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Home​NewsCRYSP Presents A Vision for RFK to ANC 6B

CRYSP Presents A Vision for RFK to ANC 6B

Appearing at the March 14 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B were the following: Frank Avery (6B01, Treasurer); Jerry Sroufe (6B02), David Sobelsohn (6B03, Secretary); Frank D’Andrea (6B04); Kasie Durkit (6B05, Parliamentarian); Chander Jayaraman (6B06, Vice Chair); Vince Mareino (6B07); Edward Ryder (6B08, Chair); Matt LaFortune (6B09).

Michael Godec, a representative for Capitol Riverside Youth Sports Park (CRYSP), appeared to present on CRYSP’s visioning to improve programs and opportunities at RFK Stadium Campus. In addition to managing The Fields at RFK, CRYSP does advocacy and research to make more space available for recreation for today’s youth in the District. The overall site is managed by Events DC.

A survey of Ward 6 and 7 communities found that there are two significantly underserved populations: seniors 55-plus looking to be active and youth aged 10-14 who are not otherwise engaged in organized sports and just want to have somewhere to go and play.  But demand for current RFK facilities exceeds supply by somewhere between 2 and 3 to 1.

Godec has brought one concept for the future of the site to ANC 6B to get feedback and bring it back to Events DC. The plans largely concern the fields formerly used for practice used by DC United, which are in disuse. Ideas include a baseball and soccer field, open courts, pickle ball courts, a boat launch and river access.

Godec said Events DC would like a small 2000-3000 stadium, which they propose for the center of the site. They want something that will draw people to the area, Godec said, such as a field for DC’s ultimate frisbee team, DC Breeze, or for other regional and national events.

The vision CRYSP is developing would serve as a launchpad for a plan for what Events DC might do, Godec said and to help ensure that whatever Events DC does “is attractive to and supported by the community and the neighborhood at large.”

Godec said he has no sense of timing for improvements to the site. The land is owed by the federal government, leased by the National Park Service (NPS) to DC, and under the management of Events DC in an arrangement that requires the site be used for recreation. He said the fact that the lease between DC and NPS expires in 2038 likely prevents huge capital investments at the site.

Godec suggested community members send their ideas to Events DC via rfkoutreach@eventsdc.com.

Debate Over Commissioner Relationship with Appointees

The commission voted 8-0 with one abstention from Commissioner David Sobelsohn (6B03) to elect an amended slate of resident members to ANC committees. The vote took place after Sobelsohn withdrew his candidate. There was some tense debate about whether a commissioner who appoints a resident member can make an agreement with that appointee for the latter to recuse themselves from particular matters under consideration.

Secretary Sobelsohn argued that such an agreement is the prerogative of the commissioner who appointed the member. He said he thought the bylaws were clear: that commissioners have the power to remove resident members they appoint:  “And if we have the power to remove someone,” he argued, “then we have the power to say to that person: “this is how we want you to vote, and if you don’t vote this way, we’ll remove you.”

Resident members may vote on matters heard by their committee or task force, but do not have a vote on matters heard by the full commission. Alternate resident members may only vote in at the absence of the resident member for the same Single Member District (SMD).

The conversation centered around Sobelsohn’s own alternate member appointment to the ANC Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee, Alessandro A. Milio, who works for Rose’s Luxury. Sobelsohn expressed concern that there might be a conflict of interest during discussions about Milio’s employer’s license or competitors.

Sobelsohn said Milio had agreed to recuse himself from discussion of liquor licenses on Barracks Row because, Sobelsohn said, they would either concern his employer or the employer’s competitors.

Parliamentarian Kasie Durkit (6B05) said that while Sobelsohn was using the rule to avoid conflict of interest, its application might create a bad precedent, noting that most members could find conflict of interest between their professional roles and as commissioners. ANC bylaws were changed in February so that resident or alternate members could be removed at any time by the commission or by the commissioner who made the appointment.

Commissioners LaFortune, Avery and Mareino all agreed that conditions should not be placed on resident members. Avery said the onus was on the participant in committee work. Not to do so, Avery said, would be the grounds for removal.

Commissioner Chander Jayaraman (6B06) said the resident members are smart people and that, while Milio should not be able to speak on applications from his employer, Jayaraman also said he does not think its appropriate to provide conditions around resident member appointments.

In Other Business

The commissioner voted unanimously to support:

  • A letter to Councilmember Charles Allen (D) urging him to support interim services during the Southeast Library Renovation, slated to begin this summer, as well as to meet with the ANC Southeast Library Task Force;
  • A letter to DC Council supporting Councilmember Allen’s request to include funds for renovations to Garfield Park in the budget, including park connection enhancements and the addition of at least four pickle ball courts;
  • A Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application for special exception to the lot occupancy requirements to allow for a two-story rear deck addition to an attached, three-story house with cellar at 718 North Carolina Ave SE. The ANC had asked the applicant to address neighbor concerns and found conversations satisfactory.

ANC 6B next meets at 7 p.m. April 11. Get info at anc6b.org

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