BACA Meeting minutes – Monday, Nov. 2, 2015

Monday, Nov. 2, 2015 – Meeting Minutes – 7:00 PM, Mt. Sinai Church, 3rd and Q St NW

Summary: We had short updates from our ANC Commissioners and Councilmember McDuffie’s office, and the majority of the meeting was presentations from DMPED and two developers that have submitted proposals for the lot at Bates and N. Capitol, NW.  The comment period for the proposals ends Friday, November 20 – you may email tsega.bekele@dc.gov with DMPED.  If you have strong feelings about either of the proposals, please provide input to DMPED.  Please see below for a summary of items discussed; I will post the Power Point presentations once I receive them.

7:02-7:04 Meeting Called to Order, intro remarks – David Hall, President

7:04-7:07 Commissioner Teri J. Quinn – SMD 5E06 (north side of Q St up)

  • CM McDuffie had cleanup day last Thursday afternoon in our area, good to have him in community
  • Next ANC meeting is third Thursday, Nov. 16, at Trinity University, encouraged to attend
  • Questions or comments? no

7:08-7:11 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s Office – Kate Mitchell, Committee Director

  • David Hall noted he was at the cleanup last week at corner of Florida and N. Capitol, and most of CM’s staff came and did a lot of cleaning, a few residents also helped including David, ANC commissioners were present, a lot of residents had input to CM about cleaning up that corner and ideas to approach it
  • Kate indicated that last minute notice was due to last minute scheduling
  • They are working on how police officers will use body cameras, how info will be reported, and reports to public
  • Also having discussions about how to address crime in long-term, there was a 10-hour hearing few weeks ago with several dozen witnesses so they are working on a proposal now
  • Gearing up for budget again – contact them with any community budget requests like lighting, landscaping, parks
  • Questions or comments? no

7:11-7:13 Sam Fitch from Anxo, update on restaurant coming to 3rd and Florida NW – thanks for our support with Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) exception, they received it and our support really helped, they are removing asbestos and faulty parts and hoping to have interior permits soon, currently on schedule for February opening; meanwhile they are doing pop-up events around town; brief summary of type of restaurant Spanish Basque food and DC’s first cidery

7:13-8:30  DMPED (Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development) – Tsega Bekele and Dion Townley from DMPED, presentations from the two developers who sent in RFP Proposals for lots 1520-1522 N. Capitol St, NW. This is our opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback to DMPED before they make a decision.

  • Comments open until Friday, November 20 – email to tsega.bekele@dc.gov (he will also email me Power Point presentations for both developers); here is info from DMPED’s website: http://dmped.dc.gov/node/1048822
  • Cycle House, Next Generation Affordable Housing (Power Point and drawing boards) – Urban Green LLC (Mark James – DC based company, about 4 yrs but also prior experience), Flywheel Development (John Miller and Jessica), Studio Upwall Architects (Greg Upwall – Bates St resident, business office on U St)
    • Specializes in sustainability, will generate 100% of energy on-site
    • 100% of units are affordable at 50-60% of area median income (AMI), about $40-46,000 for 1-2 people; not fully subsidized but well below market rate
    • 4 stories and stepped down to 3 stories on Bates side to fit in better with street, 15 rental apartments, mix of 1 BR and studio, 1st floor restaurant (current owner of San Antonio Grill in Brookland, affordable family restaurant) and community-serving retail (possibly bicycle shop)
    • aims to target cyclists and minimize parking congestion
    • hope to make it zero-storm-runoff property – have already done this in another property in DC and working on another one so can be done
    • artist of current mural is interested in doing mural on new building
    • restauranteur is here as well to answer questions about trash etc
  • Blue Sky Housing LLC – Lofts of Truxton Circle – Earl Horton (Power Point)
    • 5 stories, 16 units – 5 affordable (one at 30% and four at 50% AMI), 11 market rate – studio, 1BR and 2BR, 590-770 sq ft
    • Will be apartments or condos depending on market, 8 parking spaces
    • 2500 sq. ft of retail for one or two bays – Street Sense will likely arrange it
    • Been in business for over 10 years, multiple projects in Truxton Circle (2 on Hanover St in past) and Convention Center/Mt. Vernon Triangle
    • Most likely retail would be bar/pub-type restaurant
    • Currently doing Lotus Apartments in Mt. Vernon area right next to I-395 – green roof, sustainable, 133 residential units
    • Also 460-462 Ridge Street NW is 6-unit building that will be done next month, renovated historic building and added on to back
    • Lots of other properties already completed of various sizes
    • Plan on green roof, landscaping
    • They try to get neighborhood youth to learn how to do a trade on project
  • Questions?
    • how will they address access to dumpsters given that Bates is one way, also concerned re rodents being attracted to larger commercial dumpsters
      • Cycle House – realize will have to make alley and dumpsters accessible but not something they have worked out yet, it’s an L-shaped configured lot which is very unusual, noted that Uncle Chip’s and other businesses currently use L-shaped area for their business and plan to leave it open as easement because want to have good relationship with current businesses, believe Blue Sky plans to use that area as parking spaces, LEED-certified buildings promote integrated pest management by controlling water runoff which deters pests in addition to controlling food and trash
      • Blue Sky – plan to use entire L-shaped lot, in other building with no back alley they have bay where dumpster will roll in and out for pick up, may have ramp down or some other way to roll in/roll out, noted new versions of dumpsters are now very secure re rodents
    • Long-term residents whose house is right next to lot on alley – concerned about parking spaces in alley because residents and delivery drivers already run into their fence and property a lot, dumpsters would mean more noise disturbances and already problems from restaurant, construction concerns for damage and pests, feel like plans don’t encompass entire current community including seniors and youth
      • Blue Sky – noted for himself and other developer they will repair property if there is damage due to construction, willing to work to provide buffer system for parking, dumpsters would likely be accessed from street not alley, noted problems with other retailers cleaning grease traps in alley is illegal and landlord for either developer would enforce that for any tenants
      • Cycle House – appreciate concerns, don’t know how to resolve all concerns today but are focused on working with community, plan to talk with all residents and users of that alley, architect noted he is invested in project as a current neighbor too
    • Resident of Bates St noted alley is heavily trafficked, maybe address architectural plans to keep trash or other trucks from blocking alley; also one plan is much higher and thins it takes away from appearance due to height being different than rest of street and area; will there be sales and rental and would people be able to operate business out of studios?
      • Blue Sky noted maybe studios used as artist live/work studio – not gallery for sales but work in that way, open to rent or sale
      • Cycle House – they tried to keep building as low as possible and step down to Bates side, also in back plan to have on-site electric vehicle for tenants to use instead of more parking spaces, noted idea of having lots of on-site parking is changing quickly and even DC codes are changing re parking requirements, no developer will be able to manage alley alone because need plan with whole community, these aren’t final plans so all are subject to changes
    • Another question/comment that stepping roof down to fit in with street is important, also noted that he only has a car because they have a parking spot but he lived here for a while without having a car and didn’t need it, so think if you don’t provide parking then may encourage less cars
    • How do they determine affordable housing? HUD determines AMI, here it is approx. $109,450 – affordable housing sets a ceiling limit for salary, if someone starts making more money they don’t have to leave, just have to qualify at time move in
    • resident noted she also lived here for a long time without car, N. Capitol is very dangerous for cyclists so how do they plan on addressing that?
      • Cycle House – maybe new bicycling lanes, maybe new signage, noted one of biggest problems with accidents is vehicles but also blind spots at intersections so would try to make intersection safer, would gladly meet with Washington Area Bike Association (WABA)
      • Blue Sky – plan has bike rack space, don’t think everyone will drive

8:30-8:32 Commissioner Bradley A. Thomas – 5E05

  • Next Single Member District (SMD) meeting is Saturday, 11/14, 9:30 at Dunbar
  • At last SMD meeting there was lively discussion re police policy and response to calls, also re racial profiling – there will be lieutenant there at next meeting to address policy questions and also hope to have someone from call center there
  • Also will have some residents looking at communication system to link residents together more closely, discussed how some longer-term residents feel pushed aside because don’t use internet as much so are looking at connect better

8:33-8:37 David Hall closing remarks

  • noted BACA is also thinking of ways to spread word of meetings and events other than online, December meeting will be holiday party at this location
  • resident noted please pay annual dues at party –dues are $20 per person
  • dues go toward cost of flyers, beautification projects with flowers and clean-up together with ANC funds and recently Q St residents organized and used some funds for street beautification, other projects up for consideration; minor recurring annual overhead costs of taxes and fees to be nonprofit organization, and donation to church to thank for use of space
  • also noted dues-paying members are able to vote on official matters at meetings

 8:37 pm Adjourn; informal discussions among residents and speakers

December meeting is our Holiday Party: Monday, December 7, 2015


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