December 12, 2019
The meeting convened at 7:38 PM. Commissioners Bender, Ehrhardt, McHugh and Quinn were in attendance. Commissioner Hall arrived later.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Jessica Green, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced Mayor Bowser’s Senior Holiday Celebration on December 19 at the DC Armory from 10 am-2 pm. The party is open to DC residents over age 60. Registration is required. Green also announced that Open Enrollment continues through January 1. Details on available healthcare plans can be found at DCHealthlink.com. Ms. Green can be reached at Jessica.Green@DC.gov with any questions or concerns.
MPD representatives announced that their listserv has migrated to Google Groups. They passed around a signup sheet for anyone interested in joining the group.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Commander Duncan Bedlion, Captain Edward Bernat Sector 1 supervisor for PSAs 201, 202, and 203, and Lieutenant Iris Beistline provided an update on police activity and crime in PSA 202. They distributed crime prevention information to those in attendance. Bedlion stated that while Violent Crimes in the area are down 12% this year, there has been a spike in robberies in the area and a large spike in Thefts from Autos this year. As a result, MPD has deployed a crime suppression team to the area. In three of the robberies, a man has walked up behind a victim and snatched the victim’s purse or backpack. He urged residents to be aware of their surroundings and not to talk on their phone while walking. Bedlion stated that the watch commander can be reached at 202-438-4421 with any concerns. He also reminded residents about the DC private camera incentive program in which residents can be reimbursed up to $500 per household for the installation of video cameras.
Attendees: asked what MPD recommends victims to do if they are a victim of a robbery; stated that a large group of people with dirt bikes are hanging out at Ft Reno at night; and stated they thought that calling the police might not be the correct first response for all situations. Commissioners asked for more information on the Burglary One on Yuma Street.
Presentation by representatives for Tenley Tiger Run and possible vote on letter in support of route for race
Debbie Lehrich, a Wilson High School parent, stated that the Tenley Tiger race (5K, 1K and fun run) will take place on Sunday, May 3. Ms. Lehrich state the race route will be the same as last year and they are again required to tow all parked cars off the route and put sand filled dump trucks at certain intersections.
One attendee stated he thought this race was an inconvenience to the people who live on the racecourse and thought the rout should be varied from year to year to spread the burden to other parts of the community. Commissioners: asked the race organizers better notify the community about the requirement to clear the race route; stated they would like the city do a better job helping the organizers make these races work and not charge residents for any cars that are towed; liked the race and thought it was a good community building event.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to have Commissioner Bender send letter in support of the race. The motion was approved 5-0-0.
Presentation by Directors of Office of Planning and Department of Community Housing and Development on proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan
Erkin Ozberk, Senior Neighborhood Planner and Art Rodgers Senior Housing Planner with the Office of Planning discussed the Comprehensive plan update. Mr. Ozberk can be reached at Erkin.Ozberk@dc.gov with any questions or comments. Details regarding the changes can be found at http://plandc.c.gov and any comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org through December 20.
Mr. Ozberk stated that the Comprehensive Plan was structured around the concept of Transit Oriented Development. He displayed a map of our ANC and stated that proposed changes are outlined in black, the striped areas are designated as mixed use, and density tapers off as you get further away from Metro stations. He pointed out that the any zoning decisions needs to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and any future changes to a lot’s zoning would still have to go through the ANCs and the Zoning Board.
Attendees: asked what they will do with any comments they receive; asked them to quantify what it means to go from moderate to medium, and medium to high density; asked for further details on the changes proposed to the lot behind Rodman’s; stated that many residents who were happy with the current plan did not provide comments to the Office of Planning; asked how the Commission will incorporate constituents comments; asked if there would be a special meeting in January to further discuss changes to the Comprehensive Plan; asked how the Policy Map works with the FLUM; thought the plan should be based on what the current infrastructure could support; noted that public comments are due by December 20th and thought that the comment period should be longer; noted that the plan is being rewritten to facilitate growth and OP has stricken the guidance that school capacity be taken into account; and thought the plan is moderate and reasonable and the pushback is alarming.
