May 2013 Archives

Decade in Review: Buy this House

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I'm really trying to stay with the decade in review theme, so I still get requests to post new stuff, which is hard because unless I can relate it to something I posted before, I have to turn them down. So I got another request, but as for an open house for 430 Warner St, NW, round the corner. Looking for posts on open houses I did post something about a house on my block, "Buy a house and party with us". We got a good neighbor out of that one. I liked how that turned out.  Unfortunately, I did not find anything supernotable about Warner, but I do remember that in the past (not sure about the present) Warner had some pretty cool looking block parties. I also found a comment from "The past is a weird country you only get to visit via travelogues":

Yep, over here on Warner Street all of the houses on the south side of the street were built that way. We have 2 front doors, and the house originally had identical units up and downstairs. There's also a skylight/tiny atrium right through the middle of the house to provide daylight and air circulation (so I'm told) for the otherwise windowless center rooms.

Anyway there is an open house to show off the place that announcement is below:

Hi neighbors, here's a note from Kent Fowler, realtor for 430 Warner Street:

Special Open House for Neighbors - Wine & Cheese, Beer served - Friday 5/31 6-8pm. Unit #1 (though folks can see Unit #2 as well).

Photos being taken & pricing to be set on Thursday - Public Open Houses on Sat 1-4p & Sun 2-4p.

Here's a link for flooplans - MouseOnHouse.com/property/547/23340

Decade in Review: Mondi and Richardson

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This is a quick post to throw together some things as it appears that Wilbur Mondi, who tried to throw up a bunch of units on a small amount of space, is planning on building, again.

Long story short, here are some links about how residents fought Mr. Mondi's request for a zoning from 2005-2006.

More Mondie, 11/18/2005

Mondie Hearing, 12/14/2005

More Mondie, 2/8/2006

Mondie Owns the Lots, 5/24/2006

The case was withdrawn but here's the language of what he was attempting:

Application of Wilbur Mondie, pursuant to 11 DCMR § 3103.2, for a variance from the lot width and lot area requirements under section 401.3, to allow the construction of four flats (two-family dwellings) in the R-4 District at premises 410, 412, 414 and 416 Richardson Place, N.W. (Square 507, Lots 810, 812, 814 and 816).

He recently got a building permit for a two flat unit.

Decade in Review: Bates Market

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Bates Market closed
Originally uploaded by In Shaw.

Sometime in 2006 the Bates Market at 3rd and P St, NW closed. Fast forward to today and another mini market, the 3rd Street Market has taken its place. It is a huge improvement from the place that I encountered back in the mid to early 00s.

My memories of the Bates Market was that it was of a place where unsavory types hung out in the front, and where every so often there would be a shooting on the corner. Inside, the wine and beer sold was the kind that favored by those looking to get drunk fast. The non-drinking items were covered in dust. And overall the store was dark and unpleasant.

Now after it was closed for years in the hope that a different sort of place (a Georgian cultural center) flickered but never got past the zoning issues. So it became a a mini market, a brighter, open, less dusty corner market.

Decade in Review: UHOP parade this weekend

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As one commenter said in a 2009 post about the United House of Prayer for All People's annual Memorial weekend parade, "it's a neat tradition in Shaw." I spoke with a longtime resident who has been on Logan Circle since the 80s, how she enjoys watching the little old ladies in their white gloves and Sweet Daddy Grace's cars.

Well Memorial Day weekend is back with us and this Saturday, there will be a parade. According to MPD 3D list:

The parade will form at 6th and M St NW. It will then start north on 6th  St NW to S St NW, west on S St to 13th St NW, South on 13th St to Logan Circle, southwest around Logan Circle to P St NW, east on P St to 7th St, South on 7th St to M St, East on M St to 6th St where they will disband.

Back in 2009 the parade had wandered up to U Street. For the following years they have stuck to going no farther than S St NW. Regardless, from noon to about 3pm, traffic is a pain. Unfortunately, I don't see a mention of this parade on DDOT's website. I hope UHOP hasn't gone back to it's old ways of just having a parade without getting an okay from the city. That's almost as bad as throwing up another Suzane Reatig building in the hood. Anyway, it appears that MPD's 3D knows about it, and hopefully have a few cops dealing with the traffic on Rhode Island that gets tied up in this.

For more useful information check out Borderstan's 2010 post about the parade.


 

Don't feel like you've got to change the keys or get a better alarm system. But if your house was ever for sale in Eastern Shaw (I'm counting the TC in this) and LeDroit Park around 2005, with an open house, I've been in it.

A few days ago I was chatting with a neighbor and some how we must have gotten on to the topic of what their house looked like before they bought it and he completely renovated it. I mentioned I and other neighbors toured it and I took some pictures. They had not taken any pictures of their house before they gutted it, so that sent me on a search for the handful of photos shot with a Palm Zire of their home.

One of the places I searched was the blog. I've been in a bunch of houses. I've been in condo buildings, one called the Tobacco Factory, that had never, ever, ever been a factory of any sort, but rather a large townhouse converted. But from that condo tour I got to meet the owners of one of the most amazing pop-ups and got a tour of their home, and was blown away by the interior. Sometimes I'd tour a place and take pictures, sometimes I didn't.

The well to fairly renovated properties, I'm sure have not changed much. There is a house that sold for well over 1/2 a million in 2005, where I can still imagine the weird quirks still remain.

The houses that needed work, lots of work, I'm sure have changed. I remember some beautiful ruins. It was a house at 1536 New Jersey Ave NW. It had a two story carrage house in the back a 2nd floor bridge from the main house connecting. I'm sure the bridge is gone and the property has been completely transformed.

In 2006, I wrote a post about the Senior Citizen Real Estate tax relief deduction. 2008, I mentioned that I used the senior relief deduction mentioned in the DC Real Property Assesment and the Social Security Death Index databases to find dead people, dead people who pay taxes. Extremely low, low taxes. At one point the family of the dead woman was paying less than $200 a year in property taxes for a house that served at least one working adult and other random relatives of varing ages. And there were people getting the deduction who didn't live there (guessing nursing home) along with dead people with deteriorating houses where nobody lived there

So I cocked my head aside when my former ANC, now city wide Councilwoman Anita Bonds suggested another senior real estate tax relief, but with paying no taxes at all. Now I love tax deductions and relief and not paying taxes when you don't have to but, I can see how this can be abused and make it bad for neighbors of an abandoned house owned by some random 80+ year old who is stuck in a nursing home. Or a problem house where great grandma owns it, but a bunch of her grown grandchildren are living in it. Seriously, few people consider their adult children/grandchildren's income to be part of their household income, so I see how that income limit could be interpreted in other ways. So if Councilmember Bonds does actually get this thing thru hopefully there will be something in there to deal with those issues with some auditing or the like.

Funny thing, while writing this I looked up the few seniors that I know to own their homes in my hood. One the listed owner is getting the senior discount, but that person has been dead a good long while, but it's ok because the widow is also old (well over 65 y.o.) and living there with random adult relatives. I also looked up my great aunt, who died early last year, and had been in a Maryland nursing home for YEARS.... YEARS.... She's still getting the Senior Citizen Homestead deduction for her SE home. She's been paying (well her estate has been paying) about $600 a year in property taxes to the District. Amazing, dead and buried in Maryland, but still getting a DC discount.

Decade in Review: Bikes

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This morning I spotted the following at R and New Jersey Ave NW.

CaBi station at Nj and R

CaBi station at Nj and R 2

CaBi station at Nj and R


New CaBi station! Well since this is a decade in review this is a far cry from the old ugly bike.

Bike Handle
Originally uploaded by In Shaw.

This was first seen in the 2005 entry "Bike Handle on Richardson." Yes, people of Richardson Place, your street used to look like crap, with that mix of broken concrete and brick.

One of the great things about the neighborhood in the early days was it was a good place to get around without owning a car. Still is, but back in 2005, you had to own your own bike. None of this fancy schmancy CaBi stuff. I had a little series of posts called "Living in Shaw with no car" one of those was in regards to bikes. Looking back on that post there have been some changes. Chain Reaction is no longer there. It was a cool bike shop, where Red Toque currently sits, operated by the now defunct Shaw Eco-Village non-profit. It had young men, teenagers, fixing bikes at a nice price. Now I use Bicycle Space, which is a bit further from the house.  Also from that post I see that bike lanes were appearing on R but between 7th and 14th. Love that in the following years the lanes expanded. I really wish they'd expand more to have something between 7th and North Cap that gets you past NY Ave and Downtown. There is so much more around here to walk and bike to it is wonderful.

100_0439.JPG
One of the great things about the neighborhood, and I say "neighborhood" in the general walking around space, ignoring political and civic boundaries, is the Bloomingdale Farmers Market. The BFM is coming back for another wonderful year of fruit, doggies walking around, meats, and baked goods. Saw the announcement that this coming Sunday it will be open again from 9AM to 1PM.

2007 was the first year of the market, per a quick look of my old posts. That was the same year as the opening of Big Bear, and as we know from experience, the two go together. I'm quite sure if I searched  I could find a post mentioning a previously failed market in Bloomingdale that sat around on Joe Mamo's lot. A farmer's market outside of the coffee shop just works, so it would be best to keep it where it is.

As  a resident and blogger I have enjoyed the market. I seem to have mentioned the market each year it has been open. It is not as big as other DC markets but it is great in its smallness. Neighbors can meet up with each other, kids can get introduced to unprocessed food, and people can talk to farmers.

I look forward to Sunday.

Decade in Review: Dream vs Present

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I keep looking at my old 2003 post "My Dream of Shaw" trying to figure out what I could say to the person who wrote that entry ten years ago.

Is my block diverse? Is my neighborhood diverse? There was a question of diversity at the most recent BACA meeting directed towards the Mundo Verde representative. It seems that 7% of the staff of this very sought after charter school, is African-American. An attendee asked if that was enough diversity, so at the same time I can wonder does our neighborhood have enough diversity. But then what kind of diversity? Looking at the census tract that covers Truxton Circle, tract 46, we went from 92% black in 2000 to 65% black in 2010. This can be seen as a good thing because it means the neighborhood is no longer a segregated black neighborhood.  I've been glancing at academic papers about segregation, and they seem to agree that segregation is bad. However the authors of these things seem to want to desegregate white neighborhoods, with an influx of up and coming (they say poor, but let's be hopeful and positive) African Americans in order for the black newcomers to take advantage of job opportunities, better housing, better schools, and lower crime. No one seems to advocate for it going the other way around, whites desegregating a poorer black neighborhood to bring (eventually) job opportunities, better housing and lower crime. When it happens in the other direction, we call it gentrification.

It's diverse enough. It isn't Georgetown, nor does it look like the neighborhoods west of the Park. As long as there is the Co-op, and multi-generation families who bought their houses in the bad old 80s (or before) there will be some level of economic and racial diversity. Mom or grandma might own the house free and clear and may be in good health to live long enough to out last the young new couple who moved in. Then she may pass the property on to the kids or grandkids who live with her, and they might have 5 or more years of living there before deciding to cash out or getting moved out due to taxes or foreclosure or seizure by a non-resident relative who was smart enough to get mom to sign a will leaving it to them (it has been done!). When the bank or the IRS or the City or the smarter relative sells, as none seem interested in landlording, it won't be to a poor person.

Even landlords seem to have lost interest in Section 8s and renting to the poor. The evil landlord on my block lost interest in renting to crackheads a few years ago. Seriously you'd think she was advertizing on the back side of crack baggies. She does not invest in her property, but she has fixed it up juuuuust enough to rent to young people enjoying their crummy group house in the hood experience, as opposed to crack heads who don't seem to care about crap. Another landlord, who isn't evil, also decided to go with market rate over Section 8, because the Section 8 tenants were rough on the structure and tore the place up. Both landlords are black, renting to non-blacks.

I've digressed on the topic of diversity.

Crime, is better than it was before, but I still fear jinxing that so, no more on that topic.

In 2003 I wrote, "As far as businesses go, I dream of fewer liquor stores. A few places where I can walk to in 15-20 minutes from the house and grab a pastry, or sit down and eat, or buy a book." Well, books come in the mail or on-line in digital form, so scratch that. There are almost as many liquor stores as last time, just fewer places to buy 40 oz beer and MD 20/20 to go. Now in 2013, I can walk 10 minutes and get a pastry or baked good or cookies. In 2013, there are several places in walking distance to sit down and eat some food, with wait service. Well that part of the dream came true, and I also got things I didn't even dream about that I wanted, like the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market .

I could say to my 10 years younger self that the neighborhood becomes more attractive and less segregated and it will be a great place to live, sorry it is taking so long.

Decade in Review- Miscellany

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Construction trucks

Blog Issues-I haven't been posting anything lately because of the flashing warning signal from my host saying how much space I was running out of, so I deleted a bunch of stuff, including, the old "This meeting never happened" entries. It pains me but I'm going to have to start deleting more material at inshaw.com/blog, now that most of it is at http://dcinshaw.blogspot.com/. Little extras, like the meeting notes hidden behind a password are gone. Well, gone from the public website. I have a copy. I created it after an incident where a speaker who came to a BACA meeting did not like how Google (not my fault, blame Google, but I'm easier to yell at than Google) summarized my notes. I wrote that I was buzzed and he was loud, but the way Google had it, he was drunk and loud. Apparently his co-workers were small minded speed reading non-click through bitties that caused him trouble. Anyway....

I'll probably start deleting chunks of the old Inshaw Site starting with 2010 and working down to 2003. The goal is to reclaim 2 Gigs to have more space to put things on TruxtonCircle.org.

House on Street 4 Sale- In my last post I mentioned neighbors were going to put their house on the market. Well, it is on the market for $649K.  There was an open house Sunday, but I saw people with the sheets of paper where the map location in the top corner looking at the house Friday. Those MRIS print out sheets haven't changed much since I bought my house, except now they are in color. It will be interesting to see what will be the final price.

????- The picture, I have no clue but it was something new at the corner of Rhode Island and New Jersey. Sign seems to say it will be like that till the end of the month.