At the March 13 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B those assembled heard one presentation from a representative of Fire and Emergency Services (FEMS) and another from the US Attorney for the District of Columbia.
The quorum: Jennifer Samolyk (6B01), James Loots (6B03, parliamentarian), Steve Hagedorn (6B05), Nick Burger (6B06, treasurer), Chander Jayaraman (6B08, vice chair), Daniel Ridge (6B09, chair) and Denise Krepp (6B10). The offices of 6B02 and 6B07 are currently unoccupied.
US Attorney for DC
US Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu appeared to discuss the functions of that office. She said that the US Attorney’s Office in DC (USAO-DC) is the largest USAO, with 300 staff members. This is in part because the office handles federal cases but also those handled by district attorneys or state attorneys in other jurisdictions. She said the office is focused on the reduction and prevention of violent crime and is open to community thoughts on how to do that better
Commissioner Krepp asked Liu for a response to her letter of Feb. 8 requesting data on the number of campus sexual assaults reported and prosecuted by USAO-DC. Krepp had previously filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain information on the reporting and prosecution of District sexual assault cases and received a response in December 2016. At a January 2018 George Washington University panel on sexual assault moderated by Krepp, two panelists from the USAO Sex Offenses Section informed Krepp that the data she had received was incorrect. Krepp’s Feb. 8 letter requested that USAO-DC explain which data is incorrect and why and provide Krepp with the correct data.
When Krepp asked when she could expect a response, Liu replied that this was the first time she had seen the letter and that her office would respond “whenever we can.” Krepp said that this answer was insufficient. “To be blunt, the fact that you have not received this letter tells me this is not a priority for you, it’s not a priority for your staff,” Krepp said.
Fire and Emergency Medical Services
DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief of Staff Amy Mauro presented the agency’s “Right Care, Right Now” initiative, which launches on April 19 and will operate seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The District has the highest per capita EMS call volume in the nation, and the initiative is designed to preserve emergency resources for patients with life-threatening injuries and illnesses. As part of the initiative, dispatchers will distribute services according to three levels. Emergency calls will be sent to advanced life-support resources. For basic life-support calls, or lower-level emergencies, EMS services will be sent to the scene to assess the patient, Mauro said.
Non-emergency calls will be directed to the Right Care, Right Now line, where a nurse will ask questions, evaluate symptoms and determine the urgency of the call. Non-emergency callers will receive an appointment at a clinic in their community. All Medicaid and Healthcare Alliance patients will receive transportation to and from appointments if necessary. Further information on the program is available at www.fems.dc.gov.
Planning & Zoning Committee
The ANC heard a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application in regard to 1612 E St. SE, seeking an exception to side-yard requirements in order to build a third story and rear addition to a one-family home. The Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Committee recommended support of the application but requested additional communication from the neighbors. The western neighbor opposes the addition because it would connect to her house, compromising what she called the “historical stand-alone nature” and also the aesthetics of the rear garden of her home.
Commissioner Ridge, in whose single member district (SMD) the project lies, said these may be the two oldest houses in his SMD and so he wanted to be sure of the “standard of care.” Assured that there were no extenuating circumstances and that the addition would largely avoid a 150-year-old wall, the ANC supported the application, 5-0, with one abstention.
Hill East Task Force
Commissioner Ridge noted that there was no meeting of the Hill East Task Force in March. He said that a meeting will take place in April to discuss the arrival of construction trailers as part of the impending demolition of DC General. Ridge said that the ANC recently sent a letter to the Mayor’s Office indicating that ANC 6B considered itself an affected ANC in the matter and therefore merits communication.
Ridge added that ground had not yet been broken on the F1 and G1 parcels of Reservation 13, although the District had promised that construction would begin by the end of the first quarter, which is fast approaching. He said that he understood that ground would not break before the end of the month on one parcel and not for several years on the other.
Eastern Market Community Advisory Council
Commissioner Jayaraman noted that he had attended his first meeting of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Council (EMCAC) as representative of ANC 6B, following the resignation of Diane Hoskins (6B02) who previously held the position.
Jayaraman said that the committee continued a discussion on the lack of information about Eastern Market expenditures and revenue from the Department of General Services for both inside and outside market business. Jayaraman recommended EMCAC submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and offered ANC support, noting that information was needed to determine appropriate rental charges.
Residents nominated by commissioners are eligible to serve on ANC committees. Resident members serve at one meeting a week and have a vote on the committee, which for purposes of committee work counts the same as that of a commissioner. Anyone interested in serving as a resident member should contact their ANC commissioner or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Historic Preservation Board
The commissioners unanimously supported a letter requesting that the mayor’s agent review, evaluate and conduct an independent hearing into a Feb. 22 meeting of the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB), at which the board supported the Ebenezer Church curb cut and parking application.
The ANC letter asks the agent to focus on notice provided to the ANC, whether the ANC opinion carried great weight and the rationale behind the decision on Historic Preservation Application (HPA) 17-488. That application included plans for a curb cut and parking lot to be constructed in the rear of five new townhouses at 400 D St. SE by Ebenezer Methodist Church and development partner Evergreen Urban. The plans had been changed since they were last viewed by the ANC at its Jan. 9 meeting.
The commissioners voted unanimously to support the letter, arguing that contrary to statute the ANC was not given notice or great weight in the process and that reasons given on the record by HPRB for supporting the application were unrelated to the merits of historic preservation.
The letter was presented by Commissioner Loots, who said that despite a requirement for a 45-day notice, he had only learned about the meeting the day before the HPRB meeting. Although HPRB had not met the 45-day requirement, his written request was denied. “That contempt and total disregard for our role in this process – whether you’re for the project or against it, it doesn’t matter to me – it’s the process,” Loots said. Loots noted that HPRB had previously declined to approve the project, that the ANC had weighed in against it, and that no less than 100 residents had provided input. He also noted that at least one HPRB commissioner had based arguments in favor of the project on the religious and racial identity of the applicant, which he considered inappropriate for a city agency.
The next meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6B will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE). Visit anc6b.org for more info.