ANC 6D Report – July 2017

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Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6D met on June 12. Commissioners Gail Fast (6D01), Cara Shockley (6D02), Andy Litsky (6D04, chair), Roger Moffatt (6D05), Rhonda N. Hamilton (6D06), Meredith Fascett (6D07), and Ronald Collins (6D03) were on the dais.

ABC Matters
Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board matters dominated the commission’s July meeting as establishments at The Wharf came to ask support for their applications and approval for community agreements negotiated by the ABC Subcommittee led by Dr. Coralie Farlee.

The commissioners voted unanimously to protest the application by owners of the Anthem concert hall for an Alcohol Beverage Control license, citing late-night transportation concerns. The $60 million Anthem, located at 901 Wharf St. SW, is the latest venture by I.M.P. Productions, owners of the famed 9:30 Club. It is the entertainment anchor for The Wharf and can seat up to 6,000 concertgoers.

I.M.P. Productions asked for permission to serve liquor up to 3 a.m. The ABC Board will consider the application at its meeting on Sept. 8. ANC 6D does not reconvene until Sept. 11. The commission’s ABC Subcommittee had voted in support of the license and a community agreement it negotiated with I.M.P. Productions. Concerns over late-night transportation, however, triggered vigorous discussion among the commissioners.

“How are 6,000 people going to get home from the Anthem at 3 a.m. with no Metro?” asked a resident of Seventh Street SW. “There is no Metro service at that hour. They can’t all take Uber,” he observed.

“We need to have a better understanding of how people are going to get home. Metro is no longer supporting this community,” stated Chair Litsky. The Southwest is poorly served by public transportation late at night, the chair and other commissioners pointed out.

The 9:30 Club is the “best operator in the city,” stated Andrew J. Kline, attorney for I.M.P. Productions, who pledged that I.M.P. would work with the commission to allay their concerns. Diane Grooms, chief of security for The Wharf, stated that the Anthem planned to hire traffic control and police officers to guide concertgoers back to public parking at L’Enfant Plaza. Eleanor Bacon of Hoffman-Madison-Marquette, The Wharf’s developers, promised to get back to the commissioners with more answers.

Chair Litsky informed audience members that the commission has been meeting every two weeks with city officials and the Southwest Business Improvement District (SWBID) about transportation issues south of I-695 in preparation for the opening of The Wharf and DC United’s Audi Stadium.

Commissioner Shockley offered a motion to protest the license. Her motion also authorized Chair Litsky to lead a team to negotiate a community agreement with I.M.P. Productions that would address late-night transportation issues. Any agreement would negate the commission’s protest at the ABC Board’s September meeting.

The commissioners voted unanimously in favor of Shockley’s resolution. Kline stated that I.M.P. Productions would come to an agreement before Sept. 8. At the time of publication, the parties had made substantial progress and the commission was expected to drop its protest before the Sept. 8 meeting of the ABC Board.

The commissioners voted unanimously to support licenses and approve community agreements negotiated by the ABC Subcommittee for the following establishments:

  • Hanks, 701 Wharf St. SW
  • Shake Shack, 975 Wharf St. SW
  • InterContinental Hotel, 801 Wharf St. SW
  • Capitol Yacht Club, 800 Wharf St. SW
  • La Vie, 80 District Square SW
  • Marinai, 20 and 40 Pearl St. SW

The commissioners voted unanimously to protest the license application of Presidential LLC and Potomac Distilling Company, 1237 First St. SE.

The commissioners voted to support a license for Brighton, 949 Wharf St. SW, with one commissioner in opposition and two abstaining. The community agreement was approved by five votes with two abstentions. Commissioners had concerns with the impact of sound from the establishment on residences planned above it, particularly with the summer garden.

The commissioners voted to support a license and approve a community agreement for Cantina Bambino, 960 Wharf St. SW. One commissioner voted against the establishment and one abstained, citing concerns with the operation of the rooftop establishment that sits above The Wharf’s transit pier. They requested a review of the establishment’s security plan.

The commissioners voted to support a license and approve a community agreement for Kailwa, 751 Water St. SW. Three commissioners abstained on both votes. Commissioners supported stipulated licenses for Cantina Bambino, La Vie, and the Capitol Yacht Club with two commissioners in opposition.

Revised Design for Randall School
A team led by Brant Snyder, vice president at Lowe Enterprises, which has joined the Rubell Family and Telesis as developers of the Randall School, unveiled a revised design for the project. Moving the museum entrance, from the historic I Street entry to the eastern side of the school’s original auditorium, allows the museum to be reconfigured on an east-west rather than a north-south access. This permits large installations to be housed in the former gymnasium, which has 25-foot ceilings and will also serve as an event space. It eliminates the need for the construction of a northern annex, leaving the architectural integrity of the historic school intact while reducing costs significantly.

The residential property to the north of the school retains its original, U-shaped footprint. The elimination of the annex allows for the creation of a significant public courtyard opening onto the school’s northern exposure. In addition, the design pulls back the parking garage within the bounds of the new building, which will house approximately 500 residential units. This permits the extensive planting of street trees. The courtyard will be gated but publicly accessible except late at night.

Having secured a two-year extension for the project’s original planned unit development (PUD), developers plan to file a PUD modification in August. Pending approval, the construction would start in 2019.

The developers are not seeking relief from the original PUD’s commitment to affordable housing. They have designated 20 percent of the total apartment square footage as affordable at 80 percent of average median income (AMI). There may be some family-sized units in the townhouse component. No decision has been made on whether units will be offered for sale or rent, although a project of that size cannot be entirely condo. The commissioners took no vote on the matter.

DC United Stadium Update
DC United’s Victor Melara provided an update on the construction of the team’s stadium on Buzzard Point. The team received the final zoning order on April 21, 2017. It has signed a food and beverage contract with the Think Food Group.

The foundation is 95 percent complete. West sideline beams have been installed and supercolumns are now being erected. The south basement has been excavated and basement beams installed. The northeastern corner requires environmental remediation. Four dust monitors are active on site and will remain for the next two months. The team is awaiting a building permit for the steel superstructure, the precast seating bowl, and the site utilities.

Meetings for the stadium’s traffic operations and parking plan (TOPP) are about to begin. A draft TOPP should be completed by January 2018 and finalized by April.

Commissioner Hamilton thanked Melara for DC United’s coordination with the community. She asked about employment opportunities for residents at the stadium. The team is working with the Workforce Investment Council to create opportunities for the employment of residents, Melara responded.

Hamilton asked DC United to hold community meetings on parking and traffic planning before the draft TOPP. Chair Litsky asked what agreements DC United has in place with the Nationals over parking arrangements. Melara stated that he would have to get back to the commission with that information. Litsky hoped that Major League Soccer would coordinate its schedule with that of Major League Baseball to avoid simultaneous games.

Chair Litsky asked Melara whether the construction site was being monitored for mosquitoes and standing water. Mosquitoes infected with West Nile have been found on Buzzard Point.

CBCC Report
Rikki Kramer apprised the commission of activities of the Near SE/SW Community Benefits Coordinating Council (CBCC). The group is hoping to meet soon with DC United to form an enforcement committee to monitor the team’s community benefits agreement. The CBCC also requested the team to move its quarterly community meetings around the neighborhood.

The council is committed to a “build first” solution to the redevelopment of Greenleaf Gardens. In addition, it is concerned that construction of the new shelter planned for 801 Delaware Ave. SW not impede the operations of the Southwest Unity Health Clinic.

The CBCC has forwarded proposals for the development of a checklist for community benefits agreements reached with developers as part of negotiations for PUDs. Its PUD task force is in dialogue with neighborhood developers planning future projects. Kramer asked to coordinate their efforts with those of the ANC.

The CBCC is now focusing on supporting the Waterfront Village. Kramer also issued a call for volunteers for Friends of Randall Recreation Center. CBCC board meetings are now held on the third Saturday of the month. Lavern Norton has joined the council’s board. To learn more about the council, visit www.seswcbcc.org.

Public Safety
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Lieutenant Marquis Queen gave a report on public safety. Overall crime is down within the commission’s boundaries except for thefts from vehicles. Commissioner Collins asked about whether the two incidents of tire thefts from parked cars in his single-member district (SMD) signaled a trend. Queen stated it did not.

Commissioner Fast mentioned that a homeless person had harassed a resident walking on Seventh Street SW. Queen stated that the homeless population had gotten more aggressive lately and the police and the SWBID were taking steps to address the situation. Queen also reported that the police had made one arrest in a July 4 incident involving bottle rockets being shot across the streets next to King Greenleaf Recreation Center. In answer to commissioners’ queries, he reported that a transgender person had been struck with a baseball bat on Half Street SW after a dispute with teens firing firecrackers at her. The department’s LGBT liaison is investigation the incident.

Queen reported that the First District’s commander has scheduled a meeting with CVS corporate officials concerning the security of their two stores within the commission’s boundaries.

Other Matters
John Green, community engagement coordinator for the DC Attorney General, gave a presentation on his office’s role and responsibilities.

The DC Commission on the Arts is planning the 202 Festival in Southwest on Sept. 9. Taking place in seven locations across the neighborhood, it will feature 50 performers and 10 hours of programming. The main stage will be located on the Randall field. Other locations include the vacant lot on Fourth Street and the Duck Pond. The organizers are in discussions with the MPD over whether it is necessary to close Fourth Street between M and I streets due to security concerns.

Jennifer Nichols, a board member for the DC State Fair, presented plans to hold the event on Sept. 24 on the vacant lots next to the SW Safeway. She stated that more than 10,000 persons were expected to attend the fair, which holds agricultural and culinary contests. There will be no livestock.

Chair Litsky reported that the plan for a federal halfway house on School Street was scuttled after the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) withdrew its approval.

Karima Holmes, director of the DC Office of Unified Communications, informed the commissioners about her agency’s mission. The call center has 400 employees who field 10,000 calls daily to 311 and 911, she stated. It has just debuted a new mobile app for 311 requests, and can take requests by text for both 311 and 911. The top four reasons Southwesters call the center are: (1) parking issues, (2) trash pickup, (3) DMV license issues, and DMV title issues.

The commissioners voted unanimously to support the reconstruction of I Street SE near the South Capitol intersection. The proposal moves the bike lane behind parked cars and includes bump-outs to increase pedestrian safety by reducing crossing times.

The commissioners voted unanimously to oppose Pepco’s request to work on Sunday at the utility’s Waterfront substation. Commissioner Hamilton observed that this was the only day when families and kids in her SMD get a break from construction traffic. Sunday in summer is a traditional time for grilling out and socializing with neighbors. “Just to get things done is a nonstarter as far as I am concerned,” stated Commissioner Fascett, restating the commission’s general opposition to afterhours construction.

Addressing a matter covered extensively in the June meeting, the commissioners voted with one member in opposition to support the text amendment requested by Forest City to decouple Yards West development from that in Yards East. They authorized Commissioner Fascett to represent the commission at the set down.

ANC 6D unanimously approved the following:

  • the June minutes
  • amending the May minutes to correct a time stamp
  • supporting the Nation’s Triathlon scheduled for Sept. 10
  • supporting the St. Jude’s Walk/Run scheduled for Sept. 23
  • supporting the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure scheduled for Sept. 23
  • supporting amplified sound at the Greenleaf Recreation Center on July 15 for Love Your Neighbor Day

ANC 6D does not meet in August. Visit www.anc6d.org/ for more information. The next meeting will be held on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at 1100 Fourth St. SW on the Second Floor.