Wednesday, April 14, 2009
Heritage Foundation Minutes
Present: Commissioners Brown, Dixon, Docter, Hamilton, Phelps, Richardson, Silver, Velasco, and Wirt
The meeting opened at 7:02 pm
Ms. Phelps and Mr. Docter each said they had community announcements. The agenda was approved, as amended, without objection
Motion: Ms.Wirt moved/Mr. Docter seconded a motion to approve the minutes as submitted, with the caveat that members of the Commission could make corrections for one week. The motion was approved without objection.
- Treasurer’s Report
Mr. Richardson submitted the March Treasurers Report. There was an opening balance of $96,696.55. There was an interest payment of $0.81. There were payments of $1,534.00 (check # 1168) for reimbursement to Commissioner Richardson for an ANC laptop; $61.03 (check # 1169) reimbursement to Commissioner Docter for purchase and assembly of copies of a brief filed by ANC with ABRA in opposition to the Levels liquor license; $1,500 to Ludlow Taylor School PA, a grant to establish a school resource center (Check #1171); $400, a grant to Capitol Hill Garden Club to distribute bulbs in ANC (check #1172); and $217 to Roberta Weiner, recording secretary, for transcribing ANC 6C meeting minutes (check # 1173).The closing balance is $92,949.83. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Silver seconded a motion to accept the Treasurer’s Report. The motion passed without objection.
Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to approve the expenditure of $135 to Roberta Weiner for transcription of the March minutes and an expense for 250 business cards for Education Committee Chair Tonetta Isler and 500 cards for Commissioner Brown. Mr. Velasco asked whether the other Committee chairs should have cards as well. Ms Wirt said it depended on the extent to which they do outreach. Ms. Phelps mentioned that there is a heavy turnover in Committee chairs, and also said that committee members don’t need cards. Ms. Wirt suggested moving the discussion to the May meeting so she could poll the other chairs. Mr. Docter suggested waiting six months before ordering cards. Mr. Richardson disagreed, saying that Ms. Isler wanted to do a lot and needed the cards. It was agreed that the cards for Ms. Isler and Ms. Brown would be ordered
National Police Week 5K Race – May 8th
Jay Greenberg presented the plans for the National Police Week 5K Race on May 8th and said it was the fourth year it was being run. It will start at 9 a.m. They have a parade route permit with rolling closures. The race begins and Constitution and 3rd Street NW, and benefits police survivor families.
Mr. Hamilton asked whether they had given any thought to events other than runs for fundraising. Ms. Wirt asked whether they had considered any other route. Mr. Greenberg replied that they have tried every year, but the Park Service won’t let them use the Mall area. Mr. Docter said that if they wanted to use the Mall perhaps the AN C could be of help.
Mr. Velasco said that he knew the race was separate from other Police Week activities, but he asked if there were any way Mr. Greenberg could let the relevant people know that inevitably on the last day of Police Week there was a parade of motorcycle police on East Capitol Street, early enough to disturb residents. Motion: Mr. Docter moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to support the Police Week 5K race. The motion passed 7-0-1 with Mr. Hamilton abstaining.
Avon Walk for Breast Cancer – May 1st
Megan Newhouse, representing the Avon Foundation, presented information on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, to be held on Saturday May 1st. The money raised goes to local beneficiaries. The walk is sidewalks only and there are no street closures and they follow all traffic regulations. Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion that the ANC support the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The motion passed without objection.
Fresh Farm Market
Ann Yonkers, director of Fresh Farm Markets, presented information on the opening of the two Fresh; Farm Markets in the ANC’s area and asked for a letter of support to DDOT. The two are the Penn Quarter Market which is open on Thursdays in the 400 block of 8th Street NW from April through the third week in December, 1-8 pm., and the H Street Market in the parking lot at 625 H Street NE, open on Saturdays from 9 am to noon from My 1 through November 30th. Motion: Mr. Docter moved/Mr. Hamilton seconded a motion to send a letter of support to DDOT for the Fresh Farm Markets. The motion passed without objection.
Bike DC – May 23
Rich Bauman presented information on the 2010 Bike DC event, saying that there was now a different route, but that Pennsylvania Avenue would be closed from 7th to 14th Street. They will use the new bike lanes where they exist, and the streets will be open to churchgoers. Mr. Docter said that the map does not indicate all the streets, and expressed his concern about people accessing 9thStreet which is a major street, which if closed, will keep people from accessing the 9th Street Tunnel. Mr. Bauman said it will mean a two block detour because 7th Street will be open and cars can go down 7th Street to Constitution Avenue and go right there. Motion: Mr. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to support Bike DC. The motion passed 7-0-2, with Mr. Docter and Mr. Dixon abstaining.
Nathaniel Murrell of the United Planning Organization, presented information on the organization’s program that works with people who have lost their homes, and with seniors on reverse mortgages and how not to get caught by predatory lenders. It’s a HUD-certified free service. Murrell said he can be reached at email@example.com, 202/231-7901. He said there are two counselors at 1718 7thStreet NW. He reported that Wards 7 and 8 have the highest foreclosure rates overall, but that 4, 5, and 6 have the highest new rates. He said the organization has served about 80 clients and only lost one. Ms. Phelps asked whether he goes to senior buildings to make presentations. He said yes, and pointed out that condos were a larger problem than co-ops because the homeowner associations are often the ones that can’t pay their bills and so the whole building is threatened with foreclosure. Mr. Hamilton asked how UPO is funded and was told that he, since last October, was being paid with stimulus funds, but that UPO was mostly funded under a Community Service Block Grant (CSBG).
Miles Grove Memorial Service
Mr. Docter announced that a memorial meeting for Miles Grove would be held on Sunday, April 18th at 1 p.m. in the Piedmont Room at Clyde’s on 7th Street NW.
Capitol Hill Classic – May 16th
Josh Raymond presented information on the 31st running of the Capitol Hill classic which will be on May 16th and benefit the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools. It begins and ends at Stanton Park. The 10K will begin at 8:30, the 3 K at 10:30 a.m.
Mr. Raymond said that this will probably be the last Capitol Hill Classic because the police have made it so costly. It’s sad, he said, because the race brings out hundreds of neighbors. Mr. Velasco asked whether they had considered asking the ANC for a grant. Mr. Raymond responded that they need tens of thousands of dollars because the police cost had increased 400% in the last five years. Mr. Velasco said that it’s a local thing and there should be a solution. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion that ANC 6C support the Capitol Hill Classic on May 16th. The motion passed without objection.
Update on Streetcars
Ms. Phelps announced two meetings related to the issues surrounding the operations of the H Street Streetcars. On Tuesday, April 20 at 6:30 pm there will be a meeting featuring DDOT director Gabe Klein, Streetcar project manager Scott Kubley, and Councilmembers Tommy Wells and Harry Thomas. The meeting will be at Wheatley Elementary School, 1299 Neal Street NE. More information can be found at streetcars4dc.org. There will also be a Technology Forum on May 6th at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 9th Street.
Ms. Phelps called to the ANC’s attention the death of the bicyclist struck by a Hummer near the Convention Center, and urged everyone to safe, be aware and be courteous.
- New Business
Sursum Corda Boys/Girls Club
Rob Lewis of the Sursum Corda Boys and Girls Club again presented his request for funds for membership “scholarships” for 80 children to participate in after school programs. He has not yet presented his budget to the ANC. Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/ Ms. Brown seconded a motion to support the grant of $2000 to the Sursum Corda Boys and Girls Club pending receipt of proper documentation for the grant. Ms. Phelps emphasized that the attachments are needed and the grant will be held up until the ANC has it. The motion passed without objection.
New Communities Grant
Mr. Dixon reported that comments have been requested on Development and Community Wellness program. Naomi Mitchell said that these grants are in support of the human capital budget for Northwest One. It is not necessary for the ANC to comment, but a consensus was reached that it would be a good thing to write a letter of support for the grants. Motion: Mr. Dixon moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to send a letter of support to the Mayor for the New Communities grants to ANC 6C.
Meeting on Grants Procedures
Ms. Brown announced that there would be an ANC meeting on grants procedures on May 1at noon at Mt. Airy Baptist Church.
Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee
Committee chair Rob Amos reported the following:
612 A Street NE
This is a request for support of a BZA application at 612 A Street NE for a special exception to construct a new accessory garage not meeting the lot occupancy requirements.
The applicant appeared at the February PZE meeting and the Committee supported the application as long as she made a good faith effort to work with her neighbors on the issues surrounding the request. She was granted a delay by Zoning, and after several meetings with her neighbors she now has a letter from them supporting the modified garage plans. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to support the Committee’s recommendation to support the request for a special exception for a new accessory garage at 612 A Street. The motion passed without objection.
514 3rd Street NE
This is a request for support of a Historic Preservation request to add a front basement entrance to a house at 514 3rd Street NE. It has been postponed until the May PZE meeting.
