Minutes – Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A

September 6, 2016 Regular Public Meeting

Approved October 4, 2016

 

The meeting was held at Grace Episcopal Church, 4300 16th Street NW.  Commissioner Gale Black, Chair (and ANC 4A08) called the meeting to order at 7:07 PM.  Also present were Commissioners 4A01 Acqunetta Anderson, 4A02 Dwayne  Toliver, 4A03 Stephen Whatley, 4A04 Patience Singleton, 4A06 Karrye Braxton, and 4A07 Dave Wilson.  Commissioner 4A02 Dwayne Toliver was absent.  A quorum was present for all votes.

 

1)         Approval of the Agenda

 

Commissioner Black moved to approve the agenda. Commissioner Anderson seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted 7 yes, 0 no.

 

2)         Presentation and Resolution 4A-16-0905 Seeking Guidance for Residents Regarding DC Marijuana Laws

 

Following a presentation by Mr. Tony Townes, Director of Community Engagement for the Office of the Attorney General and Ms. Antonia Weathers, an attorney in Housing and Community Justice Section, Office of the Attorney General, Commissioner Anderson moved that the Commission adopt a resolution recommending changes in the law governing use of marijuana in the District of Columbia.  Commissioner Braxton seconded the motion.  Following discussion and Commissioner Anderson’s acceptance of friendly amendments, the resolution was adopted, 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain.

 

The adopted resolution:

 

WHEREAS, ANC 4A is concerned with illegal use of marijuana on private property and the use of announced gaming at home parties with prizes of marijuana to attract large groups at private parties and advertising such private parties on social media to large groups;

 

WHEREAS, recently in Single Member District (SMD) 4A01, an individual held a large private marijuana party which generated traffic, noise and disruption of the peace and quiet.  More than 200 guests attended the party, which also included marijuana raffling sales and the advertising of the party on social media;

 

WHEREAS, a second party was held at a second private home in ANC 4A01 in July 2016 with approximately 350 people in attendance.  Further, ANC4A01 residents expressed concerns regarding the party noise and the second-hand marijuana smoke traveling into their homes.  This was potentially harmful to the children and senior citizens who suffered illnesses who reside nearby.

 

WHEREAS, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) are the bodies of government with the closest ties to the people and they are expected to advise the city on issues including fees , taxes, zoning social services programs, health, emergency preparedness, economic development, transportation and infrastructure issues;

 

WHEREAS, ANC 4A is an interested party and stakeholder.  ANC 4A covers more than 16,000 DC residents and includes the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Bright wood, Colonial Village, North Portal Estates, Cre3stwood, Shepherd Park, and a portion of Sixteenth Street Heights;

 

WHEREAS, the issues and concerns raised in the recommendations of the Commission shall be given great weight during the deliberations of the government entity, and great weight requires acknowledgement of the Commission as the source of the recommendations and explicit reference to each of the Commission’s issues and concerns [DC> Official Code § 1-309.10©(3)(A)];

 

WHEREAS, we understand that it is legal for a person who is at least 21 years old to:

 

·         Possess two ounces or less of marijuana;

·         Transfer one ounce or less of marijuana to another person who is at least 21 years old, so long as there is no payment made or any other type of exchange of goods or services;

·         Cultivate within their residence up to six marijuana plants, no more than three of which are mature;

·         Possess marijuana-related drug paraphernalia—such as bongs, cigarette rolling papers, and cigar wrappers—that is associated with one ounce or less of marijuana; or

·         Use marijuana on private property.

 

WHEREAS, we understand that a person can still be arrested for:

 

·         Selling any amount of marijuana to another person;

·         Possessing more than two ounces of marijuana;

·         Operating a vehicle or boat under the influence of marijuana; or

·         Smoking, eating or drinking marijuana – or holding or carrying a light roll of paper or other lighted smoking equipment filled with marijuana—in any public space such as:  on any street, sidewalk, alley, park, or parking area;

·         In a vehicle on any street, alley, park or parking area; or

·         Any place to which the public is invited.

 

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A (the Commission) takes note of the following:

 

·         Some studies indicate that marijuana use may have serious long-term effects, especially when used by children or teens.

·         Marijuana use while pregnant may pose health risks to the fetus.

·         Home cultivation is permitted of up to three mature plants or six mature plants in a household with multiple adults who are 21 and over.  Up to one ounce of marijuana can be shared so long as there is no exchange of money, goods or services.

·         Subject to existing restrictions on noise and occupancy levels, there is no prohibition on the use of marijuana by multiple people—each of whom must be 21 years of age or older—in the same residence.  At no time should there be two ounces or more of marijuana per adult.

 

RESOLVED:

 

·         That ANC 4A seek the advice of the Attorney General to advise the Commission and the public about our options and any buffer law governing marijuana parties, schools, private homes, senior facilit4ies and child care facilities.

·         That ANC 4A recommends that the D.C. Council of the District of Columbia consider amending the D.C. marijuana laws to provide greater clarity to the police and the public, and, as follows:

o   Prohibit marijuana gaming (e.g. raffling) or any other monetary incentives for the purposes of exchanging or sharing marijuana;

o   Place restrictions on the times and circumstances at which private household can host such parties and provide homeowners and residents, especially children, with protections to safeguard the public health and welfare.

·         That ANC 4A strongly recommends that the D.C. Council consider, and provide great weight to, the Commission’s concerns as expressed herein.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED:

 

That Commissioner Acqunetta Anderson, 4A01, is hereby authorized to serve as the Commission’s representative regarding this resolution and any matters relating to marijuana parties in her single-member district 4A01, on behalf of ANC 4A.

 

3)         Public Space Occupancy Permit Application – Curb Cut – 1373 Tuckerman Street N.W.

 

Following a presentation from the applicant, Mr. Peter Millard, and comments and concerns from residents of the neighborhood, Commissioner Singleton moved that the Commission approve a letter to the Public Space Committee opposing the application to construct a curb cut at 1373 Tuckerman Street N.W.  Commissioner Anderson seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted, 5 yes, 0 no, 2 abstain.

 

The approved letter:

 

 

September 8, 2016

 

Mr. Matthew Marcou

Chair, Public Space Committee

District Department of Transportation

Public Space Management Branch

1100 4th Street S.W. / Second Floor

Washington, D.C. 20024

 

            RE:     Public Space Permit Application, 1373 Tuckerman Street N.W.

 

Dear Chair Marcou:

 

At its regularly scheduled meeting on September 6, 2016 (notice of which was properly given, and at which a quorum of seven of seven members was present) Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A voted unanimously (7 yes, 0 no) to approve this letter expressing the Commission’s opposition to a public space permit application for a curb cut and driveway across public space at 1373 Tuckerman Street N.W.

 

We oppose the curb cut and driveway for a variety of reasons.  Foremost, the applicant has off-street parking for at least two vehicles behind his home which is readily accessible by the alley adjoining his property.  The applicant has not provided a justification why rear parking is insufficient.

 

 Next, the location of the proposed curb cut and driveway along this particular portion of Tuckerman Street would have a negative impact on parking and the general aesthetics of the neighborhood.  Parking is at a premium on the 1300 block of Tuckerman.  The addition of a curb cut opening would exacerbate parking issues along the block by decreasing parking capacity on this street by at least one or two cars.  Moreover, the close proximity of the homes and small front yards suggests that front driveways were not envisioned for this section of the neighborhood.  The character of the neighborhood would change with this addition since no other homes along the 1300 block of Tuckerman have front-facing driveways.

 

Lastly and most importantly, it appears that the applicant is ineligible for a curb cut and driveway.  According to the DDOT Design and Engineering Manual, Chapter 31.2.3.1, “a new curb cut or driveway shall not be permitted from any property with alley access or with potential access through an alley widened onto private property or with potential access to an expanded alley network on private property unless the applicant provides documentation that demonstrates that alley access is not possible due to topography or that alley access would be in conflict with existing land uses and not supported by guidelines in the Comprehensive Plan.”  As discussed above the applicant’s property is located next to an alley and has sufficient parking for at least two cars in the rear (see attached pictures).

 

In closing, a curb cut and driveway along the 1300 Block of Tuckerman are not well-justified uses of public space.  Due to the considerations explained above, we respectfully request that you deny this curb cut and driveway application.

 

Thank you for affording great weight to the views and feedback of the Commission on this curb cut and driveway application.  Should you wish to discuss this letter with the Commission, please feel free to contact Patience Singleton, Commissioner for Single-Member District 4A04.

 

Sincerely,

 

Gale Black, ANC 4A08

Chairperson

 

cc:       Commissioners, ANC 4B

            Hon. Brandon Todd, Councilmember, Ward 4  

            Mr. Gottlieb Simon, Executive Director, Office of Advisory Neighborhood     Commissions

            Mr. Peter Millard, Applicant, 1373 Tuckerman Street N.W.

 

 

4)         R4A-16-0903 - Request to Downzone 1101, 1103, 1107, and 1109

            Fern Street NW from RA-2 (formerly R-5-B) to R-2

 

Commissioner Whatley moved that the Commission adopt a resolution requesting and recommending that four addresses on Fern Street N.W. be downzoned from RA-2 to

R-2.  Commissioner Black seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted, 7 yes, 0 no.

