ANC 5E meeting had been called to order and the very lengthy 5-part agenda was underway.
Kelly Cislo, The Office of Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, presented the Ward 5 FY20 budget with input from residents. Discussions ranged from funding for STEM schools such as McKinley Tech, affordable housing, and funding to ensure each and every DCPS school has adequate mental health support and trauma-informed training for students, teachers, staff, and administration.
The meeting moved to the NEAR Act support resolution. The resolution would support increased funding for “Cure the Streets” adopted from the “Cure the Violence” model. These models use a holistic approach to identifying conflict and engage the community before it escalates. The support for the resolution was unanimous, all in favor.
Commissioner Robert Brannum didn’t want to take up much time introducing a simple resolution to support D.C. acquiring RFK Stadium proposed by Congresswoman Norton. The motion was adopted and moved after clarifying the simple resolution. Commissioner Holliday stated, “I believe frankly, the District doesn’t need to acquire more masses of land until it develops fair and equitable housing.” The Commissioner added how the people are really serious about fair and equitable housing. Commissioner Cheloas was not in a position to support since the details are vague, and RFK Stadium isn’t in the ANC; so he will study some more. Moreover, the resolution failed.
There were a series of 5-minute presentations.
- Holy Redeemer College on 7th Street, Northeast D.C. was next up. Arriving in Washington in the 1930s, Holy Redeemer College rented a house near Catholic University. Since that 1930’s arrival, the style of the building hasn’t stood out lately. Residency staff are returning and want to not only maintain the Historic Preservation of the site but beautify it as well. Holy Redeemer is a landmark destination. One resident was interested to learn if the building would be a museum. Whatever the latter vision is, the building and green space will remain protected. The letter of support will be issued by the Commissioners.
- Commissioner Holliday introduced the next presenter, Kadida Development who attended the meeting for a letter of support to accompany their application for approval by the Historic Preservation Review Board. Kadida has proposed the development of townhomes. The site was previously occupied by a church and a landmark request was asked. According to Arcadia Design representative Jim Foster, the structure would include brick with bay windows, 3 stories tall with 4 bedrooms including cellar family room. The townhomes would be 15 feet wide. Because the structure is shallow, the design team thought to leave a small footprint by providing townhomes instaed of condos.
The neighbors adjacent to the project are in support. Commissioner Holliday informed Jim that a community concern was having two units in one building.
Commissioner Cheolas provided more concrete guidance of design principles pointing to how the historic district should look referencing DC Cons “How to Analyze DC Construction” with former Mayor Fenty on its cover. Commissioner Holliday wanted to further familiarize the Commissioners to the historic preservation process to ensure the architects resolve any concerns prior to hearings. The motion passed, with the presentation of remarks from the community. A resident in support of the townhomes mentioned some neighbors nearby being mad that a lost on landmark application had taken place.
- An ABRA (Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration) matter concerning The Crucible on V Street was next up requesting the support of ANC 5E Commissioners. The presenters have a settlement agreement in hand and are requesting support for a stipulated license, leading into a permanent license. The motion carried with one opposition, and the owner of The Crucible stood up to sign the agreement.
- The Department of Transportation- Vision Zero pilot project was next up to present. Emily Dalphy, representative of Vision Zero presented the proposed installation of curb extensions for traffic calming along First Street, NW. The curb extensions are proposed to visually and physically narrow the roadway, slow down drivers, and activate the space adding public art and planters. This will allow placemaking opportunities to engage the community and artist. One Commissioner asked, “who will be keeping the plants up? and where is funding coming from?” According to the Vision Zero representative, funding has procured through DDOT, and the planters are self-watering.
However, DDOT has asked the Bloomingdale Civic Association to sign a maintenance agreement to replace dying plants and water them. Resident Leon wasn’t very satisfied with the installation of curb extensions. He expressed his concern stating “sorry DDOT, a band-aid on a bigger problem.” Another resident said, “This will be a calming effect?” Emily understood the skepticism and reiterated the goal is to change drivers’ mindset, changing the design of roadways, along with changing the drivers’ behavior. The motion failed to move forward for a letter of support from the Commissioners.
- The Commissioners did support providing a $2,500 grant to Langley Education Campus Parent Teacher’s Association to acquire a raised bed for their garden which will be for community use also.
Before the meeting was over, The DC Voice took a moment to have a conversation with Izaiah who attends Benjamen Banneker High School.
DCV: What did you think about tonight’s meeting?
Izaiah -Very informative, learn a lot about the area I live in. More of the Caucasians community attends rather than African American community. Not sure if it’s due to lack of presentation or not.
DCV: Would you tell friends to attend ANC meetings?
Izaiah- Yes, definitely recommend friends to attend.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:44 pm, but it felt like 10:44 pm.