November 16, 2021, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 8:14 P. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, Hall, and McHugh. Quinn were in attendance. The meeting started late due to technical issues. Commissioner Quinn joined later.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Mainstreet announced Tenleytown Winterfest will take place from November 26 to December 4 and small business grant applications are due November 30.
An attendee complained about the sidewalk being closed in front of 4620 Wisconsin Ave and the difficulties it has created since they have not constructed a pedestrian shelter along the street. He asked about sidewalk closures at the Dancing Crab construction site. He also noted that a neighbor constructed a 6-foot-high fence in the public space at Davenport on 41st Streets.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
The police representative was unable to stay due to the late start of the meeting because of technical issues.
Discussion of and possible vote on grant proposal to support Janney 5K race
At our last meeting, Eva Gunasekera, from the Janney PTA presented a grant proposal for $2,500 to offset the costs associated with their 5K race and fun run. The original grant proposal earmarked the funds to offset part of the cost for MPD Officers to support the race. Commissioner Cohen said the PTA applied for a DC grant and were awarded about 50% of the cost of the MPD Officers. Commissioner Quinn contacted OANC and they said we are not be allowed to use grant funds to pay for MPD Officers. Commissioner Cohen stated the PTA would like to amend the grant application to reflect the ANC grant payment going to race timing company. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions or comments.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to support the grant. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-0-0 Commissioner Quinn was not in attendance for this vote.
Presentation by DC Relay regarding telecommunications services it makes available free to speech or hearing-impaired individuals
Renate Buttrum outreach coordinator for DC Relay presented an overview of the communication services they provide to the community. Speech-to-speech relay services, for people with speech impairments can be accessed by dialing 711. They provide caption telephones for people with hearing impairments but who are otherwise able to speak. They also provide relay services for people who are speech and hearing impaired. All services are available in English and Spanish and are available at no cost 24-7.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for special exception relief from side yard requirements and variance relief from non-conforming lot and lot occupancy requirements to build an addition to a home at 4701 Fessenden Street NW
Linda ReVeal, the homeowner of 4701 Fessenden St NW presented the plans for an addition to her property. They would like to remove the existing deck and construct a small bedroom and bath in its place. She stated the house was built in 1800s before the zoning laws were written and the project requires a variance because of the shape and size of the lot. They have notified the nearby neighbors, none of whom object, and they will install some rain barrels. She stated the construction will also involve the removal of a holly, but they will replace it. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions or comments.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to support of her special exception application. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding public space application to build over-height fence in public space at 4900 47th Street NW
Commissioner Hall stated that the property owner filed an application to replace an existing fence that sits on top of a retaining wall. The vast majority of the fence is under 42” tall but about 3 feet of the fence exceeds the height allowed for fences in public space because of the change in the grade in the property. Commissioner Bender stated that we generally do not support fences over 42” high in the public space but will support this because of the unique circumstance of the lot. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions or comments.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded authorizing Commissioner Hall to write a letter saying we support this application in light of the circumstances. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application to occupy public space in front of residences to be built at 4912 Wisconsin Ave
Commissioner Bender stated that the applicant is building a 22 unit building with 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments. They filed an application seeking to construct an areaway and front projection in the public space. Commissioner Bender stated they would also like to activate the space in front of the building. They have entered into an agreement that would allow them to have use 3 feet of the public space for the areaway and front projections in exchange for the adjacent restaurant, Tartufo, being allowed to use the space in front of the building for outdoor seating. Bender noted that restaurant owners typically cannot use adjacent public space for outdoor seating but under Covid allowances, DDOT is allowing such through February 2022 and DDOT is considering whether to allow such seating permanently.
Attendees: asked if there was a design for the public space yet (the public space design is not being considered under this application); asked if DDOT does not allow for the permanent use of adjacent public space what is the plan for the space (the applicant will have up to one year to work out an alternative use that is mutually agreeable and if nothing is agreed to, the fence would come down but the lawn will stay); asked if the development would include affordable units (3 units will be affordable).
Commissioners had no additional comments or questions.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support of their public space application and for authorization to sign the agreement. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Update from Georgetown Day School on traffic management and other issues related to the school
Russell Shaw, Head of School for GDS gave a presentation on the status of their school. He stated GDS hosted one of the Art-All-Night sites, they have provided temporary office space to TMS, they recently hosted a COVID vaccination site for children, and their playground is open to the public when not in use by the school. By way of transportation and traffic management, every GDS family receives a personalized plan showing how each family can arrive to and depart from school and all methods of transportation are in effect this year. They had an issue earlier in the year where parents were queuing on neighborhood streets, but they have been working with the families, reminding them not to queue, park or drop off kids off on neighborhood streets. They are running 11 bus routes which are 70% full and 25% of the faculty and staff are using staff transportation awards. They have five years to meet their trip count targets and conducted their first set of trip counts in October. They had 619 trips in the morning peak hour (the goal is to be under 595 trips), 379 trips during after school pickup (goal is 465), and 379 trips during the afternoon rush hour (goal is 265). They determined the problems in the afternoon rush hour are due to athletic matches and are working on using shuttle buses for people attending the games. Finally, GDS announced they are working on purchasing the WMATA chiller site at the corner of Wisconsin and Ellicott. Some preliminary thoughts on uses for the site include construction of faculty housing, using it for additional school offices or a possibly as a civic engagement lab. The WMATA chiller equipment would be housed on top of whatever GDS builds.
Attendees: asked if the school buses pick up and drop off at central locations or at students’ homes (central locations); asked if they have plans for Martens site (they no firm plans for the site yet); asked if using the WMATA chiller site would generate additional traffic (it would operate as an office space not a meeting space); liked the idea of a civic lab; and asked why their busses are using Warren Street (they would look into it and will try to avoid Warren and possibly use Yuma Street instead).
Commissioners: asked about the comment on one slide which said “driving is still an option for now” (GDS stated that they are considering whether to charge faculty for parking to discourage them from driving to school); did not understand why we would ask GDS to move their buses from Warren to Yuma as they are both residential streets; noted that parents are parking on nearby streets, especially Ellicott and also still sees parents queueing in the streets (they are working to eliminate this); asked if the gate on 43rd Street will remain open (they want it to remain open); asked about if they are allowing their fields to be rented by outside groups over the summer (they hope to do so this summer); stated that they saw buses driving into no-travel lanes, around waiting cars to enter the garage (they will look at this); and asked if they will need any variances or special exceptions for the WMATA chiller site (it will be a by-right project, they say).
Presentation by the Lisner Home regarding its plan to seek a map amendment to build affordable senior housing on its campus
Matt Frumin, Director of the Board, and Ward Orem, Executive Director for the Lisner Home presented their plans for building affordable senior housing on their campus. They plan to place the building on the northeast corner of the property with parking entry into the garage off of Livingston. They will have 40 parking spaces in the garage and 35 parking spaces on a surface lot in front of existing 1940s building. Deliveries to the site will come onto the property from Western Ave to the surface lot. The project would have both assisted and independent living units for residents that make between 30 & 55% of the Area Median Income (AMI). The building will be three stories above most of the grade and will be as high as the houses across the street with an additional 15’ setback along 42nd Street. Their hearing for the map amendment will be in February or March at the earliest.
Attendees: had concerns about up-zoning the entire property (they replied that map amendments have to apply to an entire lot and if they tried to subdivide the lot, the buildings could not be connected); did not like the plan to build a surface lot off of Western Ave; asked if Lisner is receiving funding from DC for the project (they have applied to the city for an affordable housing grant); was concerned because of the lack of consultation with the nearby neighbors and about the zoning changes they are requesting; and was not happy that the building would be on the 42nd Street side of their property, closest to the neighbors.
Commissioners: asked if they received the map amendment, what their plans are for the rest of the site (they want to be a good neighbor and will work out a process for any future additions); liked the concept and noted that there is a shortage of low income housing, and especially so for seniors; was struck by the number of questions from the community about the map amendment and Lisner’s lack of communication with the neighbors; did not have concerns about the scale of the project as it appears quite moderate; heard from some constituents that this should be done as a PUD but feels the entire building is an amenity and wanted to be sure the project described would be built and that the map amendment could not be used as a blank check by Lisner; thought that Lisner has been a wonderful neighbor and is very responsive; noted we are at the beginning of the process and there will be many opportunities for neighbors to weigh in; was not happy about them putting a parking lot over the front lawn; would like to work out an agreement for a process for any future development on the site; and would like them to seek LEED certification for the project.
Presentation by Federal Realty Trust regarding its plan to seek a PUD to build a mixed-use wa
Commissioner Bender announced that the applicant has asked to have this agenda item postponed to a later ANC meeting.
- Approval of October 2021 meeting minutes Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the Draft October 2021 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 a payment for $435.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support and $2500 to Janney PTA for their Fun Run grant. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 11:11 PM.