March 9, 2022, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:35 PM. Commissioners Cohen, 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
Commissioner Cohen announced that Commissioner Bender would not be attending the meeting and Commissioner Hall would run the meeting.
Patrick Brown introduced himself as the land use council for Wesley Seminary. He stated they will be filing their campus plan application before the end of this month. Details about their plan can be found at www.wesleyseminary.edu/wesley-masterplan-updates and questions can be sent to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be back at a later meeting to discuss their plans in detail.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director for Tenleytown Main Street:
- Thanked us for providing the grant money to provide meals for seniors;
- Announced they will be hosting Tenleytown Blossoms events throughout the neighborhood from March 20 through April 17; and
- They are recruiting new board members. Applications can be submitted online at www.tenleytownmainstreet.org.
Emir Gur-Ravantab, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- The city is in the middle of its annual budgeting process;
- The DC mask mandate has been lifted;
- DC has lifted the indoor and outdoor mask mandate for schools although DCPS still requires masks;
- The DC Government has over 500 job vacancies. Job postings can be found at www.careers.dc.gov; and
- The proposed Yuma St speed bumps were raised in the weekly agency reports.
Commissioner Quinn asked him them to press the request for a skate park in the budget. Mr. Gur-Raventab can be contacted at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
An attendee asked if the Commission maintains a list of volunteer opportunities.
Tony Ciccone stated that Commissioner Cohen will be the new ANC3E Representative to the AU Community Liaison Committee (CLC) and they invite community members to join.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime in PSA 202. She stated there was a carjacking on Wisconsin Ave on March 7, in which a 19-year-old was later arrested and 2 suspects remain at large. There was another carjacking on February 7 on Ingomar that has not been closed. There was a burglary at District Glass in which the cash register was stolen.
An attendee asked about someone in a truck harassing Deal students (Beistline had no knowledge of the incident). Commissioners: begged the police and city to do something about illegally parked cars on Wisconsin Ave especially during rush hour (Beistline replied that traffic patrol was out on Wisconsin Ave recently); asked if MPD had the resources they need; and thanked MPD for working with local business to better secure their premises.
Lt Beistline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 202-779-2854 with any additional comments or questions.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding special exception application for an ADU at 4511 Chesapeake Street, NW
Commissioner Hall stated we had a robust discussion about the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) Nick and Valerie Alten would like to construct in place of their current garage at our last meeting and the Commission asked them to meet with their neighbors to try to find a compromise plan everyone can live with. Mr. Alten stated they are asking for special exception to allow him to build an ADU that will be to allow them to store their car and large pieces of work equipment and have a pervious parking pad on the side of the ADU to allow him to secure his work vehicle at night. In exchange for the added square footage, they have included setbacks to relieve the impact on the immediate neighbors that are not required by current law, offered to add a fence and greenery around the perimeter of the ADU and install either a green or solar roof. They have produced solar studies and have drawings that show views of the proposed ADU from their neighbors’ yards. He stated that only one neighbor was willing to meet with them this month to discuss their plans but was not willing to negotiate any changes to his plans.
Attendees: noted that while four neighbors support the ADU, eight oppose it and there are five more opposed that are outside the 200-feet mark; did not think that ADUs could be used for construction related storage; two stated they have been inconvenienced by his use of the alley to load and unload his truck; three attendees spoke in support of the ADU and one noted they have not seen him blocking the alley or disrupting the neighborhood; and one attendee had concerns about water runoff.
Commissioners: stated that the only relevant concern raised by neighbors is the size of the ADU but noted that only one neighbor was willing to meet with the Altens and none were willing to negotiate a compromise plan; noted that the Altens were willing to have setbacks from the alley, install high fencing and pervious surfaces, they removed one parking pad from their original proposal, have agreed to install a green roof or solar panels, and the ADU wont shade anyone’s yard.
Commissioner Hall moved, and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to support the draft resolution not opposing the special exception application. The motion was approved by a vote of 2-1-0 with Commissioner Quinn opposing.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding Retailer’s Class C Restaurant liquor license application by Alley Cat DC LLC for 5247 Wisconsin Ave, former site of Chadwick’s / Chatters, including entertainment endorsement and summer garden
Khalid Moutawakkil, owner of Alley Cat, stated they will be opening in June and will serve Moroccan-, French-, and Jewish-inspired dishes. He stated that the outside patio will be used for eating only and they would like to have some entertainment inside once per week. The restaurant will be focused on serving food and stay open until 2 am on weeknights and 3 am on weekends, the maximum allowed, as there are no other establishments in the area that are open late, and he feels they can serve an unmet need in the neighborhood.
