July 25, 2023, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:31 PM. Commissioners Bender, Carney, Denny, Ghosh, Gianinno, Hall 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
Natalie Avery, with the Friendship Heights Alliance, stated that they are in the last steps of obtaining long-term funding with both Montgomery County and DC. In the fall, they will be holding a mixer at Alley Cat and a movie series in the parking lot of the Fox 5 building.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Frumin, announced, the Councilmember introduced legislation to allow nurses with licenses in other states to practice in DC without having to obtain additional licenses. Frumin, his staff, and representatives from DC agencies will hold a workday in the Ward on July 26 at Dolan Uyghur in Cleveland Park. The 2nd District MPD will hold National Night Out events on August 1 at the Guy Mason Rec Center. On August 3rd, the National Building Museum will be holding a Ward event with free admission for Ward 3 residents.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last 30 days there was one robbery in CVS in Spring Valley and three motor vehicle thefts (two of the vehicles were recovered).
Attendees asked for traffic enforcement for cars traveling northbound on Wisconsin Ave that make illegal left turns onto River Rd and for stop sign enforcement on Van Ness Street by Turtle Park.
- Noted that members of the Kennedy Street Gang were arrested for a variety of crimes including the gunshots that were fired near Jackson-Reed High School last November.
- Asked for any updates into the investigations of the two cars that drove up 42nd St while firing guns at teach other, the murder at Connecticut and Nebraska, the murder at the illegal pot shop at Western and 45th, and the stabbing that may have been in self-defense at the Friendship Heights Metro station.
- Thanked police for help they provided to their son who had an incident at Chipotle.
- Made a request to the community that if students in the community are being loud, to approach them first to ask them to keep it down rather than calling the police first.
Lt Murphy can be reached via email at email@example.com if anyone has any questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote on application by consortium of faith organizations (including St. Columba’s) for $5,000 grant to bring “Undesign the Redline” to Tenleytown/Friendship Heights
At the April 2023 Meeting, Elizabeth Vaden presented a grant proposal for $5000 to bring the “Undesign the Redline” exhibit to the Tenleytown/ Friendship Heights area. The exhibit explains the history of redlining and its residual effects on neighborhood development and racial inequality. They will set up a community advisory group in the fall and the exhibit will be on display in the spring for at least two months. They have submitted grants to three other Ward 3 ANCs and have been asking businesses and other community groups to help sponsor the exhibit. They have been working with Commissioner Quinn, the OANC, and the vendor to make sure the grant meets the DC Government’s requirements. OANC confirmed the ANC can vote tonight and issue the check at a later date to meet the DC Grant spending requirements.
There were no questions or comments from attendees. Commissioners stated they were in support of the project.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the grant request. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on a resolution regarding a public space application by owners of 3900 Nebraska Ave (the former Swedish Ambassador’s residence) to install 2 new curb cuts and sidewalks along the 4400 block of Tindall St NW
Commissioner Gianinno stated that the proposal before the Commission is to install two curb cuts along Tindall St to support 12 homes that will be built on the grounds of the former Swedish Ambassador’s residence. She stated that the project is largely unobjectionable but Commissioners had some questions regarding sidewalks and the shared driveways. Commissioner Quinn noted that the proposal before the ANC is a public space application that regulates the space between the curb and the building restriction line and not about the homes themselves.
David Landsman, representing the owners, stated they would like to build 12 single-family, detached homes that will be linked via a shared driveway. They have been working with the ZA to make sure the project meets all zoning requirements. The curb cuts would be 20 feet-wide and the driveways would be 25-feet-wide to allow for a 5-foot-wide sidewalk to link to the homes. At the north part of the driveway, there will be a small, landscaped, traffic circle. They are still working on many of the project details. They are also working with DDOT to figure out how to put in a sidewalk along Tindall St that would accommodate the two large, existing sycamore trees.
- Asked if accessory dwelling units would be allowed on the lots. They could, but it would be difficult to add them given the proposed lot layouts.
- Asked if the six properties that are not directly on Tindall would have Tindall Street addresses (they would) and to show how those residents would access their properties.
- Asked if the driveway would be one-way. Landsman did not think it would.
- Asked if they would use the entrance to the property from Van Ness St. Landsman stated that entrance belongs to the US Army Corps of Engineers.
- Stated that they are cautiously optimistic about the plans.
- Asked if the houses along Tindall can have uniform fences. They can have cohesive fences.
- Asked if parking will be allowed along the shared driveway. It won’t because of fire truck access issues – the homes will have driveways and there is a pull-out area for additional parking.
- Asked if the utilities will be above or below ground. The utilities along Tindall will remain above ground and they will underground the utilities that serve the 12 homes.
- Asked if they will promise to build only 12 homes. They can commit to 13, which include the existing Swedish residence and the 12 new homes.
- Asked if they will they restore the wetlands. They do want to remove the invasives and will work to improve it.
- Asked what they will you do to save the trees and what will happen if the transplanted trees don’t survive. They will comply with the DC Urban Forestry Division regulations and will be working with a specialty tree mover, etc.
- Asked if the fence along Tindall will remain or be removed. It will be removed.
- Asked if they will be putting in sidewalks along the length of Tindall St. They will install the sidewalk along most of the length of the property.
- Asked if the fronts or back of the houses will face the internal driveway. The homes have not been designed.
- Asked for clarification on where the Building Restriction Line is to help determine what kind of fence can be built along Tindall. Landsman stated there is no BRL for this property but instead, there is a highway plan that has a 15-foot setback back from Tindall St. They plan to have all of the homes set back 35-40 feet from the street.
- Asked if they need two curb cuts to access the driveway or if they can use just one curb cut. They would have to have a very large turnaround for firetrucks and delivery trucks if they just had one curb cut and they cannot accommodate that turnaround.
- Stated they would have liked to have seen a more fleshed out design.
- Asked if they would agree to the three conditions on the draft resolution. Landsman stated they will commit to them. Commissioner Quinn then made edits to the draft resolution reflecting the fact that the developer agreed to the conditions.
- Noted that a shared driveway, that is 2-way and is 25-feet-wide sounds like a street.
- Asked if there will be a distinct sidewalk that connects the 6 back homes to Tindall St or a woonerf (shared street for pedestrians and cars). Landsman stated there will be a distinct sidewalk.
- Asked how the six homes that are not along Tindall St will have street frontage. The ZA has given them a Zoning Determination Letter that confirms that their original plan to have 16 odd shaped lots that give the back homes street frontage on the northwest corner around the wetlands would be allowed. They have verbal approval for the updated, 12-lot plan.
- Asked if they are seeking historic designation for the property as a whole or just for the main house. Landsman stated they are working with the DC Preservation League on the designation of the main house.
Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the Resolution as amended in support of the curb cuts. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application by owners of Chevy Chase Pavilion to alter elements of the streetscape adjacent to their property in public space
Commissioner Bender stated that the Commission will be voting on this issue in September. Sean O’Connor and Andrew Robertson presented their plans to add a wheelchair ramp along Wisconsin Ave, in front of the new grocery store. O’Connor stated that DDOT was supportive of the ramp but asked them to add benches, bike racks, and a landscape strip in the middle of the sidewalk. They will be working with Friendship Heights Alliance on the design.
Attendees asked if Federal Realty was going add some landscaping elements in front of this building (Federal Realty will be adding new trees in the existing beds) and which grocer will be renting the space (O’Connor cannot disclose who the grocer is at this time).
Commissioners asked them to include benches and bike racks along Wisconsin Ave and noted that the Wisconsin Ave Future Plan Analysis will publish streetscape plans in September.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding the PUD application by Wesley Seminary
Rev David McAlister Wilson, President of Wesley Seminary, and John Patrick Brown, Land Use Attorney, described the Wesley Campus Plan and Planned Unit Development (PUD). Their zoning hearing will take place on September 11. The Campus Plan was filed in 2022 and the Zoning Commission (ZC) suggested to Wesley that because they were proposing to have a new dormitory built by a private entity and rent rooms to AU students, they would be better served filing the Campus Plan as a PUD. The proposed dormitory will replace 90 beds in an existing, outdated dorm and will have 659 beds in 216 units, of which 66 beds (13%) will be Inclusionary Zoning (IZ). Wesley is proposing to install a landscape buffer along University Ave, new landscaping along Massachusetts Ave, install sidewalks along University Ave and close off University Ave to most traffic. Under the PUD, Wesley is seeking relief from setback requirements at a notch in their property line along their boundary with AU and to be allowed to establish a privately administered IZ program for the proposed dormitory that would be open to Wesley and AU students. The IZ program will be overseen by Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
Amenities they are offering include: keeping Wesley in DC; maintaining 55% of the campus (278,000 sq ft) as green space; increasing on-campus housing for students; close the University Avenue driveway except to a limited number of service vehicles; make a campus meeting room available for community groups from 6-10 pm most evenings; install a playground that will be available to the neighborhood along University Ave; and will meet LEED gold requirements.
Erwin Andres with Gorove Slade shared their transportation plan. He stated that students have relatively low trip generation and essentially use campus parking as car storage and noted that there was an earlier recommendation to close University Ave during peak hours. Wesley is proposing closing it except for deliveries.
- Noted that PUDs are not matter of right and can be modified at a later date.
- Thought that the IZ rules would only apply to the AU students living in the new dorm. Wesley replied it would apply to all beds in the building and therefore available to Wesley students and believe the Wesley students are more likely to qualify because for IZ because they are financially independent from their parents.
- Asked if Wesley has had any discussions with AU regarding the dorm. They have not.
- Asked why the new housing would not be open to other college students that might want to live there. Wesley believes they could fill the housing with AU students that would be within walking distance to their campus.
- Asked if the new building is subject to both the Campus Plan and the PUD. Both the Campus Plan and PUD are parallel and encompass the entire campus.
- Asked how IZ eligibility would be calculated for students and how they would factor in financial aid. They would use the Federal Financial Aid Forms in some instances.
- If parking is paid for separately or if it would be included in the room rental. The parking will be unbundled from room rental and will be at market rates.
- Noted that Wesley has an existing dorm that they plan to maintain but wondered what would happen if the Wesley students moved to the new dorm and the old dorm is empty. They do not think the 2014 dorm will compete with the new one.
- Asked for clarification on the number of parking spaces. They currently have 179 spaces of which 31 will remain after construction. The new building will have 363 spaces across 2 levels of which 105 will go to Wesley and 258 will be assigned to the residents of the new dormitory. Multiple Commissioners stated they thought there were too many parking spaces included in the proposal.
- Multiple Commissioners stated they thought closing the University Ave exit is a bad idea.
- Would like to see some campus serving retail, such as a mini-mart or restaurant, in the ground level retail in the dorm.
- Did not think the playground was an amenity as there is a large playground across the street and a new playground is being installed at 49th St and Massachusetts Ave with a new daycare center and would rather have a community garden, pickleball courts or a basketball court rather than a small subset to use playground.
- Would like to see the IZ requirements generated with input from DHCD.
- Still doesn’t understand why if this is for AU students, Wesley is not engaging with AU.
- Asked when this would be opened. Fall of 2026.
- Approval of June 2023 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Gianinno seconded a motion to approve the Draft June 2023 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of $445.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 11:19 PM.