Minutes

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

October 26, 2006 Public Meeting

As Adopted on January 25, 2007

 

The meeting started at 7:06 p.m. at LaSalle Elementary School Auditorium, 501  Riggs Road, N.E., Chairman Cherita Whiting (ANC 4B08), presiding.  Commissioner 4B09 Muriel Bowser was the host commissioner.

 

A quorum was present when the meeting started and for all votes.

 

In addition to the Chair, present when the meeting opened were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B03 Frederick Grant, 4B04 Wesley Hickman, 4B06 Michael Burke, and 4B09 Muriel Bowser.

 

Commissioner 4B02 Faith Wheeler arrived after the police report.  Commissioner 4B05 Blondine Hughes arrived after the minutes were adopted.  Commissioner 4B07 Judi Jones arrived during the Treasurer's Report and did vote on its adoption.

 

Votes

 

1. In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Burke's motion to accept the minutes for the September 28, 2006 public meeting.

 

2.  In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Hughes' motion to accept the Quarterly Report for April - June 2006.  The report shows total disbursements of $5,986.08 for period, with an ending checkbook balance of $49,029.11.  There is $41,845.50 in the savings account. Commissioner Jones asked about the $150.00 that two commissioners, specifically, Treasurer Wheeler and Chair Whiting, agreed to repay.  This debt was noted in the second Quarterly Report, she said.

 

Treasurer Wheeler responded that $75.00 had been repaid and included donations from another Commissioner. Commissioner Burke then gave Treasurer Wheeler a $20.00 bill and asked for $10.00 in change.  The repayment would be reflected in the next quarterly report, Treasurer Wheeler added.

 

3.  In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Green's motion on the Centex condominium project, to be built at 7041 Blair Road, N.W. 

 

That motion withdraws ANC 4B's earlier request for an additional public hearing before the Historic Preservation Review Board on several design elements of the building, particularly the penthouse.  The motion also noted that the revised drawings are an improvement and should be accepted if the developer agrees to commit to the drawings and the materials' board available for review at the Takoma Public Library from mid September to October 27, 2006.

 

Charles Segerman, the Centex executive at the meeting, presented the revised design.  He agreed to the terms detailed in the motion.  Centex "will be a good neighbor," he said.

 

Commissioner Wheeler said she is concerned about the lack of windows on the front of the penthouse (Blair Road side).

 

Historic Takoma, Inc. submitted a letter commenting on the revisions.  President Sabrina Baron and Vice President Lorraine Pearsall wrote that although they have considerable problems with the applicant's "delay on numerous requests to redesign the penthouse" and question the appropriateness of penthouses within the historic district," among other issues, the changes "are improvements over the previous design."

 

4.  In a 7-0-2 show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Green's motion commenting on the draft Comprehensive Plan now before the D.C. City Council. The motion's final language included an amendment from Commissioner Jones that was accepted as a friendly amendment by Commissioner Green.

 

                RESOLUTION - Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

 

Whereas, the Mayor's draft Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia is a massive, complex and far-reaching proposal that would significantly impact land use, transportation, police services, social services, education, and libraries, and other critical government services.

 

Whereas, the District of Columbia will soon have a new Mayor, a new Council Chair and several new Council Members,

 

And whereas, over 250 Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B (ANC 4B) residents signed a petition asking that the D.C. City Council retain all of its branch libraries and boost library services and technology citywide to improve education and literacy,

 

And whereas these residents oppose draft Policy CSF-3.2.1 that says that "to maximize access for the greatest number of District residents," the city may have to close "libraries that are close to one another,"

 

And whereas the city is closing schools, eliminating their existing library resources, increasing density in residential areas, eliminating local businesses and impacting other residential issues.

 

And whereas, some D.C. public schools that will remain open have no school libraries or librarians, and other schools, including Coolidge High School, have cut back on school library funding and now only have a half-time librarian,

 

And whereas, 250 ANC 4B residents are also asking that the D.C. City Council postpone any public hearings or action on the entire draft Comprehensive Plan until the new D.C. City Council and Mayor take office,

 

Be it resolved, ANC 4B urges that the D.C. City Council postpone any action on the draft Comprehensive Plan until the new City Council and Mayor take office. ANC 4B also urges the D.C. City Council to eliminate Policy CSF-3.2.1 when the draft plan is considered. 

 

Furthermore, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B urges the Mayor and the new Director of Libraries to retain all existing branch libraries and increase funding so that services can be improved at existing libraries and new libraries added to the system.

 

5.  Following a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the meeting adjourned at about 9:15 p.m.

 

Presentations and Reports

 

1.  Sgt. B. Williams, of the Fourth Police District, talked about problems in the district during the past month.  Burglaries are up over the same period last year, but thefts are down.  She also noted that the D.C. City Council voted to continue anti-crime legislation adopted this summer.  However, a six-day work week will now be voluntary, not mandatory for police officers, beginning on October 31, Sgt. Williams added.

 

2.  Geraldine Gardner, of the Deputy Mayor's Office, discussed the City's Neighborhood Investment Fund, a matching city grant program for groups who want to improve safety and education and provide additional cultural, social and beautification opportunities in 12 communities, including the Upper Georgia Avenue area.  November 1 is the deadline for this grant year.  It is not clear if the City Council will fund the program for a second year, she said.

 

3.  Anita Hairston, the Ward 4 Planner in the Office of Planning, reported on the on-going meetings to write a master plan for Upper Georgia Avenue.  The next public meeting will be held on Nov. 1 at Emery Community Center, she said.

 

4. Commissioner Grant reported on the Safeway Beer & Wine License Application now before the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC).  He said residents and commissioners had a mediation session with an ABC employee and Safeway representatives but could not reach an agreement.  There is a hearing in December on the license, he added.

 

Commissioner Wheeler said her Single Member District and constituents are directly across the street from the 6500 Piney Branch Road, N.W. store and her constituents are directly affected.

 

Commissioner Green noted she and her husband, along with a resident who lives across the street from the store, are appealing an earlier ABC decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals.  Commissioner Green explained that she is suing as a private citizen who filed as an opposing resident to the license application at a time when she was not a Commissioner.

 

5. Chairman Whiting announced that, due to a conflict with the Thanksgiving holiday, ANC 4B's November public meeting would be held on November 16.  Commissioner Green said the meeting would be held either at Trinity Episcopal Church (Piney Branch Road & Dahlia Street, N.W.), or Takoma Elementary School, across the street from the church.

 

Community Concerns

 

1. A man who did not give his name said he is concerned about the D.C. Auditor's Office September 13, 2006 Report on Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B activity from 2004 to 2006.  The report stated that "no minutes were maintained during the 15-month period between October 1, 2003 through December 4, 2004," a violation of D.C. Code Section 1-309.11 (e)(1).  "You dropped the ball," the man said.

 

Chair Whiting responded that the Auditor's Office is requiring that ANC 4B put procedures into place that will prevent this problem from recurring. She also

noted that she was not the Chair in 2006 and did not know of the problem until this year.

 

The man said that current ANC members have to accept the problems they inherited.  He asked for a written response to the report. Chairman Whiting said a response to the auditor is required within 90 days of the date of the report.

 

Paul Montague repeatedly asked why and how the Auditor issued allotment checks to ANC 4B, given the problems stated in the report.  He noted that there was no secretary at the October 2005 public meeting.  The vice chair at the time refused to take the minutes. He asked for the name of the officer. 

 

Chairman Whiting said she was the vice president at that meeting.

 

Commissioner Hickman noted ANC 4B has until Dec. 12 to respond to the report.

 

Mr. Montague asked for the 60-day reports for grants given in 2004 to 2006, and said he wants them tomorrow (Oct. 27, 2006). 

 

Treasurer Wheeler said she is currently going through many documents and would provide them as they are available.

 

Commissioner Hickman said he wants the commissioner who was the secretary at that time to respond to the Auditor's Report.

 

Commissioner Hughes, ANC 4B's Secretary for part of the period covered in the Auditor's Report, said she distributed minutes at the meetings.  She said she is the Auditor has not asked her to respond and she is not an officer. Several Commissioners corrected that statement, noting that she is the Commission's current Vice Chair.

 

Regina Page noted that the report also detailed a pattern of quarterly reports submitted about two months late.

 

Commissioner Bowser, ANC 4B's Treasurer for part of the period covered in the report, said there were many circumstances to explain the late submission, including times when the ANC did not meet and could not approve the report.  At no time was the allotment held up, Commissioner Bowser said.

 

2.  Arlene Bailey, a Sandy Spring Road, N.W resident, said the light is poor on her street and wanted the city to improve it. Commissioner Bowser said she would share Ms. Bailey's concern with Commissioner Jones, who is Ms. Bailey's elected commissioner.  (Commissioner Jones was not present at the time.)

 

Commission Discussions

 

Commissioner Hughes held up a flyer announcing the Oct. 26 public meeting that was distributed by Commissioner Grant.  She said Commissioner Grant put his name on the flyer in violation of the campaign laws.

 

Commissioner Green responded, explaining that the flyer is not a violation since it included no campaign information.  In addition, city law requires that commissioners distribute and/or post meeting announcements and agendas.  Commissioner Green noted that she is one of many commissioners who also include their names on meeting flyers.

 

Commissioner Hughes asked the Commission to fund a Spanish-language class at Emery Recreation Center.  ANC funded the class last year. 

 

Treasurer Wheeler and others discussed whether it is possible to fund the program under ANC 4B's current published grant regulations. Those regulations say: "Applicants may not receive funding for more than one project in one fiscal year. Priority will be given to applicants who have not received grant funds from ANC 4B within the past 5 years."

 

Commissioner Hughes agreed to withdraw her grant request and submit it on a signed ANC 4B Grant Form with a program budget and other details provided.

 

Agenda Items Not Covered

 

The report on WMATA's Oct. 11 public hearing on its proposal to change transit facilities at the Takoma Metro Station and a discussion and possible vote on establishing an ANC 4B Committee on Development Projects were not discussed.

 

                                                 --- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary