December 9, 2021, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:35 PM. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, 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
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Mainstreet:
- Announced there is a new video series, “Myrna on MainStreet,” that features small businesses in Tenleytown. New videos are released on Mondays at 2 pm and they can be viewed across social media platforms.
- Reminded those in attendance that there are two more Tenley Tuesday’s this year offering special discounts for students, and school faculty and staff.
- Stated there is still time to buy Tenley Bucks for the holidays, gift cards that can be used at 25 local businesses.
An attendee pointed out that the Field School has their shuttle blocking public space in the mornings on Jenifer Street across from Booeymonger.
Emir Gur-Ravantab, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- Leaf collection is running about 10 days behind schedule. Please contact Emir if your leaves have not been picked up 14 days after the scheduled pickup window.
- Coronavirus vaccinations can be administered in your home. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 1-855-363-0333.
- There will be a holiday party for senior citizens at the DC Convention Center on December 15. All people interested in attending must RSVP in advance.
- The annual Fit Fresh Start 5K, will take place on January 1 at 10 am in Anacostia Park.
Emir can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
An attendee asked that the Commission work to upload video recordings of the meetings the day after the meetings.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime in PSA 202. She stated that there was a 60% decrease in theft from autos this month. Lt Beistline cautioned people to not leave things visible in their cars while holiday shopping. There was a high volume in burglaries in the business district, but an arrest was made that closed most of the open burglaries. There was a stabbing in front of Target earlier this month that was closed with an arrest of two juveniles. In a separate incident, someone waiting at a bus stop was shot by a B-B gun by a passenger in a passing car. There was a similar incident in another patrol area that detectives believe is related and they have a person of interest.
Attendees: asked for stop sign enforcement at 45th and Van Ness; and thanked the MPD for closing the burglaries.
Commissioners: asked if the stabbing in front of the Target and the robbery that occurred a few days later were connected (they are not and that robbery has not been closed); asked about thefts from Wilson Aquatic Center; noted the lack of police presence on Wisconsin Ave in the afternoons and stated they would like to revive the Wisconsin Ave safety working group to reopen the lines of communication between MPD, Metro Police, Wilson HS, local businesses and the ANC (there are two school resource officers and Beistline is in touch with them but lacks police officers to have someone dedicated to Wisconsin Ave after school); noted that in the past, Wilson HS has had teachers and staff stationed on Wisconsin Ave after school to help move the kids along; and asked to have MPD officers enforce parking restrictions in crosswalks and during rush hour.
Lt Beistline can be reached at email@example.com or at 202-779-2854 with any additional comments or questions.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for special exception relief from rear yard requirements to add a garage to a home at 4334 Alton Place NW
Julia and Mike Smith, the homeowners, are planning to add an addition onto the back of their house and would also like to add a garage that will be about 12 feet wide and 10 feet long. Since they bought their home, a new law was enacted that requires new garages have to be built 25 feet away from the house. There will be 16 feet between the house and garage and there are six other similarly sized garages on that same alley. The owners have spoken to neighbors and no neighbors have voiced an objection.
Attendees and commissioners had no questions.
Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of the special exception. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Presentation by Donahoe regarding its plans to seek a special exception to redevelop the Fox 5 site on Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Jad Donahoe and Sarah Alexander with Torti Gallis presented plans for 5151 Wisconsin Ave. Donohoe purchased the building November 1 of this year and want to tear down the existing office building and replace it with 6 stories plus a penthouse apartment building made up of 214 units. They plan to place the entrance to the building in the middle of the block on Wisconsin Ave, have a café or coffee shop space at the corner of Wisconsin and Harrison and possibly have some coworking space on the first floor. There will be a courtyard in the center of the building and some residents on Harrison will have ground floor patios. The parking garage will be accessed off of Harrison St. They are asking for a special exception to move the MU-4 line back 35 feet toward 42nd St to allow them to better-size the courtyard. They are attempting to reach LEED gold certification by having a timber structure rather than all concrete, adding a green roof and solar panels, providing 20% electric car charging in the garage with more added over time, providing stormwater management where there is none now, they would like to have extended tree panels, and bicycle parking in and out of the building. They are looking to do some fully accessible units, and 10% inclusionary zoning (IZ), including some family-sized units.
- Asked if they are within other zoning regulations. They are and are only seeking relief to move the MU-4 line.
- Asked about the plans for the rest of the land to 42nd St. They do own the land and plan to make some incremental improvements by putting a rain garden there for the short term and have not decided on their long-term plans for the site.
- Asked what the unit mix will be. 25% studios, 35% 1 bedroom, 15% 1 bedroom + dens and 25% 2 bedrooms. The IZ will follow the mix of units the building. A few of the ADA accessible units will be available for IZ as well.
- Stated that the local schools are overcrowded and expressed concern that this project will add to the crowding in the schools. Commissioner Bender said that the ANC asked that the Comprehensive Plan not be updated until a plan for addressing school overcrowding is developed but the Council did not act on our request.
- Asked if the density from the 42nd St frontage is being used for the building. They are not using any of the R-2 density for the building.
- Asked for plans for radio/television tower. At this time, they have no plans for the tower.
- Asked how big the bays are. They are 4-feet and conform with the current regulations. They are asking for some clarification for the bays/balconies off of Harrison as they are connected and may not conform. All of the projections are in the setback and not into public space.
- Stated they were disappointed that Donohoe is not proposing the project similar to what was presented to the Commission a few years ago, by developing along 42nd street and taking down the tower.
- Would like to see more IZ even if just a few additional units.
- Asked if they can rip up the vast majority of the former parking lot, which would otherwise be unused, to make it a park, green space, playground, a basketball or tennis court, etc. They can look into it
- Would like them to not offer parking as a disincentive for residents to have cars.
- Stated that the crowded schools are not the developer’s problem to solve, but the city government’s.
- Asked about the proposed timing for the project. The BZA hearing in scheduled for March 2022 and they estimate construction will start in 2023 and last for 18 months.
- Asked why they are proposing 10% IZ. They are required to have 8 or 10% based on the building methods used and will have at least 10%. Other programs are coming that might require them to offer more.
- Asked for clarification about a wall depicted in the drawings that runs along Wisconsin Ave. Right now, they are envisioning an 18” tall planter wall but they have not had a landscape architect weigh in on the design.
- Would like Donohoe to make a firm commitment on ADA compliant IZ units.
- Pointed that that because they are developing this site in stages, the neighbors will endure a second construction project. Would like to have the wall on 42nd St and radio tower taken down during the first stage of construction.
- Was frustrated that they are under-building the lot given its proximity to the Metro.
Update by the Lisner Home regarding its plan to seek a map amendment to build affordable senior housing on its campus
Matt Frumin, Director of the Board, provided an update to their plans to build affordable senior housing at the Lisner Home campus. They are working with HPRB on the building design; their building is not historically designated but they want to work with HPRB to respect the design of the 1940s building. The door to the new building has been moved to the center of the building based on HPRB feedback. Their building is 2-3 feet higher than the ones across the street. The building will have 93 apartments at 35-50% AMI. They want independent living, assisted care, nursing care and dementia care to be all on site. The application is due to the city tomorrow and they have been working on that. They had a meeting on site with nearby neighbors. Some neighbors asked that the map amendment be applied to only part of the site. Lisner will look into whether that can be done and will try to address the neighbors’ concerns for the long-term plans for the site. The HPRB asked them to make a few changes that are the opposite of what neighbors asked for. Frumin thinks the hearing will take place in March and they will work with the neighbors until then.
- Wanted to know if they are going to consider other designs. They can make some changes to the plans like reduce the building by a few units (but not 20) but they cannot move the building as it was placed where it is because of the topography of the lot, to keep traffic off of 42nd St, to not lose green space and so they won’t have to deep dig a parking lot.
- Read a statement from Ward 3 Housing Justice in support for the project.
- Thanked them for proposing this project.
- Would like them to enter an agreement actually to build the affordable project they propose before the ANC supports the application or a map amendmentAsked for clarification on why they moved the door.
- Asked about HPRB concerns that the building was too close to the original building and wanted them to move the building back toward 42nd St which is not what the neighbors want. Frumin thinks they can satisfy both the HPRB and the neighbors.
- Thought this entire project is an amenity to the community.
- Does not want to see Lisner pave over the front lawn for parking spaces.
Update from DDOT on the progress on plans to reconfigure pedestrian and vehicular infrastructure around the Tenleytown Metro Station, and the implementation of recommendations from the Rock Creek West Livability Study II
Ted Van Houten with DDOT provided an update on plans to upgrade the area around the Tenleytown Metro Station and the implementation of recommendations from the Rock Creek West (RCW) Livability Study II. The Tenley Metro station work focuses on the east side entrance to the Metro from 40th Street/Ft Drive between to Wisconsin Ave and from Albemarle to Chesapeake Streets and is continuing on planning work started a few years ago by WMATA. This project will focus on transportation safety and multi-modal transportation. He noted that WMATA owns some of the land around the Metro entrance and along Fort Drive and they will be doing a land survey and public involvement meetings. They are currently working on developing the requisition and purchase order for a consultant to conduct a study.
By way of the RCW livability study, he stated that there were 62 recommendations in total from the study but some of them were not in our ANC; 32 of which were completed (including adding the mid-block crosswalk on Albemarle in front of Janney and installing street trees and removed impervious surfaces at Wisconsin and Garrison), three that were deemed not feasible (two at 36th and Davenport and changing the signal length at 41st and Livingston), and 27 they are still working on (including closing Brandywine between 42nd and River Rd).
- Asked if the new Metro Station area study will build off of the old 2016 study and if there is funding to implement the recommendations this time. This piece is the concept design phase, and they will look at previous studies. Jonathan Willingham, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Cheh added that Cheh is committed to fund this project in the FY24 budget.
- Asked if they will be coordinating the Tenleytown Metro work with the OP’s development framework for Tenleytown that will happen in the spring. They will be coordinating the projects.
- Asked how they prioritize the outstanding recommendations. Van Houten explained that there are other livability studies that were conducted across the city and how they prioritize outstanding items across the city.
- Asked for curb extension at Albemarle and Brandywine, a 4-way stop at 46th and Fessenden, and would like to see improvements made at Albemarle and Wisconsin.
- Would like to see more improvements at Massachusetts Ave and 49th St and bike lanes on River Rd and Western Ave.
- Asked for clarification on the Tenleytown Metro study area, specifically if it covers Albemarle to Wisconsin or to 42nd and cover all the blocks the Deal students need to access their school. The scope is of the Metro project is finalized but did note that the intersection of Albemarle and Wisconsin is included and so is Chesapeake.
- Asked if they would consider closing the alley around the Whole Foods garage and some of the other curb cuts on the block some of which may be illegal. The Whole Foods alley is private property and they have made some improvements to it. Unfortunately, the only complete solution to this area would be the redevelopment of the lot
- Would like to see protected bike lanes on 40th, Ft Drive and Chesapeake. They can look at those things.
- Asked about the three designs WMATA sketched out. They are going to use the WMATA designs as a starting point but said WMATA never put costs behind the designs they proposed.
- Approval of November 2021 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft November 2021 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 a payment for $375.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:40 PM.