Fence Removed at Sweet Mango

The Sweet Mango fence along Rock Creek Church has been removed

Residents who live along Rock Creek Church Road, or at least walk it to get to the Metro, may have noticed that the fence at Sweet Mango was removed last week. In light of the duct fire at Sweet Mango that occurred on Saturday this event was definitely overshadowed — though not noticed.

Readers may recall that back in May 2010 Sweet Mango began to erect a fence without permits on public space. At the time, I wrote the following: “After receiving a stop work order, DCRA issued a permit that allowed them to finish. However, DCRA inappropriately issued that permit without the approval of DDOT, which has authority over public space.”

Taking up the issue in November 2012, ANC 4C commissioners voted to retroactively approve the public space application for the fence permit “with the provisions that the fence meet with DDOT guidelines and the sidewalk be deemed compliant with ADA guidelines.”

Well, guess what, that never happened.

After talking to a neighbor about this, they decided to do some digging. After doggedly staying after DDOT, below is the response they got on May 22 of this year:

On May 10th [DDOT] investigated the site conditions at the rear of 3701 New Hampshire Avenue, NW. [Having] received community concerns that the existing sidewalk presented a condition that was so narrow as to obstruct people with disabilities from being able to traverse the sidewalk. …  At the present time the sidewalk at the most narrow point is 40” wide, which is of adequate width to let one wheelchair pass. However, it does not meet the ADA and FHWA recommended minimum width of 4’.  Under a more practical assessment, it is operationally too narrow and way below the DDOT minimum requirement of 6’.

Upon further research we found that the owner of the restaurant, The Sweet Mango,  came before the Public Space Committee on November 18th, 2010 for an over-height fence and it was DENIED.  (3701 New Hampshire Avenue, NW – Application No. 56385). It appears that DCRA may have issued a permit, but this fence is located on public space and so it is not under the jurisdiction of DCRA.

Accordingly, we are recommending that the fence be removed from public space and that the existing curb cut, which is now serving no useful function and technically has been abandoned, be removed and the curb returned to its original condition to serve as a separator from the main roadway.

This is a great example of what can be accomplished by an active citizenry … and that some of our government agencies, in this case DDOT, really do listen to residents’ concerns.


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2 Comments on “Fence Removed at Sweet Mango”

  1. mb Says:

    thanks for the update Kent. Do we know if they even have permits for their latest construction project? their annual fires should be a concern for the entire neighborhood!

  2. Edward Says:

    There was a rather heated discussion about Sweet Mango at the ANC4C meeting on Wednesday. Some citizens were extremely concerned by the repeated permitting offenses and fires. The owner of Sweet Mango is going to be asked by their Commissioner to attend the next meeting to answer questions.

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