ANC Wrap-up: Keeping us safe from the University and food trucks
I don’t know if it was the broken heating system or the tension, but everyone was sweating at last night’s meeting of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, but it served as a reminder that NIMBY-ism is a dish best served lukewarm.
A representative from MPD came to give the police report to the ANC. Besides the recent robberies and sexual assault, MPD also received calls about a peeping tom and an individual engaging in hotel fraud. A man who uses the name “Antonio Williams” has been checking into hotels around the city using false credit card information, and, when the cards are rejected, he calls a friend to impersonate a bank to convince the hotels to accept his cards over the phone.
Also at the meeting, one resident brought up the accuracy of Rocky’s Reports. According to the resident, Rocky’s Reports significantly underplay the number of 911 calls in the area. She said she logged every call she makes to MPD, and Rocky reports that there were less overall calls than she made. She wanted to know where exactly Rocky gets his information and called the reports, “a gross misrepresentation of what’s going on.”
According to Commissioner Ron Lewis, Rocky gets his information from casual conversations at the second distrct headquarters, which is different from the communications headquarters who normally handle these things.
“They’re completely PR efforts,” Lewis said, shrugging.
Keep on truckin’
This month, the ANC came back to whether and how they want food trucks in Georgetown since the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is in the process of changing the rules to allow them to park in any legal parking space. Last month, the ANC created a draft resolution that would allow food trucks to park in Georgetown, but not on residential streets.
There were a good number of food truck supporters, including Commissioner Jake Sticka (COL ’13)—who cited the lack of affordable food options in Georgetown, the trucks’ potential to encourage street life, and other smart growth mumbo jumbo—, but what’s an ANC meeting without opposition?
First the DC Restaurant Association advised against food trucks to protect the brick and mortar establishments. Second, Commissioner Bill Starrels had a list of reasons he opposed the food trucks, including that they pay a $1500/year flat rate instead of sales tax (which is under review accord to Ruth Werner from D.C. Council Member Evans office). But Starrels primarily worried that the food trucks parking on K Street would ruin the waste management efforts and rat abatement programs underway.
Moreover, he said it was “outrageous” that food trucks would then be able to park in front of $2 million condos on Water Street.
“I don’t see why we’re saying, ‘here, give it a try,'” Starrels said.
Eventually, the commission agreed on a resolution asking the DCRA to update the regulations to ban food truck parking on residentially zoned streets in Georgetown, address waste management issues associated with food trucks, and make the regulations an 18 month pilot program so the ANC can come back to them once they’ve actually experienced food trucks in Georgetown.
Tudor place blues
Last June, the Tudor Place Foundation came in front of ANC2E with plans to update the previous home of some of the Washington clan. According to the architects of the revisions, they need to remove some of the historic items and the gift shop out of the main building in order to protect the main house. To accommodate the move, they need to construct a one-story addition to a garage, an educational center, and a gatehouse–all relatively inconspicuous improvements.
But of course, the historic preservation committee of the Citizens Association of Georgetown thought the one-story addition to the garage would ruin the view of a patch of sky that is only visible from a certain spot on the sidewalk during eight months of the year. Another resident and local architect, Outerbridge Horsey, submitted a petition from about 50 nearby residents, for the foundation to reconsider whether the addition really was necessary to maintain the 180 year old historical documents in the house.
Thankfully, one resident served as the voice of reason said, “I don’t understand how you expect this organization to exist into the future without being able to serve the basic functions of a 501(c)3,” which can be applied to… more than one project the ANC is fighting.