February 2016 Meeting Report

Too Much Alcohol, Snow, and Water

At the February 11 meeting of ANC3B, representatives of Rite Aid discussed their plans for the store and took questions about their request to the ANC that we amend our moratorium renewal petition, which has already been submitted to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, to lift the ban on issuing new Class A licenses (retail sales of beer, wine and spirits). We heard for the first time that their preference is to sell not just beer and wine, but also hard liquor. This request was presented to the ANC in January. Since that time, the ANC received numerous comments from residents, and the Glover Park Citizens’ Association, which is a party to the moratorium, voted to oppose Rite Aid’s request. In light of that and all the comments both written and voiced at meetings, as well as each Commissioner’s sense of what was best for their constituents, the ANC voted 5-0 to oppose Rite Aid’s request. The petition to amend and extend the Glover Park Liquor License Moratorium, which would ban issuing new licenses for taverns, nightclubs and full service liquor stores, will stand as submitted. The ABC Board will hold a public hearing on our petition on March 30. We expect Rite Aid to contest it.

A discussion about how the city handled the recent major snowstorm revealed general agreement that it was a much better effort than we remember from 2010. After agreeing that as a community we did a great job helping each other, with special thanks to the Glover Park Team of shovelers, residents raised several areas in which improvement is needed: sidewalks bordering the National Park Service are never shoveled; residents had to shovel the well-traveled W Place steps themselves; too many businesses did not clear their sidewalks; the D6 bus, which serves major hospitals, doesn’t run during snow emergencies; and no one understands why public alleys aren’t plowed.

Chairman Blumenthal reported that she had discussed the alley and storefront snow issues earlier in the week with Mayor Bowser when she and nearly all of her department directors came to Glover Park for a “Results Walk,” in which each month a different neighborhood is canvassed for problems and solutions. The Mayor stonewalled on the alley plowing issue but the director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development offered to help with noticing businesses about clearing sidewalks and fining them if they don’t. As we pointed out problems – leaves, beer bottles, trash strewn all over Guy Mason Park, lights out on the walkway, the muddy mess of the dog park – the Mayor’s team jumped into action, performing some cleanups even before the walk was over. We received a comprehensive list of fixes the city has committed to at Guy Mason and up and down Wisconsin Avenue, including working with businesses to get tree boxes into compliance, fixing the sink hole at W Place, repairing the alley between Hall and W Place, adjusting signal light timing at Calvert to help pedestrians cross more safely, and more. We will see how it goes.

Commissioner Turmail described upcoming work by DC Water to implement green infrastructure tactics to prevent stormwater surges that push sewage into the Potomac. Much of Glover Park west of Tunlaw is scheduled to be renovated with permeable alley surfaces that allow the water to sink through and water-capturing tree boxes and parking lanes that prevent stormwater from rushing into the drains all at once. DC Water is required by a court-ordered consent decree to address the sewage overflow issue. In parts of the city new water tunnels are being built but that is not practical here. Watch for mail and other announcements of upcoming local meetings where details will be worked out with your input. The ANC will also be involved and keep you informed.

Commissioner Abigail Zenner, who represents West Glover Park, announced that a new job will require her to resign her position as of March 1. We are sorry to see her go and thank her for her service. A special election will be held to fill the post and an announcement of the process and timing will be available in early March.

As you may know, the Mayor’s proposal for getting homeless families out of the miserable situation at DC General is based on putting smaller, more manageable shelters in seven wards. The Ward 3 location is the empty lot on the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and Edmonds Street, just north of Calvert Street. Right now, the plan is to house 39 families in a facility with play areas for children and a full array of social services to help these economically displaced families get back on their feet and out of the shelter. ANC3B is working to get a local meeting scheduled so that we can learn more, ask questions and get answers. The ANC was not consulted about the location, nor were we informed until the day before it was announced. But we are keeping an open mind about the project and encourage you all to do so, too.

The next meeting of ANC3B will not be on the second Thursday as usual; instead we will meet Wednesday, March 16 at 7 p.m. in the Stoddert School cafeteria. We welcome your attendance.