Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6D
65 I St., SW
Washington, DC 20024
February 13, 2006
Chair Andy Litsky called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.
Present: Commissioners Assalaam, Litsky, Siegel, Skolnik, and Williams. Commissioner Moffatt arrived late.
Commissioner Skolnik moved to approve the agenda. It was seconded by Commissioner Siegel and passed by a vote of 4-2, with Commissioners Williams and Assalaam voting in opposition.
2. Minutes of January 9th meeting
Approval of the minutes was tabled, as Commissioner Williams said she had not adequately studied them. When reminded that the minutes had been sent and e-mailed in advance of the meeting she stated that she no longer wanted her home or work e-mail clogged by ANC e-mail traffic, and that all materials be sent via regular mail.
3. Public-safety report
Sergeant Crouch of the 1st District presented the monthly crime statistics for Southwest, and said that there had been a 6 percent decrease in serious crime in the area, again mentioning a steep increase in thefts from autos. He said that robberies were up around Arena Stage, and two additional foot beat officers have been assigned to the area. He also said that there had been an increase in assaults, and he was particularly concerned about a group of juvenile girls involved in a gang whose parents were participating in their activities.
He said there was a plan to put fencing along the median on South Capitol Street to keep people from jumping across into traffic. Commissioner Litsky raised the question of lights at the Titanic Memorial at the waterfront, and Sgt. Crouch said he believed that the lights were the responsibility of the Interior Department. Peter Jones, the Neighborhood Services Coordinator said that there was a person at the Interior Department to contact, and he said he would undertake to see that it got done. Mr. Litsky mentioned that the light was needed because children had been throwing rocks at dogs and dog walkers.
Sgt. Crouch said there was a new captain in PSA 103, Captain Louis Brown.
4. Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Adrian Washington, the new president and CEO of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (AWC) introduced himself to the ANC. He began by updating the ANC on the AWC’s grant program, which has expanded, and which, in partnership with the DC Children’s Investment Trust, provides grants up to $25,000 to children’s and youth 501(c)(3) organizations (up to age 25) for programs that connect children with the waterfront. The deadline for applications is April 4th (Applications were distributed.) Mr. Washington also spoke about AWC’s internship program which will enable three DC high school seniors to have summer internships--one for community relations, one for planning, and one for business development.
He then gave an update on plans for the redevelopment of the Southwest waterfront. The Small Area Development Plan, done in consultation with the Office of Planning, city agencies and the Southwest community, will be closely adhered to as development moves forward. He said that on or about March 1st, an RFI (Request for Interest) will be issued to solicit the qualifications of developers interested in becoming the master developer for the project. The RFI will focus on qualifications, no plans, and after the list is selected an RFP will go out. They plan to have the plan approved by the City Council by the end of the year.
He said he has met with the longtime property owners at the waterfront—Channel Inn, Phillips, etc.—to tell them that there is room for them in the new development and that AWC wants to work to incorporate them in the new plans. He said the land transfer with NCRC should be happening within the next few months, and AWC will provide regular updates to the community as things move forward. He said it will be 18-24 months before active construction begins. He introduced Liz Price, who will be the AWC point person for the Southwest waterfront project, and announced an AWC board meeting on February 21st at Jefferson Jr. High School.
Commissioner Williams said that AWC is not a children’s organization, and the grant program provides duplicative services that the AWC does not need to do. The AWC is to develop the waterfront using taxpayer dollars, and she expressed her opposition to the grant program. Mr. Skolnik responded that the fact that AWC is in partnership with the DC Children’s Investment Trust speaks well for the program, as the Trust is highly thought of in the non-profit community, and he is a participant in their programs. He said that if it means more money for DC children, he supported it.
Commissioner Skolnik called into question the transparency of AWC’s operations, saying there had been problems getting information from NCRC. Mr. Washington said that AWC was completely public in its operations that they were involved with big money, and as a City agency any disposition of land has to go before the City Council. He said he believed in complete transparency and community input. Commissioner Skolnik then asked about the future of clubs such as H2O, and was told that they, as short-term leaseholders are not in the plan and not part of the future redevelopment. Ms. Price said that the long-time leaseholders have put in an investment and should have a return.
Mr. Washington said the were working with the city to resolve the technical hang-ups with the NCRC land swap, and in answer to another question said that there was an EPA grant for any remediation that might be necessary at the waterfront, although they have not found anything yet that raises any red flags. There will be a full Phase 1 environmental study done, probably this summer.
Commissioner Williams said that the problem with the land swap is that NCRC took out a loan of $20 million against a property to develop H2O and the Attorney General’s office said that it didn’t have the authority to do that without City Council approval, and that’s what’s in dispute now. Mr. Washington reiterated that the AWC was set up to develop the waterfront, and is part of District government, not a separate entity like NCRC.
Mr. Litsky asked about the cost and timetable of the large amount of infrastructure redevelopment that would have to take place. Mr. Washington said that it will all be done at once, and he expects that the $25 million cost will be funded by the sale of the land to developers.
Motion: Commissioner Williams moved that the ANC oppose the AWC’s grant program, as it is not part of the AWC mission, it is only a public relations ploy, and another grant program is not needed. It was seconded by Commissioner Assalaam, who said that he does not support the AWC, because it is taking things from the area’s children.
Commissioner Litsky said that while he
agrees that it is public relations for AWC, it supports good programs and he
5. Proposed Alley Closing – Square 743N
Commissioner Litsky reported that the ANC had voted to oppose the alley closing for Square 743N (M and L Streets, 1st St. and New Jersey Avenue SE) because all the benefit would accrue to the developer since there was no provision made for community benefits in the proposed project, and that Commissioner Sobelsohn had testified to that effect before the City Council. He reported that he had received a letter from the developer’s attorney, Norman Glasgow, saying that the developer was willing to contribute $25,000 to the D.C. Housing Investment Trust, and $10,000 toward “community amenities within the greater southwest/southeast neighborhood.” Motion: Commissioner Litsky moved that the ANC’s previous vote opposing the alley closing be rescinded so that discussion of the issue could be re-opened. It was seconded by Commissioner Siegel and passed by a vote of 4-1-1, with Commissioner Assalaam in opposition and Commissioner Sobelsohn abstaining.
Commissioner Williams asked who had participated in the discussions with the developer, and was told that the developer had come to the ANC with the offer made in the letter. She said that the Housing Investment Trust was for citywide development and nothing was earmarked for Southwest. Mr. Sobelsohn, in a point of personal privilege said that while he had testified on behalf of the ANC, he was not part of any discussions with the developer. Commissioner Skolnik suggested that the amounts be switched with $10,000 going to the Housing Investment Trust and $25,000 to the community. Mr. Glasgow said that he could take that offer back to the developer for his consideration, and the Chair of the City Council could then consider it.
Mr. Litsky said that the job of the Committees is to make recommendations to the ANC which then votes of them. He also said that once the committees are up and running there will be a process through which developers will go. He reiterated that the alley closings were opposed on very specific grounds, and had they not been opposed, we would not be discussing the issue now. Motion: Commissioner Williams offered a motion to reopen negotiations with the developers of Square 743N on community benefits, and to refer the issue to the Development Committee. It was seconded by Commissioner Siegel and passed by a vote of 5-1, with Commissioner Litsky voting in opposition.
6. 70-100 I Street SE
Norman Glasgow presented a request for support of two special exceptions that the developer of 70-100 I Street has applied for before the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). The hearing is scheduled for March 14th. The zoning for the residential project is C-3-C, and the special exceptions are for a change in the required configuration of the roof structures of the building to permit two, rather that a single exit from the roof; and a reduction in the amount of space required residential recreational space. It was suggested that the two issues be considered separately.
Mr. Glasgow said the roof structures, which will meet all safety requirements, will include two swimming pools and decks, and it will increase tenant convenience to have two discreet entrances to the roof. Motion: Commissioner Litsky moved that the ANC support the developer’s request for a special exception to provide two roof entrances to the roof of 70-100 I Street SE. It was seconded by Commissioner Skolnik and passed 4-0-3, with Commissioners Assalaam, Siegel and Williams abstaining.
On the issue of residential recreational space, Mr. Glasgow said that a residential building constructed in a C-3-C zone (commercial) is required to provide 10% of its FAR for residential recreation. The project is 690,000 square feet, which means 69,000 sq. ft. of recreational space. The developer will be providing an interior fitness center, a club room, and terrace areas on the ground floor, as well as the swimming pools on the roof, and requires only 5%, about 35,000 sq. ft. to do that. He said it is a large site, with big courtyards and will have many amenities. He said that he received similar relief at several buildings he worked on Massachusetts Ave. NW, and the Zoning Commission, with the support of the Office of Planning, is currently considering changing the regulation as being excessive. Motion: Commissioner Sobelsohn moved that the ANC support the request for a special exception in the square footage requirement for residential recreational space at 100 I Street SE. It was seconded by Commissioner Skolnik.
Commissioner Williams said there had been no offer of community benefits, and it was a question of negotiating now or later. Mr. Glasgow responded that the building is matter-of-right, not a PUD, so there will be no proffer of benefits to the community. In response to a question, Mr. Glasgow said that the facilities would be open to all building tenants. Mr. Litsky reminded the Commissioners that the people in the building would be constituents of the ANC. Commissioner Williams said that the Commission should not presume that people won’t need the space, which they’re paying for, and the ANC should not speak for the residents. The motion failed 3-1-3, with Commissioner Siegel opposed, and Commissioners Assalaam, Moffatt and Williams abstaining.
7. Department of Motor Vehicles
Sam McFerrin reported that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was partially moved in to its new headquarters on M Street, and the City was going to purchase the building, currently leased, in March. He reported that they had worked with DDOT on the new traffic light on M Street, and that one of their challenges is to provide as much customer parking as possible in the lot in front of the building. They’re working with a designed to provide employee parking in the rear of the building, and the National Park Service is allowing the use of a piece of Lansburg Park, in exchange for which DMV is working on how to make the park more child-friendly and enjoyable. They want to provide grills, a children’s playground and other amenities. Commissioner Williams said that representatives of Greenleaf Houses had been asked for input. Mr. McFerrin said the land belongs to the Park Service, but it is maintained by Parks and Recreation. DMV is making a contribution to Parks and Rec, and the Park Service has agreed to make sure that it is accessible to the community during non-business hours. There will be a 4’ fence to separate the building from the park. Commissioner Williams complimented DMV for making their efforts a true community partnership.
The DMV was referred to the Development Committee as a first step for future updates, and any recommendations that needed ANC approvals.
8. Department of Transportation Truck Traffic Update
Kathleen Linehan of the Department of Transportation (DDOT) provided the results of a study undertaken by Parsons Brinckerhoff, the transportation consultants. They observed the truck traffic in the South Capitol Street corridor during the day and night, and morning peak hours. They reported that the trash transfer station generates the most traffic, and there is also a lot of activity from the concrete plant, which sends trucks up to South Capitol and M where they do U-turns and go down South Capitol and across the Douglass Bridge. Most trucks to not go up Half Street, but a lot use 1st Street SW to get to Fort McNair. They want to close the frontage on Potomac Avenue and move the traffic east to 1st Street.
A proposal, agreed to by Ms. Linehan, was made to set up a Task Force to monitor the truck traffic south of M Street, from South Capitol to 4th Street SW, particularly important as the traffic increases with new construction. Commissioner Williams and Commissioner Assalaam, whose SMDs are most affected by traffic are to serve on it.
9. Marriott Courtyard Hotel Public Space Permit
The Marriott Courtyard Hotel, opening in March, is requesting a public space permit for an enclosed café extension on the New Jersey Avenue side of the building. Because they are decreasing the size of the bar inside, they want to set up a 12-foot extension to provide 20 additional seats in their lounge area. There will not be any out side service. In answer to a question, the Commission was told that there would be a 45-foot setback on the New Jersey Avenue side of the building, and at least 12 feet on L Street. The hotel does not yet have a certificate of occupancy, without which it cannot be granted a public space permit, so the matter to the Development Committee for its recommendation to the ANC.
Naomi Monk, chair of the Community Outreach Committee, reported that its responsibility is to review grants for the ANC and make recommendations, using the ANC’s guidelines. They plan to meet with PTA’s and other organizations and announced the committee’s next meeting on February 26th at 4 pm at the Thelma Martin Party Room at 240 M Street SW.
11.Resolution in Support of the Reappointment of Maria Delaney
Commissioner Sobelsohn assumed the Chair. Motion: Commissioner Litsky could present a motion in support of the reappointment to a second four-year term of Maria Delaney, Executive Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Registration Administration (ABRA). He praised her as an extraordinary District government employee, and one who is responsive to the needs of the community. The resolution, attached, passed by a vote of 4-0-1, with Commissioner Assalaam abstaining, and Commissioner Siegel not voting.
12.Resolution in Support of Petition on DC Voting Rights
Commissioner Moffatt pointed out the materials in the Commissioner’s packets on a resolution in support of pending Congressional legislation on Congressional voting rights for DC. He suggested that Commission members study the materials and tabled the discussion until next month.
13.Resolution on Child Development Facilities Regulations
Commissioner Skolnik presented a resolution opposing recently promulgated regulations for non-profit child welfare organization facilities, saying that an Advisory Committee has been working on them since 1998, and they are badly designed, overly detailed and excessively burdensome for any but the most structured program that has a full-time facility. In answer to a question from Commissioner Assalaam, Commissioner Skolnik said that the regulations did not affect schools, only social service programs and programs such as his. Commissioner Sobelsohn asked whether the problem was with the process being used to promulgate or with the structure of the regulations, and Mr. Skolnik said that the problem is with both, that there are hundreds of pages of regulations. Commissioner Williams said she couldn’t take a position without knowing more, and Commissioner Litsky said that Commissioner Skolnik should prepare materials with a list of organization that are in favor of his resolution, with the answers to frequently asked questions, etc. Commissioner Sobelsohn moved to table the discussion until the March meeting. It passed 6-1.
Motion: Mr. Sobelsohn moved to reconsider the minutes. It was seconded by Commissioner Moffatt and passed 5-2, with Commissioners Williams and Assalaam opposed.
Motion: Commissioner Skolnik moved to accept the January minutes. It was seconded by Commissioner Siegel. Commissioner Williams made a correction on page 2: in the discussion of Waterside Mall, the language should read: “…extinguish the lease with Waterfront Associates talking ownership of all 13 acres in exchange for the rights to develop the northeast corner of the property.” The minutes passed 4-1-1.
15. Report: Walk-through of Southwest with City Administrator
Commissioner Williams reported on a walk-through of near Southwest that she took with City Administrator Robert Bobb and some constituents. They met at South Capitol and M Streets, and she pointed out the garbage and trash in that area. She also walked him through the Millennium Arts Center, telling him that there were people living in the building, and that the City was providing $100,000 worth of heat for 15 or 20 artists when the homeless people in the building had been displaced. She said she also mentioned the lead and asbestos issues. She said she also showed him the Old Friendship Baptist Church site and said that he was appalled that it was to be used for new condominiums. She stated that she also took him to Waterfront Mall and told him it’s been four years, and the city should use eminent domain to give to someone who can use it to benefit the community.
16. Treasurer’s Report
Commissioner Skolnik gave the treasurer's report for January 9 - February 13, 2006. A copy of his report is attached to these minutes. ANC 6D has $41,258.41 in current funds, including a $4,812.20 allotment of funds from the District government. The savings account has $5,097.79. The report includes expenses submitted for approval of staff salary $554.10 (Check #245); telephone of $102.95 (Check #246); DOES (Oct.-Dec. withholding) $23.52 Check #247); US Treasurer (Federal withholding) $224.91 (Check #248); US Treasurer (Federal withholding) $47.47 (Check #249); ANC Security Fund $25 (Check #250); Roberta Weiner (for petty cash) $102.34 (Check #251); Radio Shack (office supplies) $99.56 (Check #252); Staples (office supplies) $60.15 (check #253). Motion: Commissioner Skolnik made/Commissioner Moffatt seconded a motion to approve the December-January report and to authorize payment of the expenses. The motion passed 7-0.
Motion: Mr. Skolnik moved that the ANC approve the quarterly report for the final quarter of FY 2005. It was seconded by Commissioner Moffatt, and passed 7-0.
Commissioner Skolnik made/Commissioner Moffatt seconded a motion to adjourn. The motion passed 7-0. The meeting adjourned at 10:45 p.m.