ANC 4D meeting notes from May 19th

Tonight was the ANC 4D meeting for May. The most interesting thing about it was learning about the Green Infrastructure plans from DC Water. The ANC also discussed a few restaurants, the Kennedy Street Festival (June 20th) and tried to pass a resolution against pop-ups (no vote happened).

The long of it:

Meeting started at 7:07pm, all commissioners present except Bill Quirk. The ANC has $10,935.81 cash on hand ($4,467.06 received in April from DC).

Bethany Bezak from DC Water

Bethany Bezak from DC Water

DC Water was the first to present. Bethany Bezak and Seth Charde discussed the Green Infrastructure Challenge / DC Clean Rivers project. (Basically, it’s a federally mandated program to manage storm water and run off using new tunnels and porous walkway / park materials / cisterns / green roofs for better drainage.) Right now, DC uses a single sewer pipe system to carry sewage and storm water run off. During overflow caused by heavy rain, the mixed sewage goes into DC waterways (purposefully — 100 year old design). According to Mr. Charde, overflows in the past accounted for 2.5 billion gallons of sewage going into the Anacostia, Potomac and Rock Creek, making them not fishable, swimmable, etc.

The new system of tunnels and green infrastructure will reduce overflow by 96%, according to Ms. Bezak. She said the first tunnel is nicknamed “Lady Bird” and is underway now (it even has a twitter account that you can follow: @LadyBirdTBM). The tunnel has a lifespan of at least 100 years. 

DC Water ran a design competition for best ideas and strategies for green infrastructure in the District to capture storm water runoff and retro fit the environment specific to an urban environment. Two location that will affect our area are the triangular parks Kennedy St (1st & Missouri Ave) and Kansas Avenue (Ingraham, 3rd). Kennedy Street work is being done in conjunction with DDOT work. There’s a public outreach meeting on May 28th from 6-8pm at Roots Public Charter School on 15 Kennedy St. Then they’ll do a follow-up meeting in July (date TBD), with the last meeting in December for Kansas St. Construction timeline is still TBD for Kansas Ave, and set to begin in October 2015 for Kennedy St (complete by Spring 2016). 

Commissioner Roth asked if other triangular parks in the area will be updated with the new porous materials and updated amenities DC Water is planning on installing on Kansas Ave and Kennedy Street. Mr. Charde said that the short answer is in certain areas they are planning on doing as much as possible, but not everywhere. Would be nice! 

A resident, Mr. Muse (spelling uncertain), asked about the additional fees on DC water bills to pay for this work. Mr Charde said that there are two items on water bills: one is for GI, the other is storm water fee (a smaller fee). Money goes to DC Department of the Environment. Mr. Muse said he thinks the problem is due to increased development and new buildings. "Buildings have been here a hundred years and we didn't need the charge." Mr. Charde explained that the problem is a hundred years in the making, and that because it’s Federally mandated to ensure water is being polluted, the work must be done.

Truesdell Principal Mary Ann Stinson

Truesdell Principal Mary Ann Stinson

Then Commissioner Sheon introduced Mary Ann Stinson, the Principal of Truesdell Education Campus. Commissioner Sheon thanked the principal for hosting the ANC at Truesdell. Ms. Stinson spoke about upcoming events and her background (15 years, came from Richmond, VA). She said that the school is outgrowing its space. As a “Family engagement school, 70% of families have had home-visits.”

Commissioner Bowser said that the playground needs a spruce-up, “Would a letter-writing campaign help to get a new playground?” 

Ms. Stinson said that would be great. She said the school is focused on soccer and the field badly needs to be renovated. The playground is too small for their classes; kids are cycled through to use the space. Resident asked about additional lighting at the playground, and said that people are hanging out in the field at night along Hamilton & Illinois. Ms. Stinson said they’ll look at the issue of the lights, and said the school was aware of the weekend activity. “Our custodian, Larry Holt, is cleaning every Monday. Another resident complimented their custodial staff for doing an excellent job cleaning up the playground. Sheon closed by saying how much potential there is for a Friends of Truesdell to donate time, money, effort to help the school. (That’s a hint hint on wanting volunteers for the school.)

Resident, Mr Muse

Resident, Mr Muse

Catello's Restaurant and Lounge was the topic of some concern. This new restaurant (corner of Hamilton & Georgia) was very late in getting their Voluntary Settlement Agreement to the ANC, so the ANC asked ABRA for extension and was told no. Then a group of concerned residents on Hamilton signed a petition to request the extension so they can protest the liquor license. Mr Muse (resident) said the group’s main concern is peace and quiet, and that Catello’s was located too close to home to operate at 2am blaring music. "I like music, but music 7 days a week is just noise." He said the residents don’t want another nightclub inside the neighborhood, especially one staying open to 3am with outside seating. Commissioner Sheon said that residents have voiced their support for a restaurant in the neighborhood, just not a club. Owner expressed interest in negotiating voluntary settlement agreement with community. It's the community that's negotiating, not the ANC.

Colony Liquors was next up for Commissioner Sheon (Emerson & Georgia at 901 Emerson) Neighbors unhappy with litter and public drinking. The owner has been very receptive to the ANC's requests. Problem has gone away, as owner said he would cut off any people drinking outside. Bank next door is putting up fence around parking lot to help reduce loitering.

Chair Lisa Colbert then discussed the “ANC 4D Day” festival they’re planning for Saturday, September 19th at 9th & Hamilton. Colbert has asked for donations from local churches and organization, restaurants and neighborhood schools (talent show, etc). Will have dog groomer volunteering at the festival. Commissioner Colbert said she wants community feedback and ideas, to which an older resident piped up with "Is this a cookout? Then why dogs? They don't need a cookout, getting their nails cut, hair groomed. Come on! Dogs…” Must be a cat-lover?

The Executive Director of the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, Gottlieb Simon, then got up to talk about what an ANC can spend funds on. He discussed admin activities like office space and staff, the welfare of the community but no food (only nominal refreshments) nor entertainment, no personal subsistence (e.g., one ANC wanted to buy AC units for senior citizen home, DC Attorney General said no). Mr Simon said that money from DC for commissions is based on size (I believe it’s about a dollar a resident annually). If an ANC wants to solicit funds for more than $1,000 they need the DC Council to approve. They can accept donations freely given if less than $1,000, but can't directly solicit. Even when donated, the money is still under restricted guidelines. Hence the ANC wanting a group to step up and run the fund-raising for ANC 4D Day. 

Danielle Parsons from KSDA

Danielle Parsons from KSDA

Danielle Parsons got up to discuss the 2nd Annual Kennedy St Festival, planned for June 20th, from 11am-3pm. Between 3rd and Georgia Ave, but no street closures. Businesses open, balloons, etc. Find info on the Festival on their website.

Then Jasmin Benab, one of the two Ward 4 Liaisons from the Mayor’s office got up to speak. Ms Benab is covering ANCs C&D, and Khalil has A&B. Commissioner Sheon thanked Ms Benab for her help last week in getting the city to remove 12 cars that had been sitting abandoned for years. 

As time was running out for the meeting, Commissioner Bowser discussed her proposed resolution against R-4 Zone pop-ups. The proposal is asking the Office of Planning and the Zoning Commission to go back and review their March 30th vote/decision and develop one that is more friendly to neighborhood residents. Commissioner Sheon asked about the impact of the proposal onnew construction, homeowners who want to expand their own homes, as language seems overly broad. One resident doesn't agree with the resolution, saying it restricts supply, causing housing prices to go up ("regressive politics").  Commissioner Roth didn’t feel adequately informed to vote on the proposal, and in the end, the ANC chose not to bring the proposal to a vote.

Commissioner Bowser mentioned that there is a movement on to allow bright video billboards like the ones at the Verizon Center to be put up across the city beyond Gallery Place in mixed use residential areas. Commissioner Bowser wants the ANC to protest during the comment phase, and the ANC decided to take up the resolution next month. 

Commissioner Bowser also briefly mentioned two upcoming affordable housing events being run by the Department of Housing & Community Development. They have a meeting on May 28th at Coolidge High. Bowser to go over the services DHCD offers, including single family rehabilitation program (for income limited) to help with handicap accessible, grants for roofs, etc. $55K limit for 2 people.

Out by 9pm. Yay

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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