Comprehensive Plan Amendments 228 and 229
This was a PZE discussion of two amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. Amendment 228 adds new policy and language that wherever possible the height of “air rights” developments in DC should be measured from grade level consistent with the adjacent land, but where such measurements are not possible then the development should be measured “from a point that provides for densities and height commensurate with their zone district densities and heights“ and should be sensitive to the surrounding neighborhoods and developments and be sufficient to induce the necessary investment needed for such construction.
The Union Station hearing has been postponed until these amendments are acted on by the City Council.
Drury Tallent said that measurement from the top of the bridge is a dangerous precedent to set and that 130’ from the top of the bridge is at least five stories higher than the SEC building and breaks the Height Act restrictions. He said it changes the vista and he is Mr. extremely concerned that the Office of Planning has not prepared graphics showing what it would look like to have a building 55’ higher than anything that’s there now.
Mr. Velasco said that the developer that undertakes this project will have a huge task and the ANC has been able to negotiate housing and lot of other benefits that could be threatened. Ms. Phelps said that the Comprehensive Plan is an important document in the District, but the provisions of the Plan do not govern zoning, the Zoning Regulations do, and there is no way of knowing what the final proposals on Union Station will be.
Tim Abdullah who lives in 6C 05 said that the Comprehensive Plan should not be measured from an artificial structure because there is no way of knowing what it will be later on. The height should be measured from the ground. Ms. Phelps said that Amendment 228 is great and will help to fill in land between areas of the city, and 229 is specifically designed for Union Station. The Plan currently says that height has to be measured from the street. 229 allows for further discussion of where to measure from. Mr. Tallent said that it’s important to recognize that Akridge knew what height it could build to when they bought the land, and now they will get a terrific bonus. Mr. Hamilton said that if it’s a Comprehensive Plan it shouldn’t talk about limitation but about possibilities. Resident Darlene Thomas said she’s against higher buildings, and she is more opposed to it now, and said it doesn’t sound like the Commission is advocating for the community. The height, she said, should be measured from the ground. Ms. Wirt said her neighborhood people are opposed. George Stamos said that 229 is an exception to 228, asked why it was needed. He said he was fine with 228.
Motion: Mr. Docter moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to send a letter to the City Council in support of Amendment 228 to the Comprehensive Plan. The motion passed 7-0-1, with Ms. Brown not voting.
Motion: Mr. Docter moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to accept the Committee’s recommendation to send a letter to the City Council in support of Amendment 229 to the Comprehensive Plan. The motion passed 7-1-1, with Ms. Wirt in opposition and Ms. Brown not voting.
5th and I Streets NW
David Roberts of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development gave a status report on the interim use of the 5th and I Streets site until construction begins. He manages about 90 properties at the site. In the last couple of months, he said, opposition has arisen to a parking lot on the site. He said there had been bad communication on the part of his office. He said they are now having meetings with the Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Association to discuss alternative uses. He said they are working with the parking operator as well and said in the last 14 months there’s been better fencing, and trash removal. They are also looking at alternative uses for weekends. Mr. Silver said that there has been no notification of the usage. Mr. Dixon said that a parking lot is needed at the Temple Courts site at North Capitol and K Streets—it’s going to be years before anything is build there.
Mr. Silver said that it’s a very complex situation, and he commended Mr. Roberts for coming to the ANC, but said he didn’t know he would be there. He said there have been no community engagement and no formal communication with the ANC. He said that the Mayor’s Office is disrespecting the ANC when there are no community meeting and come to update the ANC after the fact. He said the community could have used green space. He said he wants a town hall meeting to discuss these issues. He said that four city blocks had been demolished and asked how many jobs have gone to people in the community—six. And how many visits has Neil Albert made to the ANC—absolutely zero and his office gets an F. Mr. Roberts said this office takes community input seriously, and they had taken a beating at the Mr. Vernon Neighborhood Association meeting. He said that at the next meeting the parking manager would be present. Mr. Velasco expressed a sense of déjà vu because of previous problems with communication with Clint Jackson.
Transportation and Public Space
New York Avenue Metro Stop Closure
Ms. Phelps reported that WMATE has proposed as part of its budget cuts closing the southern entrance of the New York Avenue Metro station on weekends. She said the 1300 residential units coming on line and a new Harris Teeter near the southern end. It’s also the entrance that Gallaudet students use. Motion: Ms. Phelps moved/Mr. Velasco seconded a motion to send a letter to WMATA outlining why the southern entrance of the New York Avenue Metro station should not be closed on weekends. The motion passed without objection.
Mr. Velasco suggested that approvals for races be sent to the Transportation Committee before the come to full ANC. Ms. Wirt said she would talk to Mr. McCann and Mr. Kelly about that and report back.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.