ANC 3/4G Meeting Minutes
Monday, March 27, 2017
Chevy Chase Community Center, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015
Present: Speck, Fromboluti, Tuck-Garfield, Clayman, Malitz
Absent: Maydak, Bradfield
Attendance: Approximately 28 people attended the meeting.
Adoption of Agenda: The agenda was adopted by a vote of 5 – 0.
Age Friendly DC — Age Friendly DC is holding community consultations at the Chevy Chase Library on April 7 from 9:30 to 11:30 to discuss its Strategic Plan. The topics for this discussion include: Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, Transportation, Housing, Social Participation, Respect and Social Inclusion, Civic Participation and Employment, Communication and Information, Community Support and Health Services, Emergency Preparedness and Resilience, Elder Abuse, Neglect, Fraud, and Other Legal Issues, Food Security, and Caregiving. There will be similar meetings at other locations through the end of April. More information is available at the Age Friendly DC website, http://agefriendly.dc.gov/page/community-consultations-0. Residents need to register to attend.
Ingleside — The ANC’s agreement with Ingleside at Rock Creek includes provisions that protect nearby residents and institutions from the remote possibility that their buildings might be damaged by construction activities. Before any construction begins, Ingleside is required to offer a free survey for any residences or institutional buildings within 200 feet of the site to establish the pre-construction conditions. This baseline can then be used to determine whether there might be any damage caused by the construction. Ingleside sent notices the week of March 20 to those nearby residences and institutions inviting them to take advantage of this free survey. They should respond to Steve Van Dorpe at Ingleside (SVanDorpe@inglesideonline.org) by April 6, 2017. This date may be extended to April 13.
In addition, any other resident or institution that is located more than 200 feet from Ingleside may ask for a survey if there is a reasonable possibility that they might be affected by a specific action during construction of the expansion project. If they wish to request a survey, they should also contact Steve Van Dorpe (SVanDorpe@inglesideonline.org) by April 6, 2017.
Julian Bond Memorial Bench — At the DDOT oversight hearings on March 13, Councilmember Cheh observed that it was “beyond absurd” that DDOT had not worked out the arrangements to install a bench in front of the Community Center to honor Julian Bond, and she reported that DDOT would install the bench if the ANC would provide the plaque to go on it. After the hearing, however, DDOT’s Public Space Committee Chair wrote Chair Speck that the ANC would have to take responsibility for the bench, which had been the impediment before. Three different people at DDOT had given three different answers about what needed to be done. Finally, on March 27, DDOT’s Deputy Director indicated that he had “asked our team to install a standard black metal bench that we have available from a previous streetscape project. I am awaiting a timeframe for that installation, and will try to get that for you in the next day or so.”
Public Service Commission Hearing — The Public Service Commission has set a final community hearing for April 12 on Pepco’s request for a $77 million rate increase. The Office of People’s Counsel opposes Pepco’s rate increase. Anyone wishing to testify may do so at the PSC community hearing on April 12th, contact the Office of the Commission Secretary by 5 p.m., April 7, 2017 at (202) 626-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins also will be allowed. The PSC will accept written comments until April 25, 2017, which may be dropped off at its offices at 1325 G Street NW or submitted at the PSC’s website, www.dcpsc.org.
People’s Climate March — People’s Climate March will be held on April 29th. For more information, go to their website at http://www.peoplesclimate.org/.
Councilmember Bonds — At-large Councilmember Anita Bonds is holding a Community Coffee Hour at “Politics and Prose” on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 10:00 am.
DDOT Oversight Hearings — Commissioner Tuck-Garfield testified on behalf of the ANC at the Council’s DDOT oversight hearings on March 13, summarizing eight recent concerns with DDOT’s performance. The testimony was well received, and both Councilmembers Cheh and Todd expressed their support for the ANC’s concerns. The testimony is available on the Committee’s website, http://dc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=3799, and the ANC’s testimony begins about two and a half hours into the hearing.
DC Housing Expo — The DC Housing Expo and Home Show will be held on June 24 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Convention Center. This program is presented by the District Department of Housing and Community Development. Workshop topics include Aging in Place and Senior Friendly Housing Alternatives, Energy Efficiency, and Strategies for Reducing Clutter.
Quarterly Report — Commissioner Tuck-Garfield thanked Allen Beach and Jeralynn Graham for their work in preparing the ANC’s quarterly report. The ANC’s reports are in good standing with the Auditor.
Attorney General’s Legal Forum — Commissioner Fromboluti reported on the March 18 legal forum sponsored by the District’s Attorney General. Gottlieb Simon, Director of the ANC Office, described the new ANC legislation and its impact on Commissions. The Director of the Office of Consumer Protection identified scams that residents should watch out for and offered to come to a future ANC meeting to describe those scams for the community. The Director of the Office of Government Ethics spoke on ethical rules for ANC commissioners.
