Fort Stevens Recreation Center, Van Buren and 13th Streets, N.W., Washington, DC
Roll Call: In attendance were Commissioners Black, Toliver, Bennett, Whatley, Wilson and Kennedy. Absent were Commissioners Boyd and Snow-Israel.
Approximately 10 persons were in attendance from the community.
Having determined that there was a quorum; Commissioner Whatley called the meeting to order at 7:21pm.
I. ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS
a. ANC 4A unanimously voted to table the approval of the minutes until the December 2011 meeting.
b. Commissioner Whatley entertained a motion to accept the Treasurer’s monthly report. Commissioner Toliver moved to accept and was seconded by Commissioner Bennett. Motion carried.
c. Commissioner Black recommended that the savings account be moved to Industrial Bank where the ANC 4A checking account currently resides. This move is prompted by Wachovia Bank recently becoming Wells Fargo. Motion carried without objection.
a. Diane Oliver, Ombudsman, DCHA. The Housing Choice Voucher Program, formerly known as the Section 8 Program, has a waiting list of over 30,000 individuals/families needing assistance with allocation preference given to the homeless and those living in a unit that has been declared unfit for habitation. This list is periodically purged by the department to verify interest and eligibility. ANC 4B Commissioner, Judy Jones, asked why the waiting list was so long despite the glut of vacancies in the city. Ms. Oliver replied that the funding for the subsidies (up to 70% of a participants rent) comes from HUD. Commissioner Toliver advised residents to visit the website (www.dchousing.org) to obtain the full details on the program.
b. Councilmember Muriel Bowser.
i. Ethics Reform. Councilmember Bowser currently has 10 bills on ethics reform that are before the council and expects her committee to vote late November/Early December. There was an eight hour hearing last week and upcoming hearings will be announced in her newsletter. Councilmember Bowser welcomes any community feedback prior to the next hearing.
ii. Walter Reed. No new news on Walter Reed other than a recent resolution to require the Mayor to analyze the options for redevelopment and present them in a hearing to the public.
iii. Ward 4 Crime. There has been a rash of car break-ins in Shepherd Park and Crestwood. Councilmember Bowser has had conversations with Chief Lanier about plans for additional resources to be put in place to combat the recent uptick. Additionally, the 4D area has seen significant violence with the shootings of two juveniles. Commissioner Kennedy stressed the need for increased foot patrols on Georgia Avenue.
iv. Pepco. Commissioner Black reported that her SMD has experienced property damage to appliances (e.g., refrigerators fried because of power outages/surges going on in the neighborhood). Councilmember Bowser asked to receive feedback from the residents so that she can let the public service commission know about them.
III. COMMISSIONER DISCUSSIONS/PRESENTATIONS
a. Walter Reed (Commissioner Toliver)
i. The plan is for mixed use development with housing, retail, open space and some recreation. No firm decision has been made as to what building or project will be the first underway. There are several non-profit groups that might seek to take a portion of the additional property available to the city (67.5 acres). A notice is forthcoming about the November 15 public meeting at Tifereth Israel located at 16th and Juniper Streets NW at 7pm. The Committee meets again on December 1. Commissioner Toliver encouraged residents to visit the Walter Reed website and read the June 30 notes and minutes which offer additional information.
ii. Demolition of the main hospital is still on the table for consideration.
iii. The new gym will be preserved since it’s essentially complete. It is possible but not probable that it will be open to DC residents at this time because of security concerns.
iv. ANC 4B Commissioner, Judy Jones, offered a suggestion to aid in the design component of the planning process referring to an overlay in the Takoma area for residential retail that limits the height of buildings to 50ft.
v. No decision yet as to if/when the Georgia Avenue gates will be opened.
IV. COMMISSIONER DISCUSSIONS/PRESENTATIONS
a. Geranium Market License Renewal (Commissioner Whatley). Commissioner Whatley reported that there is a voluntary agreement in place and that he has not heard of any issues in his SMD. Therefore, Commissioner Whatley recommended approval of the Geranium Market license renewal contingent upon continuance of the voluntary agreement. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Toliver. All were in favor. Motion carried unanimously.
b. China Hut License Renewal (Commissioner Toliver). Commissioner Toliver was inclined to not put this license renewal up for a vote, but rather allow the issue to go before ABRA. Commissioner Toliver went on to say that although the property is aesthetically displeasing, it does not speak to the license and their adherence to the license itself. Commissioner Whatley recused himself from the discussion and subsequent vote because he and his wife operate a business on the same block. Commissioner Wilson was opposed to supporting the license renewal based on appearance and prior infractions. Commissioner Toliver made a motion to not take action on the application and allow China Hut to renew its Class B license and have opponents come forth and voice their opposition via letter or attend the hearing where they can complain. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Black. Roll Call Vote was taken: Commissioner Kennedy – yea, Commissioner Toliver – yea, Commissioner Whatley – recusal, Commissioner Bennett – yea, Commissioner Snow-Israel – absent, Commissioner Boyd – absent, Commissioner Wilson – nay, Commissioner Black – yea. Total Vote: yeas = 4, nay = 1, Abstention = 1, Absent = 2. Motion carried.
c. Hope Market License Renewal (Commissioner Bennett). Commissioner Bennett reported that there is a voluntary agreement in place and that she has not heard of any issues in her SMD. Therefore, Commissioner Bennett recommended the approval of the Hope Market license renewal contingent upon continuance of the voluntary agreement. Motion was seconded by Commissioner Toliver. All were in favor. Motion carried unanimously.
d. Missouri Avenue Market License Renewal (Commissioner Boyd). No representative from the Missouri Avenue Market was in attendance and this business falls within the SMD of Commissioner Boyd who was absent. Anthony Briggs, President of Brightwood Community Association, said he’s had neighbors complain about gatherings that happen outside of the business. A motion was made to treat Missouri Avenue Market the same as Hope Market with a letter recommending approval. Motion was seconded by Bennett. Motion carried unanimously.
V. COMMUNITY CONCERNS
a. Anthony Briggs, President of Brightwood Community Association (BCA), appeared before the commission to announce a BCA Holiday Party to be held December 10, 2011 from 7– 9pm at Fort Stevens Recreation Center. BCA will be asking for a grant at next month’s meeting. In the meantime, budget amendments will be made and copies of a formal grant application will be distributed within the next week.
VI. COMMISSIONER CONCERNS
a. Commissioner Whatley expressed the need to do something to boost retail on Georgia Avenue and asked what can be done as a commission to attract and keep businesses. Commissioner Whatley wants to form a taskforce to jumpstart this effort and mentioned that he has spoken to Ben’s Chili Bowl about opening up a location on Georgia Avenue. Commissioner Kennedy suggested the revitalization of the Gateway Georgia Avenue Main Street program. Anthony Briggs, President of the BCA, said they’ve invited the President of the Takoma Park Community Association to come and share ideas for attracting new business to their area, citing Mayorga as an example. Commissioner Whatley plans to attend the next BCA meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 8:34pm.
ANC 4A COMMISSIONERS
ANC 4A01 Commissioner Karl Kennedy North Portal Estates, Colonial Village, and portions of Shepherd Park
ANC 4A02 Commissioner Dwayne Toliver Shepherd Park
ANC 4A03 Commissioner Stephen A. Whatley, Chair Portions of Shepherd Park and Brightwood
ANC 4A04 Commissioner Marian C. Bennett, Vice Chair Brightwood
ANC 4A05 Commissioner Habieba Snow-Israel Fort Stevens and Brightwood
ANC 4A06 Commissioner Kim Boyd, Secretary Brightwood
ANC 4A07 Commissioner Dave Wilson 16th Street Heights
ANC 4A08 Commissioner Gale Black, Treasurer Crestwood, Crestwood North and portions of 16th Street Heights