September 7, 2023, 7:30 pm
The meeting convened via Zoom at 7:32 PM. Commissioners Bender, Carney, Cohen, Denny, Ghosh, Gianinno, Hall 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
Steve Seelig announced that DC is completing the bike lane along New Mexico Ave and Tunlaw Road between Nebraska Av and Calvert Street and the Ward 3 Bicycle Advocates would like to organize a group bicycle ride from American University to downtown DC. He also stated that WABA is starting an “I Bike I Buy” campaign to raise awareness of bikers that shop along Connecticut Ave. They will be distributing the cards at Happy Go Bike on Connecticut Ave on Wednesdays from 5-6 PM.
Cory Peterson, the VP of Community Relations at AU stated that he would be happy to help coordinate a bike ride and introduced Gwen Coleman, the new Director of Community Relations.
Presentation by 2nd District Police
Lt Murphy provided an update on crime in PSA 202. Over the last 30 days there were no violent crimes. There was a suicide involving a firearm at 5010 Wisconsin Ave, an accident at the construction site at the former Mazza Gallerie, a burglary at 4005 Van Ness (they stole a set of keys and a car; the vehicle was later recovered), and three thefts from autos. A community walk is scheduled for September 28th at 7:00 PM. The walk will start at 4500 block of Wisconsin Ave and they plan to discuss crime and any other safety concerns that residents and businesses may have.
Attendees requested stop sign enforcement at the entrance of Turtle Park.
Commissioners expressed concerns about cars speeding on Van Ness, Warren, Albemarle, and along 42nd St, and stated they received emails from residents with concerns about car break-ins and about an assault at the Tenleytown Metro station in which the victim was knocked unconscious and asked why that has not been included in crime reports. Murphy replied that he has not heard about the assault and it was probably under the jurisdiction of Metro Transit Police.
Lt Murphy can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone has any questions or concerns.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application for a special exception by owner of 4439 Alton Place for side yard and lot occupancy relief to build a rear addition
Commissioner Cohen stated the owners would like to add one bedroom and bathroom to the back of their two-bedroom home. Half of the addition would be in an existing attic space and the rest would extend 15 feet into their back yard. They are seeking relief from the side yard setbacks and lot occupancy restrictions. They will be maintaining the existing setbacks, have letters of support from both of their immediate neighbors and agreed to install a rain barrel toprevent storm water runoff.
Attendees and Commissioners had no questions or comments.
Commissioner Cohen moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of the special exception for the rear addition at 4439 Alton Place. The motion was approved by a vote of 8-0-0.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding DDOT Notice of Intent to add a stop sign and related parking restrictions to intersection of 45th and Faraday
Commissioner Bender stated the stop sign at the corner of 45th and Faraday was knocked down years ago and never replaced. A neighbor filed a request with the city to replace the stop sign and in response, DDOT stated they will replace the stop sign, re-stripe the cross walk and remove a few parking spaces to improve sight lines as cars approach the stop sign. Commissioner Bender stated he supports replacing the stop sign, though neighbors are concerned about the loss of parking spaces. Neighbors on the call said DDOT says it has no record of a stop sign ever being at this intersection and, because this would be a new stop sign, DDOT must remove the parking spaces to make the intersection comply with all current regulations for a stop sign. The neighbors would like the city to come out to see that this is just a case of a missing sign and replace it. Christian Pineiro from DDOT was on the call for another agenda item but, at Commissioner Bender’s request, stated he will help arrange a walk through with the residents.
Attendees had no additional comments.
Commissioners stated that setbacks should be standard for safety reasons. Pineiro replied that the current signage is behind a tree and DDOT might need to move the sign in front of the tree.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the resolution in support of adding a stop sign at the intersection of 45th and Faraday. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0 with Commissioner Cohen not voting because he stepped away from the call.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding application by owner of 4550 Brandywine Street, NW for a special exception for rear yard setback and permeable space percentage relief to build a rear addition
Mary Siegel, the homeowner, stated she lives on the corner of Brandywine and 46th, has a non-conforming garage, and would like to build an addition on the side of her house. With this addition they will not have the required setbacks between the house and the garage and would be at 51% impermeable space. She is willing to install a rain barrel per the ANC’s request and has signed letters of support from her nearby neighbors including the neighbor that abuts the project.
There were no questions or comments from attendees. Commissioner Bender offered a friendly amendment to the “Resolved” portion of the resolution to state that the approval is conditional on the addition of the rain barrel.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the amended resolution in support of the special exceptions sought for the rear addition at 4550 Brandywine St. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0. Commissioner Cohen stepped away from the call.
