Adopted Minutes

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

Special Public Meeting - April 2, 2009 - Adopted on April 27, 2009


The meeting started at 7:05 pm at the Takoma Recreation Center, 300 Van Buren Street, NW, Chair Douglass Sloan presiding.  Also present were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Monique Michelle Smith, 4B04 James Sydnor, 4B05 Brenda Speaks, 4B06 Idriys Abdullah, and 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson. 


A quorum was present for all votes.



1.  Following a motion made by Commissioner Abdullah, the agenda was adopted in a unanimous show-of-hands vote.


2.  Commissioner Sloan's motion to amend Commissioner Wheeler's resolution on Zoning Commission Case No. 08-06-08 (Comprehensive Zoning Regulations Rewrite: Low/Moderate Density Residential) was adopted in a 6-1-1 roll-call vote.


The amendment eliminated a provision that called on the city to require 8-foot-wide minimum side yards. The adopted motion strikes the first two sentences in Item No. 2 of the motion. 


As adopted, Item No. 2 reads: "If a property owner wants a boost in the size of the space his building can occupy, neighbors and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions should be able to weigh-in on the request in a public hearing as they do now."


Voting "yes" to the motion were Commissioners Green, Sydnor, Speaks, Abdullah, Jefferson and Sloan.  Commissioner Wheeler voted "no."  Commissioner Smith abstained.


3.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission adopted Commissioner Wheeler's motion on the proposed low and moderate density residential zoning regulations, as amended.


The adopted resolution:

"Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B recommends that the DC Zoning Commission make key changes in the proposed new zoning regulations for low and moderate density residential areas (Case No. 08-06-8).


We understand that our current zoning regulations are outdated and need to reflect 21st Century standards and conditions.  However, we cannot support this proposal in its present form and recommend that it be sent back to the Office of


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Planning and the working groups for further discussion, amendment and clarification.


Here are our concerns:


1. The proposal is, in effect, a contract with the public with many blank spaces. The Office of Planning is asking the community to sign before it knows all of the terms.


 For example, the proposal would convert many "special exception" uses into "matter of right" uses IF the impact to the residents is determined to be negligible. We have been told that, for example, a day care center with a small number of students, now only permitted by special exception following community and ANC participation, would be permitted without these protections.  But a day care center with a student population determined to have a greater impact on its neighbors would still require a hearing. 


However, conditions and circumstances may vary significantly from one neighborhood to another.  The affected community and the corresponding ANC should be able to participate in such decisions through hearings. It is the residents' quality of life and property values, which would be affected positively or negatively.  They too are stakeholders.


2. If a property owner wants a boost in the size of the space his building can occupy, neighbors and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions should be able to weigh-in on the request in a public hearing as they do now.


3.  A proposal to establish new tools for neighborhood "customized zones" is now too vague to give the public assurance it will work.  What is the formal process to assure residents and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions that the community will have a meaningful voice in the creation of the new zones?  This process should be detailed right now.


4.  The city's system of community notification is already insufficient and this proposal does nothing to improve it.  We ask that the Zoning Commission add

requirements that the District of Columbia government notify, in writing, nearby and affected property owners and residents within 600 feet of proposed new buildings or additions which increase the percentage of lot occupancy.


    *  for all proposed zoning actions and permit requests, and

    *  for the related public hearings.



Adopted Minutes - April 2, 2009 - Page Three



The printing, mailing and administrative costs of written notification should be covered by increasing filing and other fees to developers.


We designate every Commissioner in Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B to speak on behalf of this proposal as it affects their single member district as long as their statements do not conflict with the provisions of this resolution.


These comments are made in accordance with District of Columbia Code 1-309.10(d)(3)(A), 1-309.10(d)(3)(B), and 1-309.10(d)(3)(C), which require that our Commission receive 'great weight' from government agencies, and that government agencies must articulate their decisions in writing with 'particularity and precision,' explaining 'the reasons why the Commission does or does not offer persuasive advice under the circumstances.'"


These votes followed a presentation and question and answer period with Travis Parker, of the Office of Planning.  Several residents, including Tanya Topalesky, Edna Doggett, Wanda Oates, James Harlan, Betty Strider, Renee Willis, and Betty Florence, spoke. (Spellings of names may not be correct.)


5.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission adopted Commissioner Green's motion with respect to an application from the proprietors of the Cedar Crossing Tavern & Wine Bar, 343 Cedar Street, NW, for a Retail Class "C" Tavern License.


The adopted motion:

"ANC 4B will file a 'protest' to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board in

response to the application of the Cedar Crossing Tavern & Wine Bar (License No. ABRA-081538) for the purpose of giving the community time to negotiate a

voluntary agreement. ANC 4B will put this matter on its April 27 agenda so it

can review, and possibly endorse, the voluntary agreement and withdraw its



The vote followed a presentation from Cedar Crossing Tavern Proprietors Mona Davies and Sarbjit Kochhar.  Residents spoke in support and opposition to the resolution.  These residents included Dodie Butler, Tanya Topalsesky, Yana Samuels and Paul Huckeby. (Spelling of names may not be correct.)


6.  A motion to adjourn was unanimously adopted at about 9 p.m.




--- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary