Adopted Minutes – Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

January 24, 2011 Public Meeting – Adopted on February 28, 2011


The meeting began at about 7:15 pm at the MPD’s 4th District Community Room, 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW, Chair Yvonne Jefferson (also ANC 4B08) presiding.


Also present were Commissioners 4B01 Sara Green, 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Fred Grant, 4B04 Douglas Smith, 4B05 Brenda Speaks, 4B06 Gloria Palmer, 4B07 Judi Jones and 4B09 Douglass Sloan. A quorum was present for all votes. Fifty-three people signed the attendance sheet.


Actions

1. In a unanimous voice vote, the Commission adopted the agenda with the addition of two proposed resolutions addressing issues at the former Curtis Chevrolet site (corner of Peabody St. and Georgia Ave., NW).


2. ANC 4A Chair Stephen Whatley conducted the election of ANC 4B’s officers for 2011.

Chair Jefferson invoked the privilege allowed in the Commission’s bylaws and added the office of Sergeant At Arms .


a) Commissioner Wheeler nominated Commissioner Jefferson for Chair. She was elected in a unanimous voice vote.


b) Commissioner Smith nominated Commissioner Wheeler for Vice Chair. She was elected in a unanimous voice vote.


c) Commissioner Sloan nominated Commissioner Smith for Treasurer. He was elected in a unanimous voice vote.


d) Commissioner Jefferson nominated Commissioner Green for Secretary. She was elected in a voice vote.


e) Commissioner Jefferson nominated Commissioner Grant for Sergeant At Arms. He was elected in a unanimous voice vote.


3. In a unanimous voice vote following a motion from Commissioner Green, the Commission agreed to participate in the City’s ANC Security Fund and spend the $25 needed to do so.


The adopted resolution:


"Resolved that this Commission approves the ANC's participation in the Advisory Neighborhood Commission Security Fund and authorizes the Treasurer to pay the $25 fee for the period (January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011. The Chairperson and Secretary are authorized to execute the attached agreement.


It is understood that: (1) the check for participation in the ANC Security Fund should be made payable to 'ANC Security Fund,' (2) the ANC is not considered a participant in the Fund until the ANC has received the acceptance section of the agreement which has been signed by the District of Columbia Auditor, and (3) the agreement will not be accepted by the Auditor until all required documents have been received by the Office of the Auditor. The required documents are the resolution, the agreement, the ANC check, statements of information for the Chairperson and the Treasurer, the Bank Survey, and a copy of the current bank signature card."


4. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Smith, and including a friendly amendment proposed by Commissioner Jones, the Commission adopted a resolution calling on the Office of Planning, Walmart Stores, Inc., and Foulger-Pratt

Development, Inc. to notify all residents and businesses within 1,000 feet of the former Curtis

Chevrolet site (Square 2986), located at Georgia Avenue and Peabody Street, NW, about the Large Tract Review filing for the site.


The adopted resolution:


Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B requests that the Office of Planning (OP) and Foulger-Pratt Development, Inc. and/or Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. notify, in writing, all residents and businesses within 1,000 feet of Square 2986, Lot 30 (also known as the Curtis Chevrolet site) of the corner of Peabody Street and Georgia Avenue, NW that there is a proposal to put a Walmart ‘big box’ store on the site and how to get more information about the site plan.


The current requirement that property owners within 200 feet of the site be notified is inadequate due to the fact that 1) most of the residents live beyond 200-500 foot perimeter, but nevertheless will be significantly impacted by a 102,000 square-foot ‘big box’ store and parking garage, and 2) that many residential and commercial tenants will not receive notification under the present and limited requirement.


We have heard that many residents and businesses are still unaware of the proposal. They need to be notified. Mailing lists are available that cover every street address within a given area so that all residents and businesses can be notified.


We ask to work with OP, Foulger-Pratt and Walmart to develop a clearly written and informative mailing that tells residents that Walmart proposes to build a store at Georgia Avenue and Peabody Street that residents, through their Advisory Neighborhood Commission, have the right to comment on some aspects of the proposal, where more information about the proposal can be located, and how to contact ANC 4B, among other things. We also request that those who live within 1,000 feet of the site have equal standing to comment on the proposal.


We thank Foulger-Pratt and Walmart in advance for sending out the mailing as part of their commitment to reach out to the community and be good neighbors.


The recommendations in this resolution are made pursuant to DC Code 1-309.10(a), 1-309.10(d)(3)(A) and 1-309.10(d)(3)(B), which require, among other things that ANC recommendations receive ‘great weight’ from the DC government and that DC government

officials respond in writing. Section 1-309.10(h)(1) of the code also permits ANCs to initiate

proposals for DC government action and requires that the DC government provide a written

acknowledgement within ten days and a status report within 60 days of receipt.”


5. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Smith, and with friendly amendments proposed by several Commissioners, the Commission adopted a

resolution calling on the DC City Council to hold a public hearing on Walmart’s proposals to open stores in the District of Columbia.


The adopted resolution:


Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B (ANC 4B) requests that the D.C. City Council hold public hearings on Walmart’s proposals to build up to five large-scale “big box stores” in the District of Columbia, including a site at the former Curtis Chevrolet Building at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Peabody Streets, NW, within ANC 4B.


We understand that this site and the others are subject to a ‘large tract review,’ and that ANC 4B, ANC 4A and ANC 4C and other Commissions can submit written recommendations to City agencies commenting on issues such as transportation and environmental mitigation. However, even before any site-specific plans are filed, it is clear that the size of the Georgia Avenue and other proposed stores and the traffic they will generate will likely cost City taxpayers money for road repairs and improvements, among other things.


In addition, we note that according to Washington Business Journal, the proposed 801 New Jersey Avenue, NW site is owned by the D.C. government (article attached). This means that the D.C. City Council should have oversight over how this property is utilized and the terms for its use.


Furthermore, residents and small businesses are telling us they are not only concerned about the size and the significant impact of the Georgia Avenue proposal, but the multiplier effect of permitting up to five stores within a fairly small area.


These concerns make public hearings held by the D.C. City Council necessary and in the public interest and they should be held as soon as possible.


The recommendations in this resolution are made pursuant to DC Code 1-309.10(a), 1-309.10(d)(3)(A) and 1-309.10(d)(3)(B), which require, among other things, that ANC recommendations receive ‘great weight’ from the DC government and that DC government officials respond in writing. Section 1-309.10(h)(1) of the code also permits ANCs to initiate

proposals for DC government action and it requires that the DC government provide a written acknowledgement within ten days and a status report within 60 days of receipt.”


The votes followed a lengthy discussion with residents and with At-Large DC City Council Member Michael Brown.


Council Member Brown said he supports holding one or more public hearings on the Walmart’s proposals and will discuss this with other Council Members. He also said that the Council’s role is limited because no tax subsidies or other government benefits are requested and all of the projects have “matter of right” zoning. However, part of one Walmart site is owned by the DC government, and that might give the City Council some leverage to negotiate with Walmart, he said. The Council is looking at this question carefully.


He said he is also concerned about permitting Walmart to operate a 24-hour store at Georgia and Peabody because it adjoins a residential community.


When asked to oppose the Georgia Avenue site, Council Member Brown said he will review Walmart’s submitted plans before taking a position.


More than ten residents, including Rebecca Mills and Betty Florence, both of 4B04, Baruti Jahi and Gerri Adams Simmons, both of ANC 4A, Paul Montague, of ANC 4B02, and Dr. Greenfield and Lex Meyers, also of Ward 4, spoke in opposition to a store at the Georgia Avenue site. About six other residents asked questions or commented.


In discussing the notification resolution, Commissioner Jones asked to add language requiring that those notified within 1,000 feet of the site get clear information about their rights and that their views have standing. Commissioner Speaks said it must also be clear that it is ANC 4B’s recommendations that have “great weight.”


5. In an 8-1-0 roll-call vote following a motion from Commissioner Sloan, the Commission adopted its 2011 meeting schedule, as is required by DC law. ANC 4B meetings are to be held on the fourth Monday, except in November, when the date is November 21, and all meetings will be held at 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW except the February meeting, which will take place at the Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center, 501 Riggs Road, NE.


Commissioners Green, Wheeler, Grant, Smith, Speaks, Palmer, Jefferson and Sloan voted “yes.” Commissioner Jones voted “no.”


The vote followed a discussion. Commissioners Jones and Speaks said there were too many special meetings in 2010. Commissioner Jones proposed language limiting special meetings to

two or three per year. Commissioner Sloan noted that such a limitation is not possible under the current by-laws.


6. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Wheeler, and including friendly amendments from Commissioners Jefferson and Speaks, the Commission adopted a resolution about the Takoma Theatre.

The adopted resolution:


WHEREAS the Takoma Theatre is an icon in the community;


WHEREAS the Takoma Theatre ‘has not been used as a theater since February 2006’;


WHEREAS the DC Historic Preservation Review Board has determined that the Takoma Theatre is a contributing structure within the Takoma DC Historic District and twice (in 2007 and 2009) denied the owner’s applications to raze it;


WHEREAS, on May 21, 2010 the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation of the District of Columbia reaffirmed the historical significance of the Takoma Theatre and denied the owner’s request to demolish most of the Theatre;


WHEREAS the owner, Mr. Milton McGinty, wrote a letter on August 17, 2010 which addressed the deterioration of the building. (See attached August 17, 2010 letter)


WHEREAS the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs notified Mr. McGinty of several maintenance violations on the Theatre property to be corrected by November 22, 2010;


WHEREAS the owner failed to abate the violations; consequently, DCRA is preparing a case for the Office of Administrative Hearings, and the owner will be fined;

WHEREAS the vacant, deteriorating property is an eyesore and, to some, feels like an area to be avoided; consequently, it is a negative pull against the economic revitalization of the 4th Street commercial corridor;


WHEREAS a community-based group, the Takoma Theatre Conservancy, has written to Mayor Vincent Gray requesting ‘the inclusion of $10 million in the District’s 2012 Capital Budget for the acquisition and initial renovation of the historic Takoma Theatre, located at 6833 Fourth Street, NW, as a multifunctional community cultural arts and education center’;


WHEREAS, due to declining revenues, the 6-year capital improvements plan (CIP) is now over budgeted; consequently, the Mayor has called for a thorough review and adjustment of

the CIP in order to stay within the 12% debt ceiling which Wall Street has placed on the city’s capital expenditures;


WHEREAS the District of Columbia awarded the Takoma Theatre Conservancy a grant from the DC Budget Support Act of 2009 to conduct studies which will help plan for the future use of the Takoma Theatre building;


WHEREAS the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B is cognizant of the profound sacrifices and funding delays that many programs and projects are experiencing during the District’s fiscal crisis,


BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that:


* ANC 4B urges the District of Columbia to take a leadership role in exploring options for development of this key property consistent with:



a) the economic development of the commercial corridor;



b) providing space for programs, training and other current community needs and services in a community cultural arts and education center in order to enhance and strengthen local talents, skills and enjoyment and to serve people of all ages, especially in Wards 5, 4 and 3;



c) preserving the theatre as a contributing structure in the Takoma Park Historic District.



* ANC 4B encourages the District of Columbia to consider including in the city’s capital improvements plan such funds as are necessary to help restore and develop this key property, the Takoma Theatre, for the purposes as outlined in the paragraph above as it

becomes feasible to do so and in respectful regard for funding priorities of the Executive Branch and the Council of the District of Columbia.



* ANC 4B encourages the community to incorporate Mr. Milton McGinty’s significant

contributions to the community in the fabric of the design.”



The vote followed a discussion with residents in support of the resolution, including Abraham Hussein and Paul Schwartz, both of ANC 4B02, Takoma Theatre Conservancy Officers Carolivia Herron, of ANC 4B03, and Loretta Neumann, of 4B01.


Ms. Neumann said Council Member Muriel Bowser requested that ANC 4B formally support including the project in the city’s capital budget before she proposed any funding. Ms. Neumann said that her organization understands that the city may not have the money to buy the theatre right now, but wants the project to get into the pipeline for a time when the city can afford to act. In the meantime, other efforts will continue, she said.


7. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Green, the Commission adopted a resolution in support of the restoration and modernization of the Takoma Education Campus and other actions following the school’s December 22, 2010 fire.


The adopted resolution:


Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B commends and thanks the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization (OPEFM) for swiftly and professionally readying Meyer Elementary School following the devastating December 22nd fire at the Takoma Education Campus (TEC) on 7010 Piney Branch Road, NW.


We call on the DC Government and the DC City Council to act quickly with full funding to not only restore the TEC building on Piney Branch Road, but to advance the school’s modernization plan, originally set for 2013. Clearly it makes no sense to restore the school and relocate TEC students and staff a second time to complete the promised modernization.


DCPS and OPEFM should also ensure that the modernization, as outlined in the 2010 DCPS Master Facilities Plan, optimizes learning by supporting the school’s specialized educational program. For TEC, the building plans should support the academic program to the fullest extent, including Arts Integration for all grades (pre-school through 8th), Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood education, pre-school programs for 3 year olds, and special education.


We call on DCPS and OPEFM to immediately include TEC’s stakeholders – the principal, academic staff, parents, community leaders and students – in the design and planning on a continuing basis. Student input should be encouraged. Of note: TEC students participated in the both the City Vision and the Architects in Schools programs.


In addition, DCPS and OPEFM should continue to ensure that the Meyer building is fully equipped and maintained to serve TEC students. DCPS should also seek compensation for TEC teachers, students and staff for the loss of their personal and professional property, including curriculum materials and supplies. Community members have contributed more than $1,800, but they cannot cover all of TEC’s needs at Meyer or make everyone whole. The DC Government should provide what is needed while at the same time receiving reimbursement from the responsible parties.


And finally, ANC 4B asks all appropriate DC government agencies for a status report detailing 1) when detailed planning will begin; 2) the projected construction start date; 3) the projected construction completion date; 4) the findings of the DC Fire Department outlining the cause and responsibility for the fire; and 5) what steps are being taken to receive compensation.


The recommendations in this resolution are made pursuant to DC Code 1-309.10(a), 1-309.10(d)(3)(A) and 1-309.10(d)(3)(B), which require, among other things that ANC recommendations receive ‘great weight’ from the DC government and that DC government officials respond in writing. Section 1-309.10(h)(1) of the code also permits ANCs to initiate proposals for DC government action and requires that the DC government provide a written acknowledgement within ten days and a status report within 60 days of receipt.”


The vote followed a brief discussion with Stephen Smith, of 4B02, who is a member of the school’s Local School Restructuring Team. In response to questions about liability and insurance, Mr. Smith explained that the DC Fire Department must present its report before the responsibility for reimbursing teachers and students for damaged property is determined.


8. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Wheeler, the Commission adopted the minutes for the November 22, 2010 public meeting with two corrections to the spelling of names.


9. In a unanimous show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Wheeler, the Commission adopted the minutes for the December 20, 2010 public meeting.


Reports, Presentations, Requests

1. Lt. Andre Wright, of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 4th District, reported on the two homicides that happened on January 3rd in the 4500-Block of Kennedy St., NW.


2. Jeffrey Grant, a member of the staff of the DC Public Schools, introduced himself, and said he was available to help those with questions or requests for service.


3. Commissioner Smith, who chairs ANC 4B’s Square 2986 Committee, introduced Alternatives Subcommittee Chair T.A. Uqdah and Subcommittee Member Rebecca Mills. They said the group is asking to meet with Foulger-Pratt to discuss an entertainment-oriented alternative project at the site. Other Subcommittee efforts were noted.


4. Treasurer Douglas Smith reported on the Commission’s expenditures and available funds as of December 31, 2010. The total funds available in the checking and savings accounts as of

December 31 was $79,983.94. Income for the period from December 1 through December 31, 2010 totaled $6,379.70. Expenditures for that period totaled $3,151.83.


5. Commissioner Brenda Speaks said, “Commissioners should be given two weeks notice prior to introducing resolutions and anything that requires a vote in public meetings so that they an be read and absorbed, so that a Commissioner can make an intelligent decision concerning items brought before the Commission.” Commissioner Jefferson responded that “the matter would be taken care of.”


The meeting adjourned at about 11 pm. – Submitted by Sara Green, Secretary