Minutes

Minutes of ANC 3/4G Public Meeting
Monday, May 8, 2017
Chevy Chase Community Center, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
5601 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20015

Present:         Speck, Tuck-Garfield, Clayman, Bradfield
Absent:          Maydak, Fromboluti, Malitz

Attendance:  Approximately 20 people attended the meeting

Adoption of Agenda:
The Chair announced two modifications to the published agenda:  (1) City Administrator Rashad Young has asked to move up his presentation to 7:25 so that he can leave for another engagement by 8:00; (2) WMATA and DDOT have asked to defer their presentation on the Chevy Chase Circle Bus Turnout until June, when they will have a more complete design.  The agenda, as amended, was adopted by a vote of
4 – 0.

Commissioner Announcements:
Commissioner Speck
Ingleside provided the following information to the ANC’s Ingleside Task Force at its meeting on April 26: (1) work began last week on widening the driveway connecting Ingleside with Broad Branch Road; (2) beginning the week of May 15 Ingleside will start connecting their water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer utility lines to the main lines on the other side of Broad Branch Road, which will require closing about 40 feet of Broad Branch Road to through traffic for two to three weeks; (3) in late summer or early fall, work will begin to expand the driveway entrance from Ingleside to Military Road and installing curbs and ADA ramps, but it will only affect the entrance and sidewalks, not Military Road; and (4) construction will begin on the main part of the expansion facilities over the summer and will continue for about 30 months, but it will not involve closure of any roads.

The traffic control measures for each phase of the work have been approved by the ANC Task Force (which includes neighborhood representatives) and DDOT. The signs that have been posted but covered will be uncovered, when appropriate, for each phase of the work.  They did unveil the “No Access to Military Road” and “No Construction Traffic” signs at the Broad Branch and Military Road entrances to 32nd Street, which are applicable to all ongoing activities.  Any questions may be sent to the ANC Task Force (3g03@anc.dc.gov) or to Ingleside’s project manager, Steve Van Dorpe (SVanDorpe@inglesideonline.org).

Commissioner Maydak asked that we announce that the Lafayette Elementary School Spring Fair is this Saturday, starting with a yard sale from 9am – 12 pm and the fair itself from 11am – 4pm.

Commissioner Tuck-Garfield
DDOT will hold a Final Design Review Public Meeting for the Oregon Avenue reconstruction at the Community Center on May 17, 2017, from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  Both DDOT and DC Water will be at this meeting.  Commissioner Tuck-Garfield thanked the Mayor’s office and Councilmember Todd’s office for their assistance in getting this meeting rescheduled.  In light of the rescheduling, a resident asked that DDOT distribute flyers on this meeting to affected residents, and Commissioner Tuck-Garfield said that she would pass this recommendation on to Alberta Paul, the coordinator at DDOT.

Commissioner Bradfield
Commissioner Bradfield thanked the Friends of Chevy Chase Circle for organizing a “pruning party” to trim the azaleas in the Circle.  Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Explorers joined the National Park Service staff for about 30 total participants, despite the rain.  This is expected to be an annual event.

Community Announcements:

Phil McCauley, from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations provided a three-page overview with highlights of the Mayor’s FY 2018 budget.  Full information is available at mayor.dc.gov.  He also indicated that the Mayor had participated in the Funk Parade and had talked at ANC 4A and 4D meetings.

Anthony Castillo from Councilmember Cheh’s office announced that the Councilmember had sent a letter expressing concerns about proposed budget cuts for Wilson High School that would eliminate positions for two guidance counselors.  The Councilmember is also calling for hearings on a proposed ban on backyard chickens and licensing for cats.  She cannot support those measures without thorough Council review.  Mr. Castillo said that collections for composting will begin this month at the UDC farmers market and at the 14th and Kennedy farmers market from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.  There will be an update on the status of the Beach Drive reconstruction at a meeting on May 23 at the Chevy Chase Library from 7:00 to 8:00.  He announced that the Councilmember would conduct a pool readiness tour next week.  Finally, he said that red top meter enforcement has begun in the Central Business District, and only vehicles with handicap license plates or a handicapped hang tag would be permitted to use those spaces

Kimberly Manning from DDOT announced that DDOT will hold a meeting to discuss the “Concept Design” for Chestnut Street sidewalks from Oregon Avenue to Western Avenue on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, from 6:45 pm to 8:15 pm at the Chevy Chase Baptist Church, 5671 Western Avenue, Washington, DC.  The design is only 15% complete, and DDOT is looking for community input.

Presentation by and questions for City Administrator Rashad Young on the Mayor’s
proposed FY18 budget:

City Administrator Young asked to speak with the Commission on Mayor Bowser’s FY 2018 budget.  The budget process is well underway, with several community meetings and recent Council hearings on each agency’s budget.  He indicated that the budget reflects community input to establish the administration’s priorities.  Although the budget is $13.8 billion ($7.6 billion from local funds), it is necessary to make tough choices in order to provide the greatest benefit for District residents.

Among the budget’s priorities are:  (1) education, including $1.3 billion in capital expenditures, with a focus on child care (creating 1300 additional child care slots and training 300 residents to get infant and toddler certifications); (2) public safety, including $11.7 million for recruitment and retention of MPD officers, funds for a “nurse triage” unit in the 911 call center, and increases for EMS and 48 additional fire fighters; (3) housing, including $100 million for the housing trust fund to provide new housing, to preserve existing housing, and to leverage private funding and $15.2 million for reducing homelessness and tenant reforms; (4) a returning citizen portal to reduce recidivism; and (5) increased funding for road and alley repairs.

Commissioner Speck indicated that our Commission is especially interested in the proposed Capital Improvements Plan for the Chevy Chase Community Center.  Our Commission has initiated a process to assess the community’s needs and to make recommendations to the Mayor and the Council.  The FY 2018 Capital budget carries forward projected funding from FY 2017 “for the Community Center to make ADA improvements, new elevators, new multipurpose rooms and a new and expanded program space,” which it describes as “part of an ongoing effort by DPR to improve the current facility inventory for programs at our facilities.”  The plan calls for $3.5 million in funding for FY 2019 and $4.5 million for FY 2020 and envisions start of design in October 2018, completion of design in April 2020, start of construction in June 2020, and completion of construction in July 2021.  Commissioner Speck asked Mr. Young to describe the Mayor’s plan for the Community Center and how the Mayor would consider community’s input in deciding on Community Center improvements.  Mr. Young indicated that he expected DPR to go through a community engagement process that would be open and flexible.  He said that as the ANC works with the community to develop its plan for the Community Center, it should not do so in a vacuum but should keep DPR involved.

Commissioner Tuck-Garfield emphasized that our ANC includes a larger proportion of seniors and young families than the District as a whole and that budget priorities for our neighborhood should reflect that demographic.  First, she asked whether the nurse triage program would be available District-wide, and Mr. Young indicated that it would be within the 911 call center and, thus, available to everyone.  It would also include provisions for alternative transportation that would not require ambulances.  Second, she asked about the supermarket tax credit and where those credits would be available.  Mr. Young indicated that this program was intended to incentivize location of supermarkets in underserved communities.  It has not yet been used to provide incentives for supermarkets to remain in an area when they threaten to move.  Third, Commissioner Tuck-Garfield asked about programs for seniors.  Mr. Young indicated that the budget includes an additional $4 million investment for the Office on Aging.

Commissioner Bradfield asked whether there was an overview fact sheet for Ward 3, and Mr. Young indicated that it would be provided.  He said that Ward 3 budget proposals include funding for local roads across all Wards.  Commissioner Bradfield asked how the District’s budget would be affected by proposed cuts in Medicaid and the House-passed replacement for the Affordable Care Act.  Mr. Young indicated that they are monitoring developments at the federal level.  The current House bill, if enacted with no changes, would require the District to provide an additional $58 million annually to maintain Medicaid benefits.  The Mayor is concerned about what will happen in the District based on federal changes.  As a result, the administration is planning on allocating 50% of any revenues above projections to be used to compensate for federal cuts and 50% for likely cost increases (e.g., additional costs as a result of labor agreements).

Former Commissioner Lee Schoenecker said that funding for housing was unlikely to address concerns raised by gentrification, and the administration may need to consider a moratorium on development.  He also said that the District should consider a Metro funding formula that recognizes the disproportionate use of the system by the District and the inner suburbs.

Former Commissioner Allen Beach asked whether the proposed budget includes an exemption for Ingleside and other continuing care retirement communities from property taxes, and Mr. Young indicated that it did.  Information from the Mayor’s office indicated that this exemption was a result of an act passed in 2016, which this ANC had vigorously supported.   He also noted that ANC proposed funding is actually reduced by $25,000 from the previous year under the budget proposal, and that should be a concern to all ANCs.

Another resident asked whether the budget included the tax exemption for seniors that would be implemented under a bill being considered by the Council.  Mr. Young indicated that it does not, but would be included if the Council bill is enacted and becomes law.

Discussion and possible vote on proposed pilot survey to determine the community’s
needs for the Chevy Chase Community Center:

Commissioner Speck indicated that at the last Commission meeting, the commissioners discussed a draft pilot survey to be used in assessing the community’s use of and needs for the Community Center.  This was another step in the Commission’s and the Chevy Chase Citizens Association’s long-term review of the future of the Community Center.  After that meeting, several commissioners raised concerns about the process used in developing the pilot survey.

Based on those concerns, the Commissioner Speck talked with Amy Mack (who had been instrumental in developing the survey with a working group) and several commissioners about the draft pilot survey.  He concluded that it was not feasible to conduct further community meetings and to modify the survey to everyone’s satisfaction and still be able to conduct the comprehensive survey before summer vacations begin.  Implementing the survey during the summer will not be optimal and might not produce the kind of robust results that we want.  For these reasons, the Commissioner Speck proposed that the Commission set at least one more community meeting to discuss the survey plan — including whether to conduct a pilot survey — probably at the beginning of June.  We can then finalize the survey and conduct a pilot test, if that is deemed desirable, over the summer.

The Chair suggested, however, that the Commission and the community should not stop moving forward with an evaluation of the Community Center’s future.  He proposed that the Commission and the CCCA continue to have information-gathering meetings with the community over the summer to explore further potential ways to upgrade the Community Center’s ability to serve our constituents and the District’s residents.  These special meetings may include presentations by various experts to help the commissioners and the community to understand fully what options are available.  The meetings that we’ve had and the visits to other community centers have been enlightening, and there is still much more we should explore before we can develop informed recommendations for the Mayor and the Council.

In light of the discussions we’ve had over the past several months, the Chair suggested that it may be appropriate to divide the focus of our continuing efforts into two categories — (1) the short-term improvements that can and should be made within the context of the existing facilities and (2) the long-term assessment of the best facilities that can serve the District.  While the working group to date has concentrated on long-term issues, we should not overlook the Community Center’s current deficiencies when there are remedial steps that can be taken now.  By separating long- and short-term concerns and solutions, we can give each the attention they deserve.  The Chair proposed that we designate one or more commissioners to work with each of these groups and to report back to the full Commission by the end of the summer.

Commissioner Tuck-Garfield reiterated that we have heard from residents about short-term needs at the Community Center, and there are things that can be done now to implement creative interim options. She also suggested that there should be a schedule for decisions.  Commissioner Bradfield noted the shifting demographics of our neighborhood and that the analysis needs to capture that shift.  Even after a survey, he suggested that we should conduct focus groups to elicit the “emotional” reactions to the Community Center that may not be apparent in the survey.  He said that although we cannot structure the focus groups in a rigorously scientific way, they should be diverse and roughly representative of the community.  Commissioner Clayman emphasized that we should focus on when we need to have a report to the Mayor in order to affect the budget process.  Since the budget process for FY 2019 (when there are funds in the capital budget for the Community Center) begins next fall, we should consider how to influence that process in a timely way.  Commissioner Speck indicated that the budget process would continue through the spring of 2018, but we should certainly be prepared to engage in a timely way to be effective.

Amy Mack said that flexibility was useful in developing the survey, but decisions were needed about the scope of the survey and its direction.  Commissioner Tuck-Garfield indicated that after the working group developed the survey plan it would need to be approved by the full Commission.  It was proposed that the pilot survey be limited to 10 questions so that it could be done at no charge and with comment fields for all the substantive questions we would learn if we needed more questions for the final survey.  This was also stated at the April 24 meeting.

Based on the discussion, the Chair proposed the following resolution:  The Commission (along with the Chevy Chase Citizens Association) will hold a meeting in early June to develop a survey plan to assess the community’s uses of and the needs for the Community Center and to propose a timeline for the process.  The Commission and the CCCA will also set community meetings over the summer to gather additional information to understand the available options for the Community Center facilities.  In addition, the Commission and the CCCA will set community meetings over the summer to assess the short-term needs for improving the Community Center and the programs that it offers that can be made without significant facility modifications or improvements.  The Commission approved the resolution by a vote of 4 to 0.

Discussion and possible vote on the Department of General Service’s application to the Historic Preservation Review Board for historic landmark designation of Lafayette Elementary School, Application Number 17-08:

In the absence of Commissioner Maydak, Commissioner Speck described the application for historic landmark designation.  According to Hartman Cox, the architects for the Lafayette Elementary School Modernization,the Lafayette project, like all DC Public Schools, involved public funds,a public site and a public use.  As such, it fell under the review purview of Historic Preservation Office in the Office of Planning. During the early schematic/design development stage, HPO stated that, because the
original school building was a good example of the typical “DC Schoolhouse Typology,” they would like DGS to prepare and submit the building for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.
DGS agreed to this request and an MOU was prepared between the two agencies.

As part of the submission, the team documented the historic “existing” condition, the 1970s non-contributing additions, and the current proposed project (which included the demolition of the 1970s non-contributing structures and the construction of the current compatible non-contributing structures).  While the entire scope of the final condition was included and documented in the submission, the only portions receiving the “historic designation” status would be the 1930s buildings.  The new construction, while included in the submission, are non-contributing to the existing DC Schoolhouse prototype and would therefore not be subject to historic limitations on future  construction or renovation.

The approval of this submission should not be an issue as the historic designation was requested by HPO, they reviewed the early draft of the submission prior to the project completion and had no comments and they reviewed the final submission following the completion of the project and had no comments.

The ANC is not required to submit its views, but we may offer support and/or comments.  Commissioner Bradfield moved that the Commission support DGS’s application for historic landmark designation for the 1930s portion of Lafayette Elementary School.  Commissioner Clayman seconded the motion, but proposed that we also ask the Historic Preservation Office to specify how the historic designation affects the building going forward — e.g., what kind of routine maintenance can be done, what changes can be made, and who will have to pay for steps to maintain the historic character of the building?  The Commission agreed that these questions, which will apply to any historic landmark building, could be answered through a presentation at an upcoming meeting from the Historic Preservation Office.  With that proviso, the resolution to support the application passed by a vote of 4 to 0.

Commission Business:

  1. The April 24, 2017, meeting minutes were approved by a vote of 4 – 0
  2. The following checks were approved by a vote of 4 – 0: $160.57 IRS (Federal Tax Withholding – April), $113.12 Jeralynn Graham for office copier toner (2 units)
  3. Items for the May 22 meeting: There are currently no items for the scheduled May 22 meeting, and the Chair will notify the Commission and the community if there is no need for this meeting.

Signed:

_________________                                 ________________
Randy Speck                                                     Rebecca Maydak
Chair                                                                   Secretary