Minutes – Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B

ANC 4B – February 27, 2012 Regular Public Meeting – Adopted March 26, 2012

 

The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM, Sara Green, Chair (and ANC 4B01) presiding.  It was held at the MPD’s 4th District Community Room, 6001 Georgia Avenue, NW. Also present were Commissioners. 4B02 Faith Wheeler, 4B03 Fred Grant, 4B04 Douglas Smith, 4B05 Brenda Speaks, 4B08 Yvonne Jefferson, and 4B09 Douglass Sloan.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

Actions

1)         The agenda was adopted in a 6-0 show-of-hands vote following a motion from Commissioner Grant, seconded by Commissioner Smith.

 

2)         Following a presentation by representatives of PEPCO and the Office of People’s Counsel, and an extended discussion and question and answer period, the Commission adopted a resolution opposing PEPCO’s proposed rate increase for District of Columbia customers and advocating that customers be permitted to opt-out of the PEPCO Smart Meter program.  The resolution was adopted by unanimous voice vote following a motion from Chair Green, seconded by Commissioner Jefferson,

 

The adopted resolution:

 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B (ANC 4B) opposes PEPCO’s request to increase the rate it charges its District of Columbia customers as it is currently proposed.

 

Our opposition is based on concerns that

 

* According to a Washington Post study, PEPCO ranks near the bottom nationally for the reliability of its service.  However, the proposed rate increase is not tied to guaranteed and documentable increases in the reliability of service.  ANC 4B is also asking that stockholders, not customers, absorb the costs associated with correcting long-standing reliability problems. 

 

*  According to a November 2011 study conducted of three hundred and eighty 500 Fortune Companies by the Joint Project of Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, PEPCO Holdings had the lowest effective tax rate  – negative 57.6 percent.  The company received $270 million in tax credits during that time.   PEPCO’s stockholders should not receive additional public support. They should absorb the $42.5 million requested in the rate increase proposal.  

 

*  According to the Office of the People’s Counsel, PEPCO cannot give the public an adequate way to evaluate at least one element of the proposal.  For example, it will be very difficult to determine if the expenditures that are part of the proposed Reliability Investment Recovery Mechanism surcharge are needed or reasonable until the Company files its next rate increase request. 

 

*  Increases on the Rate of Return and the Return on Equity are not justified in view of PEPCO’s acknowledged poor service and reliability.

 

In addition, ANC 4B supports the Office of the People’s Counsel petition requesting that the DC Public Service Commission require that PEPCO conduct a technical and economic feasibility study for providing an opt-out provision for Smart Meters.  ANC 4B also requests that a decision to permit  an opt-out permit customers who already have Smart Meters to get them removed and replaced with other devices without additional cost.

 

This resolution is to be forwarded to the DC Public Service Commission, the Office of the People’s Counsel, Mayor Vincent Gray and the City Council of the District of Columbia.

 

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 regarding a proposed District government action or actions receive “great weight’ from the DC government, and that DC government officials respond in writing.

 

3)        In a unanimous voice vote following a motion from Chair Green, seconded by Commissioner Smith, the Commission adopted a resolution addressed to the Historic Preservation Review Board with recommendations regarding proposed changes to the proposed design of a mixed-use building at 231 Carroll Street N.W., and requesting a hearing regarding these proposed changes.

 

The adopted resolution:

 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B (ANC 4B) requests that the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) hold a public hearing to review the proposed changes to the design of 231 and 235 Carroll Street, NW.   Should HPRB decline to hold a public hearing, ANC 4B requests that staff hear comments from the community and from ANC 4B before approving the changes.

 

We note that:

 

1)  The community has had an inadequate period of time to review the proposal.  Commissioner Sara Green received drawings via email on Thursday, February 23, 2012 and those that were received are not large or detailed. 

 

2)  Moving the canopy from the red brick section of the building at the corner of Maple and Carroll to the “glass hyphen” section of the building close to the middle of the block is a substantial change.  

 

The canopy serves as more than a decorative feature.  It makes the corner brick building look shorter, less massive and more graceful.  Moving it to a section of the building that is already shorter is a missed opportunity and substantially changes that feature as well.

 

3)  In July 2008, Tim Dennee, of the Office of Historic Preservation Review Board staff, requested comment on proposed design changes to 235 Carroll Street, a building with the same developer and architect.  The community was able to meet to discuss the proposal with the architect, and comments were submitted.  At a minimum, that process should be repeated with 231 Carroll Street, NW.

 

ANC 4B asks that HPRB and its staff restore the design with the larger-sized windows that were presented before ANC 4B and as shown on the attached drawing.

