Notes from the ANC 2D – Sheridan-Kalorama Mtg. 1/23/19


At the commission’s Jan. 23 meeting:

* Jeff Nestler replaced Ellen Goldstein, who did not run for re-election. Professionally, Nestler is an attorney with the prosecutor’s office. He was elected by the commission as Vice Chairperson/Treasurer. David Bender was re-elected Chairperson/Secretary.

* Chairperson David Bender reported a Curbside Management study is available on the District Department of Transportation website for Penn Quarter and Chinatown. Parking rates there vary from $1 to $6 per hour. 

     The National Capital Planning Commission has a new report on “small cell” electronic messaging. The Netherlands has found a way to put transmission boxes underground, but the optics serve a more limited area than when they are on poles. 

     The Metropolitan Police Department is realigning some of its districts, but it will not affect Sheridan/Kalorama, Bender said.

* Commission Treasurer Jeff Nestler reported the commission’s bank balance as $10,429.93. The commission unanimously joined the District’s Security Fund, approved the first quarter financial report which was prepared by former Treasurer Ellen Goldstein and approved both current commissioners as check signers.

* Commission Chair David Bender reminded residents that its meetings are automatically cancelled or postponed when the DC government is closed due to snow emergencies.

* Mayor Muriel Bowser’s new representative, Amr Kotb, reported the Mayor plans to hold three public forums on the District’s 2020 budget at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 21 at 1001 5th St., SE; 10:00 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 23 at 1350 49th St., NE and 6:30 p.m., Monday, Feb.  25 at 4301 13th St., NW. 

* Daniel Bassett of Councilmember Jack Evans’ office reported members of the Council will be holding oversight hearings of District departments’ performances in February.

     He said Evans voted unsuccessfully along with Council Chair Phil Mendelson to uphold Mayor Muriel Bowser’s veto of legislation to decriminalize avoiding METRO fares for fear it will invite more rider fare evasion. The veto was overridden 11-2.

* The commission did not to take a position on the Myanmar Embassy’s request to have a 5 foot fence for security reasons in the woods behind its building at 2300 S St., NW. Michael Greigg, the architect, said the embassy has letters of support from its neighbors. Commission Chair David Bender said if it had come to a vote, he would have voted to limit the height to 42 inches, as is normally required in the Sheridan-Kalorama historic district for fear the higher height might become a precedent. 

     Commissioner Jeff Nestler said he felt the fence was not observable from the sidewalk, so it was not of an historic concern. Were it visible, he would have opposed it. The final decision will be made by the Historic Preservation Review Board.

* The commission unanimously voted to inform the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs that it opposes a request by the owner of 2144 California St. to extend working hours seven days a week until June 1 from 5:00 a.m. -10:00 p.m. 

     Mark Hardy representing the owner, Saul-Urban, said work from 5:00-7:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m. would all be on the inside where it would not bother neighbors. A neighbor disagreed pointing out that at present some of the floors have no windows so the noise would affect neighbors. 

     Hardy said the need for the request is that the work is way behind schedule.

     One neighbor complained of a recent humming sound emanating from the building which has become a public nuisance in the neighborhood, which would be truly serious at 5:00 a.m. Hardy answered it is to keep the building warm, but said he will talk with the contractor.

     Another neighbor said workers parking until late evening hours would make it difficult for residents to find on-street parking places. He also complained that workers going to work at 5:00 a.m. would probably arrive as early as 4:30 a.m. and make noise disturbing residents. Now, he said, they disturb them when they arrive at 6:30 a.m..  

     Hardy said the project will take two more months as a result of not being able to extend work hours.

* Commissioner Jeff Nestler reported the Courtyard Marriott at 1900 Connecticut Ave. has been purchased by General Hostels, a European company, and plans to rebuild it and convert it to a super luxury hotel charging between $250 and $300 a night. 

     About 35 rooms, however, will have four beds, and which might be shared by strangers for about $78/bed a night. As of now, there are no written plans on the table.

     Commission Chair David Bender said the commission cannot make any recommendations until such time as the new owners make a proposal.

* The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 11. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton will be a guest speaker.