ANC Wrapup: Collapsed buildings and controversial food trucks

Last night’s meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2E saw a series of guest stars from DCRA, Pepco, MPD, and DC Fire Dept. And that’s in addition to all the normal nonsense and obligatory campus plan pooh-poohing the ANC partakes in on a monthly basis. So let’s just go over the interesting parts.

Raze the roof

Two representatives of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs came to last night’s meeting to address the partial building collapse last November. The DCRA duty officer that night, Bill Davidson, explained the situation: after the scene had been cleared of hazards, he inspected the property and structural damage. He permitted the owner to clean up the debris but required the owner to file for a construction permit to rebuild.

As to the cause of the initial collapse, Davidson reported, “The owner has to hire a structural engineer to make the determination,” which he has not done yet. So the cause of the collapse–and whether the property owner was violating any laws–is unknown.

A few of the commissioners, including Bill Starrels and Tom Birch, were incredulous that the property owner was responsible for determining the cause of the collapse. Starrels cited that, years ago, when the property was a shoe store, the owner was notorious for property neglect.

“I worry about a cover-up,” said Birch. “I still reserve skepticism.”

Additionally, the owner of a neighboring property complained that the owner of the collapsed building had bricked up one of his windows during the clean-up. As it stands, the owner of the collapsed building isn’t allows to rebuild until the DCRA grants him a permit to do so.

Licensing mobile food trucks as stationary hot dog vendors makes a lot of sense

Since the DCRA reps were there, the ANC decided to discuss some upcoming legislation that would change the food truck laws and allow them to park in any legal parking spot. A lawyer representing the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington complained that this constituted a misuse of public space. He would prefer that the food trucks be licensed like hotdog vendors, instead of ice cream trucks as they are currently, and be required to purchase permits for specific locations.

And since it interferes with their precious parking, the ANC was worried about a food truck take-over of Georgetown residential streets. However one Georgetown resident said he would love food trucks on K Street and most people acknowledged that any sensible food truck vendor would park in a more commercial zone (because of, y’know, business), Commissioner Jeff Jones responded that there was already a food truck parking in West Georgetown (i.e. the ones the university have asked to come).

The ANC passed a resolution asking the DCRA to add an exception to the new laws to ban food trucks from residential streets in Georgetown.

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