City Paper Widget

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Interview with Daniel Warwick, Candidate for ANC2B District 02

This is a written interview with Daniel Warwick, who is standing for election as a Commissioner on Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle. Warwick seeks to represent district 02. This district is bordered by Florida Avenue on the west, Connecticut Avenue on the east, O Street on the south, and R Street on the north (see map).

Warwick's opponent is Jonathan Padget. An interview with Padget was published yesterday.

Don't know your ANC district? There are two search tools: one by the DC government, the other by Code for DC.

-- What is your daytime job? Will your daytime job experience help you as an ANC Commissioner?

My daytime job is on an analytics team at Navy Federal Credit Union. I help the real estate lending business unit identify, develop, and test new processes, and help the business run more efficiently. My day job is data driven and I hope to bring a data driven ethos and way of approaching problems to the ANC as a Commissioner, as well as advocating for data driven decisions in the DC government. I am also a student at The George Washington University where I have learned what it means to be a student commissioner from the three current ANC 2A student commissioners. Talking with the commissioners in ANC 2A as well as attending their meetings give me a unique insight into how ANC 2B can run our meetings to better incorporate neighbors and the community.

-- Is there any single ANC-related issue you feel needs more attention? What issue, and why?

Each of the commissioners on the ANC cares a lot about different issues and become experts on different subject areas and I hope to serve on the Zoning Preservation and Development committee and become well versed in working with neighbors to go through the DC development bureaucracy. More importantly, I believe a commissioner’s advocacy role to the District government is only as strong as our ethos of community involvement. Each ANC operates meetings differently, but I would like to see an increased emphasis on listening to the public during meetings rather than the public listening to commissioners. During the July meeting, commissioners talked a lot about the St. Thomas church development before listening to the neighbors on Church Street. I would have run the meeting with a short presentation from the developer, put neighbors and the developer in conversation, and then have commissioners introduce resolutions after neighbors were able to speak their mind. It’s a small symbol, but I believe commissioners should be in conversation with the public rather than the current system of commissioners in conversation with each other and inviting the public to speak at the end. I am committed to making sure meetings end with everyone in the room feeling respected rather than angry because commissioners talked too much for their voices to be heard.

-- The West Dupont liquor-license moratorium area is largely in your district. It will expire during the term of the next Commissioner. What is your position on its renewal?

Twenty years ago, the West Dupont liquor license moratorium area was created to limit the number of liquor selling establishments in our neighborhood, particularly on the P Street corridor.  The moratorium was last visited in 2011 when the ANC began relaxing the moratorium with the intent of seeing if it could go away this year. The moratorium zone calls out different types of restrictions for different types of liquor selling establishments and the establishment type which can cause the most noise and negative community impact is CT/DT (tavern licensees). Over the past three years, two tavern licensees have left the moratorium area and have not been replaced by new clubs. Right now, the moratorium is more about hindering commerce than protecting neighbors. Last month, the Heurich House came to the ANC to request a letter stating they are not part of the zone. If they were across the street, the museum would not have been able to apply for a license because the special events license they are requesting was not in place twenty years ago.  The moratorium has been around for twenty years, but it does not stop bad owners. When the old owners of Marrakesh Palace would not respond to the community, the ANC protested their liquor renewal application to scale back their hours, essentially forcing a change in ownership so they became more responsive to the community. The protest of Marrakesh Palace was reached independently of the West Dupont moratorium zone and is an example of using a scalpel to protect the community from the negative impacts of liquor selling establishments rather than a bludgeon to keep liquor selling like it was in 1994. I believe in using scalpels, not bludgeons, and will work to end the moratorium while being proactive in dealing with bad owners and negotiating settlement agreements for neighbors and with owners.

-- What can be done to make parking less of a hassle in the Dupont area?
Parking is a very potent and personal problem for everyone in the District, but is especially important in our Dupont Circle neighborhood where so many people live, work, and play. If the goal of making parking less of a hassle is that everybody is always be able to park on the street near their home, we will never reach that goal. The District government can do some things on the margins like make certain streets have one side resident only parking, but that only shifts the problem to the next street.  The basic fact of parking is that if you want to be able to always have a place to park with 100% certainty, you need to pay for a spot in a private garage. To me, making parking less of a hassle means making sure that if you want to park on the street you know there will be a spot near where you want to park. To do that will require trying new things, testing if they reduce the hassle, and then implementing solutions. The ANC’s Transportation and Public Infrastructure committee is working with the Department of Transportation to make the Dupont Circle neighborhood a testing place for innovation and I look forward to trying new things in our neighborhood to alleviate the parking issue. Even though my workplace in Vienna offers free parking, I do not own a car because I do not want to pay for a spot in a garage and parking on O Street is not consistent enough that I know I will always find a spot after work. We live in a vibrant neighborhood which requires making choices about the amenities we chose to access and for many residents—including me—that means not having a car.

-- Much of ANC2B is in one historic district or another. How can the DC government improve in its attempts to strike the right balance between historic preservation and the rights of property owners?

The DC government should work with developers to establish basic guidelines and principles for what changes will keep historic neighborhoods historic while also responding to the needs of property owners. The role of the ANC in this process is to make sure neighbors know what’s going on and working as a forum for neighborhood suggestions to the owner before the owner gets to the Historic Preservation Board. I believe the process should be less bureaucratic and tedious, but ANC commissioners can only truly impact the community engagement portion of development. No one on the ANC is an architect or historic preservationist, and the job is not to fight about the intricacies of historic preservation law. Rather, I believe the ANC needs to work within the guidelines of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and offer a holistic perspective on developments to HPRB. We can help residents frame their language to appeal to HPRB code, but our primary job is community engagement, not the intricacies of HPRB regulatory code.

-- The DC government is considering new regulations to limit conversions of single-family homes into multi-unit dwellings. How will this impact the Dupont area? Do you think these new regulations are a good idea?

Limiting the conversion of single-family homes into multi-unit dwellings will reduce the property value of single-family homes which have not been converted to multi-unit dwellings and will raise the price to enter our neighborhood from an apartment unit to a single-family home. I do not support either of these objectives. As long as a conversion to a multi-unit dwelling passes zoning regulations and historic preservation guidelines, it is not my position to say an owner can't sell to a developer or that a developer can't develop a dwelling as they wish. Thousands of people are moving into the District and a lot of them want to live in Dupont Circle. We should not make it harder for them to live here by cutting off a supply of multi-family dwellings.

-- How are you different from the other candidate in the race?

I am uniquely qualified to be the Commissioner for 2B02 because I already know current commissioners, how the commission operates, and I understand the limitations of the position. This past year I served as the public policy fellow for the ANC and helped start the Transportation and Public Infrastructure committee. Working for the ANC, I saw how it can be better internally in order to focus on the mission of serving the neighborhood. After the resignation of former Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, the ANC unanimously appointed me liquor liaison for 2B02 and I have worked with the India Gate (P St and Hopkins) and Mission (20th Street between Q and Connecticut) on their liquor license applications. The ANC does not have a budget big enough to fix every problem in our neighborhood, but it can act as a connector between DC government staff and neighbors and Commissioners can and should provide guidance to neighbors on how to best deal with the vast bureaucracy of DC. I have worked with staff in the Department of Transportation and the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration and am eager to hit the ground running in January if elected.

For more information about Daniel Warwick, please see his web site and Twitter feed.

The election will take place on Tuesday, November 4. Thanks to all candidates for responding to my questions.

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