 

The adopted resolution:

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to applicable District laws, each Advisory Neighborhood Commission ("Commission") may advise the Council of the District of Columbia, the Mayor and each executive agency, and all independent agencies, boards and commissions of the government of the District of Columbia with respect to all proposed matters of District government policy,  including, but not limited  to, decisions regarding planning, streets, recreation, social services programs, education, health, safety, budget,  and sanitation which  affect that Commission  area [D.C. Official  Code  §§ 1-309.lO(a)];

 

WHEREAS, proposed District government actions include actions of the Council of the District of Columbia, the executive branch, or independent agencies, boards, and commissions.  In addition to  those notices required in D.C. Official Code §§ 1-309.lO(a), each agency board and commission shall, before the award of any grant funds to a citizen organization  or Committee, before the transmission  to   the Council of a proposed revenue bond  issuance, or before the formulation  of any final policy  decision  or guideline with respect to grant applications, comprehensive plans, requested or proposed zoning changes, variances, public improvements,  licenses, or permits affecting  said Commission  area, the District budget and city goals and priorities, proposed changes in District  government  service delivery, and the opening of any proposed facility systems, provide to each affected Commission notice of the proposed  action as required by D.C. Official  Code §§  1-309.IO(b);

 

WHEREAS, the issues and concerns raised in the recommendations of the Commission shall be given great weight during the deliberations by the government entity, and great weight requires acknowledgement of the Commission as the source of the recommendations and explicit reference to each of the Commission’s issues and concerns [D.C.  Official Code §§ l-309.10(c)(3)(A)];

 

WHEREAS, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions ("ANCs") are the bodies of government with the closest ties to the people  and they are expected to advise the city on issues, including fees,   taxes, zoning, social service programs, health, emergency preparedness, economic development, transportation  and infrastructure  issues;

 

            WHEREAS, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A (the Commission) takes note of the following:

 

          The houses on Fern Street NW from Georgia Avenue NW to Alaska Avenue are zoned differently (Exhibits 1, 2 and 3 - definitions)

          1101, 1103, 1107, and 1109 Fern Street are zoned RA-2 (formerly 5-R-B).

          The remainder of the residences in the 1100 block of Fern Street are zoned R-2.

          The houses in the 1200 and 1300 blocks of Fern Street are zoned R-1-B. 

          Proposed changes to buildings in the 1100 block of Fern Street are contrary to the design of the other buildings in the block. There will be a stark visual contrast. (Exhibit 4)

          R-5-B zoning is contrary to the approved Walter Reed town house zoning immediately across the street. The sightlines will be diminished in all directions.

          The Walter Reed town house zoning heights and widths are in line with the current heights and widths of the houses in the 1100 block of Fern Street NW.

          The neighbors immediately adjacent to 1101 Fern Street vehemently oppose the new design.

          The residents of 1103, 1107, and 1109 Fern Street NW, along with a majority of the remaining neighbors in the 1100 block of Fern Street NW, signed a petition, concurring with the down zoning. (Exhibit 5)

 

RESOLVED:

 

          That Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A strongly requests that the 1101, 1103, 1107, and 1109 Fern Street NW be downzoned to R-2.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED:

 

          That DCRA, OP, and BZA take action to freeze all actions, including permits, until the down zoning request has been resolved.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED: 

 

          That Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A will complete all requirements and submit BZA Form 101 – Application/Petition To Amend the Zoning Map requesting down zoning. (Exhibit 6)

 

FURTHER RESOLVED: 

 

That Commissioner Stephen A. Whatley is hereby authorized to serve as the Commission’s representative.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED:

 

That, in the event the designated representative Commissioners cannot carry out her representative duties for any reason, the Commission authorizes the Chairperson to designate another Commissioner to represent the Commission in all matter relating to this resolution.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED:

 

Consistent with DC Code §1-309, only actions of the full Commission voting in a properly noticed public meeting have standing and carry great weight.  The actions, positions and opinions of individual commissioners, insofar as they may be contradictory to or otherwise inconsistent with the expressed position of the full Commission in a properly adopted resolution or letter, have no standing and cannot be considered as in any way associated with the Commission.

 

5)         R4A-16-0904 - Recommendations Regarding Reconsider and Vacate

Zoning Commission Order No. 849(D), ZC Case No. 97-16C, Lowell School, PUD Modification @ Square 2745F

 

Commissioner Anderson moved that the Commission adopt a resolution recommending that the Zoning Commission reconsider its Order No. 849(D) allowing a modification of the Lowell School Planned Unit Development.  Commissioner Singleton seconded the motion.  Following discussion, the motion was not adopted, 3 yes, 4 no.

 

Following further discussion, Commissioner Whatley moved that the Commission reconsider its vote on the motion.    Commissioner Anderson seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted, 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain.

 

Commissioner Anderson moved that the Commission adopt the resolution recommending that the Zoning Commission reconsider its Order No. 849(D)   Commissioner Singleton seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted by roll call vote, 5 yes, 0 no, 2 abstain.

 

The roll call vote:

YES                                                                NO                                          ABSTAIN

4A01 Anderson   4A07 Wilson                                                                  4A02 Toliver

4A03 Whatley     4A08 Black                                                                     4A06 Braxton

4A04 Singleton

                                               

 

                                                                                                                       

The adopted resolution:

 

WHEREAS, proposed District government actions include actions of the Council of the District of Columbia, the executive branch, or independent agencies, boards, and commissions.  In addition to those notices required in D.C. Official Code §§ 1-309.10(a), each agency board and commission shall, before the award of any grant funds to a citizen organization or group, before the transmission to the Council of a proposed revenue bond issuance, or before the formulation of any final policy decision or guideline with respect to grant applications, comprehensive plans, requested or proposed zoning changes, variances, public improvements, licenses, or permits affecting said Commission area, the District budget and city goals and priorities, proposed changes in District government service delivery, and the opening of any proposed facility systems, provide to each affected Commission notice of the proposed action as required by D.C. Official Code §§ 1-309.10(b);

 

WHEREAS, the issues and concerns raised in the recommendations of the Commission shall be given great weight during the deliberations by the government entity, and great weight requires acknowledgement of the Commission as the source of the recommendations and explicit reference to each of the Commission’s issues and concerns [D.C. Official Code §§ l-309.10(c)(3)(A)];

 

WHEREAS, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (“ANCs”) are the bodies of government with the closest ties to the people and they are expected to advise the city on issues, including fees, taxes, zoning, social services programs, health, emergency preparedness, economic development, transportation and infrastructure issues;

 

WHEREAS, the ANC 4A is an interested party and stakeholder.  ANC 4A covers more than 16,000 DC residents and includes the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Brightwood, Colonial Village, North Portal Estates, Crestwood, Shepherd Park, and Sixteenth Street Heights;

 

WHEREAS, Section 3030.1 of the Zoning Regulations, 11 DCMR § 3030.1, provides for an expedited procedure known as the Consent Calendar which allows the Commission, “in the interest of efficiency, to make, without public hearing, minor modifications and technical corrections  to previously approved final orders, rulemaking, or other actions of the Commission, including corrections of inadvertent mistakes”;

 

WHEREAS, Section 3030.2 of the Zoning Regulations, 11 DCMR § 3030.2, provides that “minor modifications shall mean modifications of little or no importance or consequence”;

 

WHEREAS, Section 3030.13 of the Zoning Regulations, 11 DCMR § 3030.13, provides that “[a]ll relief granted by the Commission under this section shall be consistent with the intent of the Commission in approving its original order, map, plan, rulemaking, or other action or relief proposed to be modified or corrected and shall not substantially impair the intent, purpose, or integrity of the zone plan”;

 

WHEREAS,  It also appears that Lowell’s proposed “minor” modification is not consistent with the two options for the play area set forth in Zoning Commission Order No. 849-B. 

 

Under 849-B. the Applicant Failed to:

 

          Withhold the Lowell’s Application until a subsequent scheduled public meeting could be held and, in the interim, reach out to the Commission 4A and nearby residents;

 

          Hold discussions concerning the minor modification with the Community Relations Council (including neighbors on the Council who previously appeared before submitting their application for a minor modification to the Zoning Commission);

 

          mail written notice of its intent to file the Application to owners of all property within 200 feet of the perimeter of the property in question;

 

          Notify the Commission 4A of the Zoning Commission scheduled public hearing on July 11, 2016 thwarting ANC 4A opportunity to express its positions or concerns before the Zoning Commission at the July 11, 2016 public hearing.

 

In addition, the proposed modification is not in accordance with § 3030.13 because it seeks to change the intent of the previously approved Zoning Commission Order No. 849-B. In that order, which was issued in 2010, the Commission developed a well-defined time frame for the execution of the PUD with the intent of giving Lowell ample time to complete the PUD and the neighbors notice of what they could expect and how long they could expect the work to last, providing finality and fairness to all concerned parties. Order No. 849-B specifically states at page 27:

 

“The PUD approved by the Commission shall be valid for a period of two years from the effective date of this order. Within such time, an application must be filed for a building permit as specified in 11 DCMR § 2409.1. Construction shall begin within three years of the effective date of this order. An application for the final building permit completing the work approved herein shall be filed within three years of the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the Parkside building, but no later than six years from the effective date of this Order.”

 

The effective date of Order 849-B is November 26, 2010; therefore, the deadline for Lowell to apply for its final building permit is November 26, 2016.

  

RESOLVED:

 

         That, the ANC4A seeks reconsideration of the approved SMD4A01 Commissioner to hold a scheduled public meeting(s) to discuss Lowell’s modification project, mitigation measures and how, if any, the project will impact the vegetation, barriers, noise and safety as well as potential adverse consequences to the adjoining nearby neighbors.

 

         It is critical that a public meeting is held.

 

         The ANC4A seeks the reconsideration of the Zoning Commissions Order No. 849-B to be vacated and that the record be opened for the public to discuss with Lowell how the modification project will impact on “the changes in landscaping that was to buffer parking areas from nearby residences.

 

         That the Commission 4A strongly recommends that the Zoning Commission grant  the reconsideration request and vacate the Commission’s Order No. 849(D) approving Lowell’s Application for a Minor Modification, and provide great weight to, the Commission’s concerns as expressed herein; and

 

         Schedule a public hearing in connection with Lowell’s PUD modification application, ZC Case No. 97-16C.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED: 

 

That ANC Commissioner Acqunetta Anderson, (ANC 4A01) is hereby authorized to serve as the Commission’s representative in all matters relating to this resolution.

 

6)         Consent Agenda

 

Commissioner Black presented the consent calendar, which included the following items:

 

1.    Consensus—that ANC 4A associate with comments offered by the Council of 100 in response to Zoning Commission Case No. 08-06—Text Amendments for Deviations and Modifications Permitted and minimum Land Area for Planned Unit Developments

2.    Consensus—Crime—that ANC 4A recognize the good work done by police and first responders, but highlight our concern regarding public health, due to recent shooting of a child at Emory Recreation Center and other crimes impacting ANC 4A over the summer.

3.    Consensus—that ANC 4A notify the Mayor’s Office that we would like the city to keep the record open so that we have the time to submit comments on the DC Livability Study to permit us to address this and other transportation-related issues at the ANC 4A October meeting.

4.    Consensus—that our next ANC 4A meeting to be held at the 4D police station on Georgia Avenue N.W. on Tuesday, October 4, 2016.

5.    Consensus—DDOT Tracking Number 181979—If no objection raised at this meeting, permit the SMD Commissioner for ANC 4A03 to respond to the application to occupy public space for the purpose of adding a driveway and retaining wall at 6735 16th Street N.W.

6.    Consensus—ABRA License Request No. 003055.  Preserve ANC 4A’s right to take action with regard to a hearing set for October 24, 2016.  Authorizing the SMD Commissioner for SMD 4A02 to provide notice and protest and/or engage in actions, including settlement discussions regarding this request from E and K, Inc. (Champion Kitchen), 7730 Georgia Avenue N.W.

7.    Consensus that ANC 4A extend the contract of the office manager, but clarify the terms with more specificity.  Current contract remains in effect.

8.    Consensus—FY 2017 budget should be developed in time for the October ANC 4A meeting.

9.    Consensus—Additional time be made available for providing comments on amendments to the ANC statute.

 

Commissioner Whatley moved that the consent agenda be approved.  Commissioner Anderson seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted unanimously, 7 yes, 0 no.

 

7)         FY 2016 Third Quarter Financial Report

 

Commissioner Braxton presented the FY 2016 Third Quarter Report.  She moved that the report be approved.  Commissioner Toliver seconded the motion.  The motion was adopted. 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain.

 

Community Concerns

 

1.    Ms. Mary Lourde, At-large member of the State Board of Education, announced the development of a new accountability system for DC public schools, and encouraged all residents to provide input.

 

2.    Ms. Monica Goletani, President of the Brightwood Neighborhood Association, expressed concern about the recent increase in crime at recreation centers. She urged that the Commission support stronger presence by the Metropolitan Police Department and more staffing for recreation centers to deter crime.

 

Presentations and Reports

 

1)         Mr. Phillip McAuley, Ward 4 Liaison for Mayor Muriel Bowser, gave a report on current issues and concerns being addressed by the Mayor.

           

2)         Commissioner Black moved that approval of the minutes of the June 7, 2016 meeting be postponed to the October 4, 2016 meeting.  There was no objection.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM.