City Paper Widget

Friday, February 27, 2015

14th Street Sidewalk Cafe for Slipstream Coffee

A committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle unanimously endorsed a request for a sidewalk cafe for coffee shop/cocktail bar Slipstream (1333 14th Street NW) at a regular monthly meeting on February 25.

(Photo credit below)
A settlement agreement signed by the establishment and ANC2F in 2013 dictates that the sidewalk cafe cannot have more than 20 seats. The same agreement also says Slipstream can serve sidewalk patrons starting at 8 am seven days a week. They can continue until midnight Sunday to Wednesday, and 1 am Thursday to Sunday, plus the evening before federal holidays.

Ryan Fleming, co-proprietor (with wife Miranda) of Slipstream, told ANC2F's Community Development Committee (CDC) that DC public space regulations will also limit the number of tables to four.

In order to use public space like a sidewalk, it is necessary to get a public space permit from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). A letter of endorsement from the ANC makes the process go more smoothly.

The plan is to put tables outside during hours of operation and pull them in at closing -- no permanent fixtures. There will be no railing fences at the perimeter of the space. The committee recommended putting planters at the corners of the outside space.

There were comparisons to the outdoor space of their immediate neighbor, the restaurant Birch and Barley (1337 14th Street) when Fleming told the ANC that slipstream would have an awning.

"Will it be as imposing as Birch and Barley?" asked CDC member Jim Lamare (Commissioner for district 05).

"The awning is not similar to theirs," Fleming said. He further explained that the awning was already in place and, unlike Birch and Barley, was attached to the building.

In many cases, after getting a public space permit from DDOT, a liquor licensee has an additional step of going back to DC's liquor-licensing authorities for specific permission to sell alcohol outside. However, in this case, the proprietors had the foresight to have provisions about outdoor service written into its original settlement agreement (an 11-page .pdf viewable here), even though they did not immediately use it. At the meeting, Fleming said Slipstream did not start outdoor service directly upon opening because it did not have the money to buy extra tables, chairs, planters, etc.

This matter is on the agenda for the next meeting of the full ANC, scheduled for Wednesday, March 4, at 7pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle). Matters passed unanimously by the CDC are routinely passed by the full ANC without further discussion, unless someone from the community shows up to object.

There is a September 20, 2013, SALM blog post about this establishment when it was still in its planning stages.

(Photo credit: Joe Flood/ - Creative Commons License 2.0)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Columbia Heights Property Tries to "Make It Legal"

CORRECTION: When first posted, the committee chair was identified as Patrick Brown. His name is Patrick Nelson. Apologies for the error.

2807 Sherman Avenue NW, a property with a colorful recent history, will get a facelift if the new owners can get some zoning relief from DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). So one owner and his attorney were before a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street on February 23 to ask the committee to recommend support to the full ANC.

2807 Sherman Ave (to right of streetlight) in May 2014
"This has been a nuisance property for a long time," said Patrick Brown Nelson, chair of
ANC1B's Zoning, Preservation & Development Committee.

"There were like 20 people [living] there," said Brown Nelson of the building which is located between Girard Street and Gresham Place.

On-line records (see .pdf here) show the then-owner of 2807 Sherman Avenue was arrested in August 2012 for assault on a police officer with a dangerous weapon. On the same day, other people at the same address were arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to use.

In the early morning hours of January 25, 2013, a fire broke out in the floor and walls of 2807 Sherman Avenue, according to a tweet from the DC Firefighters Association. A post with photographs on the District of Columbia Fire Department website (about half-way down the page here) says the fire broke out between the second and third floors and seven residents were "forced into the freezing pre-dawn cold" by the fire.

New owners

The house was sold in June 2014 for $417,000, according to online records. One of the current owners, Matt Medvene, appeared before the ZPD Committee with attorney Martin Sullivan of Sullivan & Barros.

The new owners did not get off to a good start with the building. Medvene told the committee he originally hired an architect from Baltimore who was unfamiliar with DC regulations. While Medvene was out of the country, he said, the architect went ahead with demolition and started building without city permission. This unauthorized construction included a structure on the top of the building, which is still now half-completed. The unauthorized work was stopped and Medvene had to pay three fines totalling several thousand dollars, he said, before he could start the process of making the up and out expansion legal. Medvene blamed the Baltimore-based architect for the illegal construction, and said he is no longer working with him.

"We're making it legal," he said.

The owner said he planned to have a two-unit building, and live in one of the units. The building is already a two-unit building, he said, "with separate addresses".

Although the building will be taller, it does not require zoning relief for height, as it is still within what the owner can do "by right". In addition, it is not located in a historic district, so no review by DC historic preservation authorities will be necessary. Finally, the neighboring house to the north is already taller than 2807 Sherman Street (see photo). Medvene said this neighbor has indicated support for his expansion.

The building requires zoning relief for lot occupancy. It is already over the maximum lot occupancy for the zone -- 60% permitted, 70% existing. It is unclear how the building got that way. Medvene reported the previous owner had no documentation about whether he made alterations to the house.

Both committee members and the owner said they did not like the color of the house.

"It looks kind of putrid," the owner said. "We'll be repainting. We're looking at a cool gray."

Committee decision

The committee voted, 5-1, to support the request for zoning relief. The matter will probably be considered by the full ANC at its next regularly scheduled meeting on March 5, at 7pm, at a location to be determined.

The applicants told the committee their case was scheduled for a public hearing at the BZA on April 7.

The documents relating to this case can be accessed by going to the DC government's Interactive Zoning Information System and putting case number 18960 into the search bar.

This is the first meeting for ANC1B's Zoning, Preservation & Development Committee. It will take up most of the business formally handled by the ANC's Design Review Committee, which has been disbanded. The February 23 meeting was a make-up for a meeting that was originally scheduled for February 17, but then cancelled due to snow.

(Photo credit: Google Street View)

Cork Market In Danger of Losing Liquor License over Ownership Issues

DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board is investigating Cork Market & Tasting Room (1805 14th Street NW) for possible "ownership interest issues". According to ABC Board document available here, the ABC Board is investigating to determine if it is appropriate to forward the matter to the DC Office of the Attorney General for prosecution, and to determine if the ABC Board can legally renew their liquor license.

A hearing on the matter was scheduled for yesterday, February 25, at the ABC's Board offices at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets). The hearing was postponed until April 22.

The ABC Board document cited above asks the proprietors of Cork Market & Tasting Room, Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts, to supply all bank records for the establishment plus their federal income tax returns for 2012 and 2013.

The document also said the Board was looking into whether Cork was "not in compliance" with several parts of the DC Code. One of them is section 25-301 (a)(5), which states that, before the ABC Board will issue or renew a liquor license, the applicant must be able to show that he or she
is the true and actual owner of the establishment for which the license is sought, and he or she intends to carry on the business for himself or herself and not as the agent of any other individual, partnership, association, limited liability company, or corporation not identified in the application.
Another section cited is section 25-403 which states in part
The making of a false statement, whether made with or without the knowledge or consent of the applicant, shall, in the discretion of the Board, constitute sufficient cause for denial of the application or revocation of the license.
Khalid Pitts ran unsuccessfully for an At-Large City Council seat last year. His Linked In profile says he is active in an executive capacity in a number of other organizations, including Democracy Partners, DC Health Link, and USAction.

Cork Market & Tasting Room's sister establishment, Cork Wine Bar, is located across the street at 1720 14th Street. It is not named in the ABC Board document. Cork Wine Bar was one of the first upscale establishments to appear on 14th Street. It won Pitts and Gross the title Restaurateurs of the Year from Washingtonian Magazine in 2009.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

All Souls Bar Meets Opposition to Outside Service

David Batista, owner/operator of All Souls Bar (725 T Street NW), came before the liquor licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street on February 18 to re-open the question of outside service. He met opposition from neighbors, at least one of whom is on the committee.

Lot on the left, normally grassy, was recently snowy.
"We've been open for 14 months. We've been good neighbors," Batista said.

Batista asked the committee to consider approving a patio to be located on a large grassy lot (see photo) adjacent to All Souls Bar on the west, facing 8th Street. Batista characterized the area "a city lot that we maintain". However, everyone agreed, it is not public space in the sense that the sidewalk is public space. Public records available at Property Quest, DC's public land-use database, indicate that the grassy area and the bar building are located on a single lot of property. The place in the database where the name and address of the lot owner normally appears is blank.

There is a much smaller paved area in front of the bar, and allowing outside seating there was discussed as a substitute for or an addition to the outside seating as Batista requested it.

Batista also told the committee that his appearance was supposed to be the beginning of a dialogue and no official request had been filed. Batista said he hoped the outside seating could be open until 11pm Sunday to Thursday and 1am on Friday and Saturday, and that there would be no music, live or recorded, outside the bar.

In June 2012, All Souls Bar was granted a liquor license by DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) despite strong opposition centering on the bar's location across T Street from Cleveland Elementary School (1825 18th Street NW). Unusually for a liquor license application, the hearing of the case of All Souls Bar in March 2012 generated TV news coverage from WJLA (Channel 7) -- see video here.

Batista told the committee he had intended to have outside seating from the bar's opening but had withdrawn the request from his original application in the hopes it would make the process go more smoothly. 

Of the four people who came to the meeting to object to outside seating, none of them identified themselves as having a connection to Cleveland Elementary School. All of them self-identified as neighbors. 

"We don't want a patio," said one neighbor, who is also a member of the committee.

Another neighbor, who owns an abutting property, told the committee that the neighbors had fought for a settlement agreement with All Souls that excluded outside seating, and that they did not want the agreement changed. The tenant of the same abutting property also appeared and said she was against outside seating.

Yet another neighbor said he was against the bar at its opening but was now a customer of All Souls Bar. Still, he said, he was against outside service.

No vote was taken on the request. ANC1B Commissioners will take on the difficult task of finding common ground between the parties and negotiating an agreement

See the 2012 ABRA order issuing a liquor license to All Souls Bar here. The settlement agreement with the neighbors is attached as the final two pages of the 13-page .pdf document.

The 2012 application was the subject of coverage in many blogs, including Borderstan, Popville, GrassrootsDC, and Greater Greater Washington.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Liquor License Revoked for Restaurant of "Convicted Felon"

DC's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABRA) has revoked the liquor license for El Sauce restaurant (1227 11th Street NW). The order was issued on February 11. ABRA also referred the case to the office of the DC Attorney General.

The order says the liquor licensees are Maria and Jose Carcamo. Maria Carcamo divorced her husband in 2008 and renounced all claim to the establishment in the divorce settlement.

Jose Carcamo has been convicted of a Class II felony, the order says. Therefore, under DC law, he cannot hold a liquor license.

However, the order said, the establishment was no longer being run by Carcamo. Instead, the establishment is being run by Blanca Rubia, who is not named on the liquor license.

In an February 19 email, John Fanning, Chair of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle, said, "El Sauce has been a troubled business establishment for years in our neighborhood." Fanning (Commissioner for district 04) said problems over the years included a "crime scene regarding a homicide, a reported stabbing, numerous fights amongst the patrons, serving alcohol to intoxicated individuals and neighbors witnessing and reporting after hours operations."

El Sauce was the scene of a homicide in the early morning hours of March 27, 2011. The shooter was later sentenced to 18 years in jail.

This incident was not the only problem that it caused the neighborhood. At a May 23, 2013, ANC meeting, commissioners saw and discussed
a two-page long list of 23 incidents, including five assaults with a deadly weapon (including a brick and a head-butt) and an assault on police. In addition, there have been 11 fines for violations of various types and a long list of lesser offenses. ANC Commissioners reported witnessing fist fights and receiving reports both of harassment of women near the establishment and of operation at 4:30am, long after the licensed closing time.
ANC2F continued to press for action against El Sauce when it could, for example, when ABRA Director Fred Moosally came to address ANC2F's liquor-licensing affairs committee in September 2014.

In his recent email, Fanning said: "I believe the finds regarding El Sauce are a direct result from [the committee's] September meeting requesting that Director Fred Moosally to expedite enforcement inspections."

In an announcement unrelated to El Sauce, ANC2F will have the first meeting of the year of its Crime and Public Safety Committee on Thursday, February 26, at 7pm at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle -- enter on 14th Street). 

Monday, February 23, 2015

2201 P Street: Child Care Center with Three Applicants for Every Space Seeks to Expand

At its regularly-scheduled meeting on February 11, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle unanimously endorsed a request by the School for Friends at Church of the Pilgrims (2201 P Street NW) to expand from 50 to 74 students. The school enrolls children from age 12 months to six years.

Church of the Pilgrims in June 2014 (Google Street View)
To expand, the school will need a special exception from DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). 

The church has been operating a pre-school group since 1964 and has been operating on church property since 1984.  The church property, however, is still zoned residential.

The BZA has given the School for Friends a special exception seven times since 1964, most recently in 2011. The 2011 approval was for a term of ten years, and allowed the school 50 students and 12 staff. In addition to expanding to 74 students, the school also seeks permission to expand the size of its staff from 12 to 18. The school will operate Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm.

A representative of the School for Friends told the ANC the expansion would cause "limited increase in drop-offs", and therefore more traffic around the school at opening and closing. Documents submitted by the school to the BZA say the school already has 18 parking spaces which can be used by caregivers picking up or dropping off.

BZA documents also say the school will have "4 to 6 month construction phase to enlarge and reconfigure the space for the School’s increased use", during which the School proposes to relocate to "alternative space within the existing Church facilities".

There was "no other place for expansion", the School for Friends representative told the ANC.

In response to ANC questioning, he also said the school currently had three applicants for every available space.

See the text of the resolution supporting this request at the February 2014 installment of ANC2B's "Votes of the ANC" blog here.

More information about this request for a special exception is available by going to the Office of Zoning's Interactive Zoning Information System and entering case number 18926 in the search bar.

The school and the church are actually located in ANC 2D/Kalorama, which has already endorsed the request, but abuts ANC2B on the east side of the property of the school.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Stipulated Liquor License Recommended for Calabash Tea & Tonic in Shaw

Sunyatta Amen, a self-described "fifth-generation herbalist" and local TV and radio personality, appeared before the liquor-licensing affairs committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street on February 18. She asked for a stipulated liquor license for a soon-to-open Shaw branch of her five-year-old Takoma vegan tea room, Calabash Tea & Tonic.

From website of Calabash Tea & Tonic
The address will be 1847 7th Street NW.

Amen told the committee she intended to serve "low alcoholic kombucha", cherry liqueur, and dandelion wine. She also said the shop might have some products from nearby Right Proper Brewing (624 T Street) but the shop would serve "primarily tea". The establishment may seek an endorsement on its license that will allow tastings, but it will not seek a live entertainment endorsement, nor will it have any type of outside seating. Its planned hours of operation are 8am to 11pm.

"It's not like we're a bar," she said. Nevertheless, the establishment is seeking a category CT license, also known as a "tavern license". These are more expensive than licenses often sought by restaurants ("CR"), but the holder is not obligated to demonstrate that a certain amount of its revenue come from sales of non-alcoholic items.

Amen said the establishment planned to open "maybe in three weeks".

Amen is a self-described "natural health advocate" who has a radio program on Monday afternoons on WPFW. She has appeared on many occasions on Fox 5 News doing demonstrations of healthy cooking, teas, and herbal remedies.

On her Fox 5 appearances, on her YouTube videos, and elsewhere online, she is sometimes referred to as "Dr. Sunyatta Amen".

The committee voted unanimously to grant the establishment a stipulated liquor license, which will allow it to serve alcohol while its paperwork for a permanent DC liquor license is processed, assuming that no other objecting parties appear. The chair of the committee did not vote on the matter, in accordance with ANC1B's new bylaws.

The matter will probably be considered by the full ANC at its next regularly-scheduled meeting, to be hear on Thursday, March 5, at 7pm, at a location to be determined.

ANCs have to authority to grant stipulated liquor licenses to allow establishments to get up and running. However, the potential licensees must make a separate application to the ANC and DC liquor-licensing authorities for a permanent liquor license, so the committee will probably see Amen again soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Intervention by Bar Operator's Mother Fails to Prevent ANC2B from Protesting Extended Operating Hours

At its regularly-scheduled meeting on February 11, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle voted to protest the application of the owners of Parlay (1827 M Street NW) to extend their hours of alcoholic beverage sales and live entertainment. All the Commissioners present voted in favor of the protest.

Parlay now in the former Malaysia Kopitam space
Currently, Parlay is allowed to service alcohol and live entertainment until 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 11pm on Friday and Saturday. The establishment seeks permission to serve alcohol until 2am Sunday through Thursday and 2:45am Friday and Saturday, and to have live entertainment until 2am Sunday through Thursday and 2:30am Friday and Saturday.

The space was formerly occupied by the restaurant Malaysia Kopitam, but the new establishment has a "much bigger bar aspect".

The ANC asked the proprietor what sort of live entertainment he was planning. He said he had "no specific plans -- just thought the restaurant would ask".

There was some confused talk about what hours the old Malaysia Kopitam had on its license when it closed and the license was purchased, compared to what hours the same liquor license bore when it was re-issued to Parlay. The bar owner and the ANC had been discussing this issue for a few minutes when a woman in the audience stood up and strode past the proprietor standing at a microphone to testify to the ANC. Without being officially recognized by the ANC Chair, the woman stood before the ANC and set it straight on the hours of service attached to the liquor license in the past and now.

"This is my mom," the proprietor said sheepishly.

Noting that there were "trash and noise concerns generally", the ANC expressed a wish for a "clear and strong settlement agreement". The motion to protest included a provision that the protest would be dropped if a settlement agreement was signed.

Malaysia Kopitam did not have a settlement agreement with ANC2B.

According to information on the website of DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA), a preliminary hearing on Parlay's request for longer operating hours will take place on March 23 at 10am at ABRA's offices at the Reeves Center (14th and U Streets).

(photo credit: August 2011 image from Google Street View)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

1216-1226 9th Street: "Peace in the Valley" Sought over Zero Parking Building in Blagden Alley

A group of neighbors of a proposed development at 1216-1226 9th Street NW have asked DC's Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for standing as an interested party in an application for zoning relief, especially for a request to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 14 to zero. As a result, the BZA has postponed a hearing on the application, originally scheduled for January 27, to March 11, while the developers and their representatives attempt to get the neighbors on board for the relief.

Millstein (right) presents the project
Toward this end, Douglas Development had a public meeting, attended by representatives of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle and some of the neighbors, at La Colombe Coffee (924 M Street in Blagden Alley) in the early evening of February 11.

Paul Millstein of Douglas Development started off the meeting by stating: "We always appreciate a turnout."

Millstein and Andrea Gourdine of Douglas Development were joined by attorney Leila Batties of Holland & Knight, as well as a traffic engineer, and others, six in all. This was about the same number as the neighbors who came to the meeting. Ten neighbors, all living on the 900 block of M Street, signed the BZA document asking for standing.

Millstein told the neighbors he sought "peace in the valley".

He then recapped many of the details of the project, including its prospective high-end tenants who have signed leases (including celebrity chef Jeremiah Langhorne and a new incarnation of the "award-winning" cocktail bar The Columbia Room). Millstein also explain the reason why the developers are seeking zoning relief now, after the project had started, rather than the usual order of approval first, construction second. Most of these details were unchanged from November 2014, when the developers successfully sought ANC endorsement of the zoning relief -- see SALM blog post of November 24, 2014. The full ANC endorsed the zoning relief request at its December 2014 meeting.

In reply, a neighbor made the primary concern plain.

"Parking is a nightmare," she said. This building was one of many in the area trying to get permission to build without the required parking spaces (for an example, see SALM blog post of November 10, 2014). The neighborhood would be overwhelmed by cars coming in from the suburbs to eat and drink at "destination" restaurants and bars.

"Parking enforcement is part of the problem," the neighbor said. "We want to make sure these things are addressed now."

As a negative example, the neighbors sited the case of Le Diplomate (1601 14th Street).

"There was no dialogue", one neighbor said. As a result, there were constant traffic problems caused by the Le Diplomate's valet parking service at the corner of 14th and Q Streets, the neighbor said.

About the petition for standing in the zoning case, the neighbor said: "We filed because we want to make sure these things are addressed now."

Millstein urged the group to "get a collective voice", meaning, a point of contact who could negotiate on behalf of the whole group. If that happened, maybe some parking remedies could be put in writing and agreed on.

"If you don't get parking, you can't proceed," one neighbor said.

"We're going to hammer something out," Millstein said.

Millstein also told the neighbors that customers for both Langhorne's restaurant as well as the Columbia Room would, if the proposal went ahead as planned, enter and exit through Blagden Alley, rather than through the building's front on 9th Street, which would have other tenants, including Reformation Fitness. The prospect of cocktail bar patrons exiting through the alley did not seem to please the neighbors, but there seemed to be agreement that this had to be handled as part of the liquor-licensing process (which will take place later), and not as part of the zoning process.

The neighbors were urged to act as quickly as possible, as the filings for the March zoning hearings were due on February 18.

ANC2F Commissioner Charlie Bengel (district 06), in whose ANC district the property is located, announced the meeting at the February 4 meeting of ANC2F. Bengel and ANC2F Chair John Fanning (Commissioner for district 04) attended the meeting.

The documents related to the request for zoning relief, including the petition by the neighbors for standing, can be seen by going to DC's Interactive Zoning Information System and entering case number 18905 into the search bar.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gompers Park to Improve Using Community Benefit Funds from Developer

Brad Reichard of the Friends of Gompers Park told Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle on February 4 that developer-financed renovation of the park is proceeding. However, he noted some difficulties in getting the promised funds from the developer.

Statue of Gompers in the park (photo credit below)
Gompers Park is located at intersection of 10th Street, L Street, and Massachusetts Avenue, in front of the Morrison-Clark Inn (1015 L Street NW).

Friends of Gompers Park should receive a one-time payment of $20,000 from the developer Quadrangle Development according to the terms of a community benefits package -- see SALM blog post of January 8. This payment is part of the terms of a Planned Unit Development (PUD), in which Quadrangle Development agreed to make payments to local development groups in return for relief from certain DC zoning requirements. The zoning relief will allow Quadrangle to build hotels and housing at the corner of 9th and L Streets, one block from the park.

The Friends of Gompers Park had been in discussion with the National Park Service, Reichard said, about beginning work on an "aggressive planting program", as well as thinning out existing trees, removing garbage cans, and improving street lighting on the L Street side of the park.

Although the $20,000 payment is supposed to be ready to access, Reichard indicated he was having difficulty doing so. ANC2F Chair John Fanning (Commissioner for district 04) and Sherri Kimbel, Director of Constituent Services in the office of DC Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward One), told Reichard that, under the terms of the PUD, Quadrangle Development cannot dictate where money is supposed to go or demand documents like invoices. Fanning and Kimbel also told Reichard that, if he continued to have trouble accessing the PUD money, they would be happy to help in their dealings with Quadrangle Development.

The discussion of the park improvement is mentioned in the summary of February 4 meeting on ANC2F's website here.

A diagram showing the proposed improvements is available here.

(photo credit: 2008 photo by AgnosticPreachersKid/Wikipedia)

Monday, February 16, 2015

West Dupont Liquor License Moratorium: ANC Recommends 120 Day Extention, Seeks Public Comment

At its regular monthly meeting on February 11, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle voted unanimously to recommend that the prohibition on new liquor licenses in the West Dupont Moratorium Zone be extended for 120 days. This will allow the ANC to provide input on the extention of the zone to DC's liquor-licensing authorities.

On the same day, ANC2B announced on its web site that it would be holding two public meetings later this month to collect community input on continuing the liquor licence moratorium in the zone, which extends roughly 600 feet from the corner of 21st and P Streets NW (see map).

As of now, the moratorium zone is set to expire on May 17. If the extension is not granted, ANC2B ill not be able to hold hearings and submit a recommendation to DC's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) in time for its opinion to make a difference.

Commissioner Daniel Warwick (district 02)  announced there would be two public hearings about the liquor license moratorium. They will take place on Saturday, February 21st, from 2 - 4pm, and on Wednesday, February 25, from 7 - 9pm, at the Church of the Pilgrims (2201 P Street). 

Warwick also said a page had been set up on the ANC's website had been set up to solicit community input. The page includes a link to an online questionnaire about the liquor license moratorium.

The West Dupont Moratorium Zone is in Warwick's ANC district. ANC2B appointed him chair of a working group on the moratorium at its January meeting -- see SALM blog post of January 15.

The liquor-licence moratorium does NOT forbid liquor licenses in the area, but it does limit the number and category of licenses -- see a description of the moratorium zone on ABRA's website here.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Patterson Mansion: Should Cars Be Able to Cross a Busy Dupont Circle Sidewalk?

The development of the Patterson Mansion (15 Dupont Circle) was back before Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle again at its last regular meeting on February 11.

The Patterson Mansion in October 2013
Brook Katzen, Vice-President of Development at SB-Urban, and attorney David Avitabile of Goulston & Storrs, came before the ANC to explain the handful of public space changes it wishes to make to the busy sidewalk area on the sides of the Patterson Mansion that face Dupont Circle and P Street. Public space management is the responsibility of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), who will make the final decision. The ANC's role is advisory.

The building will require two new Pepco transformers, which will live in large metal boxes next to the renovated building on the P Street side, somewhat camouflaged from the street by shrubs. As everything stands now, this will cause a pedestrian choke point on the sidewalk between the transformers and their green camouflage on the building side and the existing bus stop on the street side. So the developers are asking for permission to move the bus stop a short distance down the sidewalk to the east, toward 18th Street. The distance of the move is small, so buses can still stop on the existing concrete bus pad on P Street.

If the request is approved, the developers will pay the expense of moving the bus stop.

In the space vacated by the bus stop, the developers propose adding "four spaces" of bike racks. The ANC asked the developers to consider more than four.

Katzen also told the ANC that the DDOT wants to close one of the curb cuts that allow access to a shallow circular driveway to the front door of the building. He explained that DDOT has a standard of one and only one curb cut per new building. The resulting plan is to allow DDOT to close the curb cut on the right side of the front driveway as you look at the building.

The ANC tried to thrash out whether this was really a good idea. If two curb cuts remained, then the circular driveway could be used to pick up and drop up tenants and visitors, to allow deliveries, etc., assuming the cars and trucks could navigate the circular drive, which is somewhat narrow by modern standards. The vehicles would be crossing a very heavily-travelled section of sidewalk -- a potentially dangerous situation.

On the other hand, if the curb cut was blocked, then pick ups, drop off, deliveries, et al., would have to take place on-street in Dupont Circle. Vehicles would sit in the street while passengers fumbled for change or drivers (disregarding street signs) delivered packages -- also potentially dangerous and likely to increase congestion as well.

Katzen told the ANC that SB-Urban had made a pitch for the curb cuts to remain, but DDOT seemed to be married to its "one building, one curb cut" rule. Commissioner Mike Silverstein (district 06) added language to a proposed letter supporting the "historic curb cut", and asking DDOT to examine the issue again.

The motion to send a letter to DDOT supporting the proposed changes, with the added language, passed by a vote of 7 in favor, one against, one abstention.

Commissioner Daniel Warwick (district 02), the vote against, and Nicole Mann (district 08), the abstention, told the meeting that they supported closing the curb cut for reasons of pedestrian safety.

SB-Urban paid $20 million for the Patterson Mansion in June 2014 after receiving a tentative go-ahead to turn the historic home into 90 "micro-units" of suitcase-ready apartments with no parking.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

New French Bistro in Mount Vernon Triangle Gets Liquor License Endorsement

At its regularly scheduled meeting February 3, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw endorsed the request for a liquor license by restauranteur Hakan Ilhan, who plans to open a French Bistro named "L'Hommage" at 450 K Street NW, across the street from the mixed-use City Vista building.

450 K Street in June 2014 (Google Street View)
Attorney Stephen J. O'Brien of the law firm Mallios & O'Brien introduced Ilhan as a person well known to the ANC and the community. Ilhan is the owner of the nearby Alba Osteria (425 I Street NW). ANC6E Chair Marge Maceda (Commissioner for district 05) suggested at the meeting that there might be a third restaurant from Illhan in the area soon.

L'Hommage will be in Maceda's ANC district.

The liquor license request had been examined by ANC6E's liquor-licensing affairs committee before the meeting. The parties had negotiated a settlement agreement, which was signed at the meeting and will become part of L'Hommage's liquor license. At the meeting, liquor-licensing committee chair Alexander Padro (Commissioner for district 01) said the applicants had agreed as part of the settlement agreement to close the 80-seat outdoor patio at midnight and also to limit the number of evenings in a year with live entertainment. This, Padro said, is to make it more difficult for L'Hommage to convert or evolve into a nightclub, as sometimes happens with restaurant-category liquor licensees in the downtown business district.

See an September 2014 from the Washington Business Journal about L'Hommage here.

Of the seven Commissioners, four voted in favor of the liquor license. There was one abstention and two Commissioners were absent.

ANC6E videos its meetings in their entirety and posts them on its YouTube channel. The discussion of the liquor license for L'Hommage can be seen by following this link to the first part of the February 3 meeting, starting at time 24:30.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

965 Florida Avenue Project Expects Exit Soon from Bowser Hold

The developers of several parcels of land at and near 965 Florida Avenue NW told a meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street February 5 that it will soon exit the hold put on the project by the Mayor Bowser.

Red Star = 965 Florida Avenue (photo credit below)
"We are on the goal line on getting this in front of the council," said Matthew Robinson of MRP Realty.

965 Florida Avenue is one of five development projects approved late in the administration of former Mayor Vincent Gray which were put on hold January 29, pending review by the new Bowser administration team. The Bowser administration has said it wishes to confirm that upcoming projects are compliant with soon-to-be-enacted regulations concerning affordable housing.

Just before the developers spoke, the ANC also heard from Marc Bleyer, Senior Project Manager at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), on the multiple project hold. The bulk of Bleyer's remarks were about the possible long-term hold of a separate project to develop the former site of the Grimke School (1923 Vermont Street NW) -- see SALM blog post of February 9. However, about 965 Florida Avenue, Bleyer said: "We're working to get that done quickly."

Joining Robinson on the team of developers presenting were James Nozar of The JBG Companies and Chip Ellis of Ellis Development Group.

Nozar outlined the scope of the project, which involves three separate parcels of land. Nozar said there would be an announcement soon about the "neighborhood-oriented retail" that would appear in the new development. This included "food that is non-tapas oriented", he said.

Ellis announced there would be a 40,000 square foot grocery store on the site, but said he could not yet name the retailer. A report from last year named Harris Teeter as the "likely" grocery retailer for the project.

"We are pleased to announce that the project will be adhering to 30 percent affordable housing," Ellis also said, perhaps meaning that the project as currently envisioned is already compliant with the upcoming new regulations on affordable housing.

After the presentations, ANC1B Commissioner Ellen Nedrow Sullivan (district 02) told the presenters: "You're really answering the needs of the community."

See a February 3, 2015, article from the Washington City Paper's Housing Complex blog about the partnership of JBG and MPR Realty on this project here.

See a page from the DMPED web site about this project, including a link to the original Request for Proposal, here.

(Photo credit: detail from the DMPED 2012 Request for Proposal for 965 Florida Avenue)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pepco Exelon Merger: DC Ratepayers Shouldn't Count on That 50 Dollar Check

Marc Battle, Vice President at the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), told a meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street February 5 that PEPCO customers should not count on getting a rumored $50 rebate check as a result of the proposed merger between PEPCO and Chicago-based energy giant Exelon Corporation, "the nation's leading competitive energy provider".

Battle told the ANC that the proposed terms for the merger, now being considered by the DC Public Service Commission, included a $14 million settlement. The Public Service Commission may dispose of as it pleases, and Battle thought it would be better spent in other ways.

"The settlement would be more effectively used as a block, not a fifty dollar credit," Battle said.

Talk of a fifty dollar check was in the air at the meeting as Robert Robinson of the Grid 2.0 Working Group, which opposes the merger, told the ANC that a $50 check and a three-year rate freeze are the only benefits District ratepayers would be likely to receive from the deal.

"The ratepayers become a cash cow," Robinson said. "We get fifty dollar benefit, that's all."

Exelon executives have already promised a $50 rebate for Maryland Pepco customers, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun.

Robinson told the ANC that the beneficiaries of the most lucrative portion of the deal will be shareholders and company executives, who will get to share a premium estimated at $1.2 - 2.5 billion.

"What does Exelon get from that? The shareholders go away," Robinson said.

To keep the meeting down to a manageable length, all presenters were given a limited amount of time, and then asked politely but firmly to wrap up when their time expired. This rule became even more necessary when it was revealed (in mid-discussion of the merger) that the room where the ANC was meeting at the Banneker Community Center (2500 Georgia Avenue) needed to be vacated at 9pm so it could be used as an emergency overnight shelter for the area homeless who were gathered outside waiting in the cold.

ANC1B Chair James Turner (district 09) told Robinson the discussion would have to wrap up. There would be no vote that evening, Turner said. The deadline for comment was March 26, so further discussion and a vote on a resolution, if any, could take place at the next ANC meeting (tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 5, at a location to be determined).

Robinson looked extremely unhappy at this news and indicated he had not said all he wanted to. He also told the ANC that a comment made closer to the Public Service Commission deadline was likely to have much less impact than a comment now. Nevertheless, the portion of the meeting dedicated to this issue was closed after PEPCO Vice President Battle got to make remarks, including those mentioned at the top of this post.

Battle also said that the DC Public Service Commission would be starting hearings on the matter on Monday, February 9.

"These hearings are long, tedious, complicated, but important," Battle said.

See the DC Public Service Commission's case file on Pepco-Exelon merger here.

See a Washington City Paper article from yesterday concerning a new public opinion poll about the merger here.

The arithmetic of the proposed rebate check: The settlement is $14 million. Pepco said on its web site that it had 255,000 customers in DC in 2010. Today, it's probably a higher number. Fourteen million divided by 255,000 is a little over $54.90.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bowser Administration Explains Grimke Project Hold to ANC1B

On February 5, Marc Bleyer, Senior Project Manager at the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) explained the Bowser administration's decision to put the disposition of the Grimke School (1923 Vermont Street NW) on hold. Bleyer spoke about the decision to Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 1B/U Street during its regular monthly meeting.

Marc Bleyer of the Deputy Mayor's office
ANC Commissioners and some audience members told Bleyer they were not pleased with the decision to put the project on hold after the ANC and the community spent a long time pondering the best use of the property.

"This is causing some unintended consequences," said ANC1B Chair James Turner (Commissioner for district 09). "What we've really done here is devalue the property."

"We were really excited about our tenants," said Comissioner Ellen Nedrow Sullivan (district 02). "The Grimke project needs to be special use. There's a lot of concern because it was a use we were really excited about."

The Grimke School is in Sullivan's ANC district.

The proposal now on hold was awarded on the last day of the Gray Administration to the development team of Sorg Architects and Roadside Development to turn the long-vacant school and nearby parcels into a new home for the African-American Civil War Memorial & Museum, along with dance and entertainment spaces, plus a mixed-used building with retail and residences.

The law explained

At the ANC meeting, Bleyer explained why the project had been put on hold. The "Disposition of District Land for Affordable Housing Amendment Act of 2013" was enacted by the DC City Council on November 27, 2014. As with all local legislation, the law went to the US Congress for a review period. It is anticipated there will no objection to this law in Congress, and the Bowser administration is acting on the assumption it will come into effect on or about March 10, 2015.

As of that date, Bleyer said: "Any property that has not yet been approved by council is subject to this law."

The law, as it applies to this project, says that, because it contains a housing element, at least 30% of the housing units must be allocated to "affordable housing", according to Bleyer. Of this 30%, there will be two categories of affordable housing -- those deemed affordable to those earning 30% of Area Median Income (AMI) and those deemed affordable at 50% of AMI. (Latest AMI for Washington DC is $107,500.) A two-bedroom apartment at 30% AMI might rent for about $725/month, while a 50% AMI apartment might rent for a maximum of $1,200/month.

Next steps for the new mayor's team

Now, the Bowser administration has reviewed the Grimke proposal and has gone back to the two developers who made it to the final round of the previous bidding process for a new "best and final offer".

"This is the first I've heard of a best and final offer," Turner said. "We should have been notified."

Bleyer was asked: Could the Bowser administration share the new best and final offers?

"I can't share the offers," he said. "I'm happy to meet with you but I cannot share the submissions."

Grimke School is one of five Gray-approved projects now on hold pending review by the Bowser administration -- see articles here and here. The day before ANC1B's meeting, ANC 2F/Logan Circle voted to send a letter to Mayor Bowser requesting the hold on one of the other projects be removed -- see SALM blog post of February 5.

Bleyer also addressed another on-hold project located in ANC1B -- 965 Florida Avenue -- which will be the subject of a separate blog post.

(photo credit: from the website of the Urban Land Institute Washington)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Community Impact Statement against Shaw Heroin Dealer

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw voted unanimously February 3 to send a community impact statement in the case of Thomas Butler, who has pleaded guilty to charges including possession with both intent to distribute a controlled substance while armed as well as unlawful possession of a firearm.

Photo of DC Superior Court from its web site
The motion to send a community impact statement was made by Commissioner
Frank Wiggins (district 03). Wiggins said, at the time of his arrest, Butler had been carrying heroin, $10,000 in a bag, and more than one million dollars on his person. At the same time, Butler was in violation of a 2013 court order (resulting from an arrest for possession of a controlled substance) to stay away from the 1300 block of 5th Street in Shaw.

On January 13, Butler pleaded guilty to three felony counts, including those listed above. In return, two other felony counts will be dropped, as will two misdemeanor charges resulting from the 2013 arrest.

Butler will be sentenced by Associate Judge Juliet J. McKenna of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on March 6.

ANCs can file community impact statements detailing the negative effects of a criminal's activity in the community, in hope of getting a stiffer sentence. An example of a 2012 letter written by ANC6E against a convicted drug dealer is available here

The office of the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia has an explanation of community impact statements half-way down this page.

See the record of the felony case against Butler by going to the DC Superior Court's search tool here and entering case number 2014 CF2 017465 in the search bar on the upper right of the page. The to-be-dismissed misdemeanor charges from an earlier incident can be seen through the same search tool by entering case number 2013 CMD 18687.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

ANC2F Urges Bowser to Remove Hold from Franklin School Project

At its regular monthly meeting last night (February 4), Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle voted unanimously to send a letter to Mayor Bowser asking her to allow the redevelopment of the Franklin School (13th and K Streets NW) to move forward.

Franklin School in 2013
"This delay is really unfortunate for our neighborhood," said ANC Commissioner Kevin Deeley (district 08). The Franklin School is in Deeley's ANC district.

The Washington City Paper reported last week that the Mayor had pulled the land disposition agreement for the Franklin School from the DC Council "due to concerns over lackluster fundraising for the project." The project plans to turn the site into a contemporary art gallery and museum called the Institute for Contemporary Expression (ICE).

"The mayor has taken this bill off the calendar," said Deeley.

Deeley also made the motion to ask Bowser to reconsider. He noted the "fund raising troubles cited in the media" but said no one, including the Bowser administration, had presented any evidence to support the contention that the project could not raise money.

Deeley also noted that the building had been vacant for seven years, and the current process of disposition of the school was in its fifth year. It had been discussed at the ANC at least seven different times, he said, before the ANC voted to endorse two of the four proposals for the site, including the ICE proposal.

Franklin School was one of five projects approved toward the end of former Mayor Vincent Gray's tenure which will now be reexamined by the new administration -- see articles from the Washington Business Journal here and the blog Urban Turf here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Return of Ward Two Parking Permits for Ward Six Residents in Shaw

DC City Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward Six) has introduced legislation that will enable certain Ward Six residents in Shaw to get Ward Two parking passes. Allen told a meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6E/Shaw last night he was "working with" DC City Councilmember Jack Evans (D-Ward Two) on this matter.

Charles Allen at last night's meeting
This action fulfills a promise Allen made during last year's campaign -- see SALM blog post of June 6, 2014. Allen's promise to re-introduce the legislation came after a similar bill introduced by Allen's predecessor, Tommy Wells, went down to defeat against unified opposition in the DC Council.

Allen told the meeting he "wanted to make sure the neighborhood was connected" with Ward Two parking.

As far as parking elsewhere in Ward Six goes, Allen said: "Other parts of Ward Six doesn't do as much good."

Commissioner Rachelle Nigro (district 04) gave Allen some advice on how to get the legislation passed in the face of probable opposition from Evans.

"Don't work with Jack [Evans]. Work with the rest of the council."

Allen backed away from any suggestion he would not be fully cooperating with Evans.

"He is my colleague," Allen said.

"I need to respect that he is the Ward Two Councilmember," Allen said later.

Residents here want to park in Ward Two
Ward Two parking permits for Ward Six residents first became an issue in 2011, when a large section of Shaw was re-districted from Ward Two to Ward Six. The area is in question is bordered by New York Avenue NW in the south and (mostly) by New Jersey Avenue in the east. At some points, it extends as far as Florida Avenue in the north and 11th Street in the west -- see map.

Shaw residents fought a successful rear guard action for several years before action to change the street signs and residential parking requirements started last year. At the meeting last night, one audience member said the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) managed to miss one block near his home, which still enjoyed Ward Two parking privileges.

"DDOT has not done the greatest job," Allen said. "I've found them to make mistakes."

Other SALM blog posts on Ward Two parking for Shaw residents were published on May 14 and June 2, 2014.

At last night's meeting, Allen spoke on a number of other issues of concern to the neighborhood, and took questions from the audience. Allen emphasized his new "Books from Birth" initiative, and got several questions and comments from audience members who were eager to participate.

Comment Period for ANC2B Goals Extended

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle has extended the deadline for comment on its draft goals until February 5. Community members wishing to read and comment on the goals can find them here.

"Many Commissioners and neighbors are frustrated that the ANC is not as proactive as it could be," said ANC2B Chair Noah Smith (Commissioner for district 09) in an email. "One way to address that is to define actionable goals for the community and then establish committees and workgroups around those goals."

Among the issues addressed in the draft goals are parking, historic preservation, vermin control, emergency response, and education. Specific issues mentioned were the development of the land next to St. Thomas' Parish Episcopal Church (1772 Church Street NW) and the West Dupont Liquor License Moratorium.

Several of the comments on the draft goals indicate that members of the community are concerned about homelessness and wish to see the ANC address this issue.

Those wishing to comment on the goals can leave a comment on the page where the goals are published on the ANC2B web site here, or email the ANC at

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

1508 Caroline Street: If Visible from Street, Then No

On January 29, DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) rejected for a second time a proposed renovation of a brick duplex at 1508 Caroline Street NW in the U Street Historic District.

The property in November 2014
Caroline Street, just south of U Street between 15th and 16th Streets, is a row of identical duplex houses built around 1880. The group of houses have remained largely unmodified. The exception to this is the duplex home connected to 1508 Caroline Street, which got a third-story addition in 1888. The owner of this adjoining home bought 1508 Caroline Street and hoped to be able to add a pop-up to match the third story addition on the existing home (on the left of the photo).

The pop-up addition was endorsed by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle (see SALM blog post of November 19, 2014). The HPRB rejected the plan as represented to the ANC in November. Last week's rejection was of a modified version of the plan, somewhat less visible from the street.

"Even this amount of visibility is not compatible," said HPRB member Nancy Metzger.

The original design called for a two-story rear addition, a one-story side addition, and a basement entrance, as well as the third-story pop-up. HPRB staff accepted all elements except the pop-up -- see November 2014 staff report here. The Board accepted the staff report in a 4-3 decision, reported on page two of a four-page document here.

The owner and designer tried once again to get some addition to the height of the building approved. The new version of the design was set back 21 feet from the front and 4 feet from the side of the building. However, because this building (and all of the buildings on Caroline Street) are detached from their neighbors, the addition will still be visible from the street in front of the house. This did not seem to bother the architect designer.

"I think this won't really effect the aesthetic of the neighborhood," he told the board.

The HPRB asked the architect designer if he had conducted a "flag test" (see description on page three of document here), in which the applicant for HPRB approval sets up flags on the top of a building to demonstrate the dimensions of a proposed expansion and then invites HPRB staff to view the flags. The architect designer had not.

The board voted unanimously to accept a new staff report, which (like the November 2014 staff report) found the project to be "incompatible with the historic district". The Board told the owner and his architect designer that, should they decide to come back again, they were more likely to receive approval if they performed a flag test which demonstrated that planned modifications of the house would not be visible from the street.

I did not attend this meeting. I gathered the information for this report by watching a portion of the archived video of the January 29 meeting at the HPRB web site here. The portion of the meeting dealing with this property starts at time 1:41:23.

Monday, February 2, 2015

1330 Vermont Street: Single-family Logan Circle Home Pops Back to Five Units

A proposal that would allow a developer to convert a single-family row house at 1330 Vermont Avenue NW, a stone's throw from Logan Circle, to a five-unit building got endorsement from a committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle on January 29. ANC2F's Community Development Committee (CDC) unanimously approved the historical preservation elements of the concept, which would expand the building to the rear. No height would be added to the building.
The rear of the building now

If approved by the full ANC, the proposal will move on to DC's Historical Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for approval of concept. Jim Foster of Arcadia Design (1737 Johnson Avenue) told the committee the a DC official reviewed the project and found it is "by right", that is, it needs no zoning relief. (Foster did not yet have a letter to this effect from the DC government, he said, but he planned to get one soon.) If the historical preservation aspects of the expansion are approved, it needs no further consideration by the DC government.

"If you give approval, you won't see us again," Foster said.

Foster said the client for this project was DC developer John Casey.

Forster told the committee the expansion would add under 1,000 square feet to the building, which currently is about 4,000 square feet in size. As currently envisioned, the finished project would have two basement apartments, one ground-floor unit that with an entrance in the rear of the building from a small backyard, a single front-entrance unit with space on the ground and second floors, and a fifth unit which would be located on the third floor plus a mezzanine.

The fifth unit only would have access to a large roof deck. Forster characterized this unit as "the money unit" of the expansion. He said there would be a small elevator installed in the building to access this unit.

1330 Vermont from the front
The present rear wall of the property will be moved back, but there will still be space on the rear of the property for two parking spaces, which is the minimum required by zoning.

The committee asked if the abutting neighbors had been contacted. Foster said the abutting neighbor to the north had been contacted but the neighbor to the south had not been contacted. There was no mention of contacting the neighbors to the rear, whose houses face onto the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue but will look on the proposed expansion from the rear.

The committee urged Foster to show evidence of contacting the abutting neighbors when presenting the project to the full ANC.

The illustrations submitted to the committee made it look as if the expansion would be mostly covered in light blue aluminum siding. Foster reassured the committee that it would not be. First, Foster explained, the color ink that the printer used on the illustration did not accurately represent how the proposed project would look. Second, Foster said, the siding would be wood (perhaps pine or cedar) or "essentially wood", depending on how much the developer decided to spend.

ANC Commissioner Pepin Tuma (district 03) asked what "essentially wood" meant. Foster explained "essentially wood" meant something called "hardie plank siding" (called "hardie board siding" when explained here), which are cement boards artificially given the texture and color of wood.

Tuma is not on the CDC, but the proposed project is in his ANC district.

The expansion requires HPRB review because the building falls within two different historic districts -- the Logan Circle Historic District and the Greater Fourteenth Street Historic District.

The matter is on the agenda for the next meeting of the full ANC, scheduled for Wednesday, February 4, at 7pm, at the Washington Plaza Hotel (10 Thomas Circle). Matters approved unanimously by the CDC are normally passed by the full ANC without much further debate, barring unexpected appearance at the meeting of opposition from the community.

Consideration of this project was the only item on the CDC agenda for this meeting.