September Update from ANC 4B02

This blog post is from the September 2020 newsletter created by Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Erin Palmer, who serves ANC 4B02 in the central part of the Takoma neighborhood. If you live within the 4B02 boundary, you can contact Erin about community issues at

After a short recess, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B is back in session! Check out this month’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner 4B02 newsletter for details regarding the Commission’s September 28th meeting; guidance on how to how to safely and securely cast your vote in the November 3rd election; and tips for completing the 2020 Census. I’ve also provided neighborhood updates, including information on an exciting affordable housing project, and a roundup of articles related to housing justice issues. Be well, and reach out any time!

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B Virtual Meeting
Monday, September 28th, 7:00 p.m. via Zoom

Join Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B for our September Public Meeting on Monday, September 28th at 7:00 p.m. To participate in the virtual meeting, please use the following information:

  • For video participation via Zoom on a computer or mobile device, click here. Meeting ID: 842-1424-9196. Password: 964318.
  • For voice-only participation on a telephone, dial (301) 715-8592. Meeting ID: 842-1424-9196. Password: 964318.
  • To watch (but not participate) via YouTube, click here.

The draft agenda is included below and available on our Commission website. Materials (including draft Resolutions) for our September virtual meeting will also be available on our Commission website

The Commission will be voting on several Resolutions related to traffic calming throughout the neighborhood, including two Resolutions I have proposed related to speed humps along Whittier Street, NW, and 4th Street, NW (by the Takoma Aquatic Center, fields, and playground). These Resolutions are the result of continued communications with dozens of neighbors about speeding on neighborhood streets. I regularly help neighbors with traffic calming requests; if you are interested in pursuing traffic calming on your street, you can read more about the process here and contact me any time. 

This month’s agenda also includes a presentation from the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC related to Initiative 81, which would make the enforcement of laws against natural plant medicines (i.e., magic mushrooms) among the lowest law enforcement priorities. Initiative 81 will be on the ballot for the November 3rd election. In addition, the Commission has invited Paul Kihn, Deputy Mayor for Education, to present on the status of and plans related to distance learning and reopening schools.

If you have questions about the agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at The Commission will next meet again on Monday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m.

Plan Your Vote for the November 3rd Election!


This election season, the Board of Elections will send a mail-in ballot to all DC registered voters! If you choose not to vote by mail-in ballot, you can vote in person at any one of 32 early vote centers or 95 Election Day vote centers. Here’s what you need to know to plan your vote:

If you are not registered to vote and you would like to receive a mail-in ballot, you will need to register to vote by October 13th to receive a mail-in ballot. More information here. (You can also same-day register during early voting or on Election Day. Details here.) You can confirm your voter registration here.

The Board of Elections will begin mailing ballots, along with postage pre-paid, self-addressed envelopes, in early October. Once you receive your mail-in ballot, vote, seal, and sign it as directed. Then return your mail-in ballot by mail (postmarked by November 3rd) or drop at any one of approximately 50 secure drop boxes or at any open vote center (by November 3rd, 8:00 p.m.). 

Drop boxes are scheduled to be available starting in early October. Early vote centers will be open from October 27th through November 2nd (8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.); and early vote centers and Election Day vote centers will be open on November 3rd (7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.). Use this search tool to find the most convenient drop box or vote center. Your normal precinct-based polling place may not be open for this election, so please make sure to check!

The graphics below show convenient drop box and vote center locations for 4B02 residents. These graphics do not show all locations; please check the Board of Elections website for more details.

If you choose not to vote by mail-in ballot, you can vote in person (and same-day register) at any early vote center from October 27th through November 2nd (8:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) and at any early vote center or Election Day vote center on November 3rd (7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.). If you choose to vote in person, voting early is recommended! Use this search tool to find the most convenient vote center. 

If you have questions about making sure you are able to vote in the November 3rd election, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at And to learn more about candidates, check out the Office of Campaign Finance’s 2020 DC Debates for DC Council, At Large and DC State Board of Education, At-Large; the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia’s Voter Guide (available September 30th); and DC Geekery (for information on campaign contributions).

Complete the Census (and contact a friend)!

The 2020 Census deadline is Wednesday, September 30th. According to the latest update from the DC Census Office, the DC self-response rate for the Census is 62.6% and the national rate is 66%. The District self-response rate continues to increase almost daily. Census takers are continuing the hard work of door-to-door follow up to reach more non-response households.

Remember, it’s not too late to self-respond. You can complete the Census at or by calling 1 (844) 330-2020. And you can encourage your neighbors, friends, and family to complete the Census, as well. In addition to important funding for healthcare, workforce assistance, senior and disability services, and food assistance, the 2020 Census will be used to update Ward and Advisory Neighborhood Commission boundaries.

Neighborhood Updates

*Proposed Affordable Housing Development at 6928 Maple: In early September, Petra Development presented plans for an affordable housing development at 6928 Maple Street, NW. All of the proposed 68 units would be deeply affordable housing (via the DC Housing Authority voucher program, whereby residents typically do not pay more than 30% of their income toward rent), and the proposed units are nearly evenly split between one-, two-, and three-bedrooms. The project is within the Takoma Historic District and is subject to review by the Historic Preservation Review Board. While we are early in the process of reviewing and providing feedback on the project, I am excited that this project includes 100% deeply affordable housing. More here.

*Proposed Development at Walter Reed: The Parks at Walter Reed development team will soon begin the design process for the next multifamily project on the campus. Building QRS (see picture to the right for location) will be a 4-5 story building facing Dahlia Street and Georgia Avenue, NW. As part of the public outreach process, there will be community design meetings on October 14th and October 28th, followed by a presentation to Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B. Please check the listservs or contact me via email at for meeting details
*Neighborhood Dog Park Coming Soon (Again): After some additional false starts, according to Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd’s Office, construction on the Takoma Dog Park is scheduled to begin this week and to be completed by Winter. This week is nearly over, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are additional delays. In the meantime, visit the Takoma Brightwood Dog Park Organization to buy an engraved brick in support. Check out the current design in the image below.

*PARK(ing) Day Success: Neighbors in Takoma and across the city gathered last week for PARK(ing) Day, an annual, global event that gives residents, businesses, and organizations an opportunity to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into fun, park-like spots that stimulate conversations about how we use our urban landscape. The event was a great opportunity to check out the 4th/Cedar/Blair intersection improvement project (including a protected bike lane and improved and expanded sidewalks), as well as to visit our beloved 4th Street businesses. Takoma Station and Horace & Dickie’s outdoor seating is wonderful! Special thanks to Laura Barclay, Executive Director of Main Street Takoma, for coordinating the event. *Image below courtesy of Ted Nigrelli.*

*Takoma Neighborhood CleanupTakoma neighbors joined forces on September 12th to clean the neighborhood while socially distanced. Neighbors can easily host cleanups, and the Mayor’s Office of the Clean City has issued a very handy “Litter Cleanup Protocol” to ensure cleanups are effective and safe. Trash bags, gloves, and some tools are available from the Office for contactless pickup.

*Successful Solar in Historic Districts: Neighbors and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners from across the city gathered recently to discuss navigating solar panel installations in historic districts. Steve Preister and Anna Burger, two neighbors who successfully installed solar panels in the Takoma Historic District, discussed their experiences, and Steve Callcott, Deputy Preservation Officer with the Office of Planning, provided his views on the regulatory framework and tips for success. Special thanks to my fellow Commissioners Evan Yeats (4B01) and Geoff Bromaghim (4B07) for co-hosting. You can watch a recording of the discussion by clicking on the image below. And you can read more here.


*DC Government Launches Internet for All Program: The DC government has launched an Internet for All program that will cover the cost of Internet bills for approximately 25,000 low-income families with students in traditional public and charter schools. The District’s Office of the Chief Technology Officer will contact eligible families to ask if they want Internet provided. You can read more about the program, including the sign-up process and eligibility details here. And you can complete Digital Equity in DC Education’s survey regarding access to technology, which will guide future advocacy to close the digital divide. Special thanks local neighbors who have consistently advocated in support of meeting the technology needs of all students as we engage in distance learning. More here.

*Ward 4 Mutual Aid Call for Support: Ward 4 Mutual Aid offers free, customized packages (food, cleaning and hygiene products, diapers, etc.) and distributes clothing and school supplies to individuals in need. The all-volunteer effort in Ward 4 has been a huge success, reaching more than 200 families a week. Ward 4 neighbors can call or text the hotline at (202) 681-3098 to request items. You can sign up to volunteer here, and you can donate hereMore about their efforts and needs here.

Housing Justice News

In February 2020, the Commission approved the formation of a Housing Justice Committee. In anticipation of the Committee beginning its work in the next few months, I’m keeping track of news related to housing justice issues. Here are some highlights:

  • The DC Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to allow Mayor Bowser to prolong the public health emergency, thereby allowing continuation of the District’s prohibition on evictions. The Council also approved temporary legislation that places a one-year moratorium on a District law that grants tax credits to landlords if the Council expands the District’s existing rent control law to more properties, as well as another bill that makes it illegal for property owners to serve tenants with notices to vacate for 60 days after the public health emergency expires. More here.
  • The DC Council’s Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Committee will hold a hearing on several piecemeal efforts related to rent control this Thursday, while a comprehensive rent control reform bill introduced in July by Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) and Trayon White (Ward 8) has yet to be scheduled for a hearing. More here. You can find Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B’s Resolution in support of expanding and improving rent control here.
  • The DC Housing Authority plans to redevelop six properties, rehabilitate four others, and repair hundreds of badly damaged units with the $50 million it received resulting from DC Council budget negotiations. This follows a delayed Housing Authority budget vote. More here and here.
  • Councilmember Elissa Silverman (At-Large) has raised concerns about the abrupt dismissal of a DC Housing Authority Commissioner as “rais[ing] red flags for me whether the swift removal was made to silence dissenting board voices.” More here.
  • A comprehensive piece from Nena Perry-Brown, Street Sense Media, on how privatization of public housing has played out in the District is available here.

SMD 4B02 Remote Office Hours

Let’s chat about the neighborhood by phone, email, or video! During this time, I am canceling my in-person office hours. Please feel free to call me to talk about neighborhood issues during my office hours on the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. or any other time. I can be reached at at (202) 821-6333 and by email at

Phone: (202) 821-6333 | Email: | Website: | Social Media: @Erinfor4B02

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