Notes from the ANC 4B Mtg on 4/22/19

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City Administrator Rashad Young speaks at the ANC 4B meeting on 4/22/19. Image credit: Tori Powell

ANC 4B — Takoma, Riggs Park. Brightwood

At the April 22nd meeting:

* Deputy Chief of Staff Dolly Turner for the office of Councilmember Brandon Todd said the Council is undergoing a series of budget hearings. Turner invited the community to testify at any time on how the budget is to be invested.

Turner said that there will be a meeting between The Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO), The District Department of Transportation (DDOT), and Washington Gas to further discuss the re-pavement of Eastern Avenue. She said there was a decision made on April 4th that put DDOT and PEPCO into an agreement that was sent for a final approval last week. It will take two weeks once approved to repave. Turner said that PEPCO will provide another update sometime this week.

Commissioner Evan Yeats asked of Turner what Councilmember Brandon Todd is doing in regard to traffic safety after tragic pedestrian deaths that occurred this past week. Turner said that Councilmember Todd has had many traffic safety studies conducted by the District Department of Transportation, but no updated legislation has been added in response to the event.

* Ward 4 Community Outreach and Service Specialist KeyShawn Harris for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Office of Community Relations and Services said that on Friday Congresswoman Eleanor Norton will meet with Mayor Bowser to talk about President Donald Trump’s 2020 fiscal year bill.

Harris said that 2.8 million dollars have been invested into bike lanes and that “nothing but condolences” are given for those affected by this past weekend’s traffic safety issues on the Mayor’s behalf.

* Frazier O’Leary from the State Board of Education asked the community to keep him more involved with Ward 4 issues by reaching out to his email at Frazier.OLeary@dc.gov. He advised the community to vote in order to get the school system “back to where it used to be.”

* Commissioner Alison Brooks mentioned parking issues with various recreational centers throughout the Ward that “perpetuate an exclusive non-communal feeling.” She expressed concerns with what the ability of renting out these facilities has done for her neighborhood.

City Administrator Rashad Young said he will look into the matter for solutions.

* City Administrator Rashad Young said the public housing repair fund amount is between 12 and 15 million dollars and that there are “plans in place” to get this fund to an executable amount that will result in change. He also said a relationship with The Housing Authority has been helpful with the execution of this goal as well.

In response to Commissioner Evan Yeats’ concerns that the District had misused federal money with various projects, Young said that disagreements with the federal budget are not uncommon and that people make mistakes. He also mentioned that certain precautions are being taken to avoid future mistakes.

Young said he will try to make the next meeting for the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B.

* A resident asked for more respect from the commissioners in regard to time management at meetings and interrupting residents.

* Resident Jocelyn Johnson complimented the commission for standing up for Ward 4 residents at a previous Potomac Electric Power Company meeting.

* Resident Sarah Green asked for more affordable housing. Commissioner Brenda Parks said she will look into it.

* A resident near a 900-block alleyway says that there is an unreasonable amount of trash polluting the area. She said she has contacted all of the necessary people, but nothing has been done.

She said prostitution, drugs, and crime is rampant in this same area and is worried that a future Domino’s Pizza establishment that is soon to be built with hours open until 2am will only intensify these problems. Representatives from Domino’s Pizza were at a previous Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting where unanimous support of this construction was voted on by the commissioners of 4B. This resident advised commissioners to fully review their proposals that they approve.

* The commission voted 8 to 1 in support of an implicit and unconscious bias training & diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

* The commission voted unanimously in support of full funding of the Birth-to-Three for All DC Act of 2018.

* The commission voted 6 to 3 in support of a Board of Zoning Adjustment application for the Parks at Walter Reed on a building near the town center.  The Office of Planning has supported this resolution. The representative from Walter Reed mentioned that this plan is not a change, but rather an addition to an already existing facility.

A resident advised the commission not to vote on this at the moment because some residents felt that previous zoning approvals of this sort had been detrimental to the community.

* Devin Parkins from Walter Reed proposed a new complex to be built at the far northeast corner of the site. This plan will be brought back to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting next month.

* The commission voted unanimously in support of the redevelopment of the Walter Reed campus. Randall Clarke, who represented this plan, said the goals for the campus are the reintegration of the campus with the community, safer places for children to walk, safer bike lanes. Clarke said that ANC 4A reviewed this plan last year and voted inconclusively.

A resident strongly opposed this resolution because she mentioned that historic sheds would have to be destroyed because of this plan. Another resident disagreed and said that the sheds are not of much historical importance.

* The commission voted unanimously in support of solar panel additions on a historic home owned by resident Steve Price. Commissioner Erin Palmer says he has taken great care of the home for all 35 years that he has lived in it. Palmer said that solar panels do not alter the property of the home, are only temporary fixtures, and that similar resolutions have been passed by this commission unanimously in the past.

* The commission voted unanimously in support of the transportation benefits equity amendment act of 2019.

* The commission voted unanimously in approval to send a letter of inquiry to find out why Mayor Bowser’s commitment to track money spent on sexual assault, harassment, and violence settlements have not been kept up with. The commission will ask for more transparency.

*Tori Powell contributed this report.