Monday, April 30, 2007

Cheh Opens Satellite Office

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh is following through on a campaign promise to open a field office in Ward 3. According to her website:

We have an office space at the University of the District of Columbia. The new constituent services office is located on Connecticut Avenue behind the Van Ness Metro station in Building 38 Room C01-A.

We want to have the office open on Mondays from 10 a.m. – 12 noon and Thursdays from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The Councilmember will be hosting an open house on Saturday, May 5th at the office from 2:00-4:00 PM.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Alice Deal makes the news

Courtney Mabeus of the DC Examiner reports on the recent sparks flying at Alice Deal Jr. High:

WASHINGTON - Supporters of Alice Deal Junior High School Principal Melissa Kim Thursday called her a steady-handed leader who demands respect and order, disputing claims made by parents who have accused her of creating a cultural divide in the school.

Kim has been the subject of protests outside the school this week by a core group of three parents calling themselves “Save Alice Deal.” The parents have accused the principal of abusive behavior, unfairly doling out suspensions and acting disrespectfully toward parents and children.

Sarah Whitener, chair of Deal’s Local School Restructuring Team, a policy-making body made up of parents, teachers and administrators mandated for every school in the District, said all of Deal’s 740 students are educated in a “respectful” environment.

SAD organizers said they would not end their protest until Kim is removed from duty and have refused requests by the principal to meet. Their lawyer, E. Faye Williams, has said she thinks Kim has cultural problems relating to her black students, a claim Whitener disputed.

“It’s just preposterous for any parent to say, ‘My child got suspended because the principal’s racist,’ ” Whitener said.

About 40 percent of Deal’s students come from out-of-boundary areas, meaning they live outside the community where the school is located off Reno Road in Northwest. Deal is also among the District’s most diverse schools, with a population that is about 50 percent black, 28 percent white and 14 percent Latino, Whitener said.

Kim has not responded to several requests for comment this week. She has served as Deal’s principal since 2005 and is a graduate of Teach For America, a competitive program founded to train young teachers to work in low-income communities, according to the organization’s Web site.

Supporters of Kim, including the Parents and Teachers Association, have said they did not learn about the protesters’ complaints until this week. “These parents are not parents that we know or that we’ve heard of,” Whitener said.

Council Member Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, has said she thinks an independent investigation of disciplinary actions taken against students at the school is needed.

A Washington Teacher’s Union internal document dated March 12 obtained by The Examiner details teachers’ complaints about Kim. The union document charges that Kim issued “inconsistent and confusing local school policies to staff” and frequently “admonished” and “disrespected” teachers and school staff “in front of other staff, faculty and students in most unprofessional tones of voice.”

WTU field representative Henry Collins said the grievances were discussed during a March 28 meeting that about 30 Deal teachers attended. He said the complaints were “not uncommon” and represented a “lack of consistency from school to school in leadership.”

Thursday, April 26, 2007

River Road Barrier Announcement

Please be advised after much consideration, discussion, research and review with the DDOT staff and technical team, DDOT has decided to forgo the proposed traffic signal at the intersection at Fessenden Street and River Road. As Director of DDOT it is my responsibility to encourage transportation solutions that provide a safe transportation environment while being fiscally responsible to the citizens of the District. I sincerely appreciate the work and dedication of the people who previously developed this particular concept to address the speed and safety concerns of this junction; however, I do not believe it is the best solution for this particular intersection.

The DDOT technical team determined a more cost effective solution to the speed and pedestrian safety issues and DDOT believes the following measures can produce the same results as the traffic signal concept at a significantly reduced cost.

1. Complete the installation of the traffic signal at Wisconsin and River Road which will allow for a signalized left turn onto Wisconsin Avenue.

2. Remove the bushes/shrubs in the public space at the southeast/east corner and the northwest/west corner of River Road and Fessenden to greatly improve sightline visibility for vehicles attempting to make right hand turns from Fessenden onto southeast and northwest bound River Road.

