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May022012

April 17, 2012, Meeting Report

AGENDA

  • Introductions
  • Update by Douglas Development on the former Latino Auto sales site, 2221 14th Street NW
  • Crime and loitering at 14th and W
  • DC Center for the LGBT Community request for MHNA support for bid on office space on the ground floor of the Reeves Center
  • Upcoming Events: Clean-up day, Saturday, May 5, 2012; Capitol Pride Parade, Saturday, June 9, 2012
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Possible change to MHNA meeting schedule

INTRODUCTIONS

Christina Parascandola, George Southworth, Greg Grammen, John DeTaeye, Pete Quinnan, Nick McCoy, Marco Santiago, D. Carter, Michelle Ross, Gretchen Guffy, Henock Gebreamlak, Mike Smith, Sacha Rosen, Ricardo Reinoso, Juan Barragan 

LATINO AUTO SALES SITE
Sacha Rosen of R2L Architects spoke about the proposed construction of a 6-floor apartment building at 2221 14th Street, NW (1st floor retail + 5 floors of residential units, 6 units on each floor, 30 units total, appr. 600 sq. ft ea, mostly 1-br, some efficiencies). Under current zoning requirements, the developer, Douglas Development, must construct 1 parking space for every 2 units.

Last year, Douglas obtained a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) variance allowing them to construct only 10 compact parking spaces underground instead of 15 regular-sized parking spaces that are required under zoning regulations. The small size and unusual shape of the lot made a parking ramp for a 2d floor of underground parking unworkable.

Rosen stated that:

  • Due to construction boom, costs have ratcheted up 25-30%.
  • Smaller construction projects that have been on hold are coming back.
  • Contaminated soil clean-up required.
  • Douglas needs WMATA approval (property is 6.5' from green line metro tunnel).  WMATA still has not approved, even though Douglas contacted them one year ago. 
  • DC building permit delayed. DC govt laid-off many staff including inspectors, which delays getting building permits.
  • Project now is $2 million over budget.
  • Plans approved by HPRB and ANC 1B are no longer feasible.
  • Elimination of the underground parking requirement altogether would obviate need for safety measures in alley off of Florida Avenue between the proposed construction and the school, because alley would not be used for access to underground parking. 
  • Douglas would retain alley entrance for bikes.
  • Douglas met with the Office of Planning, still has to meet with DDOT.

Rosen stated that Douglas plans to ask the Board of Zoning Adjustment for a variance from the parking-space requirements altogether.  He stated that the project must obtain approval from ANC 1B Design Committee, which meets on May 21, 2012.  Douglas plans to go before the BZA in October.  Under the best-case scenario, construction would start in December 2012 and be finished by December 2013.  Without this variance the project will not go forward.  He asked MHNA for support.  Christina asked to table any vote on the matter until the residents who would be most affected by the variance are consulted and have the opportunity to provide input.  Those present agreed. 

CRIME AND LOITERING AT 14th AND W STREETS

George stated that illegal activities and loitering continue at 14th & V and 14th & W Streets, which have kept residents awake at late hours of the night.   Those present noted that foot patrols were effective in the past and asked that they resume, and particularly that Officer Leonard be assigned to the area again. MPD Community Outreach Coordinator, Marco Santiago, and Lt. Carter (speaking on behalf of Lt. Moore of PSA 301 who was unable to attend due to another conflict), stated that they would pass along comments by those in attendance. The names of MPD assigned to the area have been shared with key community members.  In addition, DC MPD has promised more foot patrol in the 1400 block of W Street, as well as V Street. Sgt. Carter stated that the police would have officers on bicycles or Segways assigned to the areas.

John deTaeye stated that the officers know the identities of the youth who are causing problems and could call their probation officers.  He added that the police have been given keys to the buildings, including 1418, 1424 and 1440 W Street NW.  Santiago agreed to follow up with George to coordinate PSA meeting dates so that they do not conflict with MHNA meetings in the future.

DC CENTER FOR LGBT COMMUNITY SPACE

Board members from the DC Center for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (“LGBT”) Community provided information about their bid to relocate to a permanent space in the Reeves Center at 2000 14th Street, NW.  The DC Center, which has been at its current location at 1318 U Street for two years, provides vital services to the District of Columbia’s diverse and growing LGBT population including meeting space, hate crimes prevention, HIV prevention and testing, career development and smoking cessation programs.  Nick McCoy reported that there were several other bidders, including two restaurants. 

Those present voted unanimously to submit a letter of support for the DC Center’s application for a lease for a permanent space in the Reeves Center.

MHNA SPRING CLEAN-UP DAY

MHNA has scheduled the annual spring clean-up on Saturday, May 5, 2012.  Rakes and other tools will be provided for participants at the meeting location – 14th Street and Florida Avenue (Latino Auto Sales site).  Breakfast (donuts and coffee) will be served at 9:30 a.m.  Clean-up will begin at 10 a.m. until noon.  Come and join the annual spring clean-up, meet your neighbors, and help make the neighborhood look and feel better. 

MHNA PARTICIPATION IN CAPITOL PRIDE PARADE

MHNA will participate in the Capitol Pride Parade scheduled on Saturday, June 9th.  MHNA members are researching signage, t-shirts, beads to throw to spectators, as well as the possible use of a convertible car.  Are any neighbors interested in marching with MHNA in the Capitol Pride Parade?  Be on the look-out for more information (including the ability to register online) as the date approaches. 

TREASURER’S REPORT

Currently, MHNA has a balance of $4,032.96 in its account.  Its next major expenditure will be its sponsorship of the annual U Street Summer Movie Series, at a cost of $500.

DISCUSSION REGARDING MHNA MEETING DATE CHANGE

In order to garner attendance from key community leaders including MPD representatives and ANC Commissioners who have conflicting meetings on the third Tuesday of every month, MHNA is discussing a date change for the monthly meetings.  The date change will require an amendment to MHNA’s bylaws.  MHNA Board members are engaging community leaders on the best possible date.  Christina will check with the ANC Commissioners whose single member districts are within MHNA boundaries (Charlie Meisch, Mary Streett and Deborah Thomas).  More information is forthcoming.

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