Sunday, June 25 / Tenleytown/AU Park, DC

June 2014 /// download pdf

ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E

TENLEYTOWN  AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK

FRIENDSHIP HEIGHTS

c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC  20015

www.anc3e.org

 

Minutes of ANC 3E June 12, 2014 Meeting

 

The meeting convened at 7:32pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn, and Serebin were present. Commissioner Tinker was absent.

Announcements / Open Forum – opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood

An attendee working for DC’s Cannabis Campaign asked for signatures for the ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in the District. The November 4, 2014 ballot referendum, called Initiative 71, would legalize the possession of up to two ounces of marijuana for personal use, but would not legalize the sale of marijuana, he said.

Presentation by 2nd District Police

PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported that on March 12, 2014 Chief Lanier summoned staff for a strategic crime briefing with a predictive analysis of 5-year trends using modeling techniques. The analysis included such data as new retail, commercial and residential, demographics, prior history of crimes and their geographical location in the District.

Police reported two stolen autos, both new, which have been recovered parked and locked, Lt. Hill said. Perpetrators check door handles at night, find cars with keys in them and drive them home, he said.

10 thefts from autos have been reported in this 30-day period as compared with 37 in the same period last year, he said. One adult male was incarcerated for theft from autos and two juveniles with prior records of theft from autos have also been recently locked up, he said.

Burglaries have increased from 5 in this 30-day period in 2013 to 8 this year in the same period, Lt. Hill reported. Two of the recent burglaries involved scenarios where perpetrators drove up to a commercial business, smashed the big plate glass window and stole merchandise. Two of the burglaries targeted homes, he said; jewelry was usually stolen.

There have been no reported robberies with guns during this period, he said, but one robbery without a gun was reported that apparently was a case of domestic violence. Crime overall in the Northwest area is down, except burglaries, he noted.

In response to an attendee’s question, Lt. Hill said that high-end apparel stores have been the targets for commercial burglaries. Items stolen included expensive purses, shoes and jeans.

In response to an attendee’s question, Lt. Hill said that security systems in homes deter burglars. The burglars are entering homes through the rear doors and rear basement windows, he said.

In response to a commissioner’s question, Lt. Hill said that beat police officers’ schedules, days off and routes were being shifted to “shake things up.

Lt. Hill said that residents who have concerns should first call 911. If problems persist residents can contact him at alan.hill@dc.gov.

Consideration of and possible resolution on application to the BZA for a special exception for Massage Envy proposed to be opened at 4620 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Commissioner Bender introduced this resolution, explaining that Massage Envy Spas, a franchise business, plans to locate one of its facilities at the old Morty’s Deli site at 4620 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Massage Envy will need to secure a special exception for use of the site.

Eric Barton, District Regional Developer for Massage Envy Spas, said that they are in negotiations with American University for use of the site on Wisconsin Avenue. D.C. zoning regulations permit massage therapy when it is the primary use, he said, but only by special exception, and they are seeking ANC 3E’s support. He provided a brief history of the chain and their services, and noted that while there are 35 locations surrounding the District — the closest is in Bethesda, Maryland and Arlington, Virginia — this site would be the first within D.C.

Mr. Barton said that they have a hearing scheduled before the BZA in July 2014 and need to secure American University’s support. He estimates that the spa would open in early 2015.

In response to a commissioner’s questions, Mr. Barton said that Massage Envy spas typically have 1,500 members per site and 40 to 50 customers per day. Hours are 8am to 10pm. Staff have access to parking in the building and receive transit benefits.

He added that parking and validation would be provided to customers in the building.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Consideration and possible resolution regarding application to the BZA for a special exception for a rear screened porch at 3918 Jenifer Street, NW

Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that the owner of 3918 Jenifer Street, NW has secured a special exception to build an addition to his home. ANC 3E intended to support the project as long as certain agreed-upon mitigation efforts were undertaken.

Mitigation would include at least one rain barrel attached to the addition and planting 3 trees.

