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

17th Street Festival, 16th Street Bus Lanes Project, Mopeds, Astoria, and 1637-1641 R Street

Hi neighbors-

I am honored to the named the new Chair of the ANC 2B’s Zoning, Planning, and Development (ZPD) Committee of the Commission. In accepting this role, I have the opportunity to help more neighbors with zoning, historic preservation, and other related cases. I see this role as a facilitator with neighbors, experts on the committee, other commissioners, and those seeking improvements and changes in the neighborhood to help guide projects on a path that fosters compatibility and cooperation with neighbors.

The 17th Street Festival is this Saturday! I encourage you to come to see the over 100 vendors, over 50 artists, live music, and to support our local merchants. I plan on being there for the entire festival from noon until 6 p.m. If you see me please stop to say hi!


The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) provided a brief statement on the years-in-the-planning 16th Street NW Bus Lanes Project. In part, “DDOT is scheduled to complete the 100% design plans at the end of 2019 and implementation to start in 2020.” The last public meeting I attended for this project was in July 2018 where drafts were shown, and I look forward to seeing more up-to-date plans for our part of 16th Street. More than half of people during rush hour on 16th Street are in a bus, and prioritizing busses aims to encourage more bus usage and to discourage more cars coming into our neighborhood. I’m excited about the work done to prioritize busses on H and I Streets this year, and am looking forward to it finally happening here. A sample of the plans between H Street and M Street are available with this link (PDF)

Revel launched shared mopeds in D.C. last weekend. While many are making comparisons to dockless scooters and bikes (including in this Washington Post editorial), I see these as a transportation option that will probably replace some car trips. They require a valid drivers license (which they verify), are driven along with car traffic, and are parked on the streets. They are not permitted on sidewalks and cannot use bike lanes – similar to the existing personally-owned mopeds in D.C. I took one for a spin if you’d like to see how they work, and Washingtonian has a list of ten things to know about them.

Astoria will receive a letter of support from the ANC 2B for their proposed sidewalk space, which includes outdoor seating for the restaurant with approximately six tables and an awning similar to neighboring establishments Agora and JR’s. This was voted on at our last meeting, and in alignment with the precedent set with other restaurants on 17th Street.

Work to restore 1637-1641 R St NW is continuing, with the most visible elements being the entry canopy, boxes on the 17th Street side, black metal exterior elements, and HVAC units on the roof, all of which were added to the building over time well after the building was originally built. The owner is working directly with the Historic Preservation Office and others with deep knowledge and documentation of the history of the building in this restoration. I’m looking forward to further progress, and the ANC 2B supported this work unanimously in our July meeting (PDF).

The next ANC 2B meeting will be on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Let me know what you think, and please let other neighbors know they can sign up for updates!

Thank you (and see you at the 17th Street Festival)!

Categories
ANC Newsletter s4xton.com

Repairs on 16th Street NW

Neighbors-

A few quick neighborhood items:

16th Street NW

I received a note just this week that “the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will begin sidewalk and bus pad repairs on 16th St NW from Irving Street to K Street NW on or about July 25.” They are targeting to be completed by August 5 and repair will be Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

At least one lane of traffic will be open in each direction. Traffic control devices will be in place.”

For now, no red paint and no dedicated bus lanes; just repair work. I’ll be paying attention to this closely.

1600 Block of Q Street

I received more information about the alley repair work to be done between Q and Corcoran Streets. DDOT is targeting to complete the work sometime before the end of the year. I also received clarification it will be the entire alley and the entrances, not a portion of it.

Kramerbooks

Washington Business Journal has a piece this week on the future of Kramerbooks on 1517 Connecticut Ave NW, including ownership seeking a new location. However, “the original Kramer’s isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The current term on the lease stretches to 2026, and there are another 20 years of options after that.”

Next ANC 2B Meeting

The next ANC 2B meeting will be on August 14 at 7:00 p.m. Location information forthcoming.

As always, let me know what you think! And please let other neighbors know about this newsletter!

Thanks,

Aaron Landry
Secretary, ANC 2B
Commissioner, SMD 2B04
612-747-2217
aaron@s4xton.com
2b04@anc.dc.gov
aaronlandry.com