ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3E
TENLEYTOWN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY PARK
c/o Lisner Home 5425 Western Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20015
Minutes of July 12, 2012 ANC 3E Meeting
The meeting convened at 7:40 pm. Commissioners Bender, Frumin, Quinn, Serebin and Sklover were present.
Announcements and Open Forum
An attendee voiced his concern about the delays in sidewalk and roadway construction abutting Janney Elementary School. He noted that the original schedule for completing construction was slated for summer 2011 but has met with repeated delays. In the meantime, he stated that parking on 42nd Street NW has been restricted from late June to early August during construction of the sidewalks. He said he has made inquiries about the delays to DDOT and Councilwoman Cheh’s office. Commissioner Frumin asked that the attendee send an email to the commissioners with the names and contact information of the district officials he has contacted so that the ANC could follow up on the inquiries.
A resident noted that since the switchover to a four-way stop at the intersection of Yuma and 46th Street NW he has observed a noticeable reduction in speeding on those streets. Commissioner Sklover asked that he send her an email with his comment.
Presentation by the architects of plans for the modernization of the Reno School and its connection to Deal Middle School
Ronnie McGhee of R. McGee & Associates gave a detailed presentation on the plans for modernizing Jesse Reno School (“Reno School”), located at 4820 Howard Street, NW, and its connection to Deal Middle School (“Deal”).
Mr. McGhee explained that due to budget issues the original design, although approved, has subsequently gone through five iterations and has been scaled back in scope. The plans now call for a slightly smaller building; the final budget of $12 to $14 million has been pared back to a proposed final budget of $8.4 million. Reno school is adjacent to Deal Middle School; the new plan will integrate Reno School into one middle school campus.
The plans call for adding 10 new classrooms for a 25,000 square feet addition, with LEED Silver certification. The building will have geothermal heating and cooling system, a skylight and a green roof. The new building (with two classrooms nearby in the Deal building) will house three new teams of four classrooms. The project will provide needed new core program educational space to Deal; with 12,900 SF rehabilitated and restored two stories at Reno School and a 10,306 SF new two-story addition adjacent the Deal. The Reno School addition including in the two classrooms nearby in Deal used by the three new teams will accommodate 300 students. At completion, Deal will house 1,200 students.
The design development is slated for completion October 2012; construction should begin July 2103, with a project completion date of August 2014.
Commissioners asked how project leaders have engaged the community about their plans. Mr. McGhee said they have not yet shared their revised plans with a SIT team at Deal or with the community.
Commissioners said that the demands on schools in the Northwest DC area are huge and that overcrowding is an extremely pressing issue and that the modernization was important because it could help address those issues.
A commissioner asked for a cost breakdown of the funds spent for each iteration of the renovation plan for Reno School and its various elements; whether the money spent over time has been cost effective; and if the funds should perhaps be better spent building another school. City officials said they would provide the requested information.
Commissioners recommended that project leaders work closely with the Deal community before finalizing the design. Commissioners discussed drafting a letter of support. One commissioner requested that the letter include a request that HPRB address the issue of overcrowding in Ward 3 schools. Another commissioner was not comfortable with the costs associated with the project and requested more details about how the funds were being spent. The commissioners voted 3-1-1 to approve drafting a letter of support, with one commissioner abstaining and one commissioner objecting.
Presentation of the plans for the expansion of the National Presbyterian School
Karin Flynn, CFO of the National Presbyterian School, and architect Bill Spack from cox grae + spack presented the plans for the expansion of the school at 4121 Nebraska Avenue, NW, a co-ed elementary school founded in 1969 as the educational mission of the National Presbyterian Church.
The goal of the expansion is to grow the school from the current enrollment cap of 260 students to 320 students in 10 years, increase staff from 40 to 70, and in doing so remain sustainable and financially solvent. She said a draft traffic statement developed by Gorove/Slade indicates that the expansion will have no detrimental impacts on the surrounding traffic and parking and noted that all pick-up and drop-off will be on site.
Ms. Flynn explained that the school is currently cramped and they have re-arranged their current space to accommodate school needs. Given the constraints caused by their current situation they developed plans for expansion and submitted an application to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (“BZA”) in June 2012. They expect a hearing on their application in fall 2012. Pursuant to the application, the school is seeking 9,000 square feet of infill and new construction, adding onto the existing site of 40,000 square feet. Plans include a courtyard infill; a third floor addition; a revised front entrance plaza; conversion of existing building for school purposes; and a temporary modular classroom structure. The full cost is estimated to be in the range of $3 to $5 million. Construction is expected to begin summer 2014 with an estimated completion date of fall 2015.
Commissioners raised several issues, including age requirements for the school; waitlists; if preference could be given to children living within walking distance of the school; the relationship of the school to the church; and the school’s religious studies program.
Commissioners also asked whether the school would help facilitate a meeting with the National Presbyterian Church about consider supporting creating a safer bike path along Nebraska Avenue, possibly on church land parallel to the sidewalk along New Mexico Avenue, and whether the school offered any incentives to parents to use public transportation. Ms. Flynn said the church owns all of the land including their buildings and that consideration of a bike path should be conducted in tandem with the church. She also noted that the school pays for teachers to use Metro but offers no other incentives.
Commissioners asked what steps the school was taking to interface with the community and urged the school to continue with outreach. John Lewis Taylor from the National Presbyterian Church said that he had made inquiries to Councilwomen Cheh’s office about repairing sidewalks and commissioners said perhaps they could be fixed while installing a bike path.
A commissioner asked about whether the school was considering green construction and Ms. Flynn said it was too early in the planning process.
The commissioners expressed tentative support for the expansion and noted that there was time to make alterations to construction plans, if needed. The commission’s goal would be to draft a resolution for the September meeting and discuss issues such as green construction, the bike path, and neighborhood incentives before that date.
Presentation by City officials regarding deployment of traffic enforcement cameras and solicitation of suggestions for sites for such enforcement measures in ANC 3E
Lisa Sutter, program manager for the MPD’s Traffic Safety & Specialized Enforcement Branch, gave a presentation about the introduction of portable speed cameras in the District, hopefully in fall 2012, and asked for recommendations for sites in the area where such cameras would be best deployed. Ms. Sutter said portable speed units were installed throughout the City in fall 2011 and have made a dramatic impact in traffic safety. During the 1990’s there were on average 60 to 70 traffic fatalities each year; 40 in 2009; 33 in 2001, and this year to date there have been 9 fatalities. She described several types of enforcement: stop signs (preventing rolling stops); gridlock (failure to clear intersection); speeding; speeding at intersections; pedestrian/crosswalk enforcement; enforcement of turn restrictions; and motor carrier violations (oversized or overweight vehicles, trucks remaining on designated truck routes). MPD is working with DDOT to select intersections and install more signage at key crosswalks and intersections. Ms. Sutter noted that the cost to install a permanent photo enforcement box is $100,000. Ms. Sutter explained that newer “fixed” speed cameras can be moved and are re-deployed to new locations after negative behavior is reduced. Police cars equipped with cameras are also deployed throughout the City.
An attendee who has lived on River Road NW for 33 years said that additional speed cameras and photo enforcement along River Road is badly needed.
The commissioners discussed a number of issues, including cost recovery for the new portable cameras; the fact that the new cameras are automated; and that Ward 3 likely could expect 3 to 4 cameras at most in the near term. Another commissioner said that stop sign enforcement was needed near Turtle Park. Commissioners also suggested added enforcement at the Fessenden Street/River Road/45th Street NW intersection and on 42nd Street NW near St. Columba and Janney Elementary School. Ms. Sutter requested that commissioners send her a list of recommendations as soon as possible for locations to re-deploy speed cameras or install new cameras when available.
Consideration of a resolution responding to a DDOT Notice of Intent to make 44th and Davenport Streets, NW a four-way stop
Commissioner Bender introduced the resolution and explained that DDOT has issued a Notice of Intent on June 14, 2012 to install a four-way stop sign at the intersection of 44th and Davenport Streets, NW. DDOT did not give the ANC 3E clear notice that an analysis was underway, which has been the case for installation of other stop signs in ANC 3E’s jurisdiction as well, and that DDOT’s priority setting process is opaque. The resolution noted that the commission supports the installation of the four-way stop sign at the intersection of 44th and Davenport Streets but also calls on the Director of DDOT to provide reports as soon as they are issued to the ANC 3E and formally notify the ANC 3E when it begins study of an intersection within ANC 3E boundaries. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Consideration of a resolution calling for an effort increasingly to underground of utility wires
Commissioner Serebin presented the resolution, which supports efforts to underground as many utility lines as practicable and calls on the City Council to launch a process to evaluate the priorities, costs and potential funding mechanisms to do so. He noted that power outages have been most severe in the 20016 and 20015 zip codes, which are within and adjacent to ANC 3E; elevated utility lines contribute to aggressive pruning of the tree canopy by Pepco; and that many major cities and regions within DC have undergrounded utilities, showing that undergrounding can be done affordably. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Consideration of a resolution to encourage increased reliance on solar energy
Commissioner Quinn introduced the resolution supporting pending legislation before the City Council, titled the Community Renewables Energy Act of 2012, to additional local consumers of electricity to purchase locally sourced solar electricity without additional costs to DC taxpayers or ratepayers. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution.
Consideration of application by Tanad Thai to ABRA for a Retailer’s Class “C” Restaurant liquor license
Commissioner Bender presented the resolution and explained that Tanad Thai, formerly known as 4912 Thai Cuisine, now run by the original’s owner son, is seeking a liquor license. He added that commissioners have received no complaints about the restaurant or its temporary stipulated liquor license. The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the resolution supporting issuance of the requested license.
Commissioners unanimously approved the June 2012 minutes.
Commissioners unanimously approved the June Treasurer’s reports and the 2012 Third Quarter Treasurer’s report.
Commissioners unanimously approved expenditures: $500 to Loren Stein for administrative services; $99.17 to Gregory Fields for work on the website; $15.17 to Federal Express.
The commission adjourned at 11:15pm.
Matthew Frumin, Chair