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April 19, 2016 Monthly Meeting Minutes

Tuesday April 19, 2016, 7:00 pm -- The meeting was held at Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street NW

Introductions / Etc.
Members present included Chris Young, Monika Pamp, Daniel Foster, Natasha Ghent-Rodruiguez, Christina Parascandola, and Daniel Hardy. Others in attendance included Ben Case (Office of the Mayor) and Mathew Marcou (DDOT).  

DDOT Public Space Discussion 
Mathew Marcou of DDOT’s Office of Public Space Regulations (PSRA) attended the meeting.  He provided an overview of public space rules in the District, PSRA’s role, and other administrative mechanisms such as the Public Space Committee that reviews certain proposed public space uses. The PSRA is divided into four offices: Permits, Plan Review, Public Space Inspections, and Customer Relations.

The Public Space Committee meets monthly on the 4th Tuesday, to address unusual uses such as sidewalk cafes and valet parking sites. There is a listserv to communicate the agenda for this meeting, or agendas are also available via ddot.dc.gov. (Also try http://ddot.dc.gov/page/public-space-committee-meetings) Anyone can attend this committee meeting, and speak or provide written comment. Outreach regarding the committee typically occurs through the various ANC transportation committees. In response to questions about whether DDOT could also provide notice to residents potentially affected by a proposed sidewalk café or other application that goes before the Public Space Committee, Mr. Marcou stated that he would be open to such an initiative, but that is not the current process.

If a sidewalk café or similar use becomes a nuisance, potentially because the nature of a neighborhood changes after the permit was issued, a process exists to challenge an existing permit. Penn Quarter is an example—it has changed including much more residential use in recent years, and thus now construction permits many no longer be issued to favor nighttime work.  Potential mitigation includes additional shielding, modified hours, buffers, etc.

Regarding sidewalk cafés, Mr. Marcou expressed awareness of “café creep,” whereby permit holders over time encroach into pedestrian throughways of sidewalks. To address this, PSRA recently hired three new inspectors, who will be deployed soon after necessary training is completed. Rules established for sidewalk cafes include: fencing (including the grown height of plants) may be only 3 feet high; umbrellas may not extend over the boundary; 15 square feet is required per seat; at least 1 seat per 20 must be ADA (disability) compliant; minimum sidewalk clearance (measured in a straight line from the most inward barrier such as a tree box) is 6’ to 10’; typically along 14th St. 8’ is required.

To request inspections call 645-7050 and ask for public space inspections, or (better) call 311.

Mr. Marcou also mentioned that he or someone from DDOT might be available to provide a “Public Space 101” training. There was some interest in this, possibly in conjunction with the ANC or another civic association. 

2016 Goals and Planning
Due to time constraints we did not discuss further Dan’s draft goals statement or goals beyond the 2016 Spring Beautification Day (see below) scheduled for this Saturday April 23, the day after Earth Day.

2016 Spring Beautification Day
DPW Director Shorter will present MHNA with a Community Good Steward Award shortly after 10:00!

  • Chris confirmed the Helping Hands package from DPR, now including mulch.
  • We need wheelbarrows; Chris will contact Logan Hardware to ask about rentals, but we may need wheeled garbage cans to move the material.
  • Monika is contacting Yes! Market for a possible donation of refreshments.
  • The date conflicts with Passover this year. This is unfortunate, and we acknowledge the inconvenience to several interested members.

Pizzeria Vetri ABRA Application

  • Pizzeria Vetri / URBN 14th Street, LLC; 2221 14th Street, NW
  • License No.: ABRA-101916; Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant

Pizzeria Vetri, a restaurant based in Philadelphia, is seeking to open on the corner of 14th and Florida, at 2221 14th Street, NW. According to the placard, it is seeking outdoor seating for 38 patrons, with requested hours until 1 am on Friday and Saturday, and 11 pm other nights.  

A representative of the establishment was invited, but none appeared. Members expressed concern about noise across from a residential block of Florida Avenue, the amount of outdoor seating, and precedent given several other settlement agreements affecting outdoor seating in nearby establishments. VOTE: Motion to protest on grounds of peace order and quiet, with intent to enter a settlement agreement consistent with similar establishments made by Christina. Second by Daniel H. Vote by members unanimous in favor.

Other ABRA Matters

  • Proposal for shared office space in the Manhattan Laundry building, 1328 Florida Ave, includes a proposed Class “C” Tavern license (ABRA-102179).  Proposed hours are Monday through Saturday 11 am to 10 pm, with an entertainment endorsement. No outdoor seating proposed.
  • Members expressed some questions and concerns about the potential that the establishment would fail, and the license transfer to a new business that actually intends to operate as a tavern and not a work space. Discussion also noted the early closing hours.
  • Ben Case noted that a question also arose re the similar WeWork space at the Wonder Bread Factory, and provided an ANC contact who had worked through those issues.
  • Members agreed that Chris should reach out to the ANC Commissioner and the ABC Committee and report back to the Board.


  • Mulebone (formerly Eatonville) at the corner of 14th and V Streets is seeking to terminate its existing Settlement Agreement.
  • Members expressed concern, and questioned the need.
  • Decided to invite to May meeting to discuss and possibly vote.

New Business / Announcements
Funk Parade

  • Funk Parade 2016 is scheduled for Saturday May 7
  • There is still space for volunteers: sign up to support the funkiest party of the year at http://goo.gl/forms/zJmVI11GuB

Morning Bike Lane Obstructions

  • Natasha noted that during a.m. rush hour, several places on 14th Street southbound are blocked by delivery trucks, both in the bike lane and in one of the auto travel lanes.
  • Attendees agreed this is an issue and discussed outreach to MPD, DDOT, etc. Will follow up.

Next meeting:

  • May 17, 2016 

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