[dispatches from other transitioning DC neighborhoods]
DDOT Removes Shoes from Shaw Trees
District Department of Transportation workers this morning removed dozens of shoes that had been flung up in two trees in the 400 block of Q Street NW. Full text
Includes a couple of somewhat surreal pics and a quote by Petworth's own Joe Martin, currently in charge of Ward 2 outreach and services.
[from Reyn A.]
After something of a hiatus, Washington Central Parks is getting back on its feet. We're working hard to get our website back up and running, with improvements. In the meantime, here's information regarding this week's Armed Forces Retirement Home hearing:
The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) has extended its hearing time on the AFRH’s development plan in order to ensure that all community members interested in testifying are given an opportunity to do so. PLEASE COME THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 31st at 1:50pm to 441 4th Street, NW (1 Judiciary Square), room 220 south, to voice your concerns about the adverse impact this plan will have on this historic site and the surrounding neighborhoods. If you cannot attend the January 31st hearing, but wish to submit comments on the AFRH development plans, you can e-mail them here or here. The HPRB members will take a site visit to the AFRH this week, prior to the January 31st hearing.
Brief overview of the January 24th hearing:
- The Board voted unanimously to designate the AFRH as a District of Columbia Historic District.
- The State Historic Preservation Officer presented his report and, among other things, suggested that the HPRB should accept a continuing responsibility to review any proposed private development on the AFRH property.
- The National Trust for Historic Preservation expressed concerns about a proposed building to be constructed near the National Monument/Lincoln Cottage and stated that they would prefer to see no development on Zone C, as this would adversely impact the Lincoln Cottage’s setting and interpretation.
- The National Park Service stated that it would like to see the AFRH put Zone C out for tender or lease to the NPS or the city of the District of Columbia to be used as a publicly-accessible park space, especially as this part of the city is sorely underserved by parks
- The Commission on Fine Arts reported that at their January 17th hearing on the AFRH’s development plan, they had decided to take no action as they thought that the proposed development on Zone A was not in line with the principles of the McMillan Plan and they wished to see other design alternatives. The CFA representative requested that the HPRB also delay its vote on the AFRH plan.
Recent blog posting from a transplanted west coaster adjusting to life and homeownership in Petworth:
(Since it's dated Jan 15th, welcome to the neighborhood. Eight Days in Petworth and counting.)
[from Terra W.]
Please attend a brief meeting next Tuesday 1/29 at the Park View Rec Center (intersection of Otis & Warder Streets) at 7pm. We will accomplish the following:
- Update on Central Union Mission's proposed move to Ga Ave
- Explain the special exception hearing and criteria
- Ask the community to continue writing letters to BZA
- Encourage attendance at the BZA hearing on Tuesday 2/19
- Coordinate car-pooling for 2/19
- Circulate a petition in opposition to the special exception
- Pass out fliers to be posted and shared with neighbors
Can you volunteer this week or weekend to pass out a flier on your block informing people of this meeting and BZA hearing? If so, please email me.
[from Terra W.]
Dear residents of Columbia Heights, Petworth, Park View and Pleasant Plains:
On Tuesday 2/19/08 at 9:30am, Central Union Mission will request a Special Exception from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA - 441 4th Street, NW) to build a large shelter (approximately 170 beds) in the 3500 block of Georgia Avenue. Several community leaders will speak at the hearing but the meeting will not be open to public testimony. However, it is crucially important that you 1) attend the meeting and 2) write a letter in opposition to the special exception. Our goal is 50 letters. We cannot stress enough that even though you cannot speak at the hearing, your presence is critically important to demonstrate community solidarity. Please take the day off work or make arrangements to go in late.
At a minimum, please write a letter saying “I live at ____ and I oppose the special exception for Central Union Mission, case #17717.” If you have more to say, also consider writing about the specific criteria that BZA will consider for granting or denying the Special Exception:
“Adverse impact” a homeless shelter of the proposed size will have on the neighborhood.
“Detriment to safety, convenience and/or general welfare” of people residing or working in the vicinity.
Vehicular and pedestrian traffic, ingress and egress problems the shelter will create for Newton Street and Georgia Avenue.
The proposed shelter will not “substantially advance” the purposes of the overlay nor the Georgia Avenue–Petworth Corridor Plan, which include: Retention and establishment of a variety of quality neighborhood-serving retail, entertainment and personal service establishments; Encouragement of additional residential uses (including affordable housing) and improved commercial uses; Eliminate blight; Maintain and enhance neighborhood character
Add your own experiences and stories about the neighborhood to support your argument and personalize your letter. We are encouraging people to appeal to the Board’s emotions. Send or drop off your signed letter at 607 Lamont St. NW Washington, DC 20010 ASAP. We will compile the letters and send them in one package to BZA. We will also make a map showing where all of the letters came from, demonstrating the overwhelming opposition to the special exception that the shelter needs to move here.
Please pass this along and encourage your neighbors to write letters as well. If you prefer to write in Spanish or another language also feel free!
Thank you, your fellow neighbors.
[from Joe Martin, ANC 4C Chair]
If you were up early this morning as I was, you would have had the opportunity to see a coyote walking down Varnum Street NW towards Grant Circle. I have publicized reports of seeing them around here, but this was my first sighting.
The coyote was gallantly walking in the middle of the street, coming down from the 300 block, heading west after crossing 4th Street NW. It stopped by the side of a home across Varnum, probably looking for their Christmas decorations. Then it wandered back and forth a little where Varnum meets Grant Circle before crossing into the Circle itself.
This took place at about 4:30am. Very cool for me. My fellow ANC Commissioner, Ron Bland, reports seeing coyote in his back yard on the 1600 block of Buchanan Street NW nightly.
You might want to keep Muffin inside overnight - especially if she's been de-clawed.
Update - Click here for a link to the Park Service's FAQs about coyotes in Rock Creek Park.
Check out today's Post Express article featuring the Prince of Petworth's guide to the best in local eating and drinking:
[from Carol Herwig]
This is a letter a group of us have sent to Mayor Fenty and DCPS Chancellor Rhee regarding the proposed closing of Clark Elementary (4501 7th St). We're looking for community support.
1. Create an arts magnet school. Clark already has an active arts program, bringing its students to the Fillmore Arts Center weekly for programs. It also works with Teatro de la Luna in bringing theater to young audiences. Due to the slated closing of Backus Middle School, the satellite campus of Fillmore must move. Clark could give the program one floor of its campus, offering arts and music education to all elementary schools in Ward 4, including those not taking advantage of its programs already. In addition, we would actively pursue other partnerships in the arts community that could bring instruction and entrée to other arts programs in the District of Columbia.
1. Convert Clark to a K-8 program. In looking at Clark’s enrollment patterns, the most heavily subscribed classes are the pre-K through third grade. Around the fourth and fifth grades, parents start to worry about the next step, which in Ward 4, assuming the children stay in the DCPS system, means sending their children to MacFarland Middle School for the sixth grade. So they move their children to charter schools. The message we have heard in meetings this winter is that parents are afraid of sending their children to MacFarland. It’s perceived as dangerous and the last-chance alternative.
As residents and concerned citizens of Petworth, we offer these alternatives knowing Clark is under-enrolled and aware that we could be charged with NIMBY-ism. But Clark has special attributes that should be taken into consideration. And we are prepared to vigorously market the school, given the green light.
There are several other pertinent reasons to keep Clark open.
First, Clark has a dynamic principal in Brearn Wright, who has made major strides in improving the academic atmosphere and the physical plant in the year and a half he has been with the school. He linked Clark with the Fillmore Arts Center, brought the Inspired Teaching program to his teaching staff, applied to be a Pilot School, made the schoolyard welcoming to afterschool sports and recreation, pursued grants and volunteer efforts from the community, DC Cares, Home Depot, City Year and more. As your education compact indicated, our children deserve, indeed should demand, these kinds of programs as part of their daily curriculum. Principal Wright is already delivering these kinds of programs to Petworth children.
Second, Petworth has become a real estate “hot spot” in the past three to five years and is in the beginning of a development growth spurt, with large and small projects going up around the Metro hub and the neighborhood’s solid core of single-family homes. Censuses for the area that are five or 10 years old don’t reflect the present and future. By comparison, consider the changes in U Street in the past 10 years. And consider the number of young families currently moving into this area.
Third, development has brought financial and other commitments for the school from developers, including a $75,000 pledge from developer John C. Formant.
Fourth, Clark is a valued community resource. The involvement ranges from financial pledges, such as the one Formant has made, to hands-on efforts. Neighbors pitched in to clean the once-neglected ballfields, plant trees and shrubs, and are working to find grants and assistance for afterschool sports programs for children and neighbors. The nightly soccer games mean Clark has been reclaimed for the neighborhood. DC Parks and Recreation, with much prodding from the community, recognized the need for recreational space in Petworth and just completed a $3 million upgrade at the nearby Petworth Rec Center. But that space is primarily for the younger children. Our only ballfield for soccer, t-ball or pickup football is at Clark.
Fifth, we are concerned about the alternatives. Compared to Clark, Powell and Truesdell and West are underperforming elementary schools. In addition, all would require very young children to cross Georgia Avenue, which does not have crossing guards or stoplights or stop signs at every block.
Finally, our number one priority is to not lose the headway and progress that Principal Wright has created. No other elementary school in our region is offering the same programs or showing the same success.
Thank you for your consideration.
Carol Herwig and George E. Morgan
Angie Christophe and Michael Ivey
Shanel Anthony, ANC 4C07 Commissioner
Drew and Heather Schneider
[from Diane Groomes, Ass't Chief of Police]
I met with the Office of Unified Communications last Friday and it has been discussed that ALL POLICE RELATED CALLS MUST BE CALLED INTO 911. 311 will now be used for the Mayor's Customer Service Requests [Ed. note - formerly 727-1000].
911 – all police matters – emergency and non emergency - fires, ambulance
311 - all other governmental agency requests/city services – cars towed, streetlights replaced, streets repaired, animal issues, abandoned vehicles, trees trimmed, trash pickups, etc.
DIANE C GROOMES
Assistant Chief of Police
Patrol Services and School Security Bureau
Metropolitan Police Department
801 Shepherd St NW
202 576-6660 office
[dispatches from other transitioning DC neighborhoods]
Thanks to Susan M. for sending this one:
Anacostia Wins HGTV Contest
[from Eric W.]
A message to the new owners of Temperance Hall [Ed. note - now Looking Glass Lounge]:
A couple of friends and I went there Tuesday the 8th of January and had a very mixed experience.
First off, the good points. The beer selection is good, particularly the drafts, the music is good, and the staff is friendly.
Now for the not-so-good. The menu availability was bad. No veggie burger, no tuna, and no Fontina & Fuji. And the eggplant has been dropped from the menu. This is really looking bad for vegetarians and what's up with not having tuna? Safeway is right down the block. Same goes for the veggie burgers, too.
Service was very poor. Took quite a bit of time to get served after sitting down and it was not crowded at all. A beer refill took almost 15 minutes. A grilled cheese is ordered up without bacon and it comes with bacon. That's bad enough, but then it takes another 15 minutes to get the attention of the waiter to communicate the problem with the food. The food that was received was nothing to write home about.
I would definitely not recommend anybody to go there for food. Let's hope the new management puts some energy into whipping it into shape and inspires the waitstaff. I am curious about others' experiences.
ANC 4C MONTHLY MEETING
Tuesday January 8
801 Shepherd St NW
(every month on the second Tuesday)
[from Scott M.]
My wife and I expecting our first baby in February, and are hoping someone might be able to recommend a good pediatrician in or near Park View, Petworth, Columbia Heights, Adams Morgan, or Dupont Circle neighborhoods. My wife and I are federal employees and have Blue Cross Blue Shield (Standard) as our insurance. Ideal would be a recommendation of someone at or near Children’s National Medical Center (Children’s Hospital) off Michigan Avenue, which is about four blocks from our house.
Appreciate any help!