Monday, December 31, 2007

Homicide in PSA 307

From Seargent Maradiaga of PSA 307 -

On Wednesday, December 26, 2007, members of the department’s Violent Crimes Branch were notified that a man who had been hospitalized for treatment of head trauma since Saturday, December 22, 2007 was pronounced dead at 9:43 Wednesday morning.

The decedent, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia where an autopsy was performed on Thursday, December 27, 2007. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide due to blunt force trauma to the head and torso.

On Saturday, December 22, 2007, at approximately 8:50 PM, members of the Third District and D.C. Fire Department emergency medical personnel responded to an apartment in the 1200 block of M Street, NW to investigate the trouble. Upon arrival, they found a 29-year-old male suffering from head trauma. He was transported to George Washington Hospital and admitted for treatment.

Detectives assigned to the department’s Violent Crimes Branch (VCB) were notified and responded to the hospital to monitor the victim’s injuries. VCB investigators were informed that the victim would be admitted in critical condition with facial fractures.

At some point, the diagnosis of the victim’s injuries was upgraded and his injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening. Consequently, the Third District Detectives Office became the lead investigative unit. Now that the Medical Examiner’s Office has ruled the death a homicide, the case has been turned over to detectives assigned to the Violent Crimes Branch.
Anyone who has information regarding this case is asked to call 202-727-9099.

The Metropolitan Police Department offers a reward of up to $25,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hearing on 311/911

One of the biggest complaints around the neighborhood is the often abysmal response citizens receive after calling 311 and/or 911. It's frustrating to be told, "Keep calling until they send somebody." It sort of defeats the purpose.

Here's your chance to let the city know how you feel.

Councilmember Phil Mendelson, Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary, announces a public oversight hearing on the Office of Unified Communications. The hearing will be held on Friday, December 14, 2007, at 12:30 pm, in the 5th Floor Chamber of the John A. Wilson Building located at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.

The purpose of the oversight hearing is to hear from the public, providers, and the government on the operations, management, and overall performance of the Office of Unified Communications.

If you'd like to testify, contact Victor Bonett at +1 202.724.4865.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Gas Outtages

I mentioned this in the wrap-up from last night's ANC meeting, but it deserves more attention.

The area around 9th Street, 10th Street, Rhode Island Avenue, and Columbia Street are having intermittent gas outages. Washington Gas is looking to identify how widespread the problem is, to determine how much pipeline they'll need to fix. If you know anyone whose heat is going out unexpectedly, please contact Joe Martin as soon as possible!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

ANC 2F Wrap-Up

The ANC 2F meeting tonight may have set a new speed record, finishing some forty minutes early, despite stalling for time to make quorum. Here's the wrap-up:


  • The ANC Commissioners held their retreat between the last meeting and tonight, and are planning on addressing the following items in upcoming months:

    • A revision of the goals statement, which is some four or five years old now;

    • An investigation into the Arts Overlay, which has beguiled everyone with questions as to its scope and enforcement;

    • The crafting of a policy for communications with DDOT over street closures, as many times they just seem to pop up out of nowhere;

    • Creation of a better way of notifying the community of meetings, and distributing agendas; and

    • A survey of problem buildings and properties in the ANC.

  • The 14th Street Transportation and Streetscape study delivered its finding on existing conditions to the ANC.

  • The LCCA Holiday House Tour was this past weekend, and was a great success. Thanks to everyone involved!

Crime Report

Lt. Smith was back from his vacation, and on hand to give us a crime report for PSA 307.

  • PSA 307 is leading all of the Third District in over reduction in crime since the summer. Lt. Smith attributes this to several key arrests of repeat offenders.

  • A registered sex offender is working on 15th Street; his picture was distributed, as per the sex offender registration laws.

Also on hand was U.S. District Attorney Roger Kemp, who was on-hand to answer some questions he had received by email about some cases his office is handling:

  • The infamous Gregory Teal is being held without bond, pending a trial on January 23, 2008. His case is assigned to supervisor Ronda Redwood.

  • Three of the offenders involved in the recent home invasions (from December, 2006, I believe), have been sentenced, or are awaiting sentencing. I think he said one of the got 13 years. (I apologize for the confusion, there was a lot of information flying around, and some conversation.)

Neighborhood Services

Joe Martin and Mark Bjorge were on hand from the Mayor's Office. They discussed several things:

  • The area around 9th Street, 10th Street, Rhode Island Avenue, and Columbia Street where having intermittent gas outages. Washington Gas is looking to identify all reports of these problems in the area, so they can determine how widespread it is, to determine how much pipeline they'll need to fix. If you know anyone whose heat is going out unexpectedly, please contact Joe Martin as soon as possible!

  • The buildings on 14th Street are still being gutted. To answer a question I had last time: It's not entirely clear what's being done on the property, other than tearing out non-load-bearing walls, and possibly putting in some new housing units. A question was asked if the unit would be assessed back taxes for vacant properties, but Mark didn't know. Both buildings are under historic preservation, but the one at 1316 has been referred to the Board of Condemnation - but hopefully just to get some serious problems fixed, not to have it razed.

  • Joe said that the awful bus shelter on the southwest corner of P and 14th is definitely going to be torn out, and not replaced with another shelter.

DDOT Matters

The only item here was 1101 K Street NW, seeking an outdoor sidewalk cafe. They weren't present, so this item was skipped.

ABRA Matters

  • The ANC is going to be doing a revision of its ABC policies, which currently date to 2003, and they are seeking volunteers from the community to help. Drop them a line if you're interested.

  • Ollie's Trolley - Ollie's Trolley is seeking some sort of change to their Voluntary Agreement. I'm not sure what change, but part of it is that they want to have the neighboring properties dropped from the official agreement, because they are unable to be located, or unwilling to negotiate anything at all. The ANC voted to approve the VA with the removed names, and to assert their status as the primary party of interest to ABRA.

  • Liquor License Renewals - The renewal of the licenses for several establishments was on the table. None were protested, except for two.

    • Vegas Lounge - They have no Voluntary Agreement with the ANC, as they've been around for some 34 years. However, neighbors in the new Cooper Lewis building have complained of noise and problems. The ANC will protest the renewal, with the expectation it will be withdrawn pending a successful Voluntary Agreement negotiation. The negotiation will be spearheaded by Charles Reed, in whose SMD they operate.

    • Be Bar - There have been complaints from neighbors about the late closing hours on Sunday night. The ANC will protest the renewal, with the expectation it will be withdrawn pending a successful negotiation of an amendment to their Voluntary Agreement relating to their Sunday hours. The negotiation will be lead by Mike Benardo, in whose SMD they operate.


The Community Development Committee met the week before, and all of their recommendations were approved by the full ANC.

  • Hotel Washington - They are adding some new air handling units to the roof, and the new units do not comply with the setback requirements with respect to the walls facing their interior courtyard. The CDC recommended the ANC support a variance to those requirements.

  • Central Union Mission Condos - The developers were seeking a variance on the lot coverage requirements, since they will be beyond the allowed coverage. However, during their construction, they will actually be reducing the coverage from its present amount. They also sought a variance to allow for two different roof heights on the mechanical penthouses, which is necessary because of the differing roof heights of the development. The CDC recommended that the ANC support both variances.

  • Down-zoning - A group of citizens were working to have an area of NE Dupont and a small contiguous section of our ANC down-zoned, to be more in accordance with the actual property usage. The CDC recommended that the ANC support the request.

Public Art

A guy named Jason Clark was on hand to make a presentation to the ANC about a public art project he's trying to win a grant for. The piece is a metal tree, made from materials recycled from buildings torn down around the neighborhood. The trunk is iron, and will rust into a tree-trunk-ish brown, and the leaves are copper, which will patina into a nice leaf-ish green. Overall, it looks really cool, and he was looking for a letter from the ANC in support of his grant.

The ANC asked him to come back when he had a more specific location in mind, and he promised to do so. He also put out a call to the neighbors for ideas as to a good location. Feel free to put them in the comments - he has my card, so hopefully he'll get in touch with me.

And that's it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

2007 Logan Circle Holiday House Tour

The 2007 Logan Circle Holiday House Tour was a resounding success! Homes, new and old, around the neighborhood were on display, and despite a little bit of drizzle, the turnout was great. The numbers aren't all in yet, but this was one of the most successful tours ever.

Eight different homes were toured, including a unit in the famous #1 Logan Circle, two units in the brand new Cooper Lewis buildling, and the newly renovated sanctuary of Luther Place Memorial Church. The styles and architectures ranged from traditional Victorian to modern loft penthouse. Check out more photos here.

If you couldn't make it this year, make sure to pencil it in for next year! The upcoming season will mark the tour's 30th anniversary, so it's sure to be a great one.

Thanks go to all of the homeowners who so graciously opened their doors to us, and to all the volunteers, without whom this even would never be possible. And an extra special thanks to Tim and Walter, the co-chairs of the House Tour Committee: The excellence of the tour is a direct result of the excellence of your leadership. Thank you so much!

Why Downzoning is a Good Idea

At the most recent CDC meeting (of which I happen to be a member), there was a request for support brought to us regarding a particular chunk of Dupont/Logan where they are looking to down-zone the area to match the homes that are already there. During the discussion, the question was brought up: Why are you doing this? Doesn't the Historic Preservation District already prevent this?

Well, I think we have our answer. Anything done to throw up more walls against that kind of monstrosity can only be a good thing.