The ANC 4A September Meeting took place last night at the Fourth District Police Headquarters. The agenda was light and the meeting was conducted with a good sense of decorum. Here are my highlights:
Walter Reed Demolition Dust Control Update
Last month, the demolition process at the Walter Reed campus hit full stride. Building 2, the massive hospital on the north side of the campus, began to be taken down, piece by piece. This demolition caused a stir and several neighbors were concerned about the amount of dust that was being created in the process. ANC 4B02 Commissioner Tanya Topolewski called an emergency meeting to organize the community’s concerns.
The result of that meeting was the outline for a monitoring plan and an improved communication plan on the part of the project’s developer, Hines | Urban-Atlantic | Triden. Vicky Davis, managing partner at Urban-Atlantic, came to the ANC meeting to provide an interim update on the plans.
Interim Monitoring Results
Environmental Engineering consultant HB Engineering has been on the site monitoring the situation since the day following the emergency meeting. Preliminary results using a laser monitoring tool have shown that the weight of dust particles in the air during the demolition activities is less than half of the permissible limit. The early results show a weight of 60 parts per cubic meter. The EPA limit is 150.
The dust has also been tested for hazardous materials like lead and asbestos. None has been found.
Two additional mobile dust monitoring sensors have been ordered. The devices should be set up by the end of the week.
The demolition site has been visited by a host of government inspectors. Personnel from the DC Department of Energy and Environment, the DC Department of Health and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have all paid visits and the work site has been labeled clean each time.
Communication Plan Actions
Ms. Davis provided the linked “Enhanced Community Communications Initiative” at Tuesday’s meeting. This packet contains a schedule of upcoming construction activities on the Parks at Walter Reed site. The information will be updated monthly and posted on TheParksDC.com web site and on four “Notification Boards” located near the corners of the property. Please share this information with your friends and neighbors.
When Animals Attack
Commissioner Patience Singleton invited DC Animal Services to explain their procedures regarding dangerous animals. This came as a response to two recent recent pit bull attacks in her single member district (SMD 4A04).
Shakira Richardson is an investigator for the DC Department of Health’s (DoH) Animal Services program. She and her colleagues came to share some insight into what steps the city takes after a dog bite is reported.
According to District law, all dog bites must be reported to the Department of Health within 48 hours. An investigator is then assigned to collect all of the important information from the site.
Animal Services does not have enforcement authority and dog owners have extensive rights. Unfortunately, the owners have to voluntarily relinquish their rights to the animal unless a court order is obtained. This usually only occurs when there is a viable threat to the public that can be proven in court.
The animal may be seized or restricted to the home until the outcome of the determination by the Department of Health. This can be a very long process. It also requires the cooperation of witnesses and victims of the dog bite, which may require the submission of affidavits and medical bills to corroborate a claim.
A DoH team that includes an investigator, a program manager and an attorney make a final determination on the animal based on all of the evidence that is presented. A dog may be declared:
- Not dangerous (this can also happen if the dog was provoked before the bite)
- Potentially dangerous (less than serious injuries, less than two sutures required to treat an injury)
After the determination, the owner has 15 days to comply or to surrender the dog. Dangerous dogs that are surrendered are humanely euthanized because they cannot be adopted.
If you come into contact with a dog that is loose and may be a danger to other animals or people, you are encourage to call Animal Services at 202-576-6664 or call the police.
You can see the DC regulations for animal control here.
The Tale of 1210 Holly Street
For the past several years, neighbors on and adjacent to the 1200 block of Holly Street NW have been frustrated with the city and the owners of a run-down and abandoned property at 1210 Holly St. NW. The house had been vacant for at least eight years and spawned many complaints about wild animal harborage and excessive vegetation. In addition, a portion of the house’s back roof appeared ready to collapse.
The history of this home took a major turn last week with the arrival of a wreaking ball. The home was demolished and now lies as a pile of rubble behind a chain link fence. Shepherd Park neighbor and real estate developer Tom Kadida purchased the home last year with the intent to renovate it, but found the structure to be in too bad of shape to revive it. Instead, the home will be replaced with a brand new construction with a slightly larger footprint.
Mr. Kadida’s company has a successful track record of developing luxury single-family, condo and multi-family projects in the city, including 5702 16th Street NW. This new home will be 3,200 square feet (above ground). He expects that the home will be a great addition to the community. His company hopes to welcome a new family to the block next year.
Neighbors present at the meeting were concerned about the health and maintenance of two large diameter “heritage” trees in the site’s backyard. Mr. Kadida promised that the trees would remain in place and that every effort to protect them during the construction would be taken.
This is a “by-right” development, meaning the project does not need any zoning variances or ANC support. However, Mr. Kadida offered to keep the lines of communication between his company and the community open during the construction process.
After we published this blog post, several of the immediate neighbors to the home at 1210 Holly Street contacted me with a lengthy list of concerns about this project. The concerns include questions about the permitting process, the (larger) size of the replacement house and the protection of the heritage trees in the back yard. Ms. Deborah Thomas wrote, “We have desperately wanted the abandoned (house) to be redeveloped. But we want it to be done safely and legally. ”
These neighbors ask all applicable city agencies to closely monitor the project and to pursue enforcement action for alleged violations that have previously occurred.
Meet the New MOCRS
Finally, we were introduced to two new faces from the Mayor’s Office. Kelli Hunter and KeShawn Harris are our new Ward 4 Liaisons from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS). They are replacing Jasmin Benab and Phillip McAuley, who served our community so well and are moving on to other positions.
Ms. Hunter comes to us from private industry where she accumulated experience in communications and public outreach.
Mr. Harris brings a freshly minted Masters degree in Public Studies from The George Washington University. He also has significant experience in public relations and political communication.
MOCRS are the people to call when you need to get something done in the city’s executive branch. We look forward to working with them over the next several years. When you see them, be sure to stop and give them a big Ward 4 welcome!