September 28, 2006

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Adopted on October 26, 2006



The meeting began at about 7:15 p.m. at Peabody Mennonite Church, 245 Peabody Street, N.W.  ANC 4B06 Commissioner Michael Burke was the host commissioner.


A quorum was present when the meeting opened and for every vote.  Present at the start of the meeting were Chair Cherita Whiting (4B08), presiding, and Commissioners Sara Green (4B01), Frederick Grant (4B03), Blondine Hughes (4B05), Judi Jones (4B07), and Muriel Bowser (4B09).


Commissioner Michael Burke (4B06) arrived after the agenda was adopted. Commissioners Faith Wheeler (4B02) and Wesley Hickman (4B04) arrived after the minutes were adopted.




1. In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously agreed to Commissioner Grant's motion to adopt the agenda with the addition of a discussion and possible vote on the draft Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia.  The plan is now before the D.C. City Council.


(Note: Some commissioners had a printed agenda with a different order than the one used by the Chair to run the meeting.  This was discovered toward the end of the meeting.)


2.  In a 6-0-1 show-of-hands vote, the Commission accepted Commissioner Burke's motion to adopt the minutes from the July 27, 2006 public meeting. 


3. In a 5-1-1 show-of-hands vote, the Commission accepted Commissioner Grant's motion to adopt the minutes from the September 5, 2006 public meeting.


4. In an 8-1-0 show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Hughes' motion to have a copy of the D.C. Auditor's report on ANC 4B available for all constituents at the 4th District Police Department on Georgia Avenue by Friday, September 29, 2006 at 3:30 p.m.


Paul Montague, an ANC 4B resident, asked for a copy of the report.  Treasurer Faith Wheeler said she had received it the week before.


5. In an 8-1-0 show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Hughes' motion to schedule the Community Concerns portion of every ANC 4B meeting after the 4th District police reports. 


Regina Page, a 4B01 resident, along with other residents, said that the agenda is often too long and the Community Concerns portion of the meeting is often eliminated entirely.


6. In a 7-0-2 roll-call vote, the Commission adopted the following motion made by Commissioner Bowser: "ANC 4B has not approved a memorandum of understanding with the West Group related to the property at 6000 New Hampshire Avenue, N. E."  Voting "yes" were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Hickman, Hughes, Burke, Jones, and Bowser.  Commissioners Grant and Whiting abstained.


The vote followed a lengthy discussion initiated by several ANC 4B residents concerned about the West Group's proposal to put single-family homes, townhouses and apartments on the New Hampshire Avenue site.  Laurence Martin, a resident, said Chair Whiting signed a memorandum of understanding with the West Group and Developer Bill Jarvis on September 5, 2006 but was not authorized to do this by ANC 4B.


Other residents, including Savannah Gibson and Yvonne Jefferson, said they were also upset about the signature. Commissioner Bowser said there had been no authorizing ANC vote.


Commissioner Green asked Mr. Martin for a copy of the memorandum but was not provided with one.  Instead, Mr. Martin gave each Commissioner a copy of a letter/resolution about the issue and asked for the Commission's vote on the resolution.


Chair Whiting said she signed the memorandum as the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner from ANC 4B08, not as the chairman. She explained that the word "chair" was used as a title, but not as an indication of the support from the entire Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B. Other community leaders who signed the memorandum had their titles next to their names but were also only signing as individuals and not for their organizations, she added.


7. In a 7-1-1 roll-call vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Burke's motion, as follows: "ANC 4B supports the Disabled Rights Protection Act of 2006 before the D.C. City Council."  Commissioners Grant, Hickman, Hughes, Burke, Jones, Whiting and Bowser voted "yes." Commissioner Green voted "no," and Commissioner Wheeler abstained.


Commissioner Green said the issue was not on the agenda and the Commission needed more time to discuss the legislation. She asked that the motion be delayed until the next meeting. Commissioner Burke asked that the record note that he is the father of two young disabled boys.


Steve Gorman, a D.C. resident and long-time supporter of the legislation, gave a three-minute presentation on the legislation and distributed letters about it along with a copy

of the legislation.  It would establish the Office of Disability Rights in the D.C. government.  Currently, these issues are handled by other agencies.


8.  At about 9:10, in a show-of-hands vote, the Commission unanimously agreed to Commissioner Hughes' motion to adjourn.


Presentations and Reports


1.  Treasurer Faith Wheeler discussed the Quarterly Report for the period of April to June 2006.  Commissioner Jones asked Commissioner Wheeler about the figure, $25,538.23, which appeared in parenthesis at the bottom of the first page.  Commissioner Jones asked if the parenthesis mean a deficit of $25,538.23.  Commissioner Wheeler answered that there was not a deficit, but would investigate and report back at the next meeting.


2. Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham and 4th District Police Commander Hilton Burton discussed the closed circuit television cameras now placed at Ward 4 intersections and the D.C. City Council emergency legislation that permitted their installation, along with curfews for young people, and police overtime. Both men said crime has decreased as a result of the measures and both said they wanted support at the D.C. City Council to renew the legislation, which expires on Oct. 19.


Commander Burton said that there are now six cameras in the 4th District -- on Kennedy Street, 1st Street and 1st Place, on Georgia Avenue near the Petworth Metro Station, at Rock Creek Church Road, and at 14th & Quincy Streets.


3. Sgt. Williams, also of the 4th District, reported on crime statistics in the 4th District.


4.  Drew Pasek, a project architect with GTM Architects, gave a presentation on Douglas Development's current proposal to build an 82-unit garden apartment project behind the CVS Drug Store on Willow Place, N.W. (off of Eastern Avenue). The presentation was for community input and the project has not been submitted to the Historic Preservation Review Board(HPRB) yet, he said. He also answered questions about the project and the three historic bungalow homes on the site slated to be moved.


Commissioner Wheeler said she had attended the HPRB hearing that morning on the condition of the bungalows.  One bungalow had deteriorated significantly so it cannot be moved, as planned, but must be dismantled and rebuilt as best as possible.  She noted that one HPRB member said other Douglas Development properties in historic districts had similar problems. He asked HPRB staff to investigate the firm's record.


5.  Robert Bobb and Laurent Ross, both candidates for the President of the D.C. Board of Education, spoke and answered questions.


6.  Eric Rogers, of DCRA, reported on a safety issue at 6000 2nd Street, N.W., and problems at 612 Somerset, N.W., and 7th & Underwood Streets, N.W.  Mr. Rogers was invited to tell the Commission why the empty, exposed foundation at the 2nd Street property was open and unfenced for over a year, despite repeated requests by Commissioner Burke to fence the property for the safety of pedestrians and animals. Mr. Rogers said a citation giving the owner 48 hours to fix the problem was issued the day before.  Commissioner Burke said the fence was erected the same day. Mr. Rogers explained that inadequate staffing is a problem at the agency and leads to poor and delayed service. 


An inspector will visit the Somerset address, Rogers said. 


The Underwood address is a church building and there are legal issues with a contractor, Commissioner Grant said.


7.  Commissioner Green noted that the report for ANC 4B's $500 grant to the Takoma, D.C. Neighborhood Association for PSA 401's August 1, 2006 celebration of National Night Out was given to Treasurer Wheeler on September 20, 2006.  The report detailed $489.62 in expenditures, and receipts were attached.  The group gave Treasurer Wheeler a check for $10.30 to cover grant monies not spent.


Community Concerns


Mary Minor, a resident who identified herself as a teacher at a Catholic School, said  charter school students roll tires across Peabody Street.  She wants someone to address what is a dangerous practice. Commissioner Burke said there are three charter schools nearby and he will talk to all three principals about the problem.


Agenda Items Not Discussed


Grant Applications, the WMATA Report (Oct. 11, 2006 Compact Hearing), the Discussion on the Committee for Development Projects, the Report on the Safeway Liquor License, and the Discussion and Possible Vote on the draft Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia were on the adopted agenda but not discussed.


                                                           ----- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary