City Paper Widget

Thursday, September 10, 2015

ANC 2B Meet the Candidates!

Two candidates for ANC2B07 Vacant Seat
ANC 2B 9/9/15
At Wednesday night’s ANC 2B meeting, Chair Noah Smith introduced the candidates for 2B07 Commissioner election taking place October 14th to fill the seat vacated by Former Commissioner Justine Underhill, who relocated to New York.
Holly Billow made reference to the St. Thomas Church project, a hot-button issue for 2B07, while John Kupcinski gave an overview of his background:
Video Clip:
The election will be held during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of ANC 2B on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 from 7:15 pm to 9:00 pm at the Brookings Institution at 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW.

Who’s eligible to vote? Registered voters of ANC2B07 only.  Potential voters must present themselves at the polling place and must have either a BOEE voter identification card showing that they are registered to vote in SMD 2B07 or be listed as a voter in SMD 2B07 on the voter registration list provided by the Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE).


Perfect Pitch From Owners of 1315 22nd Street

A primer on how to get your renovation project enthusiastically approved by the ANC.

Wednesday September 9 2015 ANC 2B

The homeowners of 1315 22nd Street NW presented their renovation project with such detail, clarity and charm that the Commission not only approved 6-0-0, Chair Noah Smith complimented the couple on their writing and presentation skills. Watch and Learn:

[Video Clip]

Planning to present your own renovation project to the ANC? Take notes!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Naylor Stables LLC: “…the Community is going to freak out when they hear about this.”

That was the statement by Charlie Bengel (District 06) at ANC 2F's September 2nd meeting when a discussion about Naylor Stables LLC’s proposal for a new Class-C Tavern revealed its seating capacity.

Kate Gordon ANC 2F District 01 Video Clip:

Though representatives for Naylor Stables LLC were not present and may not have been aware of their spot on the night’s agenda, Gordon made a motion to protest Naylor Stables LLC’s request on the basis of “the effect of the establishment on peace order and quiet, including the noise and litter provisions, the effect of the establishment on real property values, and the effect of the establishment upon residential parking needs and vehicular pedestrian safety.”

All were in favor, none opposed. 

A hearing on the project with Naylor Stables LLC will take place at 5 Thomas Circle NW on September 16th at 7PM. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Short Articles About Long Meetings

will resume under new ownership this September with a new look, covering ANCs 1B, 2B, 2F and 6E.

Thanks to David McAuley for entrusting us with a great blog.
Have a great time in Viet Nam, David, and let us know how we're doing!

The Isaacs Team LLC
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
1606 17th Street NW DC 20009

Monday, April 13, 2015

Short Articles about Long Meetings Ceases Publication

This is the last post on the blog Short Articles about Long Meetings.

I am moving out of the DC area because my wife, an American diplomat, will take up an assignment this summer at the US Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Thanks to the people and publications who have complemented and linked to my writing.

I have mentioned to a few people that I will be winding up the blog. Some have suggested that I find someone else to continue it. I have not conducted an organized search for a successor, and no one has stepped forward and indicated a desire to write about Advisory Neighborhood Commissions in the way that I do.

I enjoyed doing this, but unsurprisingly found there is no money in it.

If anyone wishes to take ANCs up as a topic, I have no intellectual property claim on the style and method of this blog. All you have to do is to go to the long meetings and write down what people say.

Friday, April 10, 2015

479 Ridge Street: "Any Change Is a Huge Deal"

Some homeowners on Ridge Street NW do not want any houses on their block expanding.

(Google Street View)
That's the message the homeowners of 479 Ridge Street got when they presented a proposal to Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw on April 7. The homeowners sought ANC endorsement on the project before they presented the concept for a three-story rear addition to their two-story house to DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). The project requires HPRB approval because it is located in the Mount Vernon Square Historic District.

An architect and the homeowners presented to the ANC. They said the rear addition would not be visible from the street. They wanted a staircase off the back of the present building to lead up to a master bedroom suite. The homeowners plan to live in the house.

The proposed addition would bring the height of the building up to 27 feet -- below the 35 feet the homeowners are allowed "by right" under zoning regulations. Similarly, after the proposed renovations, the house would be under 60% lot occupancy, meaning, the footprint of the house would not require zoning relief.

Commissioner Rachelle Nigro (district 04) said she had to oppose the request "because of the possibility it can be seen from the street". 479 Ridge Street is in Nigro's ANC district.

Nigro said she had spoken to or received emails from five Ridge Street residents in favor of the project, and eight against. The people in favor of the project, she said, were people who were seeking or thinking of seeking expansions themselves. Those against the expansions were uniformly people who had no interest in expanding their own homes.

For this latter group, Nigro said: "Any change is a huge deal."

Because of the desires of her constituents, Nigro said, she would have to oppose the expansion.

Three Commissioners then spoke up in favor of allowing the expansion: Kevin Chapple (district 02), Frank Wiggins (district 03), and ANC6E Chair Marge Maceda (Commissioner for district 05). 

Since the project is in Nigro's district, she was allowed to make the first motion on the project. Nigro moved to oppose the project. The motion died for lack of a second. The Commissioner Alex Padro (district 01) moved to approve the project. Padro's motion passed, five to one, with Nigro the sole vote against.

This is the second request in two months from Ridge Street that followed the same pattern: protesting neighbors, Nigro proposes a motion but fails to get a second, and then approval from the full ANC with Nigro against.

At the previous meeting last month, a Ridge Street resident told a homeowner and resident who wanted a rear addition to their house to either keep the house as it is or find somewhere else to live -- see SALM blog post of March 6. That homeowner, too, got approval from the full ANC.

This matter is on the agenda for HPRB's next set of meetings, the first of which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 23, at the Board's meeting room at 441 4th Street, Room 220 South (Judiciary Square metro). If all of the items on the agenda are not address, there will be a further meeting on April 30.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shaw ANC Protest for Joe Englert Bar near Dacha Beer Garden

Long-time DC restauranteur Joe Englert got a frosty reception for his proposed new tavern, Trinity, on Tuesday, April 7. Englert appeared before Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw to ask for endorsement of a new tavern license for the proposed operation at 1606 7th Street NW, two doors up from Dacha Beer Garden at 7th and Q Streets.

Blue building center right is 1606 7th Street
Englert told the ANC the tavern would be a "barbeque concept", serving from a food truck parked on the patio behind the main building. There will be DJs inside the establishment, so Englert is seeking an entertainment endorsement on his liquor license.

According a Notice of Public Hearing by DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), available here, Trinity will have a "[f]ull menu with ribs, pulled pork, turkey, and salads". It will have an inside capacity of 199 and outdoor space with capacity of 68. Trinity seeks to keep the interior portion of its operation open until 1:45am Sunday - Thursday, and 2:45am Friday and Saturday. The exterior portion would be allowed to stay open until 2am seven days a week, according to the application, but liquor service outside would end before midnight Sunday to Thursday, and just before 2am weekends.  Live entertainment would be permitted until 10pm, seven days a week.

Back-to-back with people's homes

1606 7th Street is back-to-back with a series of row houses that face 8th Street. They would be separated from Trinity's outside service by a narrow alley. ANC6E Commissioner Alex Padro (district 01) noted "significant concern" from these neighbors. The proposed tavern would be in Padro's district.

"We have families that live 10 feet from the back" of the proposed establishment, Padro said.

"The inside part, I welcome. It's the outside part that bothers me," one neighbor said.

"You need to make choices about what this is going to be," the same neighbor said.

"For us, it's a quality of life issue," said a representative of the Central Shaw Neighborhood Association. "Outdoor residential drinking space is a non-starter for some neighbors."

"We do largely welcome development in the neighborhood," she added.

Slightly odd ANC conversation

The conversation took some strange turns. Commissioner Rachelle Nigro (district 04) asked, if this application failed, and the next applicant wanted to open a "titty bar", would the neighbors object to that also? Nigro said that the neighbors could not "pick and choose" what type of businesses they liked in the neighborhood.

Other Commissioners openly disagreed.

Commissioner Kevin Chapple (district 02) said: "I can completely sympathize. You have a right to pick and choose."

Commissioner Frank Wiggins (district 03) also expressed solidarity: "I hear the cry of the neighbors."

Padro said he had served on ANCs for 15 years, and had never protested a liquor license. In this case, however, Padro (also chair of ANC6E's liquor-licensing affairs committee) said talks with Englert about the establishment and "what were the deal breakers" yielded no satisfactory conclusion.

The 800-pound gorilla in the room was the nearby Dacha Beer Garden (1600 7th Street). This establishment was mentioned in connection with the noise issue several times. When a speaker did so, the speaker usually felt it necessary to acknowledge the present applicant was not the Dacha Beer Garden, and any complaints about the behavior of the patrons of the Dacha Beer had no bearing on this application. Yet Dacha Beer Garden still seemed to be on everybody's mind.

Padro said when Dacha applied for a liquor license, they claimed their capacity was 129, but often "in reality" there were 400 people there.

"The noise is unbearable," Padro said.

Nigro noted some neighbors who had been before the ANC in support of Dacha a few years ago were now emailing and appearing against this bar's liquor license application.

Englert was present during the discussion but did not speak very often. He mentioned there was "many ways to attack noise", but he did not make any specific suggestions or promises.

Vote and next steps

The ANC voted to protest the liquor license application. The vote to protest was five to one -- the dissenting vote was from ANC6E Chair Marge Maceda (Commissioner for district 05).

The petition of protest by the ANC (and the neighbors, if they choose to act separately) have to be filed by April 27. Trinity's next scheduled ABRA hearing is scheduled for Monday, May 11, at ABRA's offices on the 4th floor of the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets).

Englert has opened over a dozen bars in the District. He is perhaps best known for many establishments on H Street NE, including The Rock and Roll Hotel and H Street Country Club. Englert operations in the Shaw/U Street area include DC9 and the now-closed State of the Union.

Read a 2012 Washingtonian magazine portrait of Englert here, which includes (near the end) some information about Englert's relations with ANCs on H Street NE.

(Photo credit: Google Street View)