Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B
Minutes of Regular ANC Meeting
October 11, 2005
Commissioners Absent: David Sheldon
Chairperson Scott Cernich chaired the meeting and the Commissioners introduced themselves.
There was a quorum for conducting business.
Adoption of Agenda
The Chair stated that there
were two items to add to agenda. First,
The motion was made Commissioner Hill to adopt the agenda as changed and seconded by Commissioner Wright. There were no objections so the agenda was adopted as amended.
Community and Commission Announcements
No community announcements.
The Chair announced that the ANC had, after over 3 months much hard work, reached a Voluntary Agreement with Remington’s and he wanted to specially thank Commissioners Glick and Wright for their efforts on this matter.
Planning and Zoning Committee
The Chair turned the meeting over to Commissioner Campbell, Chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee.
Commissioner Campbell stated that if there were no objections, he wanted to move HPA #05-447 to the end of the P&Z agenda due to a number of issues that will be raised by the community and owners, thus allowing to expedite the P&Z portion of the meeting. However, Mr. Jamal Kadri objected and Commissioner Campbell agreed to leave it were it is on the agenda.
Commissioner Campbell then read the minutes from the October 4, 2005 Planning and Zoning Committee meeting:
HPA #05-478 – 621 G Street, SE – Two-story addition – David Taylor and Greg Bailey, owners
Commissioner Campbell stated that subsequent to the Committee meeting, he did receive some additional information that indicates that the proposed lot occupancy will be approximately 35%, as such, no zoning changes are required.
Commissioner Campbell asked the owner if there was any additional information regarding this case. The owner stated that one change will be made to the roofline, which was discussed at the P&Z Committee meeting.
Commissioner Glick asked if the owners had spoken with their neighbors regarding the plans. He responded that they had, however they had not secured any letters of support or opposition.
The Chair stated that this matter comes to the Commission in the form of a motion requiring no second, therefore all those in favor of supporting the Committee’s recommendation to support the project to raise their hands. The vote was 8 to 1.
HPA #05-447 – 644 Independence Ave., SE – Two-story with basement addition to the rear of two-story brick rowhouse – Jamal Kadri, Owner
Mr. Jamal Kadri, the applicant, has submitted revised plans of his two-story rear addition. The applicant has presented before to the ANC at its September meeting and a one-month delay was agreed upon by all parties. The proposed plans remain a matter-of-right under zoning, subject only to review by HPRB. The revised plans modify the corners of the addition, so as to lessen the visual impact of the building. Therefore the Committee votes 2 to 1 to recommend support of this project to the full ANC.
Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Kadri if he had any new information to add.
Mr. Kadri responded that he did not. He stated that “they would met with neighbors who would meet with us.” He went on to say the he was looking at another design that would take out the 2nd floor addition and add 3rd floor master suite. However, at this time it is his intention to go to HPRB with the plans as they currently are, then, with the approval of HPRB they can then possibly talk about making revisions to the plan. Additionally, he stated that he was upset with the overall process and hoped that some changes could be made in it to reduce the friction between neighbors in resolving issues.
Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Kadri if his understanding was correct in that he is saying that if he went to HPRB and received approval of his plans, he would then meet with the neighbors on other ideas.
He responded yes and went to say that the idea of removing the master suite from the second floor so that it would not have to extend out and what he was hoping for as a “quid-pro-quo” from his neighbors is to put an apartment over the garage.
Commissioner Campbell then asked the community if they had any comments regarding this project. There were none.
Commissioner Campbell then recognized Ms. Fitzsimmons, Mr. Kadri’s neighbor. She asked Commissioner Campbell to read a statement she had given to him prior to the meeting, which he did.
“October 11, 2005
Dear ANC 6B:
We very much appreciated your decision of September 13th and looked forward to having communications with the applicants regarding ways to mitigate their proposed extension’s impact on this history, visual beauty and direct experience of our neighborhood and our condominium unit.
It quickly became clear that communications with the applicant would not be productive. On September 26th, an e-mail message from the applicant contained a less than veiled threat against our safety and came with much unwanted information about his private life and personal history. Then, in a follow-up email that purported to be an apology, the applicant admitted that most of his communications with us were designed to support the filing of a SLAPP lawsuit against us. In addition, he advised that in spite of the suggested alternatives to the original plan, he would be sticking with the original concept as submitted to HPRB. After consulting with the police, we have been advised not to communicate directly with the applicant.
Nonetheless, along with the Karchers, we did continue our meetings with HPRB, Capitol Hill Restoration Society, an architectural historian, and the architect we collectively hired.
In our meeting with HPRB we learned that the draft staff report suggested a 6-foot pull back to the west wall to mitigate the impact on the balcony. This was perceived by HPRB as a reasonable modification to the 644 design given the historic nature of the properties. We agreed and asked the applicants to make this adjustment to the plans. The applicants said this would not be possible.
The architect we hired has lived and worked on Capitol Hill and specializes in urban projects where space is at a premium. In our meeting with him on October 5, he stated that the applicants could create the inside space they seek with a much smaller design and one that is more in accordance with the neighborhood. Such a smaller design would certainly alleviate the pressure on our balcony and could be achieved either by following HPRB’s suggestion to bring the west wall in 6 feet or by following our original request made at the last ANC meeting to step in the back wall substantially on the second floor. As for as we know, the applicants’ new plan do not respond to either of these suggestions and do not significantly mitigate the addition’s impact on our balcony.
We therefore respectfully ask
the commissioners to stand by their earlier vote to oppose the proposed
We make this request based on the fact that the issues raised regarding the impact on the balcony/side porch by HCRS, HPRB and the majority of neighbors surrounding the properties have not been adequately addressed. The plans that you are currently reviewing, to quote a professional, do nothing more than “tinker around the edges.” We therefore, respectfully ask you to stand by your well-considered vote on September 13th.
Laura Mamo and Helen Fitzsimmons
Commissioner Campbell asked Ms. Fitzsimmons if what he just read was an accurate representation. She responded that it was. He then asked her if she had anything else she would like to add and her response was no.
Commissioner Campbell asked the Commissioners if they had any comments or questions.
Commissioner Glick asked Ms. Fitzsimmons about getting a copy of an e-mail that had been mention, which she gave him. He then asked if the neighbors had seen the new design. They responded that they thought they had seen the latest design, but their architect said that this design would never be approved by HPRB.
Commissioner Jarboe asked the neighbors about the 6 foot setback and some discussion pursued to explain their thoughts regarding such modification.
Mr. Kadri stated that he could not set back the addition 6 feet because it would cut off egress to his children’s bedroom, and he thought the safety of his children is more important than the balcony of a “childless couple.”
Commissioner Campbell asked the Karchers if they had any comments to make. Mr. Karcher presented a written statement, which Commissioner Campbell read.
“To: ANC 6B Commissioners
From: Martin and Carolyn Karcher
Date: October 11, 2005
Re: HPA #05-447,
We would first like to bring you up to date on the steps we have taken since the last ANC meeting of September 13, at which a majority of the Commissioners voted to “oppose the addition at 644 Independence Ave., based on the historic nature of the back s of the original houses on either side of this house, including the historic contribution of the balcony,” and to recommend “an extension of time to allow the neighbors and residents time to discuss any actual compromises to the design of the addition.”
Subsequent to that meeting we met with the staff of the Historic Preservation Review Board, who informed us that they had suggested to the Kadris “pulling back a portion of the addition’s west wall a minimum of six feet, as required by zoning, at the second floor to provide additional breathing space for the porch.”
In the evening of September 21, we learned, courtesy of Mr. Jarboe, that the HPRB meeting was postponed till October 27.
In the meantime, together with Ms. Fitzsimmons and Ms. Mamo, we consulted an architectural historian and an architect regarding the various issues we had raised in our statement to the ANC meeting of September 13.
With regard to the first
issue, we informed the Kadris that our architect said that windows would not be
permitted in a firewall. After Mr.
Moore, the Kadris’ architect, wrote back that windows with special rated glass
were allowed, we consulted with Mr. Robert Chen at DCRA regarding the placement
of windows I the firewalls overlooking our patio and the alley between 642 and
With regard to pulling back the west wall, as recommended by HPRB staff, Mr. Kadri informed us through an e-mail dated September 20 that they had changed the plans to mitigate their addition’s impact on the neighbors, by pulling the west wall of the addition back by 6 feet, giving the porch more air and light. However, when we look at the revised plans, we didn’t find any such pull-back, only that the corners of the addition had been cut. The balcony would still be facing a wall some 4 feet on its entire length.
When the HPRB meeting was postponed, jointly with Ms. Fitzsimmons and Ms. Mamo, we entered into a contract with our architect to come up with a possible comprise solution that would be more in keeping with the ANC resolution and the HPRB staff recommendation. We informed Mr. Kadri that the first available date at which the architect was free to meet with us was October 5.
