April 7, 2006
To: Washington DC Community
From: The H Street Main Street Board of Directors & Shalonda Hunter, Executive Director, H Street Main Street, Inc
RE: ANC6a and Cluck-U-Chicken, Birdland, and Taste of Jamaica Zoning Issues ______________________________________
HSMS Board members believe that the Washington Post "Who's H Street Is It, Anyway?" article written by Paul Schwartzman portrayed the ANC6a and Cluck-U-Chicken issues incorrectly and skims the surface of the real issues. Mr. Schwartzman wrote a story about H Street that could be construed to play up the race angle regardless of whether the facts really justified such a view point.
The mission of H Street Main Street, Inc. is to revitalize, support and develop a vibrant and thriving business community that offers diverse services, entertainment, and retail.
HSMS does not believe that the ANC is motivated by racism or classism on the fast foodIssue, as the article indicates. The real matter lies with the DCRA zoning regulations and definitions. The ambiguity in the DCRA zoning definitions has caused a public conflict. The making & enforcing of zoning regulations is within the government's role. However, Cluck-U-Chicken, Birdland, and Taste of Jamaica should not be made examples of.
HSMS supports DCRA and other government agencies tightening up compliance with existing rules, and in this case we support DCRA working with the ANC and business owners to find resolutions. HSMS Board of Directors recommends that Cluck-U-Chicken, Birdland, and Taste of Jamaica be allowed to continue to operate, since each establishment sincerely attempted to do what they understood was right, according to DCRA's currently stated regulations. We also ask the ANC and the DCRA to expedite the changing or defining of the present definition of fast food to alleviate future issues.
The HSMS position is that we encourage our current and prospective merchants to join us in redeveloping H Street NE, while keeping in mind that all have a responsibility to contribute to a decent quality of life for the residents of our community. As we have done in the past, HSMS supports all merchants.
Over 40 new businesses have opened in the past 2 years on the H Street Northeast corridor. HSMS has partnered with DC Commission for the Arts to foster the Expressive Signs Project, which impacted over a dozen businesses. Main Street will continue to be a reliable partner in advancing the needs of H Street, the surrounding community, and the District. If there are any questions or if you should need additional information, please contact Shalonda Hunter at the H Street Main Street office at firstname.lastname@example.org.