3. Coordinate with MPD to install speed camera(s) on River Road.*

4. Re-stripe the area and include high-visibility crosswalks. Adjust the crosswalks from a diagonal line to a horizontal line shortening the length of roadway crossing for pedestrians. Install new ADA compliant handicap ramps as part of this adjustment.

5. Install signage indicating no left turn during morning rush hours at both Fessenden and Ellicott Streets to discourage through traffic and encourage vehicles to utilize the new traffic signal at Wisconsin and River Road.

6. Install traffic calming speed humps on Ellicott Street to discourage through traffic and encourage vehicles to utilize the new traffic signal at Wisconsin and River Road.

7. Once the above measures are implemented, remove the barrier at Fessenden and River Road.

8. Once these measures have been implemented, DDOT will re-evaluate the area for a 180-day period, at which time, if necessary, further measures may be recommended.

The overall cost to implement these procedures is approximately $140K (* if MPD and DDOT determine it necessary to install two speed cameras, one in each direction on River Road this estimate would increase to $240K). DDOT is working directly with MPD to provide the speed cameras and on-site enforcement once the above measures are in place.

It is my intent to hold a public meeting within the next week to provide further details on the implementation and timeline for these changes. Information will be forthcoming regarding the date and time for this meeting.

DDOT realizes the impact this late change in plan may have on the community and I appreciate your patience through this necessary process.

Welcome Back Reno Road

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is pleased to announce the completion of full reconstruction of Reno Road, Northwest from Nebraska Avenue to Military Road.

The road was re-opened today in both directions from Nebraska Avenue to Military Road.

"We're thrilled to announce the completion of this exciting project," said Emeka Moneme, Director of DDOT. "I appreciate the patience of residents and motorists during this full reconstruction. Reno Road is open and it looks fantastic."

Reno Road from Nebraska Avenue to Military Road was completely reconstructed featuring:

* New roadway base and new asphalt surface
* New granite curbs and gutters
* Driveway aprons and wheelchair ramps
* New sidewalks
* Upgrading of stormwater drainage - including new catch basins and stormwater lines
* Upgrading streetlights and traffic signals

Total cost of the project was approximately $3.2 million using a combination of federal and local funds.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Important note from CMDR Andy Solberg, MPD

I want to alert the community to what seems to be a pattern of three robberies that have occurred since Monday night. All three robberies seem to be related by suspect and victim and location.

On Monday night, April 16, at about 6:15 pm, a man jogging alone at 39th St. near Rodman St. was robbed when a group of four or five young men between the ages of 13-18 attacked him as he ran past them. They knocked him to the ground and stole his Ipod. The young men are described only as being black males, wearing dark clothing, one of whom may have been carrying a back pack.

On Tuesday night, April 17, at about 7 pm, a man who was walking alone was approached by a group of three young men on Wisconsin Avenue near Fort Drive, one of whom produced a knife and robbed him of his Ipod. The suspects are described as being between the ages of 15-16, black males, wearing dark clothing and were last seen southbound on Wisconsin Avenue.

At about 10:30 pm the same night, a group of three suspects who fit the description of the 7 pm robbery attempted to snatch a Blackberry cell phone from a man who was walking alone in the 4200 block of 39th St. They were unable to grab the cell phone and were last seen running south on 39th St.

We do not have nay leads yet in these three cases but our detectives are working on the cases.

We ask that all residents who need to be out in the evening in the area along 39th St and the Wisconsin Avenue corridor from Porter St. to Fort Drive or Yuma St. please be especially alert to your surroundings and especially be aware of groups of young men in this age group.

If possible, walk with a friend or neighbor, and we recommend that in any instance of a robbery attempt you surrender your possessions without resisting in any way. No item you own is worth risking injury for.

Thank you,

Andy Solberg
Commander, Second District

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Biddle receives Washington Post Endorsement

Speaking of the Board of Education race, Shepard Park resident Sekou Biddle has received the endorsement of the Washington Post:

Mr. Biddle is better suited to be part of a board that will be reshaped under the expected mayoral takeover. Mr. Biddle's background as a teacher and a director with Teach for America and his knowledge of successful charter schools will be important assets for the board. That he has one child in a D.C. public school and another headed there gives him even more incentive to work for school improvement.

Martin Levine has received the endorsement of the Northwest Current and EdAction.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sock Puppet Hits the School Board Race

Listserv guru Jeff Steele, who moderates the DC Urban Mom's Listserv has uncovered an interesting and disturbing development in the Ward 3/4 (District II) School Board Race. Read on for more.

Monday, April 09, 2007

DC Examiner covers 5220 Wisc. Proposal

Two key D.C. Council members are staking opposing positions on the impact of a mixed-use, transit-oriented development slated for Friendship Heights, a split indicative of the divide in the community over the controversial project.

The proposed seven-story Akridge development at 5220 Wisconsin Ave. NW, with its 70 condominium units and 13,000 square feet of ground-floor retail feeding into the south entrance of the Friendship Heights Metrorail station, is an ideal example of smart growth, supporters say.

Or, critics argue, the project is overdevelopment at its worst — far too dense and out of proportion with an already traffic-clogged community.

Akridge presented its case to the D.C. Zoning Commission last month. On Thursday, it’s the opponent’s turn.

“We are putting so much effort into this because we think, if the zoning commission pushes back against Akridge, it’ll send a message to developers who are interested in much larger pieces of land to ‘Hey, take it easy,’ ” said Janet Bachman with the Alliance for Rational Development, a community coalition founded to oppose the development.

The arguments for and against the project, slated for the unsightly home of a used car lot, were spelled out by Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh and at-large Council Member Kwame Brown in respective letters to the zoning commission. Cheh supports it; Brown stands opposed.

Brown, who chairs the council’s economic development committee, said the project does not conform to the character of the community, is far too dense for the neighborhood and is “grossly out of scale with adjacent structures.”

The development, he wrote, would have “serious adverse effects on traffic, parking, and the safety and quality of life of nearby residents.”

“Good transit-oriented development does not occur at the expense of neighborhoods,” he wrote in the March 29 letter.

Cheh described the project as “forward-thinking” and environmentally friendly, with features that reduce energy and water use. Akridge, she wrote, is expected to include six affordable units, contribute more than $600,000 to community organizations and revamp a Pepco substation that borders the property.

“What is clear is that this project will economically and visually enhance the corridor, encourage the use of public transportation by its close proximity to the Metro, and simultaneously benefit the community through its contributions,” Cheh wrote in her Jan. 23 letter.

The District’s Office of Planning, the D.C. chapter of the Sierra Club, former Ward 3 Council Member Kathy Patterson and the community group Ward 3 Vision all support the project. The local advisory neighborhood commission, Tenleytown Neighbors Association and 500 Friendship Heights residents are opposed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Kwame Brown and NW Development

There was a previous note concerning Councilman Kwame Brown's letter to the Zoning Commission regarding the 5220 Akridge proposal in Friendship Heights.

The Progressive Review has also picked up the story:

KWAME BROWN has joined the fight against the over-developers with a letter criticizing the proposed Friendship Heights development at 5520 Wisconsin Avenue. As he points out, "the intensity of use go far beyond what would be consistent with the site's low-density commercial/medium density residential designation in the revised Plan. . . Rather than stepping down from the Regional Center, it jumps up to a height and density greater than those of most of the buildings even in the Regional Center and grossly out of scale with adjacent structures in the buffer zone. The building would have serious adverse effects on traffic, parking, and the safety and quality of life of nearby residents. . . It has been rejected twice by the ANC, it is opposed by more than 500 residents living within a 3-block radius who signed a petition against it, it is opposed by neighborhood organizations such as the Tenleytown Neighbors Association and the Alliance for Rational Development."

This posting prompted some comments such as:

It is disappointing that an At-Large representative on the city council (who ironically chairs the Economic Development Committee) would go against the tide of a huge majority of voters who supported Mary Cheh after the NIMBY camp made development the cornerstone issue in the Ward 3 race.


You gotta be kidding! And I actually voted for that joker Kwame Brown. Won't make that mistake twice. He needs to get a pulse on the real residents of NWDC, not just the same old tired whiners that run the ANCs. Talk to the voters who elected Cheh!.

The Blogger then readdressed the topic with this entry prompting these comments:

The writer cites Capitol Hill as a model of dense low-scale development. But Capitol Hill suffers from the same problem that the rest of the city has -- not enough commerce mixed in among residential neighborhoods. As I recall, one has two retail strips on Capitol Hill -- lower Penn Ave up to Eastern Market and the short strip of retail east of Union Station up to about 3rd or 4th Street, NE. That's it. If you happen to live within a few blocks of either, you're lucky. But if you live anywhere else on the Hill (say at 12th and D, NE), you've got nothing around but housing.

Great cities that are truly urban offer so many more retail amenities than Washington. And they're not just concentrated in a few 2-block retail strips miles apart on a few major streets.


...unless we go an demolish the spread out housing which exists in most of Ward 3, it doesn't have much to offer in terms of housing and retail consolidation. Therefore, why not take advantage of the few oppotunities which do exist?

I would agree that other forms of transit do more to promote the kind of vibrancy most of us desire, however it was the same generation that used "the bomb" that also decided to rip out the surface transit infrastructure.

I hope Tangherlini and Grey are successful in reinstituting rapid transit in the District, but housing such as is proposed for this site, with first floor retail makes sense. For the Chair of the Economic Development Committee of the Council to carry the water of his staffers and small but vocal minority of residents is politically idiotic.


The writer admits that the historical development in most of Ward 3 is spread out/non-compact. Given that, can they honestly say that the density along Connecticut Avenue has no impact on the village-like retail at Woodley Park, Clevleland Park and Chevy Chase?

I would posit that the apartment buildings and condos which line the Avenue have everything to do with the sustainability of those businesses. The lack of such density is part of what blights upper NW on Wisconsin Avenue.

Kwame Brown should understand this, given his position. If he doesn't, he should not be on the economic development committee, much less in the Council.

The writer clearly understands that density is vital for neighborhood serving retail (given the Capitol Hill example). He fails to make the connection between the lack of density on the Wisconsin Avenue corridor and the state of vibrancy on that street.

I would guess there may be more on this...stay tuned!

Friday, April 06, 2007

More on the River Road Barrier

Courtesy of the Tenleytown Listserv and Karyn LeBlanc of DDOT:

Greetings everyone,

I wanted to address the additional questions that were posted to DDOT after my report on March 16, 2007. I hope this suffices to answer some questions that have been pending. If not, or if you have any further questions, as always, please feel free to let me know.

DDOT technical teams are continuing their design and pre-construction meetings and are still scheduled to begin work on the intersection in late April 2007. I expect to have a start date within the next week or so and will forward the information to the community as soon as it is available.

Best to all,

1. How much money will this project cost taxpayers?

The traffic signal and intersection improvements will cost an estimated $490K. The estimate includes the installation of the traffic signal as well infrastructure improvements, channelized median installation, sidewalk and curb upgrades, pedestrian improvements to include pedestrian countdown signals and crosswalks, streetlight and manhole installation. This estimate is based on using a wireless detection device in place of the previously recommended in-ground device. This represented a cost savings of $65K.

2. What definition does DDOT use for "Collector Streets?"

It is best to answer this question in two parts. The following information is located in "The Functional Classification of Streets in the District of Columbia," developed to be consistent with Federal Highway Administration requirements under Title 23, Chapter 1, Part 470.

How does DDOT classify the streets in the District of Columbia?

