ANC 6A Report - February 2017

Chair Phil Toomajian called the meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A to order at Miner Elementary School (601 15th St. NE), with Commissioners Calvin Ward, Marie-Claire Brown, Patrick Malone, and Stephanie Zimny in attendance. Sondra Phillips-Gilbert and Mike Soderman were absent.

The meeting began with several community presentations.

Councilmember Grosso, Chair of DC Council Committee on Education

Councilmember David Grosso attended with his chief of staff, Tony Goodman. Grosso said he believes there will be more money in this year’s budget for capital improvement projects. He is continuing to push DC Public Schools and the Department of Government Services (DGS) to complete repairs and improvements that should have been done last summer. He is also pushing to improve the overall modernization process to make ranking of need more consistent and transparent.

Grosso expressed concerns about the current political climate and the tendency of Congress to meddle in District affairs. In his view, Title 1 funding is at risk as is funding for arts education. He expects increased pressure for school vouchers, which reduces resources available for public education. He hopes that Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) money will continue to be available to help District youth afford college.

The councilmember expressed support for keeping full-time nurses in the schools. He noted that high-quality childcare is expensive and difficult to find, in part because there is a lack of suitable facilities. Grosso is pressing for child development centers to be included in large development projects.

Grosso is opposed to providing public money for a football stadium because, unlike a facility for baseball or soccer, it will not be used enough to justify the expense. He likes the proposal for development of the RFK stadium site because it includes a wide variety of community uses.

In response to Zimny’s complaint that school support groups struggle to get access to the data they need, Grosso offered the services of his staff in researching questions about specific schools. He encouraged community members to testify at hearings and “make their voices heard.”

Grosso’s contact information and other information about the DC Council Committee on Education can be found at www.davidgrosso.org.

17th Street Project Construction Update

Mohamed Dahir of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and Mike Gales of RK&K Engineers described improvements to 17th Street including additional street lights, raised crosswalks, and signs displaying the speed of passing cars. Completion is scheduled for July 2018. More information, including drawings, photos, and schedules, can be found at www.17thstreetproject.org.

US Attorney’s Safety & Criminal Justice Update 

Community Prosecutor Doug Klein spoke on the importance of community impact statements in sentencing. These must come from a “community leader,” most often an ANC commissioner, though “block captains” may be asked to provide an opinion in some cases. The statements should be submitted at least two weeks in advance. Klein gave packets of sample statements to the commissioners.

Klein went on to say that community notification is done through the ANCs and that it is then their responsibility to inform the community. Residents should communicate their views through the commissioners. In cases where this is not sufficient, perhaps in the case of an unidentified victim, Klein can be contacted directly at douglas.klein@usdoj.gov or his office, 202-660-2150.

Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders

Sultan Shakir describedSupporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders(SMYAL, www.smyal.org), a nonprofit organization that serves LGBTQ youth. It has an office near the Eastern Market Metro and recently opened a residential facility at 746 19th St. NE that provides housing for eight.

SMYAL estimates that about 300 members of this demographic are homeless in the District. The goal is to help these young people get their lives in order, transition to work or school, and find permanent housing as quickly as possible. Some will be self-sufficient in as little six to eight months; others may need help for 18-24 months. Most are identified through the Department of Housing Services (DHS).

A rigorous vetting process includes background checks; an applicant who has committed a sexual offense or violent crime is ineligible. Residents are not allowed to own cars and do not contribute to parking problems in the area.

Economic Development and Zoning Actions

ANC 6A will send a letter of support for the owners of 600 Ninth St. NE, who are seeking variances from non-conforming structure, lot occupancy, and rear-yard requirements to permit the location of decks over a garage. The issue is contentious because the decks are already in place, having been constructed without permits and less than five feet from the bedroom windows of the adjacent home.

The decks were constructed by a previous owner. The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) was aware of the situation but took no action to force the removal of the decks. The adjacent house was then sold to an owner who believed the decks would not remain in place, since DCRA had already flagged them. Then 600 Ninth St. was sold to owners who say they did not know about the illegal construction at the time of the purchase. When they sought permits for interior work they were told they would not be granted until the situation with the decks was resolved, hence their request for zoning relief. The Office of Planning opposes the variances.

The commissioners voted unanimously but made support contingent on measures to reduce noise from use of the decks, including moving one of the large HVAC units to the roof.

Other Business

The commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) requesting data on teacher turnover rates at local elementary schools. The request for the letter was made by Zimny, who is a member of the Miner Elementary School Local School Advisory Team (LSAT). The group has been frustrated in attempts to get the information to make informed decisions regarding the school. OSSE has said it is not required to provide the information except to ANCs.

The ANC unanimously approved a letter to both the mayor and DC Council stating support for immigrants and refugees in the community

Reports & Announcements

Commissioner Toomajian announced that the Capitol Hill Classic race, an annual fundraiser for the Capitol Hill Cluster School, is scheduled for May 21. He also reported a rash of package thefts in his single-member district and drug activity on H Street NE.

Commissioner Zimny reported that the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) does not believe that the G Street exits from the parking lot of Chik-fil-A (formerly Checkers), in the triangle on the 1400 block of Maryland Avenue and G Street NE, will result in increased traffic. She and other concerned neighbors will press for a traffic study once the establishment opens; it will not be approved in advance.

Commissioner Ward will organize a neighborhood cleanup this spring at the corner of 19th and E streets NE, where loitering has led to a large volume of trash. Look for an announcement on the calendar at www.anc6a.org.

Councilmember Charles Allen will attend the March ANC meeting.

 

ANC 6A meets on the second Thursday of every month (except August) at Miner Elementary School. The 6A committees meet at 7 p.m. on the following schedule:

Alcohol Beverage and Licensing, third Tuesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.

Community Outreach, fourth Monday of each month, Maury Elementary School, 601 15th St. NE.

Economic Development and Zoning, third Wednesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.

Transportation and Public Space, third Monday of every month, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G St. NE.

Visit www.anc6a.orgfor calendar of events, changes of date/venue, agendas, and other information.