Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4A held its October meeting Tuesday evening at the Metropolitan Police 4th District Headquarters. This was an unusual meeting. Although the agenda was full, there wasn’t a lot of breaking news. To be honest, it was kinda boring, and the Nat’s Wildcard playoff game was on. Nevertheless, here are my highlights from the meeting.
In Pursuit of Contracting and Employment Diversity
As a District sponsored project, The Parks at Walter Reed is required to have 35% of its onsite construction work handled by businesses that are headquartered in the city. The First Source Law requires at least 51% of all new hires on the project be District residents. Since the beginning, ANC 4A has been dogged in its pursuit of data that they could use to verify that the master developer, Hines-Urban Atlantic-Triden, is meeting these goals. On Tuesday, a gentleman from the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) came by to shed light on the reporting process.
The developer has been providing some contracting information consistently. However, the Commission has complained that the information is not specific enough and arrives too late. The man explained that these public reports cannot be too specific because that would put these local certified businesses (CBEs) at a competitive disadvantage. As long as the total amount of revenue provided to CBEs hits that 35% goal, the master developer will be in compliance.
In the future, DSLBD has agreed to provide copies of the certified reports that they receive from the master developer to the Commission.
14th Street and Aspen Street NW Intersection Changes
Since the opening of the DC International School and Latin American Montessori School buildings, the intersection of 14th Street NW and Aspen Street NW has become a safety hazard. Brightwood Community Association president Monica Goletiani informed the audience that a child was struck by a vehicle last week. That makes six children who have been hit since the schools relocated there a few years ago.
Commissioner Steve Whatley engaged with DDOT, which has proposed several changes at that tight and busy intersection to improve bus operations and enhance pedestrian safety. The changes are technical, but they amount to removing some parking spaces along both streets and moving the stop sign for westbound Aspen Street traffic back 30 feet to allow for additional turning room for WMATA buses.
The Commission approved the resolution in support of the changes.
Urban Forests Matter
Joel Conlon from the DC Department of Transportation’s Urban Forestry Division (UFD) provided an extended Question and Answer session about the city’s publicly owned (street) trees. UFD’s primary mission is to keep the District’s street canopy healthy, safe, and growing. Trees provide ecological, economic and social benefits to the city.
Most of the questions from the audience involved specific service requests.
The city’s tree contractors have been busy in the area. Over 1,600 trees will be planted this year in Ward 4 alone. They have been holding off on the planting due to the lack of rain; the excessively dry soil would pull the moisture out of the root balls of the plantings and kill the trees. He hopes they can begin the planting soon.
If you see a tree with an orange dot, that means it has been marked for removal.
There is a tree disease associated with the Ambrosia beetle that is killing many White Oak trees throughout Shepherd Park, Colonial Village and Crestwood.
Trees that are removed will generally be replaced, but if the location is underneath an electrified power cable, DDOT policy is to install a smaller species of tree that won’t interfere with the line.
Residents can call 311 for Service Requests. Services include Inspection, planting, pruning and removal.
To learn more about Urban Forestry, visit ddot.dc.gov/trees
Children’s Hospital Zoning Change Request
Leila Batties, a land use attorney and Shepherd Park resident, presented a request for support from Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus to add two new zones for the parcel of land they control on the Walter Reed site. If approved by the Board of Zoning Adjustment, this will bring the total number of zone types at Walter Reed to ten. According to the current DC Zoning map, this area is currently not designated (the map shows residential use).
Children’s does not plan to add any new buildings to the site. The request is to make the zoning consistent with the area’s current, practical use. The commission voted to support the change.
Doggie Pickup Bags for Crestwood
Commission Chair Gale Black submitted a request for funds for a Community Enhancement. The Crestwood neighborhood (Single Member District 4A08) has several doggie bag dispensers. Commissioner Black requested $459 from the commission to purchase bag refills for the dispensers.
The ANC approved the request, but not before a lengthy discussion about the utility of ANC funded Community Enhancements. Many of the commissioners seemed to be unaware that this was something they could request for their own districts.
Dog Park and Playground for Walter Reed
Representatives from Urban Atlantic shared an overview of their proposal to add a dog park and playground to the site. They presented an earlier version of this at the latest Walter Reed CAC meeting and pledged to present a complete version at Commissioner Steve Whatley’s Single Member District meeting in mid-October.
Shepherd Park Intramural Friction
The competition for the recently announced Georgia Avenue Main Streets Grant has spurred several local civic organizations to submit bids to operate the program. The success of the bids relies heavily on the amount of community support that each proposal can demonstrate. At last month’s ANC 4A meeting, the Brightwood Community Association (BCA) asked for and received a letter of support from the Commission. That was a coveted prize because the Commission’s opinion carries “great weight” with the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development.
The Shepherd Park Citizens Association (SPCA) has also submitted a bid. Due to timing, it could not request the support of the entire ANC 4A, so the SPCA’s board members sought letters from individual commissioners. SPCA Board member Paula Edwards asked 4A02 Commissioner Stacy Lincoln for a letter, via email on September 16th.
On September 18th, Commissioner Lincoln replied to Ms. Edwards’ private email with three questions and posted it publicly to four local Yahoo! Group pages. Ms. Edwards was obviously furious and rescinded her request for support.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Ms. Edwards stepped forward to share her concern for Commissioner Lincoln’s behavior. She stated that her problem was that the questions involved the internal deliberations of the SPCA. Those questions were not asked of the BCA when it appeared before the Commission. It would be unfair to interfere in a competitive bidding process before a government agency by disclosing information about one bidder and not others.
For his part, Commissioner Lincoln said that he posted the SPCA’s request to the message board because he wanted to be completely transparent and he felt that the public should know that they were applying for the grant as well.
Commissioner Lincoln is a former board member of the SPCA.
Disclosure: I submitted a letter of support for the Brightwood Community Association on behalf of myself as an individual and this blog.
Office of Campaign Finance
Ms. Perry from the Office of Campaign finance Fair Elections Program returned to provide an update on the program. Qualified candidates receive $5 for every $1 in small dollar amount contributions that they raise. To date, 14 participating candidates have have been certified. Five of those people have received $268,000 matching funds for their campaigns and $100,000 in base funds.
I spoke with Ward 4 Council candidate Janeese Lewis George after the meeting. She is one of the certified candidates and looks forward to engaging in the civic debate with the benefit of this public funding.
Upcoming Community Events
- #OpenStreetsDC | October 5th | Georgia Avenue NW, from Missouri to Howard U
- Halloween Parade | October 31st at dusk | Shepherd Recreation Center (Lower Field)
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|