ANC Roundup: Keep That Yogaing Down Edition

Photo by Go Interactive Wellness.

Last night the ANC met for its May session (GM forgot to give you a preview; sorry about that). Here’s what GM could stick around long enough to catch:

Non-Conforming Yoga

The lawyer representing the landlord of the space that was once occupied by Govinda Gallery (the corner of 34th and Prospect) was there requesting a change to zoning. The block in question (the Govinda space, as well as the other shops on the corner) is zoned residential. All the commercial uses in that space exist simply because they were grandfathered in since the 1950s. But non-conforming uses (as such grandfathering is called) can only be what it always was. Thus if a building has housed a market, new markets may open in that space, but a barber wouldn’t be permitted without zoning relief.

The owner of this block would like to sign up a yoga studio to take over the old gallery space and some of the other vacant space. Since there wasn’t a yoga store there already, they need zoning approval.

The ANC recognized that all things considered, yoga studios are pretty low impact. Most customers walk to the studio and they don’t create much noise. But as originally drafted, the applicant was seeking approval to conduct instructional classes. This would cover yoga, but it would also cover karate and spin classes. Both much louder uses.

The ANC negotiated with the attorney that the request would be limited to just yoga and a small retail store selling yoga clothes and equipment.

They then negotiated over hours, finally settling on a 9:30 pm closing time.

No yoga tenant has been signed up, apparently. By GM’s last count there’s already five other yoga studios in Georgetown. Is there demand for a sixth? We’ll see.

We Can Just Get Along

Way back in 2010, the Nation’s Triathlon became the great bugaboo of the ANC. After years of increasing frustration over street closures, the ANC finally came down heavy on the event’s request to close streets. It asked the event’s organizers tough questions about how charitable the for-profit event truly was. And it didn’t help that the company running the event was owned by a Fenty-crony who sat on the ABC board (and was thus adjudicating ANC appeals).

Fast forward to 2013. After working closely with the commission over the years to minimize the race’s impact on Georgetown, the organizers came last night and met basically smooth sailing (or rather smooth swimming, biking and running). A few requests were made, but the ANC was mostly supportive of the event, a huge turnaround from 2010.

M St. Cycletrack

Commissioner Ron Lewis announced that construction will soon begin on the M St. cycletrack, which will run from downtown to 28th St. This will be a huge boon to bikers, but GM hopes some improvements can eventually come to the rest of M St. in Georgetown.


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