Councilmember Allen Briefs ANC 6A

ANC 6A Report - March 2019

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On March 14, 2019, Chair Amber Gove (6A04) called the Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A meeting to order at Miner Elementary School, 601 15th St. NE, with Commissioners Marie Claire Brown (6A01), Phil Toomajian (6A02), Mike Soderman (6A03), Ruth Ann Hudson (6A05), Stephanie Zimny (6A06), and Sondra Phillips-Gilbert (6A07) in attendance.

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) briefed the commission on his work. He is chair of the Council’s Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety and is vice-chair of the Transportation Planning Board, a regional transportation network. The Council has finished its annual oversight hearings for each District agency.

The Mayor has released her proposed 2019-20 budget. Allen encouraged residents to participate in subsequent hearings. His Ward 6 Budget Town Hall is expected to be scheduled for the third week of April. This forum provides an open forum for residents to discuss budget priorities.

Turning to education, Allen mentioned that District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Lewis Ferebee is committed to developing a “technology equity plan” to direct more resources to technology to correct inequitable access in some classrooms.

Allen has introduced The Public School Transparency Act, to address the issue of a lack of data, or poor data, regarding how tax dollars are being spent in public charter schools.

Allen reaffirmed his commitment to Vision Zero, the safety initiative to eliminate traffic fatalities. He pledged to hold those accountable for working to ensure pedestrian safety. While there has been an unfortunate increase in pedestrian deaths in the District; Allen remains optimistic that the new budget will increase investment in Vision Zero.

Allen remains committed to pushing up the schedule for Ward 6 middle school modernization. Jefferson Middle School in SW and Eliot-Hine Middle School are now under construction after previously falling back on the schedule. The new playgrounds slated for Miner Elementary School, and Tyler Elementary in SE this summer will be completed on time, he stated.

The commissioners asked questions relating to traffic safety and the need for greater enforcement of traffic laws by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). They expressed concerns over traffic issues on H Street NE. They requested Allen put pressure on District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to address unsafe intersections.

Councilmember Allen pointed out the tension between enforcing traffic laws while eliminating racial bias. So, while overall traffic “stops” have been reduced, he does want greater enforcement against illegally parked vehicles in bike lanes and crosswalks, as well as against speeders on neighborhood streets.

Allen believes that the metrics that DDOT uses to evaluate intersections and potential changes are intrinsically flawed. The manner in which data is collected omits “near miss” incidents, he stated. Start from a position of safety and have all intersections begin as all-way stops, he said. Let DDOT justify why intersections should so. This would flip the script over the current situation where ANCs have to make the case for four-way-stops.

Allen is calling for a “Crosswalk-palooza” to address missing, deteriorated crosswalks and bike lanes across the neighborhood, the lack of which place pedestrians at risk. Look out for a call for volunteers, should DDOT not address the missing crosswalks.

1511-15 A Street NE
As of the February ANC 6A meeting, the owner of 1511-1515 A Street NE had not satisfied much of the conditions set forth by the Economic Development and Zoning Committee (EDZ). Therefore the ANC was not inclined to support the proposal to construct three new attached flats at the address.

One of these stipulations was the withdrawal of an appeal to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) of the decision to correct zoning regulations that allowed for a high-density development mistakenly applied to the site. The owner also had not sufficiently reached out to neighbors to gain support for the proposal. At its February meeting, the commission had recommended that the owner postpone their BZA hearing on Feb. 27 in order to give more time to meet the commission’s conditions.

The owner did not postpone the BZA hearing as previously agreed. However, Commissioner Brian Alcorn was in attendance. He secured a postponement of the hearing. In the interim time between the hearing and the March ANC meeting, the owner had indeed satisfied all of the conditions set forth by the EDZ.

Many commissioners remained concerns that the current plans for the development will not be the ultimate ones executed. Commissioners agreed unanimously that the letter to the BZA include that ANC support is conditional on any finalized plans being consistent with the current design package with no further zoning relief supported and inclusion of at least six parking spaces.

Maury Daytime School Parking Zone
The ANC voted unanimously to request to DDOT to establish a school parking zone, with boundaries identical to the Maury Elementary school boundary zone, effective between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. This would allow non-resident teachers/DC government staff at the Maury site to park in these areas.

The request is contingent on approval of a variance request by the DC Public Schools (DCPS) and the Department of General Services (DGS) to decrease the number of parking spaces from the minimum 21 spaces required by zoning regulations, in conjunction with their commitment from to convert a portion of the planned parking lot of play space. This provides students with greater play space, while alleviating potential parking issues for teachers and staff.

The impact of allowing staff parking during the daytime on the surrounding community was found to be negligible, because so many parking spots open up during the daytime as residents leave for work. The availability of daytime parking in the zone would easily accommodate staff at Maury Elementary.

Other Business
The Commissioners voted unanimously to:

  • Send a letter of support to the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) for the 2019 Capitol Hill Classic race (May 19) which benefits the Capitol Hill Cluster Schools.
  • Send a letter to DDOT identifying high-priority areas with traffic/pedestrian safety issues on: the unit to 400 blocks of 15th Street NE; the intersection of East Capitol Street, Massachusetts Avenue and 11th Street NE; the unit to 400 blocks of 17th Street NE; the unit to 400 blocks of 10th Street NE; the intersection of 10th and East Capitol Streets NE; 19th Street and Constitution Avenue NE; Eighth and D Streets NE; Eighth and G Streets NE; Eighth and F Streets NE; 100 to 400 blocks of Tennessee Avenue NE; 14th and G Streets NE.
  • Appoint Mark Samburg as co-chair of the Alcohol Beverage Licensing Committee.
  • Request a postponement for Maddox Engineers & Surveyors Inc. for their permit application (#324283) to extend eight driveways through public space to allow access to the alley located in rear of 410-417 17th Street NE, to allow the applicants to work with the Transportation and Public Space Committee.

Commissioner Marie-Claire Brown reported that two additional suspects were arrested in the shooting that occurred on January 27 at the H Street NE restaurant Quara.