October 15, 2020, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:34 PM. Commissioners Bender, McHugh and Quinn were in attendance. Commissioner Hall joined later.
Announcements / Open Forum– opportunity for members of the community to raise issues of concern or importance to the 3E neighborhood
Eli Hoffman Manager of Community Affairs and Engagement for DCPS stated that based on the recommendations of the DCFACES Group, the District will be changing the name of Woodrow Wilson High School before the end of the year. Details on the renaming process can be found at https://dcps.dc.gov/page/dcps-school-naming-and-renaming-engagement.
Jessica Green, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations announced: today is the last day to be counted in the census by the US Census; anyone who has lost health insurance because of the pandemic can enroll now and open enrollment for everyone else starts on November 1 at https://dchealthlink.com/; DC is encouraging everyone to get flu shots this year and they are available at Coronavirus testing sites; and DC is offering small business resiliency grants of up to $10,000 to businesses with less than 50 people.
Leigh Catherine Miles, the Executive Director of Tenleytown Main Street announced: they have information on additional small grants available on their website; a Fessenden Park clean-up will be held on Saturday, November 14 at 9:00 am; and, TMS will hold a virtual Tenley Winterfest this year. Details on all of these items can be found on https://tenleytownmainstreet.org.
An attendee stated that Ward 3 Mutual Aid, which helps elderly, disabled and low-income neighbors obtain groceries and hygiene supplies, hopes to present a grant to the Commission at next month’s meeting.
Maria Barry, Director of Community Relations at American University stated that neighbors are welcome to walk through the campus, but all visitors must stay masked and follow social distancing guidelines. They expect to make an announcement in a few weeks regarding their spring semester plans. The University has a monthly communications newsletter which can be subscribed to at https://www.american.edu/communityrelations/. Additional questions and comments can be sent to Ms. Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presentation by 2nd District Police with Second District Commander Bedlion
Commander Bedlion discussed the investigations of major crimes that recently took place in PSA 202. There was a murder on September 24 on the 5200 block of Western Ave, NW at the rear of a residence and business that was also operating as a known marijuana distribution site. The investigation is progressing, and they will have information in the coming weeks. DCRA shut down the business that was operating at the site.
On Sunday, October 4 at around 11:30 PM an adult male reported that he was sitting in his car near Tenley liquor store at 40th and Wisconsin, when he was approached by two suspects. He tried to drive away from them and was shot. A few hours later, on October 5th at 1:30 am, MPD responded to a shooting on Connecticut Ave and found an adult male suffering from gunshot wounds who did not survive. Both crimes had 2 suspects with similar descriptions, and both seem to be connected to attempted robberies. Detectives believe the two crimes are related and will have an announcement soon.
MPD has deployed the crime suppression team to the area, are using license plate readers, and are looking at complaints from community members and reports of pop-up drug activity to develop leads into these crimes. Commander Bedlion reminded attendees of the DC Private Video Camera Rebate Program. Details on the program can be found at https://ovsjg.dc.gov/service/private-security-camera-system-incentive-program. He urged anyone with knowledge of the crimes to call in tips to 202-727-9099 or text them to 50411.
Commissioner Bender asked if the police have found any video of the crimes that is useful to the investigations. Bedlion stated said that they cannot comment on that right now. Attendees asked about a woman that was found dead at Chevy Chase Circle recently and about the increases in burglaries targeting local businesses over the last few months and in motor vehicle thefts.
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime for PSA 202. Over the previous 30 days, there was a decrease in robberies, assaults with a dangerous weapon and all property crimes. There were no question for the lieutenant.
Presentation by Lifematters about their application for a Certificate of Need to establish a home care agency at 5028 Wisconsin Ave, NW, with administrative staff only on site, and possible vote on letter regarding same
Daniel Gold, Chief Operating Officer for Lifematters stated they provide certified nursing assistants, care managers, home health aides, etc. for elderly and disabled residents and have been operating in MD, DC and VA since 2004. With new licensing laws they are required to have a physical office in DC. They plan to have 1-2 employees at the Wisconsin Ave location. Commissioner Bender stated that the ANC does not need to weigh in on this issue unless there is a concern. Attendees and Commissioners had no questions.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to authorize Commissioner Bender to write a letter saying the Commission does not oppose the establishment of the office. The motion was passed 3-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on renewal applications for liquor licenses at Wagshal’s and Rodman’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. There were no concerns raised by those in attendance or sent to the Commissioners ahead of the meeting, therefore the Commission took no action on the renewals.
Presentation by Community Mediation DC about the services they make available
Caroline Cragin with Community Mediation DC stated that her organization offers mediation services at no cost to all DC residents. Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been offering their services virtually. The have helped with co-parenting disputes, parent-teen disputes, interpersonal relationship issues, neighborhood conflicts, landlord-tenants disputes, business-resident disputes, and workplace relationship issues. They provide up to two hours of service at no cost and offer conflict coaching so that people can solve issues without a mediator. They are looking for volunteers for their Mediation Ambassador training program. They can be contacted via 240-766-5311, email@example.com, or http://communitymediation.org to request services or make a referral.
Attendees did not have any questions. Commissioners: asked if Commissioners could refer residents to the organization to try to resolve neighbor-to-neighbor conflicts.
Discussion of and possible vote on public space application to install a driveway and curb cut at 4315 Fessenden St
David Landsman, the architect, Todd Boley, the owner, and Thomas Boley his son, presented their plans for the property. Mr. Landsman stated they are planning to raze and rebuild the home and keep the tennis court in the back. They are seeking to install a new walkway and a 10’ wide curb cut for a driveway down to a below grade garage (12% grade). There is no parking on the street directly in front of the house and the owners would have to park across the street. He stated that there is a 4’ easement on the neighboring property (4317 Fessenden). The house has no alley which is an anomaly in this area. He stated the majority of the homes on that block have driveways.
Attendees had no questions. Commissioners: asked if Mr. Boley had an interest in the home next door (4317 Fessenden) because of entries in the DCRA website; stated that this ANC generally opposes curb cuts; stated that neighbors had said that the existing driveway had been shared for years, that as recently as last night there was a car parked on Mr. Boley’s property that neighbors said got there via the existing driveway, and would like the owner to find a way to continue using the existing easement; noted that others in the neighborhood who have narrow, sloped driveway park at the top of their driveway which would be in public space; noted it could be difficult to back out of an active traffic lane while coming up from a below grade parking, and stated they wouldn’t oppose the driveway if it was at grade..
After asking Mr. Boley for further information, Commissioner Bender corrected a factual error in the resolution. Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the amended resolution to oppose the curb cut. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-0-0.
Presentation by DPR regarding its Ready2Play program
Nick Kushner with DPR stated that Ready2Play is the DPR 20-year master planning document and will be used as a blueprint for budget submissions. This plan looks at DPR properties, National Park facilities and school recreation facilities to find areas where they can cooperatively manage land and recreation facilities. They have identified key priorities to NPS and are waiting for their approval. DPR has started virtual engagement with the residents. There is a survey on their website www.ready2playdc.com and plan to have their final plan completed by September 2021. Any comments can also be sent to Ready2Play@dc.gov.
Attendees asked what the budget for DPR is and what part of the budget does Ready2Play cover and suggested they come to a Friends of Fessenden Park meeting.
Commissioners: stated that we have a lot of park land but no programming for middle and high school students and we would love a skatepark and basketball courts for middle and HS students; suggested they reach out to the Deal and Wilson communities; stated that we could use a full scale rec center; and stated that we will have a number of parklets that will be added to the area and would like to see a bocce court added to one of them.
Update from Valor Development on its plans to redevelop the Fox 5 site
Will Lansing with Valor Development and John Lang, an architect with Hickock Cole, presented the latest plans for 5151 Wisconsin Ave. Mr. Lansing stated their BZA hearing will take place on January 27 and they have incorporated suggestions from neighbors and the ANC into their updated plans. Mr. Lang stated that this is a bow-tied shaped site and reminded attendees they are looking for ANC support to shift a portion of the MU-4 zoning line 35 feet to the east. Everything else is within their matter-of-right. The apartment building will have 179 units with 10% of the square footage reserved for inclusionary zoning and 80-100 parking spaces with the possibility of some surface parking. They added a small exterior facing space at the corner of Harrison and Wisconsin that could be used for a café. The building will have a green roof and possibly some solar panels. They also plan to install some public seating areas along Wisconsin.
Attendees: would like to see housing vouchers accepted at the property to add some economic diversity to the neighborhood; asked if the building will be ADA compliant not just ADA accessible; stated that it looked as though there will be a decrease in pervious surface because of the removal of planters along Wisconsin Ave; would like to see native planting in whatever green spaces they have; thought they will taking the building further into the neighborhood than allowed by MOR; did not like that they are not removing the wall along 42nd Street or tower; asked what is being offered to the community in exchange for the shift in the zoning line; asked if the fitness area and flex space along Wisconsin will be open to the public and if they would consider opening that space to a community arts organization; asked what is the status of the NE corner lot on that block; asked what their plans are for the SE corner of the lot; and stated they would like to have the development of the entire site done as one big project.
Commissioners: asked about the status of the tower; stated they would like to see the cafe open to the public; stated they would like to see more inclusionary zoning; would like to see the public space activated; stated they would like to see them work with the neighbors regarding plantings on the northern side of the property; noted that there is a difference between ADA compliance and wheelchair accessible and would like to have a few units that are fully ADA accessible; would like to see some space for a daycare center; would like to see transit oriented development; would like to see a larger project especially since this site is one block from the metro; asked what LEED certification Valor will seek for the building; stated they would like to see solar panels added to the roof; and asked about electric charging stations in the underground garage.
Mr. Lansing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions and concerns.
Update by American University regarding its proposed campus plan
Ed Fisher, Assistant Vice President for Community and Government Relations stated that no changes have been made to their campus plan since last month. They will release a final version of their campus plan on October 23.
Attendees asked about the time limit for meeting on-campus housing targets rather than using master leases in off-campus buildings like The Frequency to meet their housing requirements.
Commissioners: stated they would like AU to build more on-campus housing to free-up housing like The Frequency for additional tenants; would like to see more bikes and bicycle facilities on campus; and stated they support the campus plan and the process that was used to generate it.
- Approval of September 2020 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the Draft September 2020 Meeting Minutes. 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 payments of $375.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The expenditures were approved by a vote of 4-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 11:25 PM.