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May 2017 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday May 16, 2017, 7:00 pm

The meeting was held at the Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street, NW. 
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.

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