Georgetown Current

Domino’s Plans Glover Park Move

October 19, 2017

By Grace Bird

Current Staff Writer

Domino’s is planning to open a Glover Park location, amid a chorus of opposition from residents and small-business owners concerned that a fast-food restaurant would attract rubbish, rodents and late-night noise to the area.

The pizza chain intends to lease part of the Calvert Center at 2330 Wisconsin Ave. NW to operate a dine-in and carry-out restaurant, with the other half of the space formerly used by the El Salvadoran consulate remaining vacant for now. The new Domino’s would replace a location at 3255 Prospect St. NW in Georgetown, which is slated for redevelopment into an apartment building.

However, the Glover Park site’s land-use designation requires fast-food or food-delivery establishments — of which Domino’s would be both — to secure special exception approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B (Glover Park, Cathedral Heights) is set to vote on the application Nov. 2, and a zoning hearing is slated for Nov. 8.

Jackie Blumenthal, chair of ANC 3B, told The Current that while she wasn’t pleased about “another pizza place” opening in Glover Park, an empty storefront was the alternative.

“The space has been vacant for a long time,” she said. “My goal is to work with Domino’s to attach conditions to the zoning order to try to come to some compromise on conditions that meet the needs of the neighborhood.”

Conditions could include having the Domino’s delivery drivers park on the street in front of the location late at night, rather than the alley and parking lot that would be used at other times. The change would reduce the impact on residents who live across the alley, commissioners say.

In its zoning application, Domino’s notes that the presence of several nearby fast-food establishments — Chipotle, Bruegger’s Bagels and Einstein’s — demonstrate that the proposed use fits squarely within the neighborhood’s existing character. Chipotle, located at 2338 Wisconsin Ave. NW, received a zoning exception in 2010 for its fast-food operation.

Glover Park’s business district already has a series of restaurants with pizza on the menu, including Casolare Ristorante, Arcuri, Cafe Romeo’s, Paisano’s Pizza and Angelico Pizzeria.

Many residents and businesses aren’t surprised that a big chain is moving into Glover Park, saying exorbitant rents squeeze out others.

“Two cents from a local business owner,” Justine Bernard, who has owned Elements Fitness & Wellness Center across the street from the planned Domino’s for 11 years, wrote on the neighborhood listserv, “the rent is outrageous. Makes it difficult for small local businesses. We are priced out of signage and street level retail space, while larger chain-companies with similar services move in.”

Bruce MacClellan, a resident of 37th Street NW, opposed Domino’s application in an Oct. 1 statement, citing concerns about rodents and delivery drivers.

“Within 150 feet there are 5+ children under the age of 9 who are often walking to school and around the neighborhood,” MacClellan wrote.

Operating hours of the Glover Park Domino’s are yet to be confirmed. The Prospect Street location and another nearby Domino’s in Tenleytown are open from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

ANC 3B is asking residents to share feedback with the commission about the Domino’s proposal before commissioners vote at their Nov. 2 meeting.

This article appears in the Oct. 18 issue of The Georgetown Current newspaper.

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City to Study Options for Fletcher’s Cove Sediment

October 12, 2017

By Zoe Morgan
Current Correspondent

Amid concerns that sediment buildup could imperil Potomac River access at Fletcher’s Cove, the D.C. Department of Energy & Environment is taking early steps toward dredging the riverbed at the popular boat launch.

Located near the corner of Reservoir and Canal roads NW, Fletcher’s Cove serves an estimated 100,000 people per year for river access, according to the park’s friends group. Mike Bailey, the organization’s spokesperson, said he estimates that ongoing sediment buildup would consistently prevent watercraft from entering the Potomac via Fletcher’s Cove within three to six years.

“To lose that access would cut off many thousands of people who enjoy the resource,” Bailey told The Current.

Although the city’s environment department hasn’t conducted a study of the sediment’s effects at Fletcher’s Cove, the agency’s Daniel Conner said in an interview that it is already evident that access is becoming increasingly limited.

“I see Fletcher’s Cove as a major access point to the Potomac River, and [it] provides recreation to so many people on a yearly basis,” Conner said.

Sediment has built up because an area of manmade land blocks the natural flow of the river from flushing out the cove, Bailey said. In the 1960s, when a sewer system was being dug nearby, excavated debris was dumped near the cove — which has allowed sediment to build up ever since.

Two prior dredgings have taken place, one in the 1980s, and another in the 1990s. However, according to Conner, information about those projects is sparse. Periodic dredging will continue to be necessary as long as the manmade land remains in place, Bailey said.

The first step is to test the soil and sediment for any contaminants, for which the Department of Energy & Environment has set aside $150,000. The agency is currently reviewing bids and plans to award the contract in early 2018. The actual testing will take a month, Conner said.

“The first step was to say, ‘OK, what’s in the sediment and what’s in the soil?’” Conner said, “which will determine what you can do with the sediment. So, can you take the sediment and compact the parking lot of Fletcher’s Cove? Or does this have to be hauled off to the landfill somewhere? Or can it potentially be used in another project?”

The cost of the dredging itself is dependent on the character of the sediment, although it is estimated to be between $1 million and $3 million, Bailey said. The most expensive part of the process is hauling away the sediment after it is dug out. The city has not set aside funds to cover the dredging, and the friends group is in the process of doing fundraising.

After dredging is complete, the process of getting approval for removing the manmade land could begin, although there isn’t yet any cost estimate for that project, Bailey said.

The cove, located between Chain and Key bridges in the C&O Canal National Historical Park, is a popular spot for fishers, canoers and kayakers, among other recreational uses. The National Park Service installed a floating dock there in 2015, resolving concerns about an unsafe walkway that threatened the site’s spring opening that year.

This article appears in the Oct. 11 issue of The Georgetown Current newspaper.

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Georgetown Seeks to Preserve Circulator Stops

October 5, 2017

By Grace Bird
Current Staff Writer

After a successful community effort to preserve DC Circulator service on Georgetown’s stretch of Wisconsin Avenue NW, the local advisory neighborhood commission is now fighting plans to reduce the number of Circulator bus stops.

On Monday, ANC 2E (Georgetown, Burleith) unanimously opposed the D.C. Department of Transportation’s proposal to remove six Georgetown stops from the Georgetown-Union Station line. Commissioner Rick Murphy said the cuts would reduce ridership, threatening the line’s viability.

The Transportation Department’s proposal, an effort to speed service and increase reliability, targets the following stops within Georgetown:
■ Eastbound Pennsylvania at 28th Street NW;
■ Eastbound M Street at Thomas Jefferson Street NW;
■ North- and southbound Wisconsin Avenue at P Street NW; and
■ North- and southbound Wisconsin at R Street NW.

The proposal would leave 11 stops in place on the line within Georgetown, including seven stops north of M Street. The neighborhood’s other Circulator route — the Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn line — would not be affected.

The Transportation Department is also proposing to eliminate five other stops elsewhere on the Georgetown-Union Station line:
■ Eastbound and westbound New York Avenue at 9th Street NW;
■ Eastbound K Street at 11th Street NW;
■ Eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue at 21st Street NW; and
■ Westbound 21st Street at K Street NW.

Currently, the Georgetown-Union Station route’s averages 5.2 stops per mile eastbound and 4.5 per mile westbound, while the Circulator’s standard calls for no more than four stops per mile, according to the Transportation Department.

In the agency’s analysis, consolidating bus stops would improve the Georgetown-Union Station Circulator’s efficiency and ridership. Bus stops were selected for proposed elimination based on a study that examined ridership, proximity to activity centers, transfers to other routes and population and employment density, according to the Transportation Department.

Neighbors offered mixed reviews about the proposed bus stop consolidation on Monday.

Resident Patrick Lawson supported the proposal, saying that he would be more likely to ride the Circulator if several stops were cut because the bus would run more quickly.

“My biggest problem with the Circulator is how slow it goes because there’s so gosh darn many stops,” Lawson said. “A bus stop every two blocks is ridiculous.”

Another resident opposed a cut to one bus stop — Wisconsin Avenue at R Street NW — saying it is heavily used and particularly important to the community at night.

“When I got off the other day, there were six to seven people at one time, and there were eight people the other time,” the resident told neighbors at Monday’s meeting. “The issue with the Circulator going slow is coming from Water Street up to M Street. … To sort that out I think is the way that we point DDOT to spend its energy.”

This article appears in the Oct. 4 issue of The Georgetown Current newspaper.

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