Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A Chair Phil Toomajian called the monthly meeting to order at Miner Elementary School, 601 15th St. NE, with Commissioners Sondra Phillips-Gilbert, Marie-Claire Brown, Mike Soderman, Patrick Malone, Stephanie Zimny, Calvin Ward and Amber Gove in attendance.
Councilmember Charles Allen
Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen spoke at the meeting on a range of community-related topics.
Chair Toomajian thanked Allen for getting a commitment from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) not to tow cars parked on the Rock’n’Roll Marathon route.
Key points from Allen’s presentation:
- There will be a Ward 6 Budget Roundtable meeting at Watkins Elementary School (420 12th St. SE) from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, April 23. Residents are encouraged to attend to share their priorities.
- Full modernization is planned for Jefferson (801 Seventh St. SW) and Eliot-Hine (1830 Constitution Ave. NE) middle schools. Demolition has begun at Maury Elementary School (1250 Constitution Ave. NE). Miner and Tyler elementary schools (1001 G St. SE) will have new play spaces.
- Allen spoke on the NEAR (Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results) Act, which is intended to interrupt violence and promote community policing by treating safety as a public health issue. Conflict mediators and social programs help people change their circumstances. One key component is pre-arrest diversion for individuals experiencing mental health issues.
- A program is being developed to assist with home down-payments for the District’s first responders, 80 percent of whom now live outside the District. This is an effort to encourage responders to live in the community they serve and to improve recruitment.
- Allen expressed concerns about the timing gap between the closing of the DC General Homeless Shelter, scheduled to take place this fall, and the opening of new facilities, which will likely require 18 months.
- Multiple shootings, including some during daylight hours, have occurred in the area near Miner Elementary School. It appears that two groups on either side of Benning Road NE are feuding. Interventions are being planned to reduce the conflict.
- The site of the former R.L. Christian Library (corner of 13th and H streets NE) will be redeveloped entirely as affordable housing with family-friendly, two- and three-bedroom units.
Victims Services and Justice Grants
Michelle M. Garcia, Director, DC Office of Victims Services and Justice Grants, provided information on programs her office supports including:
- The DC Victim Hotline, 1-844-4HELPDC, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which provides information and referrals for victims of all crimes in the District of Columbia. The line accepts text as well as voice calls. Online chat is available at www.DCvictim.org/chat.
- The Crime Victims Compensation Program, which assists victims and their families with the financial burden that results from violent crime. More information can be found at www.dccourts.gov or by calling 202-879-4216.
- “Show Up, Stand Out,” a truancy reduction program, which has a new focus on ninth-grade students, an age when there is a marked increase in truancy. There is a pilot program at Eastern Senior High School (1700 East Capitol St. NE).
- A security camera rebate program open to individuals, businesses and nonprofits. Those who cannot afford the cameras and qualify for certain types of public assistance can apply to have them installed for free. For more information visit www.ovsjg.dc.gov.
Right Care, Right Now
DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief of Staff Amy Mauro offered information on a new initiative, “Right Care, Right Now,” aimed at reducing the burden of emergency services for medical situations that are not truly life-threatening, by referring callers to the most appropriate healthcare. This may or many not include transport to a hospital emergency department. 911 operators will ask questions about the caller’s medical symptoms and will decide whether to transfer the call to the Right Care, Right Now line, where a trained nurse will make the determination on the best course of care. If the nurse decides that the condition can best be treated at one of the identified medical clinics (rather than a hospital emergency room), and the caller is a Medicaid beneficiary or a DC Healthcare Alliance enrollee, the nurse can arrange for transportation to the clinic, usually within 30 minutes.
Transportation and Public Space actions
The commissioners voted unanimously to send letters to Councilmember Charles Allen in support of 1) naming an alley in the 600 block of 11th Street NE “Bruce Robey Way,” in recognition of the namesake’s community-building efforts on the H Street corridor, and 2) the ceremonial renaming of the 200 block of 10th Street NE as “Outlaw Way,” in honor of Pocahontas Outlaw who, with her husband, was an outstanding member of the community.
The commissioners considered a recommendation of the ANC 6A Transportation and Public Space Committee (TPS) to send a letter of opposition with regard to a public space application at 809 12th St. NE. The business owners at that location have been cited twice for keeping an automated teller machine (ATM) at this location in violation of public space regulations. Their public space application may be an effort to legitimize the ATM. However, they did not respond to repeated requests from the TPS to provide information regarding their application, failed to attend the TPS meeting at which their case was considered, and did not send a representative to the ANC 6A meeting, so the details are unknown. Despite the apparent lack of cooperation by the applicant, a majority of the commissioners voted against sending a letter of opposition. Those in favor of opposing the application were Toomajian, Gove and Soderman. Those siding with the business were Malone, Phillips-Gilbert, Ward and Brown. Zimny was not present at the time of the vote.
Economic Development and Zoning Actions
The commissioners will send a letter of support to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in support of a special exception to enclose an existing rear, third-floor deck at 1226 North Carolina Ave. NE.
The commissioners also voted unanimously to send a letter to DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson in opposition to the current draft of the proposed Framework Element of the DC Comprehensive Plan. According to the draft letter: “The opposition of ANC 6A to the proposed plan is based on the lack of proper process in developing and reviewing the revised comprehensive plan, and our fear that the language currently in use will weaken DC’s zoning regulations and lead to potential chaos in development activities.”
A bit of background will help. The Comprehensive Plan (CP) is the District’s primary land-use document. The Framework Element (FE) is the “definitions” section where the terms are laid out. The Office of Planning periodically updates the document. A commitment was made that, following an extensive comments period during which many individuals, ANCs and other civic groups provided input, the revised document would be presented, in its entirety, to the public for a required 30-day review. Instead, the FE was broken off and sent directly to the Council for consideration. The remainder of the CP has not been released. The language in the FE appears intentionally ambiguous to make it more difficult for the community to defend itself against unwanted and/or inappropriate development.
The ANC will send a letter to the DC Council requesting reinstatement of the ANC sign-language interpreter fund.
Reports & Announcements
Toomajian announced that Gerald Brown, of the Department of Health’s rodent abatement program, will appear at the April 12 ANC meeting.
Ward reported that stolen cars are accumulating in the alley bounded by D, E, 18th and 19th streets NE. He continues to work with the District Department of Transportation to have them removed.
ANC 6A meets on the second Thursday of every month (except August), usually at Miner Elementary School.
The 6A committees meet at 7 p.m. on the following schedule:
Alcohol Beverage and Licensing, third Tuesday of the month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.
Community Outreach, fourth Monday of the month, Eastern Senior High School, 1700 East Capitol St. NE.
Economic Development and Zoning, third Wednesday of the month, Sherwood Recreation Center, 640 10th St. NE.
Transportation and Public Space, third Monday of the month, Capitol Hill Towers, 900 G St. NE.
Visit www.anc6a.org for calendar of events, changes of date/venue, agendas and other information.