Thursday
May252017

May 2017 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday May 16, 2017, 7:00 pm

The meeting was held at the Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street, NW. 
Introductions
Members included Chris Young, Kurt Staiger, Ken Yu, Christina Parascandola, and Mike Smith. Visitors included Commander Emerman and Captain Griffin of MPD 3rd District, Mike Schwartz, Campbell Burns of Streets Market, and Michelle Loggins from the office of CM Nadeau. A quorum was present.
Association Business and Announcements
Next Meeting: June 20.
Announcements: Historic Walking Tour led by Kim Williams of the DC Historic Preservation Office, September 19 (in lieu of September meeting).
Metropolitan Police Department
Commander Emerman and Captain Griffin (Sector 1) answered questions and discussed current policing and public safety issues and trends. Stuart Emerman became Commander of the 3rd District in January 2016. This is his third tour in the 3D, and he has worked in various capacities throughout the area. He explained that although the District remains organized in eight PSAs (Police Service Areas), it has also been divided into three Sectors. A Captain, a seasoned leader from MPD, is responsible for each Sector, which operates somewhat like a “mini district.” The PSA Lieutenants remain important community contacts, and each generally works the evening shift. It sounds like Captains have become an appropriate point of contact for ongoing concerns.  The 3D community liaison, Marco Santiago, has not changed.
Commander Emerman reported that violent crime has fallen 22% this year compared to the equivalent period last year, and crime in all but one category has fallen. Theft from autos remains a significant problem, and auto theft and package theft remain problems as well. In addition, although the incidence has declined, late night robbery remains a concern, with nightlife patrons walking home or to their vehicles late at night particular targets. Be aware and careful.  Commander Emerman mentioned that because the Nightlife Unit works on U Street, 3D officers are free to patrol residential streets.
With respect to package theft and street crime in general, Commander Emerman reminded us of the security camera reimbursement program. He encouraged property owners to participate, and recommended reporting the crime and providing as much detail of the perpetrator as possible to help police develop a profile.
Finally, Commander Emerman and Captain Griffin encouraged community members to take advantage of opportunities to meet and interact with the police force. They mentioned community bike rides, movie nights, ice cream socials for kids, an annual “night out” at Bruce Monroe Park, and other free events. Captain Griffin also highlighted the Community Engagement Academy, which is an opportunity for citizens to go through a multi-week course that provides fairly deep insight into police operations. The next cohort starts the program in June.
ABRA License Renewals / Updates
We informally discussed Dacha Beer Garden’s proposal for another beer garden, in addition to its Shaw location, at 1740 14th Street, (at S Street). Dacha proposes a beer garden, primarily but not exclusively outside, including a sidewalk café area in addition to outdoor occupancy of the existing parking lot, with a total capacity of 600 patrons. The protest deadline is June 19, and Chris indicated that although the establishment is not in ANC 1B, the ANC 1B ABR committee planned to discuss and vote on this at its May 17 meeting. [Update: the ABR Committee voted to protest.]
Chris also mentioned that Quarter and Glory at 2017 14th St. will seek a sidewalk café; members informally agreed that although this may raise public space issues, it does not appear to raise concerns strictly relating to the alcohol license.
New Business
Mike Smith, a resident on Belmont Street, raised a question about government transparency relating to a possible land purchase for the planned family transitional housing in Ward 1. Apparently, the negotiation to gain control over the initially-identified plot at 9th and V Streets has not been progressing smoothly, and Mike heard from a private source that the District is considering acquiring land either at 1417 Belmont Street or around the corner from that location in the parking lot of the Boys and Girls Club on 14th and Clifton. CM Nadeau’s representative did not confirm that a deal is imminent, and said she would obtain more facts. Discussion at the meeting revolved around the idea that most new developments and businesses must undergo through some sort of process that allows for community input, and that such an opportunity to provide input would be appropriate in this instance as well.  Discussion of the matter was tabled until we can obtain more facts.
Campbell Burns of Streets Market also expressed some reservations about a proposal to develop transitional housing at 14th and Belmont.  He also asked whether MHNA offers business memberships, and expressed interest in supporting our organization. The inquiry was welcomed. Although MHNA does not provide for business membership, the Board has discussed the potential of sponsorships or other expanded relationships with local business and commercial real estate stakeholders.
Councilmember Nadeau’s representative mentioned recent legislative activity, and invited residents to participate in a “Ward 1 Telephone Town Hall” with the Councilmember on Monday, May 22 at 6:00 p.m. In addition, her office hired a new constituent services person named John Hillegass.

Thursday
Mar302017

March 2017 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday March 21, 2017, 7:00 pm
The meeting was held at the Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street, NW.  
Introductions 
Members and visitors present included Chris Young, Monika Pamp, Kurt Staiger, Jeremy VanEss, Daniel Hardy, and Tai Meah (office of CM Nadeau). 
Association Business and Announcements
Agenda Changes
Two items from the agenda were cancelled on short notice: the representative from the Office of People’s Counsel who was scheduled to provide the Hands-on Energy Efficiency Workshop notified us of a sudden conflict in the afternoon, and the representative from P.T.Blooms, LLC, re plans for 1469 Florida Ave NW, asked to visit next month instead due to new information about the project. 
Announcements 
Annual Spring Beautification event scheduled for Saturday, April 29.
Next Meeting: April 21: may include 1469 Florida Ave NW with other items TBA.  
ABRA License Renewals / Updates 
Red Lounge 
Discussed Red Lounge’s (ABRA- 076011, proposed substantial change from restaurant to tavern license). Applicant was invited, both by phone and in person, but did not attend. After discussion, informally decided to take no action, and did not conduct a vote.
Bus Route 59 – Express Service on 14th Street
Considered whether to formally support a proposed express bus on 14th St. The proposal would require and receive new funding from the DC Council, and not displace existing service. Board member Kurt Staiger raised a good question of whether this is an appropriate issue for MHNA. Daniel Hardy raised a logistical question about the route, noting that all busses, whether “express” or not, will move very slowly through Columbia Heights, and questioned whether a different northward route (i.e., up 11th Street) might provide faster service to northern D.C. residents. After discussion, members present voted 5–0 to support the proposal. MHNA will draft a letter of support, and raise the question of whether the route could be optimized to increase its usefulness. 
April 29 Spring Beautification
Moved forward in planning for the annual event. We will meet at Harrison Park at 10 a.m. Saturday as in recent years, but request trash pickup both there and at the bottom of Meridian Hill Park to facilitate more work in the western portion of our boundaries. We also considered steps to promote the event, and outreach to support from neighborhood businesses as well as a post-event social gathering. 
Friday
Mar102017

February 2017 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday February 21, 2017, 7:00 pm
The meeting was held at Moshe Zusman Photography Studio, 2300 14th Street, NW.
Introductions
Members and visitors present included Chris Young, Christina Parascandola, Monika Pamp, Carole Kramer, Tom Fazzini (office of CM Nadeau), Brianne Nadeau, Mike Lenard (TaKorean).
Councilmember Nadeau spoke briefly, focusing her remarks on citywide concerns about immigration issues, highlighting a new legal services fund to support immigrants and several upcoming events.
Association Business and Announcements
2017 dues level
The 2017 dues level is $25 annually. Members in financial hardship may seek to waive the dues requirement.
Announcements
Announced the 2017 officers from among the current year’s Board: Chris Young – President; Christina Parascandola - Vice President; Monika Pamp – Treasurer; Kenneth Yu - Outreach Coordinator; Kurt Staiger – Secretary.
Annual Spring Beautification event scheduled for Saturday, April 29.
Next Meeting: March 21, featuring energy efficiency presentation from Office of People’s Counsel.
ABRA License Renewals / Updates
Franklin Hall
Re the proposed tavern (ABRA No. 103899) for a sizeable beer hall at 1346 Florida Avenue (the Manhattan Laundry building). MHNA largely agreed to the negotiated SA, but proposed compromise language to address the ABC Board’s proposed weakening of parking requirements. Awaiting further communication.
TaKorean (proposed Class “C” Tavern at 1301 U St., NW)
Michael Lenard of TaKorean explained that the establishment will be “fast casual” restaurant primarily serving Korean influenced tacos and bowls in a retail space on the ground floor of The Ellington apartment building. He also explained that the restaurant intends to serve beer and other alcoholic drinks as a small portion of its business. Although the business could meet the food sales requirement of a CR license class, the owners would prefer a Class “C” Tavern license instead, in order to avoid the reporting requirements necessary for the restaurant license class. The business also re-filed its application with shorter service hours than originally posted (ending service at 11pm Sun.-Thurs. and until midnight Fri.-Sat). During a short discussion members expressed some concern about the license classification, and agreed that MHNA should seek to minimize the possibility that the establishment could turn into a full-fledged club. Voted 5-0 to protest with the intention of seeking an SA on those grounds.
DC Office of Planning
Josh Silver and Josh Ghaffari of the Office of Planning presented a comprehensive overview of the DC Comprehensive Plan amendment process. The Comprehensive Plan is the “premier document” in DC land use planning—zoning designations and decisions follow the Comprehensive Plan and may not be inconstant with it. The Office of Planning currently is revising the Comprehensive Plan. It will issue an “open call” for proposed amendments in spring of 2017. Following that, it will issue a draft amendment report later in 2017 with a 60-day comment period and conduct further public engagement. Legislative action by the DC council will be required to implement changes, with action expected in 2018.
The Comprehensive Plan contains ten “area elements” (ours is “Mid-City”) and numerous “citywide elements” covering issues like economic development, housing, urban design, parks recreation & open space, and arts & culture. It also contains a Future Land Use Map that identifies use and density—this is not an actual zoning map, but, at least under current law, zoning must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan. It also contains a Generalized Policy Map that identifies areas where more detailed policies may be necessary.
To stay informed about the plan and opportunities to comment and participate, sign up for project alerts at PlanDC.dc.gov. you may propose amendments during the open call for proposed amendments this spring, including on details of the Mid-City Area Element. MHNA may discuss whether to become involved as an organization.
Friday
Nov252016

November 2016 Monthly Meeting Minutes

Tuesday November 15, 2016, 7:00 pm
(The October meeting was cancelled.)
The meeting was held at Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street NW.  
Association Business
2017 Board Nominations 
In addition to the existing slate, Ken Yu of New Hampshire Ave. accepted a nomination to join the Board. The nomination window will remain open through December; please contact any Board member or presidnet@meridianhilldc.org if you are interested or would like to nominate someone else.
2017 dues level
Considered new dues level. Members with long experience in MHNA noted that the dues level has not changed since 1996 when MHNA was established. After brief discussion, it was moved and seconded to increase the 2017 dues level from $20 to $25 annually. The motion passed unanimously.
It was also noted that members in financial hardship may seek to waive the dues requirement, and that members who pay their 2017 dues prior to the end of the year may do so at the lower $20 level.
Holiday /New Year's Party
MHNA Secretary Christina Parascandola offered her house for the annual party. We subsequently set the date as Friday January 13, or Thursday January 12, from 7 – 9 pm.
Fundraising and Development Activities
Participants discussed a "welcome packet" for new neighborhood residents that would provide information about neighborhood and District resources, governmental structure, and local institutions such as MHNA. Associated ideas included a "welcome" page on the MHNA web site that a packet could point to, with occasionally updated information.
A fundraising idea involved a historical walking tour, which could be organized on a fee or donation basis, possibly in conjunction with a historian who has recently written or is currently writing a book about the area. 
ABRA License Renewals / Updates
Mulebone Petition to Terminate SA / Renewal Application
Chris reported that negotiations on a settlement agreement were completed, and that the SA was in the process of being filed with ABRA. [Note: after the meeting, the ABC Board considered the SA, and accepted most of the substantive provisions but mandated changes to agreed provisions that simply would have required the establishment to notify concerned neighbors if it seeks to modify its license.
Franklin Hall
This proposed tavern (ABRA license 103899) would be a sizeable beer hall at 1346 Florida Avenue (the Manhattan Laundry building). MHNA, the ANC, and a large group of neighbors on Florida Avenue have been negotiating a settlement addressing potential noise concerns, and last week participated in a mediation conducted by ABRA staff. 
Land Use and Preservation
2213 14th Street (at Florida Ave.)
Chris Young described the proposed residential tower with residential space plus 33 condominiums (with 2 or 3 being affordable), and the requested zoning relief (only 3 parking spaces as opposed to the normally required 12, reduced rear setback, and others)-among other reasons due to financial hardship of complying with the "of right" requirements. The conversation noted that the developer requesting a variance should bear a burden of proof that meeting the requirements is an actual burden, but that the developer, Goldstar Group, did not appear to submit financial pro forma statements at all. Based on this discussion, members voted 5 - 0 to support having Chris oppose the variances at the upcoming hearing before the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment. 
Meridian International Center Project
A petition in opposition to the proposed Meridian Hall development at 1624 Crescent Place NW, has been circulated, and MHNA's Facebook page has been used to promote this petition. MHNA has never discussed this proposal, either at an open meeting nor among the Board. No representatives of the project or of its opponents were present at the meeting.  MHNA still has not considered the proposal.
New Business / Announcements
ABRA Training
Targeted to licensees; Dec 1, 2 - 4 pm
Next scheduled meeting:
January 17, 2016
(May be superseded by the annual New Year's event planned for 1/12 or 1/13 2017)
January Volunteer Event
Plans are in the works for a January volunteer event with Martha's Table

Saturday
Oct152016

September 2016 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday September 20, 2016, 7:00 pm
The meeting was held at Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street NW.

Introductions / Etc.
Members present included Board members Chris Young, Christina Parascandola, and Monika Pamp. as well as Jack Farmer, Adam Conner, and Kurt Staiger. Guests included several residents of Florida Avenue, Belmont St., and 15th St., including Brett Wallace, Dara Katz, and Pierre Moster.

Franklin Hall, Proposed Tavern at 1346 Florida Avenue
This proposed tavern (ABRA license 103899) would be a sizeable beer hall at 1346 Florida Avenue (the Manhattan Laundry building). According to the ABRA placard, the proposed tavern would have a total occupancy capacity of 232 patrons, including 40 in an outside seating area.  The proposal would also include live music, inside and out, dancing, and allow for a cover charge for entry. Hours for the establishment, including alcohol sales and consumption, would run from 8am to 2am Sundays through Thursdays, and from 8am to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Also according to the placard, hours for live music, inside and out would run from 6pm to 2am Sundays through Thursdays, and from 6pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Several neighbors to the proposed establishment, including members and non-members, attended the meeting and discussed the proposal. Chris Young explained what the placard means, including the various deadlines it establishes, and provided an overview of the ABRA process for community involvement. Meeting attendees had questions about where the outdoor seating would be located, as well as other questions about the planned operation. Unfortunately, an invited representative of Franklin Hall did not attend.
Neighbors and others in attendance at the meeting expressed concern about the size of the establishment (232 patrons), noise (both from the establishment itself and from inebriated patrons leaving), the impacts on parking and traffic including from ride services and taxis on the already-crowded residential street, and other concerns. Some expressed concern that the new 7-11 store attracts people after 3 a.m. already, and may become a noisy magnet after last call.
After discussion, Jack Farmer moved and Adam Conner seconded a motion that MHNA vote to protest the proposed license on grounds of peace order and quiet, effect on traffic and pedestrian safety, and effect on real property values, and that MHNA attempt to pursue an appropriate settlement agreement. The motion passed with a vote of 5 to 0 of members still present at the time of the vote, with zero abstentions.

ABRA License Renewals / Updates
Mulebone
Residents of Union Row have been leading negotiations with the establishment’s owner.  They are ongoing, and it appears that a mutually agreeable settlement agreement likely will be reached.
Other
No other establishments were discussed or raised concerns.

New Business / Announcements

1355/1357 U St NW (Republic Gardens)
Chris Young described the proposed residential tower with residential space plus 33 condominiums (with 2 or 3 being affordable), and the requested zoning relief (only 3 parking spaces as opposed to the normally required 12, reduced rear setback, and others)—among other reasons due to financial hardship of complying with the “of right” requirements. The conversation noted that the developer requesting a variance should bear a burden of proof that meeting the requirements is an actual burden, but that the developer, Goldstar Group, did not appear to submit financial pro forma statements at all. Based on this discussion, members voted 5 – 0 to support having Chris oppose the variances at the upcoming hearing before the DC Board of Zoning Adjustment. 

Next meeting: October 18, 2016