Mr. Kadri responded that he “may wind up being thankful for the delay as well, if everything works out O.K. and we can come up with a better design together.” He mentioned the possibility of keeping the ground floor as it is currently designed, keeping the second floor as it is currently built, and adding a third floor that would be stepped back from the front of the house so that it would not be visible from the street. He further wrote that “he was going to talk to his architect about how long it will take to develop such a plan, and how much it will cost.” That was our last communication from Mr. Kadri.
You may thus understand our surprise at finding out that the Kadris were presenting a set of revised plans at last week’s Planning and Zoning Committee meeting.
If the revised plans are the ones with the cut corners, we sincerely believe that a better compromise solution is possible, more in line with the ANC’s concern for the historic nature of the back of the houses, including the historic contribution of the balcony and more in keeping with the HPRB staff recommendation. That’s why we have decided to hire an architect who has lived and worked on Capitol Hill and who is familiar with the area and its historical heritage.
In the meantime we respectfully request that ANC to abide by its initial findings and resolution.
Commissioner Campbell then asked Mr. Karcher if this was a fair and accurate description, which he responded that it was. He then asked Mr. Karcher if the had any additional information he would like to add, and his response was no. Finally, he asked if anyone in the audience had anything to add.
Mr. Moore, the architect for the Kadris stated that he personally met with Mr. Chen with the drawings and he said the fire-rated windows in the case were okay.
Commissioner Campbell then asked Mr. Moore to put him comments regarding his meeting and conversation with Mr. Chen on the acceptability of the fire-rated windows in writing.
After additional discussion from Commissioner Campbell and other Commissioners, Commissioner Cernich stated that the Commission wants to know specifically what type of window he will be using no what he think they might be using. He then asked Mr. Moore why he would not commit to saying exactly what type of windows he would be using.
Commissioner Jarboe spoke up and stated that the Commission was not dealing with construction code issues, instead it was looking at HPRB design issues, and the Commission does not want to know if the windows open or closes, it is interested to know what the window will look like. Mr. Moore responded that they would look like simulated windows. Commissioner Jarboe then responded by stating that most “non-windows” do not look like windows. He then asked about the facing on that side of the building, to which Mr. Moore stated it would be stucco.
Mr. Karcher voiced his objection to having a window on that side of the structure. Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Karcher if his objection to the window was a privacy issue, and his response was yes. He went on to say that according to DCRA these windows are not allowed.
Commissioner Campbell asked Mr. Moore if the window would be in a position such that a person of 6 foot height would be able to look out the window and see people and things outside. Mr. Moore stated that it would be a normal height window.
Commissioner Campbell then asked Mr. and Mrs. Karcher if the window was made of such material so that one can not see through it, would they have any objections to it being placed there. He then restated his questions by asking if the building code allowed it and the window did not violate their privacy would they have any objection. Mr. Karcher stated that he would not. He then asked Mr. Kadri and Moore if they would have any objection to allowing the Karchers to physically hold and see if anyone would be able to see through the window material. Mr. Kadri responded that he would not. Commissioner Campbell then asked both parties that if this was in writing would they be willing to sign an agreement to this affect, if the building code allows it. The both parties stated that they would. Commissioner Campbell stated that he will draft the letter so that this would not become an issue in resolving the case.
Commissioner Campbell stated that the Kadris proposed addition is a matter-of-right and as such the ANC does not have any right to stop it. He went on to say that HPRB and CHRS if they decide there is some historical significance to this then they may rule differently. Meaning that the Kadris may build it any way the see fits as long as it meets code as a matter-of-right.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that it is a matter-of-right on zoning, but it still has to be approved by HPRB and the ANC can make a recommendation to HPRB that the project not go forward.
Commissioner Jarboe asked the Karchers and Ms. Fitzsimmons if they were hiring an architect to develop an alternative plan and if they were planning to present those plans to HPRB. They responded that they were planning to share the plans with the HPO staff.
Commissioner Jarboe then stated that he had a concern regarding the facing of the building in that they will be replacing a brick back wall with a stucco back wall. He went on to say that traditionally the ANC has not been in favor of such a change, therefore he was wondering if the applicants had taken that into consideration since they would be replacing brick and the house next to it has brick, would they consider modifying both the addition and back to have brick veneer to match the next door neighbor’s back.
Mr. Kardri responded that was an aesthetic consideration and it would also be a costly one as well. He went on to say there are numerous projects in the area that are also using stucco and that was his understanding that HPRB wants a differentiation between different types of structures in the area of texture and feel from the old and the new, but that he was open to that with the understanding that when they add additional expenses there would be a certain amount of “quid-pro-quo” behind the neighbors getting behind supporting the project. Mr. Kadri went on to discuss the potential of adding a unit above the garage in the back.
