The press, the people, and the Internet demonstrated their power at the April ANC 6D meeting on May 13th. Allison C. Prince, Esq., speaking for the Bernstein Companies, said that she would ask the DC Zoning Commission to postpone the hearing for their development at 3rd and M St SW.

The City Paper website had posted an article about Bernstein Companies threatening suit against condominium owners for taking any action to oppose the development of land around their buildings. The paper posted the article on May 10th. After summarizing the article, the chairman of ANC 6D, Andy Litsky, said, “Who do you think you are?” to representatives of the Bernstein Companies and the standing-room-only crowd of 78 people at the meeting. The meeting broke out into a full minute of loud applause.

The Bernstein Companies presented their proposal for two buildings of 11 stories each to be built north and south of the existing buildings that were designed by I. M. Pei. They were also proposing a four-story building to be built between the existing buildings.  The new buildings would have 401 new apartments.

The commission unanimously approved a motion to write a letter requesting the DC Zoning Commission to postpone the hearing for the case that was scheduled for May 30th. They were discussing a motion to oppose the DC Zoning approval of the request when Allison Prince dramatically rose to say that the Bernstein Corporation itself would ask for a delay in the hearing. The opposition from the crowd to the gag order they felt they had and the proposed development was so great that Allison Prince said her client would need the extra time gained by postponing the hearings to meet with the condominium owners and consider changes in the design before presentation to the zoning commission. Many of the audience comments got applause, which was much more frequent than at any other recent meeting.

The commissioners voted unanimously to accept a substitute motion that delayed their consideration of the case, subject to a written retraction of the Bernstein letter to the condominium owners. The commission voted unanimously to conditionally approve a proposal for a 365-unit apartment building, with four small stores, to be built southeast of the Duck Pond. The conditions are that the amount of retail space is increased and that the construction plan does not harm the Southwest Duck Pond. Perry Kline asked, “What is the schedule?” The answer was that it would be done in the first or second quarter of 2015.

Saturday, June 15th, the Fatherhood Education Empowerment and Development Program is sponsoring a Celebration of Fatherhood from noon to 3 PM at Lansburg Park. They will have barbeque, music, NFL Exercise Training, a video game demonstration bus, and lots of other activities, all for free.

Almost at the end of the meeting, the commissioners first voted against endorsing the approval of an alcoholic beverage license for Riverfront at the Ball Park. Then, after discussion by the applicants, they reversed themselves, four to one, to reconsider and endorsed the application, subject to a positive report on its environmental impact from the DC Department of the Environment and hired crossing guards for street safety.  The proposal is for a large playing field, food trucks, beverage sales, and a parking area on the Anacostia River, just south of the ballpark at Potomac St and South Capitol St SE.

The meeting lasted until 12:30 AM, so Melonee Bryant had to wait until then to voice her community concerns about stray cats, which are fed by a woman from Virginia, and other animals in the neighborhood of the King Greenleaf Recreation Center. Melonee said, “If you have animals, you are responsible for animal waste.” She was also concerned about residents of James Creek housing and Spinx not getting information about community developments, such as the small area plan, and also about representation of these groups on such things as the Small Area Plan committee.

The next meeting of ANC 6D is June 10th at 7 PM at 1100 4th St SW on the second floor.

By B. K. Lunde

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