Tag Archives: ANC

ANC Round Up: Stay in Your Lane Edition

Photo by me and the syop.

Last night the ANC met for its April session. While GM had to leave after little more than an hour, most of the interesting stuff is up front, so here’s what he caught:

Close Lanes Not Roads

During two items last night, the ANC touched on an underused solution to a frequent problem. The problem: street closures for special events. The solution: close just a lane instead.

The two items were the annual French Market fair on Book Hill and the Thai Festival on lower Wisconsin.

The BID will hold the French Market April 19th and 20th. One problem with the success of this event is that the narrow sidewalks of Wisconsin Ave. get overcrowded with the crowds and the booths. The ANC posed the reasonable solution that the BID ought to seek to spread the event over to the parking lane. John Weibenson of the BID responded that he was working with the city to arrange for just that.

As for the Thai Embassy, they would like to shut down Wisconsin from South St. to Grace for their annual festival June 29th. The ANC objected to the request, but proposed a similar solution to the French Market problem: why not just take over the parking lane?

The problem is that the city has shown a strong aversion to allowing, essentially, pedestrian and automobile traffic to share the road like that. Even when proposing appropriate barriers, groups seeking permits like this have been rejected. Thus if these requests are granted, they would represent a great possible solution to the problem of too many street closings in Georgetown. Continue reading

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ANC Round Up: Seeing Signs Edition

Stores

Last night the ANC met for its last meeting of 2012. It was also the last meeting for Commissioner Jake Sticka, who did not run for reelection this year due to the fact he’ll be graduating this spring. As is normal, the commission will honor him with a special commendation at the February meeting.

But he wasn’t gone yet. And he dutifully took notes through the length of the relatively uneventful meeting. (GM wonders if the next crop of student-commissioners will refuse to serve as secretary. They’ve been stuck with the job going at least as far back as Jenna Lowenstein.)

One of the more substantive topics on the agenda last night was the city’s proposed signage regulations. This is something GM has mentioned briefly before. In short, the city is proposing the adoption of signage rules for the whole city. Technically speaking signage rules are nothing new for Georgetown. But too often they are more honored in the breach than the observance. The new rules would bring some more vigor to the rules, even those that already apply to Georgetown.

Last night the ANC voted to submit a letter supporting the new rules with some proposed changes. For instance, the ANC’s comments suggest that neon signs should be banned unless they meet certain criteria such as being the only sign on the store identifying the store name (like Bridge Street Books does). Additionally, they suggest that sandwich boards should be kept off of the main drags but remain allowed on the side streets.

(Full disclosure: GM drafted CAG’s comment letter on the same rules. CAG took a more conservative approach. For instance, rather than list exceptions out to the blanket prohibition on electronic signs, CAG suggested the rules be drafted to make it clear that the Old Georgetown Board’s review standards should apply.)

Everyone is in agreement that something needs to be done to crack down on the proliferation of ugly and illegal signs. Hopefully these rules can lead the way. Continue reading

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ANC Preview: Don’t Fool Jesus Edition

Next week the ANC will hold its last meeting of the year. This will be a somewhat unique meeting because it will be held on the campus of GU at the Leavey Center (it’s still at it’s normal time: Monday 6:30).

The item on the agenda that jumps out at GM is the one regarding the zoning application by the Georgetown Park Mall to add a bowling alley.

GM was excited to hear the plans. And so far most of the people he’s spoke with around Georgetown about it have been in support of it too. However, GM is aware that some of the Georgetown Park condo dwellers are less enthused about the idea. Next Monday should be the first airing of any objections. Continue reading

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The Morning Metropolitan

Photo by Dremmetbrown.

Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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ANC Preview: Gypsy Sally’s Edition

Next week, the ANC will meet for it’s November session. And one item jumps way out from the rest: a new music venue called Gypsy Sally’s.

According to the liquor license application, the venue will be on the second floor of 3401 K St. That’s the address of the future Malmaison (and once Hibiscus Cafe). It will be a “restaurant with a seating capacity of 224 seats, [with a] total occupancy load of 284. Requesting an entertainment endorsement featuring live acoustic music with cover charge. No nude performances.”

(GM doesn’t know for sure, but the somewhat un-PC name probably comes the song Tecumseh Valley by Townes Van Zandt)

If any new live music venues has any chance of getting through the approval process, picking a location like this is probably the best first step. There’s no immediate residential neighbor. However, there is a condo building a couple doors down. And during the approval process of Malmaison there were concerns expressed over the noise of people coming and going from the new restaurant. Additionally, another point of contention was the number of reimbursable detail MPD cops the restaurant would hire.