 

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 regarding a proposed District government action or actions receive “great weight’ from the DC government, and that DC government officials respond in writing.

 

We designate Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Sara Green to present these recommendations to government agencies and panels.

 4)       In a unanimous voice vote following a motion by Commissioner Jefferson, seconded by Commissioner Wheeler, the Commission adopted a resolution supporting the settlement of a loan by the Department of Housing and Community Development to Mi Casa for the purchase of 20 condominiums at 21 Kennedy Street N.W.

 

The adopted resolution:

 

WHEREAS, ANC 4B submits this resolution at the request of Mi Casa, Inc. to receive a letter of support from the ANC to proceed to settlement on a DHCD loan for the purchase of 20 condominiums to be converted into affordable rental apartments located at 21 Kennedy Street N.W.

 

WHEREAS, Mi Casa, Inc, will use a mix of funding sources to acquire the condominiums mentioned in their proposal submitted to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B for consideration of approval. The said condominiums being located at 21 Kennedy Street, N. W.

 

WHEREAS, the condominiums are fully developed housing and will be offered as affordable rental housing. This includes households under 60% of AMI with 75% of these affordable to households under 50% of median. The opportunity for rental housing should be made available to all races, sexes, seniors and veterans. Said rental housing will preserve affordability for the long term and add to the affordable housing stock of the District of Columbia.

 

WHEREAS, Mi Casa has expressed that by purchasing the already completed condominium project they believe they will help stabilize the neighborhood, reduce the amount of vacant properties on that street, and provide much needed affordable housing to future residents.

 

WHEREAS, ANC 4B recommends that the developers agree to hire local residents and actively participate in community affairs wherever possible to contribute to the economic stability and viability of the neighborhood.

 

WHEREAS, Mi Casa will agree to landscape the sister properties and apply green environmental principals to add to and promote the aesthetics of the neighborhood and the community wherever possible.

 

AND WHEREAS, Mi Casa will agree to use quality building materials that are aesthetically pleasing when construction or maintenance updates are made to the property. 

 

RESOLVED:   That ANC 4B supports the proposal of Mi Casa, Inc. as outlined above and in the attached proposal.

 

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 regarding a proposed District government action or actions receive “great weight’ from the DC government, and that DC government officials respond in writing.

 

We designate Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Yvonne A. Jefferson to present these recommendations to government agencies and panels if needed.

 

 

 

5)         In a unanimous show-of-hands vote on a motion by Commissioner Jefferson, seconded by Commissioner Grant, the Commission approved the minutes of the January 23, 2012 regular public meeting, with the stipulation that the response of Fire Chief Ellerbee to a question about fire hydrants and water mains be verified by review of the meeting audio tape and corrected if necessary.

 

Community Concerns

 

1)         Ms. Wanda Oates, a resident of ANC 4B05, read an e-mail from Commissioner Wheeler raising questions about a $175,000 contribution to the Historic Preservation League by Wal-Mart.  Ms. Oates stated that Wal-Mart does not belong in this community and asked ANC 4B to go on record opposing Wal-Mart in the community.

 

2)         Mr. Michael Sindram raised questions about ANC 4B’s expenditures and the lack of records for part of FY 2005 and FY 2008.  Commissioner Grant responded that the problem in 2008 stemmed from the fact that a former Commission Treasurer had possession of the Commission check book and the Commission did not regain possession of the check book until April 10, with the assistance of the Auditor.  Because of this, the quarterly reports for the first and second quarter were late, but they were filed with the Auditor.

3)         Ms. Katherine Jones agreed with Ms. Oates about Wal-Mart and expressed concern that their products are all made in China and that they would put local small businesses out of business.

 

Presentations and Reports

 

1)         Lt. Vines of the Metropolitan Police Department gave a brief report on crime issues in ANC 4B.  He said there had been a spike in robberies, but the number of robberies is now declining.  Property crimes are down, and the crime rate in the Fourth District declined more than any other police district in 2011.  Lt. Vines responded to questions from the public and commissioners.

 

2)         Commissioner Smith, Treasurer, gave the Treasurer’s report:

 

ANC 4B Treasurer’s Report – February 27, 2012

 

As of January 31, 2012 the Industrial Bank checking account balance was:  $17,055.34.

 

As of December 31, 2011, the Industrial Bank savings account balance was $50,465.36.

 

Balance – 12/30/11                                                                 $17,055.34

 

Income – 12/30/11-1/31/12                             $1.38 (interest)           

 

Expenditures – 12/30/11-1/31/12                   $2,285.84

 

Ending balance – 1/31/12                                                       $14,770.88

 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 PM.