ANC Update: Marathon Edition
ANC 2E’s September meetings typically aren’t any more cantankerous or combustible than the other 10 neighborhood huddles it puts on a year (though it has happened), nor do the issues typically spark any greater controversy among neighbors (the Hurt Home and Campus Plan wrangles of this spring probably win that category). The September gathering’s notoriety — at least among Georgetown’s political set — is born of the sheer length of the darn thing, something akin to a constitutional convention colored by troublesome pizza parlors and bike communes and such.
All right, all right — it’s not that bad. (But hey, after a two-month pileup of to-dos and a three-hour slog through it, a little levity’s always in order.) To be honest, there was nothing truly fearsome staring down the ANC at the Aug. 30 meeting, not even, if 2008 was any indicator, the commissioners’ own upcoming elections. Still, though, that’s three hours of material to get through — whew, what a hike.
MPD Lieutenant John Hedgecock was happy to report that crime in Georgetown took a slight dip since his last report in July, which he attributed partly to the arrest of three individuals that month, one of whom was armed. Hedgecock was more tight-lipped about a sexual assault that occurred on Aug. 29 in Burleith, skimping on most of the details but saying that patrol routes have been modified to provide more thorough coverage of the area.
The big ticket item of the evening was bikes, or more accurately, where to find space for the brand-new clutch of the two-wheeled contraptions coming Georgetown’s way. The commission invited DDOT’s Chris Holbin to deliver the pitch for the four Capital Bikeshare stations planned for the neighborhood, which will serve as pick-up and drop-off points for subscribers to the program, one of the first of its kind nationwide. Bike sharing goes like this: you offer subscribers, who pay an annual fee, access to a bicycle at dozens of locations across the District. Riders check out a bike for 30-minute increments (longer rentals cost extra), then return it to any drop-off station when their time is up. Take that, gas prices.
Commissioners gave their blessing to most of the locations proposed, with one exception. Holbin explained that the University’s bikeshare station, originally intended for the sidewalk outside the 37th Street gate before DDOT deemed it too tight on space, is now planned for a section of Prospect Street above Car Barn, near 1789 restaurant. Six of seven commissioners immediately hedged, citing the potential for noise complaints, and urged DDOT to find a new site, preferably on University turf.
Also on the docket was the glut of liquor license proposals (eight in all), none of which ruffled many feathers among commissioners. Ever since ABRA granted seven additional licenses earlier this summer to Georgetown — a wide swath of which is under a moratorium, or cap on permits — the neighborhood has seen a dramatic rise in applications for licenses, which, given the restriction, had become such a rare commodity that the average price tag of an existing license soared into the tens of thousands. When ABRA issued the handful of new licenses at the request of ANC, fledgling eateries answered the call in droves. On the night of the meeting, the commission gave a green light to Paul Bakery (opening this fall), Come to Eat (a tenant that’s actually moving into the Georgetown Park Mall) and Hu’s Wear, the popular local clothier who will set up a yet-unnamed Mediterranean establishment at what is now Bartleby’s bookstore on 29th Street. Another Mediterranean eatery, M Street’s Morso, was denied a request to install patio seating on its front sidewalk.
Concerning zoning, the design concept for Serendipity 3, the New York ice cream icon and the latest store to create a sensation in Georgetown, earned an enthusiastic thumbs up from the ANC, which voted unanimously (with one recusal) in favor of the exterior awnings proposed by owner Britt Swann. The language of the committee’s written resolution, however, was a little less sanguine — drafted by 2E06 Tom Birch, the document urged the Old Georgetown Board to closely scrutinize the window awnings for any detriment to the neighborhood historic fabric. The OGB, a federally appointed panel of architects with authority over all building proposals in Georgetown, requested slight alterations to the window awning design, which will set the construction process back for at least another month until the next review meeting. Looks like that frozen hot chocolate will have to stay on ice a little while longer. Though Swann and his wife are staying mum about a firm opening date, rumors of an early to mid-fall opening persist — political hang-ups notwithstanding.
And, in the midst of the breathless race for the District’s mayoral seat, the ANC 2E itself will also be up for election this year — or reelection, as it seems to be turning out. With the exception of 2E04 Aaron Golds, who will graduate from Georgetown this coming spring, and 2E03 Bill Skelsey, who confirmed to The Georgetowner that he will not seek reelection, none of the incumbent commissioners are facing stiff competition, if any.
Skelsey, who has served on the commission since 2003, called his tenure a “fantastic experience,” but said balancing work, family life and his community involvement has proved an ever-growing challenge. Though he’ll be taking a breather over the next two-year term, Skelsey hinted he may run again in the future.
He also had a few nice things to say about P Street resident Jeffrey Jones, who will run against Michael Savage of O Street, calling Jones a “terrific candidate.”
Coming up in Georgetown:
The Georgetowner Mayoral Forum
Don’t forget The Georgetowner’s mayoral forum at Tony and Joe’s, hosted by Carol Joynt and featuring the big three — incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty, Vincent Gray and Leo Alexander — vying for the District’s executive branch and answering questions by you, the general public. 12 p.m. Free admission, $10 box lunch courtesy of Tony and Joe’s. RSVP at email@example.com.
Fashion’s Night Out in Georgetown
Be there or be square—yes, we’re serious—at the Georgetown BID-sponsored “Fashion’s Night Out” event, originally conceived by Vogue magazine to widespread acclaim in New York City. Over 80 Georgetown shops and boutiques will stay open after hours, offering up tantalizing deals for fashionistas of all stripes. 6-11 p.m. See page 28 for a list of participating shops.
CAG meeting, featuring Kitty Kelley
The famed Georgetown author will discuss her wildly popular — and controversial — novel “Oprah” at the Latham Hotel, 3300 M St., 7 p.m.
Taste of Georgetown, Wisconsin and M
Another event popular with locals, the BID is now an old hand at Taste, bringing in over 30 Georgetown restaurants to dazzle visitors with chef specials hot and cold, sweet and savory. Perfect for a fall afternoon. 11 a.m. $20.