June 13, 2019, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened at 7:38 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 that a while ago, the city inspected the alley behind the Spring Valley Shopping Center and issued an order to Wagshal’s to have it cleaned up. DPW and representatives from the Mayor’s Office recently re-inspected the alley and found no violations. The attendee shared pictures of the alley and thanked those that were responsible for getting this done. Commissioner Bender said that Commissioners Quinn and McHugh were responsible for repeatedly asking DPW to inspect the alley.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street (TMS), distributed copies of their latest newsletter. She also announced that the Get Fit at Fessenden Series is a series of low impact fitness classes that runs Saturday mornings through July at 9 am at Fessenden Park. The suggested donation for the classes is $10 and goes towards maintenance of the park. There will also be a Bastille Day celebration on Saturday July 13 from 2 to 4 pm at Fessenden Park. More information can be found at www.tenleytownmainstreet.orgor via their app.
Jessica Wertheim, the Ward 3 Mayor’s Representative announced Mayor Bowser and Pepco will be celebrating the DC PLUG groundbreaking on Friday June 14 at noon on Brandywine St between Western Ave and 49thSt. The Mayor will be making remarks at DC Housing Expo and Home Show on Saturday June 15 at the Washington Convention Center. There will be a District of Pride event at the Lincoln Theatre at 8 PM on June 22. DDOT has started resurfacing Massachusetts Ave from Ward circle to 48thStreet. Ms. Wertheim stated that he helped organize the alley walk behind the Spring Valley Shopping center. The alley is in good shape and they are waiting on information from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding a ground water testing program and contents of the yellow, 55-gallon drums on Yuma Street behind the gas station.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Sgt. Bray from the 2ndDistrict provided an update on police activity and crime in PSA 202. There was a homicide/suicide in the neighborhood last week. It was a domestic violence case with no danger to the public. There were two burglaries at the music store that were closed with an arrest. There were also burglaries at 5001 38thStreet and at Neiman Marcus.
There were no questions from those in attendance. Commissioners asked: for stop sign enforcement at Turtle Park on Van Ness Street during the evening rush hour; about repeated thefts from pharmacies; for information on two traffic incidents; and for traffic enforcement along Wisconsin Ave during afternoon rush hour.
Update on DC Plug initiative to underground power lines in the area
Laisha Doherty with Pepco Community Outreach Manager introduced her team. The program is an initiative to underground vulnerable electrical distribution lines. The project started in May and they expect the work to last for about a year. The biggest impact to the community will be loss of parking in the construction area. After the conduit work is done, the streets will be repaved 60-90 days later. Work started at Western & Brandywine, 49thSt between Brandywine & Chesapeake, and Fessenden between 44thand 45thand will expand out from there and will take place between 7 am and 7 pm. They are conducting outreach on impacted blocks including phone calls 15 days prior to construction starting, door hangers 7 days prior to construction starting, and putting up no parking signs 72 hours before construction starting. The groundbreaking ceremony will be taking place on Brandywine St between Western and 49that noon tomorrow.
An attendee asked if gas work on 4500 block of Harrison St is connected to this project and stated a sink hole has developed on the temporary street patch. Commissioners asked if there will be extra space in the conduits for future expansion and if PEPCO could add a one-page information sheet above the no parking signs to provide information to the neighbors.
Discussion with attendees of suggested uses for Chesapeake House, which will be restored pursuant to agreement ANC 3E negotiated with UIP Development
Commissioner Bender stated that the Chesapeake house may be the last remaining building from Reno City. It is owned by the National Park Service and has been deteriorating for many years. Unfortunately, the National Park Service has an $11 billion deferred maintenance backlog and has no funding available to rehabilitate the building itself. UIP, as part of the community amenity package the ANC negotiated for UIP’s PUD at 4620 Wisconsin Ave, agreed to provide the funding to restore the building to a warm lit shell. Pursuant to the Zoning Commission order on the PUD, the ANC must ensure that the ultimate use Chesapeake House is put to adequately serves the public interest.
Julia Washburn, Superintendent of Rock Creek Park stated that a historic structures report for the building has been complete and the property is eligible to be registered on the National Register of Historic Places. The first floor will be made handicap accessible, but the second floor cannot be made handicap accessible. The NPS has replaced the roof and they are finalizing the donation agreement and design details with UIP. There are a couple of options for the space: the NPS can run and operate the space if it were used in a manner that is consistent with their mission; the NPS can lend it to a community organization for a short period of time; or the NPS can rent it out for market rent. One of the ideas that has been suggested is that there would be a visitor center on the first floor dedicated to the Circle Fort Parks and Reno City, while the upstairs could be available to an appropriate non-profit organization. NPS might be able to waive any rent in exchange for help in running and/or maintaining the building. NPS envisions that the first floor, and perhaps part of the second, could be made available for additional community functions after hours and on weekends.
Attendees: proposed that the building be turned into a community music studio; asked if the NPS was going to staff the building; would like to see it turned into a performance space; asked if an income generating business could be run on the property; asked if it could be used as a shared work space for non-profits; would like to see a visitor center for Tenleytown more broadly including the history of Ft Reno and Reno City, through the civil rights era, to events that are going on now in the neighborhood using art displays to tell the story and have the second floor available as office space to non-profit organizations; noted that the challenge will be to find the revenue source to help run the building; would like to have the space be made available to the Tenleytown Historic Society to do public presentations in the space; and asked who would be responsible for ongoing maintenance.
Commissioners: suggested using the Wilson HS hospitality academy to help staff the building; asked if the space behind it could be used for outdoor performance space; would like to see someone with a vested interest in the community, such as Tenleytown Main Street, Tenleytown Historical Society or the Rock Creek Conservancy, use the office portion of the space if space will, in fact, be devoted to office use; liked the idea of the space being available to the community for art/music/community events even if it is just one day a week; liked the idea of having Wilson Students be docents for the space; asked if rental fees would go to maintain the building or to the general fund of The Treasury Department; asked if they could waive rents for long periods of time; asked if space could be carved out for a concession stand for the ball fields; and asked if the upstairs could be used as a conference room.
Discussion of and possible vote on grant from Wilson HS PTSO for support of initiative to purchase special physics lab equipment
This item was tabled because the DC Office of ANCs stated that the grant, as written, would not be allowed.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application from residents of 4820 Nebraska Avenue NW for a special exception to permit relief from yard setback requirements to add an enclosed front porch
Commissioner Quinn stated the applicant, the owner of 4820 Nebraska Ave, would like to replace the front stoop with a porch. The property is zoned R-1-B and is therefore required to have side yard clearance. The property has no side yard as it is part of a duplex and should probably have been zoned R-2 instead of R-1-B. The applicant has a letter of support from the owners of the other half of the duplex and no neighbors have objected to the project. It has not been designated as a historic structure.
Attendees had no questions. Commissioner Bender asked if the stoop is original to the house, wondered if the house should be designated as a historic property, and if so, if that should have any bearing on the resolution.
Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support the application. The motion was approved 5-0-0. Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support the submission of the form 1050 requesting the Board of Zoning accept the resolution within 7 days of the hearing.
Discussion of removing and redesignating some parking spaces around 4001 Brandywine St regarding and possible vote on resolution regarding same
Commissioner Ehrhardt stated that three tenants’ clients (a physical therapist, a daycare center and an OB/GYN office) had problems accessing the building at 4001 Brandywine St. At meetings in March and May the tenants stated they would like parking spots in front of the building be redesignated to create a drop off/pick up zone in front of the building. The ANC did a site visit with the occupants, building owner, representatives of the Mayor’s office, and DDOT present and they all agreed to: add a red top handicap parking meter on the block; remove three spaces in front of the building to create a drop off/pick up zone; redesignate two spaces that are currently allocated for Zip Car but are not being used by them; add three more metered parking spaces on the south side of Brandywine St in an area that is currently a no parking zone. The occupants are asking for a letter of support from the ANC stating the ANC supports the removal of the parking meters/spaces in front of the building.
Attendees had no questions. Commissioners asked if the request would include the installation of a handicap ramp and thought that parents dropping off kids at the daycare center would monopolize the spaces during drop off and pick up times.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to authorize Commissioner Ehrhardt to write a letter in support of the above listed items. The motion was approved 5-0-0.
- Approval of May 2019 meeting minutes – A few edits were made to the draft Minutes. Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Ehrhardt seconded a motion to approve the amended May 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 $50.00 to FedEx Office for copying services and $498.40 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:08 PM.