January 23, 2020, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened at 7:44 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
An attendee stated WMATA will host one community meeting and have two comment periods to discuss their proposal to eliminate bus routes including the D1, 30N and 30S on July 1. Commissioner Quinn stated that ANC3E will discuss this issue at our February meeting.
Jessica Green, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations announced that the Mayor will host a budget engagement telephone forum for Seniors on February 10 (call 202-442-8150 to reserve a spot), and in-person forums on February 18 in the Edgewood, February 20 at 6:30 PM at the UDC Student Center, and February 22 at the Kenilworth Recreation Center. Commissioner Quinn asked about the holiday tree collection process. Ms. Green stated that you can call 311 or email Ms. Green at email@example.com, to have the tree collected by DPW. Commissioner Bender asked Ms. Green if the Mayor would consider any budget resolutions the Commission might pass.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street (TMS) distributed the winter quarterly newsletter. She stated that Tenley Tuesday promotion is back (details can be found on their website https://tenleytownmainstreet.org) and they are accepting applications for small business grants. An attendee asked if the vaping store would be eligible for a grant.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Capt. Edward Bernat provided an update on crime for PSA 202. He stated that there has been a reduction in crime in PSA202, except in the categories of Thefts and Thefts from Autos. He stated that the 2nd Police District officers will be focusing on reducing property crime this year and will be implementing two new initiatives: business check notifications, where officers will check the doors, windows, etc. of businesses to make sure they are secure, and a false alarm card will be issued by any officer that responds to a false alarm at a business.
An attendee asked about the 2nd District Yahoo group. Commissioners asked: about the status of the crimes that occurred last month that involved guns; about a robbery on December 21 on the 5300 block of 41st St that does not appear in the police database; and for continuing traffic enforcement in Tenleytown and Friendship Heights and by the Wilson pool during evening rush hour. Capt. Bernat can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Update on GDS construction process and discussion of and possible vote on letter supporting GDS request to work on President’s Day and Emancipation Day
Chad Oursler with Davis Construction stated they have the enclosed most of the building and are in the process of installing the utilities. They would like to submit an application with DCRA to be able to work on both President’s Day, February 17, and Emancipation Day, April 16 so that they can keep to their construction schedule.
Attendees asked about the status of the McArthur Ave facility and about the status of the installation of the pocket park (delayed until the utilities are installed in the building). Commissioners asked if the installation of the traffic light at Wisconsin and Chesapeake slated for late spring could be completed sooner.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to authorize Commissioner Bender to write a letter in support of the work over the holidays. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Discussion of proposed changes to DC’s Comprehensive Plan
Commissioner Bender stated that DCs Comprehensive Plan is coming up for amendment and ANCs can submit comments until February 14. ANC3E will submit a resolution next month on the proposed changes to the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) and the Rock Creek West elements. Commissioner Quinn shared a rough draft of a resolution that is a list of amendments to the FLUM for our ANC. He suggested that in February, the Commission vote on whether we support, oppose, or support with modifications each amendment. Quinn also distributed copies of the Rock Creek West Element of the Comprehensive Plan. He further stated the Commission will also consider a separate resolution to change to zoning for the Lisner Home which was not listed as a proposed amendment to the FLUM.
The Commission then welcomed comments from those in attendance. Attendees:
- thought the current plan struck a good balance of development of buildings near single family homes and requested that the ANC ask the Office of Planning (OP) to restore the original language regarding development along Wisconsin Ave.;
- would like OP to increase the requirements for affordable housing;
- a number of attendees thought the process did not allow for adequate public input;
- would like to see more housing on Wisconsin Ave, believed most residents in the neighborhood would welcome this development, and would like the ANC to support most of the proposed amendments;
- Ruth Wattenberg, the Ward 3 Representative to the State Board of Education, stated that the Ward 3 schools are overcrowded, and the overcrowding will get worse over the next 10 years and suggested that proposed changes to the Comprehensive Plan take schools into account. Commissioner Ehrhardt asked if there was any evidence that more families are moving into apartments. She thought there was some evidence that families are moving into 2-bedroom apartments to have their children attend Wilson feeder schools;
- liked the way the city conducted the last Comprehensive Plan update;
- did not want to live in the shadow of a high-rise building;
- shared that in Montgomery County there was one public school student for every 10 apartments and 0.465 students for each single-family home;
- thought the proposed amendments were reasonable and if anything, were too moderate;
- thought the Commission should consider the impact the proposed changes would have on parking, traffic, and schools;
- thought that the area described by Amendment DCOP Tracking #2155.1 (Wisconsin Ave between the Tenleytown and Friendship Heights Metro stations) should maintain its R-1/R-2 status;
- thought the Commission should hold a special meeting to obtain input from the residents and questioned whether there was demand for these types of apartment buildings given that population growth in the city has slowed;
- thought the changes proposed to the Comprehensive Plan were written by developers;
- thought that changes to the FLUM will have an immediate impact on the neighborhood and that there was room for growth under the current zoning;
- thought that the demand to live in this neighborhood was reflected in high real estate prices and that if there are too many apartments, then the rents will fall which would be a good thing;
- would like to see developers build more 2- or 3-bedroom apartments at lower prices;
- thought that more young people would want to live in our neighborhood if there were more things to do. Others responded that there were many things to do in the neighborhood but that we could have more;
- thought that developers don’t build in our neighborhood because everything proposed is contested for at least five years;
- was concerned that the process threatens this community;
- stated that they live right off of Wisconsin Ave and supports the changes because a lack of density has kept better shops from moving into the neighborhood;
- wants more development like the Harrison condominium that fits into the character of the neighborhood and more 3-bedroom apartments;
- noted that there are many empty stores in the neighborhood; and
- would like to see a plan for schools incorporated in the Comprehensive Plan.
Commissioners: indicated support of the changes that are proposed and stated that regardless of what happens with the FLUM, the city will still have to deal with the school capacity issue; did not like comments about maintaining the “character of the neighborhood” because it was a classist/racist argument; would like to see more inclusive housing that included modifications for the disabled; and would want some of the retail space set aside for the community needs including performing art space and day care; would like to see the city set aside space for schools, parks and recreational facilities; would like to see a small area plan developed for this neighborhood; would like to see more affordable housing in the neighborhood; would like to see more developments offer more community benefits; thought we should support larger building that should come with community benefits; had comments regarding DCOP Tracking # 2095, #2155.14 and #2154.21; would like to know what the vacancy rates are on the affordable housing units in our neighborhood; stated that this was the whitest, richest and least affordable area of the city; stated that opponents of recent development projects were not willing to negotiate with developers; stated that the Commission has received just four emails from the community despite requesting it and one of them was arguably racist; noted that that city has been working on this since 2016, has received a lot of input from residents, that what is considered high-density in DC would never be considered high-density in any other city and adding density near Metro lines is good for the environment; would like to see more high-quality school clusters in other parts of the city and rezone some schools; suggested that DCOP Tracking #9976 be designated high-density as there are no residences are nearby.
Commissioner Bender stated that at the last meeting, Matt Frumin, Chairman of the Board at the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home discussed their plans to further develop part of their property to help shore up the organization’s finances and has asked the ANC to propose an amendment to the FLUM to allow for such. Commissioner Quinn distributed a draft resolution allowing for moderate-density residential development and low-density commercial development. Frumin stated that the low-density commercial development would allow them to have a convenience store and/or some doctors’ offices. The site is big but complicated because of heritage trees and noted that they would have to come back to the Commission with detailed plans for any project they are considering, to obtain a map amendment.
Attendees liked the idea of adding more affordable housing to the site and offered a suggested edit to the draft resolution. Commissioner Quinn stated that we don’t have a specific proposal before the Commission and did not want to open the door to something that can’t be controlled down the road.
Discussion of an application for relief from height requirements on fences in public space for already-erected non-compliant fence at 3848 Harrison St NW
Commissioner Quinn stated that the fence is at the intersection of 39th and Harrison. The homeowner has a swimming pool in the backyard and erected a 6-foot fence in the fall of 2018 that is right up against the sidewalk. The homeowner has proposed moving the fence back 12-feet but that would still be 3 feet into the public parking area and offered to change the design so that it would not be a solid fence. The issue will be heard at a later meeting when detailed plans are available.
- Election of officers – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to retain the current slate of officers. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of security resolution – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to participate in the security fund at the cost of $25. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of tentative meeting schedule for 2020 – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the tentative schedule to meet on the second Thursday of each month, except for August. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of December 2019 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the Draft December 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 $465.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support, $18.25 to FedEx for December copying, and $25 to the Security Fund. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of Q1 2020 Treasurer’s Report – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to approve the report. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:57 PM.