Commissioner Jarboe stated that an addition to the garage would be a matter of interest to the entire neighborhood and not a “quid-pro-quo” with his neighbors. He added that there are no “quid-pro-quo” when you are dealing with design issues. He went on to say that the supported this is committee and he will vote to support it now because of the cutback on the sides, but that it was sad that neighbors can not get along.
Commissioner Glick suggested that a professional mediator be engaged to help resolve the issue. Commissioner Campbell stated that he would sit down with all involved to arrive at an agreeable solution.
Commissioner Olson stated that she opposed the case in committee and will oppose the case now because she believes the HPRB regulations do not go far enough in taking into consideration the neighbors concerns and the do not think the new addition still takes into consideration the neighbors concerns, she likes what Mr. Kadri is proposing is a nice idea and she wish they could explore it, but in the end she still will oppose it.
Commissioner Glick stated that he too will oppose it because it is ignoring the neighbors and anything that he votes on, he likes to know that all parties agree upon and he just do not see it in this case.
Commissioner Campbell stated that he would support this because of a precedent in the past in which this type of addition was allowed.
The Chair stated that the recommendation of the Committee is to support the revised plans comes to the full Commission as a recommendation of the Committee requiring no second. He then asked all in favor of supporting the Committee’s recommendation to raise their hands. The vote was 3-4-2 to oppose the Committee’s recommendation.
Commissioner Campbell asked if Mr. Mark Holler was present. Commissioner Olson stated that he informed her that he was ill and would not be able to make the meeting.
Mark Holler, owner, is planning to rebuild an existing front porch with gutters and wishes to raise the new porch in the rear so as it is more in line with existing porches on the street and install two skylights in the porch. The skylights will project approximately 6 inches above the roofline of the porch, which raises some historic preservation concerns among some members of the Committee. The Committee would note that the house next door already has a semi-open porch (a front porch with only a partial roof). The issue therefore concerns the visibility of the skylight on the top of the porch, not its visibility from below. If the skylight can be built in a manner so that it is either flush with the roofline or so that upper portion of the skylight is not visible from the sidewalk across the street, then the Committee would recommend support of this project.
Commissioner Olson stated the Mr. Holler had spoken with her about being ill and not able to attend the meeting. Additionally, he told her he had spoken with CHRS and HPO and neither has given him any comments regarding his application. Commissioner Olson then asked the other Commissioners if she should recuse herself from the case because she is a personal friend of the applicant and she also has a fiscal relationship with Mr. Holler.
Commissioner Jarboe asked if she had any fiduciary outcome from this decision and she responded no. With that Commissioner Jarboe and the Chair stated that it would be up to her. After some additional decision, she decided to recuse herself from the case.
The Commissioners discussed and clarified the Committee Report and looked at photographs illustrating the property and adjourning properties.
Commissioner Cernich stated that he would oppose the application because it could be seen from the street.
Commissioner Jarboe clarified the Committee Report regarding the sightline of the skylights in that the Committee was of the opinion that the skylights would not be visual from across the street and if this was correct it would not oppose it. He also added that in talking with Emily Paulus she had indicated that they would most likely oppose this.
Commissioner Cernich made the motion to oppose the skylights and Commissioner Wright seconded the motion.
The Chair then asked all in favor of opposing the installation of skylights in the porch to raise their hands and the vote was 2. He then asked all opposed of opposing to raise their hands and the vote was 4 opposing, 2 abstaining and 1 recusal.
Commissioner Jarboe then asked Commissioner Glick, the Parliamentarian, if according to Parliamentary Procedures the Commission now would need to vote on the P&Z Committee Report, which he responded that it should.
The Chair then asked all in favor of supporting the P&Z Committee Report to raise their hands. The vote was 4-2-2-1 recusal.
HPA #05-232 – 658 and 660 Independence Ave., SE – Subdivision, two-story rear addition
Carolyn Marshall and Daniel
Vogel-Rogers, owners of 658 and
Commissioner Campbell recognized that Ms. Wilson was present and asked her if she had any additional information to add.
Ms. Wilson stated that she was pleased that the owners have asked for a delay. However, she still has not seen the plans and asked if the ANC could help to facilitate them securing the plans. She went on to say that she will again ask the owners for a copy of the plans to review.