If approved, this of course would not be the first music venue along K St. From 1953 to 1998, the Bayou stood at 31st and K. Will Gypsy Sally’s live up to that reputation? We’ll see. Continue reading

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ANC Round Up: Demolition By Neglect

 

The ANC met for its October session last night. Here are some of the bigger items they discussed:

Demolition By Neglect Reaches it Inevitable Conclusion

The agenda was marked by a solemn item. The new owner of 3324 Dent Place has filed a raze request with the city. Such requests are rare in Georgetown, and even more rarely granted.

The house in question can be seen above in slightly better days. It is a wood frame house and likely dates from the mid 1800s. It can be seen in this old map from 1903. Even as late as then, that block of Dent was home to only a couple of other houses (also, it was called S St., not Dent).

The house’s more recent history was retold by Chairman Ron Lewis last night. In 1978, the owner of the house requested a raze permit. The Old Georgetown Board denied it. For whatever reason (perhaps out of spite) the house was left to rot for decades. As the neighbors complained last night, the property became a fetid eyesore attracting vermin and mosquitoes. One resident complained that when she lived there 15 years ago, she couldn’t believe the house was in such poor shape. And she mentioned that when she returned to the neighborhood after living abroad all those years, she was shocked to see it had only gotten worse.

Up to a little over a year ago this was a classic case of demolition by neglect. This is the situation whereby an owner of a historically protected building allows the building to fall into such disrepair that the city will be forced to grant a raze permit. The proper response to such a tactic is to jack up the property taxes and deny a raze permit. Unfortunately, in this situation Mother Nature had her say. During Hurricane Irene a large silver maple fell squarely on the house. It is now unsalvageable.

Ron Lewis recognized the difficulty of the situation. Allowing a homeowner to tear down a century-and-a-half year old house is irrevocable. But the neighbors who had lived with the eyesore for too long. It is a shame that such a historic structure cannot be saved, but a raze permit must be issued.

Lewis added a clause to the motion supporting the raze permit that requested that the new owner of the building not be permitted to use this raze as an opportunity to build a much larger house. It’s a small gesture in the face of a bad situation all around. Continue reading

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ANC Preview: I Saw the Sign Edition

Next Monday, the ANC will meet for its October session. Here are some of the interesting topics they’ll discuss:

Sign Regulations:

The DC government recently proposed a raft of regulations that would govern signage throughout the District, including Georgetown.

As it stands now, all signs in Georgetown (except temporary ones) are subject to review and approval by the Old Georgetown Board. And that’s going to continue to be the case. However, the proposed rules set forth some governing rules, including a short list of prohibited types of signs in Georgetown. Those include billboards, flashing neon signs, and “electrical” signs (among others). It’s unlikely that the OGB would ever approve such signs, but if these rules are adopted, then it will become even less likely.

Of course the rules are useless without enforcement, and there’s nothing in the proposed rules that would necessarily lead to more enforcement (in fact, by enacting new rules that apply city-wide, the regulations would only spread enforcement thinner). So what effect they would have is anyone’s guess.

The ANC will be discussing these rules at the meeting. They will most likely focus on some ambiguities in the proposed rules (like where the jurisdiction of the OGB and the DC Historical Preservation office overlap).

3000 Block of R St.

On the agenda are the Hurt Home project and the Jackson Art Center, both on the 3000 block of R St. (GM’s old haunt). GM has no clue what is going to be discussed in relation to these buildings. The construction for the Hurt Home Condos (now dubbed “The Montrose”) appears to be going ahead full-steam. But seeing a construction site show up on an ANC agenda isn’t so odd. What’s odd is the inclusion of the Jackson Art Center. This collection of artist studios is housed in an old public elementary school, a school still owned by the District.

When the city was going through the disposition process for the Hurt Home, GM heard some grumblings from some affiliated with the Jackson Art Center that maybe this would lead the city to turn the school into condos too once the art center’s lease was up in a few years. Is this why it’s on the agenda? GM has no idea, we’ll see.

Update: A reader pointed out to GM that he misread the agenda. The Hurt Home isn’t actually on the agenda. The agenda lists the address of 3050 R St., which is the Hurt Home, not the Jackson School, but that’s probably a mistake. So it looks like just the Jackson School is on the agenda.

Continue reading

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