Meeting Minutes

October 12, 20237:30 pm

The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:32 PM. Commissioners Bender, Carney, Cohen, Denny, Ghosh, Gianinno, Hall 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

An attendee stated that the Office of Planning (OP) has released the draft Wisconsin Ave Development Framework document and comments are due by November 15. Commissioner Bender stated that ANC3E will host a special meeting on November 2, possibly with ANC3A, to further discuss and hear from OP about what’s in the draft framework and we will vote on comments to be submitted to OP at our regular meeting on November 9.

An attendee stated they heard St Columba’s might be planning some development on their property and asked what the Commission knew about the plans. Commissioner Cohen said he met with St Columba’s and they were seeking input on how to get input from community on their possible plans to the unused house on their property. They did not share any concrete development plans and they plan be host public forums to gain input from the community.

Leigh Catherine Miles, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Matt Frumin stated that their office has had similar discussions with St Columba’s. Miles announced that the next Workday in the Ward in be held on October 25 at Bread and Chocolate on Connecticut Ave and on October 26, DDOT will host a public meeting at Cleveland Park library regarding the smart street lighting. She also stated that Councilmember Frumin introduced legislation that would void all pre-1930 housing covenants.

Linda Greenan with Pepco announced that in April Pepco filed an application to increase rates in 2024, 2025 and 2026. On Sat Nov 4 they are hosting an Open House at the MLK library to explain the program and their application. Commissioner Bender asked if it could be a hybrid meeting. He also noted that many people in the neighborhood lost power for multiple days this summer after Pepco undergrounded power lines and asked for a report on causes of the outage. Greenan replied she will ask about it. Commissioner Quinn asked about the sale of the extra lot next to the Wisconsin Ave substation. Greenan replied there is some contamination on the lot and they have yet to make a decision about the plans for it.

Erkin Ozberk with OP announced that the Draft Wisconsin Development Framework was released. Comments are due by November 15. The document and comment submission form can be found at https://publicinput.com/rcw-wisconsin or erkin.ozberk@dc.gov. OP will be in attendance on November 2nd to present the plans and answer any questions residents have. OP will also be at the Friendship Heights Makers Market on November 4 to answer any questions. An attendee noted that comments are limited to 1000 characters and asked how residents can provide more fulsome comments. Ozberk replied that you can submit multiple comments or send your comments to him via email. 

Presentation by 2nd District Police

Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last 30 days there was one robbery (on October 11, at 4505 Wisconsin Ave a suspect grabbed the victims headphones and fled) and three motor vehicle thefts (all were recovered). Murphy also stated that the next community walk will take place in November and will focus on Friendship Heights. 

An attendee asked for traffic enforcement at 45th at Van Ness at Turtle Park.

Commissioners asked for traffic enforcement around the McDonalds parking lot and asked to have officers that are assigned to Tenleytown to enforce no parking and no stopping/standing regulations, especially during rush hour.

Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding Whole Foods liquor license renewal application

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 Whole Foods’s liquor license renewal.

Presentation by Susanna Barnett regarding plans for Turtle Park

Susanna Barnett, President of Friends of Friendship Park provided a brief update on the Friends of Friendship Park and shared a list of items they would like to fix/improve, including issues with the tennis courts that the city recently refinished, but the city isn’t able or willing to repair them. 

Attendees did not have any questions or concerns.

Commissioners asked how the installation of the tennis courts went so wrong. Barnett offered to do a walk through with anyone who is interested in the interested in the issues. 

Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for a special exception by owner of 4709 45th Street for rear yard occupancy relief to build a rear addition

Marty Sullivan stated they want to add a two-story addition including a covered screen porch on the back of the building in place of the existing covered porch and patio. This addition would come within 25 feet of an existing accessory building they aren’t touching. Their architect shared a summary of the building plans. Commissioner Bender stated the owners have letters of support from both of their immediate neighbors and two other nearby homeowners and they agreed to install a rain barrel and create a rain garden.  

Attendees and Commissioners had no comments.

Commissioner Bender offered a friendly amendment to the resolution. 

Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Denny seconded a motion to approve the resolution as amended in support of the special exception for the rear addition at 4709 45th St. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.

Discussion with DDOT representative regarding traffic issues in the neighborhood

Commissioner Bender opened the discussion by stating that it has been over 13 years ago since the Rock Creek West Livability Study was released. There have been a lot of block-by-block fixes, and he would like to see an updated document that can guide future improvements more holistically. Commissioner Gianinno stated she has brought up a lot of issues in her SMD, 3E06, with Christian Pineiro from DDOT, but not much is getting fixed, and the problems are being exacerbated by ongoing construction projects. Pineiro stated that DDOT is working to improve the process and their engineers are looking at high critical areas (classification depends on the proximity to schools or transit hubs, whether it is in a disadvantaged area, crash history, classification of the road, etc.). Pineiro offered to attend ANC3E meetings quarterly. 

Commissioners:

  • Stated that DDOT regularly marks issues as resolved but no work has been done and no other agencies close work orders until the project is completed, noting that the HAWK light at Massachusetts Ave and 45th is marked as resolved and it isn’t working at all.
  • Asked what DDOTs plans are to roll out the no right turn on red law. 
  • Noted that at a developer was planning to do some improvements to the intersection of 43rd and Military, but the development that would have funded the improvements is being appealed so the improvements won’t be installed at least until that is resolved. 
  • Stated that they thought DDOT is inconsistent about what gets installed and what doesn’t. Pineiro replied that each road is different.
  • Asked for a Murdoch Mill Rd behind Cityline to be repaved. 
  • Asked for DDOT to work closely with MPD to address some of the easier traffic issues. 
  • Noted that the DDOT TSI Dashboard doesn’t show many upcoming projects for Wards 2 & 3. 
  • Would like to see traffic calming measures on Nebraska Ave adjacent to American University. 

Attendees:

  • Multiple attendees asked for traffic calming measures on Nebraska Ave adjacent to American University and would like to see the HAWK light replaced with a regular traffic light. 
  • Stated that they live near the old Lord & Taylor and if the site becomes a bus garage, they do not want buses on the residential streets and would like to see busses enter and exit via Jenifer St.

Christian can be reached 202-716-0417 or Christian.pineiro@dc.gov with any concerns or question.

Presentation regarding dress shop that wants to replace BB&T bank as tenant at 5200 Wisconsin Ave but will need a variance and special exception to allow this commercial use do so

Commissioner Quinn stated that a dress shop wants to replace the BB&T Bank site at Wisconsin Harrison. This property is zoned for residential RA-2 and they are asking for a special exception and variance to convert one non-conforming commercial use (a bank) to another non-conforming commercial use (retail clothing). They filed a BZA application, and their hearing will take place on January 17. Jessica Bloomfield, an attorney for the dress shop stated that this is a high-end boutique clothing store that has been in Georgetown since 1990 and operates by appointment only. Most of the changes to the building will be to the inside. She noted that the building was made to be a bank and cannot be converted to residential use and the retail use would be consistent with the Wisconsin Ave Development Framework. She noted that there is an 84-foot rear yard between the building and the nearest residential buildings, and they would use that space for the two parking spaces they are required to have. There are parking spaces along the Harrison St side of the existing lot, but those parking spaces are in public space and thus illegal. 

Attendees asked why the business owner wants to move to this neighborhood. Bloomfield replied that there is no parking in Georgetown and the owner loves the building. 

Commissioners:

  • Stated that the parking along Harrison isn’t legal and they want the curb cut removed or install large planters to block cars from using the spaces. 
  • Asked if they could convert the illegal parking spaces to a landscaped strip. 

Introduction by Earle Douglass and Max Bachmann who want to open a tavern in the former dive shop space at 4932 Wisconsin Ave.

Earle Douglass and Max Bachmann presented a plan to open a tavern in the space formerly occupied by the dive shop and serve high end mixed drinks, flights of beers, and possibly invite dogs to the outside portion of the property. The space could also be used for events sponsored by Verified Wines down the block and for neighbors to gather to watch sporting events. They stated that they would like to put some artificial turf over the gravel in the rear yard and install a fence to minimize noise. The property comes with two parking spaces in the triangle lot behind the property. Douglass has a lease and would like to open by Christmas.

Commissioner Bender stated that he thought if you owned a liquor store, you were prohibited from owning a bar. They clarified that Earle Douglass would be the owner and Max Bachmann is consulting and they can work together to pool their orders from the distributor. 

Attendees:

  • Two attendees stated they think it would be an asset to the neighborhood. 
  • Noted that the draft Wisconsin Ave Development Framework lists the alley behind that strip of stores as an alley activation opportunity. 
  • Thought this was the wrong place for a bar as other businesses on that street are family friendly.
  • Noted that parking on that street is already difficult. 

Commissioners:

  • Asked for clarification on the definition of a beer garden.
  • Asked about the hours they intend to operate. Inside, they would open at 11 am or noon and close by 11 pm or midnight. Outside, they would not be open past 10 pm. 
  • Asked for clarification on the parking spaces. The Dive Shop has two parking spaces in the triangle parking lot and Verified has three spaces that he can share. 
  • Asked if there would there be a bar in the back yard. The dive shop had access to pass tanks though into the shop and they intend to use it to pass drinks to the back. 
  • Suggested that they knock on doors of the neighboring residential properties. 
  • Asked them to limit music in the backyard. 
  • Asked for clarification of the timeline. They have not completed leasing and would need to do work on the interior, but they hope to be open for the holidays. 
  • Asked for clarification about their plans for it to be family friendly. Douglass replied that the outside would be the space kid friendly. They also said it might be possible to put pin pong tables or other games in the basement.
  • Asked if they had any intention to use the front sidewalk. Possibly for a few tables. 

Presentation by Federal Realty Trust regarding liquor license that prospective temporary tenant of the Maggiano’s property may seek

Geoffe Sharpe stated that he is representing the owners of 5333 Wisconsin. Federal Realty got support from the ANC to convert the building to a mixed-use project and it was approved by the Zoning Commission. Some community members have appealed the decision so it might be a while before construction can begin. In the meantime, they would like to rent the space to temporary uses. Jacob Sheldon works for Fever and would like to use the Nordstrom Rack space to install a multi-sensory exhibition called Dopamine Land that is currently in London. They would like to have a concession stand there that serves snacks and drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). The exhibit would open in December and would be open to the public Thursday through Sunday roughly from 10:30 – 9 or 9:30. They are in discussions with a caterer, Echo, who has an offsite liquor license and can staff the concession stand. Commissioner Bender thought that caterer’s licenses could not be used for point of sale and had a limited number of days. Sharpe stated that the caterer has run at stadiums for years.

Attendees had no comments or questions.

Commissioners:

  • Asked how they would prevent underage liquor sales. They can use wrist bands and on-site security. 
  • Asked if they would rent out the space to groups on days they are closed to the public. Yes.
  • Asked who their target demographic is. Moms tend to buy tickets for families during the day and then young professionals buy tickets for a night out.
  • Asked if clients could bring drinks from the concession stand into the exhibit. They would start letting people do it but will stop if it becomes a problem and make people finish drink before going through. 
  • Asked them to use wrist bands and limit drinks to one drink per person at a time. 

Introduction by Mehmet Osman Coskun, owner of East West Café regarding the restaurant’s liquor license application

Mehmet Coskun is the owner of East West Café, a new restaurant that recently opened. This is their third restaurant. They open at 8 am to serve coffee, pastries, and breakfast. Then move onto cheese, tapas, entrees and drinks for lunch and dinner. They are still in their soft open phase and are rolling out their menu. They thought there was a liquor license that conveyed with the property, but it didn’t.  They submitted the application to ABCA on October 3. Coskun stated that the hours for alcohol sales would be from 5 pm -10 pm inside and outside.  

Attendees had no comments or questions.

Commissioners stated that look forward to the restaurant fully opening and they want to make sure they follow all wage laws.

ANC Business

  • Approval of September 2023 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft September 2023 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
  • Approval of 2024 Budget – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Denny seconded a motion to approve the draft budget. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.
  • Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Gianinno seconded a motion to approve payments of $500.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0.

The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 11:29 PM.

ANC3E Oct 12 2023 Meeting Minutes – Final

ANC3E Oct 12 2023 Meeting Minutes – Draft