The owner of the property said that he is building an all-seasons room in his back yard. According to a feasibility study, the addition would encroach 7 feet into a 21-foot setback line. A 12-foot alley would separate the addition from his immediate neighbors. Neighbors have all approved the addition with their signatures, he added. A hearing before the BZA is scheduled for July 2014.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Consideration of and possible resolution on application to PSC to add an awning for the outside café in the public space at DeCarlos Restaurant at 4822 Yuma Street, NW

Commissioner Frumin introduced this resolution, explaining that the owner of DeCarlos Restaurant at 4822 Yuma Street, NW (next to the hair dresser near the Super Fresh/Fresh n’ Greens site) is requesting an awning for an outdoor seating area that the restaurant has enjoyed for many years. As the owner believed that that the approvals were granted the awning has already been installed. Neighbors are supportive of the awning. The restaurant has been in business for 35 years.

In response to questions, the restaurant’s owner Lucy DeCarlo said that the deck fronts what is largely a residential street; the deck is handicapped accessible; fans will be installed; the awning is not retractable; and that the deck is on public space.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Consideration of and possible resolution on application to PSC to add an awning for the outside café in the public space at the new restaurant proposed at 4619 41st Street, NW

Commissioner Frumin introduced this resolution, explaining that Paul Zuconi, the general manager for the upcoming Bread & Salt restaurant at 4619 41st Street, NW, would like to apply to the Public Space Commission to install an awning over a planned and approved outdoor seating area in public space. He expressed his view that the restaurant as well as the outdoor seating area and awning will help enliven the 41st Street corridor.

Mr. Zuconi said that the restaurant will be full service, with a bakery, café, bar, and pizza oven. The restaurant will be moderately priced and family oriented.

In response to an attendee’s question, Mr. Zuconi said that the outdoor seating area would extend 20 feet out from the building and 45 to 50 feet in width.

Commissioners discussed the topic, including such issues as what differentiates the outdoor seating area and awning from Pete’s Apizza’s design and location; whether there are table umbrellas; whether the glass can be removed; plantings; and whether the outdoor seating area would benefit for the 41st Street corridor.

A commissioner expressed his lack of support for the planned outdoor seating area and awning at this time because of the encroachment on public space. The commissioner suggested that the restaurant get fully underway and that a decision should be made at a later date if the outdoor seating area and awning is needed.

Commissioners discussed the pros and cons of different modifications to the outdoor structure. The owner stressed the importance of the outdoor seating area to the restaurant and responded to questions about possible alternatives.

Commissioners voted to approve the resolution 3 – 1, with one commissioner opposed.

Discussion and possible vote on a resolution in support of the construction of an outdoor swimming pool in Ward 3

Commissioner Serebin introduced this resolution, explaining that Ward 3 is the only ward in the District without an outdoor swimming pool and there is now underway a renewed push to get one built for the benefit of the community. Councilmember Cheh has recognized the need and set aside funds in the budget, he said. Next steps include the gathering of public support, identifying potential sites and selecting a final site. A recent community survey gathered 800 or more responses in one week, with 95% in support of a pool.

Public pools promote access in ways that are more gender equitable, he said, as girls do not have sufficient athletic facilities within the District.

Attendees and commissioners discussed the resolution, covering such topics as public/private partnerships of community facilities; how to identify potential sites; and the need to supply data in support of the pool to Councilmember Cheh’s office.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with friendly amendments.

Consideration and possible resolution regarding proposal to prohibit left turns off of Nebraska Avenue NW on to 42nd Street, NW from 7:00 to 9:30 am and 4:00 to 6:30 pm

Commissioner Serebin introduced this resolution, explaining that a group of residents on Van Ness Street, NW are concerned about cut-through traffic from Nebraska Avenue, NW to 42nd Street, NW as a way to avoid driving through Tenleytown on Wisconsin Avenue, NW. The triangle formed by Van Ness Street, Nebraska Avenue and 42nd Street creates confusion and unsafe conditions for pedestrians and drivers, he said. Currently there is only a yield sign at Nebraska Avenue and cars turning onto 42nd Street often speed or are reckless to beat on-coming traffic from Van Ness, creating unsafe conditions.

