December Meeting Highlights
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4A held its November meeting Tuesday evening at the Metropolitan Police 4th District Headquarters. Here are the top stories that may be of interest to you.
News from Councilmember Todd’s Office
Councilmember Todd’s Chief of Staff Sheryl Newman shared several items of legislative news, including the early workings of bill that attempts to balance the financial impact of Parent – Teacher organizations between wealthy and poorer schools by somehow “assessing” those that raise over $10,000 per year. That bill will surely have an interesting journey. However, the big news of the day was that earlier a DC Council Committee had voted unanimously to expel Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans for a series of ethics violations. If enacted at a second reading later this month, Evans will be the first councilmember in DC history to be expelled by a vote of his colleagues. Councilmember Brandon Todd’s statement following the vote is below:
Response to the DC Comprehensive Plan by ANC 4A
In October, the DC Office of Planning published proposed amendments to a major portion of the city’s Comprehensive Plan. The Comprehensive Plan is a document that guides they city’s growth and development for the future. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions throughout the city were given 65 days to review the proposals and submit comments.
Last month, ANC 4A formed an ad hoc committee of Commissioners and citizens to review the 1,500 page document and submit comments for the Commission’s review. That committee returned the 14 page linked document below:
After a brief discussion and a few changes, the Commission voted to submit the package of comments to the Office of Planning, the Mayor and the DC Council.
The package of comments, and the accompanying testimony by Commission Chair Gale Black, go to great lengths to protect the interests of Single-Family homeowners and car drivers. There is little doubt this sentiment represents the feelings of the Commissioners’ constituents who live in neighborhoods like Crestwood, Shepherd Park and Colonial Village, where the price of homes routinely exceeds $1 million these days.
However, the ideas expressed within seem out-of-touch with the housing pressures that the majority of city residents face. The city is in a full-blown housing crisis. Restricting new housing development to only single residences for such large swaths of the city would be at odds with the Mayor’s goal of adding 36,000 units of housing by 2025. Displacement pressure is like the air in a balloon; if you squeeze (restrict) it in one area it moves somewhere else. Low and moderate-income families are being pushed across the Anacostia River or out of the city altogether.
Thinking on land use and transportation has evolved dramatically over the last decade. This comment package would have fit well in a 1950 DC Comp Plan. While our friends in cities like Minneapolis take progressive steps (link) to create more housing units and address racial and economic segregation, our local leaders seem intent to do the opposite.
I am not advocating that we go as far as Minneapolis did by banning single-family zoning completely (only because it wouldn’t be worth the political fight). However, we have opportunities to increase housing density along our commercial corridors like Georgia Avenue. Downzoning, working against bike and bus lanes and making “single family neighborhoods” sacrosanct will only make it more difficult to reach our common goals.
7551 17th Street NW Curb Cut Application
Finally, we heard the case of 7551 17th Street. To make a long story short, Shepherd Park neighbor and real estate developer Tom Kadida wants to build a home on an oddly shaped and sloped lot in the Colonial Village neighborhood. Mr. Kadida wishes to put a driveway in the front of the house, which would require making a cut in the street curb, an activity that is regulated by the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT). By law, the city had to solicit the ANC’s opinion on the request and consider their recommendation with “great weight”.
Commissioner Phyllis Green (SMD 4A01) drafted a resolution to oppose the request for the following reasons:
- The proposed residence already has a legal easement to use a common driveway with the neighboring house at 1630 Juniper Street NW
- The proposed driveway is within 60 feet of a stop sign, which goes against DDOT regulations
- The proposed driveway will require the removal of a PEPCO utility pole
- The city arborist has rejected a request to cut down a mature city-owned tree in the area of the proposed driveway
In addition to the objections noted above, an unprecedented (in my observation) 22 neighbors of the property either came to the meeting to oppose the plan in person or signed a letter indicating the same. The next-door neighbor even had to pay for a survey of her property to protect one of her heritage trees which had been “accidentally” marked for removal by one of Mr. Kadida’s contractors.
Normally, all of this would be considered a very bad day for someone with a petition before the ANC, but the story goes deeper. Mr. Kadida’s company is the same one that is currently in the process of building a controversial house at 1210 Holly Street NW. The neighbors on that block have been agitated because the house that is rising out of the ground is significantly larger than what was presented in planning documents a year ago. In fact, excavation for the new house was so expansive that it killed an identified heritage tree on that property that the neighbors went to great lengths to protect. The development firm was assessed a five-figure fine for the action, but the damage to the tree canopy is done.
The Commission voted 7 to zero to support opposition to the company receiving permission to create the curb cut.
See the location of the proposed home in the following Google Maps image.
- Ward 4 Holiday Party – 12/7 – Lafayette Elementary School – 6:00 – 8:00 pm
- Shepherd Recreation Center Groundbreaking – 12/17 3:00 pm
- Fort Stevens Recreation Center Environmental Restoration Project Public Meeting – 12/17 6:30 pm
About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4A
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4A represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Colonial Village, Shepherd Park, Brightwood, 16th Street Heights and Crestwood. An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. The Commissioners are elected to two-year terms and serve without pay.
The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government. Although they do not have to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”
These are the members of ANC 4A:
|Single Member District||Commissioner||Neighborhood|
|4A01||Phyllis Caudle Green||Colonial Village||4A01@anc.dc.gov|
|4A02||Stacey Lincoln||Shepherd Park||4A02@anc.dc.gov|
|4A03||Stephen A. Whatley||Shepherd Park/Walter Reed/Brightwood||4A03@anc.dc.gov|
|4A06||Candace Tiana Nelson||Brightwood/16th Street Heights||4A06@anc.dc.gov|
|4A07||Marlene Moss||Brightwood/16th Street Heights||4A07@anc.dc.gov|
|4A08||Gale B. Black||Crestwood||4A08@anc|