Discussion of and possible vote on public space application to alter the streetscape in front of the Chevy Chase Pavilion
Sean O’Conner and Julie Raice representing Clarion, the owners of the Chevy Chase Pavilion, stated they are trying to add a grocery store as a tenant and would need to install an ADA ramp along the entrance to the store on Wisconsin Ave. The applicants appeared in the last meeting to discuss their public space plan. he Office of Planning (OP) wants them to install a strip of greenery along the street that makes placing the bike racks and benches difficult. The current plan is to relocate the six existing benches to face the façade of the building and place the bike racks on part of the OP requested green strip. They will also be adding some signage to remind drivers to not park illegally.
Attendees: stated they would like the ANC to discourage driving to the grocer; thought the bike racks are too close together and bikes will stick out into the sidewalk; and asked if they can replace two of the benches with more bike racks. Raice replied that their options are limited given OP’s desire to have the green strip and they would like to have six benches but are happy to move some of them.
- Asked if the illegally parked cars signs are part of the public space application (it is).
- Asked if the design allows for enough clearance around the bikes for pedestrians (it does).
- Asked DDOT to push back more on OP’s desire to put the green strip along the sidewalk.
- Commissioner Bender summarized the Commissions concerns that there are not enough bike racks, and they are poorly placed. Raice replied that DDOT and OP has approved these plans, and their hearing is at the end of the month. Commissioner Bender suggested that the ANC authorize Commissioner Quinn to further negotiate with the interested parties and then opine in a letter to PSC before the hearing. Clarion stated that they are willing to continue to negotiate on the design.
Commissioner Bender moved and Commissioner Ghosh seconded a motion to authorize Commissioner Quinn to further negotiate with the parties on the public space design. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0 with Commissioner Cohen not voting because he stepped away from the call.
Presentation by DDOT regarding plans for bike lanes along Western Ave
Mike Goodno, Transportation Planner from DDOT stated they would like to install bike lanes along Western Ave from Jenifer St to Westmoreland Circle. They are also looking at changing the traffic signal at Western and River. He presented two possible designs and is asking the community for input on the designs. The first proposal would remove parking on the MD side and install a 2-way protected bike lane on the MD side, have two traffic lanes and a parking lane along the DC side. The second proposal would be a single bike lane on the MD side, two traffic lanes, another bike lane and then a parking lane on the DC side. DDOT does not prefer this option because it doesn’t protect the bike lanes. DDOT stated they would engineer the design over the winter, would present the final designs in the spring and construction would occur next summer or fall.
- Stated they preferred the first option.
- Had questions about how the Western Ave bike lanes would connect to the bike lane on Jenifer. DDOT replied they are still looking into the how the lanes would connect.
- Asked DDOT to do new traffic counts since traffic is down 20% from the study they did pre-Covid. DDOT replied they would like to keep the higher, pre-Covid traffic counts given all of the construction that is currently taking place in Friendship Heights.
- Asked for improvements to the intersection of River Rd, 45th St and Fessenden.
- Stated that there have been discussions of installing a bike lane along River Rd and asked if the design for the Western Ave bike lanes can be built to accommodate it.
- Wanted DDOT to be aware of the new pre-school near Westmoreland Circle and that parents are looking for ways to get their kids to the school and protected bike lanes would be welcome.
- Stated they are getting cut through traffic in their neighborhood because the signal at Western and River takes too long and thought the bike lanes would add to the delays at that intersection. DDOT stated these designs would improve the level of service at this intersection because they would redesign the timing of the traffic signal.
- Asked what this bike lane connects with. DDOT replied that they are designing bike lanes for Jenifer St and would like to build bike lanes along Dalecarlia Pkwy and along Western Ave east of Wisconsin. They are also installing protected bike lanes along New Mexico Ave and Arizona Ave. and would like to connect them all together.
- Asked what the projected counts are for the bike lanes. DDOT does not have any projections.
- Stating that the numbers of riders now is irrelevant because the street is so dangerous that no one is willing to ride there.
- Two Commissioners expressed concerns that removing the left turn lane from Western onto southbound River would cause commuters to cut throughthe neighborhood.
- Would prefer protected bike lanes.
- Asked if there is a way to connect the Western Ave bike lanes to the existing bike lane adjacent to the sidewalk on the MD side of Western between Wisconsin and Friendship Blvd. DDOT said they are trying to connect it to that lane as well as the similar bike lane on the other side of Wisconsin Ave by the Amazon grocery store.
- Would like DDOT to consider the designing connection to a future bike lane on River Rd.
- Asked DDOT to consider allowing parking on one block of the MD side of Western between Elicot and 48th as there is a number of cars that regularly park there. They did do this on Tunlaw.
- Would like DDOT to extend the bike lane through Westmoreland circle.
Discussion of and possible vote on resolution regarding PUD application by Wesley Seminary to permit a private owner to build and run a multi-story residence on Wesley’s campus that will rent solely to AU and Wesley students
Rev David McAlister Wilson, President of Wesley Seminary, and John Patrick Brown, Land Use Attorney, summarized the Wesley Campus Plan and Planned Unit Development (PUD). Rev Wilson stated that they worked on these plans for a long time with the CLC and ANC 3D and though they are not ideologically wedded to the number of parking spaces it was something they agreed to with the neighbors and DDOT.
John Patrick Brown stated that for amenities, they have added a 19-dock Capital Bike Share station and a post occupancy requirement to look at the traffic after occupancy to see if a new light is warranted on Mass Ave. He stated that Landmark has done Inclusionary Zoning before and knows how to do this. Wesley contended that the amenities they are offering would benefit ANC3E.
- Supported the resolution, stating that they did not understand how a private developer of a dorm can fit into the IZ program.
- Would like to see the gate between the AU and Wesley campuses opened. Wesley replied that the gate is governed by the AU Campus Plan and not under Wesley’s control.
- Stated that AU students need more housing on campus and would like to see collaboration between AU and Wesley.
- Cory Peterson stated that AU has not been contacted by Wesley regarding the Operational Issues surrounding the proposed housing. Wesley countered that contact has occurred between Rev Wilson and Ms. Burwell and Mr. Grossman. Peterson argued that Wesley has reached out to AU but not about the proposed operations of the housing.
- Raised questions regarding whether the DC Rental Housing Act would apply to the housing. Wesley replied that it would.
- Wondered if Wesley reserving some IZ rooms in the building specifically for married students could be considered housing discrimination under the Human Rights Act.
- Asked whether this building would be considered a dormitory or a commercial use building. Wesley replied that the ZA has determined it’s a dormitory.
- Asked if they executed an MOU with ANC 3D or if the agreed to items are contained in their filing. Wesley replied that it is in their filing.
- Stated that Wesley came to ANC3E late in the process and Wesley never made any counteroffers to ANC3E’s proposals.
- Noted that Wesley is not offering much above the minimum affordable housing and the amount of parking Wesley is proposing is way above even the strictest interpretations of the parking regulations had this been an apartment building.
- Stated they would like to see the gate between AU and Wesley opened.
- Asked if the building will be owned by Landmark. Wesley replied that it the building will be owned by Landmark on land that is owned by Wesley.
- Stated that the Commission wants Wesley to succeed but thought this should be addressed through rule making not on a case-by-case basis and that affordable housing advocates should be able to weigh in on it.
- Noted that there have been problems with how IZ was implemented by Landmark at other campuses and stated they were concerned that DHCD has not stated whether they have the capacity or ability to conduct the oversight of the IZ component.
- Stated that AU students asked for space to put in a community garden that would be available to both students and residents in the community and it should not have been too hard to include.
Commissioners Bender and Quinn offered friendly amendments to the draft resolution to change the term “commercial building” to “commercially owned and operated,”about the status of the gate between the AU and Wesley campuses, and about the amenities offered, specifically that the proposed housing would be LEED Gold standards and that a meeting room would be made available to the community.
Commissioner Ghosh moved and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the amended resolution to not support of the Wesley PUD application and Campus Plans. The motion was approved by a vote of 6-0-1 with Commissioner Cohen abstaining and Commissioner Gianinno not voting as she left the meeting.
- Approval of July 2023 Meeting Minutes – Commissioner Bender moved, and Commissioner Quinn seconded a motion to approve the Draft July 2023 Meeting Minutes. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0 with Commissioner Gianinno not voting because she left the meeting.
- Approval of expenditures – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve payments of $520.00 to Sherry Cohen for administrative services. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0 with Commissioner Gianinno not voting because she left the meeting.
- Approval of Q3 2023 Financial Report – Commissioner Quinn moved, and Commissioner Bender seconded a motion to approve the Q3 2023 Financial Report. The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0-0 with Commissioner Gianinno not voting because she left the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned by acclimation at 10:59 PM.