Monday
Feb152016

October 20, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Coming soon.

Monday
Feb152016

July 21, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Coming soon.

Saturday
May232015

May 19, 2015 Meeting Minutes 

Gingras Ecumenical Center, 1419 V Street NW, 7:00pm  

Introductions / Announcements  
Next month both Chris Young (President) and Dan Foster will not be able to attend.  We are considering skipping or moving the June meeting; Board will consider whether to conduct the meeting.  

Lieutenant Dorrough, Metropolitan Police Dept.  (PSA 305) 
Lieutenant Dorrough provided a good overview of public safety and policing issues in the neighborhood, and answered questions from participants. He emphasized that thefts are a major concern in this area, both from cars and from residences. He also discussed the nightlife issues, and large number of officers on patrol. In 2013, MPD established a Nightlife Unit, which deploys in five nightlife areas of the city, including the U Street area. Members encouraged the unit members to patrol residential areas adjoining the nightlife areas, in particular around closing hours.  We also discussed crime trends, MPD relations with District residents, and procedures for addressing chronic noise issues.  

Graffiti at 1438 U Street NW and elsewhere 
A member noted a graffiti issue on the building slated to become an Indian cultural center. However, after two years no visible activity has occurred, and it appears as if abandoned. Lt. Dorrough stated that MPD does not currently have a graffiti task force. Ben Case of the mayor’s office explained that abandoned buildings face increased property taxes of five times the normal assessment, and blighted buildings ten times the normal assessment.  

MHNA members decided to write a letter to the Indian Embassy asking for grafitti removal, and explaining a city program that would facilitate. However, the next day (May 20, 2015), it was reported that the graffiti was removed. 

1355 U St NW Development Proposal (Republic Gardens site) 
HPRB Hearing: 5/28/15; HPA 15-311 

We discussed the scale of the proposal, potential parking impacts, and the desire for more information.   The developer of the proposed project was not present and has not presented to MHNA.    

Announcements / Possible Social Event  
 - Pride Parade (Saturday, June 13) 
 - MHNA family event TBA  

Friday
May012015

April 21, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Introductions / Announcements
A quorum was reached.

Recent MHNA Activities
Discussed the successful April 18 Spring Cleanup and potential follow-up; activity related to the Doozy Dog proposal in View 14 (2303 14th Street NW), and the Best DC Supermarket liquor license.

Funk Parade (May 2)
MHNA will march in the parade. Following the theme of Mr. Rogers “it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” marchers are encouraged to wear cardigans.  Chris Young will provide candy to throw. Bring your neighborhood spirit!

Future Events
Considering a neighborhood Family Picnic.
Seeking cooperation / liason with MPD.

Friday
Apr032015

March 17th, 2015 Meeting Minutes

Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 7:00 pm
The meeting was held at Moshe Zusman Photography Studio, 2300 14th Street, NW 

Introductions / Approve Minutes / Treasurer Report
The new Board was announced: Chris Young (President), Natasha Ghent-Rodriguez (Vice President) Daniel Foster (Secretary), Monika Pamp (Treasurer), and Ashley Kennedy (at large). According to MHNA bylaws, after the board elections the board met and elected Board members to fill the positions. 
Dues reminder for 2015 ($20 via paypal or at meeting).
Introductions
Cassandra Sánchez, Wards 1 and 4 Coordinator for the DCPS Community Action Team (CAT), introduced herself. She is a point of contact for education issues and concerns: (Cassandra.sanchez@dc.gov). 
Ben Case, Ward 1 contact from the Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services (ben.case@dc.gov, and 202-255-9238) describes himself as a “Ward 1 switchboard” for the mayor’s office. 
Claudia Barahona, from the office of Councilmember Nadeau (dbarahona@dccouncil.us).
Announcements
• Spring Beautification Day – April 18, gathering at 10 a.m. in Harrison Park on V Street. We need volunteers. See you there!
Funk Parade – May 2; it sounds like the proposed gospel event in Meridian Hill Park may be coming together.
Ward 1 Heritage Guide 
(Kim Williams, DC Historic Preservation Office)
Ms. Williams provided an overview of the Heritage Guide, which is underway. Guides for several other wards have been completed, and now the process is moving to include wards with more historic features to consider, such as Ward 1. There are many designated resources in this ward already. HPO is seeking input on other features of Ward 1 that merit mention in this guide. The Guide may be final by the end of this summer. We may receive an early draft to comment upon, either on our web site or listserv. Stay tuned.
In questions, Ms. Williams noted that pop-ups are a significant concern now. R4 zoning currently has a height limit of 50’; it may be reduced to 40’. Typical R4 row homes are roughly 35’ currently.  Additionally, HPO is considering alternatives to preservation, such as conservation districts. Conservation districts are established to preserve a neighborhood’s character, without as much attention to minor modifications as historic districts entail. Currently, DC does not have such legislation. This may be appropriate, as some neighborhoods want more protection (e.g., Kalorama) while others don’t have consensus that more historic preservation is appropriate. 
We also discussed the relationship of historic preservation to quality of life, noting that many modifications include new dwelling units, which may alter the character of a street as much as the architectural modifications.
View 14 Dog Day Care / Proposal to Modify PUD 
(Zoning Commission Case No. 05-22A) 
Jessica Bloomfield, Holland & Knight, and Bill Licko, UDR
The owner of View 14 (2304 14th St.) is requesting to modify its existing 2006 PUD to allow animal boarding. Currently, the zoning rules do not allow a boarding use directly below living areas, although they were recently changed to allow pet grooming and boarding in a mixed use building.  This request is similar to a request that the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) denied last year, except that this time the request is for a modification to the PUD agreement as opposed to a zoning variance, and the applicant is appearing before the Zoning Commission (rather than the BZA). 
The facility would be roughly 4,300 sq feet, with an entry on 14th St. near Florida Ave. it would be named Doozy Dog Club (not City Dog Club, as proposed last year). It would offer daily pet care and extended (vacation) pet care, with outdoor walking as a premium service (i.e., for additional fee). 
Members raised concerns about the potential cumulative impact of dog walking on nearby tree boxes and planting strips cared for by residents, and about traffic during pick up and drop off hours. We also asked about noise and whether building residents support the proposal. Five residential units would be directly above the dog care facility. 
UDR’s representative Bill Licko stated that the View 14 residents who previously opposed have moved out of the units above the proposed dog day care space or have not participated in the process this year (?). With respect to the dog walking concerns, he stated that walking would only occur with small groups of one or two dogs at a time, and suggested that in aggregate, because most dogs that would otherwise be walked in the neighborhood would use the indoor dog bathroom systems, the total impact of dogs on neighborhood foliage may decrease. He also proposed that walking would occur along only the 14th Street commercial strip, and was open to the suggestion that Doozy Dog Club personnel would wear identifiable clothing. With respect to traffic issues during pick up and drop off, Licko said the facility would use a concierge service during peak hours so any drivers would not need to leave their cars to bring pets inside, and would have new members of Doozy Dog Club sign a commitment to obey parking regulations so as not to block vehicular traffic on 14th Street and Florida Avenue. 
The business is seeking a letter of support from MHNA. Because only two board members were present, and considering the MHNA neutrality last year as well as frustrations with misstatements made by the dog day care company’s attorneys from Holland and Knight, at an MHNA meeting and before the BZA last year, members present agreed that the Board should discuss next steps and how to proceed.
Upcoming Process: 
ANC meeting: April 2
Zoning Commission hearing: April 20
Best DC Supermarket request for ABRA License Substantial Change
(Class “B” to Class “A” retailer)
Jermaine Matthews, representative of DC Best (did not attend)
Best DC Supermarket’s representative did not show up, but we discussed the proposed change this evening. One resident noted that Best DC has been operating in the neighborhood for several decades and evolving to meet residents’ needs, and that when Best DC changed ownership several years ago, the former owners resisted selling it to a nightclub.  There was general agreement in the room that more recently Best DC has been losing business to the new Trader Joe's at 14th & U.  A license to sell spirits might help Best DC remain competitive. Despite the concern that the new license class would not include a grocery requirement as the current Class B license does, there also was general agreement that Best DC was unlikely to turn into a liquor-only store, given its size and the lack of parking.  Best DC’s representative stated in an email to Chris that the owners intend to continue operations as a grocery store. One negative factor was that Best DC's owners could sell the business after they obtain they would obtain the license and sell the business.  In the end, however, MHNA voted to write a letter of support for the license change to a Class A license, with one abstention.  Chris Young agreed to draft and submit the letter to ABRA. 
Petition Date:  April 6, 2015
Hearing Date:  April 20, 2015
Bestway Liquors (2011 14th St. NW) license renewal 
(Solicitation of membership opinions)
Retailer liquor license is up for renewal; this is the small liquor store on 14th St., between U and V Streets at the bus stop. The sense of the room was that its’ not appropriate to oppose this license. 
Upcoming Events: 
April 18 Beautification Day: Please RSVP at {insert link}
Pride Parade (Saturday, June 13): Note that following the meeting Natasha looked into registration, and found that the minimum registration fee is $225.
Possible family potluck (TBD)
New Business:
• Funk Parade Update:  The gospel brunch project in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park might go forward.  Funk Parade organizer Justin Rood chatted last month with the National Park Service, which apparently expressed general agreement, said that it fit with the cultural mission of the park, and asked him to submit a request. That's good news consistent with MHNA’s letter of support for the event.  Justin also spoke with a potential funder, who might cover half the cost of the event (estimating around $5,000, for everything).  Anyone know others?
Proposed development at 1355 / 1357 U Street (Republic Gardens).  Chris announced that a developer is proposing a 100 foot, 25 – 30-unit residential building, with three parking spaces. The developer has already presented at USNA and may present to MHNA in a month or two as planning progresses. 
Late Announcements (Not at Meeting)
Paul Lawrence Dunbar – There was a TV story questioning whether promised renovations occurred. Some members wonder whether there is some role for MHNA, especially considering our volunteering there via Martha’s Table, including possibly holding a meeting there. 
YMCA seeks Class D alcohol license. It doesn’t seem to be posted; not clear what sub-type it may be seeking. 
1481 Florida Ave NW. HPA 15-244, concept/4-story side addition was presented at MHNA on September 16, 2014. April 2 HPRB hearing, 1:45. 
Note the HPO staff report states, despite concerns expressed at our meeting about the proximity to an existing apartment building on 15th St., that "The applicants should be encouraged to explore the possibility of obtaining zoning relief to the rear yard setback in order to push the mass of the building back to the rear of the site."
Staff Report available at: http://planning.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/op/publication/attachments/U%20Street%20HD%201481%20Florida%20Ave%20NW%20HPA%2015%20244.pdf 

Meridian Hill Neighborhood Association Meeting MinutesTuesday, March 17, 2015, 7:00 pm