The intersection has been reviewed by DDOT, which has proposed adding a no left turn off of Nebraska Avenue to 42nd Street from 7:00 to 9:30am and 4:00pm to 6:30pm during rush hour traffic. The resolution supports DDOT’s proposal but also requests additional steps, including replacing the yield sign for southbound traffic on 42nd Street with a stop sign and examining the implementation of additional measures such as raised crosswalks to increase pedestrian safety.

Attendees and commissioners discussed the resolution, including such issues as commissioning a traffic study for Van Ness Avenue; impacts of the measures on residents living near the intersection; whether DDOT could implement other traffic calming measures that would not adversely impact traffic on nearby streets; the use of the cut-through as an alternative arterial road although it was not designed for such use; and whether DDOT could implement the measures on a trial basis.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with friendly amendments.

Consideration and possible resolution regarding proposed traffic circles at 42nd and Warren Streets, NW

Commissioner Bender introduced this resolution, explaining that one of DDOT’s recommendations in its 2010 Rock Creek West II Livability Report was the installation of traffic circles on 42nd Street NW near Warren Street, NW to decrease traffic, slow speeding and increase pedestrian safety for residents living in the neighborhood. Cars have hit or nearly hit pedestrians on several occasions and there is a high concentration of vulnerable populations in the area, he said. In addition, 42nd Street is an attractive cut-through for Maryland and Virginia drivers to avoid the traffic of Wisconsin Avenue, NW. DDOT issued a Notice of Intent to install roundabouts, and American University agreed to pay $400,000 to fund them and related measures. The ANC 3E voted to support Notice of Intent.  DDOT initially elected to install roundabouts made of temporary material to help it determine the optimal configuration for permanent roundabouts.

Subsequent to the temporary roundabouts’ installation, he said, several things became clear. Problems include: flimsy materials were used to build the roundabouts, which deteriorated over time; the material used to construct the traffic circles, even pre-deterioration, was visually distracting for drivers; traffic was slowed considerably more going south than north due to placement of the roundabouts; the crosswalk at the southern circle was badly placed and created a hazard for pedestrians; the sidewalk should be extended to permit a new crosswalk to be installed farther from the southern roundabout; and a second crosswalk should be added on the other side of the traffic circle.

DDOT has submitted a proposal to install permanent traffic circles made out of durable concrete with an apron, as well as other design improvements. The resolution asks that DDOT move forward as quickly as possible to replace the temporary roundabouts with the proposed permanent roundabouts and to work with neighbors to make the roundabouts as attractive as possible, using plants and landscaping.

Attendees and commissioners discussed the resolution, including such issues as whether parking cars near the traffic circles slowed down traffic; creating a dedicated bike lane; additional measures that might help slow down traffic as cars navigated the roundabouts; and the use of appropriate signage.  All attendees supported making the roundabouts permanent, however.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with friendly amendments.

Discussion and possible resolution in support of Coal-Fired Power Prohibition Act of 2013

Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that there is one coal-fired power plant in the District, the Capitol Power Plant at 25 E Street, SE, which is only 3 blocks from the U.S. capitol. The plant is owned by Congress and burns coal to generate steam to heat the U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and other buildings in Capitol Hill.

The City Council may soon consider The Coal Fired Power Prohibition Act of 2013, which would prohibit the use of coal as a fuel source for power generation and steam production within the District. The resolution urges the City Council to support the Coal Fired Power Prohibition Act of 2013 and also calls for a study of alternative and clean energy sources to provide electricity to the Capitol.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.

Discussion and possible resolution in support of Updated Renewable Portfolio Standards

Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that the City Council will soon consider the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act of 2013, which would amend the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard Act of 2004. Specifically, the legislation would end the incineration of black liquor, a by-product of the manufacture of pulp, as well as the incineration of biomass in certain types of generation units, as counting as forms of renewable energy. The resolution urges the City Council to pass the updated renewable energy portfolio standard.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with friendly amendments.

 

ANC Business

Approval of May 2014 Meeting Minutes

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the May 2014 meeting minutes.

Approval of expenditures

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve expenditures: $762.50 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $75.44 to FedEx for copying services.

 

The commission adjourned at 11:02pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

_____________________________________________

Matthew Frumin, Chair

 

 

 

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