December 10, 2020, 7:30 PM
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:38 PM. Commissioners Bender, 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 raised an issue regarding helicopters frequently flying over the neighborhood and late at night. She asked who she can contact regarding her complaints and was advised to contact Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s office.
Tony Donaldson and Emir Gur-Ravantab introduced themselves. Mr. Gur-Ravantab will be replacing Jessica Green as the new Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and can be reached at email@example.com, or at (202)-340-7853 with any issues.
Bob Andrukaaitis with Pepco shared Pepco’s plans to raze the walls and foundation of the temporary substation that was used while the permanent substation was being renovated. The application was submitted to DCRA last month and they expect it to be approved in January. The demolition will take about one to two months and will be followed by stormwater management and landscaping work. They expect the project to be completed in its entirety by June. The demolition will be taking place M-F from 7:30 am – 3:00 pm. They do not expect to have to work after hours or weekends unless an emergency happens. The work will not involve blasting; they will be using backhoes and jackhammers. An attendee asked about their plans for the lot; it is still being decided. Linda Greenan asked to have a meeting with the Commission and Tenleytown Main Street regarding the display windows. Commissioners asked about the removal of the fencing (it should come down during the landscaping phase of the project) and if they could add tree boxes, benches and bike racks in front of the building ( Pepco will extend WMATA’s tree boxes along the fence to almost the front of the building and possibly some above grade planters).
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime for PSA 202. There was one robbery on Wisconsin Ave at Garrison St. Thefts from autos went up over the last month. They distributed information outside of Target today to educate the public about thefts from autos and package thefts. She also noted that we have a new Captain for the area as Captain Bernat retired.
An attendee asked about the status of thefts from the businesses over the last few months and about graffiti that has appeared on businesses in the area recently.
Commissioners: asked about drug dealing that occurs infrequently by Ft Bayard and about in the park late at night; asked about the status of a drug exchange that turned into a robbery in the 5300 block of 43rd St on Nov 7; asked the Police Officers to be more visible in the public areas and to encourage vehicles to not stop in no parking areas along the Wisconsin Ave corridor; thanked the police for traffic enforcement along Van Ness and 46th St near Turtle Park; and asked for crosswalk enforcement especially by Western Ave and 45th St, and by Fessenden and Wisconsin Ave.
Discussion of and possible vote on certificate of need application from the Psychiatric Institute of Washington to add 22 additional inpatient beds for involuntary patients and outpatient services
Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW) is a psychiatric facility on Wisconsin Ave and Van Ness – they currently have 130 beds and would like to add 22 more beds in spaces that are now occupied by some administrative offices. Commissioner McHugh stated that the original letter they sent to the Commission stated they were looking to add 22 inpatient beds for involuntarily committed patients and also some additional outpatient services but Dania O’Connor, the CEO stated the beds would actually be for patients that need inpatient care under voluntary conditions (depression, anxiety, substance use, etc.). An updated letter was sent to Commissioner McHugh and can be found on our website. Issues were raised regarding the ambulances that illegally park on the sidewalk in front of the building and block the crosswalk. Ms. O’Conner stated that they have been asking them not to park there and are asking the city to convert two metered spaces in front of the building to Ambulance Parking Only spaces.
An attendee likes the proposed ambulance parking solution. Commissioners: asked about a patient that was discharged and was unable to return to their home and ended up living on the streets in Tenleytown for a few days. They do work with patients on their discharge plans, they are usually discharged to community-based providers and PIW has been providing taxi service upon discharge to their patients during the COVID crisis as the community-based providers have not been providing transportation during COVID; asked for clarification that they are not seeking to increase involuntary beds.
Commissioner McHugh moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to allow McHugh to write a letter to support PIWs request to add 22 more beds and outpatient services. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0 with Commissioner Hall not voting.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding American University’s proposed campus plan
Ed Fischer stated that they have not made any changes to their plan since the last time they presented to the Commission. Commissioner McHugh summarized his resolution at the last meeting. They will be filing their Campus Plan on Monday
Attendees: asked about the use of leased housing spaces off-campus and whether it is appropriate for them to do it and thought the proposed resolution does not adequately address the issue (Commissioner McHugh responded that the CLC did not have any issues with the rentals at The Frequency but they did see issues with the previous rentals at the Berkshire, in part because the University was renting parts of the building and the University has agreed to come to the Neighborhood Partnership and surrounding ANCs if they wish to enter into any other master leases. AU stated that it is in their long-term financial interest to build housing on campus and not to enter into master leases.); thought that the process used to reach this plan was very collaborative with the community.
Commissioners: asked for clarification on the enrollment cap and the requirement to house 67% of the students on campus; asked AU to have all new master leases approved through the neighborhood partnership; stated that they are ok with the agreement and the process that the collaborative went through to reach the agreement, and like having the students in the community.
Commissioner McHugh moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution to in support of AU’s Campus Plan. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0 with Commissioner Hall not voting.
Update from Valor Development on plans to redevelop portion of Fox 5 site as mixed use.
Will Lansing and John Lang updated the neighborhood on the redevelopment of the Fox 5 building. Their current plan is to construct a building with 179 units with 15% to be fully accessible units and 1% are required to be equipped with a roll in shower. They will have their leasing office, building gym and a café on the first floor, along Wisconsin Ave and will add solar power to the roof. In order to do all of this, they would need to shift the MU4 to R2 line 35 feet to the east along Garrison St.
An attendee stated that this was an opportunity for the ANC to obtain more affordable housing for the neighborhood and encouraged us to ask for at least 10% of the units be Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). Valor replied they are providing 10% of the housing units for residents making 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Commissioners: were disappointed that the project is limited and they are planning to keep the broadcast tower and surface parking lot behind the building; asked if they would consider adding a few IZ units at 80% AMI in addition to the ones they are required to make available at 60% AMI; asked them to clarify what they were seeking relief on and what the mitigation will offer in exchange; would like to see disability accessible housing; thought this was a lost opportunity for additional housing by placing only a 60’ building so close to the Metro; and asked if they could commit to LEED certification.
Their hearing is in late January and the Commission will vote on the project next month.
Discussion of and possible vote on letter to support early hours construction at Chevy Chase Pavilion
Commissioner Quinn stated that he received an email from the Chevy Chase Pavilion stating that they are seeking a waiver for the 7 AM start time for construction projects in their office tower. Andre Chin-Wing, project manager for the construction company, stated they would like to start work at 5 AM. The project is scheduled to run through Jan 15. He stated the time slot between 5 and 7 AM would be used for ramping up (signing workers in, conducting COVID screening, daily meetings, etc.) so they can start the actual construction work at 7 AM. Commissioner Quinn reached an agreement with CCP and Mr. Chin-Wing so that all workers, except for oversized vehicles, will be required to park in the parking garage and they would not use the loading dock before 7 AM. Commissioner Quinn has been in touch with the neighbors and they did not have any other concerns.
An attendee asked for clarification on the end date. Commissioners: offered friendly amendments to the draft resolution stipulating that the loading dock would not be used before 7 AM and that the agreement would expire by mid-February. Representatives of the Pavilion and construction company agreed to these terms.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the amended resolution to in support of Chevy Chase Pavilion’s early morning construction. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
- Approval of November 2020 meeting minutes – Commissioner McHugh moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft November 2020 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0 with Commissioner Bender not in attendance for this vote.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve payments of $307.50 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:56 PM.