Meeting Minutes

December 14, 20237:30 pm

The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:37 PM. Commissioners Bender, Carney, Cohen, Denny, and Quinn were in attendance. Commissioners Gianinno and Hall arrived later.

Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood

An attendee who lives near Friendship Heights stated that they are concerned about crime in the area. They stated that 42nd St has been used as a route by criminals for multiple crimes including the robbery of the Verizon store on Monday, December 11 and would like to get speed bumps installed on 42nd St to help deter criminals from driving up their block. 

Cory Peterson, Vice President for Community Relations at AU stated the campus plan requires AU to provide on-campus housing for 67% of their undergraduates. This year, they met this goal, by housing 67.7% of undergraduates. He also stated that fall graduation will take place on Sunday, December 17 and there might be increased traffic around the campus. 

Commissioner Quinn, on behalf of the Friendship Heights Alliance, announced that there is a new exhibit at the Pepco Substation covering two subjects, an African American family that lived on Broad Branch Rd and was run out of neighborhood and the Belmont Property, a proposed African-American subdivision where the Saks Fifth Avenue currently sits. 

Presentation by 2nd District Police

Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last 30 days there were three robberies (a suspect stole a Canada Goose coat on the 3800 block at Fort drive on November 13, suspects stole 52 iPhones from the Verizon Store at 5252 Wisconsin on December 12, and suspects stole a coat from a bicyclist on 41st St on December 12). Officers are reviewing camera footage from the area and stated that criminals have been robbing people for their Canada Goose coats in other police districts around the city. He urged residents to place trackers in their vehicles to help police track stolen vehicles which may then be used to commit other crimes. 

Attendees:

  • Asked for details about the arrest in the arson at the nail salon.
  • Stated that they have footage from their Ring camera of the vehicle used in the Verizon Store robbery and asked about using speed bumps to deter criminals. Murphy stated that speed bumps are good but said that better lighting would help deter more crime. 
  • Asked if the police have a presence at Deal and Jackson Reed. Murphy stated they always have police outside in the mornings and afternoons and there are School Resource Officers in the schools. 

Commissioners:

  • Asked if 42nd Street needs better lighting. Murphy said it does. 
  • Asked if vehicles could be stolen without a key fob. Murphy replied that it is possible to steal a car with a USB cable charger, but some cars are left unlocked, unattended and running when they are stolen. 
  • Asked MPD to put out more real time information on the listserves and Twitter.
  • Urged MPD to have officers get off their phones while on duty. 
  • Asked for more information about the death at the park at Fessenden and Wisconsin. Murphy believed it was from natural causes.
  • Asked officers to do more traffic enforcement to help prevent accidents. 

Murphy stated he could be reached at McHauley.Murphy@dc.gov with any comments or concerns. 

Discussion of and possible vote on notice of protest regarding application for renewal license for Friendship Heights Convenience Store which, among other things, is no longer operating at the location for which it seeks a renewal

Commissioner Bender stated that this was the establishment that was renting out the space in front of Booeymonger. Commissioners Quinn and Bender raised concerns to ABCA that the establishment was operating in public space and Booeymonger was renting out public space to a third party without permission from the city. The convenience store then moved around the corner and has filed for a renewal application for a store at the former address that it no longer occupied and was not operating legally in the first place. Bender believes the renewal application is not valid, but he wrote a resolution of protest to protect the Commission’s interests since the renewal application had not yet been dismissed. 

Attendees and Commissioners had no questions.

Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the resolution opposing the renewal license application. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.

Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application to designate the Swedish Ambassador’s Residence an historic landmark

Ankie Barnes and Sarah Vonesh stated the owners of the property, with the support of the DC Preservation League, applied for landmark status for the mansion and two of the acres surrounding it. Barnes and Vonesh presented a history of the mansion and showed sketches of the proposed additions to the side and rear of the mansion. They stated that very little is visible from Nebraska Ave. and they plan to move four heritage trees to form a green screen around the house and build a half height stucco wall along Nebraska. Commissioner Gianinno introduced her draft resolution and urged the developers to continue to work with the neighbors. 

Attendees:

  • Expressed support for the application.
  • Asked questions about the process for moving the trees. 

Commissioners:

  • Asked about the plans for the mansion after the renovations are complete.

Commissioner Gianinno moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of the application to designate the Swedish Ambassador’s Residence an historic landmark. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.

Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding variance and special exception applications to permit a dress shop to replace BB&T bank as tenant at 5200 Wisconsin Ave.

Commissioner Quinn stated that the property is at the NW corner of Wisconsin and Harrison. The current owner found a prospective buyer who requires a special exception and variance to open a retail business in the space. Quinn stated the property has two illegal public space issues, the curb cut on Wisconsin Ave and parking in the public space along Harrison. DDOT has committed to add a letter to the record stating they will insist that the curb cut will be closed. Unfortunately, there will still be illegal parking spaces along Harrison, but those spaces will be hard to access without the Wisconsin Ave curb cut.

Attendees and Commissioners had no other questions or comment. 

Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of the special exception application to permit a dress ship as a tenant at 5200 Wisconsin Ave. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0. Commissioner Carney left the meeting and did not vote on this motion.

Presentation by GDS regarding compliance with traffic and other components of its zoning order

Barbara Eghan, Director of Strategic Partnerships with GDS contended that this year, GDS is in compliance with their zoning order. They were over their enrollment caps the previous two school years but are currently at 1073 students and will not seek an enrollment increase for the next school year. Eghan stated they worked with the ANC to expand their trip count radius and placed cameras on the intersections of concern, and they have met their trip count goals this fall. She noted that the 4:30 – 7:00 PM timeslot goal was met by two cars. Eghan encouraged any resident who witnesses scofflaws to report them to GDS. 

Attendees had no questions or comments.

Commissioners:

  • Stated that the 7th grade was on a class trip on the day they did the trip count. Eghan replied that it is typical for students to have an overnight trip and all but four of the 7th graders have siblings that needed to come to school on the day of the count. A Commissioner pointed out that GDS passed its evening trip cap by only one or two trips, that carpooling is not required in the afternoon and evening, and it could be expected that some students and faculty would leave at that hour even if siblings left earlier. The Commissioner noted that several Commissioners believed GDS should redo the study on a day when an entire grade and accompanying faculty and staff are not absent. GDS said it will provide the Commission with more information about why it believes the data is still valid.
  • Asked for copies of the communications GDS has sent to parents regarding off campus pickup and dropoff.. 
  • Asked if any parents have been given anything other than a warning. Eghan replied that their procedures allow GDS to give two warnings then a fine and one family received two warnings. Commissioners replied that they know of one family that had 7 or 8 infractions. Eghan will check the record to see how GDS dealt with that family but could not say at that point whether any parent had suffered more than a warning for repeat violations.
  • Asked for the link to the video footage taken during the count. 
  • Noted that GDS did not share all the data they agreed to including the number of kids who took the bus. 
  • Stated they were skeptical that there were no drop-offs caught on Wisconsin Ave. when on days around the count, Commissioner Hall happened to see cars dropping off children along Wisconsin Ave.
  • Commissioners stated they want to work with GDS and would like to work with them on their methodology for the next traffic count. 

Presentation by Chesapeake Climate Action regarding Washington Gas’ Project Pipes

Anne deBuys with Chesapeake Climate Action stated Project Pipes is a 40-year pipeline replacement program by Washington Gas that started in 2014 and will cost over $4 billion. Burning natural gas is a public health issue especially with children and elderly at high risk of increased illnesses. Chesapeake Climate Action believes that if the District continues with the project, it will lock us into continued use of fossil fuels. Washington Gas applied in December 2022 to the Public Service Commission for the next phase of the project. The public record is still open for comment and deBuys asked ANC3E to pass a resolution opposing the project. 

Attendees:

  • Asked if Washington Gas is looking to make the pipes hydrogen capable. The pipes are being upgraded to high density polyethylene and may be able to carry a natural gas hydrogen blend, but household appliances cannot use the hydrogen blend. 

Commissioners:

  • Asked if households transition away from gas and the increase in demand for electricity will lessen the need for the pipeline replacement. DeBuys replied that it should, but some jurisdictions have an Integrated Resource Plan to coordinate the switch, but the PSC does not. 
  • Stated that it might make sense to advocate for an Integrated Resource Plan.
  • Asked if any other ANCs passed a resolution opposing the project. ANC3B passed a resolution and two others passed resolutions but have not filed them. 
  • Stated that they would like to hear from Office of the People’s Council and Washington Gas’ positions on this issue. 

 ANC Business

  • Approval of November 2023 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the Draft November 2023 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
  • Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of $450.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
  • Commissioner Bender stated the OANC says we need to issue an annual report and asked Sherry Cohen to put together a first draft containing a compilation of the Commission’s work for the year. Commissioner Denny volunteered to contact OANC to ask what period the report will cover. Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded the motion to approve the report as described above. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.

The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:10 PM.

ANC3E Dec 14 2023 Meeting Minutes – Final

ANC3E Dec 14 2023 Meeting Minutes – Draft