June 18, 2020, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:34 PM. Commissioners Bender, 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
Ed Fischer, Assistant VP for Community Relations with American University announced the University is planning a mix of online and in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester. They plan to have all freshmen and some sophomores live in dorms in the Fall and Spring and to house some upper classmen in hotels downtown, and are awaiting approval from the District Government for these plans. All students and staff will be required to complete a health and safety training course before returning to campus. Fischer also announced they completed their Preliminary 2021 Campus Plan Framework. Any questions can be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Attendees asked if the training can be made available to community members, especially landlords housing students, and to work on the hotel solution. Commissioners asked about the campus shuttle. Fischer replied that it will only be available to students, faculty and staff.
Stephen Marencic from Office of the People’s Council announced the Coronavirus Emergency Act prohibits utilities from disconnecting services until 15 days after the public health emergency is lifted, prohibits them from asking for a lump-sum payment. mandates they offer a 1-year repayment plan, and prohibits them from reporting non-payments to credit agencies.
Jessica Green, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- the US House of Representatives will vote on statehood for DC on June 26;
- there is a new citizen portal to help DC residents apply for US citizenship;
- Phase 2 reopening can start as soon as Monday, June 22 which will allow for gatherings up to 50 people, indoor restaurant seating up to 50% capacity, gyms and retail stores can open with limits on occupancy and DPR will open pools for structured activities. Details can be found at https://coronavirus.dc.gov/phasetwo;
- a rental assistance program for residents affected by COVID funded through the CARES act. Details can be found at https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-announces-new-programs-support-rental-assistance-and-housing-stability; and
- coronavirus testing is available to anyone who needs a test and is available at the firehouse at 4930 Connecticut Ave M, T, W from 4-8 pm. The antibody test is available at other locations with an appointment. Appointments can be made by calling 1-855-363-0333
Commissioners asked about the status of the new pool at Hearst Park, and if ANCs will be given the opportunity to opine on lowering of the speed limits beyond 20 MPH on some streets. Ms. Green can be reached at email@example.com.
Morgan Odonnell with Pepco announced that Pepco has a new initiative called Reduce Energy Use DC. It provides tips to residents and has a drawing for prizes. Details can be found at https://reduceenergyusedc.com .
An attendee asked if there is a plan to clean up graffiti. Jessica Greene stated that graffiti can be reported to 311, through the mobile 311 app, or constituents may send details to her and she will report it to DPW.
Kate with Community Mediation DC, announced that they provide free community mediation services that is voluntary and confidential. They are providing training to anyone interested in becoming a mediator. She also stated they would be interested in providing a presentation at a future meeting.
Presentation by 2nd District Police with Captain Bray and Lt Beistline
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime for PSA 202. Over the previous 30 days, crime has been lower than the same 30-day period one year ago down except for burglaries. There were 15 burglaries and 13 of those were a result of the rioting that occurred May 31-June 1. They have made three arrests associated with those crimes and are still investigating and trying to identify suspects. There were three Assaults with Deadly Weapons and two of those were closed with arrests. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions for Lt Beistline.
Cpt Bray discussed the rioting and looting that took place at the end of May and beginning of June. The first instances of rioting took place on Friday May 29 with people throwing bricks and rocks at Secret Service Agents stationed near the White House. By Saturday and Sunday people were targeting businesses throughout the city. As of today, there have been a total of 130 burglaries and 115 destructions of property reported and MPD are still getting more reports from business owners who are visiting their business and discovering damage. Cpt Bray stated most of the crimes were committed by organized groups of people that coordinated their movements and were equipped with tools to facilitate the crimes. To date, there have been 140 arrests for burglaries, destruction of property, curfew violations, and assaults. Detectives and FBI agents were still going through surveillance videos to identify suspects. Attendees asked if MPD will provide information to businesses on how they can better secure their stores and any other lessons learned and why the businesses on Wisconsin Ave were targeted.
Cpt Bray also discussed the emergency police reform legislation passed by the DC council. He stated that MPD is one of the most progressive police forces with respect to the use of force and they are already doing some of the items addressed in the legislation – neck restraints have been outlawed for a decade and people have the right to refuse police searches. They take no issues with the items addressing police training; and having officers clearly identified as being a member of MPD at protests. MPD has concerns with some parts of the legislation that will make their jobs impossible to do and might encourage some officers to retire including: not allowing officers to review body worn camera footage before writing reports; releasing the names of officers associated with fatal shooting; repealing the prohibition of wearing a mask with intent to commit crime; limits on when officers can use force, even non-deadly force, like grabbing someone; requiring a positive ID before an officer can chase someone; the prohibition in obtaining equipment such as armored cars from the Federal Government; and the restrictions on using chemical irritants and rubber bullets. Attendees: asked what public forums residents could attend to weigh in on these issues; stated that their friend was shot by a rubber bullet while on their way to a pharmacy and asked for an apology but the Commander in that district would not provide one; would like to learn more about challenges that are unique to MPD. Cpt Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or concerns.
Presentation of revised grant from Tenleytown Neighbors to support Armesleigh Park tour and booklet and possible vote on same
At the last meeting, Barbara Gunning and Carolyn Long representing the Tenleytown Neighbors Association (TNA) and Tenleytown Historical Society (THS) respectively, presented a grant request to support the copying of a booklet detailing the history of Armsleigh Park. They submitted an updated grant request to this Commission per the recommendations by the Commissioners at the last meeting increasing the grant request to $500 and listing THS as the nominal grantee. There were no questions from attendees or Commissioners.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to approve the grant application. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Presentation of follow-up grant from Tenleytown Main Street for support of its Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience program and possible vote on same
At the last meeting, Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street (TMS) presented a grant request for $3000 to support Tenleytown Main Street’s COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program. The Commissioners were concerned that the digital marketing portion of the grant proposal would not be allowable under DC regulations, so the ANC funded the cleaning kits portion of the grant and TMS submitted an updated grant request for $1400 (the portion of the grant that was originally earmarked for digital marketing) to apply for additional cleaning kits and PPE. There were no questions from attendees. Commissioner Quinn had a question about the wording in the updated proposal and Ms. Miles submitted another update to the grant proposal while the meeting was ongoing.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the updated grant. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Presentation by TMS on green infrastructure projects
Ms. Miles and Carol Wong with the Center for Watershed Protection presented plans to build and maintain green infrastructure along the Wisconsin Ave corridor. The project would be administrated by DC DOEE and maintained by the TMS Clean Team and volunteers. The goal is to increase storm-water retention in the community and provide a demonstration project for residents. The project will include bioretention in a bumped out crosswalk, permeable pavement, bioretention and seating in front of Café of India at the corner of Wisconsin Ave and Emory Pl, bioretention, permeable pavement and seating in front of the PNC Bank at the corner of Wisconsin Ave and Warren St, and to place a raised planter with seating in front of Wawa (this would not impede long-term improvement projects in that area). They hope to gain lessons learned and then install additional projects along Wisconsin Ave.
Attendees had no questions. Commissioners: liked the projects, especially the one by Café of India because it would also slow down traffic coming off of Wisconsin, and asked about the possibility of closing off the entire street and connect it to Fessenden Park; were under whelmed by the project in front of Wawa; and would like to find other projects to improve such as the new traffic diverter on 44th and Harrison and the space in front of the Pepco substation by Harrison St.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution concerning application for permission to build a 6-foot high fence in public space at 4301 Ellicott Street, NW
Commissioner Bender stated that the owner of 4301 Ellicott St would like to erect a fence along the sidewalk and alley to provide privacy and security. Overheight fence requests are hardly ever granted by the Public Service Commission (PSC), especially when they run to the edge of the public space attached to a resident’s lot. Commissioner Bender is in discussion with the applicant to evaluate other options that might be approved.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution concerning application for permission to build an overheight fence at 3848 Harrison Street, NW
The owner of 3848 Harrison St installed a pool, a pool house last year and a 6-foot fence around the property. The fence was approved by DCRA but he did not know that he needed additional approval from PSC for the fence. After the fence was constructed along the sidewalk, he was told by PSC he needed to remove the fence. He would like to move the fence back 12 feet (the fence would still be 3 feet into public space) so that he could use an existing fence post and have some space between the pool house and the fence. Quinn stated that since the homeowner was willing to move the fence 12 feet in from the sidewalk and there are many other non-conforming fences in his immediate neighborhood, he wouldn’t oppose it. Other commissioners agreed that given how little public space the revised application sought to fence, and how there would be attractive landscaping in the sizable portion of public space between the sidewalk and the fence, they were willing not to oppose the application. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions.
Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution not to oppose the overheight fence in public space. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding request by Surfside at Van Ness and Wisconsin for entertainment endorsement to its liquor license to permit playing of music outside
At the last meeting the Commission discussed Surfside’s application for an entertainment endorsement to their ABRA application. Commissioner McHugh stated that since the last meeting he met with the owner of Surfside, the nearby residents and the SMD Commissioner from ANC3F and they agreed to conditions for the entertainment endorsement including that they would allow live acoustic music from 11 am to 11 pm on the private patio along Van Ness St and indoors limited to 55 decibels as measured on the east side of Wisconsin Ave and provide a mechanism for neighbors to reach out to resolve any issues with the restaurant management.
Commissioner McHugh moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution supporting the resolution. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on supporting application for grant funding to paint murals on 4936 Wisconsin Ave (second floor wall facing north, above Pete’s) and 4224 Fessenden NW (side of coffee shop, facing the alley).
Olga Smith would like to file a grant application with DC Department of Arts and Humanities to paint murals on the on second floor wall of 4936 Wisconsin Ave and on the side of the Coffee Nature (4224 Fessenden NW) facing the alley. She has an art studio on 42nd Street and can work on the mural with her students. She is working with the owner of the buildings on the designs and he has indicated that he would like a Starry Night mural on the side of the Coffee Nature.
Attendees asked if the building owner of the house across the alley approved, that the Commission withhold approval until there is a final design, and whether murals could be painted on the boarded portions of stores.
Commissioners: supported the proposal; didn’t think many people would see the mural on the side of Coffee Nature; like putting the mural on the wall above Pete’s Pizza; would like to have the mural from the Pepco substation re-painted; and did not think the Commission should be able to approve or reject the designs.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to authorize Commissioner Bender to write a letter stating that the Commission supports painting murals on those buildings subject to the artist presenting the designs to the community. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
- Approval of May 2020 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft May 2020 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
- 2nd Quarter 2020 Treasurer’s Report – Commissioner Quinn moved and Commissioner seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payment of $322.50 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support, $500 for the grant to Tenleytown Historical Society and $1400 for the grant to Tenleytown Mainstreet. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:35 PM.