Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B held its January meeting at the Metropolitan Police 4th District Headquarters Monday evening. What looked like a relatively mundane agenda on paper turned into a real stemwinder; the meeting did not adjourn until nearly 10:00 pm!
Here are my selected highlights from the meeting.
‘GetAround’ App Leading to Uptick in Auto Crime
Sergeant Grabowski delivered the Metropolitan Police Department report. His statistics showed that crime in this sector is roughly at the same level as it was in January of 2019, except for the categories of theft from auto and grand theft auto (stolen vehicles). Six of the cars that were stolen were owned by users of the GetAround car sharing app.
Sgt. Grabowski stated that criminals download the app and use its GPS features to locate available cars. Since the ignition keys are stored inside the vehicle, the criminals simply break the window, grab the keys and drive away. He said that this app is not licensed to operate in the District and officials are looking into measures to ban its use in the city altogether. It goes without saying that residents should strongly reconsider if they are currently using the app.
Report from Councilmember Todd’s Office
Sam Stevens from Councilmember Todd’s office presented their legislative update. A burning question on the local message boards has been the status of the upcoming dog park at Takoma Recreation Center. $300,000 has been budgeted for the project, but little movement has been seen to date. Mr. Stevens reported that a review of the proposed site found an infrastructure problem involving storm water management. Once that issue is addressed, the design work can continue; however there is no timeline for completion as of now.
Report from the Mayor’s Office
Keshawn Harris delivered news from the Mayor’s Office. In addition to the Housing event noted below in the Upcoming Events section, he invited all citizens to take part in Budget Engagement Forums for Fiscal Year 2021.
- Senior Budget Engagement Telephone Townhall
- Edgewood Recreation Center – 2/18
- UDC Student Center – 2/20
- Kenliworth Recreation Center – 2/22
Exact times will be updated when they become available.
Report from the State Board of Education Member
- Coolidge High School Feeder Fest will be held on Wednesday, Jan 29th from 5-8 pm at the high school. All current and prospective families at in-boundary schools are encouraged to attend.
- Mr. O’Leary is collecting children’s books to distribute to local elementary schools. Call him directly to arrange a pickup at 202.236.2184 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Commissioner Alison Brooks made the suggestion that all attendees of the February ANC 4B meeting should bring a children’s book that Mr. O’Leary can deliver to local schools in need.
Friends of the Lamond-Riggs Recreation Center
Former ANC 4B Commissioner Tischa Cockrell and a group of her neighbors won support to create a “Friends of Lamond-Riggs Recreation Center” group. Once established, this group will be able to raise funds to support the mission of the rec center by expanding and aligning the center’s programming with the needs of the surrounding community.
Development Proposal for 300-308 Carroll Street NW
Sassan Gharai, the architect behind 300-308 Carroll Street NW development returned to share the latest updates for his apartment complex across from the Takoma Metro station. Changes to the plan since their last presentation include not adding an additional set of retail bays on the front of the property on Carroll St NW and widening that sidewalk so that it is safe and usable.
The project calls for adding 160 apartments, ranging from studios to a limited number of three-bedroom units. 16 units will be offered at affordable rates (50% and 80% of Area Median Income) under the Inclusionary zoning program.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, this is a really unusual and difficult site to plan. The developer will go before the city’s Historic Preservation Review Board later this month to share the preliminary design. It is anticipated that he will return to ANC 4B in a month or two to seek support for a final design.
Comprehensive Plan Response from ANC 4B
The last major item was a discussion on ANC 4B’s response to the DC Office of Planning’s Comprehensive Plan Update. You can read their draft submission here: ANC4B_Resolution_4B-20-0104.
This commission has engaged in a very thoughtful process for soliciting community feedback. In addition to discussing the Comp Plan at prior general pubic meetings, they held a separate meeting last month to focus on this single topic. They have also included some innovative ideas that jurisdictions in other states and countries are experimenting with.
Despite their hard work and good intentions, the Commission received a rather harsh response from some members of the audience. Former Commissioner Sara Green also reiterated her continuing mission against additional density to “preserve the character” of the Takoma neighborhood.
I believe the complaints express an underlying fear of change and fear of being priced out of the community. These are legitimate concerns. The city’s comprehensive plan cannot solve all of these problems, but it will shape the result we achieve. As demand for housing near job centers and vibrant communities like ours increases, we as a community need to either create more housing to meet the need or we can continue to watch prices rise to ever increasing heights.
Speakers mentioned a variety of upcoming events that may interest the reader. Here is a selection:
- The Groundbreaking ceremony for the 16th Street Circle NW improvements will be held on February 1, 2020 at 11 am.
- Mayor Bowser’s “Continuing Conversations on Housing” event will take place on February 8th at noon at the Howard Theatre. Stop by to learn about the next steps in her plans to create 36,000 units of housing by 2025.
- A coalition of social justice groups will hold a Pay Stub Clinic on February 19 at 6:30 pm to teach residents about Employer Wage Theft. Learn more at http://bit.ly/36x4uV8 .
About Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B
Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 4B represents the Ward 4 neighborhoods of Takoma, Manor Park and Lamond-Riggs. 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 4B:
|Single Member District||Name|
|4B06||Tiffani Nichole Johnson||4B06@anc.dc.gov|
|4B09||LaRoya A. Huff||4B09@anc.dc.gov|