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Circulator Forum March 17; Expansion of Navy Yard Route Hours?
Mar 4, 2011 3:26 PM
DDOT has announced the "First Semi-Annual DC Circulator Public Forum," with Near Southeast residents hitting the jackpot since it's being held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. It's scheduled for Thursday, March 17, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm, and the release says it will cover topics "including potential changes to the span of the Union Station-Navy Yard route."
In subsequent tweets over the past few days, the Circulator folks have expanded on that, saying that they'll be talking about extending the hours on the route until 9 pm Mondays through Saturdays during the baseball season (April-September), and that it may be paid for by ending the weekend-only service on the Mall. (Other tweets hint that the National Park Service may eventually "support" a Mall route using Madison and Jefferson drives.)
They asked for feedback: would there be support in the neighborhood for running the buses until 9 pm? Is there another service improvement you'd rather see in place of that?
Comments (8)
More posts: circulator, meetings, Traffic Issues

Van Ness Elementary to Remain Closed a Few More Years
Mar 1, 2011 8:36 AM
At a meeting Monday night, DC Public Schools announced that, despite the hopes of the parents of small children who have moved to Near Southeast, Van Ness Elementary will remain closed for a few more years, perhaps opening by the 2014-15 school year. I wasn't at the meeting (was watching McEnroe, Lendl, Sampras, and Agassi at Madison Square Garden), but I can pass along the handout from the meeting (page one and two) that provides the rationale and data behind the decision.
The next open question is whether DCPS will expand the boundaries of Tyler Elementary at 10th and G SE to allow Near Southeast children to attend, rather than continuing to send them to Amidon-Bowen in Southwest, a situation which has many parents unhappy. Also, parents' groups have meetings scheduled with various city officials in the coming days to discuss the situation.
Sorry this is brief; if you were at the meeting, please feel free to use the comments to highlight anything said that isn't in the handout. You can also read my previous Van Ness entries for more background.
Comments (7)
More posts: meetings, Van Ness Elementary

Pre-Monday Tidbits (Van Ness Meeting Reminder, Links)
Feb 28, 2011 9:47 AM
* I imagine most interested parties do not need to be reminded that tonight at 6 pm at 900 5th St. SE is the meeting with DCPS to find out what they plan to do with Van Ness Elementary. With laser-like precision, they picked a date when I absolutely can't be there, so anyone who wants to pass along the news as it's happening, please do. (I will be keeping an eye on Twitter.)
And, two recently Tweeted links that might be of interest:
* The Yards was named one of Five Projects that Will Transform Washington by the Washington Business Journal. "When completed, the neighborhood may finally achieve L'Enfant's vision for a bustling center of activity on the waterfront."
* The DC Fiscal Policy Institute takes a look at the possible $8 million tax break to bring Whole Foods to New Jersey Avenue, asking "why it makes sense for the District to continue putting money into an area that has seen tremendous public investments and is already on the cusp of development" and why the project would require a special subsidy to move forward, since they say that "Whole Foods already would qualify for a set of tax incentives on grocery-store development, including a 10-year property tax break on the store itself."

Beer Garden Historic Preservation Hearing: It's 'Very Close'
Feb 26, 2011 3:28 PM
On Thursday the city's Historic Preservation Review Board took up the designs for the new building to be constructed at 720 L St. SE that is going to house a beer garden. You can watch the proceedings if you want (it's about 25 minutes long), which might be of interest if you're an architect or deeply interested in building design.
The commissioners all seemed to feel that the staff report (which I summarized here) was on the right track with its comments on the building's design: "You're close, you're very close," said board member Robert Sonderman to the building's team, and staffer Amanda Molson and other board members seemed to agree.
Before the board members had a chance to weigh in, applicant Mark Brody responded to some of the concerns in the staff report, offering to remove the rain screens that go up above the roof deck, reducing the number of finishes, providing more information about how the roof deck's lighting and sun-screening will be designed, and looking more at how the business relates to the 8th Street streetscape (Brody said that they'll be trying to include a sidewalk cafe in the final plans).
Architect Matthew Battin did seem a little frustrated by the amount of input the design has received, talking about how some design changes have been in response to comments, which have then generated comments that counteracted the initial comments. The board members seemed sympathetic to the "too many cooks" issue, and many focused on wanting the design to be simplified in order to "clarify the concept." They also seemed to like the industrial/warehouse feel, and were not concerned about it fitting in with the Capitol Hill Historic District. There was some discussion about using roll-up windows rather than the flat ones to further emphasize the warehouse feel (though costs do seem to be a concern in much of the design). There was also a suggestion that an archaelogist be brought to the site, given its location near the Navy Yard and on a hill with views of the Potomac where "the people before us" lived.
While the original staff recommendation was for the design to be approved by staff once comments are incorporated, chair Catherine Buell suggested it come back to the board one more time, "hopefully on the consent calendar." This was approved unanimously.
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More posts: 8th St. Beer Garden, 8th Street, meetings

DCPS to Announce Decision on Van Ness Reopening on Feb. 28
Feb 23, 2011 9:38 AM
DC Public Schools has scheduled a public meeting on Feb. 28 to announce its decision on the reopening of Van Ness Elementary School. Parents were already told back in December that the school won't reopen for the 2011-2012 school year, but residents hope that DCPS could decide to get the school back online for fall 2012.
If the school isn't going to be reopened in the near future, there might be the possibility of expanding the boundaries of Tyler Elementary (at 10th and G SE) to allow Near Southeast children to go there, rather than to Amidon-Bowen in Southwest, their current assigned school. (I don't know whether a decision on that would be announced at this meeting.) The meeting is at 6 pm at the Arthur Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE. You can read my previous posts on Van Ness for more information.
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More posts: meetings, Van Ness Elementary

ANC 6D Doings: Bullpen Expansion Support, Canal Park Timeline
Feb 14, 2011 9:38 PM
Quick items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting:
* The commission voted 6-0 to support the Bullpen's plans to open an additional 632-seat beer garden at Half and M, across from the Navy Yard Metro station's west entrance just north of Nationals Park. Owner Bo Blair says that this new area, which I'm referring to as Das Bullpen until cease and desist letters stop me, would be a more "mellow" space than the current Bullpen, with little if any live music, and catering more to folks over 35 and families. It will be offering European beers and a "light" menu (though, are sausages ever really "light"?).
It was determined that this new operation, which will run in tandem with the existing Bullpen at Half and N for the 2011 baseball season, does not need its own liquor license. The ANC in its motion also requested that ABRA handle this license expansion request in an expedited fashion so that negotiations between the Bullpen and landlord Akridge can be completed and the beer garden can be opened by the end of March. It's expected that the original Bullpen will disappear after this season so that Akridge can begin construction on the southern residential portion of its 700,000-square-foot Half Street project.
While both Bullpens will only be open during stadium events, Blair said he's thinking about investigating whether food trucks could be coaxed to come to the Das Bullpen site during lunchtime on non-game days every so often.
You can read more about Das Bullpen here.
* Chris VanArsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave a very brief presentation by request of 6D chair Ron McBee. VanArsdale said that the "construction kick-off" meeting was held today with Davis Construction, and that work on the site should start "by the end of the month." With a 14-month construction timeline, this would get the park "substantially completed" by March 2012, and finished by May.

ANC 6D Agenda; Framing at Capitol Quarter
Feb 11, 2011 12:37 PM
* It's that time of the month {ahem}, with ANC 6D meeting on Monday, Feb. 14, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M streets, SW. What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than with the commissioners and interested residents of Southwest and Near Southeast? Not a very meaty agenda, except that one item is "Canal Park Groundbreaking Update." When the park got its building permits last month, I was told to look for a mid-February start for major construction, and it looks like that may indeed be coming to pass. We'll see what the word is at Monday's meeting.
Also on the agenda is the Bullpen, and it's under "Alcohol Licenses" with the word "revised" attached, so perhaps some decision has been made as to whether the new beer garden operation (I'm just going to keep calling it Das Bullpen) can operate under the existing license of the original Bullpen, as opposed to needing an entirely new license.
* In other news, for those who haven't wandered around 3rd or 4th Street in the past couple days: the "sticks" have started to appear on the first block Capitol Quarter's second phase, with framing now underway. EYA expects the first move-ins on this block (bounded by 3rd, 4th, I, and K) to start in May or June.
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More posts: ANC News, Fairgrounds/Bullpen, Canal Park, Capper, meetings

ANC Doings/The Beer Garden and The Bullpen
Jan 31, 2011 9:28 AM
Here's what's on tap over the next two weeks in ANC Land:
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 1), ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning subcommittee will be getting a first look at the construction plans for the Bavarian Beer Garden 8th and L, SE, as the owner has now begun the Historic Preservation review process, required because the site is within the boundaries of the Capitol Hill Historic District. This meeting is at 7 pm at the Caesar Chavez Public Charter School at 714 11th St., SE.
* Then, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, ANC 6D's Alcohol Beverage Control subcommittee will be meeting at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Rec Center, 201 N St., SW, with an agenda item that says "proposed expansion into adjacent space for The Bullpen at 26 N St., SE." This is the outdoor bar just north of Nationals Park on the footprint of Akridge's Half Street project. I assume that an expansion would be northward, across a little alley and staying within Akridge's land; to expand westward would mean going across Van Street into Monument's property on the old BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N, and to expand eastward would mean going across Half Street into a very big hole.
* Both of these items, along with plenty of others, will then be on the agendas at the ANC's official monthly meetings--ANC 6B's is at 7 pm on Feb. 8 at the LDS Church at 522 7th St., SE, and 6D's is at 7 pm on Feb. 14 at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 600 M St., SW (the agenda for which probably won't be available until very [very very?] late this week).

ANC 6B Supports Beer Garden Liquor License, Van Ness Elementary Reopening
Jan 12, 2011 1:22 PM
At Tuesday night's ANC 6B meeting, two south-of-the-freeway issues were voted on (remember, the section from 7th Street to M Street eastward is 6B04, not 6D07):
* By a 7-3 vote, 6B will now support the liquor license application by the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L streets, SE, provided the Voluntary Agreement hammered out by 6B and BBG is approved by ABRA. (Back in December, 6B had voted to not support/protest the license until a VA was agreed to.) Under this agreement, the beer garden's overall hours of operation will remain from 11 am to 1 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am Friday and Saturday, but there are now slightly amended hours for entertainment. Entertainment indoors is approved from noon to midnight on Sundays, 6 pm to midnight Monday through Thursday, and noon to 2 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and holidays. Hours for "summer garden entertainment and dancing" are from noon to 11 pm Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and 11 am to 1 am on Fridays, Saturdays, and Holidays, with none allowed outdoors on Mondays.
Kirsten Oldenberg, the 6B04 rep in whose single-member district the beer garden will be located (and who now has a blog!), expressed lingering concerns about allowing a tavern license in this location, while David Garrison reminded the meeting that there are residences on 7th Street whose backyards will be directly across from the outdoor garden. Norm Metzger mentioned that this establishment doesn't exactly fit in with the ideas for revitalizing the area as seen in the Lower 8th Street Visioning Draft Report. But despite the concerns, the liquor license application will be moving forward, with only new 6B chairman Neil Glick, Garrison, and Metzger opposing.
The commissioners still have not been shown any designs for the beer garden; however, while the lot's co-owner, Mark Brody, told the commission last month that he planned to build a temporary structure as quickly as possible with a permanent building coming (perhaps) in a few years, it's now been determined that since the block is in the Capitol Hill Historic District a temporary building is not allowed. So there will have to be a "real" building, and its design will be subject to historic review by all applicable organizations before it can move forward.
* New 6B02 rep Ivan Frishberg brought to the commission a draft letter to DCPS in support of reopening Van Ness Elementary, since interim chancellor Kaya Henderson said last month that the school system is "committed" to making a decision on the school this month. There was a lot of discussion, and a lot of questions brought up by David Garrison about the boundaries of the school, how it might impact the schools on the Hill, costs to get the school reopened, and more, but in the end the commission voted to approve the letter. (I *think* the vote was 7-2-1, but am trying to get it confirmed.) UPDATE: Oops. The vote was 9-0-1.
UPDATE: Here's another wrap-up of the meeting from The Hill is Home, who could hear what was going on a lot better than I could....

Tuesday Tibits: ANCs, 1345 South Capitol, More
Jan 11, 2011 10:52 AM
* I skipped out on the first ANC 6D meeting of 2011, not seeing any Near Southeast-specific items on the agenda. I did check in with Damon Harvey of DDOT before the meeting, though, to find out what he was going to be speaking to the ANC about, and it was to tell residents that 2011 Visitor Parking Passes will be sent out in the middle of March (right before baseball season starts). If you have any feedback or questions on the parking passes (which were instituted in 2008 as part of the stadium Performance Parking Pilot), you can contact Damon at damon.harvey [at] dc.gov.
* Tonight (Tuesday) is ANC 6B's meeting, at Brent Elementary at 7 pm. The agenda indicates there could be some news about the Bavarian Beer Garden proposed for 8th and L, SE, so I'll be there to check it out.
* SWill across the way has the news (via Bisnow) that Camden's long-delayed 1345 South Capitol Street residential project across the street from Nationals Park is reportedly going to finally get underway during the first quarter of this year. The design that was approved back in 2007 showed a 276-unit apartment building with about 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail. I used to track this building, but pulled my coverage boundaries back to the South Capitol Street median when SWill hit the ground running with the "Southwest... The Little Quadrant that Could" blog. So while I'll probably mention milestones on the project, I'm going to leave the laser-like focus on it to Will.
* Newly minted ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber was featured this past Sunday on HGTV's My First Sale, documenting his not-altogether-smooth road to selling a house he renovated in Anacostia. I don't see any repeats in the listings, but eventually the episode should be posted online.
* The city's web site about the various Anacostia Waterfront Initiative projects, TheAnacostiaWaterfront.com, is going to be decommissioned as of Feb. 1, with content about projects like the 11th Street Bridges, the Douglass Bridge, and the Anacostia Riverwalk having already been rolled into the DDOT web site. The new URL is ddot.dc.gov/awi.

Rainy Sunday Tidbits: Garage Art, ANC, Akridge/Half St.
Dec 12, 2010 11:28 AM
A few bullet points to pass along on this lovely day (man, I wish I was in Minneapolis right now):
* I took a few photos (belatedly) of the newly installed stainless steel baseballs hung this week on the Nationals Park garages on N Street. You can see a hint of the red and blue LED lights that will "activate" the balls, though I imagine it will be more impressive when it's dark out. (Also, if you're as desperate in your Christmas shopping as I am, remember that the Nats Team Store at Half and N is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.)
* A reader reported this morning that the fences have been taken down around the all-but-completed 1015 Half Street office building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub. Douglas Wilson Companies, which took over the project when Opus East went belly up, had said when construction restarted in May that they would deliver 1015 Half by the end of the year, and they seem to have basically hit that date. No announcement of any tenants for the 440,000-square-foot building, though.
* The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW, but, as of now, no agenda has been posted. I'm sure it'll be a wonderful holiday potpourri of topics, though. (The agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting has been up for quite a while, and includes the new beer garden at 8th and L.)
* A reader passed along this DCMud piece trying to play up movement on Akridge's Half Street project (just north of the ballpark), but I see a lot of "expects" and "luck" and "hope to" rather than any concrete start dates, and so, to me, that means there's really no news of impending construction. The fact that the Bullpen has apparently gotten it's lease renewed for the 2011 season would point to Akridge not expecting to do any work before fall. (And I'd also note that the first sentence gets everything wrong about the disposition of the Southeastern Bus Garage site, as is so often the case with DCMud items on Near Southeast: Akridge was the winning bid for the entire bus garage site in 2007, while Monument [which itself is not bankrupt, though its financial backer Lehman Brothers did croak] had earlier gotten the Metro station entrance on the other side of the street. Monument had owned land south of the bus garage, on the Bullpen site, but then sold that to Akridge in 2008.) The post also gives some background on the project, which might be new for people who haven't been following along, but which is basically what Akridge has been saying since they first unveiled the project two years ago.
You can see my Akridge Half Street project page for all of the details and renderings of the 700,000-square-foot office/residential/retail project, or, heck, read the zoning hearing transcript from January 2009. I think new residents will be happy about Akridge's long-mentioned plans for the "stall"-like vending area along the "Via" as well as a "neighborhood retail" feel for the Van Street side of the project, though people will probably be even happier about that once they know the project is actually going to start....

Upcoming Calendar of Events (Through Dec. 17)
Dec 6, 2010 10:46 AM
This is a painful post for me to write. (No, seriously--I hurt my left thumb last week, and typing doesn't help.) But I will power through to bring you news of upcoming events, all while wondering why Decembers are always so busy with public meetings--because it's not like we don't we have enough to do already....
ADD: Oops. Tonight (Dec. 6) is the 4th Annual Livable Walkable Community Awards, at Arena Stage at 6:30 pm.
* Tuesday (Dec. 7) is the second Marine Barracks site search public forum, in Eastern Market's North Hall. I can't find the agenda for it, but the CIMP web site describes it thusly: "Session 2 will begin with at 5:00 pm with an open house where information will be provided in displays, and subject matter experts will be present to discuss various aspects of the CIMP with a facilitated discussion to authenticate community development objectives to begin at 7:00 PM." You can see the draft community objectives handed out at last week's meeting, and read my summary of that session, as well as the scads of posts through the past year of this process.
* Wednesday (Dec. 8) is the neighborhood meeting with DC Public Schools interim chancellor Kaya Henderson on the movement to reopen Van Ness Elementary at 5th and M, SE. The meeting is at 6 pm (note the time change) at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, and while no decision on reopening the school will be announced, DCPS will be talking about the preliminary findings from the survey they did this fall about whether there would be enough students to justify reopening the school. Read my previous posts for details.
* On Thursday (Dec. 9) the ANC 6B ABC Committee will meet at 7 pm at the Southeast Neighborhood Library at 403 7th St., SE, and it will be taking up the new liquor license application for the Bavarian Beer Garden at 8th and L, SE. It's looking to be a 99-seat tavern, with an additional 200 outdoor seats in summer, and would operate from 11 am to 2 am Sunday through Thursday and 11 am to 3 am on Fridays and Saturdays. There's also apparently the possibility of live entertainment. The application will also be taken up by the full ANC at its regular meeting on Dec. 14 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.
* Monday (Dec. 13) is ANC 6D's monthly meeting--the agenda should be out later this week.
* Tuesday, Dec. 14 is the BID's Annual Meeting, at 11:30 am at 100 M St., SE. There will be a keynote address by George Hawkins, general manager of DC Water, plus the BID will release its 2010 Annual Report and State of the Capitol Riverfront.
* The BID also launches its Holiday Market on the 14th, running daily through the 18th on the sidewalk outside of 1100 New Jersey Ave., SE, across from the Navy Yard Metro station. "Shop the market for wool sweaters and mittens, homemade soaps, jewelry, antique maps, wreaths and holiday greenery, paintings, and much more!" See the flyer for more details, or the latest BID newsletter.
* Also on the 14th is the aforementioned ANC 6B monthly meeting, which includes a report by Michael Stevens of the BID on the Lower 8th Street Visioning Process report that's being submitted to the Office of Planning. (This will also be presented to the ANC's Planning and Zoning Committee on Dec. 7 at 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE.)
* Finally, on Dec. 17, the James L. Brooks movie "How Do You Know" opens--this is the one that was filmed at Nationals Park (and all around DC) back in 2009, and stars Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson.
Ow.

Documents and a Few Notes from Barracks Forum
Dec 2, 2010 1:09 PM
With the selection of a location for a new Marine Barracks more than a year away, there wasn't much big news coming out of Monday's public forum, at least not in terms of my focus, the area south of the freeway. (There were lots of discussions about the disposition of the Building 20, the barracks building at 8th and Virginia the Marines are trying to get out of--I'll be leaving the blogging about that part of the process to Norm Metzger, who has posted some thoughts from Monday's meeting.)
The handouts, displays, and presentation slides are now posted on the CIMP web site for your perusal. And it must be said that the feel of this meeting was more collegial and less antagonistic than some of the previous ones have been--getting Virginia Avenue Park out of the mix seems to have dialed down the temperature somewhat, though it's clear that both sides (the Marines and the community) are still cautious and not completely at ease in working with their counterparts.
At this point, there's much more focus on the process of it all rather than any specific outcomes--how the RFP will be written and what requirements it will have for developers, whether there will be a community representative on the selection committee (doubtful), and the like. Writing about process isn't really my cup of tea--I just want to know about what comes out at the other end! That said, If I had to come up with a few bullet points that were of interest or sounded new, here's what I'd highlight:
* The approach to finding a new site really has changed from when this started a year ago--originally, the Marines were only looking at public property (Virginia Avenue Park, Tyler Elementary, Square 882, the annex at 7th and Virginia, and inside the Navy Yard), but now there's the Square 929/930 option on the east side of 8th Street as well as the "Exxon" site at 11th and M. That changes how the process moves forward though, since there will now need to be special federal legislation to allow for a public-private venture. Doing this, though, means that any private lands that end up being used for the new barracks will stay on the DC tax rolls, since a developer will own the land and lease space to the Marines. It also pushes the timeline for the choice of a developer into 2012, with construction at least a year after the decision gets made. There will also have to be a NEPA process.
* The Marine Institute is "being BRAC'ed" out of the Navy Yard, and apparently will be moving to Building 20, taking up 25 percent of the new building (the maximum amount the Marines can occupy and have the building not need the security-required deep setbacks from the street). David Perry of Barracks Row Main Street called this news "a good thing." There will be lots of ensuing discussion about how the remaining 75 percent of that building/site should be structured. (North of the freeway! Outside of my boundaries!)
* It's been determined through the antiterrorism/force protection guidance that there can be underground parking at a new barracks, but that the parking control gate would need to be 82 feet away from the barracks.
* The US Department of Transportation expressed its interest in sharing a child care facility with the new barracks, since USDOT moved 6,000 employees to Near Southeast in 2007 without any sort of day care offerings.
* The DC Housing Authority seems open ("let's have a dialogue," David Cortiella said) to talking about the community center site at 5th and K, which the Marines would probably want to gobble up if they decided to build the new barracks on the annex site. A community center would then be part of any shared-use facilities built. But DCHA has some timing issues that would need to be ironed out, the biggest being that they are required by the Zoning Commission to file building permits no later than July of next year.
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID talked about how the BID wants to see the RFP laid out, including urban design guidelines that would need to be adhered to: no blank walls, first-floor retail uses, no major surface parking, no loss of parks, no street closures (though he acknowledged that one might be tough), and preservation of existing historic buildings; using these guidelines on the 8th and 11th Street sites would be a big boon to the efforts to revitalize lower 8th Street (which David Perry of BRMS also talked about). He also mentioned making sure no land goes off the tax rolls as an important issue.
* The Barracks' commanding officer, Col. Paul D. Montanes, put particular emphasis on his desire to integrate the barracks with the community, specifically mentioning the Navy Yard's brick wall as something he wants to avoid. He called this process a chance to build something special, not "an eyesore or a prison," and said that he considers the Marines at the barracks to be "ambassadors," and he wants them to be part of the community.
There was a lot more (maybe I should scan my illegible notes and post them!), but those were the big items; you can look through the materials if you want to know more. (Never use me as a stand-in if this is a topic you're really interested in--go to the forums!) At the end of the meeting they handed out a draft Community Development Objectives document, which will be the topic of discussion at the next forum, on Dec. 7 at Eastern Market's North Hall from 7 to 9 pm (preceded by another open house from 5 to 7 pm). If you want to submit your comments to the Marines about any aspect of the process, you can do so online. (If you're just checking in, here's my previous posts on the search so far.)
UPDATE: City Paper was there, too, and has a more general summary, for people who maybe haven't been following along.
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More posts: Barracks, Community Center, 8th Street, meetings

Reminder: Barracks Site Search Public Meeting Tuesday
Nov 29, 2010 3:40 PM
Just a reminder that the first of two public meetings to update the public on the status of the search for a new Marine Barracks location is tomorrow night (Tuesday, Nov. 30), at Eastern Market's North Hall (7th and North Carolina, SE). It will begin with an open house at 5 pm, with informational displays and "experts" on hand to discuss the various aspects of the Community Integrated Master Plan (CIMP), aka the site search. Then, at 6:30 pm, "speakers representing the community of stakeholders will present their viewpoints, [...] followed by a facilitated discussion of community development involving all participants."
Here's the agenda, and the CIMP web site has plenty of other informational materials including a recent Process Update (which I wrote about last week), in which it's stated that "the Marine Corps has not settled on any specific site or concept" (despite rumors to the contrary), and that the concerns of the fans of the Virginia Avenue Park "have been heard loud and clear and addressed accordingly."
My previous entry also talks about the CLG Status Report handout (posted by Norm Metzger), which includes some "Art of the Do-Able" conceptual graphics (emphasis on conceptual) that show how either the 11th and M "Exxon" site or the 8th Street "Square 929/930" site could be developed in ways that would not touch the Virginia Avenue Park. There's also a similar graphic showing how the presence at the current BEQ site along Virginia east of 5th could be expanded without losing the soccer field, which would requiring the shifting of the planned Capper community center site.
If the comment threads on my posts anytime I mention the word "Marines" are any indication, it should be a festive gathering.
Comments (6)
More posts: Barracks, meetings, Virginia Ave Park

Marine Barracks Site Search Update (Such as it Is)
Nov 19, 2010 3:15 PM
ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger has a report on yesterday's Community Leadership Group meeting on the search for a new Marine Barracks site. (I'm sorry, I just can't bring myself to call it the CIMP process on first reference.) My short version: there's no news on a site selection, and it appears that any RFP to build a new barracks is probably at least a year away, and even that date could be derailed if any sort of federal legislative action is needed to allow the sort of public-private development partnership that the Marines seem to be looking for. Norm's description of the meeting as being an "odd mix of frustration, clearly expressed community anger, and clarity" seems to be a good summary of where things stand from the group's point of view.
Norm also posted the CLG Status Report handout, which I think will be of most interest to residents for its "The Art of the Do-Able" conceptual graphics (emphasis on conceptual) showing how either the 11th and M "Exxon" site or the 8th Street "Square 929/930" site could be developed in ways that would not touch the Virginia Avenue Park. There's also a similar graphic showing how the presence at the current BEQ site along Virginia east of 5th could be expanded without losing the soccer field, which would requiring the shifting of the planned Capper community center site. (On this last one, I'll note that it looks like what is marked as M Street on the renderings is actually L Street, and the second graphic is showing a northeast view from 5th rather than the northwest as marked.)
Finally, there is this statement from the CIMP folks that seeks to address what it calls "some misperceptions circulating about the future of Marine Barracks Washington and the local community," centering mainly the idea among some residents that a site has already been chosen along with the rumors about what may or may not happen to Virginia Avenue Park. "It is very important that the Virginia Avenue Community Gardener group knows that their concerns have been heard loud and clear and addressed accordingly," the statement says, going on to say that "informal site design concepts strongly suggest that there is potential for options under which the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Complex could be developed, without impacting any portion of the Virginia Avenue Park and gardens."
There are two meetings scheduled to update the public on the process, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 from 5 to 9 pm at Eastern Market's North Hall. More information on the entire process is available at the CIMP web site, or you can slog through my pile of posts on it all over the past year.
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More posts: Barracks, meetings, Virginia Ave Park

ANC 6D Supports St. Paul's Historic Designtation, and Other Doings (CSX, 11th Street Bridges, Traffic)
Nov 8, 2010 10:51 PM
From the world of ANC 6D:
* The commission voted 7-0 to support the historic designation application of St. Paul's AUMP Church at 401 I St., SE, thanks in no small part to Pastor Karen Mills, who charmed the pants off the assembled commissioners and audience with a display of good humor sorely needed after some earlier rancorous exchanges discussing Southwest Waterfront issues.
The church was built in 1924, and apparently the years of having a congregation that didn't have a lot of money ended up being a good thing: because there have been few renovations, the church's facade and bricks are still from the original construction, making it a far better candidate for a historic designation than other churches which have had work done. The church is also notable for being the first church designed by R.C. Archer Jr., who was only the second licensed African American architect in DC. Once the church receives its historic designation, it will then be eligible for some grants to allow for historically accurate and preservation-approved renovations. (The photo above shows the church in 2007, when it stood alone after the demolition of the Cappers and before the start of Capitol Quarter construction.)
The church was approached for this application by the DC Preservation League, and the hearing before the city's Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 9 am. You can see the information forwarded to the ANC about the application here (shot with my phone's camera, so not of particularly high quality, but it made me feel like a secret agent!). One other educational tidbit: "AUMP" stands for "African Union Methodist Protestant."
Pastor Mills also said that anyone who wants to come see St. Paul's is more than welcome to visit. And so it is with great shame that I admit that I have never been inside of the little church I've photographed so many times --I've always been worried that I would burst into the flames of eternal hellfire the second I stepped inside the doors, and I didn't want the poor little church to get singed as a result of my sins. But I'm now determined to give it a shot anyway.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: Stephen Flippin of CSX gave a(nother) update on the status of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project. While CSX had applied for a $3 million grant under USDOT's TIGER II program to help pay for the NEPA process for the project, they didn't get that funding, so the process got delayed by a couple of months. They are now looking to have the first "public scoping meeting" in January, which would include information booths, audience comments and questions, etc. There would then be a 30-day comment period, followed by an "alternatives" meeting probably in March, then another comment period followed by probably five or six months of work with their design/build team before coming back to another public meeting for a full update on the project. After that, they would need a few months with their designers before construction could begin, which puts the earliest possible starting time for the project somewhere around the spring of 2012. (Definitely not a date written in stone.)
There's also the issue that funding for the tunnel project itself hasn't been secured, and so CSX is looking at various public financing possibilities (transportation reauthorization act, funding from other states in the National Gateway) as well as -- gasp! -- using some of their own money, or at least money they received for other parts of the Gateway that they haven't spent.
Beyond this update on the process, there's no new information on the construction itself, and there pretty much won't be until after the NEPA process is done.
* 11th Street Bridges: There was also an overview and status report on the 11th Street Bridges project; I'm hoping to get the slides that were shown, so I'll hold off on writing about that. If in the meantime you have 9 or 10 free hours and want to delve into all the environmental impact studies that were done for the bridge project (which include traffic estimations among many other things), here's the Environmental Impact Statement and other associated documents. UPDATE: Here's my writeup of the slides.
* Near SE/SW Combined Traffic Study: During a discussion about pedestrian safety issues at 4th and M, SW, commissioner Andy Litsky reiterated his long-standing complaint that no traffic study has been undertaken to look at Near SE and SW together, and that it continues to be sorely needed. Naomi Mitchell of Tommy Wells's office then spoke up that Tommy is ready to help the ANC finally get this study done. (And there was much rejoicing.)
* Half Street Closures: Apparently the city is planning to move legislation that would allow for the closing of Half Street, SE, between M and N during all events at Nationals Park with more than 5,000 attendees, instead of the current set-up where it's only closed during Nationals games. This would include recent events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure opening ceremonies and last Saturday's Greater Washington Region Start! Heart Walk.

ANC 6D Coming to Near Southeast; Agenda Posted
Nov 5, 2010 4:33 PM
In case you don't have the date circled in red on your calendar, on Monday (Nov. 8), ANC 6D will be having its regular monthly meeting, and will be making the arduous trek across South Capitol Street to meet in Near Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda has just been sent out, and there are some Near Southeast items:
* The St. Paul AUMP church at 4th and I, which has remained standing while Capper came down and Capitol Quarter rose up around it, is the subject of a Historic Landmark application, which will be heard at the Historic Preservation Review Board's meeting on Thursday, Nov. 18. I hope to have more information about it when the HPRB's full agenda and materials are available on Nov. 12, but at Monday's ANC meeting there will be a discussion of the application and presumably a vote as to whether or not to support it.
* Updates are scheduled for both the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project and for the 11th Street Bridges.
There are also a number of Southwest-specific items, some zoning rewrites, alcohol/beverage issues, and whatnot. But it's totally not true that the agenda also includes a knife fight between all outgoing and incoming commissioners.
The meeting starts at 7 pm.

Garber Wins ANC 6D07 Race; Other 'Hood Results
Nov 3, 2010 1:38 AM
A mere five hours after the polls closed, DC's Board of Elections and Ethics decided to let us know who won the various ANC 6D races. (Presuming that the tallies they've posted are anywhere close to the final numbers.) By a comfortable margin (65-34% at this writing), David Garber has beaten 12-year incumbent Robert Siegel for the ANC 6D07 seat. With a whopping 556 of 1452 registered voters making it to the polls, this translates to a 332-171 victory (with 3 write-ins) in the current unofficial numbers (which don't include absentee ballots, provisional/same-day ballots, and curbside ballots).
All other ANC 6D incumbents who were running were reelected--chair Ron McBee appears to have had the closest race, up 54-42% on former commissioner Mary Williams, while Andy Litsky garnered a mere 96% of the vote in his unopposed race. 6D06 commissioner Rhonda Hamilton got 70% of the vote in beating two opponents, and Roger Moffatt also stays in his seat with a 66-33% win over Grace Daughtridge. Bob Craycraft has taken 6D01 (Jane Jorgensen's old seat) in an unopposed race, while Cara Lea Shockley appears to be winning David Sobelsohn's 6D02 seat, with 40% of the vote against 36% for write-in candidates and 24% for a candidate who withdrew(!).
I should also mention--as I pretty much never did during the entire race--that not everyone who lives south of the freeway votes in 6D07, as the residents from 7th Street east are in 6B04. And five--yes, FIVE--of those residents voted today, with one vote for incumbent Kirsten Oldenberg, three for Tim Casey, and 1 write-in. (Despite this, Oldenburg appears to have won her race against Larry Janezich.)
In terms of the other tallies for the evening in Near Southeast/Precinct 131, Vince Gray won 58% of the vote in the mayoral race, with 36% going to write-ins. Tommy Wells beat Near Southeast resident Jim DeMartino 75-25%, while Kwame Brown won 80% of the vote in his council chair race. The precinct went 81-19% for the amendment to make the Attorney General job in DC an elected position, and also voted for new Ward 6 Board of Education rep Monica Warren-Jones 60-38% (her ward-wide total is 67-32%).
Since these results don't include the absentee and other provisional ballots, the numbers will change, but no race appears anywhere near close enough that the outcomes would be in doubt. So, congrats to David Garber and all of the other winners. Between his blogging chops and his Twitter feed, I have no doubt that Near Southeast will be kept far more apprised of what their ANC commissioner is up to than has been the case over the past years. (Though perhaps this means I'm staring at my obsolescence!)
With this election season now thankfully over with, we can already start looking ahead to the redrawing of the city's ward boundaries as is done every 10 years after the census, as well as most likely seeing ANC 6D07 split up now that it's population of over 3,000 residents is well above the 2,000-resident standard for single member districts.
(And, if you want to get a flavor of my exasperation with DCBOEE's performance, wander through my Twitter feed. When it takes five hours to count 125,000 votes, and Maryland counted over 1.6 million in less than four hours, I think it's safe to say that there are some serious problems that need addressing. Get to work, Mayor-Elect Gray...)
Comments (16)
More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics

Upcoming Events (Election Stuff, Ghost Ship Barry)
Oct 22, 2010 8:41 AM
With election time nearing, there's some events coming up next week that might/should be of interest. (Coincidentally, election time means that my "real life" gets a bit hectic, plus I have some other stuff going on, which means that things might be a bit slow around here, and I'm probably not going to be able to make any of these events. So you have plenty of notice that you'll need to attend them yourselves!)
* On Monday, Oct. 25, from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, the Ward 6 Dems are hosting a Ward 6 School Board Candidates Forum at Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Ave., NE. The two candidates -- Melissa Rohan and Monica Warren-Jones -- will be suitably grilled about their plans and vision for Ward 6's public schools.
* Also on Monday the 25th, starting at 7 pm, the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly is hosting a "Meet Your ANC 6D Candidates" event at St. Augustine's church, on the southwest corner of 6th and M Streets, SW. You may have heard that Near Southeast has two candidates for its one single member district (SMD) 6D07--incumbent Bob Siegel and challenger David Garber--but there are six commission spots in Southwest up for grabs as well. (Just beware when parking next to the church on Water Street--this past Monday, for the first time in all my times arriving at St. Augustine's just before 7 pm for ANC meetings, I got ticketed at one of the meters, which never even occurred to me would still be active at that time of night. Maybe I should take up a collection!)
* At 6:30 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 27, is Presumed-Mayor-Elect Vince Gray's Ward 6 Town Hall, being held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1333 H St., NE. If you follow various local reporters on Twitter, you've been pelted with Tweets from the other wards' town halls over the past few weeks, but now it'll be Ward 6's turn. Here's the flyer with details.
* For something a little less election-y and more spirit-of-the-season-y, on Friday Oct. 29 the Navy Yard is once again presenting the "Ghost Ship Barry" -- "Hundreds have served onboard but some never left." Boo! The hours run from 6 to 7 pm for kids 12 and under, and 7:30 to 9:30 pm for ages 13 and up. But note that they want you to RSVP first, by calling 202-433-0280. And then you can see what the Navy Yard's portion of the riverwalk looks like without having to look through the fence at the Yards Park.
Comments (14)
More posts: ANC News, meetings, Navy Yard, politics

Quick ANC 6D Meeting Report
Oct 18, 2010 10:29 PM
A few items from tonight's ANC 6D meeting, which is still going on (I bailed after the last Near Southeast agenda item).
* The commission voted 7-0 to support Forest City's zoning requests for its Parcel D project, the combination residential and retail (and grocery store) development on the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE. I wrote about it in detail a few weeks back, and you can see my Parcel D project page for renderings and additional information, but the short of it is it's a 220ish-unit residential building (with 20 percent affordable housing), a 50,000-square-foot grocery store, and an expected 24,000-square-foot fitness/spa company.
The Zoning Commission hearing will be on December 2, and Forest City is asking for two special exceptions (having to do with roof structures and the proposed 110-foot building height, which will be above the 90 feet that's allowed) and two variances (for a curb cut on M east of 4th for a new private service drive east of the new building and also for some balconies overlooking 4th). Forest City's Alex Nyhan also told the commission that, while the entire Yards project is designed to be LEED Gold, they are going to shoot for LEED Silver on this particular portion.
ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel commended Forest City on the plans, though he made very clear that he and his constituents want a sit-down restaurant more than anything. Nyhan replied that the Boilermaker Shop project one block to the west on Tingey will have four or five restaurants including at least one sit-down one when it opens next fall. Siegel then made the motion to the support the project, Commissioner Sobelsohn seconded, and the vote was unanimous. The National Capital Planning Commission and the US Commission on Fine Arts have both recently voted to support the plans and designs.
* During the public safety report, Capt. Gottert of MPD mentioned that while there were a rash of car thefts in PSA 105 (and 106 and 107) during the past few months, the police had a suspect in mind, and now that he's been apprehended, the thefts have stopped. Gottert had no additional information on Saturday's carjacking at 1st and L, SE.
* The agenda had as one of its items a request by the Nationals to add the stadium to the Navy Yard Metro station name (coming on the heels of the Capitol Riverfront BID's request last month to add their name to the station). However, ANC chair Ron McBee said that the Nationals hadn't yet been able to get their request completely lined up yet, and so the item was postponed.
* Next month's meeting will be on Nov. 8, and will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. Expected agenda items include an update from CSX about the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a plan to give historic landmark status to St. Paul's church on the southeast corner of 4th and I, SE, and an update on the 11th Street Bridges construction.
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