February 2018 Meeting Report

All Commissioners were in attendance: Ann Mladinov (3B01), Jackie Blumenthal (3B02), Melissa Lane (3B03), Mary Young (3B04) and Brian Turmail (3B05). Chairman Turmail called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.  He proposed an amendment to the agenda that switched the order of topics and made a motion to approve the agenda as amended.  It was seconded and passed unanimously.

Grant Request from Iona Senior Services.  Diane Greenspun from Iona Senior Services made a grant request for $856 for a portable speaker and “pocket talkers.”  The latter device amplifies sounds closest to the listener while reducing background noise. Iona will provide these devices to participants in their programs who have difficulty hearing.  A motion was made to approve the grant.  It was seconded and passed unanimously.

Visit by Kevin Donahue, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice.  Deputy Mayor Donahue spoke about DC implementation of the NEAR (Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results) Act.  He is responsible for managing a number of the agencies who are implementing the 20 different Titles of the Act. While many of the requirements have been completed, five titles are still in process, 3 of which are for data collection.  Data collection includes information on police stop/frisk and use of force incidents and collection of data on crime victims, suspects and court outcomes.  One of the problems is how to analyze the information once it is collected.  Mr. Donahue said that as they get the raw data, it will be posted and made available on the web.   A new web site, saferstronger.dc.gov, has comprehensive information on  NEAR Act implementation and other resources related to public safety and crime prevention.  Commissioner Turmail asked what ANC 3B could do to help.  Mr. Donahue responded that conveying the importance of and supporting the NEAR Act would be the greatest help.

Police Report.  Lt. Ralph Neal gave the police report.  January 2018 saw a 19 percent reduction in crime compared to January 2017.  The biggest drop was in thefts from auto which declined from 9 to 3.  Nine people were arrested at Mason Inn in late January and charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance (marijuana).  They were using Mason Inn as a “pop up” space and selling the drug in several forms including oils, dried flowers, vape cartridges and edibles.  MPD as well as ABRA were involved in the raid.

Resolution on Proposed Legislation to Ban Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers (B22-0234).  Commissioner Lane introduced a resolution to support Councilmember Cheh’s proposed legislation to ban gas-powered leaf blowers by 2022.  Grif Johnson of Quiet Clean DC had presented information on the Bill at the December ANC 3B meeting and asked the commission to consider a resolution supporting it.  ANC 3B opened a public comment period.  Commissioner Turmail recused himself from the issue because of a conflict of interest with his primary employment.  Commissioner Mladinov spoke out against the legislation because she does not feel it would be effective. She feels a more effective approach would be to limit the times that this equipment could be used and to put the burden of compliance on the lawn maintenance companies.   A motion was made to approve the resolution, it was seconded and passed with 3 yeas, 1 nay and 1 abstention.


  • Commissioner Blumenthal reported that the construction at the former Holiday Inn site is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2018. It will include 226 rental units of various sizes, a three story parking structure, retail space which includes Trader Joe’s (scheduled to open by the second quarter of 2019) and a café.  The parking structure will include 172 spaces for residences and 80 spaces for retail.  DDOT is working on the traffic flow issues.  There will be dedicated right and left turn lanes out of Whitehaven on to Wisconsin.  Still to be determined is how to regulate the traffic lights in that area.
  • Commissioner Blumenthal reported that Georgetown University is moving out of the complex that also houses the British School. It is not yet known who will next occupy that space.
  • Commissioner Blumenthal reported that Georgetown University is planning on erecting an ornamental fence with a gate around Holy Rood Cemetery. It is not yet clear if the gate will be locked.  When plans become more specific, Georgetown University representatives will brief the community at an ANC 3B meeting.
  • Commissioner Blumenthal reported on the January 31 public meeting on the status of the removal of rush hour left turn restrictions on to Observatory Circle from Massachusetts Avenue. After further studying the intersection and collecting additional data, DDOT has determined that the restriction can be lifted without installing additional traffic lights.   Neighbors from Massachusetts Heights expressed concern about the potential increase in and speed of traffic on Observatory.   DDOT agreed to consider and implement traffic calming  measures before lifting the left turn restriction.  They anticipate lifting the restriction by April 2018.
  • Commissioner Blumenthal reported on the status of Whole Foods-Wical litigation. The owner of the property asked for the suit to be dismissed.  A judge ruled against the owner.  With this development, the case is more likely to settle out of court.  Whole Foods also won the right to terminate their lease.  They have said, however, that they would like to re-open in that space.   If the suit settles, they anticipate it would take six months to build-out and re-open after the permits are secured.
  • Commissioner Blumenthal reported that the “Pearson’s Parking Lot” is under contract. The sale, however, is being held up because the owner of Pearson’s Liquor was not given right of first refusal before the sale.
  • Commissioner Blumenthal has undertaken a project to complete the commercial area improvements recommended in the 2006 Office of Planning report on the Glover Park Commercial District. Tasks still left to be done include installation of tree boxes and parking signage to advertise parking availability on the eastside of Wisconsin Avenue which is currently underutilized.

Open Forum

  • Jamaal Jordan, Senior External Affairs Specialist at Pepco, spoke about the ”Capital Grid Project” that is underway. Over the next ten years, Pepco plans to upgrade three existing substations and to construct an additional substation in order to better manage power distribution.  The plan also includes building a new underground transmission line to connect the substations and build a networked system to more efficiently deliver power to consumers.

The next meeting of ANC3B will be Thursday, March 8th. The agenda will be posted at anc3b.org at least a week before and will be circulated via list servs.