Reno Road and 39th Street Intersection.
Reno Road — Commissioner Fromboluti described his March 21 meeting with MPD Second District’s Lt. Alan Hill and several of the residents near the Reno Road and 39th Street intersection. Lt. Hill was very accommodating during the hour-long meeting and will participate in a meeting with Councilmember Cheh and DDOT in an effort to arrive at a solution that meets the residents’ concerns. Lt. Hill identified the problem as primarily one of poor visibility, not excessive speed on Reno Road. Among other possible solutions, Lt. Hill suggested installation of a flashing yellow light.
Bells at Blessed Sacrament — Commissioner Malitz indicated that Blessed Sacrament would meet on March 27 to discuss plans for resuming use of the bells at the church. The church has been forthright in addressing this topic with the community. Some residents support the bells, but there are some that have expressed concerns.
Ian Maggard from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services invited residents to attend the Mayor’s State of the District address on March 30 at 5:30 at UDC’s Center for Performing Arts.
Jackson Carnes from Councilmember Todd’s office indicated that the Councilmember recently met with the new Rock Creek Park Superintendent, who is committed to working with District residents to make the Park accessible. The Councilmember also held hearings on his bill to provide protection for pets during extreme weather and participated in the DDOT oversight hearings. A resident asked whether the Councilmember would support providing senior services at the Chevy Chase Community Center comparable to those at the Fort Stevens Recreation Center.
Anthony Castillo from Councilmember Cheh’s office announced the schedule for budget hearings before the Councilmember’s Committee on Transportation and the Environment, including DDOT on April 24 and the Department of Parks and Recreation on April 26. He also reported that DDOT has agreed to install a bench on Connecticut Avenue to honor Julian Bond, and he committed to working with the ANC and Mr. Bond’s family on the wording for a plaque. A resident also asked what the Councilmember was doing to provide senior services in Ward 3, and Mr. Castillo reported that she was working on creating “virtual senior centers” since there is no brink-and-mortar senior center.
Ruth Robbins, President of the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle, described their efforts to improve and beautify Chevy Chase Circle. The Circle is National Park Service property, and the Friends have partnered with NPS. They are currently conducting their first fund raiser in 25 years. Donations may be made at their website, http://friendsofchevychasecircle.org/donate.php. With the assistance of Casey Trees, they are planting six new trees in the Circle. They have a $35,000 grant to replace the benches in the park, the first replacement in 60 years. Finally, they are placing plantings in the Connecticut Avenue triangle in front of the bus turnout in what they hope will be more extensive plantings in tree boxes along Connecticut Avenue.
Deean Rubin, President of the Chevy Chase Citizens Association, announced that the CCCA’s public safety meeting would be held on April 6 at 7:30 at the Community Center. Lt. Hill from the Second District will make a report and take questions. On April 18, the CCCA will hold its annual “green” meeting at 7:30 at the Community Center. The Chesapeake Foundation will make a presentation on solar energy.
Discussion of a survey plan to help identify community desires and needs for the Chevy Chase Community Center and Surrounding Facilities: Chair Speck indicated that for several months, the ANC — in conjunction with the Chevy Chase Citizens Association — has been considering the future of the Community Center facilities. Over the course of several meetings, the ANC has been developing a plan to survey residents and Community Center users to determine how they currently use the Community Center and the types of facilities and programs that they want for the future.
Chair Speck reported that Amy Mack, with assistance from Patrick Williams and others, has been especially helpful in putting together a proposed survey plan. The group’s objective would be to conduct the survey in late April or May, before the summer holidays. After analyzing the survey results, the group hopes to begin formulating recommendations to the Council and the Mayor by about September.
Ms. Mack described the proposed survey plan that has been developed over the course of three community meetings since December. She emphasized that development of the survey was community led. It began with consultations with the Palisades group that conducted a survey for their recreation center. For our survey, the focus was on residents in ANC 3/4G and Community Center users, regardless of where they live. We hope to get DPR’s assistance in getting the survey to Community Center users. The survey is intended to identify the ways that the Community Center is currently used and what people want and need for future uses.
A resident emphasized that the Community Center is used by residents outside ANC 3/4G, and they should be included in the survey. The Chair indicated that everyone is welcome to participate in the survey and that no one will be excluded, no matter where they live.
Residents also noted the need to improve services at the Community Center in the near term — e.g., removal of trash, cleaning the bathrooms, fixing locks, and generally improving the condition of the building. The Commission agreed that these conditions need to be addressed, including at higher levels within DPR and DGS. Commissioner Tuck-Garfield indicated that the Commission might consider resolutions to seek correction of these problems.
The next steps for the survey will include review by the Commissioners, possible testing on a representative focus group, and finalization of the survey plan. The Commission will address these issues at its April 24 meeting.
Discussion with Tanya Hedgepeth, Construction Outreach Coordinator for DC Water,
of DC Water’s updated plans for the Oregon Avenue sanitary sewer rehabilitation project,
and discussion of coordination with other prospective and pending projects:
Ms. Hedgepeth indicated that DC Water had been coordinating with DDOT, the National Park
Service, Ingleside at Rock Creek, St. John’s College High School, and Knollwood as it progresses with the sanitary sewer rehabilitation that runs below Oregon Avenue and Bingham Drive. This project began in December 2016, and is scheduled to be completed in April 2019.
Ms. Hedgepeth said that beginning on April 3, DC Water will close Oregon Avenue entirely between Oregon Knolls and Private Drive. This closure in both directions will continue until December 2018. Oregon Knolls and Unicorn Lane will still be accessible on Oregon Avenue from Tennyson, and that stretch of Oregon Avenue will be two-way. The private drive residents may access their homes from Chestnut Street. Residents will always have access to their homes.
Because of the increased traffic on Tennyson, residents asked whether signs will be placed to alert drivers to children in that neighborhood. DC Water did not know since that would be a DDOT responsibility. There will be no construction work on Tennyson.
Kristine Marsh from WMATA explained that the E-6 bus would continue to access Knollwood from the main entrance on Oregon Avenue. The bus will come down Tennyson to Oregon Avenue, pick up passengers at Knollwood, and continue south on Oregon Avenue. This new route necessitates a new schedule, which will mean a few more minutes between buses. WMATA is considering adding a temporary stop on Tennyson to accommodate passengers who had previously boarded the bus on Oregon Avenue north of Tennyson. Operators are being trained on the new route, which will begin on April 3. Notices for the new route reportedly went up on March 21. Commissioner Tuck-Garfield asked that WMATA check to see that those notices are still being displayed.
Paul Hoffman, DDOT’s Program Manager, indicated that he has been following DC Water’s plans since January to assess the impact on plans for the Oregon Avenue reconstruction. DDOT will hold a “design wrap-up” meeting on Tuesday, April 18, from 6:30 to 8:00 at the Community Center to present its final designs for the Oregon Avenue reconstruction project. This meeting will address the community’s previous comments and will show the impact of the construction on trees and vegetation along the right-of-way. DDOT is sorting out issues with DC Water’s project, which requires resequencing the Oregon Avenue reconstruction. They now plan to begin work on the northern section, from Beech Street to Western, then move to the southern portion from Rittenhouse to Military Road, and then to do the central section from Rittenhouse to Beech Street once DC Water has completed its work. They now anticipate starting work in the first quarter of 2018 and finishing in 2020.
Councilmember Todd – Councilmember Todd joined the meeting and indicated that he met with the Mayor and DDOT Director Dormsjo about our ANC’s concerns with DDOT’s performance. He said that they are all committed to improving DDOT’s responsiveness. They are working on identifying a DDOT liaison person for the ANC. The Councilmember also indicated that he has met with the Office on Aging to address seniors’ issues in the Ward. With respect to the budget process, he said that he supports additional money for infrastructure improvements. Finally, he recently met with the Rock Creek Park Superintendent and discussed the Beach Drive closure.
A resident suggested that the traffic on Utah Avenue from Northampton to Military Road has increased significantly since the closure of Oregon Avenue, and it would increase still more once Beach Drive opens to Broad Branch Road. He asked that this portion of Utah Avenue be monitored both by DDOT and MPD. The Councilmember indicated that he would alert those agencies to this concern.
Presentations by DC SUN and the District’s Sustainable Energy Utility on consumers’
guidance for residents considering going solar: Chair Speck said that some companies
have recently emailed Commissioners and residents with offers to install solar panels
on residential homes. Since these offers come from for-profit companies and may not be
in home owners’ best interests, some of the Commissioners suggested that it would be helpful
to have a more unbiased presentation of options for solar installations.
The Chair introduced two of the most knowledgeable sources for this information — Anya Schoolman, the founder of the non-profit solar consumer advocate, DC SUN and the Community Power Network, and Ted Trabue, the Managing Director of the District’s Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU).
