ANC 6C discusses H Street – Hill Rag safety concerns | Episode Movies

The Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6C met Wednesday, October 12 via WebEx. Commissioners Christine Healey (6C01), Karen Wirt, Chair (6C02), Jay Adelstein (6C03), Mark Eckenwiler (6C04), Joel Kelty (6C05) and Drew Courtney (6C06) attended the meeting.

Public safety concerns related to the H Street NE corridor were discussed at length by ANC-6C commissioners and community members at the October meeting. The commissioners unanimously voted to send a letter to DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), Chair Phil Mendelson (D) and the DC Council expressing their concerns about public safety and taking action against it calling for crime to spread to H Street NE. Commissioner Joel Kelty (6C05) and parishioner Joe McCann, who lives about two blocks north of H Street NE, lead the discussion.

“It just seems like things are going in a bad way,” McCann said of the recent spike in crime. “If there are so many incidents on my block that I can’t say are very different from others, we have a problem,” McCann said.

Kelty echoed McCann’s concerns about safety in the neighborhood, saying the rampant crime had “no longer made the area a comfortable place to participate in public life.”

“I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 2000 and I think that year was probably the worst year for quality of life degradation,” Kelty said. He also highlighted the “overconcentration of cannabis gift establishments” along H Street. These stores, often referred to as Initiative 71 (I-71) compliant businesses, dispense cannabis in exchange for the purchase of a small item such as a sticker or digital artwork.

“The DC government has determined this activity to be illegal and yet has not taken adequate action to address it,” Kelty said of the I-71 dealings. “We don’t just have one or two weed shops, we have at least 15 … and it draws people from Maryland and Virginia and other places.”

Another community member spoke of the increase in violence near his family’s home, saying that one of the most difficult consequences of the crime’s spread was the impact it had on his son.

“I literally got him a cell phone a week ago and it’s disheartening for me and I feel really terrible because one of the first uses of his phone was to call 911 to report a shooting [outside] his window,” said the community member. “It was across the street from our property. “

Commissioner Jay Adelstein (6C03) emphasized that the rise in crime in the district “is a problem bigger than H Street” but agreed with other commissioners that a focus on making H Street safer should be within their ANC would be beneficial.

Speaking about how the problem could be improved, Commissioner Mark Eckenwiler (6C04) spoke about the camera rebate program, which allows DC residents and business owners to receive up to $500 in reimbursement for the purchase and installation of security cameras on their property.

Kelty said he is an “early adopter” of the camera discount program and said he believes he has received 18 arrests based on information from his cameras, but said he believes the total number of prosecutions remains zero.

McCann echoed Kelty’s concerns about being pursued by police after reports of concerns such as the gunshot.

“I just don’t know if there’s any desire to investigate, and that’s what really worries me,” McCann said.

The Commission unanimously decides:

  • Adopt the recommendation of the ANC’s Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee (ABL) to challenge new Class C tavern applications for Sweet Sweet Kitchen (500 H St NE) and Vision Lounge (707 H St NE). to protest and appoint Graham Grossman to negotiate settlement agreements on the deals.
  • Accept the recommendation of the ABL Committee that no action be taken against the license renewals for Wundergarten (131 M NE), The Little Grand (808 Seventh St. NE), Laos In Town (250 K St. NE), Scissors and Scotch (331 N St. NE), UNO Chicago Grill (50 Massachusetts Ave. NE), and Columbus Club at Union Station (50 Massachusetts Ave. NE).
  • Submit a letter of support to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in support of an open road along Eighth St NE from Florida Ave to M St SE beginning at 9 a.m. on recommendation of the ANC Committee on Transportation and Public Spaces (TPS). to 3 p.m. on a Saturday. A date for the event on the open road has not yet been set.
  • Submit a letter of support to DC Council to support a proposed reduction in resident parking permit zones (RPP) but strongly advise against the use of ANC Single Member Districts (SMD) as new boundaries and propose that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is conducting a study on how a reduction in these zones can best be implemented.
  • Accept the recommendation of the Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee (PZE) to deny a Historic Preservation Application (HPA) for a rear and loft extension of 616 Lexington Pl. NE due to lack of information on the scope of the project.
  • Adopted the PZE Committee’s recommendation to deny a special exemption request to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for the “subsequent” removal of a cornice at 401 K St NE. The cornice has already been removed, but the commissioners argued that this was a protected architectural element and rejected the application due to the overall “extremely modern design”. The commissioners also voted unanimously to authorize Commissioner Eckenwiler to testify on behalf of the ANC at the December 7 hearing.
  • Accept the recommendation of the Environment, Parks and Events Committee (EPE) to send a letter regarding Reservation 315 and plans for a park at Fifth Street and I Street NE. The letter would support the transition of ownership of the park from the National Park Service (NPS) to the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) portfolio in the district.

Other matters:

  • Commissioner Eckenwiler gave an update on an application for monument protection, which initially provided for the conversion of a one-story cleaning into a three-story residential building. The plans have now changed; the applicant now wishes to demolish the current structure to construct an entirely new building at (601 Massachusetts Ave NE). However, the ANC has not seen any documents on the new plans. Eckenwiler reported that the complainant signaled to the committee that she would request a postponement, which apparently has not yet happened. “If the applicant does not request such an adjournment in a timely manner and the ANC asks that this be postponed, we will refuse on record because the applicant did not come to us to present himself,” Eckenwiler said. This proposal was accepted unanimously by the Commission.
  • Commissioner Drew Courtney (6C06) informed about the current status of the NoMa park projects and future plans. The $50 million granted to the parks, plus additional donation funds, have been spent and they are completing their work. The NoMa Business Improvement District (BID) takes care of the ongoing maintenance of the parks, and DPR will take care of the structural maintenance going forward.

ANC 6C meets next on November 9th at 7pm via WebEx. You can register to attend the meeting and read more about the Commission here.

Sarah Payne is the general duties reporter at Capital Community News. She can be reached at sarahp@hillrag.com.

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