Purpose of Functional Classification

The roadway network in the District of Columbia is arrayed into a system of categories that represent the use and function of each street. This system is called the Functional Classification of Streets. The functional categories range from Principal Arterials which are major traffic carriers in the city, to Local Streets, which serve redominantly local traffic and carry little to no through traffic. The street network is classified for a number of reasons. The primary reason being to assure that street improvement funds are allocated in a manner that insures that those streets that are the most important in maintaining the daily flow of people and goods throughout the city are given priority for construction funding. The classifications also play an important role in traffic planning. A goal of traffic planning is to funnel as much traffic as possible onto the major arteries in the city and discourage traffic from using the narrow neighborhood streets that comprise the major portion of the city network. The classification system details the extent to which streets are functioning as traffic carriers and is therefore use das a framework for planning such improvements as traffic signalization, channelizations, and various sign and pavement marking details. Likewise, the classifications can be used in determining which streets are candidates for traffic restraints.

Description of Functional Categories

The street network is split into four categories and three sub-categories.
They are;
1. Principal Arterial System
a. Interstate Highways
b. Other Freeways and Expressways
c. Other Principal Arterials
2. Minor Arterials
3. Collectors
4. Locals

[I will forgo providing information on Principal Arterial Systems and focus on Numbers 2-4. (If anyone would like this information, please let me know)]

Minor Arterials - These streets provide the connections between the principal arterial network and may service major flows in an area with no clearly defined principal arterial street. The characteristics of streets in this classification are:

1. Interconnect with the augment the principal arterial network;
2. May function as a principal during the peak periods;
3. Serve greater land use access than principals but access is subordinate to traffic movement;
4. Average daily traffic is greater than 8,000 and less than 20,000 vehicles per day;
5. Minimum of sharp grades and steep curves;
6. Serve bus and truck movements; and
7. May have peak period parking restrictions.

A typical minor arterial is Piney Branch Road, N.W. which carries two lanes of traffic in the peak period and one lane at all other times. It carries 15,000 vehicles per day.

Collectors - These streets serve a variety of functions, including providing direct access to major traffic generators, i.e. a METRO station, or large complex of apartments. They may be a connection from a neighborhood to the arterial network or may provide a connection between arterial streets in an area where no clearly defined minor arterial is present to handle the

1. Serve a split function of land use access and traffic movement;
2. Collect and distribute traffic in residential and commercial areas;
3. Average daily traffic is greater than 2,000 and less than 8,000 vehicles per day;
4. May provide direct access to a major traffic generator;
5. Serve local bus and commercial traffic; and
6. No peak period parking restrictions.

A typical collector is Fort Lincoln Drive, N.E. which provides access into the Fort Lincoln New Town Development.

Local streets - These roadways provide direct access to abutting lane use with a minimum of through traffic. Traffic volumes are less than 2,000 vehicles per day and bus and truck use is only to provide local service or delivery. By definition local streets comprise all streets not on a higher category.

What are the procedures for assigning streets to a particular classification?

[Again, I will forgo the information on the the first two sub-categories of principal arterials (if anyone would like this information, please let me know)]

...The remaining classifications are comprised of city streets that are assigned to a category based on a combination of physical and operational characteristics. Each street is assigned after a review of the pertinent data for each section. The date includes street width, number of lanes, traffic volumes (both peak and off peak), bus routes, parking regulations,
land use, and the relationship of the street with the regional and city roadway network. The classifications are based on use, and therefore existing travel patterns play a major role in the determination of the classification assigned. The data assembled for each street is compared to the desired characteristics for each classification (listed in previous section) and assignments are made accordingly.

Use and extend of each system - A primary goal in traffic planning is to accommodate as much traffic as practical on a minimum mileage of streets. The D.C. street systems' operation in this regard is demonstrated in Table 1, which details the proportional use of the street network by each functional classification.

Table 1

Proportion of
Functional Classification Miles (% of Total)
Daily Traffic
Principal Arterial 128 (12) 51%
Minor Arterial 156 (14) 30%
Collectors 150 (14) 10%
Local Streets 668 (60) 9%

This demonstrates the effectiveness of the present system; as the Principal arterial network which comprises only 12 percent of the roadway mileage carries 51% of the traffic and the local street system which is the major portion of the D.C. network carries less than 10 percent of the traffic in the city.