Attendees: asked if they would have food for people with allergies; two attendees raised concerns about noise; did not believe the maximum hours are in character with the neighborhood; asked about the trees that were removed from the front of the restaurant (they were removed by the landlord); was concerned that patrons will park on her block; asked for details about the entertainment they plan to have (the entertainment would run from 7-11 pm); was happy to welcome a new restaurant in the neighborhood; noted that at 10 pm there is a lot of parking along Wisconsin Ave.; and noted that several restaurants in the past with entertainment endorsements had noise issues and asked the Commission to negotiation a binding voluntary agreement with the applicant.
Commissioners liked having a place that would offer later hours for food and stated they would like to limit the patio hours to be limited to 11 during the week and midnight on weekends. The Commission will vote on this issue at the next meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for a limited map amendment by the Lisner Home to build affordable senior housing on its campus
Matt Frumin stated that the Lisner Home would like to build housing on their land for low-income seniors to generate the funds needed to fix flood damage to some of their existing buildings and shore up their finances. They have applied for funding under Housing Production Trust Fund and won a grant. From the street, the building would appear to be a 2.5 – 3 story building. They are still negotiating the mix of housing with the city (Lisner would like to offer 20% of the building to seniors making 30% of the area median income (AMI) and 80% to seniors at 50% AMI whereas the city wants 50% at 30% AMI and 50% at 50% AMI). A parking lot would be built under the building and the garage would be accessed through the driveway off Western Ave. They changed the application to have a map amendment on just the east side of the lot and their BZA hearing is scheduled for March 17.
Attendees stated they opposed the plans when it was rolled out in November but now, they support the proposal as it stands. Representatives from both Ward 3 Housing Justice and Ward 3 Vision said their groups support this project. Commissioners thanked the team for their work and stated they support the project.
Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support the resolution in support for the limited map amendment. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
Presentation by the representative from the Office of Attorney General on services it is offering ANCs and communities in support of affordable housing
OAG Land Use Section gave an overview of the new role of their office. Moving forward, they will be focused on the public interest in land use and zoning including proposing text amendments on land use to address affordable housing, racial equity, environmental justice, intervening in specific Zoning cases that raise public interest concerns, and providing training and support to ANCs through the OANC and other neighborhood groups. They believe that working with ANCs is critical to their mission as ANCs are aware of issues before they are and they will provide training on how to review and analyze projects and applications, how to best participate in zoning hearings, how to negotiate with developers for public benefits packages, and explaining other tools out there including map and text amendments, small area plans, etc.
Attendees liked the support they will provide to ANCs and two attendees thought that while residents in wealthier neighborhoods have been able to oppose developers and appeal decisions and it sounds as if they will be providing the same support for people with fewer resources and it will muck up the system even more than it already is. OAG replied they will intervene where there are broader policy concerns, they can also weigh in to support projects and one of their primary concerns is to advocate for affordable housing.
Commissioners noted that appeals are costing the developers hundreds of thousands of dollars and noted that both Valor and Sunrise appeals have dragged on for two to three years now and thought we need creative ways to discourage appeals.
Presentation by Federal Realty Trust on its plans to build a mixed-use project at the current Maggiano’s site on Wisconsin Ave
Geoff Sharpe and Robert Sponseller stated Federal Realty would like to convert the current site of DSW, Maggianos and Nordstrom Rack to housing with some ground level retail using a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The building will be stepped down both toward the Wisconsin Ave side and the neighborhood side and have 310 units, 12,000 sq ft of retail and 180 parking spaces. The lower level of retail where Nordstrom Rack used to be, will be converted to an additional level of parking. For a community benefits package, they are offering to obtain LEED gold certification, not permit residents to apply for residential parking permits (RPP), have 10 electric vehicle charging stations, and offer 15% of the building to residents making 60% AMI.
Attendees: asked what the minimum number of affordable housing units they are required to provide by law (the current requirement is 12% at 60% AMI); thought this issue should have its own meeting; would like to see a drawing of the elevation of the building without trees; asked how tall the building would be (130 feet on Wisconsin Ave, on the residential side it varies and would be 80, 90, 100 and 120 feet high); asked when their hearing would be (the set down hearing wouldn’t be until September or October and the ZC hearing would take place at the end of the year); asked about the housing tax abatement (HANTA) program (they are evaluating it right now); stated that it looks like it will overwhelm the townhouses behind it; asked if sidewalk will stay open during construction (they might have to use shelters or divert pedestrians into the street when they are doing the utility work); asked how they will ensure greenery they plan to install on balconies will stay green (they will install drip irrigation as they have in other projects); stated they would like to see some of their IZ 35-50% AMI; noted that this is an appropriate place to put a 130 foot tall building; asked what the distribution of apartments would be (they don’t have it yet); and asked how the IZ units will be distributed (the IZ mix has to follow the apartment mix).
Commissioners: would like to see the lower level of retail used as community space rather than additional parking spaces; would like them to commit to truly accessible units; asked for details about their traffic study (they are scoping the study with DDOT and believes this building will generate significantly less traffic than the retail); asked what kind of retail they are targeting (they are looking to have neighborhood serving retail); thought the building looks like an office building; and would like to see them add larger street trees to the block.
Presentation by Office of Campaign Financing on Public Financing Program
Belinda Perry stated the Fair Elections program frees candidates from some of the fundraising requirements (they give you $5 for every dollar you raise) and hopes to take dark money out of elections. Candidates must agree to not take large contributions and have funds need to be raised from DC residents, they need to give back any unused money when campaign ends, and every campaign is audited.
Attendees did not have any questions or comments. Commissioners thought that this program will give marginal candidates more funding than they would normally be able to raise.
Discussion and possible vote on resolution asking DDOT to study adding protected bike lanes on the 5200 and 5300 blocks of 44th Street NW, the 4300 and 4400 blocks of Jenifer Street NW, and on the 4600, 4700 and 4800 blocks of 41st Street NW
Commissioner Quinn stated he authored two resolutions asking DDOT to study the feasibility of adding protected bike lanes on Jenifer Street between Western and 43rd St, on 44th Street between Harrison and Western, and on 41st St between Brandywine and Ellicott. Commissioner Quinn stated that they had met with DDOT, and they didn’t think it would be difficult to do.
Attendees: three were worried about maintaining street parking; was concerned about how bike lanes would affect delivery vans, and ride-share vehicles (the resolutions ask for pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) zones to accommodate this); noted that many WMATA workers parked along 44th St; was in favor of the protected bike lanes; and asked if the bike lanes would interfere with buses turning into and out of the garage and the sightlines.
Commissioners stated they supports the resolutions and want more protected bike infrastructure.
Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support both resolutions asking for a study to add protected bike lanes on the listed blocks. Both resolutions were approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
Discussion and possible vote on resolution authorizing Commissioners Bender and Quinn to represent the ANC in any proceedings, including settlement, of ABRA protests pending against Privateer 4400 LLC and District Still LLC
Commissioner Bender authored a resolution to allow Commissioners Bender and Quinn to represent the ANC in negotiations and hearings regarding Privateer and District Still’s ABRA applications. There were no questions or comments by attendees or Commissioners.
Commissioner Cohen moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to support the resolutions. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on ANC Redistricting Task Force process and proposed map
Commissioner Quinn stated that the ANC was going to offer a resolution about the redistricting process but did not get a chance to author the resolution.
Attendees: noted that a lot has been going on behind the scenes; were concerned that very few people know about the process and ongoing negotiations; stated that AU Park is being broken in half with part of the neighborhood moving to ANC3D and that ANC3E will no longer have automatic party status for Valor’s development at the SuperFresh or Spring Valley; stated that under the current proposal ANC3E will have seven Commissioners including two AU students; noted that this proposal was made to cluster ANCs around the commercial corridors; countered that Spring Valley isn’t much of a commercial corridor and it would make more sense to leave AU Park together; and noted that Massachusetts Ave does not have a lot of commercial development because of opposition to development.
- Approval of February 2021 meeting minutes – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve the Draft February 2022 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to approve a payment for $585.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 11:50 PM.