ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of ANC 3E December 12, 2013 Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:55pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn and Serebin were present. Commissioner Tinker was absent.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding proposed addition to Janney Elementary School*
Prior to the commission meeting, at 7:10pm, representatives from Janney Elementary School gave a presentation to community members and commissioners about proposed plans for a new addition to the school. Representatives included Tom Henderson of DC’s Department of General Services; Janney Principal Norah Lycknell; Bruce Hobby with Fanning Howley Architects; and Joe Swanson from Tompkins Builders.
The proposal calls for a $4.85 million, 10,520-square foot addition to help accommodate overcrowding at the school. Mr. Hobby said that a new second and third floor would be built on top of the exact footprint of the existing one-story wing that houses early childhood education, adding a total of 6 new classrooms, 5 small group spaces and two bathrooms. The addition is designed to blend into the existing school and will be airy and open, using a lot of glass. The new floors will have direct access to the existing facility and direct access to the outside. Because the building is not currently constructed to support additional floors, sheer walls will be installed that will support the new floors.
Ms. Lycknell said that 5 years ago student enrollment was 436; now the school has 627 students, representing a 40% increase, virtually all in-boundary. As soon as the 2011 expansion was completed, the school was over-capacity with 535 students. A projected 680 students will be enrolled at Janney by 2015 and the school needs to be able to accommodate all in-boundary families. Enrollment should stabilize after that time based upon Pre-K lottery enrollment figures, she said. The new addition is a relatively small-scale addendum to the previous larger, $30 million expansion project, she added. The construction of the addition is designed to have minimal or short-term impact on the school and neighbors, with some of the construction off-site. The progress of the construction will be posted on the Janney web site.
Mr. Swanson said that construction is scheduled to begin during winter break 2013, continuing on holidays, weekends and through next summer, with a completion date of August 15, 2014, before the start of the next school year. Construction will continue during school hours after spring break. All construction vehicles will enter via the alley off Yuma Street, NW, in the back of the school. A mini tower crane will be on site for 3 months, beginning in March.
Several attendees voiced concern about the potential impact of the construction on Janney students as well as immediate neighbors, and the speakers responded. Questions included noise barriers for classrooms; the safe siting of the mini tower crane; construction hours; noise from construction on holidays and weekends; noise from workers arriving in the very early morning hours before work; whether a traffic assessment had been conducted; and the need to have a on-site point person or project manager who is responsible for communicating with neighbors and is responsive to their concerns. A representative from the Yuma Study Center also asked about the impact of the construction on the alley shared with Janney and available parking.
After the Janney presentation and question/answer session concluded and at the start of the ANC 3E meeting, commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution to support the proposed renovation to Janney Elementary School, as amended.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
PSA 202 Lieutenant Alan Hill reported there have been no reports of homicides or robberies with or without guns in PSA 202 within the last 30 days. Two sexual assault cases were reported within this period, one at Wilson Aquatic Center (the crime occurred in November 2013 and was reported in December 2013) and the other on Garrison Street, NW, which occurred on November 26, 2013. Burglaries and thefts from autos continue to be a problem. Police have arrested two suspects involved in burglaries, and a suspect who had been previously incarcerated was arrested for theft from autos. Lt. Hill reminded attendees to be careful not to leave items in their cars and reiterated that stolen autos primarily occur when keys have been left in the car.
Second District Commander Michael Reese and Sgt. Ronald Keith Reid of the MPD Sexual Assault Unit answered questions about the recent sexual assault cases reported in ANC 3E’s jurisdiction. Sgt. Reid said that the vast majority of sexual assault suspects are known to the victims. The alleged sexual assaults at Wilson Aquatic Center involved known suspects; the reported robbery and rape at knifepoint on Garrison Street was apparently perpetrated by a stranger, however. Both cases are under investigation and as such Sgt. Reid said he could not disclose case details to protect to privacy of the victims. He said police are working on developing leads for the street rape but have not yet identified the perpetrator.
When answering attendees’ questions, Sgt. Reid said that the crime occurred on the 5100 block of 44th Street, NW between Garrison and Harrison Streets in the wooded area, and that the victim did not see the perpetrator’s face. Although the perpetrator was filmed by a Fox 5 DC surveillance camera, both Commander Reese and Sgt. Reid said they were unclear why the local beat patrol had not been immediately informed about the case or the video. Sgt. Reid noted that “a sex crime can only be prevented by the perpetrator,” however, residents can reduce risk by remaining mindful when walking at night, and if feeling unsafe making sure to act upon and communicate any concerns.
Kent Slowinki, ANC 3D commissioner, said that the manager of Wilson Aquatic Center threatened to call the police and have him removed after he asked questions about the handling of the reported sexual assaults at the pool. Cmdr. Reese said that Mr. Slowinski should have contacted him immediately after such a threat, and should contact him if it happens again.
Drew Newman from Councilmember Mary Cheh’s office said the councilmember would host an emergency public hearing about the reported attacks at Wilson Aquatic Center on December 15, 2013.
Responding to questions, Lt. Hill said that residents should call 911 to report concerns about homeless or borderline mentally ill people who residents have reason to believe might commit crimes. He said that crisis intervention officers would investigate and that every time a suspect has contact with an officer it builds a record. The officers also said that the lockdown at American University on December 12, 2013 was lifted when a woman saw a photo of the suspect and reported that the suspect was her boyfriend, who is an off-duty police officer.
Presentation by Council Member David Catania on education policy in the District of Columbia
Councilmember at-large David Catania, chair of the Council’s Committee on Education, gave a presentation about the goals, challenges and policy initiatives for improving public education in the District. The education committee was recently formed to delve deeply into these important issues, he said. One goal, he said, is to personally visit all of the District’s 220 public schools, including charters; 104 schools have been visited to date.
Mr. Catania said that his bill, the Fair Student Funding and School-Based Budgeting Amendment Act of 2013, received its first reading last week. He also noted that the D.C. Promise Establishment Act of 2013, were it enacted, would provide more resources for low and moderate income children to attend college.
During his presentation and in response to questions, Mr. Catania discussed a wide range of issues relating to public education in the District. They included providing more equitable funding for “at-risk” students; poverty and income inequality within the District; overcrowding and the planning process; the feeder system and family migration; quality control, communication and goal synchronization within feeder systems; the gender gap in graduation rates; insufficient arts funding; student debt; and the lack of recreational resources for girls, among other topics.
The commissioners thanked Mr. Catania for his work on behalf of public education in the District and for his presentation.
Presentation by Douglas Development on public space application for Babe’s Billiards site and possible vote on resolution regarding same
Paul Millstein of Douglas Development presented an overview about the current standing of the Tenley View (Babe’s) redevelopment project. He said that the plans have been completed, buildings permits have been filed, and construction is due to start February 2014 and will last 14 to 15 months. They have a lender in place and will close at the end of 2013. Patrick Cooper, principal of Compass Design and Development and senior project development manager, who was also present, has been working productively with Pepco, including on plans to underground utility wires. They have also been in contact with American University to try to coordinate undergrounding utility lines.
However, Mr. Millstein said that DDOT’s Public Space Commission (PSC) has not approved several of the streetscape amenities that Douglas agreed to provide the community — after months of negotiation with the ANC 3E — and which the Zoning Commission required in its order on Douglas’ PUD application. Although DDOT testified at the Zoning Commission hearing and supported the application, the PSC now says one year later that several components of Douglas’ streetscape proposal do not meet their standards, he said. The Public Space Commission hearing for the project is scheduled for December 19, 2013. Douglas Development is not in agreement with PSC’s requests and believes that the requested changes would adversely impact the design and functionality of the development. Mr. Millstein also noted that they have a private maintenance agreement covering the streetscape area, which may address DDOT concerns about maintenance.
Mr. Millstein said that the PSC has taken issue with several design elements, including the density, number and spacing of trees; the dimensions of the sidewalk and outdoor terrace; materials such as brick for borders and tree boxes; pavers; fountain location; and the depth of the planter boxes.
Mr. Millstein asked commissioners to support a request to reschedule the PSC hearing on the Tenley View application until January 2014. In the interim, commissioners said they would work to arrive at an agreement between Douglas Development and Matthew Marcou of DDOT.
In addition, commissioners suggested other improvements, including replacing tables with better designed benches; adding more bike racks; using different tree boxes; and installing permeable pavers for the sidewalks, among other suggestions.
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve a resolution in support of the rescheduling of the PSC hearing for the Tenley View, as amended.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Kent Slowinki, ANC 3D commissioner, raised concerns about the response by management at Wilson Aquatic Center and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) after reports recently surfaced of sexual assault and rape allegedly perpetrated by DPR employees in November 2013. Mr. Slowinski said that Wilson Pool management has not answered his questions or addressed his concerns after the alleged attacks were made public in December 2013.
Commissioners said they would consider inviting Councilmember Cheh to discuss the issue at a future meeting.
- Approval of November 2013 meeting minutes
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the November 2013 minutes, as amended.
- Approval of expenditures
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve expenditures: $450.00 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $16.12 to FedEx for copying services.
The commission adjourned at 10:40pm.
Jonathan Bender, Chair