ANC 6B Report – June 2017

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The July meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B was largely occupied with business of the Planning & Zoning Committee, the discussion focusing on two cases. Readings of reports were dispensed with for the following: Alcohol and Beverage Committee (ABC), Transportation, Hill East Task Force, Eastern Market Community Advisory Community Report, Hine Community Advisory Report, and Outreach and Constituent Services Task Force.

The quorum: Chander Jayaraman (6B08), James Loots (6B03, parliamentarian), Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), Nick Burger (6B06, treasurer), Denise Krepp (6B10), Diane Hoskins (6B02, vice chair), Steve Hagedorn (6B05), Aimee Grace (6B07), Kirsten Oldenburg (6B04), and Daniel Ridge (6B09, secretary).

Planning & Zoning Committee
Many of the Planning & Zoning Committee cases were complicated by the desire of applicants to be heard by relevant bodies before the August break. Residents complained that communication between applicants and neighbors was an issue in many of the cases.

Residents also complained about the process through which applications are completed, saying that sufficient notice is not given about projects by either the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) or the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB). A motion to take no position passed in three of the five cases.

226 Kentucky Ave. SE. The architect for the applicant presented a proposed restoration and rear addition to increase square footage in each of the four units therein. The plans include a rear addition, rear brick facade, and third-floor roof deck. The height of the building and square footage of the roof deck had been reduced in size after comments from the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, the ANC Planning & Zoning Committee, and neighbors concerned about its use. Many neighbors expressed concern with the project. They said the property had been a source of problems under the previous owner and that they were unclear who currently owned the building.

Commissioner Krepp asked for clarity on ownership. Finding it was apparently owned by a design group and that the owner would not be living there, Krepp expressed dismay that this information was neither clear nor communicated to the neighbors.

Neighbors also said that the design of the rear addition was not consistent with the historic nature of the neighborhood, and that it would be visible from the street. Commissioner Burger said the major concern relevant to the historic preservation case was the visibility of the rear addition.

Differing on the importance of visibility to the historic preservation application, but also expressing a desire that the applicant do further outreach in the community, the commissioners passed a motion, 6-4, to take no position on the application.

1349 South Carolina Ave. SE. A Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application was heard for a space exemption relative to a three-story rear addition to 1349 South Carolina Ave. SE. The single-family home lies just outside the historic district and so is not required to submit an application to HPRB.

The owner wishes to construct a third story and a rear addition that will extend 13 feet past the two neighboring buildings, three feet past the maximum allowed by right. The addition would increase lot occupancy to 46.4 percent, well below the 60 percent maximum. A letter of support was submitted by both abutting neighbors. The application was supported, 8-0, with one abstention.

418 New Jersey Ave. SE. An historic preservation application for a three-story-plus-cellar, new concept building at 418 New Jersey Ave. SE was swiftly heard. The building would have a two-story front facade with mansard roof and three dormers, and a large bay window on the front. Commissioner Samolyk, in whose single-member district the house will be built, noted that she was pleased that there had been outreach and that the neighbors were generally in support of a young family’s moving into the community. The application was supported unanimously by the commissioners. “See what happens when you talk to the neighbors?” said Commissioner Jayaraman after the vote, in reference to the speed with which the case was heard.

400 D St. SE. As part of an historic preservation case, Ebenezer Baptist Church submitted a concept plan for five, two-unit townhouses or flats to be built on church property at 400 D St. SE. The plan calls for renovations and third-floor additions to two rowhouses and a renovation to a single-family dwelling also located on the block.

Neighbors expressed concern about the height of the 37-foot-tall flats, which include three stories and a cellar. Neighbors said the construction plus proposed additions would create a wall on the north side of the street that would loom over the largely two-story houses on the southern side.

Neighbors were concerned about the absence of parking. The developer said that parking plans had not yet been fully developed and could include underground elements. Community members also expressed concern about the loss of green space and of the playground on the site, with the representative of one preschool nearby noting that between 50 and 60 kids from neighborhood preschools currently use it twice daily.

A resolution to take no position on the case at this time passed, 10-0. The resolution requested additional time from the HPRB to review the case in September, allowing for additional outreach and support from the neighbors, which has largely yet to occur.

418-420 Seventh St. SE. The proposal would merge two commercial buildings and the lots they occupy. The buildings would be expanded and renovated to convert them into six condo units with a carriage house in the rear.

Neighbors asked both the applicant and the commissioners to oppose the application so as to allow more time for communication. Concern was expressed about the visibility of the rear addition, particularly from the vantage point of E Street, and access to the rear building by emergency services. Commissioner Loots expressed concern about the lack of sightline drawings from the E Street perspective. The architect said that the carriage house would be visible but not the rear addition to the building.

Loots presented a motion of no position on the case. Citing discomfort with the appearance of the carriage house, and feeling that the ANC was not prepared to weigh in for or against the application, he said that a motion of no position would empower the neighbors and compel the developers to communicate better. Loots’ motion passed, 5-2, with three abstentions.

Special Call Meeting
The commissioners discussed scheduling a special call meeting to discuss the closing of Seventh Street SE for its weekly flea market. The current lease expires in July, but the street opening has been extended to at least the end of September.

A special call meeting on the topic was scheduled after the August ANC executive meeting. The executive meeting will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 29, at 6:30 p.m., with the special call meeting taking place immediately afterward, at 7:00 p.m.

There will be no meeting of ANC 6B in August. Meetings usually take place on the second Tuesday of the month at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12.