ANC 5B September Meeting next Wednesday

by Astrid on September 19, 2014

The summer is over and the ANC Commissions are picking up their meeting schedule. The ANC 5B Commissioners invite all neighbors to attend the next meeting on Wednesday September 24. See details below.

I encourage all residents who live in the ANC 5B boundaries to attend. As past experiences have taught us, it is important that we are engaged, express our opinion, hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, and to make sure the Commission  is acting on behalf of it’s constituency and not to  please their own agenda.

The ANC 5B Commission will have to finish 2014 with a vacant seat, since Ms. Carolyn Steptoe has resigned from her post as ANC 5B04 Commissioner.

ANC 5B Meeting

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Weekend East City Event Round Up: 2014 H Street Festival Edition


Thursday, September 18

Pleasant Plans Workshop – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Essentially Qualified by Paull Shortt exhibits the phenomenon many new graduates go through – having the qualifications for a position but not the required experience necessary to get the job. This exhibit will have both sculpture and performance pieces related to post-graduate life. For more details, click here.

Pleasant Plains Workshop is located at 2608 Georgia Avenue, NW.

Independent Pictures – 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Michael O. Snyder.

Photo courtesy of Micheal O. Snyder

The photography exhibit by Michael O. Snyder explores the connection between human and non-human forms. Snyder uses a “double exposure technique to blend the human body with natural forms.” For more information and to RSVP, click here.

The event is at Josephine Butler Parks Center located at 2437 15th Street, NW.

Saturday, September 20

H Street Festival Noon to 7 p.m.


Gallery OonH hosts the annual art cars and artist tents on the 1300 block of H Street NE.  The gallery, located at 1354 H Street NE, presents a photography retrospective by the Washington Informer in celebration of their 50 year anniversary.  For a full list of art programming at the festival, click here.

The ten block Festival begins on 4th Street NE and ends at 14th street NE.

This Place has a Voice – 2 p.m. to midnight

Photo courtesy of This Place Has A Voice.

Photo courtesy of This Place Has A Voice

Join local artists for This Place Has a Voice a free public art project. The day will be chalked full of photographs, videos, sculptures, installations, and performances from local artists. For a schedule of events, click here.

Arthur Capper Senior Center is located at 900 5th Street, SE.

Harmony Hall – 3 p.m.

Harmony Hall hosts an artist talk with Alan Binstock on his current exhibition, Retro/Spective. The exhibition features his sculptures of stone, glass, and steel. For more details, click here.

Harmony Hall Regional Center is located at 10701 Livingston Road, Fort Washington, MD.

Washington Project for the Arts – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Saya Woolfalk, Chimera, 2013, digital video. © Saya Woolfalk, courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Saya Woolfalk, Chimera, 2013, digital video. © Saya Woolfalk, courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

New York-based artist Saya Woolfalk is the newest Hothouse Video Artist, who will be showing a retrospective of her video works. The video projects are grounded in science fiction and fantasy from the last ten years. For more information, click here.

The exhibition will be held at Capitol Skyline Lobby located at 10 I Street, SW.

Transformer – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Transformer hosts a multimedia exhibit of artist Tamar Ettun’s works, which explores the connection between sculpture and performance. Influenced by turmoil in Israel, My Hands are the Shape of My Height, focuses on PTSD and features the use of human forms. For details on the exhibit, click here.

Transformer is located at 1404 P Street, NW.

Saturday and Sunday, September 20-21

DC GlassWorks - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo courtesy of DC Glassworks.

Photo courtesy of DC Glassowrks

Join DC GlassWorks for a welding and metal fabrication class. Learn fundamental working skills for making sculptures. The course does not require any previous experience. To sign up for classes, click here.

DC Glassworks is located at 5366 46th Avenue, Hyattsville, MD.

Jess Oros is the Production Manager of East City Art.  You can get more information about East City Art on Facebook by following them on Twitter or click here to sign up for their newsletter.


A friend of ours recently told us about a new adults-only business, The TrickBox, that quietly opened up this summer on Rhode Island Avenue, NE. We stopped by last weekend and got to know Dan Snyder, Jr, a Brookland resident and owner of the store. Realizing his dream of opening his “freak boutique” has taken a long road of hunting for an affordable, yet accessible location, and navigating the city’s maze of bureaucratic business regulations, made exponentially more difficult given the adult nature of his business plan.  Snyder is super-happy to have landed on Rhode Island Avenue and says that the neighborhood has been very been welcoming.

Here is a description of the business from their website:


Trickbox is a boutique specializing in superior quality fetish gear for a broad audience.  Trickbox partners with innovative vendors to provide exciting premium fetish wear including leather, rubber and sport gear.  We will work with our customers in an unending search to provide cutting edge gear that you will be proud to wear.  The professional and knowledgeable staff want to help everyone, from the reluctant explorer to the connoisseur.  Whether it is in the bedroom or out at a party, we want you to embrace your kink.

At this point, the store is focused on male clientele, but as it gets more established Snyder will seek to expand his offerings. He credits the good folks at the  Friends of Rhode Island Avenue (FoRIA), with helping him land a small business grant through the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He is planning on using the grant money to hire a marketing consultant to help develop a marketing plan for the store.

Now that the store has been open for a few months, its time for a Grand Opening party. The Grand Opening event will feature cocktails and models sporting fetish wear. Find out more about the Grand Opening reception at the Trick Box  Facebook event page. The Trick Box is located at 2300 Rhode Island Ave NE #201 (above Zeke’s Coffee) and is open from 1 to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Keep up with the Trick Box through their Facebook Page, Twitter, and Tumblr. We wish Dan the best of luck and much future success!


9th street before development

9th street before development

There are two developments planned for the stretch of land in Brookland on 9th street NE along the Metro tracks. On the left is how the properties looked roughly a year ago.

We decided to write this blog post to share updates, but also to clear up confusion we are picking up about the developments.  The bottom line – there are two parcels of land on the west side of 9th Street NE between Kearney and Lawrence Street that are the subject to development. Both lots were originally zoned for commercial development. One site, that to this day is still undeveloped, was acquired by the Oxbridge Group with the intent to build residential properties. The other site remains commercially zoned and is under construction by INLE Development.

Image courtesy of the Oxbridge Group

Image courtesy of the Oxbridge Group

View of the lot from 9th Street

View of the “Oxbridge” lot from 9th Street on Sept. 13, 2014

Oxbridge: This development project is shown in the street and birds eye views of that plot of land to the right. We have written several updates on this development over the last year as Mr. Elliot Totah from the Oxbridge Group went through great lengths to reach out to the community, present their plans and to get feedback. One of the reasons why this development enjoyed a good deal of community support was that the Oxbridge Group was seeking to “down zone” the property from industrial-commercial to residential. Potentially, they could have build an incinerator or other industrial use building, but instead attempted and succeeded in changing the zoning for this piece of land from commercial to residential. (We reported about that process last here in May.) In an interesting and baffling twist, Mr. Totah’s outreach to then ANC Commissioner Carolyn Steptoe for support in his effort to reduce the zoning for his land was denied and voted down by the ANC 5B.

Members of the community were recently surprised to learn that after the high degree of community engagement, Oxbridge sold their property. Here is the letter Mr. Totah of the Oxbridge Group wrote Brookland community leaders to inform them of the sale:

Good evening!

I hope this message finds you well.  I am writing to update you about our property at 9th and Kearny Streets, NE.

The map amendment to rezone our 12,400 sq ft was approved by the Zoning Commission pursuant to the attached order.  I have also attached a copy of the updated zoning map which reflects the R-4 zone having been applied to our properties.  Allow me to again reiterate my appreciation for all of your efforts in helping us achieve this win-win situation.  We are very happy to have reduced the neighborhood’s inventory of C-M-1 zoned land and the less-than-ideal uses that go along with it.

Once the rezoning hit the public records, several real estate professionals/companies took note of our work and we received multiple purchase offers for the property.  In deference to our fiduciary duty to our investors, we accepted one of those offers and have consummated a sale of the property.  The purchaser, Getinet Bantayehu, is a private developer who intends to build out the land in accordance with the R-4 zone.  Mr. Bantayehu is copied on this e-mail.

When we started the map amendment process, we made an extra effort to engage the community repeatedly and give all interested parties a voice.  Even though we will not be part of the property’s build-out, we have sought to ensure that process of interaction and feedback continues.  To that end, we took special care to contractually require Mr. Bantayehu to present his architectural schematics to the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association prior to construction.  He embraced the opportunity to do so.  This will afford everyone the chance to provide feedback and engage in constructive dialogue.  We encourage all of you to continue your strong involvement in the project at that time.

While I personally lament the fact that I won’t see this through to actual build-out, I am happy to have contributed to better land use within Brookland and I am confident that the finished product will be an asset to the community.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.  We remain active throughout the District and I sincerely hope we get to work together again soon.


