The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:35 PM. Commissioners Bender, Carney, Cohen, Denny, Ghosh, Gianinno, Hall, 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 asked if the Commission has considered resuming in-person meetings. Commissioners replied that they are not at present because some people (including some commissioners) are still using masks inside public places, we have had better participation in online meetings, hybrid meetings often function poorly, the Commissioners that are students are not physically here in the summer and that parents can attend late virtual meetings without having to find childcare.
Matthew Barclay, Ward 3 Representative for the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations announced that on April 15 there will be an Emancipation Day Parade, followed by a concert and fireworks on Pennsylvania Ave at Freedom Plaza. The DC Government will be hosting a job fair on April 19th at 901 G St. The DC Council is considering the 2024 Mayor’s budget. Chancellor Ferebee will present the budget to ANC3E in May.
Natalie Avery with the Friendship Heights Alliance announced the Montgomery County Council has voted to form an Urban District on the MD side of Friendship Heights. On the DC side, legislation has been introduced to form a Business Improvement District (BID). The Urban District and BID will work together to be a cross-juristicational organization that will work to improve Friendship Heights. The Alliance will host a Makers Market on May 20 on Wisconsin Ave. There will be a History of Reno City discussion at the Pepco Substation on May 6 from 10-11 and a pop-up used bookstore at the Farrow and Ball store from May 5 – June 6.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Chief of Staff with Ward 3 Councilmember Frumin’s Office, announced that Frumin has co-introduced legislation with Councilmember Allen to extend the hours at DPR recreation facilities. Frumin is monitoring the continued closure of Wilson Aquatic Center. They have installed temporary HVAC units but DC Health has identified other issues and they are waiting to have the site reinspected.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last 30 days there was one robbery/armed carjacking (the case is still open and the vehicle has not yet been recovered) and two motor vehicle thefts (neither car has been recovered). Last month they arrested a burglary suspect who was caught in the act casing houses in the middle of the night and has at least 8 cases associated with him. There has been several thefts from businesses and autos along Wisconsin Ave. To increase office visibility in the businesses, MPD has placed barcodes at several businesses and officers are required to walk into the businesses and scan the barcodes during their shifts. Murphy stated that while the Second District is short on manpower, they recovered over 200 guns in 2022 and are working hard and closing many cases.
One attendee, citing a number of violent incidents in the Friendship Heights area recently asked if there is a pattern to the crimes, if MPD has the resources they need, and how residents can help the police. Lt Murphy offered to meet in the evening with any residents that were interested in discussing this problem. A second attendee requested stop sign enforcement on Van Ness Street by Turtle Park.
Commissioners: asked if there are certain conditions in the community that encourage repetitive crimes; stated that they have received complaints of drug deals happening along the streets near Fort Bayard Park and asked for police presence there; thanked them for increasing police presence in Tenleytown; asked for more information about the car chase with gun shots and the gun shots reported at Fort Reno;
and asked if police could get out of their cars and walk around Tenleytown.
Lt Murphy can be reached via email at email@example.com with any additional questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote regarding application by owners of 4701 Fessenden Street to build addition to their house that is partially in public space
The owners of the property came before ANC3E in November 2021 seeking a variance and special exception to exceed their lot occupancy of a non-conforming lot. They are the only house on their block, but most of the space around their house is public space. Their current porch is on public space and they would like the porch to continue along the addition they are building to the side of their house. The porch addition would also be in public space. The design for the porch has been approved by BZA and DDOT has approved it, they just need another set of permits for the work in public space. Commissioner Bender stated that this property is an anomaly that contains far more public space than most lots in the area, that porches are generally permitted to extend 5 feet into public space, and that the overage in this case would be a minute percentage of total public space on the lot.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioners thought the public space allowance for porches only applies to unenclosed porches and noted that the applicants made a commitment to install rain barrels to ameliorate loss of permeable space from the overall project.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Denney seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of the public space application for 4701 Fessenden St. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
Presentation of application by consortium of faith organizations (including St. Columba’s) for $5,000 grant to bring “Undesign the Redline” to Tenleytown/Friendship Heights
Elizabeth Vaden presented a grant proposal to bring the “Undesign the Redline” exhibit to the Tenleytown/ Friendship Heights area. This is a traveling exhibit that explains the history of redlining and its residual effects on neighborhood development and racial inequity. St. Columba’s, Adas Israel, Chevy Chase Presbyterian, and Temple Sinai have partnered to bring the exhibit to the area and plan to stand up an advisory board in June and bring the exhibit to the neighborhood in the fall. The exhibit and associated programming will be customized to the local area and will focus on how to fix the problems caused by redlining policies. Vaden stated that the exhibit is relevant to the area given the focus on redevelopment going on along Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues, supports community research into the neighborhood and can allow for many high school students to engage with the local history. The cost for this exhibit would be $42,500-$60,000. They are asking for funds from businesses, housing advocacy organizations, houses of worships and other ANCs.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioners asked if there were ANC3E residents on the planning committee; asked for clarification about the organizations that are supporting the project and the breakdown of the costs for the exhibit.
Commissioner Bender stated the Commission typically hears the request one month and then votes on it the following month.
Discussion and possible vote on resolution regarding Chevy Chase Pavilion application to modify its PUD to make significant changes to its Wisconsin Avenue-level interior to accommodate a grocery store
In February 2023, Clarion Partners presented their plans to modify the PUD for Chevy Chase Pavilion to rent a portion of the main floor to a specialty grocery store. The prospective tenant wants to know that the changes they need will be approved before signing the lease. Sean O’Conner, Senior Vice President with Clarion Partners, Harris Markowitz, Senior Vice President with Clarion Partners and Cynthia Giordano, attorney with Saul Ewing LLP, representing the owners of the retail and office portions of the Pavilion presented their updated plans. They have filed the application to convert the western edge walkway on the first level to leasable space for this tenant. This tenant would occupy the H&M space, the walkway, and the Old Navy space.
Bender said that both he and Commissioner Quinn support this application on the condition that if the grocer does not rent the space, that they won’t make the changes as it would remove the interior space that allowed circumnavigation around the atrium. Bender noted that Clarion agreed to that condition at the February meeting. O’Conner stated that Clarion now wanted the modification even if a grocer doesn’t take the space. They thought it was unreasonable to come back to modify the PUD for each interested tenant. Commissioner Quinn stated he didn’t want to give them carte-blanche to any retail tenant and noted that even we don’t like the original PUD or if it’s out of date, we shouldn’t just throw it away.
- Thought the sole question is whether the reconfiguration is something the ANC is amenable to and did not think the ANC should weigh in on the tenant.
- Thought Clarion and its counsel patronized the ANC and community by trying to claim what Clarion sought to do was not a significant change
- Wants the resolution to address parking so that cars don’t block neighboring streets.
- Noted that the plan eliminates direct access to the first floor except through steps at corner of Western and Wisconsin and thought this would make leasing the rest of the space more difficult.
- Noted that the pavilion has had anchor tenants in the past that spanned multiple floors and did not need to occupy the walkway and eliminate circulation.
- Thought that their application was misleading as they used the original calculation of hall space in the application but in the past they used some of the hall space for Stein Mart/Range retail space.
- Thought there was too much discussion of what the space used to have and we need to focus on moving forward.
- Noted that many in the community cut through the space and thought this is a major change.
- Noted that the resolution says we believe this is modification of significance, but we were willing to wave the hearing on the conditions laid out on the resolution.
- Noted that Clarion said it wants to lease part of the Pavilion to a childcare center, which will require a modification of significance, and that, by destroying the interior circulation in the mall with the current modification sought, Clarion would make it harder to lease the remainder of the space to other tenants, making it harder for the Zoning Commission to deny the subsequent application for a modification for the childcare center.
- Stated the community wants a tenant that will activate the space.
- Would like to have a retailer that the college students can patronize.
- Would like to have some of the vacant space to be filled with small/minority/woman-owned businesses.
- Would like Clarion to share their backup tenants to allay our concerns.
- Would like to see a gym occupy part of the space.
- Stated they support this modification only under the condition that it is a grocer.
- Would love to have another Starbucks in the space because that drove a lot of foot traffic.
- Noted that the building next door is getting rid of 20,000 sq foot stores because they thought it was too hard to rent to retailers that want that size space, which calls into question whether the reconfiguration Clarion seeks to create a similar-sized space would work for many tenants.
- Felt Clarion is asking us to take a leap of faith when they haven’t been forthcoming.
- Wants management to agree to enforce parking restrictions in the neighboring blocks.
Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution as amended in support of modifying the PUD for the Chevy Chase Pavilion. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on DDOT Notice of Intent to install protected bike lanes on 44th and Jenifer Streets, NW
Commissioner Quinn stated that he asked DDOT to look at installing protected bike infrastructure at Jenifer and 44th. ANC 3E recently received a Notice of Intent (NOI) from DDOT. Sean Burnett from DDOT stated that bike lanes helps them reach the goals of Move DC, Sustainable DC, Vision Zero, and Safe Routes to School. He stated that the public comment period is 30 days and ends in early May. They are proposing installing a 2-way cycle track on Jenifer and 44thand are still finalizing how the bike lanes will meet Western at Jenifer and how bicycles will be able to make a left turn there. These lanes can be installed by this fall. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments or suggestions.
- Asked how this will be funded and if they can ask the developer of the Mazza Gallerie to pay for it.
- Asks about connecting the bike lane to a proposed bike lane of Friendship Boulevard (the Maryland side of Jenifer Street) noting the Maryland wants to put their bike lane on the Geico side of the street because the eastern side of the street has to many conflicts with entrances to the Bloomingdales and Whole Foods Markets garages.
- Was concerned that these bike lanes might have to be revisited if WMATA moves to the Lord & Taylor site and is concerned that buses have a hard time seeing bikes.
- Would like to see real protection that is more than flex posts and a good connection to bike lanes on the Maryland side.
- Would like to see concrete separation rather than flex posts.
- Stated they look forward to seeing plans for bike lanes on Western Ave.
- Stated that these lanes are important for casual bikers noting they don’t feel comfortable biking on busy streets.
- Wants them to be confident with how these lanes tie in with Western Ave.
- Stated that if these lanes can be tied into Friendship Blvd, we will have a bike network that can almost get riders to the Capital Crescent Trail.
Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of installing protected bike lanes on 44th and Jenifer Streets, NW. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
- Approval of March 2023 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft March 2023 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of 405.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services and to reimburse Sherry Cohen for $1350 for previously approved modifications to ANC3E website. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
An attendee raised concerns about westbound traffic is backing up on Fessenden past 42nd St because they can no longer go southbound on 42nd to turn left onto Wisconsin. Commissioner Quinn stated that it is a difficult left turn.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:28 PM.