ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E April 10, 2014 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:06pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin and Tinker were present. Commissioner Quinn arrived at 7:20pm. Commissioner Serebin arrived at 7:50pm.
Announcements / Open Forum – opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Commissioner Frumin noted that there had been a request to address the topic of the District’s school boundary review process in the open forum portion of the ANC meeting. He explained that initial scenarios were recently released to the public and that that was the first time residents had seen specific proposed approaches to revising school boundaries, student assignment and feeder patterns. He emphasized that the initial scenarios were quite preliminary and that there would be substantial community input.
He said the committee began by exploring core values and examining current practices in other cities. The committee is comprised of 23 people, at least one community member from each ward as well as members active in the schools and representatives from city agencies. He explained that to develop the scenarios, the committee broke up into subgroups and the various subgroups each developed a scenario. He stressed that it was important for residents to provide feedback and attend the scheduled Working Group meetings designed to elicit feedback.
The advisory committee will be making preliminary recommendations taking into account reactions to the scenarios at the end of May or early June. After another round of comment, the committee will make their final recommendations at the end of July or early August. The mayor will issue a decision as to the best approach — or perhaps decide not to implement any approach — in September 2014.
Attendees and commissioners discussed the topic at length, including the negative impacts of boundary changes for parents, such as difficulty in using Metro to commute to work after carpooling their children to non-neighborhood schools; the impacts of the proposed lottery system on the city; the upcoming mayoral election; and the importance of neighborhood involvement in neighborhood schools as a central ingredient for success.
Other issues explored included the need for more creative programming in schools; the impact of boundary changes on charter schools; the consequences of longer school commutes for children; and the need to improve underperforming schools.
Also discussed was the timing of the review process; mayoral control of the final recommendations; and whether there is enough time for organized community advocacy before the final recommendations are issued.
DPR/DGS presentation regarding proposal for Renovation of Friendship (“Turtle”) Park
Kenneth Diggs, Government Affairs and Communications Director for the Department of General Services presented the current concept and plan for the renovation of Friendship (“Turtle”) Park at 4500 Van Ness Street, NW. Architect Amado Fernandez as well as other members of the project team contributed to the presentation.
Mr. Diggs said that construction is set to begin this summer or fall for the $7 million project that is designed by Hughes Group Architects and LAG Landscape Architecture. A construction company will be hired by the first week of May, he said. The plan has emerged after a year of collaboration between D.C. government and neighborhood residents. He added that the site improvement team would be meeting to select playground equipment, among other items. The mayor recently added $1.5 million of funding to the project, he noted. The renovation is expected to be completed by summer 2015.
Mr. Diggs said that priorities for renovating the park include responding to community requests to increase the play space; relocate parking spaces and the dumpsters; relocate the recreation center; and create play spaces for all ages.
Plans include building a new, more modern recreation center nearly twice the size of the existing building and creating one new playground for older children of 5,000 square feet, as well as a new 9,500-square foot playground for young children. Dumpsters and parking spots currently in that area will be relocated. A new jungle gym will be installed. The basketball and tennis courts will be renovated.
Attendees and commissioners discussed the plans for the park, covering such topics as whether a soccer field could replace the baseball field, as girls play more soccer than baseball; whether a track could be built around the park for walking and running and other fitness activities; whether a full-size volleyball or basketball court could be installed inside the recreation building; programming for “tweens”; and the need for an outdoor pool in Ward 3. Also discussed was the shortage of available playing fields in the upper northwest area and the need to open up more fields for practice on weekends.
A commissioner questioned why the renovation was so expensive as compared to other park renovations that were more extensive and used higher end materials, such as Beauvoir playground, which cost $5.5 million.
Mr. Diggs said that the proposed site plan would be posted on the DGS web site the next day.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution relating to truck routes for American University construction projects
Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that the 2012 campus plan for American University included building a new law school in Tenleytown (Tenley Campus), within the ANC 3E boundaries. AU is also building a new residential hall complex at the intersection of New Mexico and Nebraska Avenues, NW, within ANC 3D boundaries. AU filed a truck management plan in the fall, which did not prohibit the use of Foxhall Road, which is a designated truck route road, and received approval of that plan in February 2014.
After AU and DDOT received a report, via ANC 3D commissioners, of an accident on Foxhall Road involving a truck from the Tenley Campus site. DDOT suspended use of Foxhall Road and required AU to file a new Truck Route Plan. DDOT declined to approve AU’s request to use Foxhall Road. Instead, the plan DDOT ultimately approved routing southbound trucks on Nebraska Avenue to southbound Massachusetts Avenue NW to southbound 23rd Street NW to southbound Virginia Avenue to westbound Constitution Avenue, NW to connect to Interstate 66. Since this route is lengthy and circuitous through narrow and congested streets, Commissioner Quinn explained trucks will instead likely use River Road via Wisconsin Avenue and Brandywine Street, NW which is also not advisable due to congestion, schools, and residential streets.
The resolution asks that DDOT use Foxhall Road as a truck route, as originally designated, for the Tenley Campus law school construction and disallow the use of River Road due to safety concerns, until such time as DDOT has conducted a study of the relative risks from use of the various proposed routes that would offer a compelling justification for deviating from DDOT’s own approved truck route map.
Commissioners discussed the resolution at length, noting that there are currently 500 trucks a week coming to and exiting the Tenley Campus construction site and that next week through May the number will reduce to 100 trucks per week. Neighbors have also complained about noise from trucks queuing up before the approved start time. The controversy began after a construction truck hit a car on Foxhall Road; the truck driver was late getting to the site and was at fault.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution as drafted with necessary edits subject to final revisions and to ensure that the final version captures the comments of the commissioners.
Approval of March 2014 Meeting Minutes
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the March 2014 meeting minutes, as amended.
Approval of January, February and March 2014 Treasurer’s Reports
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the January, February and March 2014 Treasurer’s Reports
Approval of FY 2014 2nd Quarter Report
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the FY 2014 2nd Quarter Report.
Approval of expenditures
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve expenditures: $687.50 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $25.14 to FedEx for copying services.
The commission adjourned at 10:35pm.
Matthew Frumin, Chair