At the June Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D meeting, officers from the owners association of Waterfront Tower spoke. They asked the Commission to support the nomination for Historic Landmark designation by the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board. The Commission did vote unanimously to support the nomination. The Review Board will meet on June 27th. The History Task Force of the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly had nominated Town Center East buildings and the surrounding land as a Historic Landmark.
Last month, the Bernstein Management Corporation asked the Commission to support their plan for a Planned Unit Development of the area around the same buildings. The development would have surrounded the buildings with 11 story apartment houses. At that time, the Commission voted to ask the Zoning Commission to postpone its meeting to consider the development. Then, the lawyer for the Bernstein Corporation rose and said that the Corporation would move for a postponement itself. The sales agreements for the Waterfront Towers condos from Bernstein had contained a clause that the owners would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if they objected to any plans for further development of the site.
About half the audience of over 100 people at the June ANC meeting were owners of those condos.
If the Historic Preservation Review Board agrees, the property will be included in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and will be protected by the DC Historic Landmark and Historic District Preservation Act of 1978. The Review Board will simultaneously consider the nomination of the property to the National Register of Historic Places.
A representative from the DC Historic Preservation Review Board said that Preservation does not mean you freeze a property in time. It does allow additional development compatible with the site, but any proposed development would have to pass the Historic Preservation Review Board.
Roger Moffatt will testify before the Historic Preservation Review Board on behalf of the ANC. Other interested persons should come and speak at the meeting.
Also at the meeting, Dan Guilbeault, from the Mayor’s Sustainable DC initiative, told the Commissioners about the plan to cut the city wide obesity rate by 50%, attract 250,000 new residents, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, make 75% of all trips by walking, biking, or transit, and achieve zero waste, by 2032. The web site is http://sustainable.dc.gov.
Eve Brooks of the Community Benefits Coordinating Council announced the reopening of the Randall Recreation Center on July 1. The center will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays and also on Saturdays. Activities for teens and their siblings will dominate weekdays. Volunteer opportunities abound. Leaders are needed for arts, dance, crafts, photography, computer skills, yoga, Zumba, literacy, creative writing, games, front desk help, scheduling, programming, communication assistance, fundraising, and to be leaders for young children. The summer programs will run until August 23, and there are plans for continuing all year. Contact the volunteer Coordinator George Burton at GWBurton@sashabruce.org. If you want more information, contact Vera Johnson at VJohnson@sashabruce.org.
Carolyn Mitchell asked for the Commissioners’ support of the refinancing of Channel Square Apartments on P St SW. The current owner wants to sell, and a Tenant Association has assigned its rights to the National Housing Trust – Enterprise Preservation Corp, in partnership with Somerset Development Co. to purchase it and keep the rents low. Ms. Mitchell is looking for grants to help the present residents keep living there. The Commission agreed to send a support letter to Michael Kelly, Director, DC Department of Housing and Community Development.
Mohammed Ali asked the Commissioners to support the proposed Camden South Capitol Program to favor Southwest residents. He and former ANC Commissioner David Sobelsohn had negotiated a favorable treatment for our area residents to rent apartments in the new Camden South Capitol building, across from the Ballpark. Mr. Ali told the Commissioners that the negotiated agreement could not be carried out because of “fair housing.” Instead, Ward 6 residents were to be given a $250 move-in rebate. The Commission agreed to this. Without the agreement of the ANC, the building could not get its Certificate of Occupancy and actually open. Forty units have already been rented. Rhonda Hamilton is going to write the letter of support.
Juan Thompson told the Commissioners about available volunteer opportunities, including Community Emergency Response Teams. He wants to train people all over the city to respond to emergencies, for example, Arena Stage ushers and staff.
Donna Hopkins, Ed Kaminski, Andy Litsky, and David Garber voted to support the variances necessary for Chris French to build a third floor on his house at 929 5th St SE. Roger Moffatt and Ron McBee opposed it, and Rhonda Hamilton abstained from voting. This item was carried over from the May meeting at the request of the Commissioners. Mr. French had dropped his plans for a two-foot extension in the rear of his property. He had informed more people of his plans and had more support from his neighbors, several of whom were at the meeting.
The Commission unanimously approved a design change for a development north of the Ballpark. They approved design before but a lot between it and the Ballpark caused a need to change the design.
The Commissioners also approved a request by Bridget Gonzales Young to let dogs swim in the Randall pool at the very end of summer, after it is closed to people and before it is drained.
Several liquor licenses were routinely supported, including ones for Osteria Morini, Nicoletta, and Agua 301, which are all new restaurants coming to 301 Water St SE.
The Commissioners spent about an hour discussing a liquor license for Riverfront at the Ballpark at the site between the Ballpark and the Anacostia River. This month, the company presented a more definite proposal, with more environmental thought than the one presented last month. Four of the Commissioners agreed and two abstained on a plan that would let Riverfront operate this summer, with a hearing in September to see if they should get their normal license. Diane Schultz tweeted, “Riverfront at Ballpark discussion: kickball fields and bocce courts with restaurants and bars. There is also space for special events.”
July 2 is Neighborhood night at Nationals Park. It is also $1 ice cream night. In fact, when buying tickets on the Nationals web site, putting SOUTHWEST in the coupon code blank will get you a deal on tickets any night.
At the end of the meeting, around 11 p.m., Mary Williams reported a community concern that a parking lot had sprung up on the 1300 block of South Capitol. About 200 cars were parking there on game days for $20 each.
By B. K. Lunde