February 8, 2018, 7:45 pm
The meeting convened at about 7:47 PM. Commissioners Bender, Ehrhardt, McHugh and Quinn were in attendance. Commissioner Hall arrived afterward.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
There were no announcements during open forum.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Stewart from the 2nd District provided an update on crime trends in the area over the last 30 days. She distributed burglary prevention pamphlets and announced MPD arrested four suspects for recent burglaries in PSAs 202 and 203. There was also an arrest in the robbery of an office on the 5300 block of Wisconsin Ave.
Captain Ridlehoover introduced herself to those in attendance. She is overseeing PSAs 201, 202 and 203.She plans to deploy a 2-mountain bike unit to the Friendship Heights area in the afternoon and evening to deter thefts and will be conducting information sessions on preventing thefts and thefts from autos. She stated the DC area is seeing an increase in auto thefts using devices that can mimic key fobs and burglaries on dead end streets.
Attendees asked: about cars that park in the bike lane on Fort Drive near the Wilson Pool; which makes and models of cars are being stolen; what can be done about jay walking between Mazza Gallerie and the Chevy Chase Pavilion and if a HAWK signal should be installed midblock; about cars that park illegally and speeding trucks in the early morning hours both along River Rd near Fessenden St; if a stop light or HAWK signal can be installed at the intersection of Nebraska Ave and Warren St; and if DCRA or MPD should be contacted regarding a restaurant that has been having their dumpsters emptied at 6 am.
Commissioners asked: for more details on an attempted kidnapping near Deal Middle School; for enforcement of drivers that do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalk; why police cars regularly park on Fort Drive off of Nebraska; for parking enforcement along Wisconsin Ave during rush hour; what can be done about a homeless person that followed a resident to her car in a threatening manner; and if the mountain bike unit could patrol the woods near Deal Middle School.
CPT Ridlehoover stated that she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org via her departmental cell phone at 202-904-6546.
Lt Hill added that crime was down in our PSA in every crime category except for thefts. He also stated that he detailed a motor carrier unit to ticket oversize trucks on Van Ness St and River Rd.
Presentation by resident of proposal for DC government to divest its holdings from Wells Fargo
Matt Mihalich, representing DC Reinvest, gave a presentation on their proposal to have the DC Government divest its holdings from Wells Fargo, the bank of record for DC. He noted that Wells Fargo was recently fined $185 million dollars for deceiving customers and opening unauthorized accounts, they agreed to pay a $1.2 billion settlement for faulty loans that contributed to the 2009 financial crisis, and they are a primary investor in the Keystone, Potomac and Dakota pipelines. Mihalich added that city code states that the city’s banker must have a “satisfactory” rating in the Community Reinvestment Act exam but Wells Fargo has a “needs to improve” rating. DC Reinvest is asking ANCs to adopt a resolution in support of their proposal.
Attendees asked: if DC Reinvest is recommending another bank in Wells Fargo’s place; where the DC Councilmembers stand on this issue; and asked if there was a public record for the Community Reinvestment Act exam results.
Commissioners: asked what standards are used for the Council to decide who they do business with and if they have a process for terminating a contract; asked if Mihalich knows why DC selected Wells Fargo; noted issues that the Commission had an account with Wells Fargo which resulted in incorrect fees being assessed each month and the Commission moved the account to a local bank; were concerned that the city might move to another bank that is equally bad; and asked about the credit rating requirements were for other banks the city might use.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application from Tenleytown Historical Society to designate as a historic landmark the entire block of low-rise apartments on Harrison St between Wisconsin Avenue and 44th St
Commissioner Bender noted that this issue was discussed at length at last month’s meeting. No one from the Tenleytown Historical Society (THS) was in attendance to discuss their application. Carolyn Brown, the attorney for one of the property owners stated they are opposing the nomination because the buildings do not exemplify the garden style apartments or sanitary housing style; did not influence the development of Friendship Heights; did not exemplify Appleton P Clarke, the architect; the integrity of the block is compromised by the building that was demolished and replaced by condominiums; and the block was not significant as workforce housing. Commissioner Bender stated that the draft resolution noted that the owners put restrictive racial covenants that would have prevented black people from living in the buildings until the end of time had the Supreme Court not later outlawed such covenants and the block lacks historical integrity because of the in-fill condo building.
Attendees asked about where the condos were located and if there was a process to appeal a designation decision.
Various Commissioners: wondered if the resolution would have any effect on HPRB; asked if there is a way to search HPRB cases for denied applications; noted the application process is an abrogation of private property rights; asked about how the condominium building would affect the historical integrity of the block given that HPRB usually requires additions to historical properties to look new and distinct from the original structures; asked if the argument about the racist past could be a valid argument for not listing the properties; stated their concern that THS’s application omitted mention of the racial covenants; offered a friendly amendment to empower a Commissioner Bender to testify at the hearing; asked about the approval for the relief needed for the owner’s concept plan and the process that would follow; were incredulous that THS can impose this on any homeowner without regard for the burdens and costs they are imposing on a private homeowner.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the amended resolution opposing the designation of the Harrison St Apartment buildings as historic landmarks. The motion was approved 5-0.
Presentation of updated development proposal for current site of the Dancing Crab and Tenley Gastropub on 41 St NW
Jessica Blumfeld from Holland and Knight and Ashley Grzywa from Bonstra Architects stated the property owners would like to build a 7-story, 41-unit building that will require a PUD. Since the last presentation to the Commission, they made minor changes to the building plans and met with Commissioner Ehrhardt to begin discussions of a community amenity package.
The amenity package they proposed includes: 12% affordable housing at 60% of Average Median Income (AMI); LEED Gold (possibly Platinum) certification; enhanced public space with greenery; RPP parking restrictions; providing $25k to Friendship Place; a mural on south wall; two carshare and two electric vehicle parking spaces in the garage; traffic calming on 41st St; and rooftop lounge for community use. DDOT is not requiring they do a full traffic study, but they intend to develop a strong loading management plan. They met with DOEE and say they are happy with plans to obtain LEED Gold certification, their storm water management plans, and their plans to solar panels on the roof. They presented their rooftop, landscaping and public space plans.
Attendees asked: what their zoning request would be; how tall the building will be; what the distribution of units will be; if they would consider adding the maintenance of the second side of the hillside on Wisconsin Ave to their amenity package; about outdoor seating on the rooftop; if the unit distribution has changed since the last meeting; and about the color and materials planned for the facade of the building. One attendee was not happy with the small apartments while another stated that this was an outstanding project and was happy it was moving quickly.
Various Commissioners: like the project; one Commissioner would like more larger, family units but one Commissioner noted that this was a small building and more families place a burden on the schools; noted the community would benefit from a small area plan rather than the piecemeal development we currently have; thought this is a very good project; thought the amenity package was thin, and would like them to pull the sidewalk out further and do something special with the streetscape (as they have previously discussed doing); asked if this was the highest elevation apartment building in the city; asked if they could have some contiguous outdoor space between this property and the Valor building next door; noted that DDOT has been conducting a study on traffic safety of 41st between Wisconsin and Western; asked about the curb cut that is just to the south of this property; asked if they could eliminate the parking garage to add more apartment units; didn’t believe closing off 41st Street was a good idea but wants to slow down traffic coming off of Wisconsin Ave; noted that studio apartments could be considered a form of affordable housing in this neighborhood but worried that they could be used as Airbnb rental units; liked the affordable housing units and LEED Gold certification; and stated that this is a blighted spot that needs to be rectified.
They plan to file their application within the next couple of weeks and will forward their package to the Commission.
- Approval of January 2018 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the January 2018 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 $306.25.50 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services and $27.65 to FedEx for copying services. The expenditures were approved 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:04 pm by unanimous consent.