Downtown ANC report

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At the commission’s June 11 meeting:

  • Richard Livingston of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office thanked the community for its suffering from the road closures during the Washington Capital’s Stanley Cup victory celebration. He also announced the China Town Festival will take place at 500 I Street on Saturday, July 7.
  • City Council Chair Phil Mendelson reported the Council had finished work on the District’s upcoming budget and that the budget support act would be considered on June 28th. The budget includes $178 million for WMATA which will be financed by an increase in commercial taxes and a 6% tax on Uber. The budget also includes tax relief for small businesses and small retailers.
    He said that over the summer the Council will discuss a bill further regulating Airbnb, a firm which rents out private homes or just rooms in private homes. On July 2 there is a planned hearing on a bill prohibiting amplified noise from street musicians and other groups with the possible exception of organizations which get permits.
    Mendelson also mentioned possible legislation breaking up the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs into two agencies, one to deal with non-controversial matters and the second to deal with housing, building inspections and related matters.
  • Metropolitan Police Dept. Capt. Jonathan Dorrough reported that the amount of area violent crime was unchanged from last year, but that property crime was down about 15%. Local police, he said, “have a very high closure rate.“ There are four new officers in the Chinatown area bringing the total to 18.
  • Kate Kronquist, a resident and board member of the 1010 Massachusetts Ave. condominium, expressed residents’ concerns about a proposed hotel which would have 200 rooms and a summer garden adjacent to the condominium. The residents plan to protest the building based on their peace and quiet and its effect on their property values.
  • The commission, with one member out of town, recommended approval 2-0 of a liquor license for Arosto Pizza at 705 7th St., NW. It will have 40 seats inside and a summer garden of 30 seats. Alcoholic beverage hours will be Sunday-Thursday 10:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. and Friday and Saturday until 3:00 a.m. The summer garden will close at 11:00 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. It also recommended a temporary liquor license be granted to the Penny Whiskey Bar at 618 H St., NW, which will have the same closing hours as Arosto Pizza.
  • The commission voted 2-0 to write a letter of support to close 12th Street SW between Jefferson Drive and Independence Avenue on any Friday needed to allow the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers’Market to hold special events in its 8th season.
  •  Jason Starr, the general manager of Lime Bike’s D.C. branch, reported his company provided 15,000 bike rentals and 56,000 electric scooter rentals since last March. The national firm, valued at over $1 billion, he said, plans to deploy bikes and scooters around the city. Under current law, the bikes and scooters may be left abutting the street when the renter no longer plans to use them as long as there is at least six feet to provide room for pedestrians and wheelchairs. The company has 15 staff members in the District monitoring parked bicycles and scooters in the city. The biggest problem riders face, he said, is a feeling they are not safe riding in the same lanes with cars so there is a need for more bike lanes. The company is currently limited to renting out 400 bicycles at any one time. (Call Maggie Gendron 802-793-9738 to ask about 15k # &56k scooter rentals)
  • Ted Gong of the 1882 Foundation received a letter of support from the commission to help it apply for grants used to educate people about the Chinese contribution to America. The organization networks with museums and federal agencies and works with school communities, particularly in grades 6 thru 12. It frequently holds community sessions to strengthen Chinese-Americans’ sense of community. The foundation got its name from an 1882 law excluding Chinese from entering the country.
    Gong cited an 1869 photo of the final track laying of the first transcontinental railroad, which had no Chinese in it even though most of the manual work on the western portion of the railroad was done by imported Chinese laborers.