Bikes, condos and new commissioners: Meeting notes form ANC 4C's January meeting

With a majority of women on the commission for the first time, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4C met on January 9th to discuss bikeshare, development and more.

The meeting started with the new commissioners introducing themselves. New commissioners include:

Newly elected commissioners Debbie Matties (4C05) and Nora Simon (4C04).

Kim Varzi, 4C07

Leah Anderson, 4C08

Tearsa Coates, 4C09

They also conducted elections for officers.

  • Chair — Bennett Hilley

  • Vice Chair - Jonah Goodman

  • Secretary - Leah Anderson

  • Treasurer - Ulysses Campbell

  • Parliamentarian - tabled until they can discuss at their retreat.

KeShawn Harris and Gabrielle Priest from the Ward 4 MOCR office.

KeShawn Harris from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations introduced a new Ward 4 representative, Gabrielle Priest, who will focus on ANCs 4A & 4C (She can be reached at 202-603-7182 and gabrielle.priest2@DC.gov). They congratulated the new elected commissioners and gave out a token of appreciation.

Josh Fleitman

Josh Fleitman from Councilmember Todd’s office spoke on new legislation from Todd (dual language immersion program, adding 8 more programs in DC by 2021). District scholarship program for UDC community college, classroom innovation fund for technology in the classroom for elementary schools.

Commissioner Tearsa Coates asked about the UDC CC initiative, “Is the funding independent from DC TAG?” Fleitman said it’s an independent program.

Commissioners Maria Barry 4C02, Ulysses Campbell 4C03, Bennett Hilley 4C06, Jonah Goodman 4C10, and Leah Anderson 4C08.

Commissioner Bennett Hilley said many of the workout machines at Raymond Rec are broken. Asked for DPR and Todd’s office to look into fixing them.

During the community comment period, Wendy Blocker from Pointless Theater said their performing a new show at DanceLoft and is offering $4 off a ticket with coupon code “Ward4” — It’s an adaptation of Chaplin’s City Lights. Tickets available at Pointlesstheatre.com

Dwayne Little, principal of Roosevelt Stay Opportunity Academy (located in the Roosevelt building but separate from the main high school) discussed their adult evening programs, including culinary programs for the community. Said classes are from 4pm-7:30, Monday -Thursday. Free to DC residents, call 202-576-8399 for info, or just come in and register.

Justin Ralston, interim principal Roosevelt spoke for a bit, discussed the question about community access to the school’s pool. Said he’s heard the concerns and is looking into it.

Jennifer Kuiper, District Bridges

Jennifer Kuiper, Executive Director of District Bridges. Discussed how their non-profit is funded through DC to support small and local businesses along the lower Georgia Avenue corridor (from McDonalds near Howard on Georgia up to Kansas Avenue). They also looks at streetscape design, support and run community events, etc., and look at ways to activate empty storefronts. (This is a great organization.) Jennifer can be reached at Jennifer@districtbridges.org.

The ANC approved a letter of support for 4414 9th St NW (BZA Case # 19921), it was discussed at last month’s meeting, but they needed to get language corrected.

Architect and lawyer for the developer discussing the redevelopment of 4521 Iowa Avenue NW.

Then they discussed 4521 Iowa Avenue NW, owned by Solo Entertainment, who wants to create three units in the property with a 20 foot setback instead of the 10 foot allowed “by-right.” Developer says one unit will be his personal residence (therefore no affordable units will be offered). The developer said he owns multiple buildings in DC, but plans to live in this one.

Commissioner Jonah Goodman mentioned that 716 Upshur’s request for a 20 foot setback was denied by Zoning Board, and wondered if the developer was aware that his request for a 20 foot setback may likewise be blocked.

Residents speaking against the development.

Residents came up to express their dissatisfaction with the proposed pop-up. They spoke about the availability of parking (or lack thereof), the neighborliness of the area that they fear losing with more condos coming in, and said a recent renovation / pop-up project was an extreme challenge.

One resident said the proposed 20 foot pop-back obstructs views by neighbors and impacts shade. Another resident said she loved the area when she moved there in 1995, but now there’s no parking and has sewer issues from the new pop-up. She said “It’s about the dollars!” (which got applause from the audience).

Another resident said he opposes due to parking, said the owner already has three cars, what’s going to happen when more units go in? Another resident pointed out the profit and price-point and how the developer has to have three units because he needs to recoup his investment. “We didn’t move here for profit, we moved here to live in a nice neighborhood!”

Another resident who lives next door to the existing 4511 pop-up, said they lost light and proper water drainage because of the pop-out, now experience flooding in their basement.

Goodman spoke about how parking is not a legal challenge for the Zoning Board, as the BZA can’t look at parking. BZA can look at issues such as shadow, drainage, impact on solar, etc.

Commissioner Debbie Matties spoke about the issue of the pop-back blocking views into the alley or neighbors from a security perspective.

Commissioner Campbell speaking at the meeting.

Commissioner Ulysses Campbell said he wishes he had created a resolution that would have allowed the ANC to negotiate with the developer. The developer said they would agree to postpone their BZA hearing to allow the ANC to develop the resolution and speak more with the residents.

ANC made a resolution to oppose their requests unless the BZA hearing Is postponed.

Aaron Goldbeck from DDOT.

Aaron Goldbeck from DDOT’s Capital Bikeshare got up to speak about the proposed Capital Bikeshare installation along the 4200 block of Illinois Avenue, off of Upshur Street. This proposal has elicited a strong negative reaction from residents who live near the location proposed.

'“This is not a done deal,” said Goldbeck. “The area in underserved and and there is room for access. However, it’s definitely up for discussion still.”

A long line of residents got up to speak against the proposed location of the Bikeshare station.

Goodman gave some background, and then proposed they push off any vote on the station until more community meetings and a neighborhood walkthrough with CM Todd on January 30th occurs.