April 8, 2021, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:34 PM. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, Hall, McHugh and Quinn were in attendance.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
An attendee informed those in attendance that the Nordstrom Rack in Friendship Heights was closing and had concerns about the state of retail in our area. Commissioner Bender mentioned that representatives from the DC Office of Planning (OP) will be talking about the Small Area Plan they will be conducting for Friendship Heights.
Erkin Ozberk a Neighborhood Planner with DC said that OP has engaged the Urban Land Institute (ULI)to lead a planning study of Friendship Heights. ULI will be studying and making recommendations regarding commercial real estate, retail, housing, affordable housing opportunities, design, public space and transportation issues in Friendship Heights. They will present the study results and obtain feedback from residents at a future meeting.
Emir Gur-Ravantab, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- About 25% of DC has received at least one dose of the Coronavirus vaccine.
- Starting April 12, all DC residents will be eligible for vaccines.
- Starting May 1, entertainment and movies venues, wedding, graduations and meetings will be allowed to function at 25% occupancy. Gyms, pools and retail can operate at 50% capacity.
- DC will have a city-wide Outdoor Storytime in the park on April 14. The Ward 3 event will be held at Palisades Park at 1:30 PM.
- The DC budget process is delayed. Agency representatives will provide overviews to the ANCs during the summer.
He can be contacted at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street announced the Tenley Bucks, a gift card program that can be redeemed at more than 20 local businesses. She also stated that the Tenleytown Main Street Fiscal Report for 2020 is now available.
An attendee asked city representatives why there is only one small vaccination clinic in Ward 3 as it could be difficult for seniors and people who don’t have cars to vaccine sites in other parts of the city. Jonathan Willingham, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Cheh, stated that Medicare will reimburse for transportation to vaccine clinics but also noted that Ward 3 has the highest vaccination rates in the city. Mr. Gur-Ranantab added that the city will be sending out volunteers to walk door to door to schedule vaccine appointments in hard hit areas.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Sgt Alemian provided an update on crime in PSA 202. He stated that officers noticed that there was a correlation be streetlights outages and thefts from autos in those areas. MPD is asking residents to report any streetlights that were out to 311. He also stated that recently, there was an altercation at the Embassy Suites Hotel. No one called MPD but a shot was fired into a stop sign. YTD, there is a 63% decrease in crime but there has an increase in thefts from businesses. In the past month, there was one robbery, but it was domestic in nature.
Attendees asked if there ever was an arrest in the Tenley Market shooting that was linked to the Connecticut Ave shooting death (it is still under investigation) and asked for stop sign enforcement at 45th and Van Ness by Turtle Park. Commissioners stated that one of their constituents reported feeling unsafe and asked for additional patrols on the 5300 block of 43rd St in Friendship Heights.
Sgt Alemian can be reached by voice or text at 202-351-9400 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Introduction to community by interim DDOT Director Lott
Everett Lott introduced himself as the new interim director of DDOT and stated he could answer any questions residents had.
Attendees: would like to see the bollards returned to that crosswalk in front of Janney (an order for the bollards has been placed and they will be installed soon); stated they were concerned that vehicle speeds were increasing around the city; would like to see bike lanes added to Western Ave and Dalecarlia Pkwy (they are working on adding a bike lane to Western); would like to have DDOT remove abandoned construction signs near Fessenden Park; asked DDOT to fix and replace missing signs at Tenley Circle; asked about budget issues for the Connecticut Ave lane redesign and if funding had been secured for the construction (they are working to get that into the budget); and a representative of Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates thanked him for the planned bike lanes.
Commissioners: asked DDOT to consider a multi-mode mindset when considering traffic safety and not just consider the volume of cars and traffic backups (Mr. Lott is asking his staff to give more consideration to Vision Zero goals); asked for more signs to remind drivers to stop for pedestrians; asked if DDOT or MPD has responsibility for traffic cameras (MPD holds the contract but DDOT is managing it); asked for a traffic camera to be reinstalled at Fessenden and 44th; asked why it can take years to get signs installed (they have a new contractor but COVID has forced them to alter their schedule); asked about installing bulb-outs when other infrastructure work is done; noted that Vision Zero requires the city to increase the number of safety cameras and asked about the schedule to install them (they are planning for the cameras in FY22, starting in October); would like more bike lanes; stated that there are two new potential DC school sites on Foxhall Rd and another off MacArthur Blvd that are not well served by public transportation and asked to have transit and bike lanes to any schools built there (they are working to eliminate transportation deserts); and stated that a constituent complained about the Slow Street signs on Yuma St (they will be removed starting on May 31).
Discussion of and possible vote on DDOT notice of intent to install in-road sidewalk on Belt Road between Fessenden and Davenport
DDOT presented their plans to install sidewalks consisting of flex-posts and concrete curb stops along the west side of Belt Road between Davenport and Fessenden at the February 2021 ANC3E Meeting. The DDOT representative answered many questions by residents and commissioners at that time. Commissioner Quinn introduced his resolution in support of the installation of the sidewalks. Attendees and commissioners had no questions at this meeting.
Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution to support the installation of sidewalks. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on liquor license application for Le Kavacha at 4619 41st Street, NW, to include an 80-seat sidewalk cafe and an entertainment endorsement for occasional karaoke
Le Kavacha Bistro is taking over the space previously occupied by Olive Bistro on 42nd Street off of Wisconsin Ave. William Jordan, the owner, has applied for a liquor license and a stipulated license that would allow them to serve alcohol outside in an 80-seat sidewalk café and would also allow them to have live entertainment. They want to have alcohol service until midnight on weekdays and 1 AM on weekends. Commissioner Cohen has been negotiating a settlement agreement with the owner and would like service to end at 11 PM on weekdays and midnight on weekends. Commissioner Cohen said the ANC will work with Mr. Jordan on the hours of the alcohol service and if any residents have concerns, he would like to meet with them.
Attendees: Ms. Miles asked about the entertainment they will be offering (they will host occasional karaoke nights); a nearby neighbor had concerns about amplified noise spilling out into the neighborhood (the karaoke and music will be inside only and language in the settlement agreement that will address noise issues); stated there are very few neighbors near that location and asked why are we limiting outdoor activities; stated they would love to have live music in Tenleytown; and Ms. Miles added that she supports music along the main street and noted the city has restrictions on amplified music and volume.
Commissioners: noted that the settlement agreement includes a stipulated license (a temporary liquor license that would allow them to serve alcohol until the regular license is issued); said they had concerns about the big door panels being open and noise spilling out on onto the street; noted that Public Tenley had outdoor hours of service until 10 PM on weekdays and midnight on weekends; would like to have a vibrant neighborhood; and asked them to keep the doors and windows closed to contain the noise as it is hard to get enforcement on the noise ordinances.
Mr. Jordan’s attorney asked if we could vote on the protest to the liquor license but not file it until the protest deadline to allow for them to have more time to agree to terms for the settlement agreement. Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to vote to authorize a resolution to protest but not file the protest until the protest deadline on April 19 and authorize Commissioner Cohen to contact ABRA to make sure this was acceptable and to continue to negotiate the settlement agreement with the proprietor. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Panel Discussion regarding what local government can do to better foster accessibility in housing
Commissioner Hall introduced a draft resolution at the January 2021 meeting to address housing accessibility for disabled neighbors. She stated that while developers say their housing is accessible, the accessibility standards are bare minimum and do not provide for true inclusion. Commissioner Hall stated we have a number of developers that are looking to add new housing but it’s incumbent on us to have them do more than meet the minimum standards.
Susie McClannahan is the Fair Housing Program Manager at The Equal Rights Center. She stated there are two laws that apply to housing accessibility: The Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminatory activities and provides for a moderate level of accessibility (some might need a more accessible unit than the law allows) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which applies to accessibility in public spaces, and any building constructed after March 1991 must meet Accessible Design standards. Right now, there is a confluence of affordability and accessibility crises in DC and most multifamily housing and even single-family rental homes do not meet accessibility standards because they were built before 1991. Many disabled people have limited incomes; they are elderly or are under employed or receiving disability benefits from the government. Moreover, many disabled people live with family and aides to provide them support and require larger housing units which are hard to find. Older disabled residents often need modifications to their homes to age in place. If they do not have these modifications, they usually move to nursing homes paid for by Medicaid. Ms. McClannahan stated that DC has a program called Safe at Home that provides funding for renovation of rental units to make them accessible.
One attendee stated that people with rental vouchers are subject to discrimination by landlords and DC should be more aggressive to prevent this discrimination while another attendee stated that when h rented out a property, DC frequently checked to make sure his home was available to voucher recipients.
Commissioners: asked about universal design (this is more of a concept than a standard and what it looks like depends on the type of disability you have); stated they would like to incentivize developers to make the units be accessible but was not sure how to go about it; and asked if the city maintains a waitlist for people waiting for accessible units (the only list she knows of is for accessible public housing units).
Ms. McClannahan stated that she can be reached at 202-370-3229 or via email at email@example.com any questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding the Connecticut Avenue Reversible Lane Study
DDOT presented their study to improve safety along Connecticut Ave at the February 2021 ANC3E Meeting. They presented seven potential lane configurations or Concepts for the avenue and DDOT stated they narrowed the options to Concepts B and C. Commissioner Quinn stated that Concept C has turn lane pockets and protected bike lanes that will connect Ward 3 to downtown and thinks Concept C will slow down traffic and will improve safety. Quinn took resolutions drafted by ANC3C and ANC3F and modified them to add items specific to ANC3E, specifically spill-over of traffic onto Western Ave, 41st St and Wisconsin Ave. DDOT believes that Concept C will cause a level of service drop (delays) at Western and 41st – essentially the end of Reno Rd and a few intersections can expect additional queueing. All of these assumptions are based on traffic returning to pre-Covid levels. If traffic stays 20% below Covid, we won’t have any spillovers and Quinn stated he addressed these concerns in the resolution in support for Concept C which supports a complete multi-modal stream.
Attendees: thought this is a great resolution; stated that business owners are in support of Option B because it retains parking along Connecticut Ave during non-rush hours and asked why we are supporting C (safety improvements for all users whereas B treats Connecticut Ave as a thoroughfare); and asked where the bikers would come from (based on use of other bike lanes and the networking of bike lanes).
Commissioners: like bike lanes and thought this is a great start; want to have multimodal transportation and would like to stop incentivizing people to drive downtown; and hopes that there will be an increase in people working from home and that will help decrease car traffic.
Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the resolution to support the adoption Concept C. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of March 2021 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve the Draft March 2021 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payment of $240.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:49 PM.