May 11, 2023, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:39 PM. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, Denny, Ghosh, and Hall were in attendance. Commissioner Quinn joined later.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Liz Sterling, Manager at Tenley Friendship Library announced that on May 16 at 7 PM, the library will be hosting Elizabeth Griffith, author of Formidable: American Women and the Fight For Equality and on May 20 they will be hosting a Books from Birth graduation session at noon.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Chief of Staff with Ward 3 Councilmember Frumin’s Office, announced WMATA has released their plan to redesign the bus network. Miles stated that there have been many concerns raised about the changes proposed for Ward 3 and WMATA is accepting comments through June 12. DPW is starting a home composting program for the first 1600 households in each ward. Finally, Miles stated that the sidewalk shoveling exemption application is now open.
Cory Peterson, with American University stated that commencement events will be taking place on Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13 and the Law School will have commencement on May 20. They received their zoning order for the sound barrier. Peterson also stated that they will be having new stores on campus (Panera and Qdoba) in the fall. The Meltzer/Scan project is proceeding, and they will present their plans to our ANC next month
Natalie Avery, with The Friendship Heights Alliance, stated the Montgomery County Council has approved the urban district for the Montgomery County side of Friendship Heights. DC has legislation pending to create a Business Improvement District for the DC side. Avery also announced Carpe Librum is hosting a pop-up bookstore at old Farrow and Ball space through June 4 and on May 20 from 3 pm – 7 pm, there will be a Makers Market on Wisconsin Ave between Garrison and Jenifer Streets.
Mathew Barclay, Ward 3 Representative with Mayor’s Office of Community Relations (MOCR), stated that the Mayor hosted a public safety summit on May 10 and the video can be seen on Twitter. The Department of Buildings has a new Director, Brian Hamlin. DPR has a new walking club for seniors. Barclay announced a series of events around the city: a Senior Fest will be held on May 31, an EU open house on May 13, Fiesta Asia street fair on May 20, a veterans job fair on May 18, AAPI food night on May 22 at the MLK Library, Teacher Appreciation week is going on this week, and on May 13 DC is hosting a city-wide baby Shower. He also encouraged residents to participate in the DPW Helping Hands program.
Presentation by and discussion with Chancellor Ferebee regarding DCPS budget
Ferebee stated the Mayor’s FY 24 budget has been submitted to the Council. The firstround of voting will be on May 16 and the budget will be finalized by the end of the month. He said DCPS is in the second year of using an updated budget model that is intended to provide more transparency to how they allocate funds to schools. Over the last three years the budget has been supplemented by federal COVID funds. While those additional allocations are not available this year, the Mayor has allocated $10.4M in funds to backfill the COVID funds and schools could expect to be funded at at least 95% of their previous years’ resources. Overall, there will be $35 million dollar increase in school budget for the 23-24 school year and they will have an additional 233 full-time positions, 114 of which are teachers. To relieve overcrowding at Jackson-Reed High School, DCPS will be opening the MacArthur Campus in the 23-24 school year for 9th and some 10thgraders. DCPS is also planning to add capacity at Deal Middle School, including resource rooms, cafeteria space, lab space, etc. Construction will begin next year. They are also allocating money for school safety systems.
A parent from Murch Home and School Association asked Ferebee about two additional staff positions to deal with overcrowding in their lower grades. There has been a drastic increase in enrollment, and they worry the budget model doesn’t reflect the growth. Ferebee replied that they are working with the Principal on this, and it is a priority.
- Stated that the pace at which DCPS hires and brings people in is too slow.
- Challenged DCPS to have classes of no more than 20 students.
- Stated that Jackson-Reed needs roof repairs.
- Stated they would like to see more transparency in funding and hiring.
- Asked if there is a red line for class size. Ferebee replied that the red line in part depends on the school and the class.
- Stated they are concerned with student behavior in the neighborhood. There seems to be no guardrails for them, and this makes residents uncomfortable. Ferebee replied that Principal Brown is working on this with Metro Police and MPD and DCPS is working on changing their behavior policies.
- Thanked the Mayor for their funding for public safety in the budget. Ferebee replied that they are trying to restore school resource officers.
- Stated that Janney will receive a large budget cut and might lose 15% of their staff
- Stated that there is a need for more community spaces.
- Asked for more information about student mental health services.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Murphy stated that earlier today there was one attempted, armed carjacking on the 4100 block of Emory Place (a neighbor intervened) and over the last 30 days, one burglary (jewelry was stolen a store). Motor vehicles thefts and thefts from autos are increasing. MPD had placed QR codes inside of businesses that officers must scan during their patrols. That has made officers more visible in Tenleytown and Spring Valley. MPD has also deployed officers in an unmarked vehicles to the area. Murphy stated that officers issued a search warrant to Smoke Island and confiscated a lot of marijuana. Lastly, Murphy stated that traffic officers have been deployed to the 4500 block of Van Ness by Turtle Park and will continue to be there.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioners:
- Asked if Smoke Island will continue to stay open? Yes, it will.
- Thanked them for their work at Tenleytown.
- Asked if kids are caught committing crimes, is there a high likelihood they would be out on the street the next week. Yes.
- Asked about a report that a Jackson-Reed student assaulted a Target security guard. Murphy stated he doesn’t believe that Target reported it.
- Asked about thefts from contractors’ vehicles.
- Asked MPD to report information, crime trends and warnings to more listservs.
- Students continue to smoke pot in the open in Tenleytown before and after school and asked MPD to circulate and not just remain in their cars.
Lt Murphy can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote on application by consortium of faith organizations (including St. Columba’s) for $5,000 grant to bring “Undesign the Redline” to Tenleytown/Friendship Heights
This item will be heard at a later meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on letter supporting Friends of Friendship Park application to close small portion of Van Ness Street, NW during the Turtle Park May Fair
Maria Creighton, representing Friends of Friendship Park (FOFP) stated that Mayfair will take place on May 13 from 10-2. They are looking for a letter of support from ANC3E to close Van Ness St between the northern and southern sides of 45th St. They have permits from DPR and DDOT and want to block off the street to have food trucks. DDOT asked FOFP to obtain a letter from the ANC to acknowledge that we are aware of the closure. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions or comments.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve a letter in support of Mayfair. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution seeking increased funding for Murch Elementary School
Commissioner Quinn stated that Murch has overcrowded classrooms due to unexpected enrollment increases. Kimi Wetterauer, President of the Murch Home and School Association stated that they are asking DCPS for an additional $230,000 for two additional teachers, one for the first grade and the other for the second grade. Each of these grades have 6-8 students per class above the maximum class size.
Attendees had no comments or questions. Commissioners asked if the HAS fundraises to help their budget. Wetterauer replied that they do but do not use those funds for personnel.
Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution seeking increased funding for Murch Elementary School. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
Presentation on DC Smart Street Lighting program
Ashley Wells presented information about the DC Smart Street Lighting Project. Wells stated they will be modernizing over 72 thousand streetlights with LED bulbs and adding wireless access points to the poles in Wards 7 and 8. This project will go through 2027 and they will be notifying ANCs and individual blocks when work is set to begin. Additional information can be found at https://streetlights.dc.gov
Attendees asked if lights are wildlife friendly. Wells replied they are going to keep them within the brightness they are now and they will customize the direction the light is projected for each street.
- Asked for clarification about the color temperature of the lights.
- Asked if the work will inconvenience residents.
- Asked if they would also be putting in timers to manage the lights at rec centers as some of them are kept on 24/7/365.
Discussion and possible vote on resolution regarding UIP request to exempt a prospective tenant from the PUD prohibition on “chain stores” at The Broadcast building
Commissioner Bender announced that this item is being removed from tonight’s agenda and will be heard at a later meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding proposed changes to WMATA bus routes
Commissioner Hall stated that WMATA is re-envisioning their bus routes. Some of WMATA’s proposals are beneficial to our neighborhood. Hall noted though that WMATA is proposing to eliminate bus service north of Ward Circle along Massachusetts Ave. Hall drafted a resolution asking WMATA to not eliminate this service.
Attendees stated that in the WMATA proposal there will be two bus routes that will have 24-hour service, the 101 which will replace the 31and 33, and the 103 which will replace the H4 and noted that WMATA will be by the Tenleytown Metro station next Thursday between 3 and 7.
Commissioners noted that one of the good changes WMATA is proposing is the addition of a cross-town bus to Sibley Hospital.
Commissioner Hall moved and Commissioner Denny seconded a motion to approve the resolution regarding changes to WMATA bus routes. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding whether PUD application by Wesley Seminary should be set down for a hearing
Patrick Brown, land use counsel for Wesley, stated that when Wesley filed campus plan in 2022, the Zoning Commission (ZC) suggested that a PUD application would be a better vehicle to accomplish what they are seeking to do. David McAllister, President of Wesley, shared the proposed changes and stated that among other changes, they would like to tear down their two existing dorms and replace them with a new dorm building that could house 659 students in 200 units/apartments. This new dorm would house both Wesley and AU students, would be seven stories high and 74 feet tall and would be owned by Landmark, a REIT, via a 99-year ground-lease. They are seeking relief to, among other things, limit the required inclusionary zoning (IZ) to Wesley and AU students and, in a first in DC, to privately administer their IZ housing.
- Noted that the ZA viewed this as a commercial development and not a part of a campus plan
- Asked how they would determine the height of the building.
- Had concerns about 384 parking spaces for students and faculty they are proposing.
- Asked if the IZ will be based on parents’ income or the students income levels and noted that many of the IZ recipients would not be DC residents.
- Stated they heard that AU is not engaging with Wesley regarding this project.
- Asked how many of the 659 beds will be for Wesley students. The 2 dorms they currently have, have 90 beds total.
- Multiple Commissioners thought there were too many parking spaces in the plan.
- Liked having more housing options nearby.
- Asked if the IZ would be overseen DC Housing and Community Development (DCHCD). It will follow the DCHCD rules and be subject to their oversight but would be administered by a commercial entity.
- Was mystified that AU is not engaging with Wesley and Landmark on this project.
- Did not like the one amenity they are offering, a playground, given that Turtle Park is across the street and noted that the community could use a pickleball court or a skate park.
- Had concerns that the nearby neighbors wanted the University Avenue exit closed to cars.
- Would like Wesley to offer a store to help keep students on campus.
- Asked for clarification regarding the relief sought.
- Asked if these are apartments or dorms.
- Wondered if the IZ laws could allow the students to get priority for these apartments and if something like this has ever been done in DC.
- Was worried about creating a separate category for IZ for students alone, rather than for, say, students as well as DC teachers, firefighters, and police officers.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the resolution regarding whether the PUD application by Wesley Seminary should be set down for a hearing. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding proposed legislation to create a Business Improvement District in Friendship Heights
Commissioner Quinn drafted testimony in support of the creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in Friendship Heights and stated that the Friendship Heights Alliance (FHA) has done good work in the neighborhood without dedicated funding. Natalie Avery stated that an Urban District was created on the MD side of Friendship Heights. Combined both the DC BID and the MD Urban District will fund the FHA. She noted that in order to support the creation of a BID they needed the support of 50% of the land value of and 25% of the landowners. The FHA received support from 70% of land value and 40% of the landowners.
Attendees had no questions or comments. Commissioner Quinn offered some amendments to his own testimony.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Denny seconded a motion to approve the resolution regarding the creation of a Business Improvement District in Friendship Heights subject to copy editing. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
- Approval of April 2023 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft April 2023 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
- Approval of 2023 Q2 Financial Report – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the 2023 Q2 Financial Report. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of $427.50 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Nomination of Commissioner Quinn and Pat Jakopchek, an ANC3E resident, to the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) for Connecticut Avenue. Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Denny seconded the motion to appoint Quinn and Jakopchek to the CAC. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:54 PM.