Minutes - Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

June 22, 2009 Public Meeting

Adopted on October 26, 2009


The meeting was held at 7 p.m. at the MPD's Community Room, 6001 Georgia Ave., NW, Chair Douglass Sloan (4B09) 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 4B07 Judi Jones.  A quorum was present for all votes.


1.  The agenda was adopted, as amended, without objection.   A discussion and a possible vote on whether ANC 4B should become a party before the D.C. Zoning Commission on the proposed Planned Unit Development (PUD) at the Cafrtiz site, near South Dakota Avenue and Riggs Road, was added.


2.  In a 5-3-0 roll-call vote, the Commission adopted Commissioner Jones' motion to table a recommendation vote on the Cafritz PUD, proposed for a site near South Dakota Avenue and Riggs Road, and take the vote at a Special Meeting on Monday, June 29 after the presentation.


Commissioners Smith, Sydnor, Speaks, Abdullah, and Jones voted "yes."

Commissioners Green, Wheeler, and Sloan voted "no."


The vote followed a discussion about the PUD proposal. 


Chair Sloan said that developers are asking to increase the number of units on site from the 200 now permitted to about 900, and the additional density is excessive and would negatively impact the quality of life for the neighborhood.  The presidents of two community groups, Rodney Foxworth, of the Lamond-Riggs Civic Association, and Gwen Vample, of Citizens Aware, are asking ANC 4B to become a party in opposition to the proposal, Sloan said.  He said that the only way ANC 4B can have "great weight" before the Zoning Commission and have an on-going role in the site's PUD process is to file for party status.


Chair Sloan also said that the site is in Ward 5, but only about 200 feet from his SMD, 4B09.  ANC 4B08 is also an affected SMD, he said.


Commissioners Wheeler and Jones said they are concerned about the issue's last minute addition to the agenda.  Chair Sloan explained that he was just approached about the PUD last week.  The Zoning Commission's hearing on the PUD is on July 1, he said.


Malaika Abernathy, of the Office of Planning, also spoke.  She said that six to eight-story buildings are appropriate for a site so close to the Fort Totten Metro Station and that project conforms to the area's master plan.         (continued)

Adopted Minutes - June 22, 2009 - Page Two



3.   In a 6-1-1 roll-call vote, the Commission adopted a motion made by Commissioner Sydnor and amended by Commissioner Jones, on a request by the owners of Haydee's Restaurant, 7303 Georgia Avenue, NW, for a change in their voluntary agreement to permit the restaurant to change its license from "CR" (Restaurant) to "CN" (Nightclub).


Commissioners Smith, Sydnor, Speaks, Abdullah, Jones and Sloan voted "yes."  Commissioner Green voted "no."  Commissioner Wheeler abstained.


The motion:

"ANC 4B supports the change of the license from "CR" to "CN" for Haydee's Restaurant, 6303 Georgia Ave., NW, conditioned on a signed Voluntary Agreement which provides that annual food requirements be 10 percent of sales.  Upon signing the new Agreement, the existing Voluntary Agreement is considered null and void."


The vote followed a presentation from the restaurant's attorney and a discussion with residents.  The attorney said that it is "economically difficult" to run the business as a restaurant, a designation that requires that food make up 45 percent of sales.


Five residents -- Wanda Oates, of 4th St., NW, Raquel Brown (no address given), Jackie Reyes, of Rock Creek Ford Rd., Charles Allen, of the 1300 Block of Sheridan St., and Jasmine Ramero, of Georgia Ave., NW, spoke in support of the change. 


Ms. Oates said she has never seen a problem at the restaurant.  Mr. Brown said he does not see a lot of people congregating there. Mr. Allen said he sees security people present in the front of the restaurant.


Carleone Davis, a member of the Brightwood Business Alliance Board who is not an area resident, speaking for himself and not for the Board, also supported the change, noting that the restaurant is an outstanding one the city should not be over-regulating.


Iris Spence, of 12th St., NW, said that parking is a concern and she has called police due to problems with other nearby businesses.


Several Commissioners, including Commissioners Smith, Speaks, and Abdullah, said the business has been a good one for the community and there is no reason to oppose it becoming a nightclub. 



Adopted Minutes - June 22, 2009 -- Page Three



Commissioner Green said she opposes the change due to concerns about noise and other possible problems. Haydee's Owner, Haydee Vanegas, has also charged that ANC 4B Commissioners misled her during the drafting of the existing agreement in 2008, and that is absolutely not true, Commissioner Green said, noting that Ms. Vargas made a similar allegation in another neighborhood.


4.  In a 4-1-1 show-of-hands vote, the Commission adopted a motion made by Commissioner Jones with respect to the Lamond-Riggs and Brightwood Branches of the U.S. Postal Service.


The motion:


"Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B supports the community's efforts to boycott the Lamond Riggs and Brightwood Post Offices and supports the petition points as follows:


'Citizens, neighbors, taxpayers, voters and customers deserve to be treated as equal partners in a community setting by any post office. We demand that


1.    the postmaster immediately stop violating the zoning laws that exist for all businesses along Chillum Place at the Lamond Riggs Post Office 7a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.


2.    the post office move the mail offloading back to where it was offloading before 9/11/01.


3.    the federal government enforce the laws equally to the federal agencies as well as businesses.


4.    the customer service employees treat CUSTOMERS at the Lamond-Riggs and Brightwood Post Offices with respect and courtesy AT ALL TIMES.'"


The vote followed a discussion.  Commissioner Jones said that the service has been poor at both branches.  Commissioners Sloan and Green said that they have received good service at the Brightwood Post Office.  Commissioner Speaks agreed, and said she does not feel comfortable with the word "boycott."


Commissioner Jones said the Brightwood Post Office is part of the resolution because it shares the same management as the Lamond-Riggs Branch. 





Adopted Minutes - June 22, 2009 -- Page Four



5.  In a unanimous show-of-hands vote, the Commission adopted a motion made by Commissioner Green calling on the CSX Railroad to improve the way it maintains its property and works with the community.


The motion:


"ANC 4B calls on the CSX Corporation, a company that operates a railroad and owns railroad track and other property within ANC 4B, to improve the condition of its property within our community.  We also ask that key CSX leaders meet with the Commissioners of ANC 4B at our July 2009 public meeting to respond to community concerns.


These concerns include:


1. Trimming and maintaining trees and shrubs and other vegetation around CSX tracks/properties at Kansas Avenue, NE, between Blair Road and Chillum Place and at Piney Branch Road at Eastern Avenue, NW.  Keeping CSX tracks and property free of trash and debris.


2.  Working with the DC Department of Public Works and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to rid its property, including tracks, bridges and underpasses, of graffiti


3.  Beautifying bridges and underpasses with public art by working with interested DC government agencies and with community groups. 


As a first step, we ask that CSX approve requests from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and from the Takoma Mural Committee to use CSX property at the Takoma Metro Station for a needed public art project. "


The vote followed a short discussion about the problems at different properties in the area.  Commissioner Jones noted that untrimmed growth was a problem for emergency workers at the June 22 Metro train crash site.


6.  The minutes for the May 18, 2009 and the April 27, 2009 public meetings were adopted, without objection.


Community Concerns, Presentations and Reports


1.   Michael Sindram said there is an upcoming D.C. City Council Hearing on Ex-Offenders. He noted his concerns about mail delivery and digital television.



Adopted Minutes - June 22, 2009 -- Page Five



2.   Rev. Chi Mauuso, who lives on Sheridan St., NW, said she is concerned about the lack of trash cans at the BP Gasoline Station and the lack of a crossing light at the Georgia Avenue and Sheridan Street intersection.


3.   Raquel Brown, of 8th St., NW, said that grass and weeds at the Curtis Chevrolet site are out of control. 


4.   Shirley Williams, of Redwood Terrace, NW, said speed humps are needed on her street. She also said that her mail delivery is poor and that traffic at a church located near North Portal and 16th Street blocks the street.


5.    Col. Peter McHugh, the new Commander at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, spoke.  He answered questions about the Center's use of the Curtis Chevrolet site for parking for Center employees.  There will be an attendant at the gate during busy hours to monitor 228 parking spaces, and a shuttle to take parkers to Walter Reed, he said, noting that more space at Curtis can be leased if needed.


6.    Scott James, an engineer with the D.C. Department of Transportation, answered questions from Aspen Street Resident Tanya Topolewski about the impact of a new fire station to be built on the Walter Reed campus at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Aspen Streets.  James said that Aspen is a likely route for fire trucks and it is possible that parking may be limited to only one side of the street to make room for the trucks.


7.   Malaika Abernathy, of the Office of Planning, said that the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of Planning and the U.S. Army are working on acquiring the fire station site, but it is a lengthy process.



---- Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary