May 10, 2018, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened at about 7:40 PM. Commissioners Bender, Ehrhardt, Hall, McHugh 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
Ian Maggard, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations,announced that DC released its Point-In-Time count of people experiencing homelessness which shows that overall homelessness decreased 7.6% since last year and is down 17% since 2016. Maggard invited residents to join the Mayor on Saturday, May 12 at 4 PM at the Howard Theater to walk in the Funk Parade.
Steve Marencic, Consumer Outreach Specialist with the Office of the People’s Counsel announced that his office can act as an advocate for any resident that has issues or disagreements with a utility provider. Marencic distributed a handout on third party energy suppliers.
Shelly Repp with Citizens for Responsible Development gave an update on the Valor Development/Superfresh project. During the Zoning Commissions January hearing, it was pointed out that Valor underestimated the number of required affordable housing units in the project. Valor has until July 18 to provide updated designs.
Residents of 4404 Albemarle St stated they are appealing a decision that allowed a neighboring house to install three HVAC units in a three-foot wide side yard. The residents claimed the units are noisy and are directly under their children’s bedroom windows. They asked the Commission to support their appeal. The Commissioners encouraged them to try to find a compromise with their neighbors.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street announced that: on Saturday, May 19 Femme Fatale DC is opening a pop-up at 4620 Wisconsin Ave, NW; on Sunday, May 20 Friends of Fessenden Park will be hosting a family-friendly art event; on Sunday afternoon, May 20 an art show will be held at Tartufo; and Friends of Fessenden Park will be hosting Tai Chi in the park series starting on Saturday, June 2. There is a Friends of Fessenden Park group that can be joined by emailing Tenleytown Main Street and Tenleytown Main Street now has a smartphone app.
Makea Thornhill with the Government Affairs Department at Pepco introduced herself.
Commissioner Quinn announced that the National Park Service is hosting a historical tour of Ft. Reno on Saturday, May 12 at 11 am.
Commissioner McHugh announced that Turtle Park Mayfair will be held on Saturday, May 19.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Hill from the 2ndDistrict provided an update on crime in the area. Statistics on crimes throughout the city can be found at https://dcatlas.dcgis.dc.gov/crimecards/. Within PSA 202, over the last 30 days, there was one assault with a dangerous weapon, one robbery, 10 thefts from autos, 29 general thefts and one motor vehicle theft (scooter). He stated that thefts from autos are usually crimes of opportunity and he encouraged residents to not leave possessions in cars. This month the motor carrier unit did three sweeps of over-weight truck traffic on Van Ness Street and on River Road. Lt Hill reported on the status of an investigation into a pedestrian fatality on 5300 block of Western Ave earlier this year. Hill announced that the MPD is getting ready to host its tenth cohort of the Community Engagement Academy and mentioned the MPD ride-along program. More information on both programs can be found on the MPD webpage.
Attendees asked questions regarding: changes in traffic flow/infractions due to changes to the traffic light cycle at Wisconsin Ave and Albemarle; cars parking in the bike lane along Fort Drive; problems with disorderly behavior by Wilson High School students at Tenleytown businesses; and resources DC has to work with teens beyond school resource officers and the MPD. It was suggested that the Community Crime Task Force revived. Lt. Hill mentioned a program that helps reimburse business that hire off-duty officers to help protect private property
Multiple commissioners asked about the lack of police presence in and around the Tenleytown Metro in the after-school hours. A commissioner also asked about threats made via social media to Wilson HS.
Presentation by Deputy Mayor for Public Service regarding public safety initiatives, including implementation of the NEAR Act
Kevin Donahue, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice gave a presentation on the DC Budget and the NEAR Act. The DC Council will soon vote on the full budget; DC expects 1.8% revenue growth for 2019. Donahue stated DC has a $14.5 billion budget of which 9% is for public safety and justice. The largest part of the public safety budget is sustaining operations which includes hiring, training and retaining personnel.
The NEAR Act was passed in 2015 and funding for it has been iterative. In this budget year, the NEAR Act started an Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement to prevent conflicts through remediation and restorative justice and to provide wrap around services (training, jobs, etc.) to help people at risk turn their lives around. Two weeks ago, the NEAR Act launched the Community Crime Prevention Team Program, a partnership between the Department of Public Health and MPD. This program allows for an MPD officer to call for a behavior health clinician to intervene and provide services if the officer encounters a situation in which a mental health or substance abuse crisis is the primary cause for a call. This program is now operating in two areas of the city with the goal to expand to other areas. The areas of the NEAR Act that are yet to be implemented include police transparency, including stop and frisk data, traffic stop data, use of force data and demographics on felony arrest and prosecution data. They are awaiting funding to make changes to multiple existing data collection systems across multiple city agencies and changes to police training and procedures and expect the implementation and execution to be a multi-year process.
Attendees asked questions regarding: sources of guns used in crimes; the requirements for owning and selling firearms; the delay in implementing the NEAR Act; why funding for the data collection is being taken from the emergency housing fund; the implementation of the Community Crime Prevention Act teams; the timeline and process used to approach the data collection process; the timeline for implementing the remaining requirements for the NEAR Act; and the merger of the Fire and EMS Departments. One attendee urged the Commission to pass a resolution that asks the DC Council to make implementing the NEAR Act a priority.
Commissioners asked questions regarding: where affordable housing sits in the Mayor’s priorities; the lack of law enforcement associated with the Vision Zero initiative; the title of the proposed resolution about the NEAR Act; why the NEAR Act did not have a separate item to specifically address police training; and what city resources residents can access, beyond the police department, to help solve a problem;
Discussion of and possible vote on grant request by Joy of Motion
At the last meeting, Julia Herman Cainpresented a grant request for $2000 for Joy of Motion’s dance festival to be held at Ft. Reno park on June 10. They have since amended their grant application to specify that the funding would be used for flooring. Commissioner Bender noted that given resource constraints the Commission does not like to fund projects over multiple years, but Joy of Motion had issues with another major funding source this year. Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to support the grant request. The motion was approved 5-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on liquor license renewal applications for Tenley Wine & Liquor and Paul’s
Commissioner Bender informed those in attendance that the ANC does not normally take action for liquor license renewals (as opposed to initial applications) unless there are complaints about the establishment or the Commissioners are aware of problems with the establishment. There were no concerns raised by those in attendance and the Commission took no action on the renewals.
Discussion of and possible vote on application by Wagshal’s to extend liquor sales from 8 pm to 9 pm
Commissioner Hall stated that Wagshal’s has submitted an application to extend the liquor sales at their Spring Valley restaurant by one hour, until 9 pm. They currently may sell alcohol until 9 pm in their grocery store, but must stop selling alcohol in their adjoining restaurant at 8 pm. There were no issues raised about current sales at the establishment. Commissioners asked questions to clarify whether this would extend sales at their cafe. Commissioner Hall moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to support the change to the liquor sale hours. The motion was approved 5-0-0.
Presentation by Donahoe Development regarding plans for building at 5151 Wisconsin Ave
Jad Donahoe stated that Fox 5 will be vacating the building in 2021. Currently, there is a 5-story, 50-foot building, a 705-foot communications tower, and 1.1-acre parking lot are on the site. The northeast portion of the lot is currently zoned R-2; the remaining portion of the lot is zoned MU4. Donohoe Development could make improvements to the current building, leave the tower standing, and rent out the renovated current building or completely redevelop the site, including the large surface parking lot and tower. Mr. Donohe presented one redevelopment option to gauge community interest and support for the project that would entail a change to the Comprehensive Plan and then returning to the Commission to negotiate a PUD and a map amendment to the R-2 portion of the lot. This project would build a 6-story plus penthouse building that would include 17,000 sq. ft of retail at ground level. On the 42ndSt side of the property, the building would step down to 3-stories with bays to break up the massing, mimicking the look of townhouses. This project would include about 280 rental units, including 28 affordable housing units and two levels of underground parking.
Attendees asked questions regarding: the zoning on the site; the size and mix of the units; the estimated amount of time the building would remain vacant; the location of the entrance to the proposed parking garage; if they spoke with nearby neighbors; who they envision as retail tenants; the number of parking levels in the garage; if studies have been conducted to determine the ground composition; where the Metro tunnels are in relation to the building and the depth of the tunnels; and what the alternatives would be if this project cannot go forward.
Commissioners asked: what the mix of units would be; if they have any thoughts on amenities; who would be responsible to maintain the landscaping around the project; the proposed FAR; and if the units would be rentals or condominiums. They noted that the Commission likes diverse use and there have been few new condo units in the area; stated that at first glance it looks nice and likes the mixed-use; stated the Commission would like to hear from the nearby residents; noted that the Commission likes to see higher-than-required inclusionary zoning and larger units set aside for families; and one Commissioner thought that a building on Wisconsin Ave one block from the Metro should be higher.
- Approval of April 2018 meeting minutes – Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the amended April 2018 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 $318.75 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support, $24.68 to FedEx for copying services and for $2000 to Joy of Motion for their grant request. The expenditures were approved 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:08 PM by unanimous consent.