Adopted Minutes - June 26, 2008 - Adopted on August 14, 2008

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

 

The meeting began at about 6:30 p.m. at Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue, NW, Chair Douglass Sloan (4B09), presiding.  Also present were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Frederick Grant, 4B04 Malik F.M. Johnson, 4B05 Blondine Hughes, 4B06 Gloria Palmer, 4B07 Judi Jones, and 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Actions

1.  Following a motion by Commissioner Jones, the agenda, as amended, was adopted in a unanimous show-of-hands vote.  Commissioner Jones asked that a representative from Kids First be permitted to report on their grant during the grant portion of the agenda.

 

2.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion by Commissioner Jones, the May 22, 2008 minutes were adopted.

 

3.  In a 6-1-2 roll-call vote on a motion made by Commissioner Wheeler, the Commission adopted the 2nd Quarterly Report for FY '08, as amended. 

 

That amendment, moved by Commissioner Jones, and adopted in a 7-0-2 roll-call vote, requires that the Quarterly Report be transcribed on the city's official format and typed, with documentation attached, and submitted to the Auditor's Office with a cover letter that provides a complete explanation of the report. The letter will also explain why no checks were written in some months, and the categories of expenditures will be made clear in the letter and in the report.

 

Voting "yes" on the vote to adopt the 2nd Quarterly Report for FY '08 were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Grant, Jones, Jefferson and Sloan.  Commissioner Palmer voted "no."  Commissioners Johnson and Hughes abstained.

 

Voting "yes" on the amendment were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Grant, Palmer, Jones, Jefferson and Sloan.  Commissioners Johnson and Hughes abstained.

 

Treasurer Grant distributed a written Quarterly Report showing that the balance forwarded from the 1st Quarterly Report for FY '08 was $38,266.02.  There were $17,390.21 in total receipts and $3,960.80 in total disbursements during the 2nd Quarter of FY '08 (Jan-March 2008).  The ending balance was $51,695.81.

 

He also reported that there were nine checks in April 2008 totaling $1,006.06, and ten checks in May 2008 totaling $2,466.90.  May's ending checking account balance was $49,600.55.  

 

4.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission agreed to Commissioner Green's request to discuss the Eastern-Juniper Cooperative Association item after the Treasurer's Report.

 

5.  In a 6-3-0 show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Green, the Commission agreed to amend its current annual budget to add an additional $500 to the "outside printing" category, bringing the new total in that category to $600.

 

6.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission adopted Commissioner Green's resolution, calling on the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, and, if necessary, the D.C. City Council, to help the Eastern-Juniper Cooperative Association prevent the foreclosure of their cooperative apartments by taking the property off the July 2008 DC Property Tax Sale List. 

 

 Adopted Resolution

 

"Pursuant to Public Law 93-198, establishing Advisory Neighborhood Commissions, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B formally asks that the government of the District of Columbia and Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton apply every resource available to help the resident owners of the Eastern and Juniper Cooperative Association keep their homes.  We specifically ask that the Office of Tax and Revenue, the Mayor, and the Council of the District of Columbia provide emergency temporary property tax assistance by July 15, 2008 and apply any other emergency assistance that is available.

 

The Eastern and Juniper Cooperative Association's apartments are located on lots 12,13,14,15,16,and 17 in Square 2961; 7700, 7710, 7720, and 7730 Eastern Avenue, N.W. and 815 and 825 Juniper Street, NW.

 

ANC 4B is not asking for tax forgiveness for what these residents owe to the District of Columbia. We are simply asking that the Office of Tax and Revenue  remove these lots from the city's tax sale list for this year only, to July 15, 2009. The property is listed for tax sale in July 2008. 

 

If the Mayor, the Office of Tax and Revenue and the Attorney General are unable to remove this property from this year's tax sale list, we call upon the Council of the District of Columbia to adopt emergency legislation on behalf of the Cooperative that is similar to the assistance it has enacted in the past for other groups with special circumstances.

 

Our request is modest and is fair to the taxpayers of the District of Columbia. The Cooperative's attorney, Mr. Eric Rome, has said that he expects the $63,000 in owed taxes to be paid in 60-90 days.  He has also noted that if the owed taxes are not paid, the Office of Tax and Revenue has the option of returning the building to the tax sale list.

 

Removing the Eastern and Juniper Cooperative Association from the tax sale list is critical to preserving this property for affordable housing. It shelters nearly 71 families, some for more than 30 years, and is a key part of the stability and diversity of our neighborhood. Over 50 percent of the residents are low-income.

 

They should be entitled to a five-year exemption from property taxes, pursuant to DC Code 47-3503(b) (1) (c) (3) and (4).  Unfortunately, the Cooperative's previous attorney did not file the proper papers, creating the problem the community is wrestling with today.

 

Mr. Rome has said he believes the Cooperative will be able to get the five-year-exemption prospectively.  However, the existing property tax problem must be resolved immediately and on an emergency basis.

 

Also, the previous attorney's error has compounded the problem in other ways. This tax sale was one of the reasons Adams National Bank cited when it instituted its own foreclosure proceedings last month.  Fortunately, the Cooperative and the bank agreed to stop the foreclosure and work on a permanent solution that will permit the owners to keep their homes. However, one of the requirements is that the property be removed from the city's tax sale list by July 15, 2008.

 

The actions we request are reasonable and in the public interest. By merely taking the Eastern and Juniper Cooperative property off this year's tax sale list, the District of Columbia can help preserve the stability of the North Takoma community without expending any public money or losing any tax revenue.

 

In fact, the city will probably save money by taking the property off the tax sale list.  A foreclosure might push some residents into shelters and cause them to require other scarce public resources.

 

We also point to the Council's recently enacted Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia with its strong emphasis on preserving affordable housing and ensuring the stability of our city's neighborhoods.  Helping the residents of the Cooperative remain in their homes furthers these important goals.

 

We adopt this resolution under the provisions of Public Law 93-198, which permit Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to initiate proposals and to have them considered with 'great weight.'"

 

Discussion

Several representatives from the Cooperative Association, including Constance Creasey, the Cooperative Board's Assistant Treasurer, and Donna Stephens, the Board's former President, spoke about the Cooperative's problems with their unpaid property taxes and mortgage payments and the Board's efforts, with its new attorney, to resolve them.

 

Commissioner Hughes asked that the Cooperative's new attorney provide ANC 4B with a copy of the "forbearance agreement."  She also asked for a report at the July ANC 4B public meeting.

 

7.  In an 8-1-0 show-of-hands vote following a motion made by Commissioner Palmer, the Commission agreed to send letter(s) of support, with some stipulations, to the appropriate city agencies regarding an event to be held at Coolidge High School by W. B. Sports, a professional sports management and consulting business.

 

W.B. Executive Director Warner T. Brown III told the Commission that he wants to hold the 2008 DC Hall of Fame Classic Invitational Holiday Basketball Tournament at Coolidge on December 28 and 29, 2008 but needs permission to use a portable commercial grill on the adjacent Takoma Recreation Center parking lot and wants to "partner" with the Metropolitan Police Department to provide security services at the event. 

 

The motion supporting Mr. Brown's requests was conditioned on W.B.'s compliance with all city regulations and on the city agencies' own support for the event.  In addition, the Commission asked that Ward 4 businesses be the first to have the opportunity to bid on the contract(s) to provide the food at the event.

 

Gina Douglas, of the Friends of the Takoma, D.C. Recreation Center, said she was concerned because she did not know anything about the event.

 

8.  In a 5-3-1 roll-call vote, the Commission adopted Commissioner Jones'  motion on the West Group's request to the Zoning Commission for an extension of time to build its Planned Unit Development (PUD) at 6000 New Hampshire Avenue, NE.  The Zoning Commission is set to decide on the West Group's request on July 14, 2008.

 

The adopted motion asks that the Zoning Commission give ANC 4B additional time to confer with its constituents before it votes on its recommendation to the Zoning Commission on the West Group's PUD extension request.  If the Zoning Commission denies ANC 4B's request for additional time to consult with constituents, ANC 4B opposes extending the amount of time the West Group has to build the PUD.

 

Voting "yes" on the motion were Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Johnson, Palmer, and Jones.  Commissioners Grant, Hughes, and Sloan voted "no." Commissioner Jefferson abstained.

 

9.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion made by Commissioner Green, the Commission agreed to support a permit needed by the Gables Apartments to install driveways at their 7041 Blair Road, NW building, now under construction.

 

Reports and Discussions

Treasurer Grant reported that he gave Andrew Thomas the photocopies of the Commission's check book stubs that Mr. Thomas requested.  Commissioner Green reported that she gave Mr. Thomas the copies of Commission's submitted Quarterly Reports from October 1, 2002 to August 30, 2007.

 

Not Heard

1.  ANC 4B Standing Committees

 

2.  Community Concerns

 

The Commission did not have time for this agenda item. However, two residents asked to speak.

 

Ron Ragland said he wants to call the Commission's attention to traffic problems on Blair Road, NW.

 

Andrew Thomas, Jr. said he has questions about ANC 4B's financial reports.

 

3.  Police Report

 

The meeting adjourned at about 9 p.m.

 

--- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary