October 14, 2021, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:37 PM. Commissioners Bender, Cohen, 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
The Commission announced that the November meeting will not be held on November 11 due to the Veteran’s Day holiday. The date will be announced on the ANC website the week of October 18.
Leigh Catherine Miles, Executive Director of Tenleytown Mainstreet announced: The Tenley Winterfest will be held November 26 through December 5. Applications for tables at the Holiday Market will be available the week of October 18. Detailed information can be found at www.tenleywinterfest.org. Miles also stated that starting November 1, small business grant applications will be available to help businesses update their interiors, exteriors or improve their business operations, or upgrade security.
Matt Frumin announced that the Lisner Home is at the final stages of negotiating an agreement with a joint venture partner to build 80-100 affordable senior housing units on their property. The units will be located in the area where the parking currently sits. They are planning meetings in the near future with the nearby neighbors, the ANC Commissioners, and the community.
An attendee asked if the Commission could post the recordings of the meetings sooner.
Emir Gur-Ravantab, the Ward 3 Liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations, announced:
- Of the Covid cases reported to the city from school-aged children, 60% of the cases were in elementary school students, 14% were in middle schools, and 16% were in high schools. The majority of cases were seen in charter schools. By November 1st, anyone who spends time in schools, including volunteers, must be vaccinated.
- The city is now collecting yard waste separated from regular trash. Residents can schedule collection by calling 311 or bags can be brought to Ft Totten. Zerowaste.dc.gov
- The city extended the automobile ticket amnesty until December 31.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns
An attendee asked about the construction project and public space application at 4912 Wisconsin Ave. Commissioner Bender replied that they are constructing residential housing and wanted to install a plain front lawn in the public space. Bender stated he would be opposed to a lawn because it would feel like the lawn was for the exclusive use of building residents and thus feel like privatizing public space. He hopes that the space can be made available for open air seating for the adjacent restaurant, Tartufo, which lacks suitable space in front of its property. The owner of 4912 has expressed interest in this possibility. The parties are continuing discussions and hope to have a resolution by the next ANC meeting.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Beistline provided an update on crime in PSA 202. In the past 30 days, there have been four robberies, five burglaries and one motor vehicle theft. MPD recently closed five robbery cases, one of which was in our PSA at the 7-11. There were four burglaries recently in our area at Sol Mexican Grill, Coffee Nature, the dry cleaner around the corner from them and at District Taco. MPD believes they are all related and are putting their carjacking unit on the case to help close them. There has been an uptick in thefts from autos last days. Common targets are tools in construction vehicles and catalytic converters from Toyota Prius’.
An attendee asked if there were any commonalities between the businesses that were targeted and if there were any descriptions of the suspect(s). Beistline said she will email the details. A Commissioner noted that the MPD just released an announcement that Paul’s liquor Store was robbed. Lt Beistline can be reached at email@example.com or at 202-779-2854with any additional comments or questions.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding special exception sought by the River School be permitted to site a school, pre-school, and clinic on the estate grounds at Van Ness and Nebraska Avenues
Commissioner Bender opened by saying the Commission will be voting on the River School’s application at this meeting. Allison Prince, an attorney for the River School stated the school considered the ANC’s request to reduce car trips to the school by 75 – 80% but they were unable to reduce the trips to that level. They are asking the Commission to support the school or remain neutral but noted that if the application is approved by the BZA without the ANCs support they want to continue dialogue with the ANC and community.
Jami Milanovich, traffic engineer for the school, stated they are proposing to:
- Modify the traffic signal to add a west-bound left turn signal from Van Ness to Nebraska.
- Remove parking on Nebraska from 7 am to 7 pm.
- Remove 4 residential parking spaces on the north side of Van Ness across from NPS.
- Install a HAWK signal at Nebraska and Warren.
- Install a Capital Bikeshare station.
- At the intersection of Nebraska Ave and 41st St, replace the yield sign with a stop sign and no left turn sign.
- Install 400’ of sidewalk on 42nd St on the back side of the school.
- Study the 42nd Street/Van Ness and Yuma Street/Tenley Circle intersection the first year after they reach full capacity.
- Their TDM plan would reduce car trips to/from the school 45% during the morning peak hour, 15% during the afternoon dismissal and 15% during the afternoon rush hour.
- They will have two security officers help with drop off and pick up.
Commissioner McHugh sated that at this point he did not feel he could support the proposal. He would like to see improvements in traffic volume, local streets not be used for queueing, improvements in performance especially at the Van Ness/Nebraska /42nd intersection, and a commitment to alternative transit modes. McHugh would also like to see more teeth in the TMP if they didn’t hit their goals.
- Asked what pedestrian safety measures they will install at 42nd between Van Ness and Yuma. They are not proposing any improvements along 42nd because there are many existing measures.
- Asked how they would ensure parents don’t park in the neighborhood and walk their kids to the school. TRS stated they will have traffic monitors and it’s a small community and they know their students and parents.
- Did not think that they can put a decent building and play space on that site.
- Did not think the heritage trees would survive a move.
- Was concerned about the safety of AU students that walk down Nebraska.
- Thought the site is too small, the traffic situation is difficult and had concerns with the enforcement mechanism.
- A current River School parent is excited that she would be able to walk to the new building, likes the design of the building and private schools put pressure on public schools to perform better.
- Another River School parent stated the school makes sure that everyone follows the rules, and they follow through on their commitments.
- Questioned whether public transit is a viable option for 3- and 4-year olds; did not think the lot was large enough for the school; did not like that the buildings would be pushed to the edge of the lot; and was unhappy the school wouldn’t commit to the external finishes of the buildings other the landscaping details.
- Noted the current school has a long line of cars along MacArthur during the afternoon pickup.
- Stated GDS is very committed to their plans, but they have had problems. Stated that without strict controls the parents won’t follow the rules.
- Said the Commissioners have to decide what is in the interest of the city and that this is a better location than their current site and noted that Janney parents drive a lot to the school, and they are not subjected to traffic controls.
- Supports the school and thought the school would generate a modest increase in traffic.
- Worried about what would happen to the site if this project falls through and thought the school would generate minor traffic inconveniences for a half hour in morning and afternoon.
- A River Parent said that pick up and drop off is fast.
- They didn’t think the school meets the standards for getting a special exception to be in a residential area.
- Asked for clarification regarding the improvements of the intersections.
- Said the school cannot be viewed in a vacuum and would like all schools (public and private) to have traffic management plans.
- Was not comfortable supporting a project that will increase traffic around that intersection.
- Was afraid that Nebraska and Warren will be used for queueing, was worried about the illegal left hand turns out of the school, pedestrians on Nebraska, parking in the neighborhood, and that the enforcement plan isn’t adequate.
- Said they will continue to work with the River School if BZA does not approve this plan.
- Wants more River Students to take public transportation, buses or carpooling.
- Thought additional trip reductions were necessary.
- Did not like that we are holding them to a standard that neighboring schools are not being held to. He did not think the problems are River’s fault and have been here for a while.
- Did not want to remove parking for through-put for single occupancy vehicles.
- Said this was not an easy decision, was very concerned that the CTR shows much more dramatic traffic impact in the future but thinks they will be a great addition to the neighborhood if they can come to an agreement with the ANC.
Commissioner Quinn offered a friendly amendment about the egress on 42nd street. His amendment stated that the impacts of a second driveway on traffic queuing, dangerous turn movements and dispersal should have been fully studied . Commissioner McHugh said he did not support it and Commissioner Cohen didn’t think it was necessary. Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to oppose the special exception as written. The motion was approved by a vote of 4-1-0 with Commissioner Quinn opposing.
Presentation of grant proposal to support Janney 5K race
Eva Gunasekera, from the Janney PTA presented a grant proposal to support their 5K race that will take place the morning of November 20. Gunasekera stated their largest cost would $22k for off-duty MPD officers to close down the streets during the race. The mayor has set up a waiver program and they applied for the waivers and noted that they have had difficulty getting sponsorships from local businesses. She presented a grant for $2500 to offset the costs of providing the officers for the race Commissioner Bender stated the Commission typically hears the request one month and then votes on it the following month. The invoice wouldn’t come due until the day of the race.
Commissioners stated they support the grant at the $2500 level but need to check with OANC to see if ANC grants can be used to pay for the police. Commissioner Bender stated that we will vote on the grant application at the next ANC meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for a special exception to build an addition on a nonconforming lot at 4802 41st Street
Steve Power, the owner of the property stated they would like to build an addition above their kitchen and mud room and expand their basement below their back deck. The house is currently not conforming so they need a special exception to have their plans approved. The neighbors on either side of their home support the project and they agreed to add a rain barrel to offset any increases in run-off. There were no questions or comments from attendees or Commissioners.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support the special exception. 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 announced that the applicant has asked to postpone his public space hearing and as such this item will be heard at a later ANC meeting.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding public space application by UIP to create a park at the intersection of Brandywine, River, and 42nd Streets pursuant to a PUD agreement negotiated by the ANC
Commissioner Bender stated that about 10 years ago, DDOT recommended pursuant to a neighborhood study that Brandywine St between 42nd and River be closed; DDOT did not implement the recommendation, however. UIP agreed to close off the block, connect the street to the triangle in front of it and build a parklet as part of the PUD at 4620 Wisconsin Ave. Fawzi Abdo with UIP stated they will be putting in seating areas, game tables, five ADA compliant crosswalk, a shade tree, grass and other landscaping with a plan to have it completed by summer of 2022. There will be space for Confetti to have some tables outside their store. They need to go before DDOT’s public space committee for final approval.
Attendees: stated that they would like to have street trees planted along River Rd and more seating (UIP replied there is a 5” gas line that prevents the planting of street trees that would go along the curb but they can look into adding some shrubs and they are looking to add more portable seating); asked if the park could be ready for the spring (they need a few months to obtain permits and construction will take 3-4 months); and asked if there will be sufficient barriers to prevent cars from entering the park (there will be a curb and cars don’t travel fast down the street).
Commissioners: asked if the park will be sufficiently activated (there are a few game tables at the north end of the park and there is open green space); asked if we need to keep the stop sign on northbound 42nd St at Brandywine, a few feet short of the light at River; and asked UIP to install traffic calming measures at the intersection.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to support the public space application. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
On a separate matter, Commissioner Bender reiterated a call to UIP to install a covered walkway in front of 4620 Wisconsin Ave and asked UIP to address construction trucks driving down Chesapeake St as they exit the property. Abdo replied they are revisiting the traffic plan, they will be reopening the sidewalk around October 29 and then closing it again for about 2 weeks around the end of November. They will have to close the sidewalk again later on to replace the sidewalk.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding public space application to construct an over-height fence at 4120 Warren Street
Commissioner Bender stated that fences in public space can no higher than 42”. The Commissioners all tried to get the documents related to this project online from the city but could not obtain them. Moreover, the Public Space Committee rarely allows over-height fences. The property owners were not in attendance for the meeting. Commissioners Cohen and McHugh wrote a resolution opposing the over-height fence. Attendees: no attendees had questions or comments.
Commissioner Cohen moved, and Commissioner McHugh seconded a motion to supporting the resolution opposing to the over-height fence. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for liquor license by Verified Wines at 4906 Wisconsin Ave
Verified wines would like to sell curated wines and liquors in store and via e-commerce from 4906 Wisconsin Ave. They have agreed to not have customers in the store after 9:30 and not sell to customers who park illegally on Wisconsin Ave.
An attendees asked if they plan to have tastings and when they plan to open (they are planning to open before Halloween and the tasting plans are still under consideration). Verified asked if they could change the awning and paint a mural on the back of the building. Commissioner Bender stated that if the awning projects into public space, they would need to file an application for that and LC Miles from Tenleytown Main Street said they can paint a mural as long as it does not have a business logo.
Commissioners: asked if they would have customers in the store after 9:30 (they will do delivery or e-commerce activities after hours); reminded them that if they plan to have curbside pickup they would have to apply to DDOT to convert a metered space in front of the store for pickup.
Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Cohen seconded a motion to support the liquor license application and voluntary agreement. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
Presentation by DC Relay regarding telecommunications services it makes available free to speech or hearing-impaired individuals
DC Relay did not stay for the end of the meeting. Commissioner Bender stated we will invite them to present at a future meeting.
- Approval of September 2021 meeting minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Hall seconded a motion to approve the Draft September 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 $615.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative support. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- Approval of 4Q 2021 Treasurer’s Report – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Fourth Quarter FY 2021 Treasurer’s Report. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
- FY 2022 Proposed Budget – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner seconded a motion to approve the Budget as amended for FY 2022. The motion was approved by a vote of 5-0-0.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 11:02 PM.