Ms. Schoolman described the origins of DC SUN and its efforts to organized neighborhood co-ops who collaborate to solicit competitive bids for installation of residential solar. By banding together, residents can significantly reduce their installation costs and up-front costs for ownership of their solar systems. She indicated that there are currently co-ops forming in Manor Park and Georgetown, and one need not reside in those communities to join the co-op. Additional information is on DC SUN’s website, dcsun.org. Ms. Schoolman also indicated that recently adopted rules now allow for “Community solar” so that District residents who cannot install solar panels on their own roofs (e.g., because their house is shaded or has a slate roof or because they are renters) may still go solar by owning a portion of the solar installation on another rooftop, and they will receive the same benefits as if they had the panels on their own roofs.
Mr. Trabue described the SEU’s efforts to expand solar in Wards 5, 7 and 8. The SEU has installed solar at no cost to residents who cannot afford solar otherwise. He noted that for those who cannot afford to own a solar installation on their roofs, they may lease the solar panels at no cost to the resident. They would not receive the tax benefits or the Renewable Energy Credits, but they could reduce their electricity bills. Finally, he described the “Energy for All” program administered by the District Department of Energy and the Environment (DOEE). This program will be funded with $13 to $14 million for solar, and there may be another $20 million within three months. He urged the ANC and residents to be alert for these programs, and they may wish to contact DOEE to learn more. The objective is to add 100,000 new solar installations in the District.
Presentation by Karima Holmes, Director, DC Office of Unified Communications:
Director Holmes heads the District agency that is responsible for emergency 911, non-emergency and basic city service 311 call activities for the Metropolitan Police Department, DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, and the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center.
Ms. Holmes described her 17 years of experience in call centers, beginning as a 911 operator. She has been the Director of the Office of United Communications since January 2016. The call center handles about 4 million calls a year, 1.8 million of which are 311 calls that are dispatched to other agencies. Her agency is also responsible for hand-held radios and radio towers and has about 400 employees.
Ms. Holmes established a 311 Task Force to improve 311 service. Among other issues, the Task Force addresses the criteria for closing a 311 call, the creation of a training and quality assurance division, and the need to hire new call takers to relieve burned out employees and to reduce call hold times. Our ANC has had 6,465 311 calls in this fiscal year, most related to trash pickup and potholes.
For 911 calls, Ms. Holmes said that 60% to 90% of these calls are not emergencies, and her office began a campaign to educate the public about when to call 911, when to call 311, and when to simply look up the needed information. She emphasized that the 911 call taker is not the dispatcher, and the call taker may continue to gather necessary information after the dispatcher has already sent responders. Her office also provides 911 recordings to the Attorney General if they are needed in legal proceedings.
Finally, Ms. Holmes described the Smart 911 program, which allows residents to create a profile that will be retrieved when they make a 911 call and may be used by first responders to enhance their ability to address the situation. This profile information is only available to the police or fire responders, not to other agencies or the public. Ms. Holmes also said that pressing and holding “9” for four seconds will automatically call 911.
Proposed resolution on meeting procedures and video recording of meetings:
Commissioner Malitz described the benefits of a video recording system for ANC meetings, including enhancing the ability of more people to be involved in our meetings, accessibility of the full meeting to those who cannot attend, and improved transparency for Commission activities. Video recording is now inexpensive and can be easily made available to the public through the Commission’s website and social media.
Commissioner Clayman described the process that the ANC will follow to implement video recordings. First, the Commission will adopt norms for how the meeting is run. Although some of these norms are followed some of the time, a more uniform procedure will improve the quality of video recordings and the Commission’s meetings. Included in these norms are (1) speakers will address the ANC from a microphone at a designated spot, (2) the Chair (or a designee) will recognize speakers so that only one person will speak at a time, (3) no one will speak twice on a topic until everyone has been heard, and (4) the Commission may adopt time constraints for speakers. Commissioner Clayman indicated that these norms would be implemented at our next meeting in April to test their effectiveness, and we would implement video recording no later than the ANC’s first meeting in June. Video recordings will be made available to the public as quickly as reasonably possible after meetings beginning at the second meeting in June.
The resolution was offered with amendments to describe the review process more completely and to permit the Chair to designate another Commissioner to recognize speakers. With those modifications, the resolution passed by a vote of 5 to 0.
Minutes: February 27, 2017 meeting minutes were adopted by a vote of 5 to 0.
Checks: $55.45 Petty Cash Replenish, $113.64 Verizon, $21.97 Dan Bradfield (commissioner business cards) approved by a vote of 5 to 0.
Items for the April 24, 2017 meeting (no meeting on April 10 for Passover): Presentation by Director Nancy Ware of the District’s Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency; ANC January-March Quarterly Report; implementation of norms for conducting ANC meetings.
Randy Speck Rebecca Maydak