Policy Regarding Changes to the Assigned Classification

The Functional Classification of a street is not regarded as a permanent assignment or a rigid plan that must be maintained. It is only to be used as a framework for traffic planning. A tenet of the Department's transportation planning process is that no significant change can be effected on the operation of a street without due consideration of it's effect on adjacent streets. For example, if a street is carrying a daily flow of 12,000 vehicles per day and is classified as a minor arterial and the Department is requested by a citizen's group to reduce the vehicular flow and the classification, the response would not be "the street is an arterial and we cannot restrict the flow." The operation of the street in question and others in the area can be reviewed to determine if the traffic can be diverted to other roadways. If it can be diverted, and the measures to restrict traffic area implemented, the classification will be lowered to the appropriate level. If, however, it is determined that no restriction can be implemented without overloading an adjacent arterial or diverting traffic to local streets, the operation and classification must be maintained. Likewise, if the traffic volume on a street is increased due to a major development or other change in the area the classification would be upgraded accordingly.

3. Had funding been secured for the traffic light when Jeff Jennings told us, months ago, that it had? (If DDOT obtained a financial commitment from the federal government for the funds when Jeff told us DDOT had secured funding, why has DDOT decided to give the money back? If DDOT had not secured a commitment, didn't Jeff pass along false information to the community and, if so, who was responsible? (Note that Noble indicated at a public meeting that the light would be federally funded.)

As the traffic light is being locally funded, I can only conclude by these statements that my colleagues, in good faith, may have assumed the light could be federally funded and indicated as such at community meetings. However, the light is not going to be federally funded, it will be locally funded. My apologies for any confusion.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Austin Grill replacement in Glover Park

According to Tim Carmen at the City Paper, Ceviche is opening a second store in the Austin Grill space in Glover Park. According to his report:

Restaurateur Mauricio Fraga-Rosenfeld confirmed today that he has pulled the trigger on a deal that will open a second Ceviche, this one in the former Austin Grill space in Glover Park. Chef Javier Angeles-Beron is expected to bring over essentially the same Neuvo Latino menu from the Silver Spring location.

The Glover Park outlet should open in six to eight weeks, says Latin Concepts spokesperson Jessica Gibson, once the space has been redesigned and outfitted with new furniture.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

At-Large Councilman Kwame Brown did what??

At-Large Councilman Kwame Brown has publicly expressed his condemnation of the 5220 Wisconsin Avenue proposal to develop a used car lot into a seven story mixed use, residential buidling on top of the Friendship Heights Metro station. Here is his letter:

March 29, 2007

Chairman Carol J. Mitten
D.C. Zoning Commission
441 4th St., NW--Suite 210 South
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Ms. Mitten:

I am writing in opposition to the Akridge project, Case # 06-31. I ask you to reject the application for the following reasons:

• The project is not consistent with the revised Comprehensive Plan or the Future Land Use Map. The proposed C-2-B with a Planned Unit Development (PUD) does not conform to the prevailing character and adjacent uses of the surrounding community, as regulations require. The density, lot occupancy (100%), and intensity of use go far beyond what would be consistent with the site's low-density commercial/medium density residential designation in the revised Plan.
• The building breaks the buffer zone mandated by the Comprehensive Plan. Rather than stepping down from the Regional
Center, it jumps up to a height and density greater than those of most of the buildings even in the Regional Center and grossly out of scale with adjacent structures in the buffer zone.
• The building would have serious adverse effects on traffic, parking, and the safety and quality of life of nearby residents. Akridge has not addressed the detrimental impacts on neighborhood infrastructure, including schools and emergency services.
• Akridge has refused to work cooperatively with the ANC and the neighboring community to make any significant changes in response to community concerns.
• The project does not have the support of the community. It has been rejected twice by the ANC, it is opposed by more than 500 residents living within a 3-block radius who signed a petition against it, it is opposed by neighborhood organizations such as theTenleytown Neighbors Association and the Alliance for Rational Development, and it is opposed by the many constituents who have written to me asking me to support their neighborhoods and oppose the

While I welcome development at that site, as do the residents, I also support development that is appropriate to the scale and character of the surrounding community. Good transit-oriented development does not occur at the expense of neighborhoods. In the words of the revised Comprehensive Plan (RCW-2.2), "Friendship Heights and Tenleytown are stable, transit-oriented neighborhoods, and their conservation should be ensured during the coming years." Friendship Heights doesn't need more economic stimulus. But I see good transit-oriented development (TOD) as a powerful vehicle for helping underserved neighborhoods near Metro that want and need growth to achieve the economic benefits they have a right to. I believe those areas must be the first focus of our TOD efforts, not neighborhoods that the Comp Plan has acknowledged are already transit oriented.

I am hopeful that your rejection of this application will motivate the Akridge Company to go back to the community, work with them, and return to the Zoning Commission with a project that has ANC and neighborhood support. Developers need to take the community seriously from the outset. They must not get a signal from their government that they may buy a property zoned for a project they do not want to build and simply assume that the zoning will be overturned. Developers must be willing to find compromises with the community so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of positive, sensible development. I believe rejecting this application is the first step in making that happen.


Kwame R. Brown

Under the PUD process (which are the governing rules in the district by which developers can ask for changes to the zoning code under special exception) Akridge has been working with a variety of neighhborhood groups to develop the structure and populate it with neighborhood serving retail in a way more than acceptable to the broader community.

Anyone who thinks it is ok to develop this parcel in a way that encourages transit use, green building certification and economic development for the neighborhood and city should let Kwame Brown know! Development issues such as this became the focal discussion and proxy in both the democratic primary and general election for Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh. Residents supportive of this kind of compact development around metro stations should let their voices be heard once again.

A letter such as this from the Council Chair of the Economic Development Committee makes one wonder.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Another zoning controversy in Cleveland Park

A San Francisco pet hotel company, Day 'n' Night Pet Hotels, is going to be moving into the space currently occupied by the Radio Shack on Connecticut Avenue and Newark Street. As far as I can tell, unlike restaurants, there's no zoning against a pet hotel. (But the pet hotel will apparently have a restaurant for pets and this may be an issue -- more about that later.)

Not that a pet hotel is a bad idea. But Day 'n' Night Pet Hotels appears to be both a pet hotel and *bordello*. That's pretty clear from reading their website:

"Day 'n' Night Pet Hotels offers more than just a refuge for your pampered cat or dog for when you're away. We know that you, the pet owner, are discriminating about where you board your precious canine or feline, which is why Day 'n' Night Pet Hotels offer unparalleled fun for your pet in the way of selective and supervised dating.

"Pets start out with their favorite meal (just tell us what it is and we'll have a fresh can or bag on hand.) Then our guests spend the next half hour or so playing together with a fabulous array of toys developed just for Day 'n' Night Pet Hotels. Following that is a little snack and some water (and a walk if needed), after which your pet gets to enjoy a night out.

"While you're away, not only will you have a great time, but your pet will, too. Many of our customers tell us that their dog or cat had such a terrific time that they send their pets back again and again.

"Our pet food is 100 percent made in the USA, inspected and taste-tested by our veterinary team.

"And, of course, we provide all pets with pre-date birth control, so that you don't have any surprises at home months later.

"We welcome gay pets, too, and pair those pets appropriately."

I hope that the pet hotel is sound-proof! Late night noise could really become a problem for people who live near the former Radio Shack. For more information, you can visit the company's website:

Which brings me back to beginning of this message: Does anyone know if this violates the zoning cap for restaurants? It seems to me that the pet hotel also has a restaurant for animals, and as far as my reading of the zoning regulations goes, there's nothing that exempts a pet restaurant from that cap. A restaurant's a restaurant, right -- even if it's part of a so-called pet hotel? Has anyone had any experience with Day 'n' Night Pet Hotels in San Francisco or elsewhere?

Bill Adler