ANC 6A Report - March 2016

Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A Chair Phil Toomajian called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. with Commissioners Mike Soderman, Patrick Malone, Calvin Ward, Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, Matt Levy, and Stephanie Zimny in attendance. Omar Mahmud was absent.

Toomajian introduced Rachel Mariman, one of the two new Ward 6 liaisons to the Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS). The other is Edward Doxen. They can be reached at Rachel.mariman@dc.gov, 202-538-1241, and Edward.doxen@dc.gov.

 

Report from Councilmember Allen

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen spoke at length on a list of topics provided in advance by the commissioners:

  • The DC Council is entering into the oversight and budget cycle. Mayor Bowser will release her budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2016, at the end of March. Until then the focus is on agency oversight hearings. Allen has scheduled a Ward 6 Town Hall meeting for April 21, 6:30 p.m., at 645 H St. NE, so that he can receive feedback on budget priorities from community members. The DC Council is expected to vote on the budget in May. At that point the focus will switch to legislative issues.
  • The Books from Birth program, sponsored by Allen, is an early-intervention effort to address the achievement gap, which can be a result of adult literacy deficiencies. Nearly a fifth of eligible children have been registered already, 50-60 percent of whom are from the targeted high-risk population. Details on the Books from Birth program can be found at dclibrary.org/booksfrombirth.
  • The streetcar line will be expanded first to the east to connect with Metro at Benning Road. Expansion to the west is problematic partly because the structure of the Hopscotch Bridge can’t support it. Allen said this will not be easy to resolve because it must be considered as part of the redevelopment of the entire Union Station complex including parking, tracks, and air rights over the tracks.
  • There has been a lot of attention paid to one provision of the Omnibus Public Safety Bill that provides financial incentives to 50 individuals considered “high risk” to commit crimes or be the victims of crimes. However, this bill remains unfunded; and it is not clear what the program would look like if and when it was implemented. The bill provides for better data sharing among District agencies including Metro and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), but owing to privacy concerns it does not extend to improved data sharing regarding youth offenders. There is more money for MPD recruitment and retention. The bill also includes a provision that allows a “72 hour hold” on individuals who tamper with or fail to keep charged their GPS monitoring devices.
  • Allen expressed concern about the effectiveness of the 911 system and the “sense of urgency” of some of the operators, but has confidence that the new person in charge will be able to effect change.
  • Commissioner Toomajian asked for the status of the revision to the residential parking permits (RPP) regulations. Allen is aware that the delay is causing a hardship to many residents, especially those living near H Street NE, and is pressing the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to finalize them.
  • Commissioner Malone asked about a proposal for warrantless searches for individuals on probation or parole. Allen said that requiring a warrant does not impede police work and that allowing such searches would have unintended consequences. Friends and family members might be reluctant to house returning citizens if, in so doing, they subjected themselves to warrantless searches. This could lead to homelessness within this vulnerable population.

 

Community Outreach actions

The ANC voted 6-0-1 (Phillips-Gilbert abstaining) to approve a grant application from the Ludlow-Taylor Elementary School (659 G St. NE) PTA for $300 for enhanced art supplies.

 

Transportation and Public Space Actions

The ANC voted unanimously to send a letter to DDOT requesting the installation of a new Capital Bikeshare Station at Eighth and H streets NE. Toomajian noted that the nearest Bikeshare stations are at Sixth and 12th streets and that additional bikes will be needed to accommodate the projected increase in residents in the area.

 

Economic Development and Zoning Actions

The commissioners voted unanimously to write a letter to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) in support of the design of a proposed garage with a rooftop deck at 1120 Park St. NE (HPA#16-104).

They also voted unanimously to write a letter of support to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in support of a special exception from lot occupancy, a variance from parking space dimensions, and a variance from the garage setback requirement at the same address (BZA #18514). Review by the HPRB will be required.

 

Single-Member District Reports

Commissioner Zimny is concerned that DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson has not responded to the Miner Elementary School community’s request for a meeting regarding a language immersion program at Miner (601 15th St. NE). Zimny is organizing a single-member district (SMD) party for early April. Details will be posted on the ANC website calendar.

Commissioner Phillips-Gilbert expressed concerns about Monument Academy Public Charter School (at the site of the former Gibbs Elementary School, 500 19th St. NE). The ANC has not received a response to an inquiry regarding a possible zoning violation. She said the police have often been there owing to problems with the students.

Commissioner Soderman thanked Nicole Opkins of Councilmember Allen’s staff for her assistance in pursuing a vacant property designation for a house in his SMD at 1000 C St. NE.

Commissioner Levy noted that there is significant criminal activity on the corner of 15th and C streets NE. He has continued concerns with traffic and pedestrian safety in his SMD.

Commissioner Ward has been working with the management of Master Liquors to reduce loitering in front of the establishment. Speed humps will be installed on the 400 block of 19th Street NE.

 

Other Announcements

A citywide meeting regarding the redevelopment of the RFK Stadium site will be held on April 4, 6:30 p.m., at the Convention Center. The mayor will attend, and use of the parcel by the Redskins football team will be part of the presentation.

Former Commissioner David Holmes announced a meeting regarding the decommissioned Pepco Benning Road power plant to take place on April 2, 10 a.m.-noon, at River Terrace Elementary School.

Commander William Fitzgerald, MPD 5D, will attend the next ANC 6A meeting on April 14.

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 dates:

Alcohol Beverage and Licensing, third Tuesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center.

Community Outreach, fourth Monday of each month, Maury Elementary School.

Economic Development and Zoning, third Wednesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center.

Transportation and Public Space, third Monday of every month, Capitol Hill Towers.

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