January 14, 2021, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:35 PM. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, 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
Commissioner Bender announced that DDOT was unavailable to attend the meeting and the installation of sidewalks along Belt Road will be addressed at a meeting. An attendee asked where the sidewalks would be installed. Commissioner Quinn stated that they would be installed between Ellicott and Fessenden. Bender introduced Commissioner Cohen to those in attendance.
Two attendees stated that a group of neighbors formed an ad-hoc group to review the River School’s plan to build a new, 6-level, school building at the Buchanan Estate which sits at the intersection of Van Ness St, Nebraska Ave and 42nd St. The group has concerns about the construction, traffic, and noise the school would bring, and the impact on a historic property. Some of the neighbors met with representatives of the school and they are concerned the school will not take their input into account. The school will be placed along the perimeter rather than in the interior of the property and they are concerned about the loss of the vegetative screening the property currently has along Nebraska Ave. The group is also concerned that GDS and AU have made commitments to the neighborhood that have not been honored. Commissioner Bender stated that GDS will update the community later in the meeting about the operations of their consolidated campus at a later meeting and asked what issues they have with the AU Law School. Commissioner McHugh stated he has spoken to some of the nearby residents and will be meeting with more to learn about their specific concerns. Commissioner Bender noted that the ANC would likely include the school’s proposal on one or more agenda’s going forward, so there would be ample opportunities for residents and Commissioners to explore the issues further.
Emir Gur-Ravantab, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- The COVID vaccine is now available to residents aged 65 and over and they hope to make vaccines available to those who work in public safety, grocery stores and anyone working in school or child-care settings starting on January 25. The current plan is to make the vaccine available to those with chronic conditions and other categories of essential workers on February 21. Residents can sign up of email and text alerts at http://vaccinate.dc.gov and residents without internet access can call 855-363-0333 or 311 for vaccine information.
- The Mayor has asked people to not come to DC for the inauguration next week.
- Indoor dining is still paused until next week. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 10.
- The DC Bridge fund to help businesses effected by coronavirus is still accepting applications.
- DCPS is hoping to have children back in classrooms starting on February 1.
Attendees asked questions about seniors having difficulty signing up for vaccines. Mr. Gur-Ravantab can be reached at email@example.com or 202-340-7853 with any additional questions or concerns.
Jonathan Willingham, Chief of Staff to Councilmember Cheh, added that the city will probably NOT open vaccines to the next bracket until more people in category 1B are able to get vaccinated. Attendees asked why there was limited vaccine capacity in Ward 3 and for a list of vaccine sites in the Ward 3, but he said that they will not publish them for various reasons. Commissioner Hall asked about roads and bridges being shut down for the inauguration. Commander Bedlion said residents can check http://inauguration.dc.gov for street and bridge closures.
An attendee asked for clarification about an earlier comment that implied the AU Law School was non-compliant on their traffic plan. He stated that the community can attend the CLC committee meetings to have those concerns addressed. The attendee who made the original comment was no longer on the call, but someone else stated that students are parking in the neighborhood and that the AU Law School was a big project that had many impacts on the community.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Commander Bedlion, of the Second District provided an update on crime in PSA 202. He stated that he was very proud of the 2D officers who responded to the call for help from Capitol Police last week. He stated that there have been four armed robberies in the area in the last two weeks and they have made some arrests. On Monday night there were three car-jackings, the first occurred in Georgetown, and the other two were in our PSA at 47th and Alton and at 43rd and Alton. Officers did spot one of the stolen cars and were able to arrest one person. He has been linked to 3 other car-jackings and at least 1 other Robbery. They are looking for the other suspects and the group might be linked to more robberies. There was one other robbery on the 4900 block of Wisconsin Ave at Pizza Bolis. The suspect had a gun and took money from the cash register. The police are asking for help from the public. Anyone can send an anonymous text, including any images or videos, to 50411.
Attendees: asked for an update on the murder that occurred on Western Ave this fall (it appeared to have been a targeted assault related to drug dealing and the investigation is still ongoing) and the one that occurred on the 4900 block of Connecticut Ave (they have a person of interest); asked if the 2 murders are related to the car-jackings (he didn’t believe so); asked about nuisance crimes in the area (they made 35 arrests last year for thefts from autos and asked the community to not leave anything visible in cars, to make sure cars are locked, and to not leave cars running; asked about car-jacking on Military Rd; asked about burglaries, robberies and graffiti in commercial areas; asked how the expected reduction in MPD officers both through attrition and by the cuts in budget will affect the Second District (Mr. Willingham replied that a lot of thought goes into the budget and the budget cuts to the MPD are in the out-years); and asked about robberies at CVS stores in the area.
Commissioners: asked if police bulletins can be sent to ANC commissioners rather than just posted on NextDoor (Bedlion said they could but they might not be able to send it the same day); thanked MPD for their work, especially last week at the Capitol; asked about graffiti in the residential areas near Fort Bayard; stated that they usually notice a spike in crimes in Friendship Heights around the Christmas season and was wondering if there is a way to plan in advance to cut it off; asked whether if there was any intelligence about white supremacist terrorists attacking infrastructure in the area and asked what residents should watch for (the Commander had stated MPD was on guard against such attacks).
Commander Bedlion reminded residents that the private camera incentive program is still available and encouraged residents to participate. He stated that if anyone had concerns, they can reach the 2D Watch Commander at 202-727-9299 and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update by Georgetown Day School on opening of its newly-combined K-12 campus and issues associated with it
Russell Shaw, Head of School at GDS, provided an update on the operation of the school. They started bringing the youngest students back to school in November and the High School students have been back on campus for a total of 9 days. He stated that due to the Coronavirus, GDS was forced to rethink their transportation plans for this year. They paused their public transportation and car-pooling programs for both students and staff. They are running buses, but at ¼ capacity. The school was required to conduct traffic counts but both DDOT and their traffic consultants concurred that it does not make sense to do traffic counts this year as they have fewer students and staff coming to campus each day than expected and they are staggering the arrivals and departures of each division to avoid congestion in the drop-off/pick-up areas. Arrivals and pickups have been complicated by having to view the daily screenings results before students can exit the cars and they cannot have a massing of kids waiting for their parents for pickup. They were using part of the garage for lunch but that pushed some queueing onto 42nd St.
Mr. Shaw also stated that the traffic light at Chesapeake and Wisconsin is in place, but they are waiting for Pepco to connect the electricity and for DDOT to turn it on. The playground still had some punch-list items and will be open to the community in February. He also stated that the monthly Town Halls that are open to the community and the next ones will be held on February 10 and on March 10.
Attendees: asked about afternoon queues along 42nd St and onto Wisconsin (they are working on this with parents and the security team and they believe parents are arriving on campus too early); asked why the traffic pattern changed at 42nd (it was requested by DDOT and the Commission); stated that GDS has so far been responsive to his concerns but we really won’t know how good the plan is until the campus is fully occupied; and thanked them for the park at Wisconsin Ave and 42nd St.
Commissioners: asked if the River Rd entrance to the garage is open and if so, asked why traffic was backed up along 42nd St (it is open and with the new traffic pattern parents didn’t know where they could go); asked for clarification about whether the playground is open yet; asked if the pedestrian gate is open on 43rd (it is); asked for more clarification about the dismissal problems (they cannot have 80 kids waiting in the hallway and they used some of the garage space to allow the students to social distance which limited the number of cars that could queue up in the garage); stated that DDOT has been slow in turning on new traffic lights; and asked them to work co-operatively with the community when making decisions regarding traffic and other issues addressed in the zoning order and MOU with the Commission
Discussion of draft resolutions regarding accessibility issues in DC housing and what local government can do to better foster environmental sustainability
Commissioner Bender stated that they hope to have panelists to further speak about these issues next month. Commissioner Hall stated that she often hears developers state that their buildings are ADA compliant but that is not the same as being fully accessible to a disabled resident. The Commissioners would like developers in the area to do more toward these goals. Commissioner Hall stated that there are draft resolutions regarding housing accessibility and environmental sustainability on the ANC3E website and asked residents for comments before next month’s meeting.
Attendees brought up accessibility issues for hearing impaired residents and asked about access to parking for mobility impaired. Commissioners stated they should invite Councilmember Cheh to the next meeting because she sits on the DC Environmental Committee and stated that we can do more by way of transportation and Ward 3 is falling behind other areas by way of bike lanes.
Presentation by DDOT regarding proposal to install sidewalks along Belt Road at Ft. Reno
This item will be addressed at a later meeting.
- Approval of December 2021 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve the Draft December 2020 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Election of officers – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to retain the current slate of officers with Commissioner Cohen taking over Vice-Chair from Commissioner McHugh. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of security fund resolution – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to participate in the security fund resolution at the cost of $25. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of the tentative meeting schedule. Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to reapprove the tentative meeting schedule for 2021. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve payments of $360.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support and $25 for the Security Fund Resolution. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of FY2021 Q 1 Treasurer’s Report – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the report. The report was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:15 PM.