Elliot R. Totah

The Oxbridge Group

1350 Connecticut Avenue, NW  –  Suite 850  –  Washington, DC  20036

Tel (301) 294-4150  Fax (240) 752-8581

So now it has to be seen how the new owner, private developer Mr. Bantayehu, will pursue his relationship with the community, and if he will stay true to the high quality town home design that the community bought into with the Oxbridge Group. We hope that he will continue the commendable conduct and respect that the Oxbridge Group offered the Brookland residents.

INLE Design for 9th Street NE

INLE Design for 9th Street NE

INLE Development: On the other parcel on this block, at the corner of 9th and Lawrence, construction has long started. In this case INLE Development has moved ahead based on the pre-existing matter of right to built a commercial office building that stretches it’s dimensions to it’s legal limits. Plans call for total building area of 16,600 square feet and an 18 car garage on the ground floor. Not much else is known about this development, which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2015. Brookland resident and author Rachel Kaufmann wrote about the development in her online magazine Elevation DC. To the right are images of a rendering of the planned design and the current construction site.

INLE development contruction site

INLE development construction site on Sept. 13, 2014

We hope readers found this information helpful and that we cleared up any confusion. As much as we love social media, unfortunately,  it doesn’t take much in times of fast exchanges of rumors or incomplete information to launch falsely directed blame or praise. We will definitely keep an eye on these development projects and keep you posted.


FoRIA BNCA Cleanup 007The Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association (BNCA)  President Tom Bridge sent out the invitation for this months meeting last week. Here his announcement:

Good evening, Brookland!

I hope that everyone had a wonderfully restful August, because September’s about to get exciting and busy!
This morning we’re announcing our September meeting, next Tuesday September 16th at 7pm, according to our bylaws. Councilman David Catania has been invited to join us – and he has accepted – to discuss Brookland-related issues. In addition, we will hear from representatives of SGA Companies, who are planning the project at the corner of 12th & Otis St NE, which features a banner for the 7-11. In addition, representatives of CAS Riegler and MRP will be there to introduce themselves as the developers of the Metro parcel. We’ll also have several important community concerns to talk about at the meeting! We look forward to see you next Tuesday at HUSD at 7pm at 1400 Shepherd St NE.  All are welcome, and membership is the best deal in town at $10/year.
Thanks everyone, we’ll see you next week!


A late rainy summer day forced the Menkiti Group to cancel the screening of SHREK, last event of this year’s outdoor movie series. Yesterday this message announced the cancellation of tonight’s movie on the Brookland listserve:

With over 50% chance of rain predicted for tomorrow, we are following the outdoor movie company’s guidelines  and canceling tomorrow’s movie night.  ​

Thanks to all for supporting another wonderful series of outdoor movie nights this year.  We look forward to seeing you all at our third season of Brookland Outdoor Movies starting in May 2015.

Mary Hodges
The Menkiti Group- Real Estate Team
Keller Williams Capital Properties


Brooklanders – Know Your Neighborhood With Two Cool Events!

September 13, 2014

Our good buddy Thad, who hooked up many Brookland neighbors with free vinyl last summer, let us know about this great event for those interested in Brookland history. This two part event is sponsored by Catholic U’s Mullen Library. Please contact Thad at garrettt(at)cua(dot)edu at least one week prior to the event to request disability […]

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Update, But No Resolution In 901 Monroe Development Case

September 12, 2014

The US Court of Appeals has decided to send the case back to the DC Zoning Commission for the second time. The court is still not satisfied with the way the commission has handled the case and is not convinced of the process it used to come to it’s conclusion. We have followed the debate […]

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US Senate will hold Statehood Hearing Next Monday – Support the “New Columbia Admission Act” Bill

September 11, 2014

Our good friend and Statehood activist Josh Burch would like you to know about a hearing that has been scheduled for Monday September 15th. The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee is taking up the “New Columbia Admission Act” bill.  Please take the time and read Josh’ message and his important request to take […]

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Last Brookland Outdoor Movie Night Of The Summer – Featuring Shrek

September 10, 2014

Many thanks to Mary Hodges and the entire Menkiti Group  team for once again providing the community with our outdoor movie night series under the stars. This is just a friendly reminder that the last installment for this year will be this Saturday, September 13th. The  movie night will be at the Howard Divinity School front lawn (1400 Shepherd […]

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