March 9, 2023, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:32 PM. Commissioners Bender, Carney, Cohen, Denny, Ghosh, Gianinno 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
Sherry Cohen announced that Friendship Community Garden will be having their annual meeting, on Sunday, April 2 at 11 am at the garden and anyone interested is welcome to attend.
Liz Sterling, manager of the Tenley Friendship Library announced that in conjunction with the Folger Shakespeare Library, they will be holding the premier of “Our Verse in Time to Come” on April 13 at 4 pm and 7 pm.
Kyle Todd, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street, announced they will be celebrating Tenleytown Blossoms from March 20 to April 16 with a variety of events including walking tours, arts and crafts and trivia. Also, on March 31 they will have the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Phase 1 of LID project at 4907 Wisconsin in front of Le Chat Noir.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Chief of Staff with Ward 3 Councilmember Frumin’s Office, announced the Council recently completed performance oversight hearings for agencies and will soon start their budget oversight hearings the week of March 27. A copy of Councilmember Frumin’s budget priorities for Ward 3 can be found on his website, https://mattfruminward3.com. Councilmember Frumin recently introduced legislation to create the Friendship Heights Business Improvement District (BID) under the leadership of the Friendship Heights Alliance. Any resident in need of government services should fill out form on their website. https://mattfruminward3.com/constituent-service/ or call 202-724-8062.
Natalie Avery with the Friendship Heights Alliance announced they are hosting a pop-up gallery in Chevy Chase Pavilion with artist Robin Bell and an exhibit on Reno City created by students from Jackson-Reed at the Pepco Substation on April 1 and May 6.
An attendee asked for update on GDS over-enrollment situation. Commissioner Bender replied that both the Commissioners and GDS had met with DDOT, the Commissioners hope to meet with GDS to discuss traffic-management issues, he hopes that the ANC and GDS can meet again after that to address the over-enrollment, and he will update the community with any new information.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last 30 days there was one robbery (carjacking) on Jenifer St that is still under investigation, one burglary on March 4 on the 3700 block of Brandywine (the resident might have left a door unlocked), and several motor vehicle thefts (one vehicle was left running with the keys in the vehicle). Lt Murphy stated he recently attended a meeting at Jackson-Reed in which the school requested information on how MPD responds to an active shooter. Finally, he stated that Commander Bedlion will be transferring to Homeland Security and the 2ndDistrict will soon have a new Commander.
Attendees had no questions for Lt Murphy. Commissioners noted there was an update on the active shooter call near Jackson-Reed that occurred on November 18. There was a suspect vehicle impounded whose owner is under arrest for other charges and not cooperating. They also asked for MPD presence at Tenley during am and pm rush hour.
Lt Murphy can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote regarding application for PUD extension by developers of Dancing Crab site
Commissioner Bender stated that the redevelopment of the Dancing Crab came before the commission several years ago. The owners would like to re-develop the site into a 41-unit apartment building with a restaurant on the ground floor and a roof-top bar. Jessica Bloomfield and Tom McDowell, representing the owners, stated they filed for the building permits in January, have not yet received them and their PUD expired March 1, 2023. They filed for an extension for their PUD application due to delays in receiving their permits and have a hearing later this month.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioners asked how many affordable housing units the project would have (3 units – one at 50% MFI, two units at 60% MFI), asked if there is a plan for a project labor agreement (no), stated that for a while there was a for sale sign on the property and asked if they are still seeking to sell the property (they are not); if the ownership changed hands (it did not); and stated they were concerned that the financing for the project is contingent.
Commissioner Denny moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of the extension of the PUD for the Dancing Crab site. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
Update from DPR regarding recent safety problems at the Wilson Pool and other DPR matters
Chris Dyer, Community Engagement Manager with DPR, stated that the Department of Health conducted an inspection and closed the pool, in part due to high levels of heat and humidity on the pool deck. The city is working to remediate the issues and Dyer apologized for any inconveniences this caused residents. He stated the DPR hopes to be able to give more advance notice to community if any closures are needed going forward. Commissioner Denny stated there were rumors about the situation on the neighborhood listserves and the ANC asked for more transparency and notification if this happens again. DPR.dc.gov has an alert system and residents can sign up for those notifications.
Dyer also announced that DPR will hold a lottery for summer camp registration. The lottery will open from March 13 through April 5. Details about the programs can be found at DPR.summercamp.com.
Attendees stated that they did not hear anywhere about the high humidity, asked if the pool was closed then opened then closed again (it was all part of the same closure), and asked if the lottery will be in place for other DPR programs (that has not been determined).
Commissioners: asked for an update on the name change of the pool (requires the Council to act on that), stated DPR needs to offer more classes and especially swim classes, asked who is maintaining the pool, and stated that DPR staff parks in illegal spots at the facilities
Update from DDOT regarding the Tenleytown Multimodal Access Project
Ted Van Houten, Transportation Planner with DDOT, provided an update on the Tenleytown Multimodal Access project. The study area is 40th St and Fort Drive between Albemarle and Chesapeake Streets. DDOT is using information gleaned from the 2016 WMATA study of the area. He stated they are in the concept development phase and had an open house on February 25. From surveys, people stated they felt the most unsafe when biking and walking through the area. DDOT is also looking for ways to make the area safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, improve transit access, allow for parking, decrease the size of the intersection of 40th, Fort Drive and Albemarle St, provide greenspace, and improve stormwater management by minimizing impervious surfaces.
Van Houten showed five options for changes to the area. Details on the options can be found at https://anc3e.org/wp-content/uploads/Tenleytown-MAP-PW2-Slides.pdf . All of the options expand the station plaza, provide protected bike lanes, provide additional pedestrian crossings, improve the bus layover spaces, enhance traffic safety, and improve the landscaping.
- Asked why they did not place the protected bike lanes on the Jackson-Reed side of the street to minimize the number of driveways the bicycles crossed (this would not allow them to decrease the size of the intersection at Albemarle as much as they would like);
- Asked about connecting the bike lanes to Janney (this is something DDOT might consider in future plans);
- Asked about bike storage and racks (they are considering having a larger Capital Bike Share location there and WMATA is considering removing the bike locker facility they have there);
- Stated that it is terrifying to bike through that area now, especially with children;
- Asked about removing parking on Albemarle as the street is too narrow when cars are parked on both sides (all of the concepts would remove parking on both sides of Albemarle and add one left turn lane for cars heading westbound on Albemarle)
- Stated that having the small circle at the north side of Fort Drive would make it difficult for traffic to navigate the area especially around school dismissal time when there are large numbers of students crossing the street and DDOT should place a regular 3-way intersection there in whatever option they select;
- Asked for some details about the raised intersections;
- Asked if busses would still drop passengers off at the aquatic center and use the same routes they do now (DDOT is discussing this with WMATA); and
- Asked if the alley behind Whole Foods would remain as it is and if DDOT would close the alley to traffic other than delivery vehicles (there are no proposed changes to the alley right now, but DDOT is working to make the sidewalks more desirable for pedestrians).
- Asked if DDOT has funding for future design and construction (it has been requested within DDOT);
- Liked that all of the designs would slow cars down;
- Asked for more clarification about putting the bike lane on the Jackson-Reed side of the street, adding that even if the intersection at Albemarle isn’t as small as possible it would be an improvement over what it is now;
- Asked if raised intersections provide any safety improvements like raised crosswalks provide;
- Asked if DDOT could install a raised crosswalk at Albemarle and Fort Drive;
- Asked if DDOT could use angled parking along Fort Drive and 40th St to allow for more parking (DDOT does not use angled parking anymore);
- Stated that cars often get stuck in the alley behind delivery trucks between Wawa and Albemarle and would like DDOT to consider options to keep the cars out of the alley;
- Would like DDOT to connect Wisconsin and Albemarle to the Ft Reno multiuse trail with a protected bike lanes as the bike lane in front of Jackson-Reed is often blocked by cars; and
- Stated that all but one of the concepts have protected bike lanes running along the sidewalk in front of the Wawa and was concerned that people waiting for the busses would block the bike lanes.
Presentation by AU regarding its proposed Meltzer Sports Complex
Cory Peterson and Maria Barry, both with the Office of Community Relations, presented plans for the University to construct the Scan Center (student health center), the Meltzer Center (would house sports facilities for volleyball, wrestling and conditioning), and a health and wellness court (a fenced-in area, 1/5 the size of soccer field that would be used or stretching, etc.). The current plan is to file in early April and they will be back before the Commission with more detailed plans.
- Stated that they have been following the campus plan and noted that the facility is 69% of what was approved in the campus plan and 12 feet lower than what was approved;
- Asked for more details about the purpose and proposed uses for the turf area;
- Encouraged them to enhance the plantings to screen light from the building to the houses along University Ave; and
- Asked if the basketball courts that are in that space will be moved elsewhere or lost (they will not be moved, but these plans will free up space in Bender Arena for their team and students).
- Asked if the tennis courts will be moved elsewhere or lost (the tennis courts will be moved somewhere else); and
- Asked if the garden will be moved or lost (it is being moved to Nebraska Ave between the Art Center and Student Center).
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding failures of bus service for special education students
Commissioner Cohen stated that since the beginning of 2023 there have been chronic issues with school bus delays and no-shows, leaving parents with problems getting their children to school on time. The State Board of Education Representative says the problem is due to bus driver shortages.
Elizabeth Mitchell, a parent affected by this stated that the problems started in January, but it has been a challenge for years. Students miss instruction time, teachers can’t teach the lessons they have planned, and sometimes can’t leave on time at the end of the day, parents miss work, and as a result, some are in danger of losing their jobs and housing. She stated that this effects students in every Ward but most of the families live in Wards 7 and 8. OSSE has asked families to pay for cab fares and promised to reimburse them adding that OSSE has been sued before for the exact same problem.
Commissioner Cohen stated he drafted a resolution to try to raise the voice of these families, adding that this is a failure of leadership across the board.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioners asked if this is ultimately the Mayor’s responsibility because OSSE is an executive board.
Commissioner Cohen moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution regarding failures of bus service for special education students. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding announcement by President Biden that he does not intend to veto disapproval resolution of DC criminal code revision (10 minutes)
Commissioner Ghosh stated that Congress recently disapproved a law passed by the DC Council to revise the DC Criminal Code. President Biden recently stated that he won’t veto the disapproval. Ghosh stated that many DC Residents are deeply offended by these actions as they are an affront to our democratic rights to have a law overturned by people we did not vote for.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioners:
- Asked if any other ANC’s are passing similar resolutions (two are considering it);
- Asked if Ward 3 Democrats issued any statements about it;
- Asked what the Resolution hopes to accomplish;
- Asked how often we vote on Resolutions regarding the federal government (this is the first time in 30 years that Congress has passed a disapproval vote and they are now considering a disapproval of DC’s Police Reform);
- Stated that they thought many residents want some changes made to the Criminal Code Revision;
- Stated that the Commission weighs in on issues we don’t have great weight on including noise generated by helicopters and NPS issues adding that this issue is appropriate and relevant to all DC residents; and
- Offered a friendly amendment stating that Commissioners have varying opinions about the bill, but all Commissioners are opposed to Congress intruding on our local government decision making.
Commissioner Ghosh moved, and Commissioner Denny seconded a motion to approve the resolution as amended regarding the announcement by President Biden that he does not intend to veto the disapproval resolution of the DC Criminal Code Revision. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
- Approval of February 2023 regular meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Denny seconded a motion to approve the Draft February 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 400.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
- Maria Barry asked for clarification about which Commissioners are the representatives to the Community Liaison Committees (CLCs) for both AU and Wesley Seminary and the AU Neighborhood Partnership. Commissioner Cohen will be the ANC3E Representative to the AU Neighborhood Partnership, Commissioner Gianinno will be the ANC3E Representative to the AU CLC and Commissioner Ghosh will the ANC3E Representative to the Wesley CLC.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:40 PM.