ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E April 11, 2013 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:35pm. Commissioners Bender, Haile and Serebin were present. Commissioner Quinn arrived at 7:42pm. Commissioner Frumin was absent.
Announcements / Open Forum – opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Michael Fabrikant from Mayor Gray’s office invited residents to attend the Ward 3 FY 2014 Budget Town Hall meeting scheduled for April 30, 2013, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, at Alice Deal Middle School.
An attendee asked whether the commissioners planned to vote on a resolution regarding parking minimums, a topic discussed at the March 2013 meeting. A commissioner said the matter might be considered at a subsequent meeting.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported that in the last 30 days no homicides have been reported in PSA 202. A suspect was arrested in connection with an iPhone robbery after the victim reported to the police that she saw the man who had robbed her previously. Lt. Hill said that officers had arrested a juvenile suspect believed to be involved in two robberies, including one on the 4100 block of Harrison Street, NW, as well as the theft of a police sergeant’s personal car. A Wilson High School student has been arrested on suspicion of carrying out 12 or more burglaries in the area. A burglary was reported on Chesapeake Street, NW after a man knocked on a door of an elderly woman, engaged her in conversation, asked for water, reached inside her house and stole money from her purse.
Lt. Hill described a recent incident in which officers apprehended three juveniles and an adult suspected in a string of thefts from autos. A resident called 911 after seeing the group near his car and followed them. Officers canvassed the neighborhood but could not tie the individuals to any specific crime, despite finding possibly stolen items on the suspects. Complaints were made on a listserv about the lack of arrests for car break-ins, he said. He noted that MPD wants to close these cases, but they cannot charge suspects unless probable cause exists that they have committed specific crimes.
Theft from autos continues to be a widespread issue, Lt. Hill said. However, he noted that theft from autos appears to be concentrated along streets near Wisconsin Avenue, NW, River Road, NW, and Nebraska Avenue, NW, into PSA 201 and across the Montgomery County line. Metropolitan and Montgomery police departments are coordinating efforts, he noted. He said that there might be more than one group of perpetrators stealing iPods, iPads, iPhones and GPS’s from cars. He advised residents not to leave any valuables in their cars. “They won’t leave the area no matter what pressure we put on them if their nights are that lucrative,” he said.
An attendee asked if any of the robberies have been conducted at gunpoint. Lt. Hill responded that no guns have been used to conduct recent robberies in northwest D.C.
A commissioner asked if sting operations are underway to stop drivers from driving into crosswalks when pedestrians have the right of way, and whether this is a trial program or a new policy. Lt. Hill said the operation began in the first district as a pilot program within the traffic safety division and is funded by grant money from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The program should be coming to the northwest D.C. area soon, he said.
Presentation by Juan Thompson from Mayor’s Office about Serve DC
Juan Thompson of Serve DC made a presentation describing Serve DC —the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism — and asked that commissioners recruit volunteers for the office’s Neighborhood Corps program. The Neighborhood Corps program trains residents to aid first responders in the event of an emergency in their neighborhood. They receive four hours of training. He said that he’s also seeking Certified Emergency Response Team volunteers who would be willing to travel to emergency sites within the district. Thompson also described Serve DC’s AmeriCorps program, which enlists young people and seniors for a year of volunteer service in exchange for a grant stipend. Serve DC has been in operation since 2000.
Discussion of liquor license renewal applications for Range, Casa Fiesta, Angelico’s, Le Chat Noir, and Maggiano’s; no action expected to be taken absent citizen complaints regarding the foregoing applications
Commissioner Bender introduced the issue of liquor license renewals for several neighborhood restaurants.
A resident who lives directly behind Le Chat Noir at 4907 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, complained that the restaurant’s service trucks have been routinely trespassing by driving into his yard and that garbage from the restaurant is blowing into the surrounding neighborhood. The owner has not been responsive to his concerns, he said, and instead told him he should install spikes in his yard.
Commissioner Bender introduced a motion that would authorize him to contact the owner of Le Chat Noir to seek consent to a request to ABRA to extend the comment period for Le Chat Noir’s liquor license renewal until after the Commission’s next meeting, so that the Commission could attempt to negotiate an agreement to resolve the dispute. If Le Chat Noir refused to consent, then, pursuant to the motion, the Commission would file a protest to Le Chat Noir’s renewal application. A commissioner asked the resident to send his contact information to the commission.
Commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to adopt the motion on Le Chat Noir.
Commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to seek an extension of the comment period for Casa Fiesta, 4910 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, with that establishment’s consent, in response to a neighbor’s concerns about loud noise from the restaurant, to enable the Commission time to seek a negotiated solution to the neighbor’s concerns.
Commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to adopt the amended voluntary agreement and support the liquor license renewal of Angelico’s Pizzeria.
Having heard no concerns raised by constituents, the Commissioners took no action on the liquor license renewals for Range and Maggiano’s.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding voluntary agreement between ANC 3E and Masala Art
Commissioner Haile introduced this resolution, explaining that redistricting has shifted Masala Art, located at 4441 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, from the jurisdiction of ANC 3F to ANC 3E. Commissioner Haile prepared an amended voluntary agreement, which would allow live entertainment when the restaurant rents out its facility for events.
Commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to adopt the amended voluntary agreement for Masala Art.
Discussion of and vote on a resolution regarding zoning variance sought for 3907 Harrison Street, NW
Chris Snowber of Hamilton Snowber Architects presented the plans for the one-story addition renovation at 3907 Harrison St, NW, that requires a special exception from the rear yard setback requirement of 25 feet from the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The plans include building a kitchen, breakfast area and a screened porch that would extend the length of the house. Because of the configuration of the lot, the renovation would extend further into the rear yard by 3 feet more than the current 25 foot requirement.
Mr. Snowber presented commissioners with letters of support (and a map of the properties) from neighbors closest to the proposed renovation.
A commissioner asked that the owners of the house plant a large shade tree to replace an oak that was being removed. The owners said they would consider the request.
The commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to approve the resolution to support the application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding request to DDOT to install bike racks at selected locations in area
Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has recently been allocated funds to install additional public bike racks throughout the district. As there are relatively few bike racks within the ANC 3E boundaries, the resolution recommends locations where bike racks would be beneficial to the community.
The resolution was informally tabled for discussion at a future meeting because the completed resolution could not be located.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013
Commissioner Quinn introduced this topic and a draft resolution, explaining that Council Members Cheh and Wells are sponsoring the “Bicycle Safety Amendment Act of 2013,” which the resolution supports. The resolution calls on the Metropolitan Police Department to increase traffic enforcement efforts to ensure the safety of both bicyclists and drivers, as well as tighten the permitting process for construction projects to ensure safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians.
An attendee stated that language should be included in the legislation that requires bicyclists to take more safety precautions, such as using reflectors and wearing fluorescent clothing. A commissioner responded that such requirements are difficult to enforce and creates a disincentive for people to use bikes.
An attendee noted that bicyclists have been known to hit pedestrians and that pedestrian safety is important as well.
A commissioner suggested that the resolution be altered so that certain recommendations currently included in the resolution be deleted and instead proposed in a more detailed manner in a new resolution for the city council to consider.
The commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to approve the resolution with the friendly amendment.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution urging American University to take steps to make the front lawn of its new law school more inviting
Commissioner Serebin introduced this issue, explaining that American University’s 10-year campus plan includes bringing the American University Washington School of Law to Tenley Circle. The plans for Tenley Circle were presented to the Historic Preservation Review Board in September 2102. HPRB asked that AU work closely with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office (HPO) to come up with alternative designs that would make the front lawn more inviting and engage better with the surrounding neighborhood.
Several months later, the meeting that was supposed to occur between AU, HPO, the commission, architects and the community was canceled by AU shortly before it was to be held. However, a meeting to review options was held the week before the ANC’s April meeting. At that meeting, AU was encouraged to design the front lawn with a broader staircase, seating areas, and a water feature or other focal point. Commission Serebin introduced a resolution that attempts to capture those suggestions and make clear that the front lawn of the law school could be designed in way that is in keeping with the historical nature of the building and at the same time is more inviting to the community.
Commissioners discussed design ideas to help make the lawn more integral to the surrounding community.
A suggestion was made to remove “vegetation” from the list of areas for improvement and to attach a drawing of the commission’s alternative design proposals with a cover letter.
The commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to pass the resolution with the friendly amendments.
- Approval of March 2013 meeting minutes
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the March 2013 minutes.
• Approval of January, February and March 2013 Treasurer’s reports, and discussion of FY 2013 1st Quarter Treasurer’s report
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve January, February and March 2013 Treasurer’s Reports. FY 2013 1st Quarter Treasurer’s report was incomplete so no action was taken.
• Approval of expenditures
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve expenditures: $606.25 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $51.75 to FedEx/Kinkos for copying.
The commission adjourned at 9:48 pm.
Jonathan Bender, Chair