Chairperson Frumin convened the meeting at 7:05 pm.
Commissioners Frumin, Bender, Eldridge, and Sklover were present. Commissioner Serebin was absent because of illness
Commissioner Sklover moved adoption of the February Minutes and Treasurer’s Report. Commissioner Eldridge moved adoption of the Quarterly Treasurers Report. Commissioner Bender moved adoption of amended Grant Guidelines and a motion to approve payment to Diana Winthrop. All these motions passed unanimously.
Ellicott Street resident Tom Hall raised concern about increased parking outside residences after longer meter hours were implemented for nearby metered spots. Commissioner Bender opined that some readjustment of residential permit parking hours may be appropriate, and suggested that the ANC consider placing this issue on a future agenda. Commissioners informally agreed to do so.
Lt. Alan Hill took over PSA 202 in March. Lt. Hill reported that overall crime has declined in PSA 202, but stated that burglaries have increased sharply. He noted that a few additional officers had been assigned to patrol several PSAs in upper NW DC where the burglaries have been occurring. Lt. Hill believes some of the perpetrators are local teenagers because they appear to know how to get away from crimes they commit quickly. Residents may contact Lt. Hill at email@example.com, 202-715-7361 (direct desk number), or 202-506-0662 (cell).
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OFF-CAMPUS CONDUCT ISSUES
Gayle Hanson, AU’s Vice President for Student Life, spoke about AU’s approach to student conduct problems. She contended that AU’s conduct code was adequate to AU’s task.
Residents, commissioners, and Lt. Hill summarized longstanding problems with certain houses rented by AU students. In particular, they noted that the students were able to create severe disturbances but avoid MPD enforcement by quieting and refusing to answer the door when MPD arrived.
Under questioning by Commissioner Bender and others, Ms. Hanson admitted that AU’s conduct code enabled the university to address misconduct on campus that fell short of provable violations of DC law, but did not permit the university to address such misconduct off campus. Commissioners Frumin, Bender, and Sklover responded that this constituted a material gap in AU’s authority. If AU expected the ANC to support any expansion of AU’s enrollment and presence in the community, they continued, AU would need to close this gap. Ms. Hanson agreed to pursue such changes, but said she did not expect them to be adopted before students returned in September. Commissioners asked AU to accelerate this process, in light both of the immediate problems faced by residents and the schedule for AU’s new Campus Plan. Ms. Hanson stated that she would see if this was possible. Per Commissioner Bender’s request, Penny Pagano, AU’s Vice President for Community Relations, promised to update the Commission at its next meeting on AU’s progress.
PETE’S NEW HAVEN STYLE APIZZA BEER AND WINE LICENSE APPLICATION
A Pete’s representative presented Pete’s application for a license to serve beer and wine until 12:00 am at the restaurant it intends to open at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Fessenden Street. The license would permit sidewalk café service in front of the restaurant on both the Wisconsin and Fessenden sides.
A longtime Fessenden Street resident, Kathy Quirk, expressed concern about noise and other potential harm associated with the application. She worried that Pete’s operation might resurrect problems with bars that plagued the area in the 80’s. Commissioner Bender noted that he had negotiated a voluntary agreement with Pete’s to limit evening hours of the sidewalk café on the Fessenden Street side, which was closer to residential neighbors. He stated further that Pete’s was a restaurant rather than a bar, and that he believed, based on a visit to Pete’s Columbia Heights location and what he knew of Pete’s track record there, that Pete’s was the kind of establishment that would benefit the neighborhood while creating few problems. Nevertheless, he continued, under the draft voluntary agreement, Pete’s would be required to make an officer or senior representative available at commission meetings on request if problems arose. Ms. Quirk indicated that she felt more comfortable in light of the foregoing.
Commissioner Bender moved adoption of a resolution supporting the application provided Pete’s executed the voluntary agreement. A Pete’s representative executed the agreement, and the motion passed unanimously.
Commissioner Bender stated that WMATA has proposed a menu of service cuts and fare hikes to close its budget gap. Among the proposed cuts is closure of the Friendship Heights Metro Station’s South Entrance (Jennifer Street) on nights and weekends. Commissioner Bender moved approval of a resolution that would oppose closing the Jennifer Street entrance and reductions in Metro Access service. The resolution would also call on WMATA to hold a community forum to gauge interest in a small temporary fare surcharge at the Tenleytown Metro station to fund improvements there.
Commissioner Sklover commented on the importance of Metro Access programs to disabled individuals. Commissioner Frumin spoke in favor of the resolution’s acknowledgement that fare increases, while undesirable and to be avoided if possible, are preferable to significant service cuts. He, Commissioner Eldridge, and others observed that closing the Friendship Heights South Entrance would disproportionately harm DC users of this station on the DC/MD border, and asked a representative of the Mayor’s Office present at the meeting to urge the Mayor to advocate on the District’s behalf on this issue. Commissioner Eldridge noted that it would be a shame — and ridiculous — for the city to allow a decrease in metro services in Friendship Heights — an area that the District repeatedly has targeted for increased Transit Oriented Development. The resolution was approved unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 8:50pm