ANC 4A – Advisory Neighborhood Commission November Meeting Highlights

Greetings.  Due to another community meeting that was scheduled at roughly the same time, I joined the November ANC 4A meeting in progress.  This was a fairly routine affair.  I’ll highlight four main points of interest.

  • A Resolution for the District Government to Divest from Wells Fargo Bank

    • Commissioner Steve Whatley (SMD 4A03) introduced this Resolution to support a “Sense of the Council” urging the reassessment of the city’s financial relationship with Wells Fargo Bank.
    • In the past few years, Wells Fargo has been charged with a series of unethical business practices including housing  discrimination against African-American and Hispanic customers, fraudulent fee structures, and discrimination against its own employees.
    • Multiple cities and organizations, including Seattle, Washington, have already divested billions of dollars from Wells Fargo accounts.
    • The District has a deep relationship with this bank, including the use of their payroll services.  Wells Fargo is also the trustee for the city’s general obligation bonds and currently holds about $2 billion of our investment portfolio.
    • Sheryl Newman, Councilmember Todd’s Chief of Staff, informed the Commission and the audience that the city’s banking relationship is under the purview of the Chief Financial Officer, which is an office that is independent of the Council and Mayor.  The CFO can study the issue and make a recommendation to the executive (Mayor) to act.
    • The commission voted to support the resolution and urge the Council to reexamine our relationship with this institution.
  • An Alcoholic Beverage License (On-premises Class C – Spirits, beer and wine ) for the new Oohs & Aahs Soul Food Restaurant

    • Karen Abbot and Alison Reese, the restaurant owners, were there to present their case.
    • Commissioner Karrye Braxton (SMD 4A06) had been working with the owners on the Settlement agreement between the restaurant and the immediate community.
      • Highlights of this agreement call for limiting alcohol sales to 11 am to 12 am on Sunday through Thursday, and 11 am to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
    • The ANC passed the amended resolution, which included the Settlement Agreement.
  • An Alcoholic Beverage License (Off-premises Class B – Beer and Wine) renewal for Lena Market at 1206 Underwood Street NW

    • Commissioner Patience Singleton (SMD 4A04) led this discussion.
    • The store owners were present to state their case for renewal. Currently Beer and Wine sales account for  20% of their revenue.
    • The community had indicated resistance to renewing this license, though none of the neighbors showed up to speak at this meeting.
    • Due to a misunderstanding about a community outreach request from Cmr. Singleton, the ANC voted to formally protest the renewal of the license and work with the store owners to develop a community agreement with the neighbors before the December meeting when the license will be looked at again.
  • Support for TOPA financing for Takoma Place Apartments

    • The Takoma Place Apartments, located at the corner of Georgia Ave & Aspen St NW, were recently put up for sale by its owners.  There are 104 units among seven buildings on that site.  It is one of the few remaining affordable housing sites in the neighborhood.
    • Upon notice of the sale, the tenant association chose to exercise its TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act) and assign those rights to a non-profit developer, the NHP Foundation.
    • NHP Foundation is seeking financing from DHCD to replace its bridge loans and allow them to renovate the property.
    • No current residents will be displaced and the rents will remain affordable (60% of AMI)
    • Parking remains a major issue with this complex, which will not likely be resolved any time soon.  The building is 80 years old and was simply not designed to be compatible with cars.
    • The commission voted to approve the resolution, which encourages DHCD to provided $13M in financing for this project.

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