Commissioners: asked for a memo with the rational for each suggested change; thought that the changes proposed along Wisconsin Ave are reasonable and that the area would benefit from growth; thought the proposed changes are too moderate (the plans for Friendship Heights would allow for buildings that are 1/3 the height of the buildings in Maryland); noted that there is language in the plan including a statement that the view from Fort Reno cannot be altered that the Commission should opine on; thought the plan should address affordable housing guidelines; did not think we needed a separate meeting to hear input from residents; noted that ANC guidelines state that the Commission needs to meet in public but not necessarily interact with the public; thought we need more housing and it should be near the Metro; would like an accelerated small area plan and have those plans incorporated into Comprehensive Plan; supported the proposed changes generally but thinks the plan should include provisions for measures to alleviate school overcrowding before density increases in the FLUM go into effect; supports the proposed changes but thinks the city needs to increase school capacity in Ward 3 including two new elementary schools, a new middle school and an addition to the high school.
Presentation by representatives for Lisner Home regarding zoning change sought to make possible application to build an assisted living facility
Ward Orem, Director, of the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home and Matthew Frumin, Chairman of the Board, discussed zoning changes they considering seeking for the facility. The facility has a $16 million endowment that is shrinking by $1 million/year, which is not sustainable. They are considering enhancements to their short-term rehab facilities and building a dementia/memory care facility which will cost about $25 million. To fund this project, they are considering various possibilities including building an affordable housing project on the campus or selling a porting of their land for development. The Office of Planning suggested they seek changes now as part of the Comprehensive Plan update. Right now, they are zoned as R-2 in an institutional zone and would like to see the site designated for medium or, at a minimum, moderate density residential and low density commercial, so they have the possibility of putting a convenience store on site or some medical offices. They have met with the nearby neighbors who are supportive of these changes. Since these proposed changes were not submitted to OP earlier, the ANC can still ask OP to include these changes to the Comprehensive Plan update. For any specific project they decide on, they would still have to come back to the Commission and obtain changes to the zoning code from the DC Office of Zoning. Frumin stressed that any project they would propose would be sensitive to the neighborhood.
Attendees: were generally supportive of the proposed changes; noted that the property had only three abutting single-family homes and a PUD adjacent to the property; and asked for clarification of moderate and medium density development and how many floors each would allow.
Commissioners: asked for specifics on the plans and if they have a zoning attorney; thought they might only need to change to moderate density to accomplish what they want; would like to see more details on the project if they are considering medium density; stated that the Lisner home is a great neighbor and they provide some of the only low income housing in our ANC; asked for more details about the low density commercial zoning and thought they only support this on the portion of the site along Western Ave; and were supportive of the changes.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for relief from height requirements on fences in public space for already-erected non-compliant fence at 3848 Harrison St NW
This property owners asked to postpone the hearing and the item will be discussed at the next ANC meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application by Surfside to expand sidewalk cafe at Van Ness and Wisconsin location
Surfside has submitted an application to extend their patio on Wisconsin Ave into an area that now has a planter, to accommodate about 35 more seats. (In addition to the Wisconsin Ave patio, the site has a patio on private property along Van Ness that will be partially enclosed.) In exchange, they have agreed to a voluntary agreement that sets limits on the hours for alcohol sales. They will not be selling alcohol at the 24-hour taco bar. The restaurant will open this winter. Commissioner McHugh submitted a draft resolution in support of the extended patio and the voluntary agreement. There were no questions from those in attendance. Commissioner Bender offered a friendly amendment to the patio resolution.
Commissioner McHugh moved and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to approve the amended patio resolution. The motion was approved 5-0-0.
Commissioner McHugh moved and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to approve the voluntary agreement. The motion was approved 5-0-0.
- Approval of November 2019 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hill seconded a motion to approve the Draft November 2019 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 payments of $330 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support and $17.44 to FedEx. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:50 PM.