Minutes

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

January 25, 2007 Public Meeting - Adopted on February 22, 2007

 

The meeting started at about 7:15 p.m. at the 4th District MPD Community Room, 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW, Vice Chair Blondine Hughes (4B05), presiding.

 

Present also were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Frederick Grant, 4B04 Evelena McCutchen, 4B06 Gloria Palmer, 4B07 Judi Jones, 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson, and 4B09 Muriel Bowser. A quorum was present when the meeting started and for all votes.

 

Votes

1. In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Grant's motion to approve the agenda, as amended by Commissioner Wheeler, who asked to delete three items: the proposals for 6838 6th and 612 Butternut Streets, NW and the Spanish class grant proposal.

 

2. In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Bowser's motion to approve the minutes, as amended by Commissioner Bowser. The amended minutes deleted the two sentences in the middle of Page 5 that begin "Note to the Minutes".

 

3. In a show of hands, the Commission unanimously approved Commissioner Jones' motion to approve the Quarterly Report for July to September 2006.

 

The Quarterly Report shows a checking account balance forward of $49,029.11 and an ending balance of $43,313.28.  In the savings account the balance forward was $41,845.50. The ending balance is $41,950.97.

 

4. After asking if any ANC 4B Commissioner objected to his role and hearing none, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner 4A08 Jim Jones conducted ANC 4B's election for officers.  The following Commissioners were elected:

 

Chair: Commissioner Hughes, in a 5-4 roll-call vote.

Vice Chair: Commissioner Grant, in a 5-4 roll-call vote. 

Treasurer: Commissioner Palmer, in a unanimous show-of-hands vote. 

Secretary: Commissioner Green, in a 5-4 roll-call vote. 

Sergeant At Arms: Commissioner Grant, in a unanimous show-of-hands vote.

 

Prior to Commissioner Grant's election as Sergeant At Arms, Commissioner Green proposed establishing the new office to help the chair keep order and move the agenda forward at meetings. In a show-of-hands vote, the Commission voted 8-0-1 to create the position.

 

Details of the election's votes:

 

Chair: Commissioner Green nominated Commissioner Grant. Commissioner Jefferson nominated Commissioner Hughes. Voting for Commissioner Hughes were Commissioners Hughes, Palmer, Jones, Jefferson, and Bowser. Voting for Commissioner Grant were Commissioner Green, Wheeler, Grant, and McCutchen.

Vice Chair: Commissioner Green nominated Commissioner Grant.  Commissioner Hughes nominated Commissioner Jones. Voting for Commissioner Grant were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Grant, McCutchen and Bowser.  Voting for Commissioner Jones were Commissioners Hughes, Palmer, Jones, and Jefferson.

 

Treasurer: Commissioner Hughes nominated Commissioner Palmer. Commissioner Grant nominated Commissioner Wheeler.  Commissioner Wheeler declined.

 

Secretary: Commissioner Grant nominated Commissioner Green. Commissioner Hughes nominated Commissioner Jones.  After being nominated, Commissioner Jefferson declined. Voting for Commissioner Green were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Grant, McCutchen, and Bowser.  Voting for Commissioner Jones were Commissioners Hughes, Palmer, Jones, and Jefferson.

 

Sergeant At Arms: Commissioner Green nominated Commissioner Grant.

 

5. In a 9-0 roll-call vote, the Commission voted to adopt a motion made by Commissioner Jones on a proposal from Douglas Development for 6916 - 6926 Willow Street and 6929 - 5923 Maple Street to build two apartment buildings with about 80 units.  The proposal, HPA #07-015, will go to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), for a public hearing now scheduled for February 22, 2007.

 

The adopted motion states that ANC 4B supports the ongoing negotiations with HPRB with consideration to amenities such as "green" LEED specifications, water and sewer drainage and landscaping "green" considerations.

 

An amendment to reflect neighbors' and a community group's stated concerns about massing, density, transition to the adjacent historic homes and blending the new building with the character of the existing community was proposed by Commissioner Green. It failed in a 4-5 roll call vote.

 

Voting "yes" to the amendment were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, McCutchen, and Jefferson.  Voting "no" were Commissioners Grant, Hughes, Palmer, Jones, and Bowser.

 

Architects Melissa Cohen and George Myers said the buildings' design had changed to include a mansard-style roof, decorative timbers under the roof, and an all-masonry exterior. There would be some affordable housing and permeable paving materials in the parking lot.  The architects were also trying to create a more inviting path between the apartments and the bungalow homes next door. The size of some of the porches has been reduced and the stormwater management plan is elaborate, to protect surrounding homes from flooding, she added. She also said the apartments are 30 feet from the bungalows.

 

Mr. Myers said he is asking ANC 4B only for concept support. The design will likely change, and it is likely the plan would likely return to HPRB for another review, he added.

Commissioner Green noted that, based on earlier cases, it is likely that HPRB will vote on the concept and send the design to staff, who will finish and approve it without holding another public hearing or consulting the community or ANC 4B.

 

Sabrina Baron, the president of Historic Takoma, Inc., (HTI) submitted a letter to the Commission praising some elements of the building, including the detailing, but noting four concerns and ways to improve it: 1) reducing the height difference between the new building and the bungalows; 2) lowering the height of the elevator shaft; 3) changing the window design to 4/1 or 6/1 and putting divided panes in the balcony windows; 4) expanding green space and public walkways, and saving the site's birch trees.

 

Lex Ulibarri, an architectural designer, said the parking should be relocated to the south end of the site, next to the bungalows, giving the homes additional and necessary space from the taller and denser new buildings.

 

Peter Weiss, who lives close to the site, said he does not support the proposal because: 1) the buildings are too big and too close to the street and the adjacent single-family homes; 2) the design is not consistent with the character of the community; 3) there is almost no green area; and 4) too much of the site is taken up with surface parking.  Underground parking should be considered, or some of the adjacent CVS parking area should be converted for apartment parking, he added.

 

Commissioner Wheeler said the apartments are too close to the homes. There is too much of a disparity between the relocated bungalows' lot size and the larger lot size of the existing homes on Willow and Maple.

 

6. In a show-of-hands vote, the Commission unanimously adopted a detailed resolution in the form of a letter to the D.C. Department of Transportation that was proposed by Commissioner Jones, including a friendly amendment written by Commissioner Bowser. The amendment adds a new first sentence that reads: "Attached find a petition containing the signatures of the required number of residents from the affected streets."

 

The resolution asks that the department put a traffic island on the corner of Chillum Pl., NW and the unit block of Sheridan St., NW, a vehicular buffer between the commercial area on the 6500 block of Chillum Pl., NW and homes, traffic buffers between Chillum Pl.,NW and the homes on Tuckerman and Underwood Sts., NW, speed bumps on Sheridan St., NE between Kansas Ave. and Sligo Mill Rd., NE, and on the unit blocks of Underwood St. and Tuckerman St., NW, new streetscapes in the area around the new Lamond Recreation Center, and stop signs and pedestrian or rumble strips on Kansas Ave., N.E. between Eastern Avenue and Chillum Pl., NE.

 

7. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to recommend that a permit application from the Gateway Georgia Avenue Revitalization Corporation be approved by the D.C. Department of Transportation Public Space Management Administration.  The permit covers 30 x 72 inch banners hung along Georgia Avenue.

 

8.  In a 4-2-3 roll-call vote, the Commission approved a resolution proposed by Commissioner Jones to the D.C. Zoning Commission asking that the Zoning Commission reopen the record and reconsider with a hearing, Case No. 05-30, a Planned Unit Development proposal for 6000 New Hampshire Ave., NE. 

 

The resolution, in the form of a letter to Zoning Commission Chair Carol Mitten, included a friendly amendment proposed by Commissioner Bowser.  The amendment changes the sentence after the second "WHEREAS" to read:

 

"WHEREAS ANC 4B determined a position on the application, and there was a misuse of official title at September 7, 2006 hearing by Commissioner Whiting, ANC 4B restates its previous resolution adopted on September 28, 2006."

 

That adopted September 28, 2006 resolution states that "ANC 4B has not approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the West Group related to the property at 6000 New Hampshire Ave.,NE."

 

Voting "yes" to the January 25, 2007 resolution were Commissioners Hughes, Palmer, Jones and Jefferson.  Voting "no" were Commissioners Grant ("with regret") and Bowser. Abstaining were Commissioners Green, Wheeler ("with regret"), and McCutchen.

 

Commissioner Jefferson explained that the Planned Unit Development got its final approval status last week and the Commission and the community only have ten days to ask for the reconsideration.

 

Commissioner Jones added that the error in the hearing record about the Memorandum of Understanding is a reason why the Zoning Commission should reopen and reconsider the case.

 

Presentations

4th District MPD Officer Heather Straker reported that there were 23 stolen autos in PSA 402 this month, a high number.  To combat this on-going problem, Curtis Chevrolet is subsidizing the purchase of 90 anti-theft lock devices to be distributed to PSA 402 residents free of charge on March 3 at 11 a.m. at 5929 Georgia Ave., NW.

 

Community Concerns

1. Betty Florence asked for help to get additional lights in her community. She said she is concerned about litter and the construction of new luxury apartments in historic districts, for example, those around the Takoma Metro Station. She also asked that ANC 4B spend some of its available funds on mailings to announce its meetings. Ms. Florence said she is also concerned about the missing minutes noted in the Auditor's Report.

 

2. Donald Goings, of 144 Whittier Street, NW, said he is concerned about a proposal being discussed in the community to extend the boundaries of the Takoma Historic District.

 

3. Paul Montague said he has not received the copies of the documents he has requested and joined Mr. Thomas in asking that the auditor be invited to the next meeting.

 

4. Regina Page, of Eastern Avenue, NW, said she is troubled by the missing minutes.

 

 

Action Items

1.  Provide Paul Montague with his submitted written list for copies of requested documents, specifically:

 

a) "all Grant request submitted to ANC 4B Dates March 2002 thru March 2006," b) "the 60 day letter, copy of the ANC4B check issued, copy of receipts that show how Grant was used. Years 2002 thru 2006."  c) "all ANC 4B (MINUTES) for Regular Scheduled meetings March 2002 thru March 2006.

 

2.  Treasurer to invite D.C. Auditor to attend next meeting.

 

3. Treasurer to provide status of the outstanding grant reports at the next meeting.

 

4.  Treasurer to provide details of $760 in "cancel stale checks" noted in Quarterly Report.

 

5.  Treasurer to attach to the Quarterly Report a copy of an email sent to the former ANC 4B Chair Cherita Whiting. The email requested the return of an uncashed $1,000 check made out to the South Manor Neighborhood Association.

 

6.   Commissioner Jones to provide Treasurer with a copy of the receipts from the Lamond Community Development Corp. grant.

 

7.  Treasurer to report on interest-generating alternatives for ANC 4B monies.

 

8.  Commissioners to use ANC grant monies to buy more anti car theft "Club" devices and work with non-profit community organizations to write grant proposals for the devices, as per ANC 4B grant guidelines.

 

9.  Commissioners to investigate cost of mailing meeting notices.

 

10. Chair to change locks and distribute new keys.

 

The meeting adjourned at about 11 p.m.

                                                                ---    Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary