ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E August 15, 2012 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:32 pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn, Serebin and Sklover were present.
Announcements and Open Forum
Julie Six, the President of Tenleytown Neighbors Association (TNA), voiced her concern over the proposal to not incorporate on-site parking into the plans for Babe’s redevelopment at 4600 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Judy Chesser, also of TNA, agreed, arguing that a lack of on-site parking for patrons of the new development would be a problem and that leased off-site parking at Whole Foods or Ace Hardware lots was not a sustainable solution over time.
Commissioners discussed the issue, explaining that there had been an extended process spanning several ANC meetings at which the project had been discussed, and that most attendees preferred that space in the building that might have been used for parking be used for additional retail instead.
An attendee asked why discussion of Babe’s redevelopment had been dropped from this meeting’s agenda on short notice. Commissioners explained that the item had always been listed as “tentative” and that efforts to finalize a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Douglas Development had not yet been completed as hoped. Issues under negotiation include how to deal with resident qualification for Residential Parking Permits (RPPs), community amenities, streetscape improvements, undergrounding utilities, LEED certification, and offsite parking.
Thomas Smith of Mayor’s Gray office announced that Mayor Gray has published his “One City Action Plan,” which can be read at http://mayor.dc.gov/page/one-city-action-plan. He also announced that he had submitted his resignation earlier that day and expressed his gratitude to and admiration for the Mayor.
Bill Hadden, a resident of 43rd Street, NW, noted that an iron plate covering a hole at the intersection of Fessenden Street and Wisconsin Avenue, NW has been there since, he believes, the spring of 2007 or 2008 and may be shifting, exposing the hole. He said he has raised the issue previously and although the Mayor’s office indicated they would follow up no action has been taken. Commissioners asked Mr. Smith and Leah Singleton from CM Cheh’s office, also in attendance, if they could assist this constituent.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported that crime in PSA 202 was lower in all categories in the previous 30 days compared to the same period in 2011 with the exception of thefts. One case of sexual abuse, specifically inappropriate touching, was reported by an employee against a customer. Two burglaries were reported: one on Reno Road in PSA 203 resulted in an arrest on Verplanck Street, NW, and another at 5010 42nd Street, NW during which a computer, software, and a bicycle were stolen after a front window was broken. Both burglaries occurred during the day. Residential and commercial thefts have increased, including locker room thefts of combination locks at Wilson Pool and Sport & Health. Delivered packages left on porches are also targets for thefts, he said.
Bill Rice, a resident of Brandywine Street and 48th, NW, asked if the police had investigated the cause of a house alarm that was activated Sunday night for many hours and which was re-activated Tuesday night. A commissioner said he had called the alarm company and was told by the company that there was no record of the house being covered by an alarm in their system. Mr. Rice asked what should residents have done to stop the alarm. Lt. Hill said that residents could call 911 and report the alarm as a nuisance. He explained that the police can then try to contact the homeowners but noted that they cannot legally enter the residence as it is private property. If the alarm continues to mistakenly activate and the homeowners do not repair it, the police can issue a citation.
A commissioner asked if police had been conducting any traffic enforcement within SMD 04, noting that he had not seen any police presence in 6 or 7 months at busy intersections such as Fessenden Street and 41st Street, NW. Lt. Hill responded that as the largest police district in the city officers are widely dispersed and cannot be assigned to traffic enforcement at all key intersections.
An attendee asked whether traffic cameras could be deployed to cite drivers who are making illegal turns during rush hour. Lt. Hill said speed and red light cameras are being introduced throughout the district but cameras for illegal turns and stop signs have not yet been authorized due to budget constraints.
An attendee asked as to the rationale for the forced right turn at the intersection of Military Avenue and 42nd Street, NW. A commissioner said the turn was designed to improve safety due to poor sight lines, which has resulted in serious accidents. Lt. Hill said that while everyone agrees the intersection is designed poorly there is no consensus as to the best solution.
Consideration of a resolution relating to traffic planning and traffic conditions on Van Ness Street, NW between Massachusetts and Nebraska Avenues, NW
Commissioner Serebin introduced the resolution, explaining that Van Ness Avenue, NW experiences rush hour conditions and pressures unlike other streets in the northwest area primarily due to cut-through traffic, including commuters from Maryland and Virginia as well as trucks. Van Ness Avenue, he noted, is classified as a collector street and as such should serve to take cars from local streets to arterials and back, not to serve as a cut-through for commuters between arterials. The resolution asks that DDOT study traffic issues on Van Ness Avenue and suggest ways to alleviate commuter pressure on the street without shifting traffic to other local or collector streets.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Consideration of application by Kitty O’Shea’s at 4624 Wisconsin, NW to expand hours of operation under its liquor license
Commissioner Bender introduced the resolution and a draft voluntary agreement he negotiated, noting that the owner of Kitty O’Shea’s, McFadden & Sullivan, is seeking permission from ABRA to extend the hours it may serve liquor at its outside café and to permit live music at the restaurant/bar. Mr. McFadden said that, per the proposed voluntary agreement, the live music would consist of a one to three piece band with no amplification, two to three hours per night, with the music ending at 12:30 weeknights and 1am Friday and Saturday nights. Mr. McFadden agreed to work with commissioners in good faith to address any complaints from constituents, should they arise.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution and voluntary agreement.
Consideration and possible vote on a resolution seeking improvements to the procedures used by D.C. Agencies to provide notice to ANCs
Commissioner Frumin introduced the resolution, explaining that many ANCs in Ward 3 are working in concert to encourage the city to provide notice to ANCs about pending agency actions to allow ANCs more time to respond. The resolution calls on the city to modernize its notification system to include searchable electronic delivery as well as paper delivery at least 45 days in advance of the agency consideration of the matter.
Commissioners discussed whether the resolution should be modified to include ANC notification of all agency changes, including DDOT safety and traffic calming issues, and whether the resolution should include this language or be contained in a separate resolution. Commissioners decided to amend the resolution to add that ANCs be notified of safety and traffic calming changes, which DDOT representatives have claimed are not necessary despite no exemption of such changes from notice requirements in the ANC statute, and to consider crafting a separate resolution on the added DDOT issues which could also be circulated to other Ward 3 ANCs.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution with the friendly amendment.
Presentation of a grant application by the Lisner Home to support its Zoo Day event
Debbie Lyle, Development Director of the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home at 5425 Western Avenue, NW presented the request for a $1,370.00 grant to buy children’s art supplies for Community Zoo Day, a yearly community event to be held September 13, 2012, co-hosted with Northwest Neighbors Village. The funds will be used for children’s art and educational activities and the event is non-profit. She noted that the Lisner Home will celebrate its 75th year anniversary next year with a gala.
Commissioners will vote on the grant at the September 2012 meeting.
Proposed resolution recommending Commissioner Serebin be appointed to the Mayor’s Task Force on Undergrounding Utilities
Commissioner Quinn introduced this resolution, explaining that the ANC 3E should be represented on the Mayor’s Task Force on Undergrounding Utilities, as northwest DC neighborhoods are routinely hard-hit by storms and long-lasting power outages. Commissioner Serebin, he said, should be considered as a candidate for the task force due to his long-standing interest in undergrounding utilities. Commissioner Serebin thanked commissioners who had nominated him and spoke to his deep interest on the issue. However, he said, as another ANC 3E commissioner apparently had already been nominated to the task force, he asked that the resolution be withdrawn, as two commissioners likely could not be appointed from the same ANC.
Commissioner Quinn withdrew the resolution and no action was taken.
Approval of July 2012 minutes
Commissioners unanimously approved the July 2012 minutes.
Approval of July Treasurer’s reports
Commissioners unanimously approved the July Treasurer’s report.
Approval of expenditures
Commissioners unanimously approved expenditures: $427 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $14.63 to Federal Express.
The commission adjourned at 9:01 pm.
Matthew Frumin, Chair