ANC3/4G – Chevy Chase
At the commission’s Feb.11 meeting:
* The commission re-elected Randy Speck as its chair, Christopher Fromboluti its vice-chair, Chandra Garfield its treasurer and Abraham Clayman secretary.
* Commission Chair Randy Speck announced the Chevy Chase Community Center renovation is in the early stages of design. A request for proposals from would be designers was issued Jan.11 and must be responded to by Feb.19.
He also announced the D.C. Library is developing a master plan to help guide planning for libraries across the city. It will hold a public meeting on Feb. 26 at 7:00 p.m at the Tenley Library to discuss plans.
Speck also reported Washington Performing Arts will hold a vocal performance called Politics and Art showcasing the District’s vibrant arts community. Performance will be at the Wilson building. The application deadline for participants is Feb.22 and registration is free.
* Commissioner Rebecca Maydak reported The Department of Parks & Recreation has a list of programs taking place at the Chevy Chase Community Center and is working on finding facilities for them to operate in during the Center’s reconstruction period. Among the possibilities are the University of the District of Columbia and public schools. She added that Commissioner Chanda Tuck- Garfield is working with residents on a bioretention project.
* Gabrielle Priest, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s new Ward 4 liaison, reported that residents and motorists can now receive important weather alerts from the District by signing up at alertdc.dc.gov. She announced that beginning March.1, the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department will respond to calls with a new program, Right Care Right Now which will assess people’s symptoms and connect them with the proper nurse.
She added the DC Circulator bus will offer free rides until Feb.28.
* Anthony Cassillo of Councilmember Mary Cheh’s office reported the Transportation and Environmental Committee is holding performance oversight hearings for the Department of Energy on Feb.14 and 15 at 11:00 a.m at the Wilson Building room 412. On Feb. 23 she will be available for Ward 3 residents from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 4850 Massachusetts Ave., NW.
* Ruth Robbins reported the Chevy Chase Circle organization will try to light up the fountain there.
* Stephen Powers, a WMATA representative, reported WMATA plans to rehabilitate the three bus loop facilities it owns in the District in a single construction project, one in Chevy Chase, one on Calvert street and one on Colorado Avenue. They were inherited in the 1960’s from Capital Transit when WMATA was founded. The facilities, which will only be open to WMATA employees, will have new windows, doors, restrooms and lighting, as well as new security systems. The electronic systems will have security cameras.
Several commissioners complained that the Chevy Chase facility at 5720 Connecticut Ave. could not be used in some manner by the general public. Powers said it was never intended to be. Commission Chair Randy Speck said he would like to see the facility used for other purposes, perhaps as a farmers market. An audience member pointed out it is a very large site and could be used for other purposes.
Work on the project is expected to be completed by spring. Speck said the project will be considered at the commission’s Feb. 25 meeting.
* Robert Gordon, the owner of The Little Beast Bistro at 5600 Connecticut Ave. which has a sidewalk cafe on its McKinley Street side, stated the process to install an awning on the sidewalk cafe has been an issue for city authorities because it’s on private property while city officials thought it was on public property. It had to pay “rent” of $3,275.00 and Gordon asked the commission to send a letter asking the money be refunded. Gordon also asked the commission to write a letter asking the District government’s Public Space Committee to approve the awning at its February meeting so the sidewalk cafe could operate in case of inclement weather this spring.
Commission Chair Randy Speck pointed out that D.C. regulations allow an “unenclosed” outdoor cafe to have an awning, even though it will not be “open to the sky.” He also said the cafe is on private property, so no “rent” was due.
The commission voted unanimously it has “no objection” to the awning, to send a letter saying the “rent” payment should be refunded and to send a letter to the Public Space Committee asking it to take up the question at its February meeting.
* Commission Chair Randy Speck was unanimously authorized to testify before the appropriate City Council committees’ oversight hearings that the Department of Energy and Environment should grant non-profit organizations under federal law the same rights as those that were organized under District law for relief under the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Surcharge tax program. Currently the Ingleside retirement facility is free from the real estate tax as it became a non-profit under District law. Knollwood, a basically similar retirement facility became a non-profit under federal law before the District government was even authorized.
Since 2009, it has paid a total of $259,368.92.
It also unanimously asked Speck to testify before the City Council committee to get the flooding caused by the small culvert under Broad Branch Road near the Ivory Coast embassy solved. The Department of Transportation owns the culvert and DC Water owns the land to its side.
* The commission unanimously agreed that Commission Chair Randy Speck should testify before the committee overseeing advisory neighborhood commissions to tell the oversight authority to produce specific regulations on commission grants. The commission has been told its proposed grant to the Wilson Crew will not be allowed and it feels the grant is appropriate.
* The commission unanimously agreed to write the Board of Elections to allow candidates for advisory neighborhood commissions to have the same two month period to file their candidacies as candidates for other elected offices receive. Currently, they are only allowed one month.
- The commissioner next meeting will be on February 25 at 7: 00 p.m
ANC 2B – Dupont
At the commission’s Feb. 13th meeting:
* Commissioner Randy Downs reported that the Department of Transportation has completed traffic surveys using video cameras to study the possibility of a two-way protected bike path on 17th Street. between K Street and New Hampshire Avenue.
“Everything is still on the table,” he added.
* Commission Chair Daniel Warwick reported the Dupont Circle Hotel recently reopened its restaurant.
* Nicole Gaines of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office asked residents to call 311 if they see anyone in very cold weather who might be suffering from hypothermia. She said residents calling for emergency service help after March 1 will first be connected with a nurse to see if they need to go to a hospital or could just go to a health center.
She also invited those between 14 and 24 years old to apply to a city run summer youth program which involves summer jobs with the D.C. government.
* Joe Florio, representing City Council member Jack Evans, reported his Council committee will be holding an oversight hearing on Feb. 22 on the arts and another on the 25th on taxes and District revenues.
* The Dupont Circle Citizens Association will hold a meeting March 4 on historic preservation. Historic Dupont Circle Main Street will hold an evening meeting at the Washington Hilton on Thursday Feb. 21. The group’s 17th Street Festival is scheduled for August 24.
* Inspector Wendy Cadell of the Department of Public Works reported that it is not too late to put out Christmas trees for pick-up.
* Battalion Chief Smith of the D.C. Fire & Emergency Services Department gave a detailed presentation on its new emergency services program. Those calling 911 will speak with a nurse to determine if an individual needs to go to a hospital for a life or limb threatening problem or if they can go to one of the 21 clinics throughout the city.
If the former, an ambulance will take the person to a nearby hospital, often escorted by a fire truck. If the latter, they will be taken to a clinic and then if appropriate returned to their home, possibly with an Uber driver. The clinics initially will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m. Twenty-four hour service will hopefully soon be available.
* The new 2nd District Police Cmdr. Duncan Bedlion reported the area’s major crime problem is theft from autos. Thankfully, he said, Police arrested two of the thieves the past Tuesday evening. Many of the victims are non-DC residents. When people leave visible items in their cars, it is an invitation for a thief to break a window and seize it. Even if it is just a paper bag, the thief might think there is a wallet or something valuable in or underneath it. Between 10 and 15 percent of drivers leave something in their cars.
* Shawn Townsend, the director of the Mayor’s new Office of Nightlife & Culture, said his office will deal with everything going on in Washington after 5:00 p.m., make it simpler for businesses to work with the city, and serve as an intermediary between residents and businesses to solve problems. A 15 member board is being formed.
Recently, he helped solve a problem on 19th Street when a builder wanted to take a crane down. He had been told to do it at 2:00 a.m. Townsend got the work postponed until 4:00 a.m. as many Virginia patrons of bars and restaurants are still going home at 2:00 a.m. on 19th Street and there would have been a major problem.
There is a challenge, he said, of balancing the quality of life needs of residents and promoting a nighttime economy. “We have our work cut out for us. I can’t please both parties all the time.”
Robin Diener of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association pointed out that nightlife noise can distract from the economy as it makes the area less livable and makes it less likely people will move in and more likely they’ll move out.
Townsend then said, “I’m focusing on this area. We can use what we learn here elsewhere in the city.”
* The commission voted 8-0-0 to protest an alcohol license for the new Opportunity Cafe at 1615 L St., NW, which includes a 60 seat summer garden on the roof until a settlement agreement can be negotiated.
Its requested hours of operation are until 2:00 a.m. Sunday thru Thursday and 3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday evening. There would be dancing in the summer garden.
The plan is for the cafe to be able to deliver drinks, pastries and sandwiches to businesses throughout the building. The commission’s main concern is noise that could affect the Presidential Co-op located across the street, whose president said the residents feared it would interfere with their sleep.
Biran Kelleher, the general manager of the Capital Hilton Hotel said his concern is late night entertainment as there are 70 rooms that face in the direction of the building. Due to previous noise problems, the hotel has had to refund a total of $38,000 to some of its guests.
* A motion failed on a 4-4 vote to demand a settlement agreement before the new New Orleans inspired Dauphine’s Restaurant in the old Washington Post building at 1100 15th St. could get its liquor license.
The restaurant will include a raw bar and have two summer gardens, one with 97 seats and one with 74. There will be 159 seats inside. Live entertainment was requested both inside and outside.
Both the Presidential and the Capital Hilton leaders said they are concerned with the noise potential as did the University Club on 16th Street. They all wanted the commission to negotiate a voluntary (or settlement) agreement.
There will be a canopy above the outside gardens to reduce noise and to protect from inclement weather.
Commission Chair Randy Speck, who voted for a settlement agreement, said there are no residential buildings near the building, but there is a hotel.
* A motion failed 3-5-0 to protest a liquor license for a new restaurant at 1100 15th St. without a settlement agreement. It will have seating capacity of 300 including a 50-seat summer garden and a 75-seat sidewalk cafe. The license request has an entertainment endorsement including dancing. Hours would be 7:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and 7:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
* With an 8-0-0 vote the commission recommended a temporary “stipulated” liquor license be granted to CHIKO, a new restaurant at 2029 P St. It will specialize in Chinese and Korean cuisine with seating for 30. Sunday-Thursday hours would be 11:00 a.m.-1:00 a.m. and Friday and Saturday the closing time would be 2:00 a.m. The owner said that normally it would close at 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. There would be no outdoor hours.
* The commission unanimously voted to recommend that the Board of Zoning Adjustment grant a special exception from the penthouse enclosure requirements to John Hancock Life Insurance Co. to allow it to construct new habitable penthouse structures including two bathrooms atop a 12 story office building at 750 17th St.
* The commission unanimously recommended the Historic Preservation Review Board support a 2-story rear addition to the row house at 1726 Swann St. provided that a “flag test” shows that no part of the roof would be visible from the street. The addition would not protrude further than other properties in the alley behind it. The applicant plans to restore the front facade and stoop of the building.
The Dupont Circle Conservancy also supported the project.
* The commission unanimously asked the Historic Preservation Review Board to delay consideration of a 12-foot 2-story rear addition at 1746 Q St. as the commission received formal notice of the proposal one day before its meeting and it is required to receive notices at least 30 days in advance.
The commission wanted to allow the Dupont Circle Conservancy to consider it and it was unable to do so.
The addition would be 12 feet deep with 2 units in the basement and first floor and one on the second floor. It will not be visible from Q Street. The matter will be discussed at the commission’s March meeting.
* The commission with an 8-0-0 vote asked for a 30 day delay in the Historic Preservation Review Board’s consideration of a second floor addition among other changes in 1732 P St. The commission stated it had not found a mutually convenient time to schedule a meeting with neighbors in the Avondale, a residential building sharing a party wall with the applicant.
* The commission unanimously supported Stream Realty Partners’ proposal to occupy public space at 1771 N St. to improve the streetscape with two new leadwalks, new bike racks, new planter boxes, and native species plants and trees.
- The commission unanimously asked the public school system to increase the funding for School Without Walls at Francis-Stevens by about $600,000 and to divide the school’s smaller gym into six classrooms to take care of greatly increased enrollment.
The commission pointed out the school now has 474 students and has a waiting list of 700 students from around the city while its capacity is 500. With the opening of the Chinese Embassy’s apartment building on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Kalorama Road, an estimated 40 more students will be in its service area.
Davis Kennedy and Amina Ndiaye contributed to this content.