Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A Chair Phil Toomajian called the meeting to order in the community room at Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G St. NE, with Commissioners Calvin Ward, Patrick Malone, Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, Stephanie Zimny, Marie-Claire Brown, and Mike Soderman in attendance. Commissioner Levy was absent.
The meeting opened with community presentations.
MPD First District
According to the presentation by Commander Morgan Kane, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) First District is now organized on a “sector concept” to give more responsibility to the captains. This will help prepare them to advance as current leadership retires. The portion of ANC 6A that is included in the First District is in Sector 2, consisting of Police Service Areas (PSA) 104, 107, and 108. The eastern part of ANC 6A is in the Fifth District.
Kane discussed problems with drug activity on H Street NE and the July 10 altercation during which a baby was injured by gunfire. The locus appears to be a “problem property” on the 1300 block of I Street NE and a nearby church where people are hanging out. Kane is working with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) to address underlying issues.
This incident demonstrates the effectiveness of privately owned security cameras. Police were given several different versions of events, but the cameras provided a definitive account and clear, identifiable images of the suspects. Kane encouraged residents to install cameras. Commissioners Toomajian, Malone, and Zimny referenced the rebate program championed by Councilmember Charles Allen and provided information on how and where cameras could be purchased.
Kane encouraged the public to report crime and provide information relevant to ongoing investigations. A complete roster with contact information is published at www.mpdc.dc.gov/page/welcome-first-district.
Lieutenant Crystal Beslow, who works evenings in Sector 2, also attended the meeting.
US Attorney’s Office
In his presentation, Doug Klein, community prosecutor at the US Attorney’s Office, explained that his office prosecutes most adult crime in the District. If a victim or witness wants to know the status of a case in which they are involved, they can contact him at 202-660-2150, 703-785-5589, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Klein emphasized the importance of community impact statements in sentencing. These are often provided by ANC commissioners.
Recreation Manager for Sherwood and Rosedale Centers
Brandon Johnson, recreation manager for the Sherwood and Rosedale recreation centers, directs Cluster 16 of the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), which includes both the Sherwood and Rosedale centers. He listed his priorities as customer service, good programming, and community participation.
Johnson said he wants the users “to have a warm feeling.” With respect to managing the staff, his philosophy is “coach ‘em up or coach ‘em out.” However, custodial services are contracted out, which means that Johnson has no direct control over their quality. In some cases he has had personally to perform functions that were being neglected.
Current programming includes Young Ladies on the Rise, Young Men, Future Leaders (both targeted to ages 8-14), and a highly successful Tiny Tots program. Johnson would like to expand to include a daytime activity for seniors and more offerings for youth in grades 6-10.
Certified volunteers are needed to compensate for staffing shortages. Groups and individuals offering programming are encouraged to make proposals for activities. These can be run on a pilot basis and made permanent if there is sufficient interest.
Johnson can be reached at 202-549-7043 or email@example.com.
Alcohol Beverage Licensing Actions
The Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee did not forward any recommendations for consideration. Toomajian noted that ANC 6A now has a signed settlement agreement with Dynamix Lounge, 1220 H St. NE.
Transportation and Public Space Actions
The Transportation and Public Space Committee did not forward any recommendations from the June meeting for consideration. The minutes of that meeting are posted on the ANC 6A website and include detailed notes on the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) presentation regarding the Maryland Avenue NE redesign project, which is at the 90-percent-completion mark.
Economic Development and Zoning Actions
ANC 6A voted unanimously to send letters of support to:
- The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), in support of approval for the creation of a two-story addition in the rear court and demolition of the existing garage at 210 10th St. NE.
- The Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for the application by 1330 Maryland Ave. NE (BZA #19549) for a special exception from the rear-yard requirements, lot occupancy requirements, and the nonconforming structure requirements to construct a two-story rear addition to an existing one-family dwelling. The completed project will include a rental until in the basement.
The commissioners voted, unanimously, to request an amendment to the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978 – to add Emerald Street Historic District to the Targeted Homeowner Grant Program. Grant amounts are income-indexed; about a third of the Emerald Street households would be eligible. However, the new historic district is not currently included in the program. Nevertheless, Emerald Street neighbors are working with HPRB to complete applications, which can be processed if the amendment is approved.
There was unanimous support for ANC 6A to sign a joint letter of support with ANC 7D, petitioning to reopen the Maryland Avenue entrance to the US National Arboretum. The gate was closed in 1992 in response to concerns about crime in the neighborhood on that side of the arboretum. This has made it very inconvenient for residents living south of the arboretum, including those in ANC 6A and students at several nearby schools, to access the facility. The closest entrance is on R Street off Bladensburg Road, which is far less safe for young bicyclists and pedestrians.
Reports and Announcements
Commissioner Matt Levy plans to resign, effective July 31. At least one person, Amber Grove, a community activist with an interest in education and transportation issues, is expected to run for the seat and was present at the meeting.
Zimny reported that traffic is somewhat improved at Chick-fil-A, 1401 Maryland Ave. NE, but residents noticing problems should continue to report them. Zimny recently walked the surrounding blocks with a representative of the company, pointing out the copious trash littering the nearby streets and yards. In response, Chick-fil-A has installed additional trash cans.
Toomajian noted that the new playground at Ludlow Taylor Elementary School, 659 G St. NE, should open sometime in August and will be open to the public after school hours.
Community member Brian Alcorn presented an update on the zoning cases at 1511 A St. NE (#19410, #19412, and #19505). In fall 2016, ANCs 6A and 6C and members of the community filed appeals with the BZA over an incorrect building permit issued for this address. Since the time of that filing, DCRA has reexamined its decision and, having determined the permit was issued in error, has been attempting to revoke it. A hearing on the matter was scheduled for July 18. Construction has not yet begun, but the developer’s plans call for an 18-unit apartment building that would be out of scale with the modest town homes that occupy the rest of the block. Alcorn expressed his appreciation for the support received from the ANCs, Councilmember Allen’s office, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS).
ANC 6A meets on the second Thursday of every month (except August), usually at Miner Elementary School. The next meeting will be on Sept. 14.
The 6A committees meet at 7 p.m. on the following schedule:
– Alcohol Beverage and Licensing, third Tuesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.
– Community Outreach, fourth Monday of each month, Maury Elementary School, 1250 Constitution Ave. NE (enter from 13th Street).
– Economic Development and Zoning, third Wednesday of each month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.
– Transportation and Public Space, third Monday of every month, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G St. NE.
Visit www.anc6a.org for calendar of events, changes of date/venue, agendas, and other information.