Commissioner Campbell asked Ms. Wilson if she was in contact with the owners regarding the plans and she stated she had been prior to this meeting but she knew that they were trying to get a survey done and she will again attempt to contact them. He then stated that he understand the issue is with the fence and wanted to know if she was having a problem communicating with the owners and if she needed some intervention by the ANC to get a copy of the plans and she said yes.
Commissioner Jarboe stated for the record that the Committee did talk about the facing on the addition and that both the side and back should be made of brick veneer.
HPA #05-481 – 241 10th Street, SE, Robb and Sarah Stauderman – Addition to rear of single-family structure
The Staudermans and their
architect presented their conceptual drawing for a rear addition. The addition is substantially different from
other architectural features within the Historic District, with a curved wall
and a Mondrian color scheme. However,
the applicants presented a letter of support from their neighbor at
Commissioner Campbell then asked Mrs. Stauderman if she had any additional information to add.
Mrs. Stauderman and her architect brought forward a model of their designed project and explained the orientation of the design, who Mondrian was (a painter), and what a green roof concept is. She also presented a letter of support from her neighbor.
Commissioner Campbell asked the audience if there were any comments against the proposed project and there were none.
A member of the audience asked the Commission if individuals were permitted to cut down trees without a permit. The response was yes you could as long as it was on your property. Commissioner Jarboe further explained that the new forestry law states that if you do, you must replace it the tree with a like tree especially if it is on the front of your property.
Commissioner Olson stated that she thought the proposed addition was fabulous and she hopes HPRB will approve it, however she would oppose the case because she wants to demonstrate to Commissioner Campbell that the ANC does not support every addition.
The Chair stated that the Committee’s recommendation is to support the proposed addition and come before the full Commission as a motion not requiring a second. He then asked all in favor to raise their hands. The vote was 8-0-1.
ZC Case #05-21, Text Amendment – Dog Boarding
The Chair then asked if anyone was present regarding the Dog Boarding Zoning Amendment. There was no one.
No action taken by the Commission.
Committee reports and announcements
Commissioner Olson informed the Commissioners that she and the Executive Director have been attempting to get the minutes up on the web and noticed that most of the 2004 minutes have not been voted on, except two (2 September and November) have been approved, therefore the Commission must vote on all of the other 2004 minutes. Additionally, the Commission will need to vote on the January through September 2005 minutes, except April 2005, which has already be approved and voted on. Therefore, she provided the Commissioners with the minutes and asked them to review them and report any changes and/or corrections at next month’s meeting, at which time a vote will be taken for approval.
Commissioner Hill asked if current Commissioners who were not on the Commission during 2004 will they be able to vote on approving the minutes. Commissioner Olson stated that may be a problem, but they could abstain from voting. Commissioner Jarboe was if the opinion that the new Commissioners could still vote on prior minutes. However, he asked Mr. Randolph to check with Gottlieb Simon to determine exactly what the rules are.
Quarterly Financial Report
Commissioner Jarboe reviewed the Quarterly Financial Report with the Commissioners and stated that the ANC still has not received its allocation and that he is trying to work with the auditors to determine what seems to be the problem. He has submitted everything that has been requested. One area of increase is for the telephone bill and this is because the ANC is paying commercial rates.
Commissioner Jarboe moved to adopt the financial report as presented. Commissioner Campbell seconded. The vote was unanimous 9-0.
Federal Income Tax
Commissioner Jarboe explained the ANC’s situation with IRS regarding 941 reporting in that prior paperwork for 941 payroll reporting has not been up to par. However, Mr. Randolph has been able to pull everything together to correct and update the IRS records. Unfortunately, the IRS has applied some payments to different quarters, thus we have been getting refunds from the IRS totaling approximately $1,400.00. We then got a bill from the IRS stating that the Commission owed about $1,400.00. Unfortunately, the Commission had already cash the refund checks, which had explained that the Commission had overpaid. The Commission now is being told by the IRS that it owes $1,476.88 to bring the account current. He went on to say that he had spoken with the IRS and because they are showing the Commission as having underpaid they are accessing the Commission penalty and interest in the amount of $750.00, when it was their mistake in putting the payments in the incorrect quarters. Commissioner Jarboe stated that he has spoken with them and will be following up his conversation with a letter explaining their mistake and requesting a waiver of the penalty and interest.
Commissioner Glick made the motion that the Commission authorizes the payment of $1,476.88 to pay the IRS 941 payment. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Cernich. The vote was unanimous 9-0.
There was not further business and Commissioner Hill made the motion that the meeting be adjourned until its next meeting date of November 8, 2005. The motion was seconded, and the vote was 9 to 0.
Prepared by Bert Randolph