May 2012

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue NE

      Present: Commissioners Crews, Dixon, Goodman, Price, Richardson, Wilsey and  Wirt

  1. Agenda

Motion: Mr. Crews moved/Mr. Dixon seconded a motion to accept the agenda as presented.  The motion passed without objection.

  1. Minutes

Mr. Goodman moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to accept the April minutes as presented.  The motion passed without objection, with the caveat that corrections will be accepted for one week.

  1. Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Richardson presented the Treasurer’s Report.  It showed an opening balance of $86,635.18. There was an interest payment of $.71.  Checks were written to Karen Wirt for reimbursement of business cards, $65 (Check #1237), leaving a balance in the checking account of $86,570.18.

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Wilsey seconded a motion to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented.  The motion passed without objection.

Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms. Wirt seconded a motion to approve the payment of $270 to Roberta Weiner for the transcription of ANC minutes.  The motion passed without objection.

Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Crews seconded a motion to approve a reimbursement to Ms.  Wirt for $162 to DC Access for hosting the ANC web site. The motion passed without objection.

Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to approve the Quarterly Report for the second quarter of FY2012. The motion passed without objection.

  1. Community Announcements

Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbee

Fire and EMS Chief Kenneth Ellerbee presented an update on his department.  He began by addressing the progress the department has made, including the purchase of 20 ambulances and six new engines. He says they’ve cut overtime by $6 million, which is a challenge in a 2200 member department. He said he’s improved his relationships with the union and the City Council.

He said that on the horizon is the renovation of stations, in terms of EMS operations. For example, they are establishing a Service Demand Zone headquarters at 17th Street and Oklahoma Ave. on Benning Rd. to serve Trinidad. He reported there been 486 fires, out of more than 300,000 responses, so more than 80% of their work is now in pre-hospital care. It’s partly that people are  living longer, and that’s why more ambulances are needed, instead of trucks.  In the future, pre-hospital care will be a priority.  Fire service will go down even more.

He said the EMTs have to be trained—psychologically as well as in work requirements, because mindsets have to be refocused. The average age is now 39, so these people will be around for many years.  It’s important that department t-shirts now say Fire and EMS—it’s a change of culture and focus.

He said every fire is a defeat, a failure of fire prevention. Their budget is $200 million and it will be spent well. He said that the Brizill fire cost one house, but only one, and it was an overwhelming response that saved many, many more houses.

Mr. Dixon asked about the development of NoMa and said he hadn’t heard about any new fire stations to keep up with the thousands of new people. Chief Ellerbee replied that, in Area 27 near Dunbar, there’s a station that they’re planning to turn into an EMS Center. He also mentioned locations on New Jersey Ave. and one on Florida.

Mr. Richardson asked about blood pressure testing, and was told that it can be done at public meetings, such as this one tonight.  His staff was set up to take blood pressure in the lobby. He said high blood pressure and diabetes are silent killers and also talked about training residents in CPR and wanting to get a DC program off the ground. Naomi Mitchell said that a member of Councilmember Well’s staff had been trained by the Fire Department.

Ms. Wirt asked about smoke detectors and was told that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are available from the Fire Department at 202/675-3331. He also gave the number of his Chief of Staff, Alicia Taylor, 673-3320.

Renovation at 1st Street NE

Mr. Goodman reported that 1st Street NE was about to undergo a major renovation, with the installation of new electrical, water and sewer lines, and new street lights.  He announced a meeting on  May 29, at 130 M Street NE.

Crime Cameras

Motion: Mr. Goodman moved/Ms. Wirt seconded the following motion for a letter to be sent to Mayor Gray, the DC Council, and MPD regarding crime cameras.

The Near Northeast neighborhood and ANC 6C are concerned about the long-prevalent crime issues along some of our residential streets, including the corners of 4th and L and 6 th and L NE. One recent issue in particular resulted in several bullets striking houses in the 600 block of L Street, which is on the same block as JO Wilson School. MPD has provided excellent service by placing officers at these intersections, setting up regular bicycle patrols, and attending neighborhood meetings to provide timely updates.

There is currently an MPD crime camera at the corner of 4th and L Street, which the community supports and wishes to remain in place. ANC 6C requests that an additional camera be placed at the corner of 6th and L, and that MPD continue to work with the community on increasing patrols and other measures as needed to help reduce crime levels and maintain a safe neighborhood. The motion passed without objection.

Northeast Library

Commissioner Price reported that there would be a meeting on the interior renovation of the Northeast Library on May 21 at the Library, at 7 p.m. He said they will look at historical features as well as other issues. The community meeting should take place now, he said. becausethe work will start in the fall.

M Street Surplus Property

Mr. Dixon announced that there is a piece of city property at 1st and K Streets N, and they would like suggestions from the community for its use. There will be a meeting on Saturday, May 24th from 1-4 PM, at the Northwest One Library.

Project Updates

Mr., Goodman reported that

  • 140 M Street NE as been topped out, and, at its full height, bricks and mortar arenow being put up.
  • 300 L Street is at ground level, and will have about 700 units when complete.
  • Thanks to Councilmembers Wells and Cheh, who included the Florida Avenue project in the new budget. It’s the only project that was added, and will narrow the traffic lanes and widen the sidewalk.

Mr. Price asked whether there is a comprehensive plan for NoMa, and Mr. Goodman responded that there is a vision plan for NoMa, a plan for H Street, and a plan for the Florida Avenue Market.

Little League Uniforms

Mr. Dixon announced that he needed help from the community with donations for a Little League team in his neighborhood. He said it keeps the children off the streets.  Ms. Wirt suggested they apply to ANC 6C for a grant.

  1. Transportation and Public Space Committee

Alley Closing: 425 I Street NW

This is the final step prior to the beginning of Phase II of a residential development at 4th Street NW between New York Ave and L Street.  The project will have 390 rental units and no retail.  The developer is seeking to close a dead-end alley that is already part of the land package that has been assembled for the project.

Jimmy Dodson, the project manager, showed the location of the private  alley, of about 900’-1000’ sq. ft., in a perpendicular alley, running between New York Avenue and L Street, ,with a public easement that was closed in 2007.  He has already met with Councilmember Wells, who said he will introduce emergency legislation to approve the closing when the ANC approves.

Mr. Dodson said that it is not literally a public space, but it will still be open and available. The project has 80% lot coverage, and the frontage is on the street, but the interior will provide open space for trucks, and there will also be landscaping.  Mr. Dodson said they have been in the neighborhood, as builder and manager of several projects.  They plan to have shovels in the ground by the end of the year. Motion: Mr. Dixon moved/Mr. Goodman seconded a motion to accept the recommendation of the Committee to support the request to close an alley at 4th Street between L Street and New York Avenue NW. the motion passed unanimously, 7-0.

Verizon Center Digital Signs

Ms. Wirt reminded the body that for many months, the Verizon Center has been working to gain support for a program of digital display signs to be hung on the outside of the building on 7th and G Streets NW for advertising and promotion purposes—a substantial expansion of the two signs that greet visitors to 7th Street today. The signage requires a vote of approval from the City Council. Representatives of the marketing firm handling the project presented their plan at the ANC several months ago, but have not been back for a final presentation or a vote.

However, Ms. Wirt reported that ANC 2C (which will become ANC 6E) had voted to wait until the Downtown Neighborhood Association and the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association, the organizations whose members are most immediately affected, have determined their positions on the signage plan, and to vote at that time to support the residents. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to follow the lead of ANC 2C and wait until the two groups have acted before determining its position, and send a letter to the City Council, requesting that the record be kept open to receive the ANC’s comments. The motion passed unanimously, 7-0.

Abandoned Vehicles

Ms. Wirt reported that the Committee had a discussion of a proposal brought to it by a constituent to modify the law governing abandoned vehicles. However, it needs more discussion. Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/?? seconded a motion to delay discussion of the abandoned vehicle legislation until a future June meeting. The motion passed without objection.

  1. Planning, Zoning and Environment Committee

Committee Chairman Mark Eckenweiler had only one, non-voting item on the agenda:

Murry’s Steaks –  610 H Street NE

Mr. Eckenweiler said that the Murry’s Steaks building and parking lots at 610 Street NE has been sold to Insight Property Group, which also has a contract, contingent on development approvals, for the H Street Storage site to its east.

An application for a two-phase PUD will be filed at the Zoning Commission this summer. Phase 1 will encompass the Murry’s site, and the second phase will cover the self-storage facility. Plans for the project include an eight story building fronting on H Street, stepping down to six stories, and finally to four stories on I Street. The building will have a setback on H Street to create open space. There will be about 350 residential units, and 22,000-23,000 square feet of retail. There will be 245 residential parking spaces, and 25 reserved for retail. Phase II will provide retail/service business on the first two floors, with the upper floors being either residential or a boutique hotel.

The developer has been holding small community meetings, including with the ANC 6C committee, and will return to the Commission as their plans solidify over the next months.

  1. Grants Liaison

Mr. Richardson reported on the results of discussions he had with the Auditor on grant applications about which there had been questions:

  • It ruled that a production of Annie at JO Wilson School is an educational experience for the students so does not count as entertainment, so that the grant to the school is valid.
  • However, $1750 of a grant to the Peabody School garden for training staff is not an acceptable expense for the ANC, so it is disallowed. The School will receive the rest  ofthe funds.

Mr. Dixon said he had the same problem at Walker-Jones, but it had been ruled learning, not entertainment.

There were several requests for extensions for reporting on grants:

Motion: Ms. Wirt moved/Mr. Richardson seconded a motion to approve a request for an extension of the grant to the Mt. Vernon Triangle Community Improvement District for advertising for its summer programs until June 15th .The motion passed without objection.  Mr. Richardson moved/Ms.  Wirt seconded a motion to approve an extension of the close-outs on the grants to JO Wilson and Peabody Schools until September because the schools and PTAs do not function in the summer. The motion passed without objection.


  1. Alcohol Beverage Control Committee

Yo! Sushi – 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE

This is a new sushi restaurant—a branch of a London establishment that will be opening at the west end of Union Station where there are already Chipotle and Roti restaurants. Darren Wightman and his attorney David Briggs were present. They have an extensive menu and will be serving beer, wine and sake. Their hearing is on July 20. Motion: Mr. Richardson moved/Ms.  Wirt seconded a motion to support the application for a new liquor license for Yo! At Union Station. The motion passed unanimously, 7-0.


Mr. Richardson reported on the status of Xclusive, a club at 100 M Street NE. This is an issue that has been going on for several months. It is a two-level establishment that has not signed a VA because their plan was to serve food only until 9 or 10 pm and then switch formats and become a club. They have been in mediation and were going to a final hearing with everyone from the community lined up to testify, but at the last minute the owner  backed out.

The meeting as adjourned at 8:37pm.