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Anchovy Social Opens Thursday, For All Your Rooftop Seafood Bar Needs
Jan 29, 2020 8:09 AM
Washingtonian is reporting that Thursday, Jan. 30, is the day that brings the opening of Anchovy Social, the second Danny Meyer venture at the new Thompson Hotel at 2nd and Tingey in the Yards.
While the "snacky, seafood-heavy menu" (which you can peruse on the web site) is separate from Maialino Mare downstairs, it does "carry over the restaurant's Italian flare and nautical theme." And, like all Danny Meyer offerings, service is included in the check.
There is indoor space with two bars (handy for a January opening), but Washingtonian says that "the main attraction will undoubtedly be its huge wraparound patio with views of the Anacostia River."
Initial hours will be from 5 to 11 pm Tuesday-Thursday and 4 pm to midnight on Friday and Saturday. It's also available for private events.
Perhaps there will be a JDLand happy hour there, once the weather becomes a bit more hospitable (and before it gets too dang hot).

Tuesday Tidbits: Avoiding Thoughts of Houston for a Moment
Oct 29, 2019 3:39 PM
With a few hours to go until Nats fans spend three-plus hours watching baseball on TV through their hands, some items to catch on. (I don't think I'm the only one who found that, as amazing as the playoff run has been, it has totally sapped my energy. Recovery begins soon, one way or the other.)
* 80 M TO GROW: It's a surprising piece of news, but it's now officially being reported that the 80 M Street office building, on the northwest corner of 1st and M, is looking to add two stories using "mass timber." Bisnow has more, and the architecture firm's web site has some renderings as well. (It was originally built in 1999-2000, aka Before My Time, so I don't have a project page, but you can see it under construction in these two grainy film photos I took in the fall of 2000.) It does have to get past the Zoning Commission first, though.
* ANCHOVY SOCIAL: We already knew that Danny Meyer is going to be opening Maialino Mare in the ground floor of the new Thompson Hotel at 3rd and Tingey, and now it's being reported that the rooftop bar will be a separate operation named Anchovy Social, which Food and Wine describes as being "all about chilling out over a martini, seafood towers, and taking in the view."
* THOMPSON GETTING CLOSE: Speaking of the Thompson, its web site is now accepting reservations for the swank hotel at the Yards for February 1st and beyond. (Last week it was March 1 and beyond, so they must be feeling better about their opening date.)
* CHILLER SITE SOLD: This evergreen subhead returns with the news that Metro has finally sold the "Chiller" site on the southwest corner of Half and L to MRP Realty for $10.24 million, as was preliminarily announced back in, oh, 2014. A 161-unit 11-story apartment building with ground-floor retail is already in the Permit Pipeline, and a raze permit for the existing structures is in process as well.
* LA FAMOSA COMING IN 2020: Puerto Rican food is coming to the southeast corner of 4th and Tingey next year, as La Famosa will open as a "fast-fine" restaurant in the ground floor of the Bower. According to City Paper, it will serve all-day coffee, lunch, and dinner. And it will have a bar.
* HATOBA NOW OPEN: In case you haven't already wandered by, the neighborhood's first ramen shop is now open, in the old 100 Montaditos space on Tingey Street, SE, near 4th Street.

Transportation Study Meeting and Other Tidbits
Nov 26, 2018 11:32 AM
* TRANSPORTATION STUDY KICK-OFF: On Wednesday, Nov. 28, DDOT and ANC6D are holding the first public meeting for a study of transportation issues in {insert preferred neighborhood name of your choice}. It's at 7 pm at the Capper Community Center at 5th and K Streets, SE. Along with a list of desired changes (such as a stop sign at 3rd and Virginia and protecting the bike lane on 1st south of M), the flyer notes that a stoplight is expected to be coming to the harrowing New Jersey and I intersection in 2019.
And now some of increasingly old tidbits:
* ALBI/MAXWELL: Washingtonian reports news of two restaurants coming to the Yards in 2019: Albi, a "modern American eatery inspired by {chef Michael Lee Rafidi's} Middle Eastern and Mid-Atlantic roots," and another branch of Shaw's "oenophile haven," the wine bar Maxwell. The JDLand commentariat has analyzed the situation and are positing that the new garage door-style panels on the 4th Street side of the Bower might be the home for these ventures.
* CHEMONICS: Not a restaurant, but Washington Business Journal reports behind its paywall that Chemonics, a USAID contractor among other things, is close to a deal to move its 1,200-person headquarters from near Farragut West to Yards Parcel A Yards Parcel G (updated 1/2/19 with the correct location--oops). This northern portion of Spooky Park has long been planned to be Class A office space--as for the rest of the block, I wrote a few weeks ago about the plans for residential along N Street and the new streets coming. This new office building would be north of the hotly awaited Quander Street. (h/t commenter Westnorth)
* SQUARE 696 UNMASKED? With thanks to commenter CL85, we may have our first look at what is coming to Square 696, the block just about out of the ground on the south side of I Street between Half and 1st. (If Clark pulls it down, here is the rendering.) This is going to be an 818-unit residential project spanning the entire block when both phases are complete in 2022. (It sounds like they are going to build the "structure and skin" of the entire project, but will first complete the eastern tower before moving to the interior work of the western tower.)
* NEW BIKESHARE STATION: If you haven't stumbled across it yet, there is now a 19-dock CaBi station on 4th Street SE just north of M (alongside the new Sprint store and kitty corner from Teeter).
* NEW ANC COMMISSIONERS: In local local local election results, ANC 6D07 (the seat left open by Meredith Fascett's retirement) has been won by Edward Daniels, while in 6D02 Anna Forgie clobbered incumbent Cara Lee Shockley.

ANC 6D07 Candidates Forum, Douglass Bridge Public Meetings
Sep 21, 2018 4:34 PM
If you're looking for things to do while counting the moments until 9 am on Oct. 18, here's some upcoming events you might want to put on your calendar:
* ANC 6D07 CANDIDATE FORUM: With Meredith Fascett stepping down from her seat as ANC 6D07's commissioner, the race is on to take the reins for the single member district that spans much of the JDLand Coverage Area. There are three candidates on the ballot--Edward Daniels, Brant Miller, and Patrick Witte.
If you want to meet these three and learn more about them and their views, there is a forum scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at the Capitol Quarter Community Center at 1000 5th St., SE. The Q&A and discussion will be led by members of the Arthur Capper Capitol Quarter Community Timebank.
(The other SMD that includes JDLand territory (as well as a portion of Southwest) is 6D02, where incumbent Cara Lea Shockley is again on the ballot, and is being challenged by Anna Forgie.
* DOUGLASS BRIDGE PUBLIC MEETINGS: DDOT is having two public meetings next week to "discuss the status of the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge Project." There will be an overview and also discussion of training, job, and business opportunities. The first meeting, on Tuesday, Sept. 25, is from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at 3100 MLK Jr. Ave, SE, in Congress Heights. The second meeting, on Wednesday, Sept. 26, is from 6:30 to 8:30pm at the King Greenleaf Rec Center at 201 N St., SW. The same information will be presented at both meetings, and the project overview portion of the agendas is scheduled to start at 6:45 pm each day.
Oh, and on another subject, Taylor Gourmet is closing all of its stores. Which, one would assume, includes the one in the ground floor of F1rst.

ANC Election Season Now Underway; Open Race for 6D02
Jul 11, 2016 8:28 AM
Today marks the official opening of hyperlocal campaign season, better known as the elections for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. Prospective candidates can now pick up petitions from the DC Board of Elections and have until Aug. 10 to return them with the signatures of at least 25 registered voters who live in the Single Member District the candidate wishes to represent.
Near Southeast is currently covered by two SMDs, as you can see on my map of ANC 6D or ANC 6D's map of ANC 6D. The larger and more eastern/northern of the two SMDs is 6D07, represented since the beginning of 2015 by Meredith Fascett, who has confirmed for me that she is running for reelection.
Then there is 6D02, which crosses South Capitol Street from the bulk of its acreage in Southwest to include multiple residential buildings in Southeast, including 909 New Jersey, Velocity, Parc Riverside, and Capitol Hill Tower--and will before long also include F1rst, 1244 South Capitol, 909 Half, and all the other pending projects between 1st Street SE and South Capitol Street. (6D07 gets the Park Chelsea, Arris, Dock 79, Insignia, ORE 82, and Agora.)
Stacy Cloyd has represented 6D02 since March of 2014, but has announced that she will not be running for reelection.
If you are interested in becoming an ANC commissioner, confirm which SMD you live in and then start the petition process. And then let me know that you're running.
"Normal" SMD boundaries are drawn to include approximately 2,000 voters, but these two SMDs aren't anywhere close to that anymore, since the boundaries were drawn with 2010 census numbers, and a WHOLE lot more people live in the neighborhood in 2016 than did in 2010, and a WHOLE LOT more will live in the neighborhood in 2020, when the next census and redistricting cycle will come around. It will be fascinating to see how different the Near SE/SW ANC structure is--along with Ward 6 as a whole--after 2020. But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. (If you want to read about the 2011 process, go here and scroll down a bit to get to the meat.)
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More posts: ANC News

Events: ANC, CSX Open House, Culinary Crawl, and Maybe Skating?
Nov 6, 2015 12:14 PM
A busy week ahead:
* SIDE YARDS: A reminder that the sideshow event comes back to the Yards Park on Saturday, Nov. 7.
* ANC 6D: The monthly Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting is on Monday, Nov. 9, and this month the party ventures thisaway across South Capitol Street to the meeting room at 200 I St., SE. Agenda items include a slew of items from Near Southeast, including construction updates for 909 Half and 82 I/801 New Jersey, pedestrian issues on I Street, the Virginia Ave. streetscape restoration plan, a DC Housing Authority presentation, and more. The meeting starts early, with presentations at 6:30 pm before the meeting "officially" gets underway at 7 pm.
* CSX OPEN HOUSE: The quarterly open house for the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project is on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 7 pm at the Courtyard Marriott hotel at 140 L St., SE. There will be no formal presentations, but there will be representatives from the project team to answer questions and provide updates. (If you can't make this, the next Coffee with Chuck is on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 8 am at the same location.)
* CULINARY CRAWL: The Barracks Row Main Street folks have organized a three-day Culinary Crawl Nov. 14-16, with cooking classes at various restaurants not only on 8th Street but also near Eastern Market and down south of the freeway in this neck of the woods, with Ice Cream Jubilee, Bluejacket, and Agua 301 all participation. Here's the schedule, where you can also sign up/buy tickets.
* ICE RINK: There were originally plans for a soft opening this weekend followed by a grand opening on Nov. 14, but the weather has played a bit of havoc with that schedule. I've just heard that the grand opening will now be on Saturday, Nov. 21, but on the 14th they are hosting a Cinderella-themed event from 11 am to 1 pm--dress as your favorite princess or prince for a chance to win tickets to the National Theater's production of Cinderella.

6D Report: Due South Liquor License, Half Street Support, More
Mar 11, 2015 9:30 AM
UPDATE: Well, that was a fun few hours. Sorry about the outage--fingers crossed that we're back. It's the price I pay for keeping JDLand on a shared hosting service. (I actually kind of enjoyed the respite!)
I somehow managed to make it through four hours of Monday night's ANC 6D meeting (yay?). I already gave you the big headline (at least from the JDLand vantage point), but here's some other tidbits:
* DUE SOUTH: After initially applying for a Class CT Tavern license, the southern food restaurant planned for the Lumber Shed agreed to amend the application and change to a CR license as part of the settlement agreement negotiated with 6D. However, the city's liquor license board apparently voted on March 4 to approve a CT license. After much (much!) discussion and consternation about process, 6D voted 4-2-1 to send a letter to ABRA saying that if in fact Due South is being given a CT license, the ANC requests to be reinstated as a protestant to the license application and also moves for reconsideration of the CT order.
* HALF STREET HOLE: A presentation was made on the new plans I posted about for the northeast corner of Half and N, i.e., Monument Valley, i.e., the Half Street Hole, which received a generally positive response from the commission, along with suggestions for a better external differentiation between the condo wing facing N Street and the rest of the building and a request that the new sidewalks be made of softer materials if possible. The commission then voted 4-0-2 to support the project, which is now scheduled for its Capitol Gateway Overlay review on May 28.
* BREW GARDEN AT FLORIDA ROCK: Representatives of MRP Realty and Bardo presented their brew garden/neighborhood park concept. It was very late in the meeting, and so the discussion was hurried, but the commission raised issues based on concerns from when similar aborted attempts were made to use this site in previous years. These ranged from the fact that initial discussions with MPD and DCRA have apparently not yet been had, nor has the BID been talked to (which came up when the MRP/Bardo folks said they were looking to the ANC to "program" the site's offerings beyond the brew garden). One thing emphasized to the commission was that this is not envisioned as a place for baseball fans to come and swill down Bud Light, and that no hard liquor would be served. In the end, with time running out and the somewhat muddled presentation leaving the commissioners a bit quizzical as to exactly what the team is planning to do at the site, no vote was taken.
There was also one item just barely outside the JDLand border region, so you can read SWill on a new residential project planned at 1319 South Capitol, immediately to the north of the Camden South Capitol building and across the street from the ballpark.

Meredith Fascett Wins ANC 6D07 Race; Precinct Results
Nov 4, 2014 11:48 PM
It took way too long to fnd out the result (Precinct 131 was one of the last three of the city's 143 precincts to be posted), but with the votes tallied, Meredith Fascett has won the three-way race to be the next commissioner of ANC 6D07.
Fascett won with 62.2% of the vote, beating Josh Hart (14.4%) and TD Stanger (12.5%).
A total of 763 of the precinct's 2,911 registered voters cast ballots either today or in early voting, a 26.2% participation percentage. (Boooo....)
This was the only one of the seven ANC 6D races to be contested. Near Southeast's other commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, ran unopposed in 6D02, the district that spans South Capitol Street and includes the ballpark and blocks up to I Street SE.
In other races, Charles Allen is now officially Ward 6's council member, taking the precinct with 75% of the vote, and Joe Weedon has won the Ward 6 State Board of Education seat.
While Muriel Bowser has won the vote and will be the city's next mayor, David Catania was the neighborhood's choice by a slight margin, 366 to 336 votes or 48% to 44%.
Precinct 131 mirrored the rest of the city in the voting for the two at-large council seats, with Anita Bonds and Elissa Silverman the top vote-getters, at 20% and 13% of the vote respectively. (Though it looks like a whopping 368 of you didn't realize you could vote for two candidates in that race.)
UPDATE: Dang it, I forgot the pot vote! Neighborhood partiers voted for Initiative 71 68% to 27%. Duuuuude.....!
Here's the complete precinct vote totals.
And congratulations to Meredith!
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More posts: ANC News, politics

Early Voting Now Underway; Less Than One Week to Election Day
Oct 29, 2014 11:57 AM
I know it's easy to filter out most of the now-incessant election-related noise around the city (though believe me, I'm trying), but even total exhaustion with the process is a lame excuse to not vote. I've always felt that, if you don't vote, you really do lose all right to complain about what your elected officials--and the staffs they hire--are doing. Not to mention that whole civic-duty living-in-a-democracy thing.
The ANC commissioners running for 6D02 and 6D07 may be unfamilar to you, so I suggest again that you read the questionnaire they were all nice enough to fill out (even though one of them told me it was like filling out a college application).
Neighborhood residents will be voting not only for mayor and the aforementioned ANC Commissioners, but also for their Ward 6 council member, either Charles Allen or Libertarian candidate Pranav Badhwar. Voters will also choose the delegate to the US House of Representatives, two at-large council members, and the city's attorney general, which is an elected position for the first time. There's also the race for Ward 6 representative to the "state" board of education, and the "shadow" US House/Senate seats.
And if none of those races get you excited, there's also the vote for or against Initiative Measure No. 71, the "Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014."
Here's the Ward 6 sample ballot, if you don't believe me. (Scroll to page 5 for the "back side.")
The DC Board of Elections is happy to tell you that early voting is underway, up through Saturday, Nov. 1. The closest early voting center to Near Southeast is at the King Greenleaf Recreation Center, at 201 N St. SW, and it's open from 8:30 am to 7 pm daily. It's only had 504 voters so far as of this writing, the lowest of any of the early voting centers. Let's step it up, people!
If you're feeling old-school and you plan to vote on Election Day itself (that's Tuesday, Nov. 4, if you REALLY aren't paying attention), you can find your polling place here, though for most of the residents of Near Southeast you'll be voting at Van Ness Elementary School, 1150 5th St. SE. It will be open on Election Day from 7 am to 8 pm.
The Voter's Guide (with its upside-down DC flag now fixed) can help you as well.
Plus, when you vote you get one of these, which is really the best part of all.
UPDATE, 10/30: The Hill is Home interviewed mayoral candidates about Ward 6 issues. See who responded, and who didn't.
Comments (3)
More posts: ANC News, politics

6D07 Commissioner Garber Quitting ANC, Moving to Shaw
Oct 19, 2014 3:20 PM
ANC 6D07 Commissioner David Garber announced on Facebook on Friday that he will be resigning his position later this week, a little more than 2 1/2 months before his full term would have ended. (He announced a few months ago that he would not be running for reelection.)
The reason he gives for the decision to quit early is that he is moving to Shaw/Logan Circle/U Street, a location that one might note is a handy confluence of two wards (with another close by) in which to continue trying to establish a base for a run for city-wide office, if one were interested in such things. Especially if one had already spent a few years in Ward 8 followed by a few in Ward 6.
But before David skedaddles, he plans to anoint a chosen successor for his ANC seat, which he will be doing on Monday, followed by an event at Willie's on Tuesday where he will "introduce people to the candidate I think will do a great job."
If you haven't checked out the questionnaires I submitted to the three people running to replace David as commissioner for 6D07, here they are.
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More posts: ANC News, politics

Meet the Candidates for ANC 6D07 and 6D02
Oct 5, 2014 1:52 PM
(First off, don't forget Monday night's Near Southeast/Southwest Mayoral Forum!)
It seems like the city has been in campaign mode for about 15 months, but we are now down to the final four weeks before the Nov. 4 general election. Which also means that it's the final four weeks before the elections for Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D.
Near Southeast is covered by two Single Member Districts--6D07 and the South Capitol-spanning 6D02--and so for the third time since I started blogging I sent out questionnaires to the candidates to try to better gauge their positions, their opinions, and their interests.
Meredith Fascett, Josh Hart, and TD Stanger are the three candidates running for the 6D07 seat being vacated by David Garber, while incumbent 6D02 commissioner Stacy Cloyd is running unopposed. All four were generous enough to reply to my multiude of questions.
While we know that I generally frown on political fisticuffs in the comments threads, feel free to mix it up in this one about your preferred (or unpreferred) candidate. Keep it civil and away from personal attacks, though.
If you are new to this whole ANC thing, here's a good explainer from, go figure, anc.dc.gov. (That's also where I pilfered the above clip art from. Couldn't resist.) The short version is that ANCs "ensure input from an advisory board that is made up of the residents of the neighborhoods that are directly affected by government action. The ANCs are the body of government with the closest official ties to the people in a neighborhood."
Also, note that the deadline to register or update one's information for the Nov 4 election is mere minutes away, on Oct 6. You can do it online at www.vote4dc.com.
Comments (13)
More posts: ANC News, politics

ANC Election Season Starts Today; 6D07 Seat Open
Jul 7, 2014 12:52 PM
Interested in serving on your Advisory Neighborhood Commission? The process for November's election begins today, with nominating petitions now available. Potential candidates have until Aug. 6 to get the signatures of at least 25 registered voters in the Single Member District they wish to represent.
And with the launch of the season came the shocking tweet this morning that ANC 6D07's current representative, David Garber, will not be running for re-election. That means there's an opening for the seat that represents almost all of Near Southeast, as you can see on this map. It doesn't cover the corridor from Nationals Park up to I Street, but covers Florida Rock, the Yards, 70/100 I, Capitol Quarter, and the Navy Yard.
There is also SMD 6D02, which straddles South Capitol Street in both Southeast and Southwest, and is currently represented by Stacy Cloyd (who filled the seat after Ed Kaminski resigned). UPDATE: Stacy has confirmed to me that she will be running in this election.
For sticklers, SMD 6B04 also has a notch south of the freeway, from 7th Street to 11th Street north of M. Kirsten Oldenburg is the current representative.
And if you're embarrassed to admit that you don't actually know what ANCs do, here's part of how the official web site describes it: "The Advisory Neighborhood Commissions consider a wide range of policies and programs affecting their neighborhoods, including traffic, parking, recreation, street improvements, liquor licenses, zoning, economic development, police protection, sanitation and trash collection, and the District's annual budget."
If you're planning on running and feel like announcing it here, feel free to do so in the comments.
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More posts: ANC News, politics

Tuesday Tidbits: Mmm, Mmm, Good Edition
Mar 11, 2014 3:58 PM
Goodness, these piled up all of a sudden. Let's start with the food and drink-related items:
* Strolling by the long-in-the-works Willie's Brew and 'Que at the Boilermaker Shops over the weekend, I saw that flat screen TVs are now up on the walls. I imagine they are dreaming of being open by Opening Day.
* Ice Cream Jubilee at the Lumber Shed now has its tenant layout permit approved, so work should be underway there.
* Tom Sietsema had good things to say about Osteria Morini.
* PoPville reports that Hill Country's attempts to open a temporary location on Tingey Plaza behind USDOT haven't worked out.
And, on the non-digestible front:
* SWill reports on ANC 6D's newest commissioner, Stacy Cloyd, who is filling the 6D02 vacancy left by Ed Kaminski. A resident of Southwest, Stacy will also be representing areas east of South Capitol, including Velocity, Capitol Hill Tower, and Nats Park (and River Parc, before long).
* DDOT has released its draft Request for Proposals to the short-list finalists for the first two phases of the South Capitol Street project, which include building the new bridge and also rebuilding the interchange of I-295 and the Suitland Parkway.
* The new owners of the lot at South Capitol and N just north of Nats Park have withdrawn the pending zoning case for the site, which predated the property's recent sale. The previous ownership group had long been working on an office project, but in its withdrawal letter 1244 South Capitol Residential LLC says it is "studying development of the property for residential uses," and that it plans "to submit a new application for Capitol Gateway review in the near future."
* Outside the boundaries, but Near Southeast residents may still be interested in the looming start of the huge Wharf project on the Southwest Waterfront, with a ceremonial groundbreaking scheduled for March 19. Here's the Post's story on the new development, along with a photo gallery (which might seem to have a somewhat familiar style) of the current waterfront, before it's gone.

Late Wednesday Tidbits
Jan 15, 2014 7:51 PM
Cleaning out the pending file:
* DIG IT: The shoring and sheeting permit has now been approved for the residential building currently known by the spiffy moniker of Parcel N at the Yards, which means that the parking lot on the southwest corner of 4th and Tingey should start being dug up any time now (beyond just the DC Water digging up that's been going on for a while). This building will have 327 residential units and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail when completed in either late 2015 or early 2016.
* MMMM, BEER: Bluejacket is going to start offering tours of its brewery, beginning Jan. 31. The offerings range from a free tour with one complimentary taste of a Bluejacket brew to a $22 "tasting tour" to the $75 "Beer and Food Experience Tour." See the web site for more details.
* A REVIEW: Alas, the Post's Tom Sietsema did not have particularly good things to say about the food at the Arsenal (but he did like Bluejacket's brewed offerings).
* ANC VACANCY: The Board of Elections has officially certified the vacancy in 6D02 after Ed Kaminski's resignation, and the wheels are now turning for a special election. Petitions may be picked up at the BOE and circulated until Feb. 3, with challenges to those petitions allowed through Feb. 12. If more than one person successfully makes it through the petition process, an election will be held, most likely at 6D's March business meeting. If only one candidate qualifies, that person automatically fills the vacancy. So, if you're itching to be an ANC commissioner and you live in Capitol Hill Tower, or Velocity, or 909 New Jersey, or across the way in the northeastern sections of Southwest, here's your chance.
* SOUTHEAST BLVD: ANC 6B's Brian Flahaven has posted the commission's draft comments on DDOT's initial plans for the rebuild of Barney Circle and Southeast Blvd. Spoiler: "The committee recommended a number of clarifying changes to the comments including the addition of an opening sentence that conveys the commission’s opposition to the design concepts presented to the community on Nov. 21, 2013. The committee also wanted to make it clear that other stakeholders besides DDOT need to be brought into the project discussion."

Late Monday Tidbits: Starting 2014 Off Right (Kind Of)
Jan 6, 2014 6:47 PM
Trying to start 2014 off right--even if it means posting a few things I didn't quite get to in 2013.
* ANC: Ed Kaminski has resigned as Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 6D02, the area basically from the ballpark northward to the south side of I Street. A special election will be in the offing before too long.
* METRO: Via CapBiz, Metro has put out "development concepts" for the five station sites it is touting to developers. However, when it came to the Navy Yard/Chiller Plant site on the southwest corner of Half and L, there were no pretty drawings, just a suggestion to acquire the privately owned lot next door, and that maybe a project with ground-floor retail would be nice, too. If you want to know the increasingly long history of WMATA's attempts to find a developer for this land (and get a new chiller plant as part of the deal), here's some reading for you.
* BALLPARK SQUARE: New fence signage along 1st Street north of Nats Park touting the Ballpark Square residential/hotel/retail development, "delivering in late 2015." There do appear to be building permits for the residential and hotel parts of the development currently working through the pipeline, though there is No Time To Lose to hit that "late 2015" date (and co-developer McCaffery hedges a bit with "early 2016"). I will note, though, that there is something kind of missing in the rendering shown on the fence signage. (Hint: It's L-shaped, and is by a different developer, and is supposed to start soon too.)
* WAYBACK: The Hill is Home's "Lost Capitol Hill" series looks at the Anacostia Engine House, located at 8th and Virginia for most of the years from 1839 until the glorious arrival of the Southeast Freeway in the 1960s.
* NO, REALLY: My latest excuse explanation for my decreased blogging output. (Though if you follow JDLand on Facebook or Twitter, you already know this.)

ANC Vote: Ed Kaminski Wins 6D02; Garber Re-Elected
Nov 7, 2012 12:06 AM
Elections are a very (very!) busy time for me in my "real" life, so I can tear away for just a moment to pass along the news that Ed Kaminski has won the race for the newly drawn ANC 6D02, with 485 votes to Damon Patton's 376. (So that's 54-42 if you don't feel like doing the math.) There were also 40 write-in votes, most of which presumably were for current 6D02 commissioner Cara Shockley.
David Garber, running unopposed in 6D07, garnered (Garbered?) 642 votes, with 37 write-ins.
As for the rest of ANC 6D, commissioners Andy Litsky, Ron McBee, Roger Moffatt, and Rhonda Hamilton are all returning, and Donna Hopkins is now the new commissioner for ANC 6D01. (Grace Daughtridge, running against Moffatt, had kind of a rough Election Day.)
If you want to see vote totals, here's the DCBOEE site.
Now, back into my election cave for a little while longer....
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More posts: ANC News, politics

ANC Elections: Meet the Candidates, via Questionnaires
Oct 30, 2012 11:54 AM
With all of the Sandy stuff of the past few days, it seems like the One Week to Election Day mark has arrived today without the normal fanfare. But here we are with seven days to go, and as much as I tried to be lazy and avoid it (semi-retired! semi-retired!), I'm posting today the questionnaires I sent out last week to four candidates for the two ANC districts that now cover Near Southeast.
Click through to read the responses I received from three candidates for the new ANC 6D02: Ed Kaminski, Damon Patton, and current 6D02 commissioner Cara Shockley, running as a write-in. David Garber, 6D07's current commissioner, is running unopposed, but wanted a questionnaire too, so I obliged.
There are some questions specific to the two districts as well as general questions that all four candidates answered, along with one curveball (literally) at the end.
What do you think of the candidates' responses? Fire away in the comments.
And, if you don't know where to actually go to vote on Nov. 6 (or earlier), find your polling place here and check out the Ward 6 sample ballot. The full DC Voters Guide will also tell you everything you might want to know about voting this time around.
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ANC Races: Three Near Southeast Residents Running in Two SMDs
Aug 22, 2012 9:23 AM
If you weren't desperately refreshing the DCBOEE page during the past two weeks, you may not be aware that the official list of candidates for ANC offices came out while I was away. The lineup, pending any challenges that might knock someone out:
In 6D07 (in dark bluish purple in the map at right), incumbent David Garber is running unopposed after another potential candidate didn't return the required signed petitions before the deadline.
In the new cross-South Capitol ANC 6D02 (dark green on the map), the two previously mentioned candidates, Ed Kaminski and Damon Patton, both qualified for the ballot. This means that the single member district, which spans South Capitol between Southeast and Southwest and runs from I Street SE down to and including Nationals Park, will have a Southeast resident as commissioner, no matter who wins.
(Plus, of course, some enterprising pol could launch a write-in campaign if the current lineup doesn't measure up to said enterprising pol's standards.)
I anticipate that at some point between now and Election Day I will throw questionnaires at the candidates, like I did in 2010, to try to get past the general campaign-speak to find out some specifics about their positions on matters of interest in Southeast (and Southwest, for that matter).
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Two More Potential Candidates for Near Southeast ANC Seats
Aug 1, 2012 6:48 PM
The DC Board of Elections updates daily the lineup of residents looking to run to election to the bajillion single member districts (SMDs) that make up the city's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs), so it doesn't take much for me to tell you that two more potential candidates are now in the mix for the two single member districts that will begin covering Near Southeast in 2012, bringing the tally to four as of this evening:
* Damon Patton, a resident of 909 New Jersey, has picked up petitions for a run in ANC 6D02, the new cross-SouthCap ANC (in dark green in the map at right).
* Florence Johnson Copeland, a resident of the Capper Seniors building on 5th Street, picked up petitions to run today in ANC 6D07 (in dark blue).
* Ed Kaminski of Velocity had picked up his petitions early on to run in 6D02, and he has now gotten his 25 signatures to move forward with his candidacy.
* 6D07 Incumbent David Garber also picked up his petitions, and while he is not listed as having returned them, I would hazard a guess he'll get that done by the Aug. 8 deadline.
No sighting on the list yet of 6D02's incumbent, Cara Shockley, from Southwest.
The rest of ANC 6D, over in Southwest, is also looking pretty quiet with a week to go, with only one incumbent potentially being challenged, with Grace Daughtridge looking to run against Roger Moffatt in 6D05. Current commissioners Ron McBee, Andy Litsky, and Rhonda Hamilton are so far unopposed, while only one person is listed for 6D01, and it isn't incumbent Bob Craycraft, it's Ron Williams, Jr. And of these folks, only Moffatt has returned his petitions.
Anyone else going to run? Time's a wastin'!
More information on the races, how to sign up, qualifications, etc., in this post.
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Thursday Tidbits: Low Weight But High Volume Edition
Jul 12, 2012 2:01 AM
It's summer, and I'm trying to be on a Word Diet, so lots of links, but short and sweet:
* This week's Front Flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, tonight at Tingey Plaza.
* Another installment of Truckeroo on Friday.
* One potential candidate for Near Southeast's two ANC single member districts has already picked up nominating petitions: Ed Kaminski, who lives in 6D02.
* Washington Examiner is hot on the Hood. Times two. Shorter version: more people coming (like Nats fans). More stuff coming. But you knew this already.
* Miniature golfing in Canal Park, in a manner of speaking.
* Reunion of Arthur Capper residents last week at Garfield Park.
* There's now lane restrictions on M Street SE between 7th and 11th for the next, oh, 27 months or so, thanks to the DC Water Clean Rivers Project. (This is also why Water Street east of 12th Street is closed.) The work along M got off to a bit of a rough start last month when contractors took over the pocket park at 8th and Potomac without using a particularly light touch.
* Nats Park in the mix for the 2015 MLB All-Star game, but lots of other cities want it, too.
* Across the way: new DC United investors "should boost quest for stadium" at Buzzard Point.
* At least SOME major media organizations know how to credit scoops. {Said while glaring at WashBizJ, though not PhilBizJ}
* Folks at 909 New Jersey, and also 1980s DC nightclubbers, might like this WaPo photo. Especially when compared to this. (The railroad tracks are probably not missed.)

Kruba Thai and Sushi Liquor License Gets ANC Support
Jul 10, 2012 8:53 AM
I wasn't at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, but commissioner David Garber tweeted the news that the commission voted to support the liquor license for Kruba Thai and Sushi, which apparently is now hoping to open in August in the southwest corner of the ground floor of the Foundry Lofts at the Yards. It will have "tons of outdoor seating facing Yards Park," given its location directly across from the Lumber Shed. This is another slippage of the opening date, but work does appear to be ongoing in the space, and movement on a liquor license application is good to see.
Kruba is another offering from the same people running Teak Wood Thai and Sushi and Regent Thai near Dupont Circle and Galae Thai & Sushi in Alexandria.

ANC Elections: Petitions Available Monday, New Boundaries
Jul 6, 2012 9:53 AM
Presidential election not exciting enough for you? Lack of a mayor's race got you down? Need a bigger fix than just a council chair contest? Then you're in luck, because there will be Advisory Neighborhood Commission elections this November, as there are every two years.
The process kicks off Monday (July 9), when interested candidates can pick up nominating petitions at the DC Board of Elections. If candidates-to-be can round up signatures by Aug. 8 of at least 25 registered voters in the single member districts (SMDs) they wish to represent, and survive through the petition challenge period Aug. 11-20, they'll be on the ballot on Nov. 6. Candidates must be registered voters themselves and have lived in the SMD since June 9.
The biggest change for this go-round is there will now be two SMDs covering Near Southeast, necessitated by the swelling of the neighborhood's population well past the legislated SMD size of 2,000 plus or minus five percent. The map at right matches the final boundaries as signed into law, at least for Near Southeast (it shows what Tommy Wells submitted to the council to be the 6D SMD boundaries).
The changes? SMD 6D07 (shown in purple blue), the current Near Southeast district represented by David Garber that has long covered most everything east of South Capitol and south of the the freeway to 11th Street, has a big chunk taken out of it along South Capitol Street South of I and north of Potomac. That part of the neighborhood will now be in SMD 6D02 (dark green), currently represented by Southwest resident Cara Shockley, and it also includes areas of Southwest north of M Street and west of South Capitol. (The folks who live on or east of 7th Street SE north of M continue to be represented by ANC 6B04.)
So, If you live in Jefferson/Axiom, Onyx, Capitol Quarter, or the Foundry Lofts, or plan on moving into the Park Chelsea or any new buildings at the Yards or Florida Rock over the next 10 years, you are still in 6D07.
Residents of 909 New Jersey, Capitol Hill Tower, Velocity, and any buildings that might pop up in the blocks north of Nationals Park by 2022 will be voting in 6D02.
If you're looking to run and you pick up nominating petitions, feel free to drop me a line to let me know. And I imagine I will write about the races from time to time.
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More posts: ANC News, politics, redistricting

ANC 6D Agenda: Parking Update, Capper PUD (and the Wharf)
Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM
The agenda for the June 11 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (and hopefully posted soon). The big-ticket item is a vote on the Stage 2 PUD for the Southwest Waterfront plans, which I doubt will be a lightning-quick discussion--when the agenda has it budgeted for 90 minutes, you know it's gonna be long.
But there are also two Near Southeast items of interest listed: an update on baseball game-day parking from DDOT (first discussed at the May meeting) and the Capper Community Center PUD extension request (also discussed in May).
I'm not yet up to sitting through a meeting of that length (though I'm coming along), so if these items are of interest, get thee to 1100 4th St. SW at 7 pm on Monday.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, parking, zoning

Florida Rock Update at ANC 6D: Tweaked Designs, More Retail
May 16, 2012 7:56 AM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, representatives of MRP Realty made a presentation showing the updates to the RiverFront on the Anacostia project (aka Florida Rock) that they will be taking to the Zoning Commission later this year.
These designs are part of the quest to make changes to the original design approved by the commission in 2008, chief of which is to switch the first phase of the 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use project from an office building to a 300ish-unit apartment building at 1st Street and Potomac Avenue, along with a series of other changes that I've written about previously. (Dear heavens, don't make me write it all again.)
Here are the slides that were presented by the developers, which should be of interest even without the accompanying narration. The renderings are much more detailed and "showier" than those given to the Zoning Commission back in February, which was part of what the developers were tasked with providing in their next go-round with the ZC.
Most obviously, the developers appear to have gotten the "more retail!" message that had been delivered pretty clearly at the last two zoning commission sessions on the new design, with 18,650 square feet of retail now covering most of the first floor of the Phase I residential building, bumped up from 12,520 sf in the previous version (some of which the developers had been wanting to mark off for "temporary resident uses" until the market for retail in the area could be proven). The entire site is now designed to have 48,360 sf of retail, but this is still down from the 64,200 sf that was in the plans approved by the Zoning Commission back in 2008. (This increase in retail also means that the "four red doors" facing Potomac Avenue that sent zoning commissioner Michael Turnbull through the roof back in February are now gone.)
There was also much time spent on the designs for the public spaces that span the 5.5-acre site. With large lawns, wetlands-type areas that would actually be bio-filtration mechanisms, quieter tree-covered spaces, and a marina that could potentially have 40-50 slips, the additions could be seen as echoing the Yards Park a couple blocks to the east.. But there are also some "beach" areas where sand would be placed, and a large sculpture could be included in the "Riverfront Plaza" at the foot of 1st Street. The esplanade is still a major part of the design, but there is no longer a separate bike path--pedestrians and cyclists would share the boardwalk as it runs through the entire site, from South Capitol Street to Diamond Teague Park. And there may even be locations where some of the concrete blocks from the old concrete plant site would be incorporated into the public spaces.
I could write more about the specifics, but since the project will be back in front of ANC 6D looking for a resolution of support in July, and then at the Zoning Commission on Sept. 20, I'd prefer to save some words for the presentations to come.
I've added some of the renderings from this presentation to my Florida Rock project page. And, when looking at all of this, remember that the western two buildings (phases 3 and 4, an office building and a hotel), are not be able to be built until the new South Capitol Street/Douglass Bridge is built a bit to the south of the current bridge, which now runs directly through the Florida Rock footprint. And there's as yet no timeline for that new bridge.
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ANC 6D Recap 2: Canal Park, Community Center, CSX Letter
May 15, 2012 1:35 PM
Moving from the "P" portion of Monday's ANC 6D meeting (pylons and parking) to the "C"s:
* Canal Park: Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association gave an update on construction, the bottom line of which has not changed from what's been mentioned the past few months, that because of unexpected issues, the park's opening has been delayed until November. Unmapped utilities that required a redesign of the stormwater management system have been a big stumbling block, but Vanarsdale also mentioned the soil-related difficulties when building on the site of an old canal. Construction is now 60 percent complete, and the work on the pavilion is almost done. Here are the presentation slides, and you can also check out the official web site for more details (along with my project page). Oh, and they're thinking about offering Zamboni driving lessons!
* Community Center: The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for an extension for construction of the planned Capper Community Center, which already received one extension back in 2010 that 6D supported. DCHA has apparently requested that the Zoning Commission act within 30 days on the request, news of which the ANC received on Monday. So the commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter urging postponement of the zoning case so that the ANC can address the request and form a response with a vote at next month's meeting. Commissioners Litsky and McBee also both commented that the project shouldn't be getting another extension.
UPDATE: Here is the letter sent on behalf of DCHA to the Zoning Commission asking for the extension: it would be for two years, requiring building permits by July 1, 2014 and construction underway by July 1, 2015.
* CSX/Virginia Avenue Tunnel: The commissioners voted 6-0-1 to send this letter to the appropriate parties laying out the ANC's opinion on the plans to reconfigure the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. After listing the various ways that the proposed construction "would put people, homes, businesses, and fragile historic resources at risk," the letter states: "[W]e strongly believe that the best options for our community are for CSX to either leave the Virginia Avenue Tunnel in its current state (Concept 1) -- with the suggestion that if this option were chosen that the tunnel would be fully maintained for the safety of both the trains below and the communities above, or to reroute additional train traffic outside the District of Columbia [...] instead of in an expanded Virginia Avenue Tunnel." But, if the construction does occur, "it is absolutely imperative that the health and safety of our many residents, the economic and physical well-being of our businesses, parks, religious institutions, homes, and historic buildings, and the north-south access for all existing modes of transportation be preserved and enhanced." A number of Capitol Quarter residents in attendance also spoke in support of the ANC's support. The next public meeting on the plans for the tunnel will be May 21 at 6:30 pm at Nats Park.
One more recap post to go, probably tomorrow.

ANC 6D Recap 1: Water Pylons, and Parking
May 15, 2012 9:49 AM
It was a busy ANC 6D meeting on Monday night for Near Southeast-related issues, so I'm going to put it all in a series of posts:
* New Jersey Avenue Underpass Art: The Capitol Riverfront BID gave an update on the "Water Pylons" art installation, which is now moving forward after being "dormant" for about a year. This is the project partially funded by a grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities that will paint and light the pylons holding up the Southeast Freeway in a "modern representation of water that announces New Jersey Avenue, SE as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront community." The reflective blue paint should go up in July, followed by light fixtures in August, and the installation should be dedicated in September, which will be right around the time that DCCAH moves into its new nearby digs at 225 Virginia/200 I. Passers-by may note that new fences and LED overhead lighting have already been installed along New Jersey as part of the transformation of the underpass. The BID's presentation to the ANC, with more information about the project, is here.
* Parking Parking Parking: There was a discussion about issues with game-day parking in the neighborhood, specifically the prohibition of parking along K and L streets, as well as other restrictions that have made residents unhappy. Damon Harvey of DDOT says that the agency is "reassessing" the current configuration, to figure out how to provide better access to residents while not allowing stadium-goers to then hog all the parking. He expects that changes will be announced in a month or so that will allow for "greater residential protection during games." One other non-game day change for residents has already gone into effect: meters are now turned off at 6:30 pm (but still 10 pm on game days).
However, those who came to the meeting hoping to hear about changes in the Residential Parking Permit system that would allow residents in the high-rise buildings west of Canal Park to park on the street throughout Ward 6 were disappointed, as DDOT continues to hold that large residential buildings in mixed-use neighborhoods will not qualify for RPP. (Harvey used the Ellington on U Street as a specific example of this being the case elsewhere in the city, but there are more buildings in this situation than just that one and the Near Southeast ones.)
Also, in somewhat related news the ANC unanimously passed a resolution protesting the plan in the mayor's new budget to redirect most performance parking proceeds to other areas, such as Metro, rather than their being used as originally intended, to fund non-automotive transportation improvements in the neighborhood.

ANC 6D Monthly Meeting Comes to Near Southeast May 14 (Updated)
May 14, 2012 11:14 AM
For its May 14 business meeting, ANC 6D is venturing east of South Capitol Street, holding the session at the Courtyard by Marriott at 140 L St., SE, starting at 7 pm. The full agenda isn't posted yet, but a flyer sent around by chair Andy Litsky includes the following items: ANC 6D CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel letter, Update on Canal Park Construction, Discussion of Game Day Parking Issues, and New Jersey Avenue Public Art Piers (which I assume is the "Water Pylons" project that the BID received a grant for a while back).
UPDATE: I bumped this to the top of the page as a reminder, since the meeting is tonight. The agenda has been posted, and now includes an update on the Florida Rock/RiverFront plans, in addition to the items mentioned above along with some issues of importance in Southwest and various races and events that want approval to come through the neighborhood(s).
Judging from a new case filed with the Office of Zoning, it looks like the Florida Rock folks are asking for a one-year time extension on their previously approved PUD, but I imagine that will all be discussed this evening.
UPDATE II: Should clarify that the original PUD extension was through June 27, 2012, which was going to be pretty hard to meet with their filings from earlier this year to change the first phase from office to residential still working through the process. This new request would give them until June of 2013 to either get their requested modifications approved, or revert back to the original approved plans.
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ANC 6D Supports Park Tavern, Willie's Liquor Licenses
Feb 15, 2012 9:17 AM
While nowhere near as flashy as the Half Street/Fairgrounds news, it should be noted that ANC 6D on Monday voted to support the liquor license applications for Xavier Cervera's two upcoming restaurants, the Park Tavern at Canal Park and Willie's Brew & Que at the Boilermaker Shops in the Yards. The support is conditional on having voluntary agreements signed for both applications within the next two weeks.
There was a bit of drama with this, with the commission's ABC subcommittee chair Coralee Farlee refusing to recommend this support because of what she considered a lack of communication from Cervera over the wording of the voluntary agreement; Cervera's lawyer had apparently replied with a few comments, but Farlee had not heard from Cervera himself (who seemed a bit bewildered by it all). David Garber stepped in to say that he had been working the voluntary agreement issue as well, which clearly Farlee wasn't especially happy about either.
Garber noted Cervera's desire to not have the process delayed, given Park Tavern's planned June 15 opening date and the need for Cervera to have a license in place in order to move forward with Forest City and the Boilermaker Shops. Commissioner Cara Shockley expressed some concern about moving so quickly, and there was also discussion about how a vote to support without a signed VA is not 6D's standard operating procedure. (Audience member and former 6D secretary Roberta Weiner mentioned how at other ANCs the vote would be to protest the license until a VA is signed by all parties.)
But in the end, four commissioners voted to support the licenses, Shockley voted against, and Ron McBee voted to abstain. (Commission chair Andy Litsky was not in attendance.)
My post from last week gives a whole pile of details on both restaurants, which I'll not bother to rehash here. (That post is much more fun to read, anyway.)

Tuesday Tidbits: Briefer-than-Brief Briefs
Feb 7, 2012 9:26 AM
I'm a bit under the weather these days, so I'll go with a minimalist approach of mostly Tweeted items:
* Lost in the digital piles on my digital desktop was the CapBiz tidbit about a Bang Salon being housed in the new Vida Fitness gym that is supposed to be coming to the neighborhood as part of the Yards' Teeter/Residential project on 4th Street. (As for the "at the Navy Yard" description, I'm pretty sure that this project isn't happening inside the walls of the Washington Navy Yard.) Note that Forest City has yet to officially announce Vida as a tenant for the project, though they sure came close a few weeks back.
* If the neighborhood seems locked down on Wednesday, it's probably because of this little get-together at Nats Park.
* Speaking of the stadium, the Nats have launched "Take Back the Park" to try to head off the Philly Fan Invasion for the May 4-6 games.
* The agenda for ANC 6D's next meeting is out, with the only Near Southeast item being "Half Street Shipping Container Fairgrounds Concept," which according to David Garber will be on the Das Bullpen site at Half and M and is something along the lines of this. Looks hipster-riffic! The meeting is Feb. 13 at 7 pm.
* Outside the boundaries updates from SWill: Z-Burger is supposed to be opening over yonder today, and a juvenile facility will be moving into that long low gray building on the west side of South Capitol between M and N.
* DDOT tweeted that the 11th Street Local Bridge "is expected to open in late spring." This is the bridge with the pedestrian/cycling path that will run from 11th Street south of N by the Navy Yard into downtown Anacostia.

ANC 6D January Agenda: M Street Study/BID Previews, More
Jan 4, 2012 4:02 PM
ANC 6D has sent around (and posted! yay!) the agenda for its January meeting, scheduled for Monday, Jan. 9 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St., SW in DCRA's second-floor meeting room.
The Near Southeast items of interest could mostly be looked at as sneak previews, or perhaps as items that could be missed if you are better able to fit other upcoming meetings into your calendar (especially, if, say, you were looking for an escape hatch because you'd kinda rather be watching the BCS championship):
* There's a M Street SE/SW Transportation Study agenda item, in advance of the DDOT public meeting on the study coming three days later, on Jan. 12;
* There's an update on Capitol Riverfront BID doings, in advance of the BID's annual meeting three days later, on Jan. 12; and
* There's the application for historic landmark status for the DC Water main pumping station, which will be heard by the Historic Preservation Review Board at its January 26 meeting.
There's also an update on the ANC 6D redistricting outcome, various Southwest-related items (including the big Maryland Avenue SW Draft Plan, and whatnot. And, since it's the first meeting of the new year, there will also be the election of commission officers.

December ANC 6D Agenda: Florida Rock, CSX, M Street, More
Dec 8, 2011 4:20 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D December meeting is now available (and actually posted on their web site, too!). My hopes for a pre-holiday pass from this have been dashed, though, since there are a number of Near Southeast items on the agenda:
* There is an application pending for landmark designation for the historic 1905 DC Water Main Pumping Station, to which I'm sure we all say, "What do you mean it isn't already designated?"
* CSX will give an update on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel NEPA process. (Or you can just read my summary of last week's public scoping meeting.)
* The new partners in the RiverFront/Florida Rock project will be giving a presentation on their new zoning filing, which I'll be writing more on shortly.
* There's also going to be an update(?) on the long-desired Maine Avenue/M Street comprehensive traffic study, which we haven't heard much about in a while.
You can check the agenda for the other items. (it's a pretty long lineup. Yay. As always, December seems to be the ZOMG WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING portion of the year, not just for ANCs but throughout the development/bureaucratic sphere.) The meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices on the 2nd floor of 1100 4th St., SW.

ANC Redistricting: Hearing Today, New Map from Tommy Wells
Nov 29, 2011 10:01 AM
Today the council's Subcommittee on Redistricting is holding a hearing (watch live!) on the proposals for new ANC and single-member district boundaries. Late on Monday night, proposed maps for all eight wards were posted, with the Ward 6 maps being exactly the ones that the Ward 6 Task Force submitted back in September. However, a Twitter discussion with Tommy Wells's chief of staff has indicated that the task force maps are not what Tommy forwarded to the subcommittee, and Charles Allen was nice enough to pass along the ANC 6D portion of Tommy's map, seen below on the left, alongside the task force's recommended map (both can be clicked to enlarge):
(The colors don't match up, so beware.) The two biggest differences for Near Southeast are that 1) 6D02 stretches all the way down to Nationals Park as part of its cross-South Capitol boundary, and 2) a pretty obvious notch has been drawn that happens to allow current 6D07 commissioner David Garber to remain within the SMD covering the vast majority of Near Southeast. (The populations of the block where Garber lives and the Capitol Hill Tower block are nearly identical, so a New Jersey Avenue boundary would have been easy enough to use, except that then Garber would be in an SMD with another sitting commissioner--and also wouldn't get to rule over more than about 15 blocks of Near Southeast.)
We'll see what transpires at the hearing. Watch for updates here and on Twitter. And now the Ward 6 Task Force has posted all of Tommy's maps for 6D. (You can also read my many previous posts on the SMD redistricting process over the past few months.)
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Most Minor of Modifications to Yards' Teeter Building OKed by 6D
Nov 15, 2011 10:23 PM
On Monday night, ANC 6D gave its support to a series of minor modifications (very minor--did I mention they were minor?) to the previously approved design of the new residential/retail/grocery development planned for the southeast corner of 4th and M, SE.
Because the lease with Harris Teeter has been executed since the project's zoning approvals were received, Forest City needs an okay for the company's signage, which you can see in the updated rendering. An outdoor seating area on 4th Street has also been added, and the design of the residential building's vestibule on 4th has been altered in order to use "structural glass." There were also slight changes to the roof structure, the sunscreens on the residential windows, the design of the trellises shielding the parking deck, and other items that should probably just be read about in the Office of Planning report that supports the proposed changes. (If you want the real nitty gritty of the updated design for this block, you can look through the full submittal to the Office of Zoning.)
Alex Nyhan of Forest City told 6D that he expects excavation on the site to start in about a month, with superstructure work beginning in the spring. This would bring the opening date to late 2013 or early 2014. (The entire block, consisting of the 55,000-square-foot Teeter, 218 apartments, and the as-yet-unnamed health club and other retail spaces at the south end of the site, is being built at the same time.)
There weren't many questions from commissioners. David Garber, who said that this was the first project reviewed by his new 11-member Near Southeast Citizen Development Advisory Committee, did question the project's representatives about the plans for bike parking. (Shocker!) Nyhan said there would be racks on 4th Street, and that they would be working with Harris Teeter to allow bikers to bring their bikes into the store and take them down to the parking level via elevator, but that no biking would be allowed into the parking garage. There was also discussion of whether the entrance to the garage could be expanded to allow for bike racks at street level, but Nyhan said there is not enough room in the design to widen the entrance.
The ANC then voted unanimously to support the project. It will be taken up by the Zoning Commission at its Nov. 28 meeting, having been removed from the Monday night agenda so that the ANC could be allowed to weigh in before the ZC voted.
You can see my Yards Parcel D project page for more details and photos.

Teeter/Residential Building at the Yards on 6D November Agenda
Nov 10, 2011 5:08 PM
While you're spending your weekend trying not to head toward the Navy Yard Metro station by mistake, you can take a moment or two to add Monday's ANC 6D meeting to your calendar. The agenda doesn't seem to be getting updated online these days, but an e-mailed version shows that the only Near Southeast item to be discussed will be the Harris Teeter/residential building in the Yards, on 4th Street south of M. There are few minor modifications to the design approved by the Zoning Commission nearly a year ago that need new approvals (including an "upgraded" design for the entrance to the residential building), and so those are what will be presented to the ANC.
There was a bit of a flurry on Thursday morning when a tweet from a local business symposium indicated the work would begin on this project "next week." However, I checked with Forest City, and there's still a building permit that hasn't yet been approved, so while they hope to start construction reallyreallyreally soon, "next week" might be a bit optimistic.
If you're just joining us, this project originally was planned to be an office building on top of the Harris Teeter, but will now instead be two long and narrow apartment buildings with a total of 200ish-units, with their entrance at 1212 4th St. SE. The Teeter will be 55,000 square feet and will have its main entrance near M Street. While the executive architect for the entire project is Shalom Baranes, the interior designer for the apartments is Core Architects out of Toronto, and you can see a few renderings on their site as being for "The Yards" (looks like a lobby or community room space, maybe?) , along with their many other projects.
On the south end of the block, at 4th and Tingey, there will be a four-story building with another 55,000 square feet of retail space, with what's expected to be a spa/fitness center/gym tenant on the top two floors and retail on the bottom two (seen at above left). There will also be a new narrow service road running south from M between this new development and Building 202 for loading zone access. Access to residential parking will be from Tingey, and the grocery and retail parking entrance will be on 4th, next to the residential lobby entrance. The retail spaces are being designed by Kenneth Park Architects.
You can check out my Yards 401 M/Parcel D page for more information, photos, and renderings. (Plus, in case you're wondering, this building site is just across 4th Street from the Boilermaker Shops retail space, about a block to the northeast of the Foundry Lofts, and a block from the Yards Park.)
The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday Nov. 14 at 7 pm at 1100 4th St., SW (the Safeway building), in the 2nd Floor DCRA meeting room.

Tree Planting on Saturday, Metro Name, Nats Park Uses
Oct 12, 2011 8:38 AM
* On Saturday, Oct. 15, a group of neighbors together with Casey Trees is having a tree-planting event in the "triangle park" bounded by Virginia Avenue and 4th, 5th, and I streets, SE. No prior experience is required, and coffee and treats will be provided along with a post-planting lunch for volunteers. More information and how to volunteer here.
* WMATA staff has recommended that "Ballpark" be added to the Navy Yard Metro station name as one of its new "secondary" (subtitle) names, rather than the requested "Navy Yard-Ballpark." However, since there is not yet any organization that has committed to paying for the name change (which a DDOT rep said at a recent ANC meeting would be in the $100,000 range for a two-exit station), WMATA's board will not be voting on this name change at its meetings on Thursday. They will vote on whether to change the Waterfront-SEU station to just "Waterfront," having veteoed the city's request for "Waterfront-Arena Stage" as being over the 19-character length limit and also having a "commercial naming rights issue." (via GGW)
* The ANC 6D October agenda has been sent out (but isn't yet on the web site). In addition to the very important business of giving thumbs up or down to five different races/walks that want to use neighborhood streets, the commission will be getting updates on the 225 Virginia/200 I project and the big DC Water Clean Rivers Project that will be ripping up M Street SE for a number of years. (Won't that be fun if M Street is a construction zone at the same time as Virginia Avenue?)
* DCist spent some time pondering what Nationals Park could be used for during the baseball off-season. (On the other hand, at least baseball stadiums get used 81 times a year. How about FedEx Field, which gets used only eight times for Redskins games and maybe a concert here or there?)

Final ANC Redistricting Recommendation Maps Approved
Sep 26, 2011 12:47 AM
At the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force's meeting on Sept. 22, final recommendations for ANC and SMD boundaries were approved, and the 6D map they are recommending remains close to their original draft proposal, despite 6D's request for substantial changes.
I'm not going to talk about the changes in western Southwest, but you can see on the two maps below the large differences close to and east of South Capitol Street between what the task force is recommending (left) and what the ANC wanted (right) (click to enlarge):
(Task Force final recommendation on left, ANC proposal on right. 6D02 is green, 6D03 purple, 6D07 fuschia)
The task force's original recommendation in August (very similar to the map above left) was for 6D02 to come across South Capitol Street into Southeast, covering the area bounded by I, New Jersey, and N. Then 6D07 would cover the rest of Near Southeast (except for the small cut-out on the northeastern side, which has been and will continue to be in ANC 6B). This would mean that 6D07/Near Southeast commissioner David Garber's current address would no longer be in 6D07 but instead in 6D02, where commissioner Cara Shockley also still resides under the new boundaries.
This, with a number of other changes that the 6D commissioners disapproved of, moved them to proffer their own map (above right), which kept 6D02 all in Southwest and instead expanded chair Ron McBee's 6D03 SMD across South Capitol, in such a way that Garber's block would remain in 6D07. (It also had 6D07 coming west across South Capitol for one small block, bounded by South Capitol, M, Carrollsburg, and N.) Cara Shockley vehemently disapproved of this map at the commission's September meeting, while Garber did not vote on it (citing what he described as his constituents' desire to be instead be a part of ANC 6B).
I was not at the task force's Sept. 22 meeting, but the ANC's arguments do not appear to have held much sway, and the final 6D map being recommended by the task force (above left) is very similar to the original draft map, at least in terms of how it handles blocks east of South Capitol.
The task force will be meeting again on Monday, Sept. 26 at 6:30 pm at 1100 4th St. SW (DCRA hearing room) to approve the report that will "include the narrative to explain the recommendations as well as the required text description of the ANC/SMD boundaries." That report and the maps will then be submitted to Tommy Wells on Sept. 28, who will then submit Ward 6 redistricting recommendations to the council on Sept. 30.
UPDATE: Guess it wouldn't hurt to include a link to the current 6D SMD boundaries.
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More posts: ANC News, redistricting

Curly W on the Metro: Blog Swarm!
Sep 16, 2011 10:27 AM
Keying off my post about ANC 6D's approval of Navy Yard- as a new name for the Metro station by Nationals Park, Greater Greater Washington expressed some displeasure ("Navy Yard-W" is worst of new station name proposals"). That post was then pondered by DCist and mocked by SB Nation for, among other things, the contention that people would think "Navy Yard-W" was named for former president George W. Bush. And now there's a GGW follow-up saying that, by appending "Ballpark" to the Navy Yard station name, people won't use other stations that might work better for them to get to the stadium. (Though, really, when the Navy Yard station is all of a block away from Nats Park, maybe it's okay to label that as the station people should use.)
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ANC 6D Redistricting Recommendations
Sep 16, 2011 8:45 AM
The Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force blog has posted ANC 6D's formal recommendations on redistricting, approved at Monday's meeting, with the changes I laid out previously.
UPDATE: Also now posted, 6B's formal recommendations, with no mention of Near Southeast's remaining in 6D instead of moving to 6B.
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ANC Recap 1: Support for Adding the Curly W to Navy Yard Metro
Sep 13, 2011 11:13 AM
With WMATA looking to tighten up the naming conventions for Metro stations and also preparing for a new map thanks to the impending service expansion to Tysons Corner and eventually Dulles, the three local jurisdictions have been encouraged to come up with proposals by the end of this month for any station name revisions they may want. This brought Steve Strauss of DDOT to Monday's ANC 6D meeting, to find out whether the community had any feelings about the names of the four stations within the commission's borders, and in particular whether the ANC had any desire to take a second look at two proposed name changes it supported last year in light of WMATA's recommitment to the notion that station names should be no longer than 19 characters (13 for transfer stations).
Yes, it's time for the Curly W discussion again.
Last December the commission voted to support requests from both the Capitol Riverfront BID and the Nationals to change the station name to Navy Yard-Capitol Riverfront-, but that is well above 19 characters (and would be even worse if the Curly W weren't approved and "Nationals Park" were substituted, as called for in the ANC resolution at the time). The discussion on Monday night centered around whether using the logo would set a dangerous precedent, whether it would be confusing in terms of pronouncing the station name, whether it's de facto advertising, and whether riders with vision impairments would or would not be better served by having a logo versus a spelled-out "Ballpark." Commissioner Andy Litsky was also vocal in wanting some assurance that the Nationals would be paying the estimated $100,000 for the changing of the name of a station, and would not try to argue that the city should pay the cost since the stadium is a public building.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals told the commission many of the same things he did back in December: the Curly W is the official logo of a city-owned building, and the team wants the logo to appear on transit signage just as it does on freeway signs around the area. McCarthy also said the team very much wants to promote transit as the best way to get to the stadium, and that having the logo on signs and maps helps to emphasize the connection between Metro and the Nationals year-round. There's also no desire to have any variation of "Nationals Park" in the name, given the possibility that the stadium's naming rights will someday be sold and the name changed.
An initial motion to rename the station Navy Yard-Ballpark failed on a 3-3 vote; after more discussion, a new motion to support Navy Yard- if a logo were allowed, and Navy Yard-Ballpark if not, passed on a 4-2 vote. (Technically, these motions were all about amending the resolution from December, but I'm giving you the blessedly short version.)
I should also note that the Capitol Riverfront BID's recent request to simply rename the station Capitol Riverfront- was briefly mentioned at the start of the discussion, but clearly had zero support from the commission or the audience and was never voted on.
The ANC also voted 7-0 to change Waterfront-SEU to Waterfront-Arena Stage. But the resolution acknowledged that the new station name would be 22 characters long, and so a second resolution was passed on a 4-3 vote asking to rename the station as SW Waterfront if Arena Stage does not get added to the name.
There was a brief discussion as to whether there might be interest in adding Banneker Park to the L'Enfant Plaza station, but there was little support, and recognition that the name would be too long anyway.
All requests for changing station names will first go through the city's evaluation procedures, with the mayor's office then submitting formal recommendations to WMATA.
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ANC Agendas, Possible Bus Route Change, NCPC Doings, Singles at Harry's, Crime at Capper, and a Rant About Dying Data
Sep 8, 2011 11:02 AM
Apologies for the torrent of words that follows:
* ANC Meetings: The agenda is now out for Monday's meeting ANC 6D meeting. In addition to the Capper apartments time extension request I just wrote about, there will be a discussion of the proposed Single Member District boundaries for 6D. (Ditto on both counts for the ANC 6B meeting the next night.) There is also an agenda item on the proposed renaming of both the Navy Yard and Waterfront-SEU Metro stations, with a DDOT representative. The 6D meeting is at 7 pm in the DCRA offices at 1100 4th St., SW, 2nd Floor.
* Changes to P1/P2/P6 Buses: WMATA has come up with a list of proposed changes to bus routes, and one of them would eliminate the P1 and P2 buses that run along M Street SE during rush hour and would re-route the P6 bus down M Street SE to 4th Street SW, away from its current route that runs along Virginia Avenue and through the southern part of Capitol Hill before heading to Federal Center SW and then across the Mall and into downtown. This could impact the residents of the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St., SE, which has an eastbound stop right on its corner. (I'd also note that the planned closure of Virginia Avenue south of the freeway for two-plus years would necessitate a rerouting anyway.) And, in the interest of full disclosure, I'll say that this rerouting would have an impact on the JDLand household, since we often use this bus (which stops right at our corner) to get to and from downtown. This is not final yet, with public meetings on this and the other proposed changes still to come.
* NCPC Doings: Last week the National Capital Planning Commission approved by consent Forest City's plans to temporarily put their offices in the second floor of the Lumber Shed building at the Yards Park. NCPC also approved an installation of solar panels at the Navy Yard, while humminah-hummining that though the commission had said back in 2010 that "no future submittals at the Washington Navy Yard will be considered until an updated master plan is submitted," they decided that "this proposal is a minor one that does not increase the population at the installation, does not include any interior space, will have 'no adverse effect' on historic resources and is comprised of elements that reduce the installation's energy consumption." Plus, the report says the commission staff has been meeting with the Navy and expects a draft document for updating the Navy Yard master plan to be submitted to NCPC by the end of this year.
* Beer! And a Cookout: In tastier news, the folks at Harry's Reserve tell me they are now approved to sell single beers, and already are building their inventory of 32-40 oz craft beers, imports, and the like. Meanwhile, the Great Heartland Cookout is happening on Saturday at the Yards Park, benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, which donates "comfort homes" built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers for families of hospitalized service members. Cookout tickets start at $40.
* Crime At Capper, Before and After: The Urban Institute has published "Movin' Out: Crime Displacement and HUD's HOPE VI Initiative" that uses the crime statistics around Capper and other DC rehabilitated public housing communities to show that crime not only remains low in the immediate area after a HOPE VI renovation, but is lower in nearby areas as well. The report is a bit hard to read (I have to admit I gave up pretty quickly), but MetroTrends gives a good summary. You can also look at the crime statistics I've archived since 2005 to see how crimes in the neighborhood have changed over the years, while keeping in mind that the initial move-outs began at Capper in 2003. (The huge spike in Theft from Autos in 2006 was mostly a result of the neighborhood being empty except for the cars of construction workers, which were then pretty easy pickings during the daytime when they were busy at Nationals Park or the other projects at the time.)
* Waah Waah Waah: And, speaking of the crime statistics.... I have been downloading those reports from the city's Data Warehouse on a near-daily basis since they were first made available as XML feeds. I've also been able to get Public Space Permit Applications and Approved Building Permit Applications via XML for a number of years, and the many data feeds that were created are something that the city received numerous accolades for during the Fenty administration. However, the Public Space Permits feed now has not been updated since mid-July, and the Building Permits feed hasn't been updated since August 23.
Multiple e-mails to the data warehouse e-mail address have gone unacknowledged (after years of pretty prompt response, even if it was just to say "we know, we're working on it"). The Twitter accounts for both the Data Warehouse project and for OCTO Labs are equally moribund. I've let DCRA and DDOT know about the problems with the feeds, since they are the originators of the data, but if these data feeds are going to go to seed it's going to be a real loss for having easy access to this sort of data (even if I'm probably one of the few people who's ever bothered to take advantage). And, if the data isn't dying and is just getting worked on, a little bit of communication would go a long way (like, say, replying to any of my e-mails). Hopefully the crime feeds won't suddenly stop working, since that one certainly gets the most interest of any of them. (My complaints about the loss of depth in the city's web site offerings after the big redesign are for another day.) Just wait until OCTO moves into 225 Virginia next year and I can start picketing out front.

DCHA Files for Time Extension on Two Capper Apartment Projects
Sep 7, 2011 3:06 PM
The DC Housing Authority has filed a request with the Zoning Commission for a time extension to construct the mixed-income apartment buildings it has planned for the north half of Square 882 (the old Capper Seniors block along L Street between 5th and 7th, seen at right) and the north half of Square 769, between 2nd and 3rd on L just east of Canal Park (below, the building at left, next to the proposed 250 M Street).
When the plans for these two buildings were approved by the Zoning Commission in 2009 (see the zoning order), it was required that building permits be applied for by August of this year, with construction to begin by August of 2012. However, attempts at funding either the Square 882 189-unit building or 171-unit Square 769N building the have not thus far borne any fruit, and so a time extension is needed. Between them, the buildings would have 72 units reserved for households making less than 60 percent of the area median income, and the Square 769 building would also have just over 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
The Zoning Commission will hear this request at its meeting on Monday night; because there is no request to modify any portion of the PUD beyond the time requirement, this will most likely be handled as a consent calendar item. There will also be a presentation on this request and the state of the Capper redevelopment in general at Monday's ANC 6D meeting. (There was also one given at Tuesday night's ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, but I had a baseball game to watch.) But since the Zoning Commission hearing is at the same time as the 6D meeting, it would seem that there is no anticipated opposition from 6D.
The Office of Planning prepared a short report recommending approval of the time extension, showing that the requirements for an extension have been met. It also quotes the development team as saying that there have been 75 outreach efforts for financing, all unsuccessful. "The inability to secure financing for residential projects, especially those including affordable units, is not unusual in the current marketplace."
If you want to know more about these two planned apartment projects, and the other three mixed-income buildings planned along the east side of Canal Park and on the DPW/trash transfer site, my Capper Apartments page has additional background, as do the scads of blog posts I've written on the various plans. And my main Capper page has the background on the entire redevelopment project.
UPDATE: And, of course, within seconds of my pulling the trigger and posting this entry, I've received a copy of the letter to the Zoning Commission requesting the PUD. Which I'm posting before reading.

Proposed ANC 6D SMD Boundaries; Near SE in Two SMDs
Aug 17, 2011 5:06 PM
The Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force has released its initial redistricting report, which includes the proposed ANC and Single Member District boundaries approved at the Aug. 8 task force meeting. These are not final, and now will go through a months' worth of meetings with all Ward 6 ANCs to allow for recommendations for any changes from the commissions and other affected groups.
Here's the proposed Ward 6D SMD boundaries (at right). As I've mentioned ad nauseum, there was no way Near Southeast was going to remain as one SMD, and in the new map it's split into two districts, with 6D07 now comprising almost all of the neighborhood, while the area right around M Street west of New Jersey Avenue has been melded into the 6D02 single member district that covers the northeastern section of Southwest.
Given the population layout of the neighborhood, there isn't really any alternative in order to hit the target range of 1,900-2,100 residents per single member district other than creating a boundary that includes Capitol Quarter, Capitol Hill Tower, and 70/100 I, which gives a population of 2,091. (If you try to swap 70/100 I for the blocks with Onyx, Velocity, and 909 New Jersey, you end up with only 1,791 residents.)
There does seem to have been an attempt to keep as much of the neighborhood in one SMD as possible, with the proposed 6D07 including the baseball stadium and Florida Rock, though the areas just north of the ballpark (where the Akridge and Monument Half Street projects are proposed) would be in the SE/SW 6D02 district.
If these boundaries are approved, it sets up a very interesting situation for current 6D commissioners. David Garber, who has ruled over all but a smidge of Near Southeast since being elected in 2010, lives on a block that would now be in the new 6D02 SMD spanning South Capitol Street; the existing 6D02, all in Southwest, is currently represented by Cara Shockley, also elected in 2010. Whoever would represent the bulk of Near Southeast in these new boundaries could not live at Onyx, Velocity, or 909 New Jersey.
The Ward 6 redistricting task force will be at the Sept. 12 ANC 6D meeting to discuss the proposed boundaries and to receive comments. There is still a possibility that there could be a reversal and Near Southeast could move to ANC 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC), and the task force's report included the not-adopted map for 6B that shows Near Southeast as part of a 12-SMD commission. This would keep much of Near Southeast in one district, with Canal Park, Capitol Quarter, and blocks right by the freeway except for 70/100 I paired with a few blocks north of the freeway in another district. The task force meets with 6B to get its recommendations on Sept. 13.
There will then be a Sept. 19 meeting to consider all recommendations received as a result of their initial redistricting maps, to then come up with a final recommendation to be forwarded to Tommy Wells by the end of September.
If you want to know more (including how to make your feelings known, if you have any), the task force web site is chock full of information. And you can play with my interactive Ward 6 census map if you want to try to make your own SMDs that fit the 1,900-2,100 population range.
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More posts: ANC News, redistricting

Task Force Votes Again to Keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D
Aug 10, 2011 11:47 AM
At a meeting on Monday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force voted 4-3 to keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D, which also includes (almost?) all of Southwest, rather than moving it to ANC 6B, which includes most of southern and eastern Capitol Hill. If this sounds like something I've already posted, it kind of is, because last week the task force voted to create ANC boundaries that would keep Near Southeast in 6D, but had left open for another vote whether those boundaries should be tweaked to move Near Southeast to 6B.
I was not there, but tweets from attendees indicated that it was a vote that came down to wanting to listen to the many residents of Near Southeast who advocated being moved to ANC 6B versus not wanting 6B to be a 12-member commission if that move were to have happened. (A poll on the task force web site shows a nearly even split between people wanting Near Southeast moved to 6B versus keeping it in 6D; the comments thread on the subject also became a bit of a war between residents supporting the switch and mostly Southwest residents wanting Near Southeast to stay in 6D.)
But this is still not the final decision on the matter. The task force will include the unapproved move to 6B in the initial task force proposal "as an information item." The decisions the task force makes are not binding--ward redistricting task forces report to their council members, who can then tweak the proposal if they wish, and then the entire council votes on the proposed new maps. The Ward 6 task force will be attending ANC meetings in September to present their proposal and get feedback, and then will meet again on Sept. 19 before making their final recommendations.
As for how ANC 6D with Near Southeast remaining will be divided into seven single member districts, I was hoping that the task force would post its maps before I got around to writing this, but alas, no. (They say they hope to have the maps posted sooner than their Aug. 18 date for posting their entire initial report.) Unless they plan to stray from the guidelines that look to have SMDs drawn with populations of between 1,900 and 2,100, some portion(s) of the western part of Near Southeast will be part of an SMD with blocks across South Capitol Street, in Southwest.
If you want to try to come up with your own way to divvy up the 14,359 residents of Southwest into seven SMDs, you can play with my redistricting map. It will let you create up to three SMDs on one map, by clicking on the map to choose one set of blocks, then clicking the "Show Map with Selected Blocks Highlighted" link, then repeating those steps two more times.
But hopefully the proposed map from the task force will be posted soon.
And now back to my mini-break.
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ANC Redistricting: Near Southeast Stays in 6D, or Does It?
Aug 5, 2011 11:07 AM
On Wednesday night, the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force approved new boundaries for five ANCs in Ward 6, with a map that keeps Near Southeast together, and keeps it in ANC 6D. However, it also included, as an "option for additional research," preparing Single Member District options that both keep Near Southeast as part of 6D (the Southwest ANC) or move it to 6B (the Capitol Hill ANC).
The committee will have a meeting on Aug. 8 at 6:30 pm to discuss this option along with two other options they are mulling elsewhere in the ward, and have posted on their blog polls for residents to vote on the options under consideration.
Before Wednesday's vote, Near Southeast's current ANC commissioner David Garber sent an open letter to the task force, indicating that his consituents have made clear that their interests lie with the areas north of the freeway where so many of them eat and shop: "As much as we are similarly scaled and share interests with the Southwest community, residents of Near Southeast simply do not associate with that community in the same way they do with Capitol Hill." And, along with this, he says that residents have made very clear that Near Southeast should not get split between the two ANCs. Garber has also started imploring his constituents (on his mailing list and Facebook page) to make their feelings known to the task force.
The numbers portion of this discussion is worth looking at--right now, ANC 6D07's 2,737 census-counted residents make up 18.8 percent of ANC 6D's population of 14,359. if you move all of those 2,737 residents out of 6D, that leaves the Southwest ANC with 11,622 residents, which will give it only six commissioners, and the layout of the neighborhood would make for a tough set-up to have all the single-member districts reflect the desired 2,000-count population, or even the 1,900 low-end-of-the-range target.
If you move those 2,737 residents to 6B, it ends up with 22,954 residents, which again will make for some interesting decisions on SMD population counts, and would also make 6B at least an 11-SMD ANC, compared to the other Ward 6 ANCs having as few as five or up to nine commissioners. It would also mean that Near Southeast would make up 11.9 percent of 6B's population.
It's also possible the task force could still decide to divvy up Near Southeast between the two ANCs, with the Capitol Quarter area being split off to join an SMD north of the freeway. This decision would keep ANC 6D at seven commissioners and would make the numbers easier to manage in creating new SMDs 6B. (And would then give 16 commissioners from other neighborhoods in two ANCs a whole lot of power over the future of Near Southeast!)
And even if the task force keeps the "status quo," with 6D's boundaries remaining unchanged (which would seem to have been their initial inclination, given Wednesday night's vote), there's still the question of whether an SMD will span South Capitol Street to include portions of both Near Southeast and Southwest, or if the task force will decide to allow for SMDs with fewer than 1,900 residents, which could possibly give Near Southeast two commissioners and raise 6D's total to eight.
Lots of decisions coming down the pike. But, judging by the utter lack of reader interest in my posts on this subject (looking at the dismal traffic numbers and lack of comments compared to other topics I write about, and in comparison to the outcry that erupted when the possibility of moving Near Southeast to Ward 8 was floated), perhaps most residents don't see ANC boundaries and SMD locations as an issue that effects them one way or the other.
UPDATE: The task force has a new post up as a place to specifically take comments on where Near Southeast should be placed.
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More posts: ANC News, redistricting

Report on ANC Redistricting Listening Meeting for 6D
Jul 29, 2011 11:00 AM
On Thursday night the Ward 6 Redistricting Task Force held its "listening meeting" for residents and interested parties in ANC 6D to get input as to the feelings about the current ANC and Single Member District (SMD) boundaries and what changes people would be either wanting or not completely detesting.
Interestingly, many of the Southwest residents who spoke--starting with ANC 6D chair Ron McBee and longtime 6D commissioner Andy Litsky--spent much of their time focusing on how important it is to keep Near Southeast in ANC 6D. McBee said both areas have lots of similarities, from housing stock to traffic issues to transportation issues (Circulator, etc.) to the need to build retail, and that coming improvements to South Capitol Street should improve the flow between the two neighborhoods. Litsky, echoing McBee by saying Near Southeast and Southwest "are more similar than dissimilar," also mentioned the coming South Capitol Street reconstruction and how much more difficult it would be to have any sort of negotiations be going on with two separate ANCs in the mix.
Current 6D07 commissioner David Garber did not take a position one way or the other on whether Near Southeast should remain with 6D, saying that he is waiting for his residents to weigh in, but that the vast majority of the feedback he's received so far indicates that residents feel much more "a part of" Barracks Row than Southwest, and that South Capitol Street is much more difficult to cross than going under the freeway. And that while Near Southeast shares a lot of similarities with Southwest, the reality is that a lot of people move to the neighborhood for its proximity to Capitol Hill. Finally, he mentioned the idea that Capitol Hill sees Near Southeast as "their waterfront community."
Residents who spoke at the meeting included Mary Williams, who lives just west of the ballpark in Southwest and who says her community has not been served well by being grouped in with Southwest concerns, and they want to "secede" to the Near Southeast ANC. Other Southwest residents also spoke of how often they go into Near Southeast to go to the ballpark, or the Yards Park. Only one Near Southeast resident spoke, Ms. McCarty (sorry if you're out there, I didn't catch your first name). She said she was "agnostic" about whether Near Southeast is in ANC 6D or ANC 6B to the north, but to please keep all of Near Southeast in the same ANC. She also commented on it being important that Capitol Quarter residents not be cut off SMD-wise from any of the commercial development going on in Near Southeast, since they will be impacted by those sorts of changes and want to have a say.
At the end of the statements, the group gathered around a map of ANC 6D's current boundaries, and discussed issues. Again, there was very little conversation about Southwest other than some ideas for small tinkering.
There seems to be a desire within the task force to even out the number of single member districts across what will probably be five ANCs, and 6B already has eleven SMDs. So, task force chair Joe Engler brought up the concept of bringing the portion of 6B's western edge near New Jersey Avenue and Garfield Park together with Near Southeast to form a new SMD. Using some of the area just north of the freeway to pair with the eastern half of Near Southeast would create a properly sized SMD (or close to it) and could give ANC 6D eight single member districts rather than seven (or six if the eastern part of Near Southeast were moved to 6B), bringing it closer in size to other ANCs.
There seemed to be positive feedback from the group on this concept, with some discussion of the amount of cross-traffic there is between residents and dog owners of Near Southeast using Garfield Park and dog owners near Garfield Park using Canal Park (before it started construction, at least).
I've mocked up a map that shows this general idea in a way that the numbers could work, keeping in mind that the green portion below the freeway was counted in 2010 as having 1115 residents and so would need at least 800 residents from north of the freeway to become a full SMD, presuming the task force adheres firmly to the numerical guidelines of 2,000 residents plus-or-minus 5 percent. You can see on the map (or on this one) that 6D02 in Southwest already bumps up to Independence Avenue, so doing likewise on the Southeast side of things would be somewhat symmetrical. And, given that New Jersey Avenue is also slated for a fair number of improvements as part of the South Capitol Street reconstruction, this would put all of that corridor in the same ANC. It's also possible that the little "notch" near Lower Barracks Row, with only 27 residents, could also come to 6D, though the love of the Virginia Avenue Park by 6B residents might make that a flashpoint.
Of course, as has been discussed repeatedly, Near Southeast's population numbers are already higher than the 2010 census reflects, and with new buildings looking ready to start or open in the next two years at the Yards, 880 New Jersey, Florida Rock, and Half Street, and with Capitol Quarter and the Capper redevelopment continuing to be built out, both of these SMDs would see plenty of new residents in the near future, and who knows how many before the next redistricting happens in 2021. (Dear God, don't let me still be blogging when that comes around.)
ANC 6B will be having its "listening meeting" on Monday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta's at 19th and Massachusetts, SE, and the task force blog's list of questions for 6B residents includes "Is the freeway the proper north-south dividing line? For example, is there an opportunity to move part of a western SMD to ANC 6D that uses the Third and/or Fourth street tunnels to 'connect' the residents on both sides of the freeway?" It will be interesting to see the response, along with how 6B people feel about potentially having their 11-SMD configuration shrunk.
There hasn't been much feedback here in the comments about redistricting--I know I find it more fascinating than most people (it's in my blood, since my father was involved in a lot of Congressional redistricting back in the day), but how do people feel about this concept that Joe Fengler was discussing? And how about the to-be-in-6D-or-not-to-be-in-6D question?
Feel free to play with my interactive map to come up with your own scenarios on how to reach 2,000 residents per SMD.
The task force plans to release its first draft of a new map on or about Aug. 18.
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More posts: ANC News

ANC Redistricting Task Force Listening Meeting in 6D Thursday
Jul 27, 2011 10:14 AM
The task force put together by Tommy Wells to propose new boundaries for all of Ward 6's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and their Single Member Districts will be coming to ANC 6D on Thursday night (July 28), for a "listening meeting" at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room (E200) at 1100 4th St. SW.
Now posted on their blog is a series of questions that task force chair Joe Engler is asking to "account for the 'sense' of where residents associate their daily living." Among the questions:
* "Do the residents living around the baseball stadium believe their community "core" is located in: (a) Barracks Row, (b) Waterfront Mall, (c) both, and/or (d) neither?" (There is also a poll widget on the site where you can vote on this question.)
* "Is the freeway the proper east-west dividing line? For example, is there an opportunity to create SMD that use the Third, Fourth, Sixth and Eighth streets tunnels to "connect" the residents on both sides of the freeway?"
* "Should large residential buildings or complexes be dispersed among multiple SMDs?"
* "While needing to build SMDs with a population of 2,000 residents - are there any creative ways to account for the hidden census? Either those people that are now living in ANC 6D (around the baseball stadium for example) that were not there at the time of the census. Or those empty buildings or pending constructions that will drive a significant increase in density over the next few years?"
The last question is an interesting one, given that the census numbers come from April 1, 2010, and certainly another couple hundred residents have moved in since then. And with phase 2 of the Capitol Quarter townhouses moving along, the Yards' Foundry Lofts building about to start leasing, and likely construction of new residential buildings at 401 M, 880 New Jersey, Florida Rock, and along Half Street within the next five years, any SMDs drawn in Near Southeast based on 2010 numbers are going to balloon well past the target population size of between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. At the kick-off task force meeting a few weeks back, attendees were told that the 2,000-plus-or-minus-five-percent is not a legislated requirement, but is a goal, and that the task force can choose to have non-conforming SMD sizes if they feel it is necessary. But it was also clear that some of the task force members consider non-conforming SMDs a no-no, especially if they're used to take into account populations not reflected in the census numbers
As for the "core community" question, a new map suggested by ANC 6A02 commissioner Drew Ronneberg (but not endorsed by the task force) shows all of Near Southeast in a new ANC 6B, pairing the neighborhood with Barracks Row as its "core." Southwest would then be on its own in 6D, west of South Capitol Street.
You can use my interactive Ward 6 map to play with the numbers, especially if you want to see how keeping all of Near Southeast in 6D is a pretty tough nut to crack if the 1,900-2,100 population targets are inviolate. But then the question becomes whether the neighborhood gets split between 6D and 6B, or moved completely to 6B.
Somewhere far down the road, of course, Near Southeast when built out could be its own ANC, but in the meantime the realities of the numbers mean that it has to be grouped with either a large number of Southwest SMDs or a large number of southern Capitol Hill SMDs. Which one do you think makes more sense?
The meeting will run for 90 minutes, with time alloted for public input by ANC chairs/commissioners, community and neighborhood organizations, business and merchant associations, residents, and business owners; there will be a sign-in sheet for those wishing to speak. Written statements and comments will also be accepted at the meeting, or by e-mail for up to three days after the meeting (ward6rd@gmail.com).
The task force is scheduled to propose its first draft of new boundaries at a public meeting on Aug. 8, then forwarding the official draft to the ANCs on Aug. 18. The final draft would then go to Tommy Wells on Sept. 26.
Or, if you don't want anything to do with an ANC "listening meeting" Thursday evening, you can go on Tommy Wells's South Capitol Street Bike Ride, scheduled for exactly the same time as the redistricting session. Representatives from DDOT, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, and Black Women Bike will be joining community members from Ward 6 and Ward 8 to discuss issues that affect pedestrians and cyclists on both sides of the river, focusing on improvements that can be had in the design of the future Douglass Bridge, which already calls for far wider sidewalks than the current bridge.
Either way, you'll probably still be able to make the showing of West Side Story at Tingey Plaza at 8:45 pm. Stay cool, boy!
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More posts: ANC News, politics, redistricting

Rudimentary Ward 6 Block Population Map Tool; Other Tidbits
Jul 22, 2011 10:11 AM
* It's not as slick and ultra-cool as SOME online redistricting tools, but with huge thanks to Cody Rice for getting the data in order, I've built a rudimentary Ward 6 Census Block Population Map. Right now it's mainly just for clicking on a bunch of blocks and having the populations tallied for you (and you can then have a URL to send to someone showing just those blocks). I will be continuing to tinker with it, so we'll see what additional options I add in. It's a bit of a beast, so be prepared for slow loading.
The Ward 6 Task Force on Redistricting has now set up a blog, and has started its "listening sessions" in each ANC. They'll be having their ANC 6D meeting on July 28 at 6:30 pm in the DCRA Hearing Room at 1100 4th St., SW. The ANC 6B meeting (which may also be of interest to folks south of the freeway, given the realities of the numbers) is on Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm at St. Coletta's School, 1901 Independence Ave., SE.
* For those wondering about the lack of progress on the Little Red Building version 2.0 (the former Star Market on the northwest corner of 2nd and L, next to the Courtyard by Marriott), the new building permits finally came through last week, and the owner tells me that construction should be starting again soon. He says the new Lot 38 Espresso should be open in three months, though he hopes it's sooner.
* DDOT posted a way cool set of photos from the construction of the 11th Street Bridges back in 1963-1964. For some reason, a series of photos first showing what an area looked like before construction, then documenting the construction itself, speak to me....
* The BID reports on the Dalai Lama's visit to the Yards Park last weekend.

Summer Doldrums Tidbits on All Sorts of Subjects
Jul 14, 2011 2:13 PM
All sorts of little items that you mostly already know about if you follow JDLand on Twitter or Facebook. But I'll start with some new items at the top:
* Still no word from Akridge about when they may get underway with their 700,000-square-foot mixed-use project on Half Street just north of Nationals Park (where the Bullpen and its beergarden sibling Das currently reside), but I will note that in May they filed for building permits for two nine-story and one eleven-story building on the site, matching their announced plans. The permits haven't been approved yet, and once they are they are good for one year, but can then be renewed.
* William C. Smith told me a few weeks ago that they expect to be doing some infrastructure work on their Square 737 site this fall (sewer, water, etc) before starting on their 430-unit apartment building there next spring, and I hear that the bidding process for that site work is now underway. (This also means to not get *too* excited when you see dirt getting moved there late this year.) And, speaking of 880 New Jersey, ANC 6D voted 7-0 on Monday night to support WC Smith's request for a circular driveway, a new curb cut on 2nd Street to access underground parking, and the general public space plan.
* Tonight (Thursday) is the Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park, Republicans vs. Democrats. The $10 tickets might be worth it just to see if there are any bench-clearing brawls.
* Friday (July 15) is the second Truckeroo food truck festival, along Half Street by the Bullpens. It runs from 11 am to 11 pm.
* The speculation is underway about the venues for upcoming baseball All-Star Games, with the previous conventional wisdom about Nationals Park being in line for perhaps the 2015 event taking some hits, with the lack of development progress around the ballpark being cited as a prime reason.
* If you're all fired up to game out the new ANC/SMD districts, here's all the data you might want, from the Office of Planning. And remember that the ANC 6D redistricting "listening" session with the Ward 6 task force is on July 28 at 6:30 pm. There wasn't really much news out of the initial public meeting on Monday night, other than that while the 2,000-plus-or-minus-100 population levels per single member district aren't a legal requirement, there's still clearly a desire to have SMDs be as similar in size as possible. And, also, that an SMD can't be looked at in terms of how its size has changed (or will change) since the census data as of April 1, 2010 was recorded.
* I'm going to go ahead and post this now, but check back later today (or look for a Twitter heads up) for more Market Deli demolition photos, which I will wander down to get at some point.
UPDATE: A moment of silence, please, as the Market Deli has now been added to the Demolished Buildings Gallery, as building number 161 and 162 that have been torn down since I started photographing the neighborhood. And the three garages on the north end of the block are in their final hours, with demolition underway on the southernmost one.

Details on Ward 6 ANC/SMD Redistricting Process Released
Jul 8, 2011 2:27 PM
Ah, the lazy days of summer, when Washington all but shuts down so that its citizens can try to keep cool and take a bit of a break from politics--except this year, when July and August will be filled with a slew of public meetings as the redistricting process that was so much fun at the ward level now filters down to the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
Tommy Wells posted this afternoon the first details on the process for Ward 6, announcing (somewhat belatedly) that the first meeting of the task force will be on Monday, July 11 at 6:30 pm at Miner Elementary School (601 15th St. NE), which unfortunately overlaps with the ANC 6D July business meeting at 7 pm. (Which meeting do you guys want me at? All that's on the 6D agenda for Near SE is a public space permit for the new apartment building at 880 New Jersey, which could possibly bring additional details from what I posted recently on the project, but which I think probably won't.)
There will then be "community listening" meetings in each of the ANCs, with 6D's scheduled for Thursday, July 28 at 6:30 pm, and 6B's on Monday, Aug. 1 at 6:30 pm. Then there will be meetings on the first draft of the new boundaries, which is scheduled to be sent to the ANCs on Tuesday, Aug. 18. The task force will then make the rounds of the September ANC business meetings, submitting a final draft to Tommy Wells by Sept. 26, which he then will submit to the council by the required Sept. 30 deadline.
The task force (which isn't yet finalized) includes lots of familiar Ward 6 names (including Near SE resident Tyler Merkeley), and is chaired by former ANC 6A chair Joe Fengler. The current list of names, along with the laying out of the process, is available in this memo from Tommy Wells.
As I wrote last week, The vast majority of Near Southeast has up to now been in one Single Member District (6D07), but with SMDs needing to have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 and Near Southeast counted at 2,794 in the 2010 census, it's going to be split: the question is just how, and where. The quick-and-dirty map I posted of the numbers shows that the area west of 2nd Street has a population of 2,054, making it a perfect size for an SMD, but the rest of the population is not enough for a second SMD that is 100 percent south of the freeway, so there's going to have to be an SMD either crossing the freeway or crossing South Capitol Street. We shall see!
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics, redistricting

Tidbits: ANC Redistricting, Canal History, Greenspace, 8th St. Deal
Jun 29, 2011 1:29 PM
After all the big news of late, downshifting into a Tidbits post doesn't really seem like much fun, and of course if you're following me on Twitter or Facebook (or checking out the Twitter box on the JDLand home page every so often), you've already been alerted to many of these. But, onward:
* If you're wondering how the ANC redistricting process will work (especially since the ward version was so much fun!), here's the official memo on the procedures going forward. As in previous years, ANC single member districts will have populations between 1,900 and 2,100 residents. Census Tract 72, which covers all of Near Southeast and so includes all of ANC 6D07 plus the small number of houses from 7th Street east to 11th that are in ANC 6B04, was counted at 2,794 residents in the 2010 census.
The Office of Planning has the census-block-by-census-block numbers, but, ahem, I don't actually know which blocks are which, though if I had to guess by looking at the numbers and how the blocks are organized, I'd say that 6D07 probably came in at 2,743 and south-of-the-freeway 6B04 at 51. Ish. (Perhaps an ANC version of the GGW Redistricting Game isn't far off!) It isn't enough to split 6D07 into two single member districts, but it also can't stay as is. The question will also loom large as to whether new boundaries will split the neighborhood even more between ANC 6B (Capitol Hill) and 6D (Southwest), or move it all into one or the other. UPDATE: Thanks to IMGoph in the comments, I got a look at the map, and it appears the actual residential split is 2,767 to 27. Read my comment for details. I'll make a map at some point.
UPDATE 2: And here's a quick and dirty map, showing block by block what the census folks recorded the neighborhood's residential population at, as of April 1, 2010. As I mention in the comments, the residential buildings west of 2nd Street SE add up to 2,054 residents, perfectly within the numeric requirements for an SMD. But how SMDs will actually be divvied up is anyone's guess right now, beyond the fact that there's no way the vast bulk of Near Southeast will continue to be in just one SMD.
Council members are supposed to appoint their ward task force members by Friday, with progress reports due on Aug. 1 and Sept. 1. The entire process has to be completed by the end of 2011.
* The Hill is Home has posted the first of a two-part look at the history of the Washington Canal, which used to run along where Canal Park is under construction. (Speaking of which, I grabbed a quick cellphone shot from above the park last week showing the work on the southern block, where the foundation for the pavilion is being built.)
* Housing Complex writes about the deal finally being finalized for Greenspace to move into the empty retail spaces in the 1st Street facade of Nationals Park, creating a "12,000-square-foot center for green building and design." This has been in the works for nearly two years, but even though there was a "launch" of the space on Tuesday (which I didn't hear about until people at the event started live-tweeting it), Housing Complex says that the project won't come to fruition until Greenspace "is able to raise another $600,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, adding up to the $2 million necessary to build out what's currently a blank shell." Perhaps someday, when Florida Rock is built out to the south and later Yards phases along 1st Street are completed, the "real" retail envisioned for this portion of the ballpark will come to pass. Here's the press release on the Greenspace project.
* Madison Marquette, owner of the Blue Castle at 770 M St. SE, has now apparently completed a joint venture deal with local landowners ICP Group for all ICP's various properties on the east side of 8th Street south of the freeway, including the gray building at 8th and Potomac that houses Quizno's and the other properties along the 800 block of Potomac, and others. No news as to what might be done on those blocks, though if the new Marine Barracks site search ever crops back up, a group owning all of the land on Squares 929 and 930 could conceivably submit a proposal for a public-private partnership.
Coming later today, an equally bulleted post highlighting the slew of upcoming events in the neighborhood, both for this holiday weekend and beyond.

Back from Across the Pond; Lots of Tidbits While I Recover
Jun 8, 2011 9:09 AM
I'm back in DC, having spent 11 wonderful days in Madrid, Barcelona, and cruising across the Mediterranean to Pisa, Florence, Rome, the coast south of Naples, and Mallorca. Needless to say, while I checked in on the news back home from time to time and tweeted an item or two if the timing was right, I wasn't following developments closely, and I'm pretty out of the blogging groove at this point. So I'm going to start back slowly with some easy items.
* Redistricting: The city council voted Tuesday to approve a redistricting map that, as expected, keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6. This continues to make Marion Barry extremely unhappy, and the Examiner reports that he'll be "asking U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to open a Justice Department review of proposed new D.C. ward boundaries because, Barry says, they violate residents' civil rights." There's still a final vote to be had on the plan, probably on June 21. As for the last-minute changes that ended up keeping much of Ward 6 intact (moving Reservation 13 to Ward 7 instead of other areas), you can read Tommy Wells's blog for more details.
* Riverwalk: The Navy Yard announced last week that its portion of the riverwalk along the Anacostia River, running from the 11th Street Bridges to the Yards Park, will now be open from 5:30 am until "official sunset," seven days a week and including holidays; though there will still be closures as needed, which are announced on the Navy Yard Riverwalk Twitter feed. (I admit that I got a bit of a kick passing along this news via Twitter while riding on a train north of Rome.)
* DPW Move: The council passed emergency technical legislation on Tuesday that allows Capper PILOT funds to be used to build a new location for DPW operations in Northeast, which means that they should be moving from the 2nd and K site this fall (before "leaf season").
* Ward 6 Family Day: Tommy Wells's yearly event for Ward 6 residents will be held on Saturday, June 25, and will be at the Yards Park for the first time. It's from 1 to 5 pm, with "free food, live music, games and activities for the whole family as well as raffles featuring gift certificates from local businesses and sporting memorabilia from the Wizards, DC United and Washington Nationals."
* ANC 6D has its next meeting on Monday, June 13, at 7 pm at Arena Stage. The agenda is light on Near Southeast items, with only a resolution by David Garber about Near Southeast bike stations and requests by Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve to be exempted from the ban on the sale of "singles."
* Food Truck Festival: Bo Blair, the owner of the Bullpens and the organizer of Truckeroo on June 3, said in an e-mail that the event was a "massive, incredible success," with somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 attendees and "zero problems." The next date for the event will be announced soon.
* Construction and Destruction: Construction has stalled on the Little Red Building v2.0 at 2nd and L, which ANC commissioner Garber says is a "building permit issue that is in process of being resolved - construction should start back 'soon.'" Meanwhile, the "re-dressing" of 225 Virginia is well underway, with the new exterior walls being hung on the north side of the building. And if it hasn't already happened, the trailer that was the original sales office for Capitol Quarter is being torn down, since construction of townhouses is now underway on that block. (Photos to come, at some point.)
* The Yards on Facebook/Twitter: I kind of stumbled across these (never saw any announcement about them), but the Yards now has an official Facebook page (which is available on Twitter, too) along with a separate one for the Foundry Lofts (its Twitter account is protected, though).
UPDATE: And, since this just came across Twitter: Dan Steinberg reports that Shake Shack and the other new Nats Park restaurants will open next Tuesday, the beginning of the homestand vs. the Cardinals.

Redistricting Latest; Navy Yard Riverwalk Hours; Singles; A Break
May 26, 2011 5:14 PM
A few tidbits going into the holiday weekend:
* Nothing changed for Near Southeast as a result of Thursday's Redistricting Committee meeting, but it certainly wasn't boring. Tommy Wells took some swipes at Jack Evans, Marion Barry threatened to sue, Harry Thomas, Yvette Alexander, and Muriel Bowser talked about the need for unity, and when committee chair Michael Brown refused to recognize Barry for a second round of statements, the two talked over each other for a number of moments while Phil Mendelson and Jack Evans tried to reach Barry's microphone. Finally, while Barry continued to talk, Evans called the motion, they voted to approve the draft map that keeps Near Southeast in Ward 6 (with some small changes on the Ward 2/Ward 6 border), the hearing ended, and the microphones were shut off. I don't often suggest council hearings for an On Demand Popcorn Special, but if you have an hour (or want to fast forward to the last 10 minutes), it should be available on the OCT web site soon. Here's DCist's report on the hearing, along with Mike DeBonis's pre-hearing post on the "Jackmandering" that has Tommy Wells unhappy. Next up is the public hearing on June 1 at 6 pm, which should be even more festive.
UPDATE: No need to wait! TBD has the video of Barry vs Brown. And here is a short Examiner piece on Barry's lawsuit threat.
* The Washington Navy Yard Riverwalk's Twitter feed announced yesterday that, starting on Tuesday, May 31, their gates will open at 5:30 am instead of the current 8 am. The gates will still close at 5 pm, and this is still Monday through Friday (excluding holidays), and the area can still be closed at the WYN's discretion. The Twitter feed has been good at announcing when closures are planned. Perhaps this expansion on the beginning the day means that further expansions might someday come down the pike?
* Also on June 1, the ANC 6D Alcohol Beverage Committee will be taking up requests from both Cornercopia and Harry's Reserve for exemptions from the ban on selling "singles." The agenda says that this "will cover exemptions for 25 to 70 ounces of beer, NOT single beers from a six-pack, or miniatures, small pints." The meeting is at King Greenleaf Rec Center at 7 pm. Any recommendation to allow the exemptions would then taken up by the full ANC for approval at its monthly meeting on June 13.
And, with that, I'm going to take a bit of a breather. Between the flurry of high-emotion news items over the past few months, the upcoming holiday weekend, and some stuff on the boards in my "real" life, it's a good time to step back for a little while. I expect to be away from blogging all next week, and maybe a little past that. If really big news breaks (and I mean *really* big), I may try to put something up, but I definitely won't be operating at normal warp speed. I may do some not-very-timely Tweeting if I can't bear not to, but I really am going to try to take an actual break. There haven't been many of those in eight-plus years...
In the meantime, feel free to use this spot as an open thread on matters of neighborhood interest. But behave, because I'll still be reading....!

Redistricting Update: ANC Resolution, Mendelson Meeting
May 10, 2011 2:48 PM
The pushback by Near Southeast residents against the idea of moving the neighborhood out of Ward 6 and into Ward 8 continues, with some evidence that their calls, e-mails, and petitions are having an effect:
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, two of the three council members that make up the redistricting committee came to speak to residents. Phil Mendelson (who said that he invited himself to the meeting) and committee chair Michael A. Brown gave a short presentation on how redistricting works, and then spent about 45 minutes answering audience questions. Neither of them took a position on whether Near Southeast or Southwest should be moved, and both also took pains to note that there is no official proposal yet, and that it is Marion Barry who is floating the idea. (They also indicated that Marion Barry's argument about how the move would improve the economic standing of Ward 8 wasn't quite resonating with either of them.) The initial map of the redrawn ward boundary lines should be released by the committee later this month, either on or after May 25 (when the FY12 budget stuff is wrapped up).
After the council members finished, the ANC quickly voted unanimously to support the resolution to keep all of 6D in Ward 6. Near Southeast commissioner David Garber has been tweeting his visit to the Wilson Building today to deliver the resolution and a 200-plus-signature petition, saying that Jim Graham told him that Near Southeast is "not in play" and that Mary Cheh's office assured him that "she supports keeping Near Southeast in Ward 6." (Cheh had made this known last week, when she told Tommy Wells to make the calls from concerned Near Southeast residents stop.)
Residents are continuing to press the council, with reports on the Near Southeast mailing list of multiple visits to council members' offices. And another meeting for residents on the subject has now been scheduled by Capitol Quarter resident and meeting-organizer-dynamo Bruce DarConte, this time with Phil Mendelson, on Monday, May 16, at 6:30 pm at the Capper Seniors building at 900 5th St. SE.
(People interested in this battle might also want to read Lydia DePillis's rumination on the optics of the fight, "So Much for One City.")
UPDATE, 5/12: Bruce DarConte has passed along that Jack Evans, the third member of the redistricting committee, has confirmed his attendance at the May 16 meeting at Capper Seniors.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics, redistricting

ANC Recap No. 3: Traffic Study, 10K Race, Liquor License Items
Apr 13, 2011 11:14 AM
Last missive from Monday's ANC 6D meeting..:
* It's apparently going to be "Neighborhood Day" at Nationals Park on Saturday, April 16. The Nationals said in a press release on Monday that residents will be able to purchase discounted tickets, but you apparently have to be in the know to find the nationals.com/neighborhood ticket sales link. (ANC commissioners got their free tickets for Saturday handed out at the meeting, since they'll be introduced on the field before the game.)
* With a unanimous 7-0 vote, the commission passed a motion authored by David Garber to request that DDOT fund a "comprehensive" traffic study of the M Street corridor and its neighboring streets in both Southeast and Southwest. Much of the discussion ended up centering around the wording of the motion (as is so often the case), with much concern about whether Maine Avenue should be specifically mentioned, especially given that the developers of the new Southwest Waterfront will be undertaking their own traffic study along Maine and Water Street. Commissioner Andy Litsky wondered about the traffic study in Southeast that the Capitol Riverfront BID is looking to fund, and Michael Stevens of the BID said that they would support a "holistic" approach to combining the various studies already done or on the boards (including the one CSX has apparently completed to look at the impact of their planned construction along Virginia Avenue, plus the reports done for the 11th Street Bridges EIS and the in-progress 14th Street Bridges EIS).
The motion was then amended to say that the ANC supports directing DDOT funds "to conduct a comprehensive traffic study and plan for the M Street SE/SW corridor and its feeder and surrounding streets and that all other area studies be integrated for DDOT's review in order to produce a comprehensive study, and that ANC 6D urgently supports the subsequent design process and implementation of a 'complete streets' plan to decrease the speed and volume of automobile traffic, and increase multi-modal transportation safety and efficiency as neighborhoods in 6D continue to evolve and develop."
(If you want to know more about the concept of Complete Streets and how it might inform a redesign of M Street, you can read my report on last year's public meeting held by Tommy Wells to start an "initial dialog" on the subject.)
* The commission also voted 7-0 to support the Pacers Home Run Classic 10K race, to be run on Saturday, June 18. Original plans to start and end the race at the Yards Park ran into some issues with the city's Emergency Management folks not wanting the race to run by the DC Water/WASA plant (and there was no explanation beyond that). So the race will now start and end at Half and N, across from the ballpark, then circle the ballpark down to South Capitol and Potomac before crossing the Douglass Bridge, running along Anacostia Drive in Anacostia Park to the skating pavilion, then doubling back. It's expected there will be 2,000 runners for the 8 am race. (Next year they expect to be able to start and end at the Yards Park and use the new floating bridge to Teague Park to get to Potomac Avenue and the Douglass Bridge.)
* In liquor license matters, it was reported to the commission that Das Bullpen did end up needing to get a new liquor license separate from that of The Bullpen 1.0, and that a new voluntary agreement was written up as well. This was all apparently done very hurredly, on the Tuesday before Opening Day, in order for ABRA to approve the new license on Wednesday in time for Opening Day on Thursday (though as we know Das Bullpen didn't open that day anyway). There's a full hearing on the license scheduled for May 31. If you haven't followed the Twitter flurry, Das Bullpen opened Tuesday (April 13) for the Nats/Phillies game.
* Also on the alcohol front, apparently both Harry's Reserve and Cornercopia are inquiring as to the possibility of the sale of "singles," in their cases to be the sorts of higher-end European beers that typically come in 20 oz or larger bottles. Coralee Farlee, who chairs the 6D ABC subcommittee, asked for some guidance as to whether the ANC is wanting to continue to not consider any exceptions for single sales, as has been the practice. David Garber and other commissioners expressed their support for the higher-end type of sales, and Andy Litsky said that 6D never really had the "singles" problem that lead the H Street NE corridor to ban those sales. Chairman Ron McBee instructed Farlee to check how other ANCs are handling the issue (apparently 6B allows sales of the 20-oz. bottles?), with an eye toward reexamining 6D's stance.

ANC Recap No. 2: Lumber Shed Zoning Change Request OK'ed
Apr 12, 2011 2:31 PM
Although the Yards Park has been open since September of last year, the historic Lumber Shed that sits just south of Water Street between 3rd and 4th is not yet in its final form. Second-phase plans have always been for the shed to be turned into a glass-enclosed retail pavilion; however, as Forest City has been seeking tenants they have discovered that the vast majority of leasing interest has been for the first floor, not the second.
In order to get the building to the required percentage of leased space in order to get financing to start construction, Forest City is wanting to move their offices to the second floor of the shed, which requires a text amendment to the site's zoning. It would be on an interim basis, for no more than 20 years, and would allow Forest City to move its offices elsewhere before the end of that 20 years, and would require a return to retail or restaurant uses on the second floor after they move out. If the Zoning Commission approves the change, Forest City says they are looking to start construction this year and open the building in 2012. As part of the process for this zoning change, Forest City prepared a series of renderings of the completed renovation, which they have been kind enough to pass along to me. (Click on them to see enlarged versions.)
When Forest City first came to ANC 6D with information about this zoning text amendment request in March, the commissioners had concerns on three areas: the design of the roof (and whether it would be "green"), whether there would be controls in place to prevent the office workers from marring the look and feel of the glass walls by hanging posters or papers on them or putting other clutter too close to the glass, and whether the nighttime lighting of the shed on both floors would be designed to create a desired "jewel box" look.
Forest City addressed these issues at Monday's meeting. A green roof was studied, they said, but ultimately it was decided that it couldn't be implemented in a fashion that would respect the historic profile of the roof and the building, and given that the building is surrounded by almost 100,000 square feet of "permeable" surface (i.e, the park), they felt that another 300 or 400 square feet was not a necessity. The color of the roof will be a charcoal gray. As for the "Post-Its on the Glass" issue, Forest City said that they will stipulate rules as to not hanging items on the glass and how far away other items should be. And the company also agreed to the "jewel box lighting" concept of both floors, provided that it's left up to Forest City to determine the appropriate lighting levels. The rendering at top right (see larger version) shows the nighttime lighting of the building as envisioned.
In addition, David Garber suggested/requested that a sign or plaque of some sort be affixed to the building (but not on the glass!) to explain its historic significance, which Forest City also agreed to.
With questions answered, agreements reached, and plaques affixed, the ANC voted 6-0 to support the zoning change. No date for the hearing with the Zoning Commission has been set as of yet.
The Lumber Shed is not the only retail pavilion planned for the park's later phases--designs call for two additional buildings along Water Street on the empty lots to the east of the shed. You can see more information and renderings on my Yards Park page (scroll down a ways if the link doesn't jump you down to the Second Phase section).
(Coming tomorrow, one more post on 6D's meeting, with a roundup of the other Near Southeast-related items on the agenda.)
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More posts: ANC News, Lumber Shed/Yards, meetings, Retail, The Yards, zoning

ANC 6D Votes to Support Market Deli Landmark Nomination
Apr 11, 2011 11:11 PM
ANC 6D voted on Monday night to support the historic landmark nomination of the old Market Deli at 1st and L, lending their "great weight" to the application to save the wood-framed building constructed in 1885, which 6D07 commissioner David Garber (who helped prepare the nomination) has described as being the only remaining wood frame corner store in existence south of the freeway.
In moving the motion, Garber mentioned "vocal" support both for and against the nomination; two of the three 6D07 residents in the audience who spoke to the issue were against saving the building, with the third supporting it as long as it doesn't mean the building will just sit there in its current state (all of them live in the Velocity condo building across the street). Also speaking from the audience was an employee of Akridge (Dodd Walker a Mr. Walker, whose first name I didn't catch), which now owns the lot. He indicated that Akridge is not in favor of this nomination, and mentioned that there were surveys done of historic buildings in the neighborhood back when the ballpark was first proposed that went through the Historic Preservation Office and the DC Preservation League, and there was no move at that time to landmark the building. (I should note that I do not recall any studies like this, but if they happened anytime before 2006 I was not steeped enough in the city's planning and preservation processes to have necessarily been aware of them.)
Commissioner Roger Moffatt was unhappy that the Akridge rep didn't bring any copies of these reports, and Garber was skeptical that they existed at all (referring to "these supposed reports"). Commissioner Andy Litsky felt that if these reports are available, the ANC should be able to study them in order to have more information before taking a vote that would throw the fabled great weight of the commission behind the application.
Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID spoke to agree with Litsky, saying that the commission should take time to look at all the available information, and that perhaps a community meeting to discuss the nomination should be scheduled (if the Historic Preservation Review Board could postpone the April 28 hearing). Stevens also mentioned that he was historic preservation officer for the city of Dallas for five years, shepherding many landmarking cases through the city's process, and that he does not believe that the Market Deli would qualify for landmarking status.
[Adding this after initial posting, because I missed it in my notes but didn't want to not include it.] Commissioner Ron McBee mentioned that he knows of one restaurant (unnamed) that is interested in buying the building, which would speed the process of getting the corner perked up (since as of now Akridge has no immediate plans to develop this site). McBee also said that he's not a historian, and would vote the motion forward so that the Historic Preservation Review Board could act on the nomination.
In the end, the commission voted 5-0-2 to support the nomination, with commissioners Litsky and Bob Craycraft abstaining.
The Historic Preservation Review Board will hear this nomination on April 28--the staff recommendation on the nomination should be available on the HPRB web site on April 22. I'm also trying to track down the studies mentioned at tonight's meeting.
If you're just joining us, this nomination has already sparked some pretty, ahem, spirited debate. You can see the application, along with the HPRB hearing notice, and read about the city's landmark designation process.
(I'll have more from the 6D meeting over the next few days, but figured I'd start with the item that is probably of most interest.)
[UPDATED here and there to clean up some messiness.]
UPDATE II: According to a source I've talked to in the Office of Planning, apparently the survey referenced by Mr. Walker of Akridge was an informal ("windshield") survey done of buildings in the ballpark area by the Historic Preservation Office to look for any buildings that might be candidates for landmark designation, and no written documentation was created.
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More posts: ANC News, marketdeli, meetings, preservation

Sensorium, Nats, Water Taxis, and Other Events and Tidbits
Apr 10, 2011 10:55 PM
Sorry I went off-grid most of last week--when I said that the weather on Opening Day reminded me of 2008, I wasn't expecting to then come down with pretty much the same bug that clobbered me after the big event three years ago. (I'm also getting too old to traipse around outside for many hours over multiple days in 40-and-rainy weather.) I'm still not 100 percent, but here's a few items I'm passing along as I work my way back into the swing:
* As already posted, ANC 6D is meeting Monday night at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L SE. There's lots of Near Southeast items on the agenda, including the Market Deli landmarking nomination, a call for a combined M Street SE/SW transportation study, and Forest City's desire to move its offices to the Lumber Shed at the Yards Park. ANC 6B then meets on Tuesday, but there don't appear to be any south-of-the-freeway items on their agenda, so I'll be skipping that.
* Sensorium starts its six-week run at the Yards Park on Tuesday, April 12. The Post's Going Out Guide posted some photos of the dome last week during construction, as did the Sensorium folks themselves. If you haven't been following this, Sensorium pairs a 12-course tasting menu with visual/performance art into a production that sounds like unlike anything on the current or recent DC agenda. There are two seatings every night (except Mondays), with tickets $150 per person. If you go, tell us all about it!
* Also at the Yards Park this week is the DC Challenge race and festival on Saturday the 16th, where you can test out your Amazing Race-type abilities in this "Ultimate Urban Scavenger Race."
* The Nationals have a big home stand, starting with the Phillies Tuesday through Thursday (so beware the descending hordes) and then the Brewers Friday through Sunday. All weekday games are at 7:05 pm, Saturday's game is at 1:05 pm, and Sunday is the usual 1:35 pm start. I haven't heard yet if Das Bullpen will be making its debut this week or not. UPDATE: The owner of the Bullpen told me on Monday afternoon that Das Bullpen will be open on Tuesday evening for the Nats/Phillies game.
* American River Taxi has begun its service between the Georgetown Waterfront, the Southwest Waterfront (which we're now calling The Wharf, I guess), and Diamond Teague Park. They have an 8 am commuter run on weekdays from the Wharf to Georgetown, then regular runs between the three stops starting at 10 am until 6 pm weekdays and 9 pm on weekends. (If you're wanting to try out the service to get to any of the Nationals games this week, they say that the boat leaves Georgetown at 6:05 pm [updated time].) Ticket kiosks are at Tony and Joe's at the Washington Harbor in Georgetown and the Gangplank Marina in Southwest, and tickets can also be purchased on the ship. Tickets will normally be $9, but are currently discounted at $8, according to SWill, who's doing a fine job following the venture's launch. ART has just one boat so far (the Dolley Madison), they are still adjusting their run times (right now it takes 20-35 minutes between stops), so following them on Facebook and/or Twitter is a good way to keep up with their service. They hope to eventually expand their offerings to National Airport, Alexandria, and National Harbor. (As of now, the Potomac Riverboat Company is the only outfit sailing to Teague from Alexandria, and that's just for Nationals games.)
* Harry's Reserve at New Jersey and I had its first wine tastings on Friday and Saturday. If you want to keep up with their news and events, you can friend them on Facebook (they've set themselves up as a Facebook "person" rather than a product page to "like"--perhaps they'll rejigger that soon.)
Also, a site note: with more neighborhood information being tweeted these days than I could hope to write about or even retweet, I've created a Near Southeast Businesses/Organizations Twitter list, which you can also browse on the JDLand.com home page, in the box below the map in the right margin--which is below the box with my own latest tweets, so clearly you can get a lot of Twitter content right here if you haven't joined the cult social media outlet yet. I'm trying to keep this list to very-very local businesses and groups (and not DDOT or the Nationals or other feeds that aren't mostly about goings-on in this area). If I'm missing any, let me know.

ANC Agenda: Market Deli, M Street Traffic Planning, Lumber Shed
Apr 6, 2011 1:51 PM
There's nothing I like more when fighting a cold than to think about an upcoming ANC meeting, but these are the sorts of sacrifices I make for you people. Miraculously, ANC 6D has already posted the agenda for Monday's meeting, which is chock-full of Near Southeast-related items and is coincidentally being held in Southeast this time around, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. Up for discussions and/or votes:
* The Market Deli historic landmark application, which will get a vote from the ANC as to whether or not to support it (and of course we know that at least one 6D commissioner will be voting for it!). The hearing in front of the Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled for April 28.
* A presentation on the zoning request to allow Forest City to "temporarily" include office space in the Lumber Shed building in the Yards Park. I've written about this Lumber Shed request before, and in fact Forest City did a information presentation on this at last month's ANC meeting, but I was hoping to get copies of the new pretty renderings of the buildings before writing anything, and that never happened, and I knew they'd be back again in order to have a vote on whether the ANC will support the zoning request, so.... I promise to write about it this time.
* A resolution on a long-term traffic and transportation study for M Street SE and SW, also to include a "complete streets" plan, according to David Garber. This would appear to be wider in scope than the transporation study discussed in the draft Performance Parking report I wrote about recently that seemed to only cover the east side of South Capitol, but I imagine all will be clarified at the meeting.
* It turns out that Das Bullpen needs a new separate liquor license rather than operating on the Bullpen 1.0 license, so that's on the agenda as well. The hearing for that is scheduled for May 31, but the ANC will be voting on a "stipulated license," which I believe means that the bar could operate while waiting on the full license hearing. (And no, I haven't heard when they might be opening, though it wouldn't be before the next Nats home game, on April 12 vs. the Phillies.)
* And the BID is looking for support for the "Home Run Classic Pacers 10K Race" on June 18, that appears to start and/or end at the Yards Park and which I would guess (but don't know for sure) would involve some street closings.
The meeting begins at 7 pm, and does allow for short audience questions/statements on any agenda item where a vote will be taken, just in case there's any particular agenda item that people may feel strongly about one way or the other. (And all of this assumes that a government shutdown wouldn't affect an ANC meeting? Anyone?)

2010 Census Numbers Quantify the Changing Near Southeast
Mar 24, 2011 9:42 PM
Numbers geeks rejoiced on Thursday when the 2010 census numbers for DC were released, and of course I had to dig right in.
The population of Census Tract 72 in 2010 is given as 2,794, an increase of nearly 1,000 residents from 2000 and which accounts for about 11 percent of the entire Ward 6 population increase. The demographic numbers are striking: Near Southeast is now nearly 60 percent white and 31 percent African American, compared to being nearly 95 percent black 10 years ago. It's also interesting that it found 95 percent of the population to be age 18 or older, compared to only 69 percent in 2000. There's also 1,459 more housing units counted in the neighborhood (and that number has certainly gone up since the census was taken).
Here are the numbers:
(You can see an expanded list with percentage change and some additional numbers here, which also shows that the neighborhood's population counted at 2,089 residents in 1990 and 2,994 in 1980.)
The Capitol Riverfront BID has estimated that the neighborhood population was around 3,300 at the end of 2010.
Even though the population of DC itself climbed by nearly 30,000 in the last 10 years, Near Southeast is now a larger portion of the overall population than it was 10 years ago, skyrocketing to a whopping .46 percent of the city's count.
"Tract 72" covers the area south of the freeway from South Capitol Street to 11th Street, but unless people are living east of 11th on their boats (or in a van down by the river), the boundaries would cover all of the residential areas of Near Southeast.
Of course, what future researchers looking at census numbers will never see is how much more the neighborhood emptied out through 2005 (when only 410 M and the private single-family homes were occupied). My guess would be that the population got down to around 400 during that time, if not lower.
Income-related demographic numbers for 2010 aren't yet released, but it's not hard to assume that those numbers will show an equally dramatic change.
And now that the city's numbers are out, the fun really begins with the need to redraw the ward boundaries, which will then beget a redrawing of the ANC boundaries. ANCs are supposed to have about 2,000 residents per single member district--will Near Southeast cease being covered by a single SMD? Or, for that matter, will all of Near Southeast remain in Ward 6, given the noises Marion Barry is making about the necessary redrawing of Ward 8's boundaries? "I'll defend the riverfront," is the quote from Field Marshall Thomas von Wells. (Hey, we kid because we love.) "Ward 6 should remain the same."
(Note: I wrote a slightly different summary of Near Southeast's census numbers for the Post; the numbers cited in that article use the Post's internal numbers by neighborhood instead of going purely by Tract 72. Not sure exactly where the different boundaries are, but I'll stay with Tract 72 here since it's easier to get access to those numbers publicly for checking and comparison.)
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More posts: ANC News, census, politics, redistricting

Details on 225 Virginia/200 I's Landscaping, Parking Deck
Mar 16, 2011 9:48 AM
(Continuing along with my posts on Monday night's ANC 6D meeting....)
StonebridgeCarras, the folks who are morphing the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia into a new DC government office building at 200 I (I'm still fighting that address) came to ANC 6D looking for support for a public space permit covering the landscaping, paving, sidewalks, and other exterior improvements.
There are a number of large oak trees surrounding the building, and Jane Mahaffie of Stonebridge said that they are "going to great lengths" to save as many of them as possible, although arborists have already determined that two or three of them need to come down. (At least one of those trees, however, will be dried out and reused in the rebuilt structure.) You can see on the graphic at right (see larger version) the larger trees that denote which ones are expected to be saved. Of course, when CSX digs its trench, the trees along Virginia Avenue may not end up being quite so lucky....
The landscaping will not be on too grand of a scale, since the city will be responsible for maintaining it and isn't exactly rolling in dough.
What is also depicted on this drawing that hasn't always been obvious in the renderings of the new 200 I is the parking deck planned for the southEAST corner of the block. It's a one-story deck, with an entrance on 3rd Street for visitors to park on the roof of the deck, and another entrance on I Street for DC government staff to enter and park either on the lower part of the deck or in the basement of the building. (There are upwards of 200 total spaces, if memory serves.)
But, as anyone who has walked north on 3rd Street to the freeway can tell you, there is a considerable rise in the grade of the street, so while the parking deck will look one story tall down at I Street, it will actually be at the same level as the street up closer to Virginia, as you can see in this rendering of what the deck and its "dense buffer plantings" will look like as seen from 3rd Street:
The larger version of the above graphic has additional renderings of the parking deck as seen from 3rd and from I, showing how the designers are attempting to hide the deck as much as possible, especially as time goes on and the plantings mature.
The ANC voted 7-0 to support the public space permit.
If you haven't been following along, 200 I is expected to be home to the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, the DC Child and Family Services Agency, and the Commission on Arts and Humanities. Its new entrance will be on I Street, facing Canal Park, and the lobby will include a gallery of artwork that will be open to the public (without having to go through security). There also may be some small "incubator" service retail in the southwest corner of the building. The developers are going for LEED Gold certification, and 50 percent of the new roof will be "green." Exterior construction is expected to be completed by January of 2012, with move-ins expected to happen in late spring of '12. You can see renderings of the lobby and more photos on my 225 Virginia project page.
(And, one more 6D recap to come.)

ANC 6D Supports Temporary Capitol Hill Day School; Capper Update
Mar 15, 2011 10:25 AM
(There were a number of Near Southeast-related items on Monday night's ANC 6D agenda, so I'm going to break up the reports into a couple of posts. One or two more to come over the next day or so.)
Representatives of the Capitol Hill Day School came to 6D to ask for the commission's support on a zoning case that would allow the school to erect "modular classrooms" on the empty community center lot at 5th and K while their current location at 2nd and South Carolina undergoes renovation. As I wrote last week, the school would occupy the lot starting in June, with the intent of returning to the Dent School building in January 2012. There were a few additional details given last night:
* CHDS has secured 29 spaces in the big parking lot at 7th and L for faculty.
* They will be requesting from DDOT that six of the street parking spaces (half the block) on the east side of 5th in front of the lot be changed to No Parking from 8 am to 6 pm weekdays, to act as a drop-off zone for parents and buses. They will ask parents coming from north of the freeway to drive south on 4th, turn left on L, and then turn left on 5th to pull into one of their four drop-off spots, where kids are guided quickly out of the cars. (You can see this in operation at 2nd and South Carolina.) Their school buses would also operate in those spots during the day. But the spaces would be available for resident parking after 6 pm, before 8 am, and on weekends, with a "minimal" number of nighttime events beyond a Back to School night.
* Headmaster Jason Gray said that the school wants to be "as minimally disruptive as we can, be good community members, and leave the site better than we left it." They'll be landscaping the site (and fencing it), and will clear the lot and clean it up once they move out.
* In return for using this DC Housing Authority lot, CHDS has agreed to fund three scholarships for public housing children to attend the school, though details on how the students will be picked are still being worked out.
The commission voted 6-1 to support the zoning request, with only Commissioner Roger Moffatt voting against. The BZA will hear the case on May 17. If you want to know more about the CHDS renovation project, you can check out their wiki, and they are also keeping a blog on the construction project.
There was also a general update on the progress of the overall Capper redevelopment given by David Cortiella of DCHA. Some bullet points:
* Construction on the second phase of Capitol Quarter is actually a bit ahead of schedule; Cortiella said the first move-ins are scheduled for July/August, but I've heard from EYA that it may be more like May/June.
* DCHA is in the process of building a new lot for DPW so that it can move out of the New Jersey & K site; Cortiella expects this to happen by August, at which time site remediation and demolition can begin, working toward the building of I Street through to New Jersey Avenue (along with all manner of infrastructure work). This would take about 18 months.
* The financing for the mixed-income apartment project on Square 882 (just south of the Marine barracks) has apparently proven difficult to secure, and is still being worked on, with Cortiella saying he "expects" it by the end of the year.
* The community center's financing is dependent on whether a second bond can be floated to get the rest of the $55 million PILOT monies; the $29 million bond sold in 2010 is paying for infrastructure work around Canal Park and the DPW site, and by spring of next year it should be known whether this second bond will be happening.
* The entire project is still on track to eventually provide the 707 units of public housing that were on the site before redevelopment; about 337 have already been delivered.
(Plus, it wasn't mentioned at the meeting, but there's a lottery of up to 11 Capitol Quarter workforce housing units coming March 26.)

ANC 6D Agenda: Capper, Day School, Yards, 225 Virginia
Mar 11, 2011 12:37 PM
Very quick post to note that the agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now posted. The bevy of Near Southeast items include:
* An update on the Capper Hope VI redevelopment from the DC Housing Authority;
* The zoning case to allow Capitol Hill Day School to erect temporary structures on the Community Center lot starting in June while their school undergoes renovation;
* A Yards zoning amendment that would allow Forest City to "temporarily" (not more than 20 years) include office space in the second floor of the Lumber Storage Shed at the Yards Park, which would allow FC to move their offices there;
* And an update on "landscaping plans" at 200 I Street (still known in these parts at 225 Virginia Avenue).
There's also a lot of other items more of interest across the way in Southwest, although the items on "Safeway 'Customer Service' Procedures" and some others might be of note to Near Southeast residents as well.
Also, I might point out this item from the agenda, if you haven't noticed it before: "Community Concerns -- ANC6D residents may address the Commission for three (3) minutes, provided they have called the ANC office at 202-554-1795 at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the meeting to supply the topic and request a time slot. (Statements must be submitted in writing for record purposes.) " The Community Concerns slot is now at the very end of meetings, however.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, at 600 M St., SW.

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.

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...)
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, politics

Election Day 2010 Voting Info
Nov 1, 2010 11:59 PM
I can't imagine that anyone possibly needs a reminder at this point, but I guess I would be remiss if I didn't put together a Tuesday is Election Day post. (Do I sound completely worn down by election season?)
Near Southeast's polling location (Precinct 131) is at Van Ness Elementary, at 5th and M, SE. The polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm; you can check the DCBOEE Precinct Status Page to find out, um, status, I guess. Here's DCBOEE's official voters' guide (since there are in fact races going on other than on the ANC slate), and you can check out my questionnaires for 6D07 candidates Bob Siegel and David Garber if you haven't already. The DC Board of Elections web site also has scads of additional information, should you need it.
I'll be fulfilling the stringent requirements of Election Night Journalism in this day and age by breathlessly tweeting 6D07 results (and probably other 6D results), starting after 8:30, when DCBOEE says it'll start posting the tallies.
And so, as we used to say when we lived in Chicago during the glory days of the Daley Machine, vote early and vote often!
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11th Street Bridges Status Update; Other Catching Up
Nov 1, 2010 9:52 AM
I'm now back after a week wandering the Midwest again, this time spending a few days in Chicago and then going up to Milwaukee, where touring time was cut short thanks to that epic windstorm (but at least I got to see the Historic Third Ward and the Milwaukee Public Market). Lots of photos of streetscapes and buildings are here, if you feel like looking at some non-Near Southeast images for a change.
To catch up....
* Dr. Gridlock gave an update on the progress of the 11th Street Bridges project, which is now more than 25 percent complete. A pretty showy part of the construction will be starting soon, "when steel girders arrive for the new bridge spans. They will be trucked out onto the old bridges and lowered onto barges in the river below." The story gives this timeline: in spring 2011, the new alignment of southbound 295 opens; in fall '11, the freeway bridges (the upstream ones) will open; in winter 2012/13 the local (downstream) bridge between Anacostia and Near Southeast will open, with the entire project expected to be completed in summer 2013. (If the alignments and uses of the new bridges aren't clear to you, check my 11th Street Bridges project page for more detail.)
There's also some new lane restrictions that started last week and will run through Nov. 23: the left lane of 11th Street SE from M to N is closed, and N Street SE between 11th and 12th is closed overnight Tuesdays through Fridays. There are other restrictions and closures as well on 295 and the SE Freeway.
* The Post's Capital Business weekly has more information today on the foreclosure sale of 100 M, including this part that is probably of most interest to residents: "Although thousands of fans pour out of the Metro station nearby for baseball games, the Opus bankruptcy has prevented retailers -- other than a SunTrust bank branch -- from occupying ground-level storefronts. Michael Stevens, executive director of the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, said he hoped that with new ownership, that would change. The retail broker for 100 M St., he said, 'has had some tenants that were interested in that property, but he couldn't sign any leases because it was in bankruptcy.' "
* It wasn't exactly a shocker that Greater Greater Washington endorsed David Garber for ANC 6D07 commissioner. Along the same lines, there's a good piece by Housing Complex this morning on the dysfunctional aspects of the ANCs, with some ideas on how to fix them. Having been tortured by sitting through many ANC meetings for more than five years now, I can certainly vouch for a lot of the issues mentioned. Perhaps there needs to be a Rally to Restore ANC Sanity.
* If you've wanted to know about Ann of Ann's Beauty Supply and Wigs Co. at 125 L St., SE, People's District recently profiled her. (Except I think they either mistranscribed the date of her shop opening, or this interview was done when her store was still in the old Waterside Mall in Southwest, because her store opened on L Street SE in 2005, not 1995.)
* American River Taxi, which is working to begin boat service between Georgetown, the Southwest Waterfront, and Diamond Teague Park, is hiring deckhands and captains. No word on when they'll get underway.
* Work has started in the ground floor of 909 New Jersey for the new Harry's Wine and Spirits. Alas, their timeline for opening has slipped (as all construction timelines do), and the owners now have their fingers crossed that they will be open by Christmas.

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.
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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.

ANC 6D Agenda Posted; Another Navy Yard Metro Station Name Change Request
Oct 15, 2010 1:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now being circulated (slightly revised from one that went out earlier today). One item of Near SE interest is an update on the Yards Park and also the Parcel D residential/grocery project, which is now scheduled to go before the Zoning Commission on Dec. 2.
The revised agenda also now shows a new request to change the name of the Navy Yard Metro station; while last time it was the Capitol Riverfront BID requesting that the name be changed to Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard (which the ANC supported as long as "Capitol Riverfront" wasn't first), this time it's the Nationals themselves requesting that "Nationals Stadium" be added to the Navy Yard name. (I wouldn't put 100% confidence in the request being for "Nationals Stadium" and not "Nationals Park," but that's what the agenda says.) I'm trying to find out whether the first request has bitten the dust, or if these are competing requests, or what. Stay tuned. (See below for clarifications.)
There's also a request to add "Banneker Memorial Park" to the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station name. As well as a bunch of other stuff happening on the other side of South Capitol Street, which I leave to other people to pay attention to!
UPDATE: The BID has told me that this is just the Nationals requesting to be added so that they can be part of the Capitol Riverfront/Nationals Park/Navy Yard new name, though I'm not sure why they would need to have their own request separate from the one that the BID is already working on. Still trying to find out more, but may need to wait until Monday's meeting for clarification.
UPDATE II: Apparently the BID's request was officially just to add "Capitol Riverfront," but they recognized that the Nats would want the stadium included as well. So this ANC action will be to get whatever official name the Nationals want added to the station name into the mix.

ANC 6D07 Candidate Questionnaires
Oct 14, 2010 11:23 AM
You can't swing a cat across the DC blogosphere these days without seeing self-written profiles of current Advisory Neighborhood Commission candidates. And while it's great that the ANC races are now getting more coverage than they have in the past, the political cynic in me* is not a big fan of platitudes and general won't-anger-anyone stands. ("I'm for development! But also for the residents! And the schools!")
So I decided to ask ANC 6D07's candidates, incumbent Robert Siegel and challenger David Garber, a series of questions about Near Southeast, their impressions of the role of an ANC commissioner, and what they see as some of the issues the neighborhood is currently facing. And they were generous enough to respond!
I tried to ask questions that would elicit some actual information to help voters choose between the candidates, and so hopefully their answers will be enlightening. And no, I didn't ask about CSX and the Virginia Avenue Tunnel, because I didn't see the chance that one or the other might suddenly pop out with a big pro-tunnel-construction viewpoint. But I did ask which potential new Marine Barracks site each candidate would support, although it's worth noting that most of the sites that the Marines are looking at aren't actually in 6D07, but are in 6B.
So, read both Siegel's and Garber's answers (all the way through, you low-attention-span blog consumers!), and then remember to actually vote on Nov. 2.
(* I am a poster child for Generation X Watergate-instilled political cynicism, aided by the fact that Nixon resigned on my eighth birthday. I also broke a finger in a playground fight the day Jimmy Carter got elected, but I don't think we were fighting about politics.)
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Back from the Midwest; A Few Events This Week
Sep 20, 2010 9:39 AM
I'm back from spending the past week wandering around Ohio (Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland) and then spending some time in the Detroit area, where my husband grew up and where I lived for a few years as a tyke many years ago. If I was sent back in time 10 years and told to be a city blogger again but that I couldn't do Near Southeast, I would gladly have chosen to document the decay (and perhaps eventual return) of Detroit, because it's really on a scale that is hard for people to understand unless they've spent a lot of time driving all around the city (and not just on the freeways). It also means I would have spent the past 10 years eating plenty of Detroit Pizza at Buddy's and Cloverleaf and having far easier access to a bazillion breakfast options (at the Coneys and other "family dining" establishments) than we'll ever have in the DC Metro area. Plus there's the cider mills.
We also very much enjoyed Columbus, particularly the Short North and German Village neighborhoods (and driving through the Ohio State campus in my University of Florida-festooned car--ha ha!), and my husband also noted the bars and restaurants in the Arena District and asked if that's what will eventually be coming to Half Street. (I then asked him if he ever reads my blog.) Downtown Cincinnati has some great "old stock" storefronts and signage (which we're always big fans of), but we also enjoyed the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, right across the river from Cincy's two stadiums. It helped that our hotel was three blocks from the massive Covington Oktoberfest celebration. And yes, we ate chili. Cleveland was mainly a pilgrimmage to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for me, but we did wander around to eat in the Tremont and Ohio City neighborhoods, and took a peek at Shaker Heights.
(Are you as worn out from our vacation as I am? We do tend to cover a lot of territory.)
I don't think I deprived you of any big news while I was gone, so, instead, we'll look ahead at a few events this week:
* Today begins the Nats' final homestand of the 2010 season, against the Astros, Braves, and Phillies, with the final home game on Wednesday Sept. 29 at 7:05 pm. And note that this Thursday's game (Sept. 23) against the Astros is a 4:35 pm start, and Saturday's game (Sept. 25) against the Braves is at 1:05 pm. Then you can start looking ahead to the 2011 Nationals schedule, where they get an Opening Day home game on March 31 against the Braves.
* Tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 21) is ANC 6B's monthly meeting (delayed a week to avoid coinciding with the election), and the agenda includes CSX's plans for an archaeological dig at Virginia Avenue Park. The meeting is at 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE.
* Thursday is the Washington Area Bicyclist Association's "Moonlight Ride at Yards Park", which includes an 11-mile ride starting from the Park at 8:30 pm heading west to the Potomac River, and a 6-mile ride starting at 9 pm that will go east over the Anacostia River into Anacostia Park and Historic Anacostia. The rides are free and open to the public, but they ask that you register in advance.
* And, looking ahead a bit, the newly redesigned "Parcel D" residential/retail/grocery development on the southeast corner of 4th and M in the Yards will be presented to the National Capital Planning Commission on Oct. 7.
UPDATE: I guess I should also be mentioning the launch of Capital Bikeshare today, with two locations in Near Southeast, at New Jersey and M by USDOT, and what the map says is another station at First and N, SE, by Nationals Park (which I had heard wasn't coming until next spring).

ANC 6D Supports Metro Station Name Change (With Concerns), and 250 M PUD Extension
Sep 14, 2010 9:58 AM
I've got some stuff going on for most of the week that will leave my blogging pretty light (unless there's big news that I can't bear to leave un-blogged). I'll no doubt pop up on Twitter here and there (passing along important morsels like dreams of city council members cleaning up my yard for me), but otherwise I intend on being pretty quiet, especially while the rest of the blogosphere handles the DC primary elections. (Are you voting today? Get out there, dammit!)
I couldn't make the ANC 6D meeting last night, but Will from across the way was nice enough to tweet a couple of results on Near Southeast-related items. First, the commission voted 4-1 to support a request from the Capitol Riverfront BID to add a couple of additional monikers to the Navy Yard Metro station name. However, while the BID wants the name to be changed to some version of "Capitol Riverfront/Ballpark/Navy Yard", the commission's support was apparently only if "Capitol Riverfront" is not the first part of the new name. Any change from plain old "Navy Yard" still needs to go through DDOT and WMATA for approval. (They also voted to approve adding "Arena Stage" to the "Waterfront/SEU" station name.)
The ANC also voted unanimously to support a requested two-year extension on the PUD for 250 M Street, the William C. Smith office building that's part of the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD. This will be in front of the Zoning Commission at some point soon, so I'll get more info on it them. But it's not really a surprise that they're not expecting to be ready to start construction in the near future.
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More posts: 250 M/New DDOT HQ, ANC News, Capper, meetings, Metro/WMATA

Tidbits: Spiffying Up the NJ Avenue Underpass; CSX Archaelogy Digging; More Near SE History
Sep 7, 2010 9:09 AM
A few things to pass along as we kiss summer goodbye (yes, I know it technically doesn't end for another few weeks, blah blah blah):
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is applying for a DC Public Art Building Communities grant to get funding to "improve the look, feel and experience of traveling into and out of the Capitol Riverfront along New Jersey Ave., SE, while also creating unique gateway art that represents the identity, sense of place and community in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood." They will be presenting their concepts at the Sept. 13 ANC 6D meeting, with applications being due on Oct. 13. If the project is selected to receive a grant, there would be public meetings sometime next year to "refine" the concepts, with hopes to complete the project by fall 2011. Though I can't imagine why anyone would want to beautify THIS!
* I'm not seeing this on the posted agenda yet, but a reader reports to me that CSX will be making presentations to ANC 6B's Planning and Zoning Committee tonight (Sept. 7) and the full ANC on Sept. 21 about a permit the freight company is apparently requesting to conduct an archaeological survey of Virginia Avenue Park prior to their planned expansion of the tunnel that runs under the park.
* Tonight you might see some folks with clipboards hanging around the Navy Yard Metro station entrances; they will be part of the Public Transportation Takes Us There petition drive by the American Public Transportation Association, trying to convince Congress to pass a long-term surface transportation funding bill. For the point of view of someone who has signed the petition, read this recent Richard Layman post. (I am wondering, and have no answer, whether this is the bill that CSX has been looking toward [along with other public money options] for funding the rest of the National Gateway project, which includes the expansion of the Virginia Avenue Tunnel.)
* You may have seen commenter MJM referencing recently his newfound obsession with the history of Near Southeast, and now he's put up a blog where you can share in the fruits of his research.

ANC Race, Ward 6 Forum, Youth River Sports Day, and This Week's Ballpark Events
Aug 24, 2010 10:31 AM
A hail of bullets on a rainy morning:
* The ANC 6D07 race has another possible candidate, with David Garber now circulating his petitions to get on the ballot. It's more likely you know David as DG_Rad, the blogger at And Now, Anacostia; although he has continued ties east of the river, David moved to Near Southeast at the beginning of the summer, and has thrown his hat into the 6D07 ring. His web site for the race is VoteGarber.com. David joins Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte in challenging current commissioner Bob Siegel (assuming they all get their required 25 petition signatures). And there's still a few weeks left for other candidates to pop up.
UPDATE: I understand via David that Bruce DarConte is not going to run after all.
* The Ward 6 Council Democratic Candidates Forum, an opportunity to hear from Tommy Wells and Kelvin Robinson about their position on issues of interest to Ward 6 and the city, is scheduled for tonight (Aug. 24) at 6:30 pm at the Southeast Library at 403 7th St., SE. According to The Hill is Home, it will be hosted by WTOP's Mark Segraves.
UPDATE: If you can't make the forum, or if you're reading this after it's over, the two candidates will also be debating on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Wednesday (Aug. 25), at 12:06 pm.
* And although the Anacostia Community Boathouse's operations have moved to temporary space just far enough upriver that they're not technically in Near Southeast anymore, I'll still pass along that they are having their 4th Annual Youth River Sports Day on Sunday, Sept. 12, from 11 am to 3 pm. It's free, and it gives kids (and adults) a chance to try their hands at rowing and paddling. The Anacostia Watershed Society will also be giving tours of the river in their pontoon boat. Here's the photos I took at the 2008 event.
There's also a number of ballpark-related events this week:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 25), Nationals Park gets on the "Craft Beer Week" bandwagon with a Leinenkugel pregame beer sampling at the Miller Light Scoreboard Walk. For $22, fans receive a Scoreboard Pavilion seat and a voucher for four complimentary Leinenkugel beer samples from 4:30 pm until first pitch. To purchase tickets, go to nationals.com/craftbeerweek.
* Also on Wednesday is the Top Chef episode filmed at Nationals Park, as the six remaining contestants are charged with making game snacks for fans, with guest appearances by John Lannan, Adam Dunn, and {sniff} Matt Capps, and with guest judge (and Top Chef Masters winner) Rick Moonen. It's at 10 pm on Bravo. Here's a snippet of some of the arguing going on in one of the food bays during the challenge.
* Saturday, Aug. 28 is the second blood drive of the summer at the ballpark, from 8 am to 2 pm. Blood donors will receive two tickets to a future Nationals game, a limited edition Build-A-Bear Workshop bloodhound and the opportunity to meet a Nationals player. Appointments to donate blood are required. Interested donors should call 1-866-BLOODSAVES (256-6372) or visit www.inova.org/donateblood, click "schedule an appointment" and enter sponsor code 7665.
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More posts: ANC News, Boathouse Row, meetings, politics, Nationals Park

Tiny Followups For Yesterday's ANC/Yards Park Posts
Aug 19, 2010 12:10 PM
Guess I should have been lazy (er, lazier than usual) and waited 24 hours on each of my posts yesterday, because there's small tidbits to add on both:
* While the Yards Park "official opening weekend" is set for Sept. 10-12, invitations have now begun landing in mailboxes for a ribbon cutting/dedication ceremony on Sept. 7.
* There is now at least one challenger to ANC 6D07 incumbent Bob Siegel--according to the DCBOEE, Capitol Quarter resident Bruce DarConte has filed his paperwork to run. And I'm hearing rumors of at least one more resident planning to jump into the race as well.
In other non-followup news, eagle-eyed readers might notice in my DC permit feeds an approved public space/excavation permit for its planned 1111 New Jersey office building site. But don't read too much into it--there's still no announced plans to start construction anytime soon.
UPDATE: Oh, and a PS: The Top Chef DC episode filmed at Nats Park back in the spring is coming up next week (Wednesday, Aug. 25, at 10 pm, on Bravo). It appears to be a stadium-food challenge, with the "chestestants cheftestants" cooking and serving in the various food bays along the concourse.

No ANC 6D07 Candidates Officially, But Siegel Running Again; WP Story on Wells vs. Robinson
Aug 18, 2010 10:54 AM
A few readers have noted to me that, as of last week, no one from ANC 6D07 had turned in any nominating petitions for this year's elections. The Sept. 3 deadline is still a few weeks away, and while he hasn't done his paperwork, current and longtime 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel has confirmed to me that he will be running again. It will be interesting to see if anyone else from the neighborhood decides to run--especially now that 6D07 has considerably more residents than it had for many years, meaning that the pool of potential candidates is a lot bigger.
If I've kickstarted the community politician in you and you decide you want to run, Frozen Tropics has a nice run-down of how to become a candidate. And the qualifications are pretty simple: you must be a registered voter and have lived in your SMD for 60 days (in other words, having moved into 6D07 no later than July 5, 2010) before submitting your nomination petitions.
I think the more interesting time in 6D07, however, will be in 2012, when the city goes through its once-a-decade realignment of ANC boundaries. Each ANC single-member district (SMD) is supposed to represent about 2,000 residents, which means that 6D07--with a population now up to around 3,500 thanks to the multitude of new apartment buildings north of Nationals Park as well as the Capitol Quarter townhouse development--will very likely be broken up into two districts. And, beyond that--would the Near Southeast SMD(s) remain part of 6D, which otherwise is completely within the boundaries of Southwest, or would one or both new districts possibly end up being moved to ANC 6B, the southern Capitol Hill ANC. (A small part of 6B is already south of the freeway, from Seventh Street over to 11th Street down to M Street.)
In other political news of note for the neighborhood, this Mike Debonis piece in the WashPost on Tommy Wells and his challenger Kelvin Robinson is a good look at the issues swirling in the Ward 6 council seat Democratic primary, particularly whether Wells' focus on "liveable walkable communities" and other new urbanism ideas (like the plastic bag tax) are interesting to Ward 6 constituents who aren't necessarily on the streetcar/multimodal bandwagon. And CP's Housing Complex blog also looks at the story, commenting that "Instead of painting a picture of a rosy future, Wells might be better advised to depict the absence of excellent transit and walkable communities as a current ill that must be rectified, putting those deficiencies on the level of crime as a pressing issue."
The DC primary elections are on Tuesday, Sept. 14. No matter what your leanings are, be sure to vote.
(I haven't written hardly at all on the mayor's race because, well, there's a billion other people doing that.)

Summer Doldrums Bullet List (Light Tower, Traffic, Hula Hoops, Signage, BID Survey, DC Blogs)
Aug 13, 2010 12:37 PM
Hasn't been much swirling around lately worthy of a full blog post, but here are a couple items so that people don't think I've shut down (though most of them have already been seen on my Twitter feed, aka the "I'm Too Lazy to Blog" feed):
* The light tower at the Yards Park is being installed today, about four weeks in advance of the scheduled grand opening on Sept. 10. I hope to have pictures at some point.
* Greater Greater Washington reports that MPD fanned out around Nationals Park on Wednesday night, ticketing drivers and pedestrians and handing out flyers on safety. GGW also brings up the public meeting held by Tommy Wells back in March about the notion of reworking M Street under the "Complete Streets" principles of creating road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc. At that meeting, residents of Southwest were unimpressed with the possibilities, but the few Southeast residents in attendance seemed more open to it.
UPDATE: TBD reports that the truck driver in last week's incident is not being cited.
* The Post did a video feature on Hoopernatural, the hula hooping fitness outfit. They are running classes for mixed-levels of hoopiness during August at Canal Park, on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11 am.
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is running a survey to get feedback from residents, workers, and visitors on the types of events the BID holds (concerts, outdoor movies, farmers' market, etc.). Let your feelings be known here.
* While my griping about the bad signage on the SW Freeway (highlighted again by the Post on Thursday) is technically out-of-boundaries, it is on topic to also mention to DDOT that the various blue "services" signs for the South Capitol Street exits on I-395 probably need to get rid of the gas station icons, since the days of having three gas stations right on South Capitol and two within a few blocks to the east are long gone. (But @DDOTDC has put me in a time out after Thursday's flurry of transit-related tweets, which also included this good suggestion from a reader about the need for a left-turn signal on northbound Third Street, SE at Virginia Avenue, for people needing to get onto I-395 southbound.)
* And I stumbled across this study by the New America Foundation about "online-only" news outlets in DC. It counted 61 of them, noting that the "city's oldest local blogs that still command an audience began to spring up in 2003," with JDLand being one of the "original few," thanks to my January 2003 vintage. The piece looks at DCist, GGW, Prince of Petworth, And Now Anacostia, and TBD (though it hadn't yet launched), along with a few nice words about this site. But I have been thinking a lot lately about how I'm an old lady compared to the rest of the DC neighborhood blogosphere, and this article (coming on the heels of my [redacted] birthday) certainly reminded me of it. :-)

Zoning Commission Allows Community Center Delay
Jul 13, 2010 3:11 PM
At Monday night's Zoning Commission meeting, the commissioners voted 3-0 after a brief discussion to approve a request by the DC Housing Authority and the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopers to extend (again) the approved timeline for the long-planned Community Center at Fifth and K. The commissioners saw letters of support from both ANC 6B and 6D (you can see 6D's letter here), and seemed appeased by the notion that the $7-plus million required to build the center is figured into the $25 million that DCHA plans to eventually receive from a second bond offering (after the $29 million one late last year that's paying for infrastructure improvements), once the market improves.
In return for 6D's support for the time extension, the Housing Authority agreed to a number of conditions, mainly having to do with status reports and project updates, but also agreed (according to the letter) to "work with the ANC, D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Marine Corps to implement the agreement governing use of the Marine Corps' playing fields for the community." This is apparently a reaction to attempts to gain wider public access than is currently given to the fields at 7th and Virginia barracks as was originally agreed to when DCHA transferred that land to the Marines back in 1999.
The new time extension for the community center calls for building permit applications to be filed by July 1, 2012, with construction having to begin within 12 months of that date.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, zoning

Brief Break from Blogging Breather for Bullet Points
Jul 9, 2010 2:36 PM
I'm still eyeing a couple more days of (mostly) blog-free living, but a few items should probably be mentioned before the weekend, and so that you don't think I'm never coming back. First, the calendar:
* On Monday at 6:30 pm, the Zoning Commission will take up the Housing Authority's new request for another time extension to the zoning order that requires construction of the Capper Community Center. DCHA had asked for a two-year extension last year, but was only granted one year, and made clear at that time that they didn't foresee having the money to start the center in that shorter time frame, and that they'd be back to ask for another extension. And now they are.
* Speaking of the community center, there's now a big sign on its footprint (at Fifth and L) touting that the second phase of Capitol Quarter's townhouses is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But you knew that already.
* Monday at 7 pm is the monthly ANC 6D meeting. I was hoping the agenda would be out before I posted this, but alas, no. Check back here or on their web site to see what scintillating topics will be up for discussion. (UPDATE: the agenda is now out, and there's nothing really major on it, other than a public space permit for the street work for Phase 2 of Capitol Quarter.)
* On Tuesday, July 13, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry is having its "All-Star Party Night" at Nationals Park, offering the chance to take batting practice, throw pitches in the bullpen, tour the locker room, meet Teddy, and more. Tickets are $55 per person and $15 for children under 12, with proceeds going to CHGM's programs for homeless and low-income families.
And a few other items:
* Today's WBJ reports that a third piece of "public" art is coming to Nationals Park; this time it will be 30 "stainless steel-domed forms which will accurately follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast-ball pitch," which will be hung early next year on the exterior of the eastern garage. The steel spheres with cutout "laces," each seven feet in diameter, will feature programmable LED lights; the piece will cost about $950,000. As for the other two pieces of public art already at the stadium (the bronze statues in the Center Field Plaza and the "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mobile near the First Base Gate), I'll quote WBJ's Michael Neibauer: "The first two pieces of public art at the stadium were, to be kind, not well-received at their unveiling in April 2009. The works were selected by arts professionals and D.C. residents, according to the arts commission, but some wonder: Did anyone ask the fans?"
* A reader reports that the Anacostia Boathouse at 11th and O, in between the 11th Street Bridges spans, has been demolished, which was expected because of the footprint of the new bridges. Haven't seen for myself yet to confirm.
* And I haven't felt the earth shift on its axis yet, so I assume the Little Red Building's exterior is still standing, although interior demolition has been going on all week.

Agenda for June 14 ANC 6D Meeting
Jun 11, 2010 3:21 PM
The agenda is now posted for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and it does have a few Near Southeast-related items on it. So it follows logically that I'm not going to be able to be there.
Items include: A report from the housing authority on a request for a zoning time extension for the planned (and long-delayed) community center at Fifth and K streets, SE; an update on the upcoming second phase of Capitol Quarter (which EYA tells me resulted in 11 reservations in the first 15 days); an update on the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, presumably coming out of the two recent public meetings; and reports/possible votes on Justin's Cafe's proposed sidewalk cafe and the proposed "Harry's" liquor store at New Jersey and I, both of which you can get more detail on from my report on last week's ABC subcommittee meeting.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at Sixth and M streets, SW--they're trying to get moved to their space in the new Waterfront buildings, but it still hasn't happened.
I'm going to try to find out more about the community center request, though I imagine there isn't much more to it other than DCHA says it doesn't still have the money to build it yet and so can't meet the deadline that was set in the zoning PUD (planned unit development) for Capper. The time frame for the community center has already been extended once, and in fact DCHA told the Zoning Commission last year that they fully expected that new deadline of filing building permits by Jan. 1, 2011, would be too short and that they'd be back to request another extension. Which appears to be what's transpiring.

Justin's Applying for Sidewalk Tables; Additional Info on the New Liquor Store (and the Little Red Building)
Jun 3, 2010 10:49 AM
The report from Wednesday night's ANC6D ABC Committee meeting:
* Justin's Cafe is seeking to add four tables, with umbrellas and four chairs each, on the sidewalk directly in front of the restaurant. They would be available the same hours as the restaurant itself, until 1 am Monday through Thursday, 2 am Friday and Saturday, and 10 pm Sunday. There were concerns from a commissioner or two about whether people might walk away from the outdoor seating area with alcoholic drinks, about the additional noise brought by 16 or so people outside, and about whether cigarette smoke from the tables would waft up and bother the Velocity units directly above. Justin Ross replied that a sign would be posted about alcohol only being consumed on the premises, and that smokeless ashtrays would be available for the tables (and that since people can't smoke inside the restaurant, there's already a lot of smoking going on outside on the sidewalk). Velocity's management had sent along a letter in full support of the plan.
The committee voted 4-0 in favor of recommending that the ANC support the application, and that vote should come at the ANC's June 14 meeting, if Justin's voluntary and community cooperation agreements are revised in time.
* The owners of Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits on Pennsylvania Avenue SE came to talk with the committee about their plans for a new "upscale" liquor store at 909 New Jersey Ave., SE, which they will be calling Harry's SE & SW. (For about nine years they ran the Harry's liquor store at Waterside Mall in SW, which closed about five years ago.)
They have signed a lease agreement to take the two retail spaces on the north side of the building, at the corner of New Jersey and I, and they will be knocking down the wall between them in order to end up with about 2,200 square feet of space. The hours would be 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Saturday (or possibly 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays), and closed on Sunday. They would sell beer, wine, and liquor, as well as milk, sodas, juice, cheese, and other "quick stop" items, but would not sell sandwiches as had been mentioned on the meeting agenda. They hope to open in September or October.
Much of the discussion centered around whether they will try to get an exemption in order to allow sales of "singles," which is a very hot-button issue. The owners said that they want the exception so that they can sell "high end" Belgian beers, which come in single bottles, and have no intent to sell the cheaper singles that can attract a somewhat less desirable element. However, ANC 6D chairman Ron McBee said that he imagines it would be very difficult to get support from the full ANC for the exception, and that there would also be concerns about any attempts to amend the singles law that might make it look like the law was targeted toward one socioeconomic class and not another.
Also discussed was the possible impact of this new store on the long-held plans for a similar high-end liquor store at Second and L SE on the site of the "Little Red Building." The ABRA rules state that liquor stores can't open within 400 feet of each other, and these two would be more than 500 feet apart as the crow flies. But Mr. Park, the owner of the LRB, is clearly concerned about whether the neighborhood can support two very similar operations. He is moving forward with plans to demolish the LRB and put up a new structure, and is also looking at an October-ish opening date. (He said he'd send me the building plans soon.)
In the end, the committee voted 4-0 in favor of recommending that the ANC support Harry's license application. A voluntary agreement and a community cooperation agreement will now need to be hammered out, and those involved weren't sure if one could be ready by the June 14 ANC meeting, in which case it would probably come up at the July 12 one.

Liquor Store Coming to 909 New Jersey?
May 25, 2010 2:31 PM
Some potential retail news might have just come onto the radar screen: on the agenda for ANC 6D's next ABC Committee meeting is a proposed Class A license at 909 New Jersey Avenue for an entity called "Harry's SW & SE". They are proposing apparently to sell beer, wine, bread, milk, cheese, and sandwiches (and no "singles"), which is in line with a Class A/liquor store license. If anyone who lives at 909 has heard any rumors, or if anyone else has some scoop, drop me a line. I'm trying to find out more, and will update as I can. (Though the last time I started asking questions about a license application when one appeared on the ABC agenda was a few months ago for 55 M, and it disappeared from the lineup almost as soon as I hit "send." So be forewarned.)
Also on the ABC agenda is a change to Justin's Cafe's license, with Justin now seeking to add a sidewalk cafe.
The meeting is on June 2 at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Recreation Center.
UPDATE: There was a Harry's Liquor Store at 401 M St., SW back in the old Waterside Mall--I don't think it's reopened in the new building(?). I imagine this is the same owner.
UPDATE II: It is indeed the same owner as the old Waterside Mall store, and he also owns Capitol Hill Wine and Spirits in the 300 block of Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Traffic Meetings, On Top of Each Other (Plus WASA)
May 19, 2010 6:37 PM
I've been waiting to post about this until some sort of official announcement came from the ANC or DDOT, but time's a'wastin, so I'll mention that SWill reported after the last ANC 6D meeting that a follow-up TOPP (Traffic Operations and Parking Plan) meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, tenatively at 6:30 pm at the Second Baptist Church, 1200 Canal St., SW. This meeting was asked for after the previous one was not particularly well attended by the necessary government agencies.
However, at almost the same time is a Public Information Meeting on the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement, from 6 to 8 pm at Westminstery Presbysterian Church, 400 I St., SW. (There is another one being held two days later in Arlington.) This meeting's purpose is "to present preliminary traffic results and scope of the enivonrmental assessment for the [corridor] alternatives" and to answer questions and receive feedback.
It would seem that the attendees for these meetings might be coming out of the same pool, so it's a shame if they do end up overlapping.
Also, for another on-the-periphery meeting, WASA is having a public meeting on Thursday May 27th at 6 pm to get the public's comment on their combined sewer overflow long-term control plan and the draft environmental assessment. The meeting is at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE (see the flyer). Of course, this meeting conflicts with the alternate date for the 14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS meeting....
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Upcoming Events (ANCs and Business Summit)
May 9, 2010 9:00 PM
On your agenda for the near future, should you choose to accept the mission:
* ANC 6D (Southwest and most of Near Southeast) meets Monday night at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW. (When are they moving to their new meeting space, dangit?) The agenda is posted--no big Near Southeast items, except for perhaps an update from the Nationals, a brief update on Traffic/Parking issues from a member of Tommy Wells's staff, and request for support for a liquor license for the new Patriot II river cruise ship operating out of Diamond Teague Park. One other item that might be of interest is an update on the 14th Street Bridge Environmental Impact Statement, which has been quiet for a while.
* ANC 6B (south side of Capitol Hill and Near Southeast south of the freeway east of Seventh [excluding the Navy Yard]) meets the next night, Tuesday, at 7 pm at its new meeting place, the People's Church at 535 Eighth Street, SE. Here's the agenda, which is chock full of liquor license renewals and home remodeling projects.
* Looking ahead a bit to next week, a reminder that the Anacostia River Business Summit is being held on Tuesday, May 18, starting at 1:30 pm at 20 M St., SE. Admission is $30 per person; the agenda includes a presentation on the Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan and panels on "Federal and District Leadership Efforts" and "The Business Impact." There will also be an exhibit hall and a networking reception after the sessions. More info here, and online registration available here.

Quick Report from Ballpark Traffic/Parking Meeting
Apr 27, 2010 10:16 PM
Tonight ANC 6D held a community meeting to get a status report on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan. The session was facilitated by councilmember Wells, and also included representatives of DDOT and the Nationals. (DPW was not present, much to the consternation of many attendees, since they are the ones responsible for ticket-writing and towing.)
The session started off with an update on the (few) changes to parking and traffic flow in the new season. Some are already well known, such as the two new Nats economy lots replacing the RFK shuttle service; otherwise, there have been some slight modifications to signal timing at South Capitol and Potomac and to pedestrian flow on M at First and South Capitol. Plus, DDOT says they have corrected the lack of signs/meters in the Half/Van/L area.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nats said that there are about 125 more cars parking in each of the two economy lots this season, and that the Nats are happy that neither lot is particularly accessible through any residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned that only 30 percent of fans drive to the games, with the rest taking transit or arriving other ways, such as by foot/bike/water taxi/parachute/personal jetpack/teleportation. (I'm paraphrasing.)
McCarthy did acknowledge that, while traffic flow generally works well when game attendance is under 25,000, there is "significant congestion" when there's more tickets sold, and specifically mentioned First and M as a chokepoint where cars need to be moved faster through their right turn to the various parking lots. He also said that the team needs to do a better job getting the taxi stand working, to get taxis to actually line up there for customers and to get them to use it as a drop-off point. (What? You didn't know there's a taxi stand? Why, yes, there is, on Half Street next to 20 M.)
The rest of the meeting was taken up with questions and complaints from the audience, all of which related to issues in the residential neighborhoods of Southwest. (There wasn't a single resident of Southeast in attendance, unless you count ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel. And Tommy. And me.) There were complaints about stadium workers parking just to the west of South Capitol Street and using Ward 6 visitor parking permits to do so, and about what the residents see as a distinct lack of ticketing and towing, which is why people were very unhappy that DPW was not at the meeting, despite having been invited. Tommy promised to help get some action, saying that enforcement should be very heavy at the beginning of the season, to send a message. (He also noted that, yes, this meeting should have been held *before* Opening Day.)
If you have any issues with gameday parking that you think need to be addressed, you can contact Tommy's office through his web site--if you can assemble any sort of illustrative materials that might be helpful (photos, tag numbers of offending vehicles, etc.), Tommy said that would be appreciated.
UPDATE: For more specifics on the SW concerns, see SWill's blog.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Tuesday Events, And a Slight Change in Approach
Apr 26, 2010 11:44 PM
First, two event notices/reminders for Tuesday (April 27):
*At 10:45 am, Mayor Fenty and others will be participating in a ribbon-cutting at Diamond Teague Park and Piers. I won't be able to be there, so go see for yourself if you're interested!
* At 6:30 pm is the ANC 6D meeting on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, at Westminster Church at Fourth and I streets, SW.
Now, on another subject.
I admit it--I've become very lazy when it comes to blogging about stories/links/events that might be of interest but that don't really have any *news,* especially as the volume of them has increased along with the interest in Near Southeast. Twitter is the perfect outlet for those sorts of items--it's easy to post them immediately (since I'm all about the speed), and I'm only responsible for 100 or so characters, then the URL, then I'm done. (Or, even better, I get to just retweet stuff from other Twitterers.) Plus it allows me to save my time and energy for more fascinating {ahem} material, like the Marine Barracks site search or the latest CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel stuff.
But, if you're only reading my posts by RSS feed or e-mail subscription, then you're missing out. How to get this additional material? If you don't have a Twitter account, you can come to the JDLand home page and check out the Twitter box at upper right every so often. Or you can visit my Twitter page on your rounds, or you can "like" JDLand on Facebook and have the Tweets show up in your news feed. Or you can subscribe to my Tweet RSS feed if immediacy isn't of paramount importance.
I've actually posted similar mea culpas to this one before (the last one not even a month ago--oops!), but let's consider this time the official notification of the change in my approach. Of course the blog will always have big news, new photos, and whatnot. But as I try to find ways to keep going after more than seven years, I'm going to stop feeling quite so guilty about using only Twitter for these FYI links, even if it makes the blog itself less of the all-encompassing repository it's been up to now.
Thank you, drive through.

ANC 6D Meeting on Ballpark Traffic and Parking
Apr 22, 2010 3:30 PM
From ANC 6D, an invitation to a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. Expected participants include Tommy Wells, DDOT, DPW, MPD, and the Nationals. This is the neighborhood's opportunity to discuss any parking or traffic issues; if you want to come armed with information on the original TOPP created for the opening of the ballpark in 2008, here 'tis, along with my page on Stadium Parking and Transportation.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

ANC 6D Agenda Posted
Apr 11, 2010 6:14 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is now available, with a few items of Near Southeast interest. There will be an update on the CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel project, a presentation by the owner of American River Taxi (the company working toward water taxi service between Georgetown, the SW Waterfront, Diamond Teague Park, and other spots), and a liquor license application for the Patriot II, which is the boat run by the new DC Harbor Cruises outfit that just began running river tours from Teague. There's also the usual gamut of road races and other items, along with I'm sure the latest on the opening this week of the new SW Safeway.
The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M streets, SW. (This *might* be the last time the ANC meets at this location, with its new space at the Waterfront building at Fourth and M being close to its debut.)
If you're interested in the CSX stuff and can't make the Monday meeting, remember that there's also an update being given the next night at ANC 6B's meeting.

A Summary from Tonight's M Street Meeting
Mar 9, 2010 11:13 PM
I made it to Tommy Wells's meeting on possible changes to M Street, and there was a bigger crowd than I might have expected, one which seemed to be weighted more heavily toward Southwest residents than Southeast folks. Tommy opened the meeting by talking about how much development is coming to this area that he calls the "most multimodal neighborhood in the world" (with everything from cars to buses to the subway to electric jitneys to water taxis to horse carriages), but that the street itself is does not display the sort of character one might want, and that it's "not an inspiring architectural area saying 'Welcome.' " He has become very interested in the "Complete Streets" concept, which aims to create road networks that work for pedestrians young and old, cyclists, public transportation users, and drivers. by doing things such as adding dedicated bike lanes, creating safer crosswalks, etc.
Last year he talked to the Toole Design Group and asked them for some basic renderings that would imagine M Street in this new way, for what he called an illustration that he could take to people, which they provided, paid for by the Capitol Riverfront BID. But when he took the resulting drawings to a meeting of the BID's members and *someone* blabbed and posted the designs as if the changes were coming soon, it "created confusion," he said. (Ahem.) He wanted to make clear that no decisions have been made, but that he does want a dialogue about whether M Street is "really what we need for the uses."
Adam Goldberg of the AARP then did a presentation about Complete Streets, saying that what's good for 50-plus folks is good for younger people, too, and that the basic idea is to create networks that are "safe, comfortable, and convenient for travel by auto, foot, bike, and transit, regardless of age or ability." You can see the 128-page AARP report on "Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America," and the "In Brief" sheet he handed out is available as well.
Tommy's office was also nice enough to forward his presentation slides.
Funds from the Ballpark Performance Parking Pilot could be used for these sorts of alterations to M Street, and clearly Tommy has a great interest in "transforming" M Street "into a showcase street," though he said that he's not excited about doing it if the community doesn't want it. And there was definitely trepidation in the room about the possibility of shrinking M down to four driving lanes from six, even though Tommy says the 10,000 vehicles a day that M carries could ostensibly be handled by the smaller footprint. Other attendees spoke enthusiastically about the ideas, so there was certainly no consensus from the audience. ANC commissioner Andy Litsky made clear his desire for a traffic and parking study that covers all of Near Southeast and Southwest before embarking on any changes to M Street. (Other speakers were a bit vociferous in their distaste for bike lanes, with the word "elitist" getting tossed around by one particular speaker who seemed especially agitated by the idea.)
There was no indication of what the next steps may be, and indications from the BID meeting a few months back were that businesses along M (including the Nationals) were expressing some concerns as well, so for now I'd suggest following the above links for more basic background on what sorts of changes are being thought about for M Street, and getting in touch with Tommy's office with your thoughts. I'm guessing WashCycle will have coverage of the meeting as well, and I'll link to any posts from them.
UPDATE, 3/11: A little late, but here are three more good pieces on the meeting, from WashCycle, Tommy Wells, and SWDC Blog.

Report from ANC 6D (Mainly SW Stuff)
Mar 8, 2010 10:52 PM
There was almost no Near Southeast news at tonight's ANC 6D meeting, even though it was held at the Courtyard at New Jersey and L, SE. There was no update from the Nationals as had been initially on the agenda, and ANC chair Ron McBee said that he doesn't yet have a date for a community meeting on the Traffic Operations and Parking plans for the ballpark for this season, which he wants to have with the team and DDOT especially in light of the Nats' decision to stop the RFK parking shuttle for this season.
(As an aside, in comparing the Nats parking map for this season with mine from last year, it looks like the only change in lots is that the underground garage at 300 M is no longer an official Nats lot. The pricing structure hasn't changed a whole lot, except for lot HH and W now becoming "economy" lots at $5 and $10 per game, respectively. I'll update my page soon.)
Most of the meeting was taken up with all the doings in Southwest surrounding the impending opening of the new Safeway at Waterfront, and the transition period when the old one will be closed on April 6, eight days before the new one opens with a ribbon-cutting and preview on April 15 before opening "for real" on April 16. There was also the news that some restaurants look to be closing deals soon for spaces in Waterfront. SWDC Blog has the details on all this.
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More posts: ANC News, meetings, parking, Nationals Park

Rounding Up Recent Links
Mar 8, 2010 2:32 PM
A few articles I've recently pointed to from my Twitter feed that might be of interest but aren't necessarily "news":
* The Examiner says the city spent $115,000 to house snow plow drivers at the Courtyard on New Jersey Avenue during the record February snowstorms--what we always refer to as the "trash transfer station" is also the city's snow plow yard, and so the drivers were being put up close by. (Lots of money was spent at McDonald's, too, presumably the one within walking distance on I Street.)
* The Nats' Stan Kasten speaks to the DC Sports Bog on the rumors of the NHL Winter Classic coming to town. ("I think it's a fun rumor, it's a fascinating rumor, [but] I really do think you're jumping a little bit ahead.... I think it would be great for our city, and great for our ballpark, and together we'd do a hell of a job.")
* In Senate testimony, US DOT secretary Ray LaHood used "the area around the ballpark" as an example of "livability" during a sharp exchange with Sen. Kit Bond. You can see the video here (skip to the 92-minute mark), or read the story about LaHood's testimony on Streetsblog.
* Three Nats games -- April 3, 7, and 8 -- have been deemed "official events" in the National Cherry Blossom Festival. (via the Nats)
* The ANC 6D meeting tonight is at the Courtyard in Near SE, but SWDC Blog posted photos of the commission's new digs in the about-to-open Waterfront development.
* WashCycle thinks that the 10-block temporary tunnel CSX says it will build on Virginia Avenue when reconstructing the existing tunnel ought to be kept for bike/pedestrian use ("lighting would have to be a must", they say).

This Week's Events (ANCs and M Street)
Mar 7, 2010 9:40 AM
The lineup. all front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday:
* Monday has the ANC 6D meeting (didn't we just do this?), at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda is now posted, and includes updates on the Nats and the ballpark's Transportation and Parking Plan.
* Tuesday has Tommy Wells's public meeting on improvements to M Street, from 6-7:30 pm at the MPD First District station at 101 M St., SW.
* Tuesday is also ANC 6B's meeting, in its new home at 535 8th St., SE, at 7 pm. The update from CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project originally slated for this meeting has been moved to the April meeting.

Bullpen Back for Another Season; Other ANC 6D Doings
Feb 25, 2010 9:12 PM
The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.

This Week's Events: Lower 8th Visioning, Marine Barracks, ANCs 6B and 6D (and Trapeze School?)
Feb 22, 2010 8:27 PM
A few items on the agenda this week, should you choose to accept any or all of these missions:
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning Process is having its final public meetings on Tuesday (Feb. 23) at 8:30 am and 7 pm at the People's Church, 535 8th St., SE. In case you haven't been following along, here's a good description by Barracks Row Main Street of what the process has been and hopes to achieve (via The Hill is Home): "The Lower 8th Street SE Visioning Process Advisory Committee has coordinated a vision process with property owners, other community stakeholders, and Barracks Row Main Street along the Lower 8th Street, SE corridor. Sponsored by the Capitol Riverfront BID, this process is an attempt to gain consensus on a vision for the area and to address issues of height, density, mix of uses, parking and access, as well as what should be the character of a redesigned Virginia Avenue Park as an amenity or community benefit for the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood and Capitol Hill. If consensus can be reached on the vision, it could serve as the basis for asking the Office of Planning to develop a small area neighborhood plan that could then be used as justification for any agreed upon zoning or density changes. This final meeting will attempt to synthesize a community consensus on the vision of Lower 8th Street." (A lot of qualified statements in there.)
* Alas, at the same time as the 8th Street evening session is the rescheduled ANC 6B monthly meeting, at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
* Also via The Hill is Home, news that the first community workshop on the Marines' "Community Integrated Master Plan" as they look for a new location for their barracks and other facility needs is scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 24) from 6 to 8 pm at the Van Ness Elementary School at 5th and M, SE. This first workshop "will focus on the goals and objectives" of the CIMP, according to the project's web site.
* On Thursday, Feb. 25, ANC 6D is having its snow-postponed monthly meeting, at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M, SW, at 7 pm.
* The Trapeze School posted on its Facebook page this afternoon that they're getting their inspections on Tuesday, and are hoping to have their first classes in their new home at Fourth and Tingey at the Yards on Thursday.

A Few Tidbits While Waiting for Normalcy to Return
Feb 15, 2010 11:02 AM
Some small items I've tweeted (or just forgotten to post) recently:
* Construction delays related to last week's epic snows have put the kabosh on the trapeze school's planned opening today--they may open for business on Friday, Feb. 19, but are still in need of their certificate of occupancy. Check their web site or Facebook group for updates.
* ANC 6B commissioner Norm Metzger is following CSX's plans for expanding the Virginia Avenue Tunnel pretty closely, and has recently passed along a link to a new "National Gateway Project Updates" web site, including this page on the Virginia Avenue portion. CSX still isn't really giving any details about how the construction will impact the area, but they are certainly touting all the public meetings they've been to! In a similar vein, Norm also posted a link to a new blog, "Capitol Hill Against Railroad Tunnel Expansion," by folks who are unhappy with the plans.
* Look for ANC 6D's monthly meeting to be rescheduled to some day this week--they didn't send out any announcements as their attempts to hold the meeting last week were postponed, so checking their web site for the new date will be necessary. ANC 6B has rescheduled its meeting to Feb. 23.
* WBJ reports that the city used $10 million in surplus receipts from the ballpark tax to "shore up its fiscal 2010 budget," instead of paying off the ballpark debt early, which was what businesses who pay the tax expected to happen in the event of surpluses. And they're not happy.

ANC Supports Liquor License for Justin's Cafe
Jan 11, 2010 11:46 PM
Tonight ANC 6D gave its support in two separate votes to restaurateur Justin Ross's liquor license application for his new "Justin's Cafe" sandwich/salad/pizza place in the ground floor of the Velocity condo building at First and L streets, SE. There was little discussion, other than some concerns by commissioner Roger Moffatt about voting to support the full liquor license before the hearing is even "placarded," i.e., posted on the restaurant site, because he felt that this might prevent residents' concerns from being part of the ANC's decision (though, of course, the ABRA liquor license hearing process specifically allows for public comment). Two residents in the audience spoke strongly in favor of the proposed plans, and, in the end, the votes were 6-0-1 for a temporary "stipulated" license and 6-1 for the full license (Moffatt voting present/against on the two motions).
There's still no date set for the license hearing (Justin filed his application on Dec. 30), but he indicated that things should be moving pretty quickly in terms of getting the restaurant opened, and the stipulated license will allow him to serve alcohol until the full license is voted on.
Other Near Southeast-related tidbits:
* The Marines are going to be hosting an open house on January 27 from 5 to 8 pm at Eastern Market's north hall--they are formulating a new master plan for all of their space needs, and are looking to "partner" with residents, developments, government agencies, or any organization that can provide the space they're looking for. The open house seems to be the first step in "reaching out," though it all seemed a bit murky, and perhaps will be better explained when announcements for the open house are released. (Though "lower Eighth Street" was mentioned.)
* The commission also elected its offers for 2010, with Ron McBee being named chair. Vice chair Robert Siegel, secretary David Sobelsohn, and treasurer Jane Jorgensen retained their posts.
* This was the first time in all the ANC 6D meetings I've attended (starting in probably 2004) that I actually stayed until the very end (it lasted a mere three hours). Whether this is something to celebrate is another issue, especially on a night like this one where the heat at St. Augustine's seemed particularly, um, nonexistent. They did announce that soon the ANC and the Southwest Neighborhood Association will be moving to new digs at Waterfront (the new development about to open at the old Waterside Mall site at Fourth and M, SW). They will also have a public meeting space that presumably will have both sufficient HVAC offerings and decent acoustics, so that I will actually be able to *hear* what's going on.

Tidbits (ANC 6D, Boathouse, Georgia Ave, Cupcakes!)
Jan 11, 2010 12:00 PM
A few items of note:
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly business meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church, Sixth and M, SW. But, as is so often the case, there's no agenda yet released. However, the commission should be voting on whether to support the liquor license application of Justin's Cafe, which was approved by the ANC's alcohol/beverage subcommittee last week. Other than that, the lineup will just be a bundle of surprises! UPDATE: The agenda is now posted.
* The folks with A rower from the Anacostia Community Boathouse Association has started a blog to track the move of the boathouse operations away from its current home in between the 11th Street Bridges up-river to the Anacostia Marina. The move is happening because the new bridges are going to necessitate the demoition of the two existing boathouse buildings. (UPDATED with a new name for the blog, along with a clarification)
* The Hill is Home has a "Lost Capitol Hill" post about the original Georgia Avenue, SE, which is now Potomac Avenue. On these maps from the early 1900s of Near Southeast, you can see Georgia Avenue in 1903, but not in 1909. (If you haven't wandered through these maps before, they're worth a few minutes. Go to the main page, click on a section of the neighborhood, and then you can use the links to go from 1903 to 1909 to 1915 to 1921.
*The Curbside Cupcake folks are venturing into Near Southeast these days, and will be at New Jersey and M tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan. 12) from noon to 1 pm. (They set up shop there for a while last Tuesday, too.)
* And, while outside my boundaries, I think it's worth mentioning that Big Chair Coffee opened at 2122 MLK Avenue in Anacostia this morning--And Now, Anacostia has a pile of photos of the place, which is one of the only (if not the only) coffee house east of the river.

Justin's Cafe Gets 6D's ABC Committee Support
Jan 6, 2010 9:40 PM
A very quick update from tonight's meeting of ANC 6D's alcohol/beverage committee, which voted 3-0 both to recommend support Justin's Cafe's application for a liquor license, and to recommend that a "stipulated license" be granted. This means that the restaurant could operate under a temporary license until its (still as yet unscheduled) hearing in front of the liquor board is completed. The full ANC will vote on these recommendations at their meeting on Monday (Jan. 11).
Owner Justin Ross said that the build out isn't quite complete yet and that there's still a few weeks of work to take care of, but he's hoping to open within four weeks or so.

This Week's Events, and a Few Other Quick Items
Dec 14, 2009 10:41 AM
Rounding up the items on this week's agenda:
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly meeting. Alas, no agenda released yet, a common occurrence that should put them on Santa's "naughty" list.
* Tuesday through Friday is the BID's Holiday Market, running each day on Canal Park from noon to 6 pm, with live music from noon to 2. (If you're seeing activity at Second and M today, that's what it is.)
* Tuesday has the next Lower Eighth Street Visioning meetings, at 8:30 am and 7 pm at 535 8th St., SE. These sessions will "focus on best practice examples and build-out scenarios," and an agenda just mailed out by the BID (which is running the sessions) shows guest speakers Richard Lake of Roadside Development (the folks behind the redo of the O Street Market) and Wayne Dickson of Blake Real Estate. There's also an agenda item on "The Need for a Community Center."
* On Wednesday (Dec. 16) the BID is throwing a free Residents' Holiday Party at the Courtyard by Marriott, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. They'll also keep the Holiday Market open an extra hour (until 7 pm) for residents, and there'll be live music.
* The BID is having its annual meeting on Thursday, with speakers Tommy Wells, Stan Kasten of the Nationals, and Christopher Leinberger, a walkable urbanism expert from the Brookings Institution. In previewing the event on the Breaking Ground blog last week, WBJ's Melissa Castro listed a series of stats about the Capitol Riverfront provided by Jones Lang LaSalle, including that the total office vacancy rate for the area through the third quarter is at 19.2 percent (though it's listed as being at 14.7 percent at the end of October in this subsequent WBJ article). It would have been nice, though, if she'd given @capitolhilldc credit (rather than just "a Twitter user") for the tweet about being the 24th person in line at the DOT Starbucks Thursday morning, which also brought a few fun responses when I retweeted it.
* ANC 6D07 rep Bob Siegel mentioned this at last week's ABC committee meeting, and it's confirmed in the city's land records: there are now 12 units occupied at Velocity.
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A Few Tidbits on Justin's Cafe
Dec 10, 2009 11:11 AM
From last night's meeting of ANC 6D's ABC Committee, some bullet points on Justin's Cafe, the planned "fast casual" restaurant in the ground floor of Velocity on First Street between K and L (some of these are old, some are new, but for those just tuning in...):
* Justin Ross, the owner, is hoping to open the place by late January, although because of some issues with an ill partner, the liquor license has not yet been applied for, but he hopes that the paperwork will be filed with the city within the next week. (He won't open the restaurant until the liquor license has been granted, although he says the construction is now about 85 percent done.) He's applying for a Class C restaurant license, for beer, wine, and liquor.
* Expected hours are 11:30 am to 11 pm for food service (10 pm Sunday), with hopes that the bar can stay open later, perhaps until 2 am Friday/Saturday and 1 am other days.
* The space is not huge, about 1,400 square feet--it will have 24 seats for eating, and nine stools at the bar. There will be no outside tables. It will be an order-at-the-counter-and-sit set up (though he also expects a fair amount of takeout orders for nearby offices).
* No live entertainment, just TVs and music.
* The menu is salads and soup, sandwiches/paninis, and American-Neapolitan pizzas. Lots of veggies with the sandwiches and on the pizzas (he handed out a draft of it at the meeting). Sweet potato fries are on the menu, and bread choices are three-grain wheat, ciabatta, baguette, and spinach tortilla wrap (along with white/wheat crusts for the pizzas).
* JustinsCafe.com will be the web site, though it's not up yet.
Nats fans should note that this will become the closest *indoor* bar to the ballpark, as it's only two blocks north of the parking garages.
The ANC and Justin will be negotiating a voluntary agreement, which will probably go to the ANC for approval at its January meeting, but the subcommittee members and the 6D commissioners in attendance seem very pleased with the project.

Canal Park Update: Design Development Phase Nearing Completion, But....
Dec 8, 2009 1:29 PM
At its November meeting, ANC 6D received an update on the progress of Canal Park, but I was out of town and missed the presentation, so I've gotten a quick status update from Chris Vanarsdale of the Canal Park Development Association. He passes along that the design development phase is nearing completion, and that hopefully in a few weeks they'll make available a revised plan view of the park--the middle block has apparently undergone some significant changes, with the addition of a much larger water feature and the reconfiguration of the pavilion in that block. You can see some renderings of the pavilions planned for the south end of the park (at M Street) on my Canal Park page, although there will probably be some revisions to the designs of these structures as well.
On the flip side, the anticipated start of construction is now being quoted as September 2010, about six months later than what's been on the boards for most of this year. It was reported back in October that the design approved by the National Capital Planning Commission would cost $18 million, $5.5 million more than the grant the CPDA has received to design and build the park; I don't know whether the park's design is being scaled back or whether they're still hoping to raise the extra funds (I've asked, but haven't received an answer).
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More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, meetings

Next Week's Events (Justin's Cafe Liquor License, Boathouse Lighting, ANC6B)
Dec 3, 2009 9:17 AM
A couple events on the calendar for the week of Dec. 7 to highlight:
* On Wednesday, Dec. 9, ANC 6D's ABC committee will be having its monthly meeting (in advance of the full ANC meeting on Dec. 14), and on the agenda is "presentation of plans by Justin Ross re Justin's Cafe planned for 1st & L Streets, SE." This is the first step in the (long) process for Velocity's restaurant to get its liquor license, although I haven't yet seen an announcement/posting for their official ABRA hearing (maybe it'll be in tomorrow's DC Register). The meeting is at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, S.W.
* The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association will be having its annual Boathouse Lighting and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 pm. This year's honorees include Tommy Wells, winner of the ACBA's "Champion" Award, who will get to flip the switch to turn on the holiday lights. The boathouse is at 1115 O Street, SE, nestled between the two spans of the 11th Street Bridges.
* ANC 6B (which is mostly Capitol Hill but includes the Eighth Street area south of the freeway in its boundaries) is having its monthly meeting on Dec. 8, and it includes a presentation by WASA on the Combined Sewer Overflow Project, and a resolution on the Ward 6 Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009, which has its city council hearing on Dec. 10. The meeting is at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Canal Park Briefing at ANC 6D; CSX Meetings; Lower 8th Street Documents and Agenda
Nov 5, 2009 9:46 PM
Here's a bunch of little items and event reminders. Alas, next week's pile of happenings come at a bad time on my calendar, and I'm going to have to miss almost all of them, so this would be a good chance for everyone to attend these meetings themselves instead of sitting around waiting for me to tell you what happened at them. :-)
* ANC 6D (Southwest and Near Southeast) has posted the agenda for its November meeting, which includes an update on the plans for Canal Park. It's on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 pm, at St. Augustine's, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* The next night, ANC 6B (Capitol Hill SE and Eighth Street) is having its November meeting, where there will be a presentation by CSX on its planned Virginia Avenue Tunnel construction. (Voice of the Hill recently wrote about the plans, and you can read my posts about them, which include links to some source documents.) ANC 6B's meeting is Nov. 10 at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.
* Plus, the Friends of Garfield Park are having their own informational meeting about the CSX plans, on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 pm at Capitol Hill Day School (Second and South Carolina, SE).
* The Lower 8th Street Visioning Process folks have posted the minutes, historical background, and main presentation slides from their two October sessions. They've also posted the agenda for their November meetings, scheduled for 8:30 am and 7 pm on November 17 at the People's Church, 535 Eighth St., SE.
* And, if these events aren't enough for you, you can also watch on Nov. 12 the city council's Committee on Finance and Revenue Hearing on the bill that would allow the sale of bonds via the city's CFO office that would pay for a considerable amount of "Phase 3" infrastructure work for Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment, encompassing some as-yet-undetermined combination of underground work on the Second Street blocks, the relocation of the DPW operations at New Jersey and K and demolition of that block, and the construction of I Street between Second and New Jersey. (This is above and beyond the $9.5 million in federal stimulus funds that the city is receiving to allow Capitol Quarter's second phase of townhouses to go forward.) The council hearing is on the 12th at 10 am, and you can watch on DC cable channel 13 or via the channel's web site. Here's my post about this proposed bill, if you want to know more.

ANC 6D Doings (Short Version: Three Thumbs Up)
Oct 19, 2009 8:56 PM
While my dinner is in the oven, here's the speediest of reports from tonight's ANC 6D meeting:
* The ANC voted 7-0 on a resolution supporting the city council's proposed marriage equality act.
* They voted 5-2 to support Florida Rock Properties' pending request in front of the Zoning Commission to extend the deadline for the first building permit application at RiverFront two years, to June, 2012, which would push the deadline for the start of first-phase construction to 2013. (Read this entry for more details, and see my project page for specifics on the development itself.) It's expected that this will be taken up at the November 9th ZC public meeting.
David Briggs of Holland and Knight, representing FRP, said that while the developer has worked "assiduously and tenaciously" since last year to find either equity or construction funding, the notion of starting the first-phase office building within the current zoning timeline is "just not viable." FRP does say, though, that they will be continuing to search for funding if they receive the extension. In the meantime, FRP made its required $800,000 payment to the city last fall to help defray the costs of Diamond Teague Park next door; I asked if there were any possibility that perhaps the land on the very east end of the Florida Rock site, which will eventually be a public plaza that abuts Teague Park, might be cleared and opened as public space before the construction begins on the office building--they're "looking at options."
* The commissioners also voted 7-0 to support the zoning special exception request by the operator of the six-unit "Casa degli Angeli" at Third and L, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental and which is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast. The Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17.

RiverFront/Florida Rock Seeking Time Extension From Zoning Commission; More Zoning, CSX, CapitalSpace
Oct 18, 2009 2:49 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been posted, with two Near Southeast items listed. The first is that the developers of the RiverFront (aka Florida Rock) site between the Anacostia and the ballpark are apparently filing for a time extension on their zoning PUD ("planned unit development," for those of you mercifully unaware). When the zoning approval for this project finally came through in 2008 (after years of slogging through the process), the developers were given until May of 2010 to apply for building permits for the first phase of the project (an office building on the east end of the site, near Diamond Teague Park), with construction then required to start by May 2011. So, although it was recently reported that Florida Rock Properties is looking for an equity partner to help finance the development of the site, they clearly believe that it will be tough for them to meet the zoning order timeline.
Timeline extensions are increasingly common cases being heard by the Zoning Commission these days, as financing for commercial real estate development continues to be extremely difficult to procure; the Capper redevelopment received one earlier this year. I don't yet see a hearing date for FRP's extension request on the zoning calendar.
In other tidbits:
* Also on the 6D agenda is the "Casa degli Angeli" at Third and L, which has a Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing scheduled for Nov. 17. The six-unit building, which is currently operating as a month-to-month room rental, is looking for a zoning change to become a full-fledged bed and breakfast.
* The latest issue of Voice of the Hill has more detail on the CSX plans to expand the Virginia Avenue tunnel; you can read the documents that CSX submitted to the National Capital Regional Transportation Planning Board for some additional details. Quoting the Voice: "CSX spokesperson Bob Sullivan said the project would take between two-and-a-half and three years, while a District Department of Transportation Department official made a slightly lower estimate. 'We anticipate that there would be some traffic impacts during the course of this project, which is probably going to last a couple of years,' said agency spokesperson John Lisle.'" Neighbors in the area are concerned: ANC 6B will be getting a briefing about the plans at its Nov. 10 meeting.
* On Oct. 27, there's a public meeting about the CapitalSpace plan, "the first comprehensive analysis of Washington's parks and open space in almost 40 years," which is attempting to get the various federal and local agencies that run the many parks in the city more closely coordinated, along with other plans to improve the parks themselves. The meeting is at the MLK Library from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Streetcar Meetings; Corus/Starwood Deal; ANC 6D; Seniors H1N1 Shots
Oct 15, 2009 10:23 AM
If you can wait an extra minute or to before going back to bed and pulling the covers over you until this cold rain is over, here's a few (very) small items:
* DDOT sent out a press release late Wednesday announcing a series of public meetings to "engage residents and businesses in the implementation of improvements proposed for the transit system for the city, including streetcars", the first phase of which should eventually run across the 11th Street Bridges from Anacostia to H Street NE. They haven't posted the release on their own web site yet, but Streetcars for DC has it (UPDATE: it's now posted at DDOT, and amended slightly). The closest meeting to Near Southeast is the first one, Oct. 22 from 7 to 8:30 pm at J.O. Wilson Elementary, 660 K St., NE. For more information, visit DDOT's Streetcar pages.
And, via BeyondDC, the WBJ is reporting that the H Street portion of the first phase will be completed first, thanks to lobbying by Tommy Wells. Wells is also working to overturn the longtime ban on overhead wires in parts of the city that include H Street, according to the article. But no timeline for the start of construction has been mentioned. (UPDATE 2: In a tweet, DDOT says this: "Our official target date is still late 2012 for Anacostia, but we are working to accelerate that line as well as H/Benning.")
Unfortunately, DDOT's current site doesn't include the early studies for the project, but Richard Layman ferreted out the web archive version of the site, where you can see the line down M Street SE and SW was one of the possible additional lines at this time. Will there be one in the next phase of plans?
* It may not seem like the sale of Corus Bank's portfolio of distressed construction loans to a group led by Starwood Capital Group would be of much interest, but included in that portfolio are the construction loans for both Velocity Condos and Monument's 55 M Street office building. This shouldn't have much of an impact on Velocity, but could help 55 M in its quest to lease space, as potential tenants see more certainty surrounding the building's financing.
* ANC 6D's October monthly meeting is Monday, Oct. 19, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's, 6th and M streets, SW. No agenda released as of yet (which is why I cry when I see other ANCs that post their agendas well over a week [sometimes two] before their meetings).
* Tommy Wells has arranged for free seasonal flu shots (not H1N1) to be given to senior citizens in Southwest and near Southeast on Saturday, Oct. 17, from 9 am to noon at the Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, SW. The shots will be free for seniors with Medicare Part B as their primary insurance, or $30 otherwise.
* (ADDED) I linked to a story about this idea a few weeks back, but here's a detailed post from TSArchitect (cross-posted at GGW) on "McMillan Two," which would radically remake the Anacostia Waterfront by filling in much of the river to narrow it to a width of about 500 feet, the same as the Seine in central Paris.

Group Working on Dog Park at Virginia Ave. Park
Sep 10, 2009 1:41 PM
There's a move afoot to create a dog park in a portion of Virginia Avenue Park, the little-known greenspace nestled between Ninth and 11th streets, SE, just south (and under!) the SE Freeway. (I'm as guilty as anyone for not swinging by there more often--I only have a few paltry photos posted, and hardly any recent ones.) "Capitol Canines" is proposing to use space on the 11th Street side of the park, and at Tuesday's ANC6B meeting, the commissioners voted unanimously to support the proposal.
This idea is still very much in its early stages, and the group will be needing to raise money to get the improvements built. (Virginia Avenue Park itself is run and maintained by the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, although property records say the land is owned by the feds.) Here's an early rendering of the vision for the park, with the dog park at right; at left is a new playground that a private developer/individual is interested in creating, and the existing community garden is at the bottom, along L Street. The three groups will need to coordinate together as the project moves forward.
If you're interested in being part of the project or in getting more information, you can join the Google Group they've set up; the petition they're circulating for support is also available online.
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More posts: ANC News, Dog Parks, 8th Street, Virginia Ave Park

Upcoming Events (11th Street Bridges, Last Movie, Capitol Quarter Ribbon Cutting)
Aug 18, 2009 12:40 PM
A slew of upcoming events to pass along:
* On Wednesday (Aug. 19), there's going to be an 11th Street Bridges Open House, billed as an update for Ward 8 residents about the status of the bridge replacement project. (But I'm guessing people from other wards can come, too.) It's from 7 pm to 8:30 pm, at the Union Temple Baptist Church at 1225 W St., SE.
* Thursday (Aug. 20) is the last night of the BID's 80's Outdoor Movies series, with "Ghostbusters" on the bill (rescheduled from a rainout earlier this year). Apparently the BID is planning a four-week fall movie series starting in September; I'll pass more along on that when I get it.
* Next Wednesday (Aug. 26) the DC Housing Authority is holding an official ribbon cutting and grand opening at Capitol Quarter, from 10 am to noon at Fourth and L, with the mayor expected to be in attendance. This is just a little over two years after the ceremonial groundbreaking, held on a sweltering day in June 2007.
* If you're desperate for something to do Wednesday morning but a ribbon cutting isn't your thing, the U.S. Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard will host "Pirate or Privateer? War of 1812 Day," a series of demonstrations and lectures on the War of 1812. The program, which runs from 10 am to 2 pm, includes Gun Drills in the replica of the USS Constitution and Sea Chanteys. The event is free and open to the public, though note that there's no parking available inside the gates for visitors.
* The National Capital Planning Commission again has the design of the 11th Street Bridges on their tentative agenda, for their Sept. 3 meeting. It had also been on the tentative agenda for the July meeting, but didn't make the final cut; hopefully that won't happen again, because NCPC always puts together such great reports on the projects it votes on (and posts them on their web site), so it's a good place to get details that have been hard to find elsewhere.
* This is still a few weeks away, but residents might want to mark their calendars that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* The next day, Sept. 15, Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions, from 3 pm to 4 pm will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists).
All of these are of course on my Upcoming Events Calendar.

Upcoming Events, and Other Linky Goodness
Jul 14, 2009 12:14 PM
* This Sunday (July 19), there's going to be a "Grill-Off" at Nationals Park before the 1:30 game against the Cubs. Phil Bucco, who oversees the menus at the ballpark, will be competing against Teddy Folkman, the executive chef at Granville Moore's. It'll be an Iron Chef-like challenge, where the chefs won't know the ingredient they're working with beforehand. The event starts at noon, but the first-come first-served seats (in the Nats Family Fun Area) can be grabbed starting at 11 am, when the gates open. Plates will be judged at 1 pm.
* On Tuesday, July 21, the BID is hosting a "Mental Mapping" event, where they're asking residents to "Sketch out your shopping route to assist in a study about neighborhood retail needs." It's at Capitol Hill Tower at 6:30 pm; RSVP to rsvp@capitolriverfront.org.
* On Saturday, Aug. 8, the 3rd Annual Youth River Sports Day will be held at the Anacostia Community Boathouse, from 10 am to 2 pm. Rowing and paddling instruction, guided river tours, and more will be offered; my photos from last year's event give a taste of the activities.
* This is a ways off, but SWDC Blog reports that the next ANC 6D meeting, on Sept. 14 (no August meeting) will be held in Southeast, at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L. I've been attending ANC meetings off and on for six years, and this is the first one I remember that will be crossing South Capitol Street.
* Even farther off (well, the next day), Urban Land Institute Washington is holding its third Urban Marketplace Conference and Expo, which brings together "the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to explore redevelopment opportunities and best practices in emerging neighborhoods and corridors across the Washington metropolitan region." One of the day's discussions will focus on the ballpark district (and I'm one of the panelists). Early-bird registration ends July 31.
* In non-event news, Fox 5 reports on how the Nationals' problems on the field "are making the city's $700-million stadium look like a bad investment." To wit: "Before the stadium was built, the city projected average attendance at 34,708 per game and tax revenues from tickets and merchandise of $15.1 million for this season. The reality, average attendance is about 23,213, ranking the Nationals 24th out of 30 teams. Based on attendance figures through June, the city now estimates tax revenues of about $8.9 million. The office of the Chief Financial Officer says tax revenues could increase because average attendance has improved slightly since June." However, "The office of the Chief Financial Officer estimates the city will raise $50.2 million through its Ballpark Revenue Fund, more than enough to make the $32-million bond payment on the stadium with money left over. The bulk of that however does not come from the Ballpark itself, but rather from a utility tax and a business tax in the city."
* Since I was out of town this weekend, I missed all the Elton/Billy hullabaloo. Here's a pile of reviews and blog posts having to do with the big show.
* For your (off-topic) Real Estate Development Collapse reading pleasure, a long piece on Williamsburg, NY: "Most unsettling are the cases of the developers who seem to have vanished, leaving behind so many vacant lots and half-completed buildings--eighteen, to be precise, more than can be found in all of the Bronx--that large swaths of the neighborhood have come to resemble a city after an air raid."

L Street Doings, and Stories on Stuff There's Already Been Stories On
Jun 4, 2009 11:21 PM
* ANC 6D's meeting on Monday night (June 8) looks to be a little shorter than usual, with only a few agenda items, one of which is a public space permit request by the Courtyard by Marriott to expand (?) their sidewalk cafe.
* Speaking of L Street, a reader wrote today about the Little Red Building at Second and L, once known as the Star Market. Apparently the owner was posting a liquor license hearing notice, which gives me a feeling of deja vu, since this also happened in September 2006. The owner told my anonymous tipster about his plans for the building, which are pretty much what we've been hearing since 2006: tear down the building and build a new two-story structure, with the first floor being a liquor store and the second floor being a deli (at other points over the past few years it was a sushi bar and then a wine bar on the second floor). The plans have even stayed mostly the same after the building changed hands last year for $900,000. See my various posts from 2006 through 2008 about the previous attempts to change the building's liquor license and the negotiations with the ANC.
* Lots of coverage today of the city "landing a movie project," though it's the Owen Wilson/Reese Withersoon/Paul Rudd baseball movie that was first reported on back in May. Parts of it will be filmed at Nationals Park.
* In a similar vein, the Post reports today on the trapeze school coming to DC, which we discussed a few days back. Negotiations are still underway to have them "land" (ar-ar) at The Yards after they spend the summer on the old Convention Center site.

Video of Obama at Five Guys, Ward 6 Family Day, and Other Tidbits
Jun 3, 2009 10:19 PM
* Admit it: you know you want to see it--here's NBC's coverage of the Obama visit to Five Guys, from Tuesday night's "Inside the Obama White House" special. (Click on "Part 5", "Out to Lunch with Obama.") With a bunch of brief glimpses of the Little Red Building!
* The Third Annual Ward 6 Family Day is happening on June 20, from 11 am to 3 pm at the Rosedale Rec Center in Northeast. Tommy Wells's web site says activities will include "Capitol Hill Bikes free bike safety inspections and adjustments, celebrity kickball game, Washington Humane Society animal adoption and training, basketball games, face painting, moon bounce, corn hole tournament, horseshoes and live music. In addition, the pool will be open for the summer."
* The Nationals are having their first Ladies Night and Homerun Happy Hour of 2009, Thursday night (June 4). Free food (Hard Times) and beverages, and "shopping, dancing, massages and manicures with participating vendors." There'll even be a mechanical bull. Tickets are $30, and include a seat in sections 101-104.
* The Board of Zoning Adjustment has approved Donohoe's requested extension on the special exception it received back in 2007 for its planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Avenue, which would have expired at the end of this year. I didn't watch the hearing, so I don't know how long the extension is good for.
* WBJ and City Paper have coverage of the naming of Valerie Santos Young as the new Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
* The May issue of the Waterfront Watch newsletter on doings around the Anacostia River is now available.
* The June Hill Rag has a summary of May's ANC 6D meeting, where Capitol Riverfront BID executive director Michael Stevens gave a primer on the BID's operations and plans.
* Speaking of the BID, they've redesigned their web site.

Friday Tidbits: BID Newsletter, ANC Agenda
May 8, 2009 10:38 AM
Between it being Friday and the sun finally being out, I bet everyone's feeling a bit better today. Maybe even Biking to Work! So, a few tidbits:
* The latest Capitol Riverfront BID newsletter is out, with a few items of note. First off, there's a new "branding" campaign going on--"Be Out Front." Look for signs promoting "Front Yard," "Front Office," "Front Door," "Store Front," etc. And they'll soon be launching an equally rebranded web site.
Also, the current estimated population within the BID is 1,584 residents; the newsletter says that there are now more than 2,000 residential units, more than half of which are leased/sold and occupied.
The newsletter also gives the Bullpen's official opening date as May 15, and also mentions that the weekly Tuesday farmer's market at USDOT is now underway, and that the weekly Wednesday lunchtime concerts start on May 20.
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting is out (hopefully it'll show up online before the meeting itself), and the only Near Southeast item is a presentation by Michael Stevens of the BID--kind of a BID 101 tutorial for the ANC commissioners. Otherwise, it's voting on marathons, bus stops, after-school programs, and also an announcement of a "Southwest Night" at Ft. McNair on July 1. The meeting is at 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm. (Maybe next month it'll finally move to the new digs at the new 1D police station at the former Bowen Elementary.)
* The Examiner reports that the 2010 federal budget includes $15 million for "Southeast Federal Center remediation." There's certainly been piles of environmental cleanup there over the years (not surprising when it used to be blocks and blocks of munitions factories).
* EYA has spiffed up its web site a bit--their Capitol Quarter page is worth a visit if you haven't checked it out before.

ANC Concerns about Capper Returns, Community Center Construction Delays
Apr 14, 2009 2:22 PM
At Monday night's meeting, ANC 6D voted 6-0-1 to approve a letter drafted by commissioners McBee and Siegel responding to submissions by the Housing Authority in the wake of the marathon March 20 zoning commission hearing on the various modifications and extensions being requested for the Capper PUD. As I wrote on the 20th, there was much discussion about DCHA's request to delay construction of the planned community center until at least 2011, and there was also testimony by two former Capper residents that DCHA isn't adhering to what the 2004 zoning order requires in terms of job training and other social services for the former Capper residents.
The letter ANC 6D is now forwarding to the Zoning Commission can be read here, and it addresses in detail the Community Support Services Program (CSSP) and the community center. The DCHA numbers quoted in the ANC letter show an initial CSSP case load since 2005 of 828 cases, with only 394 cases now active due to residents declining to participate, being declared ineligible, or having gone "missing." The letter also says that no further funding for the CSSP program is forthcoming from HUD, and says that the numbers provided by DCHA "do not paint a good picture for a Hope VI Project whose main objective is sustainability and empowerment for the effected community."
As for the community center planned for Fifth and K, the ANC says that its delay "has already done sufficient damage" and that its absence "will fail to address the social and educational needs of the residents." The ANC also notes a lack of any mention of the center in various testimonies by DCHA on their budget and on stimulus dollars coming to the city, saying "we now have no confidence [...] that the Center will ever be built."
The Zoning Commission's next hearing on these Capper doings is expected to be on April 27.

Details on the Akridge 'Festival Park' at the Stadium
Apr 13, 2009 10:12 PM
Tonight ANC 6D gave its support to a plan for "Festival Park on Half Street," a 14,000-square-foot combination food, drink, and activity space on the northwest corner of Half and N streets, on land owned by Akridge directly across from Nationals Park.
This is the "beer garden" that caused a bit of a stir last week, and representatives of Akridge, Georgetown Events, and Headfirst Sports were on hand to explain their concept to the ANC. A document handed out describes it as a space with "a large tent that will include a beverage station, a temporary stage for live music, porta johns, tables with seating, possible baseball netting cages for live instruction, and a children's activity area." It would be open on game days beginning three hours before game time and ending two hours after (or before midnight regardless of whether the game is over). The newly erected 12-foot-high wooden fence would surround the site, with one entrance where IDs will be checked and bracelets given to those 21 and older, with up to 12 security employees on hand. There would be food from third-party vendors as well as Georgetown Events' own restaurants (Surfside, Jetties, and the Rookery). There's also the possibility of activities in the space (such as farmers' markets or other events) on non-gamedays, though the lease for the space ends at the beginning of November.
Headfirst Sports (named by Sports Illustrated for Kids as the "Best Summer Camp in the Entire Washington Area") is planning to run in the park a "variety of games, contests, and competitions as well as small clinic and group instruction aimed at teaching young Nationals fans how to play and love baseball and softball." The operator of Headfirst also made clear his interest in working with youth groups from the neighborhood in sessions apart from the gameday activities.
The ANC commissioners were supportive of the plans, although they had a lot of questions (too bad you all missed the long discussion of whether the phrase "frozen drinks" is a legal term), and 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel complimented the group, saying "you convinced us that this is going to possibly work." Some specifics still need to be hammered out in the "voluntary agreement" that Georgetown Events is entering into with the ANC, but the commissioners voted 7-0 to support the group's application for a "Tavern" liquor license. An April 30-May 1 opening date is being targeted, but there is still city bureaucracy to contend with.
As for the Akridge site, baseball fans heading to the ballpark today were met with a slew of new signage on the west side of Half Street advertising "Akridge at Half Street"--the new web site shows some of the art on the signs, and I also took a few photos of the fences and put them on my Akridge Half Street page, though the skies were so gloomy that I couldn't bring myself to post the complete set. There's a spot where local artists will be creating works right on the fence, and there is also a chalkboard where passers-by can write messages, as many did today.
UPDATE: Some additional details on the plans from WBJ.

More on the 'Beer Garden' (or Not)
Apr 9, 2009 5:14 PM
City Paper does some digging on the "Beer Garden" item on ANC6D's April 13 agenda that I posted about yesterday: "Andrew J. Kline, representing Robert 'Bo' Blair, said at a March 25 meeting of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board that his client wants to create a 'festival site with amenities' near Nationals Stadium, but that 'beer garden is not our term, I don't know where that came from.' [Note from JD: that's what it said on the ANC agenda.]
"Blair, who is on four licenses in the city, according to Kline, plans to hire private security staff, and there will be one main entrance to the festival site. There will be no cover for admittance, and there will be a separate tent where alcohol is served where staff will check IDs. Their preliminary proposal indicates a trailer will be used to lock up liquor when there's no game."
UPDATE: Further information in a WashPost piece on food and drink options near the ballpark: "And the real estate firm Akridge, which plans to eventually turn the space of a former Metrobus garage at Half and M streets into shops, offices and residential units, is hoping to convert the now-empty lot across from the centerfield gate on N Street into something of a block party this season. 'The concept is a tented event space -- partially tented, mostly open -- with live entertainment, food and beverages," says Akridge Development Manager Adam Gooch. 'Half Street is supposed to be the entertainment area.... We're trying to get some life down here.' Permits, schedules and most of the details of the project have yet to be finalized[.]"

A 'Beer Garden' at Half and N?
Apr 7, 2009 8:14 PM
The agenda for the April 13 ANC 6D meeting has been mailed out (though isn't yet posted online), and one of the items is "Akridge Realty Beer Garden"--apparently they are looking to have a summertime offering on their land at Half and N, across from the ballpark. I presume it would just be on game nights, though I don't know for sure, and don't know anymore than what I've written here. More as I get it....
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More posts: West Half St., ANC News, Fairgrounds/Bullpen, meetings

4 1/2 Hours of Capper Zoning in Capsule Form
Mar 20, 2009 7:04 PM
How can I possibly summarize in this small space the never-ending parade of testimony and questions at last night's hearing on the various Capper zoning modification requests? (I just thank the heavens I watched the web cast and didn't attend in person.) If you didn't avail yourself of this entertainment, you'll just have to wait for the transcript to come out to get all the specifics, but here's a few bullet points on issues that were brought up (read the Office of Planning report on what was actually being requested):
* Commissioner May was displeased that there were no "sample boards" of the exterior finishes for the two new apartment buildings, as is apparently required for a stage 2 planned-unit-development approval.
* The commissioners were clearly befuddled by the scope of the requests, variances, and exceptions before them, even though last year they had requested that the three separate filings be grouped together in a single hearing.
* There was much discussion of the request to further delay the construction of the community center until at least 2011, with the Housing Authority testifying at length as to the financial realities of the bond and lending markets (see more about that here), and members of the public and ANC commissioners (Siegel and McBee of 6D) emphasizing as they have in the past "the community's" need for the center and questioning DCHA's idea that the neighborhood needs to reach a "critical mass" before the center should be built (does 300 completed units out of a planned 1700 meet that threshold?). DCHA said repeatedly that building a community center is a promise they have made that will not be broken, but that right now it's just not a possibility.
* Two former Capper residents testified to their belief that the Housing Authority is not adhering to what's required in terms of job training and other social services that are supposed to be provided while residents are waiting to move back, which got chair Anthony Hood into a bit of a dander. (Read pages 12-14 of the 2004 Capper zoning order to see what is expected in this realm.) This and the other public comments (such as the "why can't you use Obama's stimulus money?" question that had come up at ANC 6D) brought a somewhat forceful response from David Cortiella of the Housing Authority as to what they're doing for the former residents, and he again went through the current barriers to financing the center. There was then a minor dustup between commissioners Jeffries and May, with May pressing the housing authority on its performance and timeline and Jeffries expressing some level of surprise that the zoning commission was questioning a Hope VI redevelopment's financial problems "in this economic climate."
By the time the hearing wrapped up at 11:15 pm (and I'd be lying if I said I had paid attention to every word), the commission was requesting a series of additional filings from the housing authority and its team, and put it all on their April 27 agenda. (And look for this to be back on the ANC 6D agenda on April 13, too.)
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning

ANC 6D Supports Capper PUD Modifications
Mar 10, 2009 10:57 AM
I can't hardly bring myself to write about the Capper PUD modification requests *again* (my first post on them was back in July), so I'll just stick to the basics and say that on Monday night ANC 6D voted to support the three requests, with provisos that the Zoning Commission request the start date for construction of the community center be in 2011 and not 2012 and that the Housing Authority provide *50* parking spaces in the lot at 7th and M for health-care workers who visit the Capper Seniors #1 apartment building, where apparently there is trouble with parking (according to commissioner Robert Siegel, who lives across the street). The delay on the community center was again a major sticking point (just as it was at the February meeting where these requests were also presented, giving Monday night a very Groundhog Day feel), and the Housing Authority representatives again explained that the center must be financed with bonds, which are all but impossible to "float" these days given the economic realities. (The bonds that eventually pay for the community center will also pay for the demolition of the trash transfer station and the other infrastructure work needed on the western edge of the Capper footprint, around Canal Park.) Cries of "but what about the Obama stimulus money?" also were left unsatisfied. But, in the end, with the extra wording proposed by Commissioner Sobelsohn and approved by Siegel, the resolution passed.
The Zoning Commission will have its hearing on these three requests on March 19. Read my February or July postings for all the specifics. And I hope to at some point get renderings of the apartment buildings planned for L Street between Second and Third and between Sixth and Seventh (hint, hint).
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, meetings, zoning

First Posted Rendering of Akridge Half Street
Mar 6, 2009 2:37 PM
With a hat tip to reader M. for seeing that this page has finally gone live (I figured out the URL a few months back, but they hadn't linked to it anywhere yet and hadn't included any drawings), I can point you to Akridge's small info page on 25 M Street, which includes one of the many renderings that Akridge displayed at the ANC and Zoning Commission hearings over the past few months. It's a view of the northern section of the west side of Half Street; at the very far right you can see Lerner's 20 M Street building, if that helps orient you. (It's drawn as if you're standing on Half Street at the very southern corner of 55 M, looking northwest). It shows the two office buildings, with the "Via" being the open space between them. (Not shown is the horseshoe-shaped residential building on the southern end of the block.) You can read my more detailed description of the Akridge plans here, and see my project page for photos of what the site currently looks like (hint: it's the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage).
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More posts: West Half St., ANC News, Metro/WMATA

ANC 6D Meeting on Monday
Mar 6, 2009 1:44 PM
The agenda has been sent out (though not yet posted) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW. The only Near Southeast item on the agenda is a vote on the three zoning PUD modifications being sought for the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment--they were presented to the ANC back in February, which you can read about here. Other agenda items include updates on the Waterside Mall redevelopment and the Southwest Zoning Planning process, the SunTrust marathon, the proposals for the new firehouse at 4th and School, SW, and the job fair held in Southwest earlier this week for employment at Nationals Park.

ANC Supports Yards Park Phase 2; Tidbits on 11th Street Bridges; Nothing Else
Feb 11, 2009 1:29 PM
* With thanks to SWill for passing the word (since I couldn't attend the meeting), I can report that ANC 6D on Monday night voted to support the plans for phase 2 of the Yards Park, which will be going in front of the Zoning Commission on March 2. (You can read my summary of last week's presentation to the ANC on the plans for more information.)
* If you're looking for analysis of what exactly the plans for the new 11th Street Bridges configuration might mean, Greater Greater Washington is taking a look at them (part one here; part two not yet posted). For what might perhaps be called an opposing viewpoint, DDOT's chief engineer Kathleen Penney contributed this article in the February Hill Rag about what DDOT sees as the benefits of the project. And, if you want some 11th Street Bridges material to use as a sleeping aid, I pass along this link (via Tommy Wells's blog) to the RFP for the design/build contract. (The "amendment" link is the *slightly* more comprehensible one.) There was a hearing last week on a bill about the contracting procedures for the bridge, but I'm not *so* desperate for content to wade into that.
(UPDATE) I already posted about this, but it's a good time to mention again that there's a public forum on the 11th Street Bridges on Feb. 17: "Sustainable Development, Infrastructure, and the Future of the District of Columbia," at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm. (DDOT just sent around its own announcement, now posted online.)
* And hey, check it out, the council has finally updated the user interface for its legislation database!
* Other than that, all is very quiet these days. Though those following my Twittering were apprised yesterday of this breaking news item: "[I] Dreamt last night that 3rd and K Market was reopening both as a bodega and a swank Indian food joint. With a new noodle place next door."

Lazy Weekend Tidbits: Capitol Quarter, ANC 6D
Feb 8, 2009 11:10 AM
Been kind of a nice few days here without much news, so now I'm having to force myself back into the routine. I'll start small:
* An update to the post about the new houses released at Capitol Quarter: EYA tells me that the houses released are spread throughout the development: 421 L Street, under construction and expected to be ready in April (listed for $720,340 on the EYA "Move In Now" list), two houses in the block just to the north (expected to be ready in the fall), and four houses in the block bounded by I/Virginia, Fifth, Fourth, and K that could be ready by the end of the year. On all of these blocks the reservations placed by homeowners over the past few years have now been converted to contracts; that is expected to happen for the final Phase 1 block (between Third and Fourth and Virginia and I) later this year.
* The agenda for Monday night's ANC 6D meeting is posted, and it includes a vote on the Phase 2 designs of the Yards Park that were discussed at last week's special meeting. I've also now added a bunch of those Phase 2 renderings to my Yards Park page. Other items on the ANC 6D agenda are about Southwest subjects, though I should note that the National Marathon on March 21 (which they'll be discussing) will be coming across the Douglass Bridge, briefly using South Capitol Street until it turns west on P Street.
There's also an agenda item about a BZA application for 1101 South Capitol St., SW, which was the old KFC. This is a good opportunity for me to mention that, with two blogs about Southwest now in full flight, I'm going back to my original boundaries, which old-timers will remember stopped in the median of South Capitol Street, which is where Southeast ends and Southwest begins. I'm lucky enough to be watching a neighborhood that has probably the firmest boundaries of any in the city, so I'm going to respect them!
* City budget season is nearly upon us. I've added to my calendar a partial list of dates for FY08-09 oversight and FY10 budget hearings, for agencies that have the most bearing on Near Southeast. Check the DC Council web site for the full list.

Capper Zoning Changes Presented to ANC 6D
Feb 4, 2009 3:17 PM
The last item to summarize from Monday's ANC 6D presentation hearing was an update on the series of changes being requested to the Capper/Carrollsburg PUD. I've been writing about some portion of these requests since July, so here's some bullet points I've previously written (I just can't bring myself to have to compose new entries about this stuff AGAIN), along with comments from the ANC commissioners:
* Expanding the number of units at Capper: "There are five new apartment buildings slated to be built, three of which along the east side of Canal Park where the temporary parking lots are, and another at New Jersey and K on the trash transfer site. And there is a new plan for a fifth apartment building, on L Street across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (B.E.Q), on the northern portion of the old Capper Seniors footprint.
"Under the original Capper plans, there was to be a strip of 61 townhouses built on this spot, but the DC Housing Authority has recognized that these homes would be dwarfed by the B.E.Q. to the north and the two planned office buildings directly behind them at 600 M Street. So DCHA has now filed a request with the Zoning Commission to allow an expansion in the total number of housing units allowed at Capper to 1,747, which would allow the construction of a four-story 189-unit apartment building (with a massing very similar to the B.E.Q.) on this stretch of L Street known as Square 882N. This Zoning Commission request is also looking to expand the number of units in the planned apartment building on the south side of L Street between Second and Third (let's call it Square 769N) to 171 units[.]"
The ANC was told that the Square 769N building was originally designed to be a market-rate condo building only, but that financing realities have forced a switch to rentals. And because rental units can be smaller, they were able to not only add more than 60 units, but make 34 of those units public housing, allowing a lower proportion of public housing units in the other four apartment buildings while still maintaining the required Hope VI one-to-one replacement of the original 695 Capper public housing units.
As for the Square 882 buildings, the change to apartments from townhouses would require a boost in parking spaces from 49 to 172--but they are proposing to lower the total spaces at the office building from 400 to 284. This is part of a request to bring down the overall number of required parking spaces from 1,845 to 1,780, including the removal of the requirement for 70 off-site spaces for 400 M Street, which have been determined to be unnecessary.
(Note that the Square 769 and Square 882 issues before the Zoning Commission are technically a PUD second-stage review.)
* Time Extensions: "There were also requests for three time extensions: to extend the first-stage PUD for an additional five years, to extend the deadline for filing second-stage approvals for the apartment building sites along Canal Park (including the trash-transfer station site) to 2013, and to extend the deadline for filing a building permit application for the planned community center at Fifth and K to January 2011, with an included extension of the start of construction to January 2012."
Commissioner Bob Siegel in particular is very unhappy about the delay in the community center construction, saying that the senior residents of 900 5th Street need an exercise room and other amenities. But he was told that, simply, the community center is unfinanceable right now.
And Commissioner Ron McBee wants to revisit the community benefits that were agreed to in the original Capper PUD, asking the presenters to get him a list of those benefits--I can do it for them, by pointing to pages 12-14 of the 2004 zoning order.
The Zoning Commission will be hearing all these items on March 19. You can see the hearing notice for the zoning-related specifics on the three cases

Update on South Capitol Street EIS, New Bridge
Feb 3, 2009 10:32 AM
ANC 6D heard a presentation on Monday night from the team working on the South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement, which is now in its "final preferred alternative" stage. Their PowerPoint presentation was pretty close to the one I posted last month, and one of the consultants did tweak me a bit about how I "spoiled the surprise" on the choice of the arched bascule design for the new Douglass Bridge.
Here again are the (long!) bullet points about what the preferred alternative designs are for the portion of South Capitol west of the Anacostia (see the presentation if you're interested in the preferred alternatives chosen for east of the river), along with some issues raised by the ANC:
* It was emphasized that these new designs will not be adding any capacity, but that the main goal is to bring back the "boulevard" feeling of the corridor.
* The new bridge will have 20-foot-wide sidewalks on each side, and only two piers will need to be built in the river, compared to 3-5 piers that would have been needed with the other designs. (The cable stayed swing bridge would have had just one pedestrian/bike path, 16 feet wide, in the middle of the bridge, surrounded by six lanes of traffic.)
* There will be a seven-acre traffic oval at the foot of the new bridge (which will be located to the south of the current bridge), reshaping the intersection of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. (The ballpark's Home Plate Gate and entrance promenade will be the northeast edge of the oval.) The city is already in the process of acquiring seven properties or portions of properties that will be needed for the oval and bridge footprint, including the red brick warehouse on the northwest corner of South Capitol and Potomac. This oval is on the NCPC list of locations for future memorials and museums.
* The intersection of South Capitol Street and M Street will become an at-grade intersection (no more underpass for through traffic). ANC chair Andy Litsky expressed great concern about how this could make the intersection even more dangerous than it already is, to which the DDOT team replied that the reconfiguration should make it safer. (Certainly it would seem that having a "normal" intersection with two left-turn lanes in most directions would be an improvement safety-wise over the existing mish-mash of lights and poorly striped turn-lanes, but then there will also be a lot more cars cycling through once the tunnel lanes are gone.)
* There will be modifications to South Capitol's interchange with the SE/SW Freeway, with the replacement of the ramp that begins at I Street with an at-grade intersection underneath the freeway that would have two left-turn lanes to a new ramp. With the existing ramp removed, the intersection at South Capitol and I would also be reconfigured.
* The northern section of South Capitol Street will match the reconfigured portion between N Street and Potomac Avenue, as a six-lane boulevard with a median and wide sidewalks.
Commissioners McBee and Moffatt asked as they have in the past about whether the existing bridge could be kept as a pedestrian/bike-only bridge, but DDOT explained that since the swing span would continue to need to be opened for river traffic, the cost of maintaining the old bridge just isn't feasible. (The RiverFront folks might also be a teensy bit upset that their land that's beneath the current bridge wouldn't be coming back to them.) And the team also indicated that this new bridge does not preclude the construction (Some Day, Perhaps, in Some Far Off Time) of a tunnel to move non-local traffic from Anacostia to I-395.
They expect the final Record of Decision from the feds this fall; however, when pressed for a start date, they said 2011 would be the absolute earliest for the start of construction (with completion possibly in 2015), but that as of now there's no funding for the $700 million project. It's also possible that portions of the designs could be undetaken if partial funding is received.

First Look at Phase 2 of the Yards Park
Feb 2, 2009 11:00 PM
Tonight ANC 6D had a special "presentation" meeting, to lighten the load of next Monday's business meeting so that everyone could go home before 2 am. On the agenda were three items, all of which are JDLand perennials. I'll post on Tuesday about the Capper zoning stuff and the South Capitol Street EIS, which didn't really contain much that I haven't previously covered; the third item was the designs for the second phase of the waterfront park at the Yards.
The first phase, which is expected to begin construction in the next three months and be completed by mid-2010, is the basic layout of the park and the boardwalks. The second phase comprises 55,000 square feet of retail in the to-be-rehabbed Lumber Storage Shed and two new buildings, as well as a 60-foot-tall "visual marker" (seen at left) just to the southwest of the shed. (The third phase will be the piers and marina.) I was dreading coming home to describe these latest plans with no renderings to accompany my ramblings, but then I found the National Capital Planning Commission has done all my work for me, thanks to these phase 2 designs being in front of the commission at their meeting this Thursday (and for which the NCPC staff has recommended approval). You can see all of the drawings presented to the ANC in this NCPC document, along with a lot of description of the designs, but I'll hit some highlights.
The "light tower," designed by James Carpenter Design Associates, is made up of stainless steel prisms that reflect light during the day and will be subtly illuminated at night. The top is actually 70 feet from the top of the water, but 10 feet of that is the boardwalk; the structure itself is only 60 feet high.
The storage shed, as I've mentioned in the past, will lose its faaaahbulous salmon-colored corregated skin and will be enclosed with non-reflective glass. The other two buildings (currently given the wonderfully descriptive monikers of P2A and P2B) will also be mainly glass structures. There will be a restaurant court in front of the center building, overlooking the area of the park that steps down toward the waterfront. (A drawing of the three buildings' southern facades is here; a larger version of the rendering at right showing how the buildings are not at all dominant when viewed from the waterfront is here. See the NCPC document for additional views.)
The questions from the ANC commissioners included whether this public park financed by public dollars and owned by the city would be open to the public, whether there would be preferences for ANC 6D-based businesses for the retail spaces and the six kiosks planned near the light tower, and if there would be any city-controlled vending spaces in the park.
The designs will be presented to the Zoning Commission on March 2 (there are also some exceptions and/or variances being requested). The ANC will presumably be voting on whether or not to support the project at its Feb. 9 meeting.

Special ANC 6D Presentation Meeting on Feb. 2
Jan 27, 2009 7:45 PM
With developers of three large projects needing to make presentations, ANC 6D has decided to have a separate presentation meeting on Feb. 2 in advance of its Feb. 9 monthly business meeting. And all three are Near Southeast spectaculars:
* The Housing Authority will be there to talk about the various modifications it's seeking to the Capper PUD, in advance of its March 19 Zoning Commission hearing;
* DDOT will be making a presentation on the final South Capitol Street Environmental Impact Statement (this includes the plans for the new Douglass Bridge), which I wrote about a few weeks back; and
* Forest City will be making a presentation about the park at the Yards (I believe these are the designs for Phase II, which include the various pavilions and the docks and marinas). The National Capital Planning Commission will be taking a look at Yards designs at their Feb. 5 meeting, and the Zoning Commission hearing on the park's second phase is scheduled for March 2.
The meeting is at the ANC 6D offices on the second floor of 1501 Half Street, SW, at 7 pm.

Lots of Little Items (Real Life Still Intervenes): Plaza on K Renderings, Barracks Row, More
Jan 14, 2009 2:38 PM
Still knee-deep in inauguration craziness in real life, so can't devote much time to Hood things these days. Here's some quick bullet items, which at least I've managed to Twitter over the past few days so that I'm not completely shirking my responsibilities. (Don't forget that these Tweets get displayed at the upper right of the JDLand home page, if you just want to check them every so often.)
* I've received some swell new renderings of the Plaza on K office/retail project at First and K. The official web site also now has a whole lot of detailed information as well. Transwestern announced last week that they have officially begun marketing the project, and that the two buildings along First Street--88 K and 77 I--would make up the first phase. There's also a 10,000-square-foot public plaza at First and K that would be surrounded by ground-floor retail. It also is "designed to LEED Gold standards." See the above links for additional details. No timeline for the start of the first phase--I'm guessing they're not building on spec in this environment.
* The final Connect Barracks Row report has been posted; this was the study by University of Maryland students on how to reconfigure the southern end of Eighth Street below the freeway to better connect it with its neighbors to the north.
* I mentioned the other day that none of the *hundreds* of Near Southeast bars would be taking advantage of the special Inauguration extended hours, but I was incorrect. A lot of people (like me!) probably don't know that the "Bachelor's Mill/Back Door Pub" at 1104 Eighth Street SE in the block north of the Navy Yard even exists (even though their web site lists it as "The District's oldest and largest entertainment complex exclusively dedicated to the gay and lesbian communities"), but they're on the list of approved late-hours venues.
* A resident reports that last two little buildings standing on the 1345 South Capitol footprint have been demolished in the past few days. But no word on whether this means Camden is starting to move forward on this apartment project.
* I failed again, and couldn't make the ANC 6B meeting on Tuesday night. But I'm hoping that the update on the South Capitol Street Final EIS--my main reason for going--will be done for ANC 6D next month.
* Every year I've celebrated on January 20 the anniversary of my starting to track the goings-on in Near Southeast (Jan. 20, 2003 was the first day I went out to take photos, which I then posted on my web site). The past few years I've marked it by posting my annual State of the Hood roundup. However, this year, given that the lead-up to January 20 is going to be just a touch busy, I'm guessing I'll miss my self-imposed deadline by a few days. Waaah!

Akridge Gets ANC Backing for Half Street
Jan 13, 2009 9:38 AM
I was unfortunately unable to get to Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, thanks to an avalanche of Inauguration-related work at my real job that couldn't wait, plus there was the arrival yesterday afternoon of my brother's third child, Teddy. (And if you think you've got it bad over the next week, light a candle for him--he's Washington correspondent for the Cox Radio Network, and has to cover all of the inauguration while tending to a newborn and two other kids under the age of five who will be wondering what that squirming, crying package is that arrived at the house.)
Anyway, I've been able to find out that the ANC gave its support to Akridge's planned 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use project on Half Street between M and N, subject to the finalization of the community benefits package. I wrote a long entry after last month's ANC meeting describing Akridge's designs for the project, if you want all the details. I hope to get renderings within the next few weeks, in advance of the January 29 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review.
I hope to find out soon whether the illustrious Capitol Quarter trash enclosures discussions have been brought to a close.
(And I hope to make it to tonight's ANC 6B meeting, which will have a briefing on the South Capitol Street EIS. But only if work doesn't intervene again.)

ANC 6D Meeting Monday Night
Jan 9, 2009 9:38 AM
The agenda is out (though not net yet online) for Monday's ANC 6D meeting, and if you've liked the past few meetings, you'll love this one, because it's pretty much a rehash of recent agendas: the Capper PUD modifications (described here), the Capitol Quarter trash enclosures (perhaps the fourth time's the charm), and Akridge's Half Street project, which is going to the Zoning Commission at the end of this month. (For Southwest folks, the Hogate's liquor license discussion is back, too.) And, although it's not on the agenda now, I'm guessing there might be some inauguration-related discussions. The ANC meets at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.

New Douglass Bridge Design - Coming Soon? (Post on Upcoming Meetings)
Jan 5, 2009 8:38 PM
New Year, New Meetings:
* ANC 6B (mostly Capitol Hill, but also including the Eighth Street area of Near Southeast) has posted its January 13 meeting agenda, and one of the items on it is "South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement." This draft EIS, which envisions substantial changes to the section of South Capitol Street from the Southeast Freeway across the Douglass Bridge to Firth Sterling Avenue, was released last year, and at December's Anacostia Waterfront Fair it was announced that the final EIS is expected to come this spring.
It may not sound like much to get excited about, but one of the cornerstones of the final EIS should be the unveiling of the chosen design for the new Douglass Bridge. I wrote a long entry about the Draft EIS when it was released, and on my Douglass Bridge page you can also see the four preliminary designs. (And you can also relive 2007's Extreme Makeover!) Feel free to sound off in the comments on which bridge design you want--but, please, no wagering.
Also on ANC 6B's agenda is "ZC # 03-12I/03-13I, Modification to the Arthur Capper Carrollsburg PUD," which I imagine is the series of deadline extensions and other zoning items that I've previously written about. (UPDATE: This has apparently been removed from the 6B agenda, at the Housing Authority's request.)
This meeting is at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, at 7 pm.
* ANC 6D's monthly meeting will be on the previous night, Jan. 12, at St. Augustine's Church at 6th and M Streets, SW. No agenda yet posted. (6B usually wins this race by a country mile.)
* This Thursday (Jan. 8), Metro's Customer Service, Safety and Operations Committee will be voting on whether to authorize a mid-February hearing on the discontinuation of the N22 bus, which runs between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard subway stations and which is expected to be replaced by DC Circulator route. I'm not sure why this is on the agenda again--my understanding was that they approved it in December, as did the full board. Read my previous posts with more detail on this change here and here.

First Tidbits on Akridge's 25 M Project at Half Street
Dec 9, 2008 2:00 PM
It's been more than a year since WMATA first awarded the Southeastern Bus Garage property at Half and M to Akridge (and almost six months since the suit brought by Monument Realty over the bidding process was settled), and at Monday night's ANC 6D meeting there was a first public peek at the designs for this central site being called 25 M Street, on the block just north of Nationals Park bounded by Half, M, N, and Van. And clearly Akridge is taking this project very seriously, as they arrived at the meeting with an army of people, including heavy-hitter architects Bill Hellmuth of HOK (who designed the office portion), Philip Esocoff of Esocoff and Associates (designers of the residential portion), and Jon Eisen of StreetSense (the group working on the retail).
I don't have any renderings yet (hope to within a month or so), but the ones displayed showed buildings with what Hellmuth described as "much more active facades" that "are not like a K Street monolith." There will be three buildings: two office buildings totaling 363,000 square feet, and a 276-unit residential building at N Street with roof terraces from which residents can look into the ballpark and watch the games. The facades step "out" and "in" (far enough in some places to require a zoning special exception), including some spots in the M Street office building that will allow tenants to look south into the ballpark, too. The general feel is not unlike the Monument designs for the other side of Half. (And, with a raze permit already requested, none of this incorporates the existing bus garage building.)
There will also be 56,000 square feet of retail, with a mix of one-, two-, and 2 1/2-story spaces occupying 69 percent of the ground floor, which will require a special exception from the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay's requirement of 75 percent. They are expecting to have national retailers for the spaces along Half Street, but are planning to look for smaller local "service" retailers for the additional space along Van Street.
They are also creating what they call the "Via," a pedestrian-only "street" that runs from Half to Van between the two office buildings at the same spot in their block as "Monument Street" will be across the way (just south of 55 M). They are envisioning a "one-of-a-kind" DC destination: a marketplace with stalls and local vendors, where you could get fresh food, "quick-bite" carry-out, etc. (They mentioned Pittsburgh as an example, and I'm assuming they're referencing the Strip District.) The renderings also showed two glass-enclosed suspended walkways above the Via to connect the two office buildings.
The entire project will be LEED certified (as is now required in DC), though they aren't sure yet what level they'll be shooting for ("the goal is to get as high as we can"). Hellmuth said that HOK is not doing a single building in DC right now that isn't at least LEED Silver, and that all major tenants want to be in LEED buildings.
I didn't get the total number of underground parking spaces, but the residential will have three spaces for every four units. (Monument's project across the street, of similar size, would eventually have about 700 spaces.)
Akridge indicated that their "ideal start date" is January 2010, with construction of the entire 700,000-sq-ft project estimated at 22 months. But there is no firm commitment that it will start at that time (thanks to the Current Economic Situation), plus it could end up being built in phases.
The ANC commissioners seemed receptive to the plans (Bob Siegel said that it gave him a "nice, warm feeling"), though with the usual questions about employment for local residents and LSDBE considerations, and concerns about residents and tenants having to work around ballpark traffic.
Akridge was officially at the ANC to request its support for both the zoning overlay review and the special exceptions being requested. While some commissioners were ready to vote to give support immediately, others weren't, and so after a number of differing motions that all failed it was decided that representatives of both sides would work together to discuss "issues" so that the ANC can vote on the project at its Jan. 12 meeting. The Zoning Overlay Review hearing is on Jan. 29.
And, not that there's much to see yet, but I do know have an Akridge/25 M project page, mainly with views of the bus garage from various angles.

ANC 6D Doings, Part 1: Artomatic, Nats Express, and Capper PUD Modification Requests
Dec 8, 2008 11:10 PM
Just got back from ANC 6D's meeting, and I'll leave you waiting until Tuesday for the first details on Akridge's Half Street plans (I don't want to give it short shrift) but here's the other Near Southeast items of the evening:
* Commissioner David Sobelsohn said an announcement is likely coming next week that the city's 2009 Artomatic festival will be held in ANC 6D, "most likely ANC 6D07" (which is Near Southeast). I know nothing more than that.
* Sobelsohn also introduced a resolution to send a letter to Tommy Wells, DDOT, and other officials expressing the ANC's support for the continuation of free parking at RFK and the Nats Express shuttle buses "to reduce the incidence of illegal on-street parking in ANC 6D by people attending events at Nationals Park." The resolution passed 6-0. A few weeks ago it was reported that Wells wants to discontinue the service.
* The DC Housing Authority came requesting the ANC's support for a series of zoning items having to do with the Capper PUD, including extending some deadlines and also expanding the number of residential units offered. (You can read all about them here; I'm too worn out to go into them all again tonight.) There wasn't much discussion of the request itself, because the commissioners were, shall we say, displeased that a huge packet of supporting materials arrived on their doorsteps just last Friday (6D07's Bob Siegel didn't receive his at all, and were unmoved when told it was basically the same information they had received in July.
There was also displeasure expressed about the request to delay the start date for the Community Center at 5th and K to 2012, with the commissioners wondering what level the DCHA would consider a "critical mass" of residents that would make the center viable. (Only 300 of the planned 1500 units have been built so far, so it would seem that the threshold might perhaps be a bit higher.) But the Housing Authority made clear that obtaining financing for the project is the larger hurdle. The support request will be brought up again at the ANC's January 12 meeting.
* I admit that I didn't stick around for the late-in-the-agenda item on the Capper trash enclosures. But DCHA mentioned that they had met with the city's Public Space Committee in advance of their monthly meeting, and were making progress on modifications to the design. ANC chair Moffatt asked if the enclosures still exist at all in the new design, and when he got the "yes" answer, that ended the discussion.

ANC 6D Meeting Monday (First Peek at 25 M)
Dec 5, 2008 12:44 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D monthly meeting is out, and the most enticing item is Akridge looking for the commission's support in advance of its Jan. 29 Capitol Gateway zoning overlay review for its new 700,000-sq-ft mixed-use development at 25 M, on the site of the old WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage, in the block directly north of Nationals Park. At this point, little has been put forth publicly about the project other than it'll be a office/residential/retail mix, and is expected to get underway in early 2010.
Also on the agenda is a third go-round with the DC Housing Authority over the designs for some external trash enclosures for some of the units at Capitol Quarter. I wrote about the first discussion here, and the Hill Rag has the report on the second one. Will the third time be the charm, or will bad things come in threes? There will also be a status report about the Capper redevelopment in general.
There's also apparently a letter being brought by Commissioner Sobelsohn to express the ANC's support for retaining the Nats Express shuttle bus that brings stadium-goers to the neighborhood from the parking lots at RFK. I imagine that the ANC will be expressing some level of concern about increased traffic and parking problems if that shuttle service goes away (it was reported last month that Tommy Wells is in favor of ending it).
The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW.

ANC Agenda, Public Space Permit Feed Returns, School Bus Tea Leaves
Nov 7, 2008 9:59 AM
* The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (not yet posted online). They'll be revisiting the designs for exterior trash enclosures on certain Capitol Quarter townhouses that were discussed and given the thumbs down last month. Other items include the potential modification of the 70 bus route, the franchise agreement between the city and Verizon for FiOS, and street closures for the SunTrust National Marathon on March 21. The meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church, Sixth and M streets, SW.
* Meeting at the same time on Monday (well, starting at 6:30 pm) will be the DC Zoning Commission, with a vote on the proposal to move 225 Virginia Avenue into the Capitol South Receiving Zone (read about it here).
* The city's Public Space Permit feed is back. Yay! Hopefully the Building Permit feed won't be far behind.
* One thing we've all learned over the years is to not believe anything about the school buses leaving Canal Park until we actually see them all drive away. But I will note that the DC Housing Authority currently has a solicitation out for a contractor to build surface parking lots at DC Village (which is where the buses are relocating to). Bids are due Nov. 18. I'm hearing "mumbleJanuarymumbleFebruarymumble" as a potential timetable for the departure of the buses, but see sentence #1 of this paragraph.
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More posts: ANC News, Canal Park, Capper, meetings, zoning

8th Street Lot to Open to the Public
Oct 28, 2008 5:36 PM
Since people are talking about this in the comments on my post about the Connect Barracks Row meeting Wednesday night, it's timely to point to this Infosnack post that breaks news about the parking lot on Eighth Street under the Southeast Freeway. Apparently at last week's ANC 6B meeting DDOT informed the ANC that the Marines are going to be vacating the lot, and that DDOT is proposing "market-based pricing" of the lot, using either stick meters or multi-space meters. Read the post for more details.
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More posts: ANC News, 8th Street

ANC 6D Report (909 NJ and Cap Quarter Permits)
Oct 21, 2008 3:11 PM
Here's a brief wrap-up of Near Southeast-related items from last night's ANC 6D meeting (though the folks following my Twitter feed got some pithy tidbits in real time):
* JPI was there requesting support for a public space permit to put up a sign at 909 New Jersey. If you've been thinking that this apartment building looks pretty far along, you're correct: the JPI rep said that they're looking to deliver the first units in February. The building has 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, of which 4,000 is expected to be leased to restaurants. The discussion about the sign permit devolved into concerns about the main staircase on New Jersey Avenue splitting up the public space, which DDOT's public space committee has already approved but which ANC members weren't sure they'd ever seen. The vote on the sign permit request was 4-0-2 in favor of asking DDOT to postpone the decision on the sign as a protest against the sign and NJ Ave public space permits not having been done together.
* EYA and the DC Housing Authority presented their request for ANC support for some new brick "screens" on certain public housing units at Capitol Quarter that won't have alley access and so will need to have their trash and recycling cans placed by the buildings' fronts. There are nine corner buildings in Capitol Quarter with 27 public housing units that will need these screens, though there are also corner buildings at CQ that are not public housing, and there are additional public housing units that are not in these corner buildings. But the ANC felt that these trash screens would make the affected units easily identified as public housing, which would negate what commissioners described as the "concept of Hope VI" where you're not supposed to be able to "tell the difference" in market-rate and public-housing units from the outside. There were also concerns about units with windows above the trash enclosures (i.e., the smell and also having to look out at the trash bins). The rep from DCHA asked the ANC to table the request for support rather than oppose it (so that EYA and DCHA could come back with some revised designs), but the ANC voted 5-0 to oppose the request anyway.
Both these public space permits are on Thursday's agenda of the city's Public Space Committee.
There was also to be a discussion of the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, but it got moved to late in the agenda, and it sounded like it was going to be just in terms of the impact on Southwest, so I will admit that I didn't stick around.
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More posts: 909 New Jersey, ANC News, Capper, Capitol Quarter, jpi

Roundup: ANC 6D Agenda, 11th Street Bridges Short List, Metro Ballpark Crowds
Oct 15, 2008 2:20 PM
* The ANC 6D agenda for its meeting on Monday Oct. 20 has been sent around (though not yet posted online). There will be a discussion of the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan as it relates to Southwest, plus public space requests for building signage at 909 New Jersey and "Brick Walls for Trash Enclosures" at Capitol Quarter. (These are also on the Oct. 23 agenda of the city's Public Space Commitee.)
* The short list for a design/build team to reconstruct the 11th Street Bridges is out--Shirley Design-Build LLC, Skansa/Facchina, Archer Western Contractors LLC, Perini/Parsons Joint Venture, and KCA Constructors Joint Venture. According to the procurement schedule, a draft RFP should already be out (haven't found it online), and final RFP should be issued by the end of the year, with a contract signed with the vendor by June 1, 2009.
* Metro announced yesterday that 53 percent of baseball game attendees this year arrived at Nationals Park via Metrorail. That's 1.8 million bodies, averaging 23,000 people entering and exiting the Navy Yard station at the 80 home games in 2008. (It apparently doesn't count people who took the bus or walked down from Capitol South.) In the last two years at RFK, only 38 percent of attendees took the subway. Marc Fisher has some thoughts on it all (including some questions on Metro's math).

801 Virginia's Switch from Condo to Office
Oct 8, 2008 6:30 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6B Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, there was a presentation about the new plans for the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Virginia Avenue, where a few years ago a small group of investors planned a four-story condo building dubbed "The Admiral." As I mentioned a few days back, the owners are now wanting to switch to an office building that would still have ground floor retail, and are going in front of the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Nov. 25 for some items that need to be addressed as part of this change.
According to the presentation, the new office building would use the same design as the condo building, with a few tweaks (they appear to be wanting to get rid of the turret in the original design). But because of the switch to office space, the number of parking spaces required goes up to 30, far more than the 13 in the condo design. According to the architects, groundwater and possible soil contamination issues (since a gas station used to be located there) would make digging two extra levels of parking prohibitively expensive, and so they are seeking relief from the 30-space requirement. (And, for those wondering, the garage entrance would be on L Street, not Eighth or Virginia).
Commissioner David Garrison asked about the ownership of the lot (which has been on the market for nearly a year) and about the property's tax status, given that it was listed on the city's tax sale rolls last month. He was told that the lot has not been sold but that investment partnerships are being shuffled and sold, which should be completed soon, and that the delinquent taxes are to have been taken care of; Garrison asked for some sort of documentation on both before the ANC votes (presumably on Oct. 14) on whether or not to support the zoning exception requests.
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More posts: 801va, ANC News, 8th Street, meetings, zoning

801 Virginia Office Bldg Plans Coming to ANC 6B
Oct 3, 2008 4:33 PM
I wrote a few days back about the appearance of a zoning variance request for a new office building at 801 Virginia Avenue, site of the once-planned Admiral condo project that fell by the wayside last year. The Board of Zoning Adjustment will be taking it up on Nov. 25, and I now see this request on the ANC 6B docket, first at its Planning and Zoning Committee meeting on Oct. 7, and then in front of the full ANC on Oct. 14. Both meetings are at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE. (As always, all these dates are on my nifty Near Southeast Events Calendar, brought to you by Google Calendar with all sorts of bells and whistles to either subscribe to an RSS feed of calendar updates or add the events to your own Google Calendar or other iCal-enabled offering.)
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More posts: 801va, ANC News, 8th Street, meetings, zoning

ANC 6D Meeting Tonight; Monument Half Street Withdraws Public Space Approval Request
Sep 15, 2008 11:55 AM
* Tonight is ANC 6D's monthly meeting. Alas, no agenda has been released yet, so I can't tell you what might be happening. (And I can't go, so I won't be able to tell you what happened.)
* We'll have to wait a little longer to find out what exactly was meant by that "146 fountains" part of the public space improvement application by Monument for 1200 Half Street (aka 55 M) that I posted a few weeks back--they've asked for a postponement and are no longer on the Sept. 25 Public Space Committee agenda. The draft agenda had said: "Application by M.R./BR Residential #1A, LLC for installing various fixtures in public space ( 23-benches, 9 trash containers, 32 lights, 146 fountains, 8 bollards, 18 bike rack all located around Half Street in public space."
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More posts: 55 M St., ANC News, Monument Valley/Half St.

ANC 6D Meeting Monday Night
Jul 13, 2008 1:50 PM
0807 Wyoming 635 Mount Rushmore 0807 Wyoming 490
I'm back from a week in Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, where I took all sorts of photos despite the fact that there were almost no buildings under construction. And what better way to get back in the blogging saddle than to post notice of Monday's ANC 6D meeting. The agenda has one Near Southeast item, which is a public space permit for 100 M Street (for trees, a driveway, and sidewalk paving). The rest of the agenda includes a presentation by the Office of Planning on a zoning study of Southwest, a resolution on the proposed moratorium on "singles" (alcohol, not unmarrieds), and admin minutiae in conjunction with some events planned in Southwest. The meeting starts at 7 pm, at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M Streets, SW. I'll be the one in the audience griping about not still being out west.
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More posts: 100 M, ANC News, Square 743N

ANC 6D Monthly Meeting Agenda; Parking Tweaks
Jun 6, 2008 11:41 AM
It's that time of the month again (wait, that didn't come out right). Monday night is ANC 6D's monthly meeting, and the agenda has now been posted. (Yay!) No specific Near Southeast items are included, but there will be a discussion of changes that are coming to the Performance Parking Plan, some of which were telegraphed at the community meeting last month and described in the latest Hill Rag.
These parking plan changes include an earlier end on weeknights and making Sundays free for the metered parking on the commercial strips north of the freeway. There have also been changes made already to the multiple-guest pass system (for all those dinner parties and book clubs that everyone on the Hill is apparently having every night)--residents don't need to gather visitors' car and license info anymore, they can just go to the 1D or 1D1 police stations and pick-up one-day passes that can be filled out at home.
I won't be able to be at the ANC meeting, but I'm sure it will as always be a scintillating and uplifting discussion of the issues.
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More posts: ANC News, parking

Yards Park Phase I Gets Zoning Approval
May 31, 2008 7:19 AM
In what chair Anthony Hood remarked might have been the Zoning Commission's first-ever landscape architecture-only case, the Zoning Commission on Thursday night approved the design for the first phase of the waterfront park at The Yards, the nearly 6-acre green space along the Anacostia River on the site of the once walled-off Southeast Federal Center. My project page has a number of the renderings that were displayed during the presentation, and additional descriptions of what's planned for the site can be found in these two blog entries.
Representatives of Forest City said that they are committed to opening the first phase of the park in the summer of 2009. The second phase, which will include the renovation of the Lumber Storage Shed and the construction of other retail pavilions and buildings, is expected to come before the Zoning Commission this fall. Phase 3 will be the piers and marinas. Somewhat surprising was the news that the floating boardwalk connecting the Great Lawn on the western side of the park to Diamond Teague Park and the ballpark is now going to be built by the city as part of the construction of Teague rather than by Forest City as part of this park.
Much of the discussion by the zoning commissioners (that I saw--I watched from home in my fuzzy slippers and the webcast went wonky a few times in the middle) centered around the pedestrian bridge that runs across the bulkhead and the new freshwater canal. Its very "forward" design---described by Commissioner Etherly as an "aggressive architectural play" and by vice chair Jeffries as a "Slinky," a moniker that I'm sure the developers would probably prefer to not catch on--was not met with universal acclaim. The commissioners did seem recognize its intended role as a piece of art and one of the iconic elements of the park. Jeffries emphasized--and others agreed--that because the designs for the buildings and for the "art tower" are coming at a later date, the bridge is setting the stage for the rest of the architecture at the park, and that the future designs must play off what the bridge has started.
Peter May did not like the bridge (though I missed a lot of his comments because of the webcast problems). He expressed a worry that the bridge, along with the not-yet-designed art tower and whatever's planned for Poplar Point, could create a series of "Look at Me" moments along the Anacostia, all trying to compete for attention. "The 'Look at Me' moment for a waterfront park should be the river itself," he said.
There were also discussions of the lighting plans, and concerns as to whether or not the bridge has a railing (it does). Jeffries asked a lot about the vegetation planned for the different sections of the park, and expressed a wish for some landscaping that is a bit more "wild" in nature, to which Forest City seemed receptive.
There were letters of support from ANC 6D, which voted 7-0 on May 12 to approve the plans, as well as from the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and the National Capital Planning Commission, which approved the park's design back in February. So, in the end, the commission decided to go ahead and vote for approval of the plans immediately, although the issuance of the final order is subject to the commission receiving some new renderings showing more clearly the railing on the bridge. The vote was 4-0-1, with commissioner Turnbull not present.
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More posts: ANC News, Retail, The Yards, Yards Park, zoning

Monday ANC Meeting Agenda Items
May 11, 2008 3:37 PM
The agenda for Monday's ANC 6D meeting has been sent around (although not posted on their web site, sigh), and it has a couple of Near Southeast items. There will be a presentation on the plans for the Waterfront Park at The Yards, in advance of a May 29 Southeast Federal Center Overlay District Review covering new structures that will be built to house retail pavilions at the park. There's also apparently a public space permit application from the Onyx folks at 1100 First Street for a fence along L Street, plus garden masonry piers and light fixtures. And the developers of the 250 M Street office building are back again, after having not gotten very far at last month's meeting with their request for support for a second-stage PUD modification at a May 28 zoning hearing to increase the building's height (but not its square footage) from what was originally approved, since the commissioners wanted a new round of community benefits in return for their support, which W.C. Smith balked at given that the project isn't requesting to take any new amount of public space. We'll see if there were any negotiations since then. The meeting will be at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW.

Thursday Meeting Preview (WMATA, Yards, Five Guys)
Apr 23, 2008 10:36 AM
A somewhat busy Thursday (April 24) is on the boards:
* We might be getting some news on the state of Monument Realty's lawsuit against WMATA over the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge--the WMATA Board of Directors is meeting at 11 am, and the agenda for their executive session includes "Legal Issues - Monument vs. WMATA." I know nothing beyond that.
* Forest City's plans for the office/residential/retail project at 401 M Street will be getting a Southeast Federal Center Overlay District Review in front of the Zoning Commission at 6:30 pm at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW; you can also catch it via live webcast, if it's working. Read more about this from my ANC 6D wrapup last week and an earlier entry on the project.
* And, if you want to make your voice heard about the public space application by Five Guys for a sidewalk seating area, the Public Space Committee will be bringing it up at its monthly meeting, at 941 North Capitol Street, NE, 7th Floor, starting at 10 am. This is the application that ANC6D refused to support last week because of the lack of a community benefits package for the "loss of public space."

Pope Day Arrives in the Hood; This Week's Column
Apr 17, 2008 8:56 AM
So, the faithful are streaming toward the ballpark as we speak. Although the 55 M cam showed the upper decks pretty empty with about 90 minutes to go, Channel 9 (already on the air with its coverage of the mass) gives a better view of the tens of thousands already inside. (48,000 people are expected.) How's everyone faring, either trying to get out of the neighborhood or into it for work? Or is everyone just staying home? And, for those reading this later today who went to the mass, how did your trip go?
In other news, my Ballpark and Beyond column this week is yet another one about stadium parking, taken mainly from my Monday night post about ANC 6D's muted reaction to parking and traffic issues (along with the Zoning Commission's approval of having additional lots built in Southwest if landowners want them). I also tossed in a quick roundup of the private cash lots springing up.
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Zoning Approval for Possible Additional Surface Lots; ANC 6D Says Little About Ballpark's Debut; Community Meeting about On-Street Parking
Apr 14, 2008 11:12 PM
On Monday night, without much discussion, the Zoning Commission gave approval to the request to add additional blocks in Buzzards Point to the zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots near the baseball stadium. The commissioners who spoke mentioned the need to give the Nationals the flexibility the team was seeking to be able to build new surface lots as development possibly takes away the lots currently in use. The vote was unanimous, although Commissioner Turnbull stated for the record his concern that lots north of Potomac Avenue, closer to the residential portion of Southwest, could introduce significant traffic. As of now, the Nationals have announced no plans to use any lots at Buzzards Point this season.
At about the same time the Zoning Commission was voting, ANC 6D was discussing how the first few games at the ballpark went, in terms of traffic and parking impacts on Southwest and Near Southeast. And, for a group of people who, shall we say, have not been shy over the past few years about voicing fears as to how the new stadium would impact their neighborhood, the reaction was surprisingly muted. Visitor parking passes did not seem to get to all residences, additional signage needs to be installed, issues with left turns and parking enforcement on G Street, SW will need to be addressed, and there were questions about whether the parking restrictions on M Street could be eased, but overall the commissioners seemed to feel that there had been no major issues. Commissioner Robert Siegel, who represents all of the ANC east of South Capitol, proclaimed himself "very pleased." (Though Commissioner David Sobelsohn did remark that things "will go smoothly as long as the Nationals keep losing.")
The meeting itself was pretty sparsely attended, with few of the residents who have been vocal about potential problems at previous meetings on hand. Only a couple people in the audience spoke up about any issues they'd had or seen, and did so without much emotion. The discussion was over in probably about 15 minutes. If you've ever attended an ANC 6D meeting, you know how astonishing this is.
Tommy Wells will be having a community meeting to look at how the new on-street parking regulations are working, both for residential streets and the retail stretches along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row, on May 7 at 7 pm, at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church (Fifth Street and Seward Square, SE).
There's other items to report from tonight's meeting, but I'll write about those in an entry to come.
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Monday Meetings; Parking Signs; Birds-Eye View
Mar 9, 2008 3:18 PM
* I mentioned this a few days back, but why not pass along another reminder that Monday at 7 pm is the ANC 6D monthly meeting, with presentations and votes on 401 M Street, the ballpark traffic management plan, and the South Capitol Street Draft EIS, plus a briefing by the Nats on the Opening Day "Fan Fest" activities. To get in on the fun, go to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M St., SW, starting at 7 pm.
* If the ANC isn't your bag, you can watch the Zoning Commission take up again the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for Donohoe's planned office building at 1111 New Jersey. It's a continuation of the last hearing, which revolved mostly around whether the garage access would be from New Jersey or from the alley. The hearing starts at 6:00 pm, and 1111 is also on the public meeting agenda at 6:30 pm, which perhaps is a display of optimism that Donohoe and DDOT will have the garage issue straightened out and the review ruling can be made. Watch the webcast, if you're so inclined. (I'm going to be missing both of these meetings, so it might be a few days before I can get the scoop on them.)
* The new Enhanced Residential Parking Permit signs, which allow non-Zone 6 parking only on one side of the street in certain areas near the ballpark, continue to get installed. They came to my street north of the freeway within the past day or so.
* I thought I did good with last week's find of a November 2006 satellite photo of the neighborhood, but reader JK has upped the ante with the "Bird's-Eye View" option at Microsoft Live Search, showing not-real-high-up images from March 2007. But be careful when you're scrolling around--if you go to fast, the images flip back to shots from early 2003. (Which is festive in its own fun-house kind of way.)

Hearings on First New Buildings at the Yards; Ballpark and South Capitol EIS Also on ANC 6D Agenda
Mar 7, 2008 8:49 AM
Beginning the trek through the approvals process are the first new-construction buildings planned for The Yards--a 320,000-square-foot office building at 401 M Street and a 170ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. (No, which grocery store it could be hasn't been announced yet.) Recent documents have said that 401 M could begin construction in late 2008, with delivery in 2010; the residential building's start depends on "market conditions." (Uh-oh.) A few more early renderings are on my 401 M/400 Tingey page. (See my Yards First Phase page for information on the retail and residential projects that are getting underway this year.)
There's a Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review of the plans scheduled for April 17, and ANC 6D will be voting on whether to support the project at its March 10 meeting.
Also at Monday's ANC 6D meeting will be presentations and votes on plans for the Opening Day Fan Fest at the ballpark, the ballpark Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly known as the TOPP), and the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement. I attended Wednesday night's public meeting on the Draft EIS, and while the slides from the meeting haven't yet been posted on its web site, the DEIS's executive summary is a good substitute for the information that was available at the meeting--you can read my summary of the plans as well. There wasn't much public comment (maybe seven or eight speakers), and the concerns seemed to be more about making sure DDOT does a good job of handling the inconveniences and resident issues as a result of the planned changes, rather than any real opposition to the plans themselves. The public comment period ends March 31, and the Final EIS is expected to come out late this year.
Alas, I won't be able to attend this ANC meeting that's so chock full of Near Southeast goodness. But I'm guessing that spending that evening watching the Roger Federer-Pete Sampras exhibition at Madison Square Garden might be a bit more enjoyable.

Performance Parking Bill Passes; Additional Zoning Hearing on Southwest Lots on March 24; Public Meeting on Traffic and Parking March 12
Mar 5, 2008 2:50 PM
(I'm having so much fun with posts on home plate's arrival at the ballpark, ballpark food, and raze permits that I hate to kill the buzz with a post on parking, but alas it must be done.)
Yesterday the city council passed an emergency version of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking pilot plan, which will be used to regulate curbside parking on streets near the ballpark (as well as in Columbia Heights, along with a new taxicab zone pilot in Adams Morgan and a Visitor Pass pilot in Mount Pleasant). I've got the text of the bill as passed, and there's much more detail than was in the draft version of the bill (though not the detail that everyone really wants, namely the rates and fines), so definitely look at it if you're looking for additional information. A few items that jump out at me (though I'm hoping that Tommy's office sends out a release soon with more info):
* The pilot is only for two years.
* The mayor gets to set the rules, fees, and fines for the zones, but the council gets to set the zones themselves.
* Parking fees cannot be increased by more than 50 cents in any one-month period (or more than once per month).
* Councilmembers and ANCs must be notified of any fee changes at least 10 days in advance.
* "The Mayor shall publish a web site that includes the following: pilot zone boundaries, rules/regulations, information about how to use new parking fee technologies, and a parking pilot project manger's name and contact information." (Until then, you can look at my page on the curbside parking regulations around the ballpark.)
* DDOT has to submit a plan to the council and the ANCs with zone-specific parking management targets and with details on parking charges.
* DDOT has to conduct quarterly public meetings to provide updates on the parking management targets and to receive public comments on the program.
* The mayor has to submit an annual report on the parking pilots with all sorts of statistics.
Speaking of parking, the March Hill Rag has a roundup on the parking plans for the area (similar to my page). And I've been very remiss in not reporting that Feb. 21 Zoning Commission hearing on allowing additional temporary surfacing parking lots in Southwest was continued to March 24 after representatives of DDOT were not in attendance to discuss traffic management plans for the new lots. The Hill Rag has a summary of the Feb. 11 ANC meeting where there was much unhappiness about these potential new lots.
UPDATE: Bad link to bill text fixed.
UPDATE II: DDOT is now announcing a public meeting on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE, for "residents and business owners and operators to review and comment on the most recent version of the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (often referred to as the Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP)). DDOT will also offer their appreciation to the area residents and business owners for their support and patience during the recent street upgrades in the South Capitol corridor. The meeting is an open workshop that will highlight the numerous parts of the overall transportation and parking operations that will be in effect during events at the new stadium. The TOPP was originally drafted to address concerns by residents on the expected increase in vehicular movement during stadium events in the southeast and southwest neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark. Representatives from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) and the Nationals will also be available to address concerns and answer questions." (This is the meeting that was described in testimony at the city council last week as being "at the ballpark." I guess they used "at the ballpark" in the same literary way one could say that the Navy Yard Metro station is "at the ballpark." Ah well.)
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Zoning Amendment for Parking Lots in SW; Residents Not Happy
Feb 13, 2008 2:35 PM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting (which I missed because I had three meetings on my calendar for that night and the ANC never released an agenda for me to know whether I should go or not), there was apparently a big discussion of Zoning Case 07-08A, scheduled to be heard on Feb. 21, which seeks to allow temporary surface parking lots for no more than five years on a series of blocks in Southwest, mainly in Buzzards Point (squares 603, 605, 658, 661, 662, 662E, 664, 664E, and Square 658, Lot 7 for those of you with tax parcel maps handy, or look on the last page of this). A temporary emergency version of this text amendment passed with no discussion back in October; the Feb. 21 hearing is to make the amendment good for five years.
When the original case (07-08) establishing the ability to build temporary lots on a number of blocks in Near Southeast was passed, parking lots did not automatically appear on every block covered in the amendment. However, ANC 6D and residents of Southwest are apparently viewing this new amendment as the city going back on a promise to not build any parking lots in Southwest. Here is the ANC 6D resolution.
I've been at meetings over the past few months where city and team officials have said that there would be no ballpark parking offered in Buzzards Point this season because of the lack of sidewalks, streetlamps, and other improvements; the Office of Planning report for Case 07-08A says: "The Nationals have advised OP that, to date, no agreements with owners of individual lots have been reached so it is not likely that any of the temporary parking will be located on these sites prior to opening day in 2008[.]" I'm checking with the Nationals to see if this has changed. But certainly Buzzards Point would be still be viewed as a prime location for additional surface parking, if it's needed.
It's anticipated that the need for temporary surface lots will lessen as new buildings go up near the ballpark; in the next two years or so, underground garages that could potentially offer additional stadium parking will open at Monument Half Street, 100 M, 1015 Half, Onyx, 70/100 I, Velocity, and 909 New Jersey.
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

1111 New Jersey - Where to Put the Garage
Feb 1, 2008 10:39 AM
Last night the Zoning Commission heard the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review case for 1111 New Jersey, Donohoe's now 220,000-square-foot office building on the northwest corner of New Jersey and M. The Office of Planning report laid out how the project properly adheres to the requirements of the CG Overlay, and there was actually very little discussion by the commissioners of the building's design or landscape (save for a few questions about the width of the sidewalk on M Street, which is wider than what the CG Overlay calls for, because of various hardware for the Navy Yard Metro station below).
What took up the bulk of the discussion was whether the building's parking garage should be accessed via New Jersey Avenue or via the block's alley that runs north-south between L and M (which is shared with 100 M, Onyx, and whatever gets built on the St. Matthew's site). The original design had the garage driveway on New Jersey, but DDOT is asking that it be moved to the alley because of both a desire to not have curb cuts on a major state street like New Jersey and because the alley is an existing curb cut where pedestrians expect vehicular flow. But the commissioners were uniformly unhappy with the alley solution, given the narrowness of the alley (14 feet), the heavy amount of traffic there will be, and the very awkward garage entrance/exit that Donohoe has had to come up with in order to make the alley entry work. Donohoe didn't appear to be especially happy with the alley solution, either, but DDOT was pretty firm in their desire to have it there.
The record was left open, and DDOT and Donohoe said they would continue to work on the garage issue. A ruling on the overlay review could come at the March 11 Zoning Commission meeting.
Chairman Anthony Hood also briefly touched on ANC 6D's opposition to the project because of a lack of a community benefits package--Hood said that this project is not a PUD, and any desires to have amenities packages be part of CG Overlay reviews should have been dealt with when the Overlay was created, so the ANC's opposition was viewed as not germaine.

Monday's Public Meetings (Parking, Half Street)
Jan 29, 2008 1:47 PM
Last night ANC 6D held a special public meeting to decide whether or not to support Tommy Wells' Performance Parking bill when it has its council hearing on Wednesday. I was unable to attend, but reports from my vast network of moles indicate that the ANC will be supporting the bill, albeit it while "expressing strong concern" over some still-outstanding issues. (We'll find out what those are during Andy Litsky's testimony at the hearing.) The ANC vote was 4-2.
At almost the same time, the Zoning Commission held a brief special public meeting to take up the series of minor modifications that Monument Realty requested to its design for the east side of Half Street (yes, the area that's already under construction). I talked about these in slightly more detail a few weeks ago when this first came to the Zoning Commission; the ZC declined to approve these as part of its consent agenda at that meeting because the commissioners wanted a little bit more clarification, which they got in the filings for this second hearing. The only question that came from the dais was why Metro nixed the wire mesh panels with LED lights that Monument had originally envisioned as the walls around the Navy Yard station entrance at Half and M--the reply was that, in addition to weatherproofing concerns, Metro wanted its security people to be able to see into the station by shining a light from a car on the street, instead of having to go into the station. The wire mesh is now being replaced with a glass "frit" (yes, I had to look it up, too) that will be backlit with the lighting scheme Monument wants. With that, the commission approved the request 5-0; all the minor modifications are explained in the Office of Planning report.

Ballpark and Beyond This Week - ANC Wrapup
Jan 24, 2008 10:52 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column is a shortened summary of last week's ANC 6D meeting; but here's the links to my more detailed reports on the what transpired at that meeting with 1111 New Jersey, an alley closing request by Monument Realty, and Florida Rock.
And, since it's been a busy week, you might have missed my 2008 State of the Hood, which rises above all the daily minutaie to look at what's happened in Near Southeast in the last 12 months and what's coming in 2008; if you're coming late to the party and are looking for an overview, take a few moments to browse it.

ANC 6D Report #3: Newest Florida Rock Design
Jan 18, 2008 1:35 PM
The last Near Southeast item on Monday's ANC 6D meeting was a request for the commission's support of the latest design of RiverFront on the Anacostia, better known as Florida Rock. This is the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark, on the Anacostia River, where developers have spent 10 years trying to transition away from the concrete business currently operating there to a 1.1-million-square-foot mixed-use waterfront destination. They came close to an approved design in 2006, but in February 2007 the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place."
After nearly a year, a revised design is ready to go to the Zoning Commission for approval. It now includes 323,000 square feet of residential space, 80,000 square feet of retail and 465,000 square feet of office space.
Some of the ideas floated early in the redesign process have been modified or removed, most notably "The Pitch", the plaza directly across from the ballpark's grand staircase and adjacent to the planned Diamond Teague Park. This space no longer has pitcher and catcher statues but is instead now a "festive" open plaza that will be more "integrated" with Teague and will help with the expected flow of ballpark visitors coming to and from the water taxi piers that someday may materialize out by the little red brick pumphouse.
Also, the residential and hotel buildings have had their heights grow to 130 feet, to allow for the extra square footage the zoning commission wanted. But the hotel's top two floors will now be "pure residential".
As for when some movement will actually be seen at the site, David Briggs of Holland & Knight set out a timeline based on zoning approvals, construction drawings, and the vaunted DC permitting process that estimates the start of construction on the first phase (the eastern office building) in probably fall of 2009.
He mentioned a number of times the amount of pressure that Florida Rock is under to shut down the concrete plant and to build temporary parking lots, but he explained that the site currently makes money for its company and shareholders, and there's little interest in closing it down sooner than necessary. (Briggs did say that a temporary landscaping of the eastern plaza, next to Diamond Teague, could be a possibility once the zoning approvals are received, but that the underground parking for RiverFront does extend beneath that plaza, and so excavation and construction work will need to be done there.)
It should be noted that this timeline is really about the first two phases (the eastern office building and the 160-unit residential building), because the western office building and the hotel can't be built until the construction of a new Douglass Bridge allows Florida Rock to use its land that is currently occupied by the old bridge. (The year 2016 was tossed around as a possible date for when these later phases could get started.)
Community benefits remain similar to past presentations, including an estimated 25 units of workforce housing, anticipated LEED certification for the buildings, First Source and LSDBE hiring, and a combined underground loading dock for the three western buildings, as well as the more basic amenity of replacing a huge concrete plant with shiny new buildings and access to the waterfront. The ANC has always been enthusiastic about this project, and this time around was no different, with the commissioners voting 5-2 to support the new design. The Zoning Commission hearing, for what is officially considered a modification to the project's second-stage PUD, is scheduled for March 20.
I'm really trying to just hit the newsiest items here--definitely take some time to look through my RiverFront page (have to stop calling it Florida Rock sometime) for much more detail on the current design. And read all the archived news items, too, if you want a better feel for the twists and turns this project has taken.

ANC Report #2: Monument Alley Closing Request
Jan 17, 2008 5:44 PM
At Monday night's ANC 6D meeting, Monument Realty presented its request for the ANC's support in closing a 2,417-square-foot alley that runs between South Capitol and Van streets not far north of N Street. This alley is north of the now-closed BP Amoco and south of what is now a WMATA employee parking lot on land owned by Monument (there used to be a neon yellow bungalow there, until late 2006). Christy Shiker of Holland & Knight told the commissioners that the Amoco property--which faces the ballpark's western parking garage--is too small to develop on its own, but with the alley closed and the lots combined, Monument would build a 130-foot-high residential building with approximately 150 to 200 units plus 14,000 square feet of ground-floor (or perhaps two-story) retail. Monument is not committing at this time to pursuing LEED certification for this building.
Shiker then described the community benefits package that Monument was offering to the ANC in return for the loss of this public space, including a $50,000 contribution to the community fund, the retail, First Source employment preferences, and an affordable housing component that would match whatever is called for whenever the city's Inclusionary Zoning mandates are finally hammered out. Monument would also work toward agreements on ANC6D resident preferences, to be determined with the ANC at a later date.
This became a sticking point, with Commissioner David Sobelsohn concerned about giving the ANC's support for this project merely on promises to make agreements later. Shiker pointed out that Monument has made these agreements before for their other Ballpark District projects, and also that the ANC will have another crack at the project when down the road it undergoes its mandatory Capitol Gateway Overlay Review. But Sobelsohn still felt that the ANC was being handed a "take it or leave it" proposition.
An audience member asked if Monument would be planning to build a temporary parking lot if the alley closing is approved, but Shiker said that Monument's goal is to develop the land, that they "want a building, not a parking lot." (Though one must admit that that is some pretty plum stadium-parking territory.) There were also questions about the Public Space Storage building just to the north (echoing my WTDW entry from last week), but Monument's representatives said that they didn't think the storage company would be moving.
Commissioner Bob Siegel moved to support the alley closing with further negotiations on the proposed benefits package as the project proceeds, but the ANC voted 2-2-1 and so the resolution did not pass.
The alley closing bill is B17-0552, and Shiker told the ANC that she expected a public hearing in late February, with perhaps council action in March or April. No date for actual construction of the project was mentioned.
Coming tomorrow--a recap of the Florida Rock portion of the ANC meeting, though you don't have to wait until then to see the latest project renderings that were presented. But my long-winded summary of what was said during the meeting will have to wait a bit longer.

ANC Doings -- 1111 New Jersey CG Overlay Review
Jan 16, 2008 1:42 PM
(This is the first of three dispatches I'll be posting over the next few days from Monday's ANC 6D meeting. Can you feel the excitement building?)
The developers of the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey came looking for the ANC's support in advance of their Jan. 31 Capitol Gateway Overlay Review at the Zoning Commission. This project has been revised over the past few months after Donohoe was chosen by WMATA to acquire the 5,000-square-foot lot on top of the Navy Yard Metro's east entrance at New Jersey and M--by expanding 1111 New Jersey's footprint to this lot, which fronts M Street, the project became subject to a CG Overlay Review (boring tutorial here). While the WMATA land is being sold to Donohoe, this is in fact a joint development project with WMATA, who I imagine will receive a dollar or two over the coming years once the building is built and leased.
The new design was described by WDG Architecture as 220,000 square feet of office space with 5,700 square feet of ground-floor retail in a glass-facade building. While it uses a smidge of the WMATA land, the project will not be built on top of the station entrance as is happening with 55 M--the station canopy will remain, and a there will be a large public plaza at this "important corner", along with a 60-foot setback with a double line of trees stretching up New Jersey. (Non-obsessive observers might not remember that 1111 NJ's footprint does not include the site of St. Matthew's Church immediately to the north--that lot is being acquired by Ruben Companies for a rumored residential project, where no plans have yet been made, a Ruben rep tells me.)
Donohoe indicated that it plans to go for LEED certification for 1111, and mentioned that some of the ground-floor space would be designed with restaurant uses in mind, though the presenters said they remain aware of the requirements for community-oriented retail and preferred uses in the overlay area.
Beyond the LEED certification, retail, and public spaces, the developer offered no community benefits package to the ANC. Donohoe considers this project a matter of right that requires no additional benefits offerings, a stand which reopened the wounds from back in April when the earlier iteration of this project came before the ANC looking for support for a zoning special exception (and was voted down, though the BZA approved the waiver anyway).
The feelings of the commissioners hadn't changed in the intervening months, and they voted 5-0 not to support the project because of the lack of community benefits. (There was some procedural wrangling about the wording of the motion, but since the church where the ANC meetings are held is absolutely impossible to hear in, I didn't get the specifics--something about voting "not to support" versus voting "to oppose", I believe.)
No timeline for the start of construction was mentioned. Perhaps more information will be forthcoming at the Jan. 31 zoning hearing.
More ANC reports coming tomorrow--I'll have news of Monument Realty's plans for the BP Amoco site at South Capitol and N, followed by the latest in the Florida Rock saga. Stay tuned!
UPDATE: Donohoe was nice enough to pass along the rendering of the new design, which I've added to the top of my 1111 New Jersey page.
UPDATE II: Correcting a smidge of misinformation on the St. Matthew's site.

ANC and Zoning Commission Reports - Coming Soon
Jan 14, 2008 11:48 PM
Having pledged to pace myself a bit better over the next three months so that I don't have to cover Opening Day from a padded room, I'll be posting the results of Monday night's ANC 6D and Zoning Commission meetings in drips and drabs over the next few days. So stay tuned, especially if you're interested in Florida Rock, or Diamond Teague Park, or Monument Realty's projects north of the ballpark, or 1111 New Jersey, or 250 M Street.
This of course means that all the local media outlets checking in at JDLand looking for leads and tips will have to wait too. (The information is all free, of course, but some small hat tip some day would be nice. Although I do enjoy being an assignment editor of sorts....)

Stadium Traffic and Parking Plan Hearing Summary
Jan 11, 2008 10:11 PM
Having just about reached my limit when it comes to writing about stadium parking, I'm going to cut to the chase and pass along the biggest items from today's hearing by the Committee on Economic Development on parking and traffic issues at the new Nationals ballpark. (It's a torrent of words, so I've bolded the most important items.)
The session began with ANC representatives testifying about the community's concerns that no traffic and parking management plan has yet been unveiled, and with not many days to go (no one was sure whether it was 82 or 81 or 80 days--it's actually 79, but I didn't pipe up), neighbors are getting increasingly nervous that plans and signage won't be ready by Opening Day. While Tommy Wells's proposed Performance Parking plan could eventually become the mechanism for handling on-street parking near the ballpark, it won't be able to be in place by Opening Day, and so residents want to know how parking is going to be restricted to prevent stadium-goers from descending on nearby streets in search of free parking and bringing what has frequently been referred to as "controlled chaos."
Kwame Brown became frustrated when trying to find out who is actually in charge of coordinating all the government agencies who have a hand in the ballpark and communicating information to the public--"Who do I call? Who's driving the train?" he asked a number of times. After much back and forth with Greg O'Dell of the Sports and Entertainment Commission and Judi Greenberg from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, it was finally agreed that DDOT is now in charge of organizing and implementing the stadium's traffic and parking plans.
Determining this was a good step for this hearing that had been convened to discuss those plans, except for one small detail--council member Brown's Committee on Economic Development does not have oversight responsibilities for DDOT, so no one from the agency was in attendance.
Oops. (Apparently there had been plans to hold this hearing jointly with Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, which oversees DDOT, but that did not come to pass.)
It was said that DDOT will be unveiling the traffic operations and parking plan next week, though of course no one from DDOT was actually there to confirm or deny this.
Greg McCarthy of the Nationals testified about the team's continuing efforts to plan for the onslaught of fans, ranging from the mailing next week of parking information to season ticket holders to a planned media onslaught beginning in February to educate stadium-goers about the best ways to get to the park. (Short version: Take Metro! Walk! Bike! Park in Metro parking lots! Don't drive to the ballpark unless you've already got a parking pass!)
There still is no signed agreement between the Nationals and the city for use of RFK as free satellite parking for non-season-ticket holders, though clearly both sides anticipate it will get done, especially since the Nationals are working out the best routes for the free shuttle buses they plan to provide from RFK to the new stadium. (But Kwame Brown did not seem too enthused that the city might not be getting any revenue from the parking spaces.)
The team anticipates having 5,000 spaces for season ticket holders available in lots within walking distance to the ballpark--and, other than one lot that sits on the west side of South Capitol Street underneath the freeway, all lots will be in Southeast and none will be in Southwest.
Tommy Wells focused a number of times on the idea of the neighborhood embracing the ballpark as part of its culture and part of the character of the community. How neat it will be for residents to be able to walk to games, he said, expressing his hopes that the ballpark is a positive experience for both fans and residents. (Putting the stadium there "was not a hostile act by the government," he said). He also spoke of how the stadium's on-time and on-budget completion should be a real celebration for the city, but that he doesn't want it to become known as the "ballpark with a traffic catastrophe."
My favorite moment of the hearing was when discussion turned to how exactly the onslaught of papal groupies will be handled when the Pope comes to the ballpark on April 17: I realized that all this time I had assumed Pope = Mass = Sunday, when in fact the event will be on a Thursday morning, which will make traffic and parking that much more of a challenge. Start planning your vacation day now.
Other items of interest:
* Charter buses are expected to be parked across the South Capitol Street bridge during games.
* The Nationals have secured 4,000 of the 5,000 spaces they are eyeing near the ballpark, and expect to have the other 1,000 by Opening Day. There will be about 3,000 spaces at RFK, in Lots 7 and 8, and the team will be running a test of the RFK shuttle buses on Friday.
* There will be 130 handicapped parking spaces in the two lots on the ballpark site.
* The Navy Yard Metro station is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
* The Nationals will be responsible for clean-up around the ballpark and surrounding streets after games, most likely through an augmentation of the Capitol Riverfront BID's "clean teams".
* There are still plans for two job fairs to be held in Southwest, perhaps on Feb. 9 and 23 at Greenleaf Rec Center.
There's probably other items I missed that some people might be interested in, but I think that's more than enough for a Friday night.
It's anticipated that a joint hearing of both the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Public Works and the Environment--which oversees DDOT--will be scheduled soon.
The broadcast of the meeting is already available on demand, if you have three hours of your life you're not doing anything with. I've also posted the prepared statements of the witnesses from today, which you should definitely read to get more information than I've been able to summarize here. Also available is a press release from Kwame Brown's office about the hearing, in which he calls for "enhanced coordination from DC agencies and increased public involvement."
UPDATE: Here's the WashTimes article on the hearing. And the Examiner's.

Jan. 14 Public Meetings (And One from Last Night)
Jan 11, 2008 3:18 PM
Agendas are out for two public meetings on Monday night (Jan. 14) that have Near Southeast items of interest:
*ANC 6D's agenda includes presentations and requests for support on the following: a new request for an alley closing on the southern end of the block bounded by Half, M, N, and South Capitol (B17-0552, "Closing of a Public Alley in Square 700"); the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for 1111 New Jersey Ave., which will be at the Zoning Commission on Jan. 31; and new design/modified second-stage PUD for RiverFront on the Anacostia (Florida Rock), which is expected to go to the Zoning Commission in the next few months. The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church, 6th and M Streets, SW, at 7 pm.
* The Zoning Commission will hear requests for "minor modifications" to William C. Smith's 250 M Street project and Monument's Half Street project; alas, I haven't been able to find out what these modifications are. That meeting is at 6:30 pm at 441 Fourth St., NW, and is also available via live webcast.
I should also mention here that last night the Zoning Commission voted preliminary approval of a series of text and map amendments at the Yards, most of which are far too dull for even me to get into; read the hearing announcement if you want more details.

This Month in the Hill Rag
Jan 9, 2008 3:00 PM
January's Hill Rag is now online, with a number of articles on Near Southeast-related issues (most of which I've covered here in recent weeks). There's a big piece on Tommy Wells' Performance Parking Pilot Plan, though it was written before yesterday's official introduction of the legislation. Their Loose Lips-type anonymous columnist "The Nose" also talks about the parking plan, dubbing Tommy Wells "The Pimp of Parking." (Lovely.) There's also a piece spelling out the Capitol Hill Restoration Society's objections to DDOT's plans to renovate the 11th Street Bridges. And there's a wrapup of the December ANC 6D meeting, where representatives of the Nationals pledged much cooperation with the neighborhood and the ANC voted to support the ballpark's liquor license (I wrote about this meeting here).

Update on Ballpark Liquor License Application
Jan 2, 2008 4:18 PM
A hearing had been scheduled for today in front of the Alcohol and Beverage Control board about the ballpark's liquor license application; but I've been told that no one filed a protest about the application, so the public hearing was cancelled. The ABC board still must review the application and rule on it, presumably in the near future. For a little more background, read my post from last month about the ANC's decision to support the application--there were concerns that a protested ABC license might spur either the city council or the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission to enact a license outside of the ABC's regulatory reach.
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More posts: Alcohol/Liquor Licenses, ANC News, Nationals Park

Ballpark and Beyond, and Stadium-Related Tidbits
Dec 20, 2007 9:06 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations on the ballpark liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
UPDATE: Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.

ANC Supports Yards Zoning Changes
Dec 11, 2007 12:17 PM
It's nowhere near as exciting as a liquor license at the ballpark, but I should still pass along that the ANC voted 4-0-3 to support Forest City Washington's request for map and text amendments at The Yards that is going in front of the Zoning Commission on Jan. 11. (The three abstentions were because those commissioners had not received the packet of explanatory materials before the meeting.) The amendments are all pretty technical (larger setback along the Yards's boundary with the Navy Yard, clarifications about ground-floor retail requirements, etc.). You can see the amendments spelled out in the Zoning Commission hearing announcement.
More posts: ANC News, The Yards, zoning

ANC Votes to Support Stadium Liquor License
Dec 10, 2007 9:50 PM
I just got back from ANC 6D's monthly meeting, where the commissioners voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to support the application by Volume Services Inc. for a "CX Arena" liquor license at the new ballpark. This single license would cover all concessions at the stadium, including kiosks, restaurants and boxes, and at individual seats.
The ANC had asked representatives of the Nationals and concessionaire CenterPlate to discuss potential issues with alcohol sales at the ballpark in greater detail, but it became a more freewheeling discussion between the team officials, who are trying to assure nearby residents that the team wants to be a good neighbor, and the commissioners, who feel that the community has received very little communication up to now from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and other city agencies about traffic, parking, and other stadium-related issues.
Nationals senior vice president for business affairs Michael Shapiro spoke a number of times of the Nationals' "sincere desire to become a member of the community," and that they want the neighbors "to be proud" of the new ballpark. Shapiro and director of ballpark operations Matthew Blush offered to meet on a regular basis with community leaders, which appeared to be well received by the commission's vice chair Andy Litsky, who described the ANC's dealings with the Sports and Entertainment Commission on ballpark-related issues over the past two years as a "horror show."
Greg McCarthy, who is senior director of the Nationals' ballpark district dealings, spoke about parking and traffic issues, explaining that season ticket holders will be assigned to specific lots and will be given detailed instructions on the correct routes to use, to prevent the cut-through traffic and circling for on-street parking that the team says it will be actively discouraging. The commissioners made clear that parking issues remain a huge concern for residents, and that they want to hear specifics soon about how gameday parking will be handled.
Shapiro and Blush described upcoming outreach efforts such as bringing neighborhood kids to the ballpark for batting practice, getting jobs at the stadium for local residents, and having ambassadors and security outside the ballpark itself before and after games as part of making "the building work for the community." Commissioners and audience members were particularly interested in job opportunities at the ballpark, with the hope that the Nationals will go beyond "hanging out a sign" to actively recruit nearby residents.
As for the liquor license, Shapiro indicated that most of the rules in place at RFK (such as no alcohol sales after the seventh inning) would be in place at the new ballpark, and suggested that the Verizon Center would be used as a guide for how to handle alcohol-related issues for non-baseball events such as concerts. (I'm guessing that liquor sales might not be an issue at the first non-baseball event at the new stadium, which is scheduled to be the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict XVI.)
With some concerns that protesting or otherwise hindering this application might spur the sports commission or the city council to issue a liquor license outside of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control jurisdiction, the ANC gave its support. The license hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
In the meantime, the DCSEC, the Nationals, and community leaders have another meeting scheduled for Dec. 19.

Community Papers, Canal Park Connector, Other Quick Tidbits
Dec 1, 2007 9:05 AM
This morning's quick hits:
* The Voice of the Hill has posted a piece on its web site surveying the community reaction to the 11th Street Bridges EIS, while the December issue of the Hill Rag looks at the project from the perspective of Hill East.
* The Hill Rag also has a recap of the November ANC 6D meeting, which focused mainly on Southwest issues, though there is a small blurb about the ballpark liquor license (it sounds like there were some concerns about the 8 am to 3 am time frame listed on the application).
* Meanwhile, the December Southwester reports on the Oct. 3 groundbreaking at The Yards by reprinting much of the Forest City press release on the project.
* Out of my realm, but I'll still pass along that the four short-listed development teams will be presenting their proposals for Poplar Point at Dec. 12 at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., SE.
* I'm watching with interest a public space permit application this week by Cofeld LLC for 1271 First Street, which is the lot on the northwest corner of First and N, which had a raze permit filed for it in June. Hints of demolition? We'll see if the permit data, when approved, tell us anything further.
* UPDATE: One more quickie to add. The Garfield Park-Canal Park Connector Project has posted notes and summaries of discussions at their Oct. 24 workshop. Topic areas discussed included Biking and Walking, Under the Freeway, Public Art, Urban landscape, and History & Neighborhood Heritage.

Florida Rock Back at the Zoning Commission
Nov 19, 2007 12:02 AM
Monday (Nov. 19) is the monthly Zoning Commission meeting, and Florida Rock (or, "RiverFront on the Anacostia") is one of the agenda items. I *believe* it's going to be a request for a new hearing on the project's revised design, which I first posted here in June, and which received favorable comments from the Zoning Commission in July. (This is a modification to the second-stage PUD, for those In The Know.) The meeting is at 6:30 pm, and will be shown via live webcast.
As always, this monthly zoning meeting overlaps with ANC 6D's monthly meeting; I haven't yet seen an agenda for that meeting, so at this point, I'm going to commit myself to finding out what's up with Florida Rock. (I knew I shouldn't have given the entire JDLand staff the week off at Thanksgiving.)
If you're arriving late and don't know what Florida Rock is, the project page will give you most of the scoop. But the short version is that it's the nearly six acres of land directly south of the ballpark, on the Anacostia River. The developers have been working for nearly 10 years to get this property transitioned away from the concrete business currently there to a 1.1 million square foot mixed-use waterfront destination.
At the February meeting where approval of the design was expected, the Zoning Commission unexpectedly sent the architects back to the drawing board, wanting a greater amount of residential space in the project, better views to and from the ballpark, and a better "expression of place." And now the developers are hoping to get this project moving forward, so that perhaps the first phase--an office-building with ground-floor retail and a public plaza on the easternmost end of the site, next to Diamond Teague Park--could get underway in 2008. The rest of the project, with a hotel, residential building, office building, public spaces, retail, and the riverwalk along the Anacostia, could take a while to be completed, especially given that the western portion of the site is probably not going to be ready until the current Douglass Bridge is demolished and the new new Douglass Bridge is built.
You can see the latest renderings, along with some watercolors and much more detailed descriptions of the revised design, on the project page.
UPDATE: The ANC agenda is now online, and other than the ballpark liquor license application that I wrote about a few weeks ago, there's no pressing Near Southeast news listed.

Hearing on Bridge Projects
Nov 16, 2007 2:30 PM
Here's my in-depth learned summary of today's city council hearing on proposed bridge projects in the city, about 98 percent of which focused on the future plans for the 11th Street Bridges:
* Some people are against it.
* Some people are for it.
The three-hour hearing should be posted soon on the Channel 13 On Demand lineup for this week, if you want to see for yourself the specifics. But really, it all boils down to arguments over capacity, over whether local streets will see a reduction in cut-through commuter traffic, and differences between Capitol Hill residents and advocacy groups and east-of-the-river residents and advocacy groups, none of whom spoke with any sort of uniform voice.
And since no one spoke about any of the preferred design's impacts on Near Southeast specifically (of which there are a few, mainly the revamped interchanges at 11th and M), I'll just leave it to others to go into more detail.
UPDATE: The Capitol Hill Restoration Society was concerned enough about the plans for the 11th Street Bridges that it hired its own traffic consultant--that report is now posted on the CHRS web site. Plus, DG-rad of And Now, Anacostia attended the hearing and has posted some notes, along with this link to slides DDOT presented about the project at this week's ANC 6B meeting, showing lots of graphics and numbers that were the source of much contention at the hearing.
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, Traffic Issues

ANC 6D Presentation Meeting Tonight
Nov 5, 2007 1:49 PM
Apologies for the late notice, but tonight ANC 6D is having an "presentation meeting", to break out the issues that people and organizations want to bring in front of the ANC but which don't require an official vote. This is an attempt to shorten the monthly business meetings, which can run for hours and kill numerous brain cells of all in attendance. The meeting will be at 25 N Street, SW, at either 7:00 or 7:30 pm (now confirmed). Items on tonight's agenda include WASA talking about lead pipe replacement in the neighborhood and an update on Arena Stage construction and schedule.
There's also going to be a presentation by a group called the Coalition of Concerned Citizens of Eastern Washington, who are raising questions about the various road and bridge projects planned along the Anacostia and who have been contacting city officials over the past few months requesting that a new "traffic mobility study" be undertaken. (Here's their flyer and a copy of a letter to Mayor Fenty they sent back in August.) I imagine this group will also be interested in the Nov. 16 hearing before the City Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment on "Major Bridge Construction Projects in the District".
More posts: 11th Street Bridges, ANC News, Traffic Issues

Monument Reiterates Navy Yard Metro On Time
Oct 29, 2007 8:48 AM
From the Post: "Monument Realty, which has filed a federal lawsuit against Metro over a land dispute, said Friday that the expansion of the Navy Yard station near the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium would be completed on schedule. Executives at the District company had threatened to slow work on the project because the transit agency plans to sell land near the stadium to another development company, Akridge. Jeff Neal, a Monument principal, said in a written statement that the project would be completed before the start of the 2008 baseball season. 'We have worked diligently and transparently to develop an aggressive timeline,' he said. Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for Metro, said, 'We have every reason to believe that they will fulfill that pledge.' " Monument also stated that the station would be done on time a few weeks ago in a letter to ANC6D vice chair Andy Litsky and others, which I posted here. You can see my Monument Half Street page for more information on the station expansion as well as 55 M Street, the office building that Monument is constructing on top of it. (There's also the Half Street Web Cam for tracking the progress, but it's been offline for the past few days. UPDATE: It's back now.)
UPDATE II: There's also this interview with Russ Hines and Amy Phillips of Monument, conducted last Friday by the Nats320 blog, about the on-time-ness of the project.

Another Zoning Request for More Ballpark Surface Parking Lot Locations
Oct 16, 2007 9:18 AM
With Opening Day 2008 inching closer, the cobbling together of parking at the new ballpark is apparently turning out to be a greater challenge than constructing an on-time on-budget stadium. So this week the city put in another zoning amendment request to allow more temporary surface parking lots, this time covering eight squares in Southwest, all between P, T, 2nd, and South Capitol streets. (See my Stadium Parking page for a map with the new lots highlighted.) You can read the Office of Planning's report on the new case (07-08A) for more detail.
On Monday night the Zoning Commission approved this request on an emergency basis, meaning that the zoning change takes effect immediately, lasting 120 days while a hearing is scheduled and a permanent amendment is voted on.
As with the original amendment approved earlier this year, the lots can last no more than five years, are required to be available for public parking during non-game times, and must have District Department of Transportation approval of their traffic routing plans to ensure that access to the lots is not directed along I, P, or Fourth streets, SW. There's also a new requirement being added with this latest request, that a minimum of five percent of the spaces in these lots be reserved for a car/ride-share program.
These new lots are still subject to the cap of 3,775 total spaces laid out in the first amendment, unless special exceptions are obtained after the cap is reached from the Board of Zoning Adjustment on a per-lot basis. As with the squares covered earlier this year, it's not expected that lots will suddenly sprout on every one of the locations covered in the request; the main goal appears to be additional flexibility in finding possible spots for the needed spaces.
A separate zoning action a few months ago approved three temporary surface lots totaling under 800 spaces at The Yards, across the street from the stadium. There are also apparently negotiations underway about using the lots at RFK and providing shuttle service to the new ballpark.
There are other locations within a few blocks of the ballpark that will no doubt become temporary parking lots as well--one example is the Lerners' recent permit applications to build a lot on land they own at 1000 South Capitol Street.
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, when this new zoning amendment was discussed, commissioners mentioned rumors of additional lots perhaps coming to the recently closed KFC and Exxon locations on the west side of South Capitol. But these blocks are not in the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, and so don't require the special approval needed for the squares in the previous amendment requests. And these additional locations still require the Nationals to contract with the landowners, which might not always be an easy negotiation.
The ANC commissioners did not bring up many concerns about this new request, other than asking for confirmation that the traffic controls in the initial amendment cover these new lots, which Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development assured was the case.
Commissioner Ron McBee said that he hopes to organize a town hall meeting for Southwest residents about all the parking plans when they are more concrete, and vice chair Andy Litsky reminded Greenberg that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is supposed to be meeting with community leaders to address ballpark-related concerns, but that there hasn't been a meeting in six months.
The zoning commission's approval of the emergency action came with little discussion, perhaps reflecting that most of the potential issues with these temporary lots were hashed out in the first request.
Time should solve many of the initial parking issues around the ballpark; right now there are seven office and residential projects already under construction around Near Southeast that by 2008 and 2009 will have multiple levels of underground parking that could potentially be available for gametime, just as with the lots are in the buildings around the Verizon Center. Most of the squares in these recent zoning requests, along most every other block between South Capitol and Second, will also eventually be home to buildings with underground parking.
UPDATE: An e-mail sent out today to Nationals season ticket holders says that 2008 ticket package information will be sent out "in the next month or so", and that a "comprehensive transportation package will also be sent to all season ticket holders shortly after you have received your seat location information." Presumably the "transportation package" means parking plans for season ticket holders (and maybe a really good Metro map!).
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

More ANC 6D Doings
Oct 16, 2007 8:43 AM
In other news from Monday's ANC meeting:
* Council Member Phil Mendelson spoke about his concerns that the new consolidated crime lab construction schedule is continuing to slip. The new lab, which is supposed to be built at Fourth and School streets, SW, can't get underway until a new home (temporary or permanent) is found for the police department's First District station currently located there. Up until recently, of course, 1D was supposed to move to the old Post plant at 225 Virginia Avenue, but with that now scuttled, the Office of Property Management is hunting for a new 1D home somewhere in Southwest, perhaps using either the Amidon or Bowen elementary school buildings, both of which are at only 60 percent capacity and could be consolidated by moving the sixth graders to Jefferson Junior High School. Mendelson, "irritated" at how the city is handling the space shuffling, wants the process of finding a new 1D home speeded up, even if it means taking 1D out of Southwest, which of course was viewed as a nonstarter by this ANC that represents Southwest; Commissioner Sobelsohn commended Mendelson on his "bravery" for coming to Southwest and telling the residents they shouldn't have a police station. (It also sounds like Mendelson is still hoping for a return to using 225 Virginia, given his numerous references to the $500,000 checks the city is writing each month to lease the empty building.)
* The Randall School redevelopment project by Monument Realty and the Corcoran Gallery was approved, thanks mainly to a negotiated community benefits package that includes a $200,000 contribution by Monument to the ANC's Community Investment Fund, preferences for ANC 6D residents when filling the affordable housing component of the project, and agreements with the Corcoran to support various neighborhood art projects and arts education offerings for Southwest residents. The vote was 5-0; vice chair Andy Litsky did not vote, after expressing his displeasure with what he sees as Monument's threat to slow down the Navy Yard Metro station expansion when the company did not win the right to buy WMATA's Southeastern Bus Garage. Monument executive vice president Russell Hines, who attended the meeting, reiterated the points he made last week in an e-mail to Litsky, that the station expansion is not behind schedule as has been reported and that Monument is committed to getting the work completed by Opening Day 2008.
* A local resident informed the commission that three historic police and fire call boxes along First Street have recently gone missing. Those with x-ray vision can see them in my photos (up until yesterday) of First and N and First and O, deep in the heart of ballpark construction territory and along the stretch of First Street being renovated by DDOT; the now-missing First and L box is pretty hard to see behind the Onyx fencing. There's an effort called Art on Call, led by Cultural Tourism DC, to find and restore these boxes, and kids from the Earth Conservation Corps have been painting the boxes in Near Southeast and Southwest. Calls are in to the District Department of Transportation to see if the boxes have perhaps just been temporarily moved, or if they're, um, history. (The box at First and K is still in place, at least.)

ANC 6D Oct. 15 Agenda Posted
Oct 12, 2007 3:12 PM
The agenda is out for Monday's ANC 6D meeting; the big item is the aforementioned vote on Monument Realty's plans for redeveloping the Randall School at Half and I, SW; also, Council Member Phil Mendelson is slated to talk about the MPD move (I don't know if this means just the 1D station issues, or everything that surrounded the now-aborted use of 225 Virginia Avenue). Also, there's an agenda item about a Southwest Neighborhood Association town hall meeting on ballpark parking, but I can't tell if that's just to announce the town hall meeting, or if it already happened. The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M, SW.
More posts: ANC News, parking

Monument Replies to ANC on Navy Yard Metro Schedule
Oct 12, 2007 9:37 AM
An e-mail has just been sent by Russell Hines of Monument Realty to Andy Litsky, vice chair of ANC 6D, in reply to Litsky's Wednesday e-mail that asked for Monument to withdraw what has been publicized as a "threat" to slow down the completion of the Navy Yard Metro station's expansion in response to WMATA awarding the Southeastern Bus Garage site across the street to Akridge. Litsky had said that he would oppose Monument's proposed redevelopment of the Randall School site in Southwest if Monument did not pull back.
Hines's e-mail, which was cc'ed to the commissioners of ANC 6D as well as myself and Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry (all of whom had received Litsky's original e-mail) says that the Metro Station is currently on schedule, and asks that the Randall School project be judged on its own merits. Here's the paragraph that is probably of most interest, describing Monument's view of current state of the renovation's schedule:
"Second, Mr. Neal did not threaten to slow the renovation of the Metro Station. At the time the letter was written, the District of Columbia had asked Monument to spend its own money to accelerate the completion of the Metro Station. The project had suffered from a variety of delays, including delays that were caused by actions or inaction by other public entities; however, there was no consensus on the impact to the final completion date. Mr. Neal was objecting to spending more money to accelerate the project and pointing out that it was an unreasonable request given WMATA's recent position on the disposition of the bus garage. In short, WMATA wanted to take further advantage of Monument's resources without making any effort to reciprocate by entering into negotiations with Monument as had been promised. Furthermore, by the time this article was written, Monument had already worked with the contractor on a plan and schedule that addressed any perceived or actual delays in the completion of the Metro Station. WMATA officials had this information when they made the false claim that the Metro Station was seven weeks behind schedule. We have since met with District and WMATA officials to discuss this schedule and all parties appeared satisfied. Why WMATA continues to put out inaccurate information about the schedule or let inaccurate reporting go unchallenged is beyond me. I should also point out that when Monument took on this responsibility last December, it was considered a very difficult schedule -- in fact, WMATA staff conceded that they would probably not have finished on time even if they simply installed fare gates at grade and built the standard Metro canopy over the entrance."
Hines's complete e-mail is available here; like Litsky's, I removed the e-mail addresses it was sent to, preferring not to blab addresses that aren't mine. And see my entry from yesterday about Monument's lawsuit filed against WMATA.
UPDATE: Here's a Washington Business Journal piece with additional quotes from Jeff Neal of Monument refuting the "slow down" issue. (And, gosh, I wonder where WBJ saw the Litsky letter?)

ANC Commissioner Warns Monument on Navy Yard Metro Renovation Threats
Oct 11, 2007 12:13 AM
When word broke a few days back that Monument Realty had lost the bidding for the WMATA Southeastern Bus Garage site at Half and M, the Post described a letter from Monument principal partner Jeffrey T. Neal to WMATA that threatened a slow-down in Monument's work on the renovation and expansion of the Navy Yard Metro station if the company was not awarded the garage site as it felt it had been promised. (It has also been reported that Monument is already seven weeks behind schedule on the project.) This station is of course the lynchpin of the city's plans to get stadium-goers to and from Nationals Park, particularly in the near-term before the parking situation is sorted out.
Now, with Monument's plans for developing the old Randall School site on I Street in Southwest about to come up before the Zoning Commission, ANC6D vice chairman Andy Litsky has written a sternly worded letter to representatives of Monument and its Randall partner the Corcoran Gallery of Art, cc'ed to Tommy Wells and WMATA board members Jim Graham and Marion Barry, that boils down to this: "[U]nless Mr. Neal and Monument Realty withdraw this threat -- in writing and in advance of our vote on Monday night -- I will oppose this PUD at the ANC and in testimony before the Zoning Commission." He goes on to say: "The time has finally come for District residents and policy makers to stand up to developers who use threats and lawsuits as leverage in one part of the city and yet expect -- and often receive -- support for their special projects, PUDs and city tax incentives in another. Enough is enough."
You can read the entire letter here (I PDF'ed the e-mail without the headers so as not to blab a bunch of e-mail addresses to the world). The ANC meets on October 15; the Zoning Commission hearing is Nov. 8.

New 12-Unit Condo Project on 7th Street
Sep 12, 2007 12:59 PM
On Tuesday night, ANC 6B gave its support for a planned 12-unit five-story condo project to be built on the vacant lot at 1006 7th Street (between K and L, across from the Marine Bachelor Enlisted Quarters). All the units will be two bedroom/two bath, and there will be six parking spaces on the site as well. The ground floor has about 650 sq ft of commercial space, though it's not yet decided whether it will be retail or office space. The architect was kind enough to pass along the very early technical drawings, which I've now posted. There's still a lot of bureaucracy for this project to wade through, including its Historic Preservation Review Board hearing on Sept. 27, as well as the vaunted DC building permit process. But they hope to break ground quickly after all the ducks have been put in a row.
(You can see the change that has already come to the rowhouses next to the lot if you scroll a bit down my 8th Street page.)

More posts: ANC News, square 906

Square 696 Alley Closing Gets ANC Support
Sep 11, 2007 11:04 AM
Last night a request to close the alley that runs between I and K streets parallel to Half and First on Square 696 was on the ANC 6D agenda. But first there was three-and-a-half hours of discussion and debate on various Southwest issues, including the Randall School, Waterside Mall, the Nassif Building, and more--at least, I think that's what they were talking about, because the acoustics at St. Augustine's Church are so horrendous that everyone could have been describing their summer vacations for all I know.
Finally, at about 10:30, representatives of DRI Development and architect HOK gave a brief summary of their plans for the block, which are still very much in the early stages, but were described as "something other than your standard box." The plans show three office buildings (not four, as we've heard up to now) all with ground-floor retail, connected by a "galleria"-type lobby in the center. There would also be an 8,000-sq-ft public plaza opening up to K Street, to give open space to not only the office workers but also the residents of the four buildings surrounding Square 696.
As part of the alley closing request, DRI and its development partner Jamestown Properties are offering a $100,000 payment to the Near Southeast/Southwest community fund, a promise that the building will be LEED certified (a vegetated roof is part of the plans), and the 8,000-sq-ft open space of the plaza to replace the 8,000-sq-ft of "public space" being lost by the alley closing.
The ANC commissioners were quite pleased with what they heard, congratulating the developers on working with the commission on the benefits package before presenting their alley closing request. Commissioner McBee suggested that perhaps some public art could be included at the plaza, as well as public wifi. The final vote was 6-1 in favor of the project, with only Commissioner Skolnik opposing.
DRI was kind enough to pass along the preliminary site plan, which I've added to my Square 696 page. The alley closing request will now wind its way through the city council.
More posts: ANC News, Square 696 Residential, zoning

Oversight Hearing on Canal Park, and Other Council Events
Sep 7, 2007 9:27 AM
With the August recess over, the city council is swinging back into action, and there's a number of Near Southeast-related hearings scheduled over the next few weeks. The most interesting one is a Committee on Economic Development public oversight hearing on "Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Transition of Projects on the Southwest Waterfront, Hill East, Poplar Point, Canal Park, and Kingman Island", scheduled for Oct. 1 at noon. The progress of Canal Park (or lack thereof) continues to be of great interest to Near Southeast residents, and perhaps by the time of this hearing there will be some movement on getting the school buses relocated. There's rumors afoot that the buses could be moved to a temporary lot once a long-term home is secured--and apparently there may soon be a contract before the city council approving a new permanent lot in Prince George's County.
Other council hearings over the next few weeks that touch on Near Southeast issues include a Sept. 26 Committee on Finance and Revenue public hearing on B17-0292, "Arthur Capper/Carrollsburg Public Improvements Revenue Bonds Approval Amendment Act of 2007" and a Sept. 24 Commitee on Economic Development public hearing on B17-0340, "National Capital Revitalization Corporation and Anacostia Waterfront Corporation Clarification Act of 2007".
There's also a Sept. 20 Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary public oversight roundtable on "Capital Projects and Space Needs for Public Safety Agencies," which I'm guessing may touch on the plans for a new home for the Metropolitan Police Department and whether the move to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. is indeed called off--you may recall that one day after the Office of Property Management said that the move was canceled, the Post reported that that the mayor was saying he had made no decision one way or the other.
See my Upcoming Events Calendar for times and locations. Some of these may be available on DC Cable 13 and live webcast.
(Also, as an aside, the ANC 6D agenda for Monday night's meeting is now online.)


ANC 6D September Agenda - Square 696 Alley Closing
Sep 5, 2007 9:57 AM
ANC 6D (covering Southwest and Near Southeast) will have its monthly meeting on Sept. 10, and the draft agenda (now posted online) includes a request to support the closing of the alley that bisects Square 696 (bounded by Half, I, K, and First) as a first step in DRI Development's plans to redevelop the entire block. As I posted here, DRI and development partner Jamestown Properties are planning a four-building office and retail project, to be constructed in four phases, starting in 2008 and ending in 2012 or later.
Non-Near Southeast agenda items include a discussion of the plans for the old Randall School at Half and I, an update on the plans for the Nassif building where the US Department of Transportation used to live, and a discussion of the apparent resolution between community members and the developers of the old Waterside Mall of the massing of the building facades facing M Street SW. The meeting is at St. Augustine's Church, 6th and M streets, SW, at 7 pm.

More posts: ANC News, Square 696 Residential

AWC Staffers Getting the Word Today; And Whither Canal Park?
Aug 3, 2007 2:22 PM
I'm hearing scuttlebutt that today is the day that staffers at the being-dismantled Anacostia Waterfront Corporation are finding out whether they and their jobs are being migrated into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. So tread lightly around 1100 New Jersey this afternoon, because the mood may not be all sunshine and roses.
As always, the question on many peoples' minds is, how will this transfer affect AWC projects in Near Southeast? And Canal Park always seems to be at the top of that list. While the commotion has now subsided over whether zoning changes had suddenly paved the way for ballpark parking on the Canal Park site, residents and activists are starting to be concerned that the city may not be moving with enough speed to get the school buses off the site and get the park built by its announced completion date of Spring 2008. I wrote a few weeks ago about testimony to the city council that negotiations to get the buses removed were continuing, but that no deal had been struck.
But now word is out that the city is working to create a new citywide school bus parking lot in Prince George's County, and there's rumor and speculation that the Canal Park buses would not be moved until that lot has been created. An open question is whether pressure from local leaders could persuade the city to find a temporary location for the Canal Park buses while waiting for the PG County site to come together, so that the park could move forward. The park is in ANC 6D's territory, and of course city councilman's Tommy Wells ward.
To make Canal Park fans feel slightly better, here's the just-posted minutes from the June 21 Commission on Fine Arts meeting, which, if you scroll way way way down, include descriptions of the public art for the park by sculptor David Hess that the CFA reviewed and approved. (Alas, no images.)
More posts: ANC News, Anacostia Waterfront Corp., Canal Park

August Hill Rag Articles
Jul 31, 2007 10:59 AM
Within the past few weeks I've posted a lot about the MPD move to 225 Virginia Ave. and the falderal over the surface parking lots zoning amendment including Canal Park, but if you can't get enough, the August issue of the Hill Rag has pieces on both items. And a summary of the July ANC 6D meeting, too.

Reminder: Meeting Wednesday Night on MPD Move
Jul 17, 2007 1:12 PM
Just a reminder that Wednesday night, July 18, the Metropolitan Police Department is holding a Community Meeting on the Relocation of the Metropolitan Police Department to the old Post Plant site at 225 Virginia Ave. Tommy Wells will be in attendance, as will representatives of MPD, the Office of Property Management, ANCs 6B and 6D, and other officials. It should be a well-attended meeting: there's the residents of Southwest, who are not happy that these proposed relocation plans include the move of the First District police station from Southwest over to Southeast; and the Friends of Garfield Park and other close-by residents, who are concerned about the parking and traffic issues.
The meeting is at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 3rd and A Streets, SE, at 6:30 pm. If you want more background on this proposed move, scroll down through the "News" tab of my 225 Virgina Ave. page.

Temporary Surface Parking Lots at The Yards
Jul 17, 2007 12:46 PM
As I posted a few weeks ago, a request is now making its way through the process that would allow the construction of another batch of temporary surface parking lots, this time at The Yards, totaling an additional 950 spaces. Temporary surface lots are actually already allowed at The Yards under the Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay, subject to this mandatory review. The Zoning Commission hearing is on July 26, and the Office of Planning has completed its report supporting the request, saying among other things that these lots would actually improve the appearance of the parcels and surrounding area--if you've looked at the south side of Tingey Street, you know thiis isn't very far off. (The OP report has a lot of good detail on the Yards parking proposal, so be sure to read it.)
My network of moles inform me that at last week's ANC 6D meeting, after a presentation on the plan, no one made a motion to support it, and when one commissioner made a motion to oppose, no one seconded. (Voice of the Hill has a blurb on this meeting as well.) Ouch!
The case will also then be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission at its August 2 meeting.
If you want to know more about the state of ballpark-related parking, my Stadium Parking and Transportation page has the gory details, including a map of the possible lots and links to the slew of documents that have been generated over this subject. And the clock is now ticking on when that draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan is supposed to be released (it was going to hit the streets in June, it was said...).
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, zoning

Week O'Meetings
Jul 8, 2007 2:27 PM
With the calendar inching toward DC's annual August shutdown, there's a boatload of meetings and hearings on the agenda this week as everyone tries to get their work done before heading for the beach. Here's a not-very-detailed rundown, so follow the links if you want more detailed information:
* Monday starts bright and early with the "public hearing and preliminary finding" by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District application, in Room 301 of the Wilson Building, 10 am.
* The Zoning Commission's monthly public meeting on Monday night includes a final vote on the plans for the 250 M Street office building and a first vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project. In addition, there's a new case looking for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center overlay; here's the Office of Planning report spelling them out. The commission is also scheduled to address Florida Rock's request for guidance on its revised design, which has the support of the Office of Planning. The meeting is at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square (Suite 220 South), but also can be watched via live webcast.
* At about the same time, ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting, and will be having a presentation and vote on Forest City's July 26 zoning hearing to allow temporary surface parking lots at The Yards. This meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 6th and M Streets, SW. (Having to make a choice, I'm opting for the zoning meeting, so it might take a little while before I find out what happened at the ANC.)
* Tuesday's city council meeting at 10 am will include a final vote on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.
* On Tuesday night WMATA is having a public hearing on the proposed move of the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest. (It's probably geared more toward residents near the new location.) There's an open house at 5:30 pm, and the hearing itself starts at 6:30, at 2700 Martin Luther King Dr. SE.
* The Nationals ballpark is having its "Topping Out" party on Wednesday at noon.
* WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is meeting in executive session on Thursday morning to address something having to do with the Southeastern Bus Garage, but they're not saying what.
* Thursday also sees the National Capital Planning Commission meeting that Canal Park fans mobilized for, with the NCPC's agenda including the zoning commission case approving temporary surface parking lots on various blocks in Near Southeast that include Canal Park in their boundaries. There's also a presentation on the the first phase of The Yards. The meeting is at 12:30 pm at 401 9th St., NW, Suite 500.
* Wrapping up the week (pant pant pant) is a city council Subcommittee on Economic Development hearing on the transition plans for folding in the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; it's in the council chamber at the Wilson Building at 10 am, and may also be broadcast on DC cable channel 13 and via streaming video.
And then I will spend the weekend alseep.

More on MPD/Post Plant
Jun 12, 2007 12:28 PM
Last night at its monthly meeting, ANC 6D passed a resolution opposing the proposed relocation of the First Distrct Police Station currently at 415 4th St. SW to the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Ave. SE. There's a series of 11 bullet points describing the ANC's opposition, many of which were brought up at the city council subcommittee hearing last week, most notably of course being the potential impact on "community policing" if the police are no longer housed right in the community. Other issues such as parking at the new site, the "massing" of so many police functions in such a small area given that the 1D1 substation is just four blocks away, and the potential loss of easy walk-in visits to 1D if they are housed in the same building that contains high-level MPD functions such as the chief's office, the Special Operations Division, the evidence warehouse, and other departments.
I also finally got a chance to see the portions of the hearing that weren't originally broadcast, and one of the items that jumped out at me (and that is mentioned in the ANC resolution as well) is that the Office of Property Management is already looking for 10,000 square feet of "swing space" for the 1D substation, because it needs to be out of its current location by early 2009 to make way for the new combined forensics lab. Because of timing issues with getting the 225 Virginia building ready for occupancy (a project that could cost up to $100 million), 1D may not be able to move directly to the new building. (OPM said it should know within 60 days if 1D will need to move to swing space.) Both Carol Schwartz and Tommy Wells were quite skeptical of moving 1D to 225 Virginia, with Schwartz saying "Have you thought of how ridiculous that is?" (But she said it really nicely.) The council members pressed OPM and MPD about why the forensics lab couldn't be at 225 Virginia instead, but issues with ceiling heights and ventilation seemed to be stumbling points, although former OPM head Carol Mitten testified that it wouldn't be impossible. There was also a lot of discussion about the possibility of buying 225 Virginia outright, rather than leasing it.
And of course, as I mentioned in my initial summary, parking issues were a large part of the conversation as well. Neither OPM or MPD would commit to Wells's idea of a ban on employee on-street parking; and as I said last week, OPM and MPD were floating the DPW trash transfer lot at 2nd and K as a parking alternative without seeming to be aware that that lot is already going to the DC Housing Authority as part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Hope VI project. (I shouted it at the TV as loudly and often as I could, but apparently they couldn't hear me.) As described, a new parking structure built on top of the surface lot at 3rd and I would have about 520 spaces, 200 of which would be for police vehicles and another 100 for 1D staff, leaving only 200 spaces for the remaining 500 employees at this new headquarters.
Next steps? OPM is now looking at getting architectural drawings and guaranteed maximum buildout costs to the council by October (two months later than originally forecast); there is also supposed to be a parking plan given to the committee within the next two weeks, and also at some point a meeting between OPM, MPD, and ANCs 6B and 6D. A separate Zoning Commission hearing on adding the site to the Capitol South Receiving Zone originally scheduled for this week has now been postponed. I imagine there will be a fair amount of behind-the-scenes maneuvering on the project that we won't hear much about until it comes time for the city council to vote on paying for the renovations to the building.


Temporary Stadium-Area Surface Parking Lots Approved
May 21, 2007 9:31 PM
Tonight the Zoning Commission approved with a 3-0-2 vote Case 07-08, the request to allow temporary surface parking lots (lasting no more than five years) on a number of parcels within walking distance of the Nationals ballpark. (I considered this hearing so important that I took off my fuzzy slippers and actually ventured to Judiciary Square to attend in person rather than watching Ye Olde Webcast.) Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Turnbull voted for the action; Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries did not attend.
The Office of Planning, while making clear in its report that it strongly encourages the use of mass transit and other alternatives to cars and would not normally support surface parking lots, testified that these lots and the 3,775 maximum spaces they would provide (see my Stadium Parking page for a map that shows their locations) will help to alleviate the short-term shortage of available parking during the next few years until new developments with additional underground parking in the area are completed.
It was requested that the case be approved immediately, on an emergency basis, with the explanation that the sooner the Nationals know where their lots are going to be, the better they can tailor the assignments of season-ticket holders to different lots based on where they are arriving from. (It was also emphasized numerous times that the parking lots are just one part of the overall traffic planning for the stadium.)
The main opposition to the amendment came from residents of Southwest, and ANC 6D commissioner Andy Litsky testified that the neighborhoods were not so much concerned with the lots themselves, but how traffic would be directed to the lots, with the bulk of the consternation focused on 4th, P, and I Streets, SW, which the residents consider to be local roads but which were mentioned by a traffic consultant at the March public meeting as being likely routes to the possible lots in Buzzards Point. There was also a surprising moment when a representative of Pepco testified that there's no way that Square 665 at Buzzards Point can be considered an option for a surface lot, because there's a substation still in operation on it. The Office of Planning explained that this text amendment was merely identifying "potential" lots, and that it's assumed that not all squares will ever actually have surface parking on them, and in fact the presentation slides by traffic consultant Gorove Slade from the March public meeting indicated that most likely no parking would be created at Buzzards Point. Ken Laden of DDOT then testified that his agency has never considered 4th, P, and I in SW to be important streets, because the vast majority of the lot locations are on the east side of South Capitol Street and that DDOT is trying to keep the bulk of the traffic in Near Southeast (where there are currently very few residential developments).
This gave the zoning commissioners an opening they were looking for, and they crafted a pretty sweet way to take the residents' concerns into account: because each surface parking lot will still have to go through the normal DC approval process for a Certificate of Occupancy (environmental review, DDOT review, etc.), they ordered that the associated traffic plans submitted with the COO may not include directing traffic to/from the lots down local streets (specifically mentioning 4th, P, and I). With that, the amendment was approved on an emergency basis. Andy Litsky said he was "pleased" with the decision.
As for the overall traffic management plan, apparently DDOT was not real happy with the first draft that they received on April 30 from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (Laden said it wasn't "user-friendly") and are expecting a new draft in early June, which will then be put out for public comment (and I'm guessing there will be plenty of that). It will include the same sort of on-street parking restrictions that have been used around RFK, where no one can park during games without a special residential parking permit, although exactly how far the boundaries of that restricted area will reach is still under discussion.
And DDOT's Laden also said that an agreement is close to being reached that would add a Circulator bus line from Union Station to the new US Capitol Visitors' Center to the Capitol South and Navy Yard Metro stations, which would give direct access to the red, orange, and blue lines without having to change trains at L'Enfant Plaza.
Above all, it was repeated numerous times that this will be a work-in-progress, that the plans will be tweaked and massaged as the planners see what works and what doesn't. In other words, while traffic will undoubtedly be a nightmare on Opening Day 2008, that doesn't mean it will always be that way. And, oh yeah, take Metro.
For additional background, here's my post from when the zoning case first came up. And be sure to read the Office of Planning's report, Andy Litsky's testimony, and the presentation slides from the March public meeting. And all my other Stadium Parking and Transporation documents and links.
UPDATE: Here's the Post piece on the hearing.


Meeting Wrap-Up - 250 M Approved, ANC Thumbs Down on Parking
May 15, 2007 12:11 PM
Let's go around the horn and see what happened at last night's various meetings.
* The Zoning Commission voted to give final approval to the plans for 250 M Street, William C. Smith's planned 190,000-sq-ft office building on M Street just east of what will be Canal Park. The building, which is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development (and will help fund all the redevelopment at Capper), is expected to start construction at the end of 2007.
* ANC 6D had three Near Southeast items on the agenda--unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I'm giving you the quick and dirty results, and will hopefully have links later for additional details. First, they gave their approval (again) to the 276-unit residential building planned by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, but this was pretty prefunctory since they approved it a few months back and nothing has really changed except a bureaucratic need to resubmit the plan to the Zoning Commission in a different manner; the ZC hearing is on May 31. Second, they voted not to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast to help provide parking for the new stadium. There was also a presentation by the DC Housing Authority on what's been happening with Capper/Carrollsburg and the Capper seniors buildings, but of course you've been reading this site religiously and so know it all already.
UPDATE: Apparently the feelings against the parking case ran pretty strong; and I understand that Andy Litsky of the ANC will be testifying in opposition at the Zoning Commission hearing next Monday (May 21).


Stadium Parking - Office of Planning Report
May 14, 2007 3:17 PM
Tonight ANC 6D will be briefed and will vote on whether to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request for text amendments to current zoning regulations to permit and regulate temporary surface parking lots on specified blocks near the stadium. Here's the Office of Planning's report to the Zoning Commission on the proposed zoning changes--it's not very different from the original report they submitted back in April, as I understand it the only major difference is asking that parking spaces for baseball be reserved for 1.5 hours before events (rather than the 3 hours initially suggested). The hearing before the Zoning Commission is on May 21. For more background on the plans for parking and other transportation issues around the stadium site, see my Stadium Parking page for maps, presentations, and other documents.
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

ANC 6D May Agenda - And 250 M Back at the Zoning Commission
May 9, 2007 12:46 PM
The agenda for May ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (though it's not yet available on their web site). In addition to a presentation and vote on the Waterside Mall plans, there's a bunch of Near Southeast-related items on the agenda, ones that I've been posting about here for a while:
* There will be a presentation and vote on 1325 South Capitol's resubmission to the Zoning Commission as a PUD (that hearing is now scheduled for May 31). This is the planned 276-unit residential building across the street from the Nationals ballpark, which because of some procedural muck had to resubmit its plans in a different format.
* Also scheduled is an update by the DC Housing Authority on the latest goings-on at Capper/Carrollsburg, including status reports on the Senior Buildings (which I imagine will include the change for Capper Building #2 [aka the "Ballpark Apartments"] to allow workforce-level residents in addition to low-income seniors), as well as on the planned demolition this summer of the old Capper Seniors building at 7th and M, and the latest with the townhomes at Capitol Quarter, as more market-rate houses go on the market and with infrastructure construction expected to begin soon (and "vertical construction" probably starting in early fall).
* And there's also a presentation and vote on the (gaaaaak) Supplemental Stadium Surface Parking plan that's having its zoning hearing on May 21. My Stadium Transportation and Parking page (and its News Items tab) can give you the gory details.
This meeting is scheduled for the same time as Monday's Zoning Commission meeting, which includes on its newly-posted agenda the final approval vote on the 250 M Street office building project (which has been delayed a bit over the past few months), so it's a tough call which one I'll be focusing on. (Especially since we know how much I love ANC meetings.)

ANC Doings
Apr 11, 2007 2:56 PM
Some very brief Near Southeast-related updates from two ANC meetings this week (I wasn't in attendance at either, so these are just quick summaries I received from Other Parties): At ANC 6D on Monday, the commissioners voted 3-2-2 to oppose a zoning special exception request (waiver of the rear yard requirement) for the planned office building at 1111 New Jersey Ave., the Donohoe project on the west side of New Jersey between L and M (on top of the eastern Navy Yard Metro station entrance); the Board of Zoning Adjustment hearing is on May 8. As always, the biggest sticking point appeared to be battle between the ANC's we-want-a-community-benefits-package-in-return-for-our-support stance and the developer's this-is-a-matter-of-right-project-we-don't-have-to-give-you-anything stance. (And you wonder why I avoid these meetings like the plague.)
Meanwhile, over at ANC 6B (which is in charge of the sliver of Near Southeast around 8th Street/Barracks Row), the process is beginning about the possibility of razing the abandoned beige apartment building on Potomac between 8th and 9th and replacing it with a new four-story building with ground-floor retail and two levels of underground parking (though this is still just in the conceptual phase and may not be the final plan). A raze permit has been applied for, but because this small section of Near Southeast is part of the Capitol Hill Historic District, the Historic Preservation Office will be involved in the process. More later, I'm sure.

One More Batch of Stadium Parking Meeting Slides
Apr 2, 2007 2:48 PM
With thanks again to DDOT, I now have all of the slide presentations from last week's public meeting on the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP). The new ones are the WMATA Slides on Navy Yard Station Upgrade and the DDOT Slides on Douglass Bridge/Other Improvements. The documents I posted last week were the slides by Gorove/Slade describing about the TOPP; with maps and charts listing expected transit/auto/pedestrian traffic volume and flow; an FAQ on parking, traffic, and other issues for Southwest and Near Southeast residents; an FAQ on the Douglass Bridge improvements going on over the next few months; and DDOT's display boards with information on the plans for the South Capitol Street corridor and other regional traffic issues.
Repeating what I said last week: If you live in Southwest, or Near Southeast, or Capitol Hill, or Anacostia, or even Prince George's County, or if you're a baseball fan planning to come to the games, I suggest taking a close look at these.... (Some of them are kind of big files, be patient if they take a moment to load.) Comments can be sent to the the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback. And read my summary of the main bullet points from the meeting. Let's not all wait until March 2008 to suddenly figure out that there's a new baseball stadium at South Capitol and Potomac that has 40,000 fans trying to get there.


Public Meeting on Stadium Parking - A Summary
Mar 29, 2007 10:45 PM
It was a tough call between swallowing a couple of bottles of hydrochloric acid or attending tonight's public meeting on the stadium's Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, but luckily for you my JDLand duties eventually won out. I'm hoping to get electronic versions of the slide presentations, so I'm going to just type up my notes for now, and hope that the details come later; besides, much of it will sound familiar to folks who read this blog regularly. There were presentations by DDOT and WMATA about their plans for the area, as a warm up for the discussion by traffic planners Gorove/Slade on the TOPP.
DDOT gave an overview of all of its near-term plans for Near Southeast--this includes the additional ramps to be added to the 11th Street Bridges, which already has funding and is moving at (bureaucratically speaking) lightning speed, and should be done by 2010. Then the planned improvements to South Capitol Street and the South Capitol Street Bridge were profiled, including this summer's festive demolition and lowering of the northern portion of the bridge. The current bridge itself will also be painted, and will get new lighting and pedestrian rails (more like the Pennsylvania Ave. bridge). Then there will be the streetscape improvements to South Capitol, Potomac, N, 1st, and I Streets, SE, all before Opening Day 2008, with resurfacing, new streetlights, curbs, etc. There will also be some small changes to the South Capitol and I intersection to try to improve the flow, although there are no current plans to expand the ramps to/from the freeway.
Next up was WMATA, giving a description of what's being done to expand the Navy Yard Metro station in advance of the throngs of baseball fans. The station's capacity is being upgraded to 15,000 customers per hour (the same as Stadium-Armory) from the current 5,000, turnstiles and Farecards machines will be moved to street-level, elevators will be added to the west entrance, and more, all while Monument Realty's 55 M Street office building is built on top of the station. The west entrance will be one-way outbound before games and one-way inbound afterwards, while the east entrance will remain two-way. Metro will also put in place the same plan of 9-13 extra trains after each game that they currently do for games at RFK, and that the system's recent receipt of nearly 190 new rail cars will also help increase capacity over the next 18 months. They are also looking at shuttles to other stations after games, and that the possibility exists that DDOT could expand the DC Circulator bus routes that currently end in SW to include the stadium area, with a route down M Street, up 8th, and over to Union Station, but that's not decided yet.
Gorove/Slade went through a lot of numbers, but I think in some ways didn't quite emphasize what the people attending wanted to hear most, which is that non-resident gameday street parking will be prohibited in basically all residential areas in Southwest and Near Southeast south of the freeway, and they'll be using the model that's been being refined in the Hill East neighborhood around RFK for the past few years (residents receive Event Parking permits to display, and also one guest parking permit per household). They estimate that for a sellout crowd 19,000 people will come via transit (16,000 through the Navy Yard station), 750 will arrive by charter buses, 400 by taxi, 3,400 on foot or bike, and 13,600 by car (in 4,700 vehicles). They indicated that the Nationals themselves are in charge of coordinating the parking negotiations with various sites, and a slide showed that the Nationals have identified about 5,200 parking spaces that can be available (well above the 4,700 vehicles anticipated to be coming to games). Only 185 of these spaces are in Southwest (between Half and South Capitol north of M); the rest are all in Near Southeast. While there are possibilities for parking in Buzzards Point, currently it appears the Nationals are not anticipating using that area for parking. No decision has been made yet on using the RFK parking lots and shuttle buses.
In terms of pedestrian flow at game time, many of the surrounding sidewalks are to be upgraded as part of DDOT's streetscape improvements. There will be traffic control officers at the major intersections, and Half Street SE south of M will be closed entirely to vehicle traffic, while some lanes on N will be closed; also there will be no parking at all on M Street or on 1st Street north of M on gamedays.
But what all the planners want is for people to come to games via public transit.
The questions from the audience centered mainly around the impact on the residential streets of Southwest and Capitol Hill, with great concerns about parking for visitors ("what if I'm having a party?") on game days. I imagine there will be more of the meetings, with more consternation, yet to come. And I also imagine that Opening Day 2008 will be rife with tales of traffic back-ups, transit snafus, and lost suburbanites unable to find their parking lots. And then the plans will be tweaked and re-tweaked, just as they have been around RFK for the past few years.
As I said, hopefully I'll have the slides and some other materials to pass along within the next few days. If you have concerns that you want to air, be sure to contact the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback.
UPDATE: See my entry with the slides from the meeting, now posted on my site.