2020 ANC3B Annual Report

ANC3B Annual Report covering December 1, 2019-November 30, 2020

Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) were established in the “home rule” act of 1979 to be the part of local District government closest to the people. The five Commissioners of ANC3B serving Glover Park and Cathedral Heights (“the Commission”) act as a group to make recommendations to local and federal agencies on matters affecting local residents. City agencies are required by law to give “great weight” to ANC recommendations on most proposed regulatory and policy decisions. The ANC regularly reviews proposed city projects in the area as well as applications for zoning approval, new and renewed liquor iicenses or changes to existing licenses in the area. The Commission also provides information on city programs and services to residents, community groups, and businesses, brings local officials and agency representatives to speak to the community, and helps connect them to services and solutions they need. With the creation of the Glover Park Main Street organization at the beginning of the fiscal year 2020 to support a strong commercial area in Glover Park, the ANC had an effective new partner to work with for sharing information about program assistance available to local businesses as well as sharing information with the community about activities and services in the commercial area.

The year brought many changes for ANC3B, including the retirement of Commissioner Mary Young, devoted long-time Treasurer and faithful representative of her Single Member District 3B04 in Cathedral Heights since 2012. In addition, 2020 was challenging for virtually everyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic downturn. COVID-19 changed many basic functions for the ANC and the community.

  • The Commission refocused quickly on providing information to the community about changes in services and opportunities to take care of day-to-day needs, including schools, transportation, licenses and permits, financial assistance available, health and safety recommendations, COVID-19 testing and vaccines.
  • ANC3B Commissioners also shared information about local restaurants and shops that were open and offering services, including pick-up and delivery, to help residents find services they need and also assist businesses in surviving the pandemic.
  • The ANC provided grants to several non-profit groups providing food and supplies to local households struggling to make ends meet during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • The Commission immediately shifted to working remotely and holding public meetings on Zoom to allow residents and speakers to participate online. Anticipating the change, at the March 12, 2021, ANC3B public meeting, the Commission voted to waive its bylaws requiring in-person meetings so the Commission could conduct business “remotely” if the District law was changed to allow that. Within days, the city adopted emergency legislation to allow ANCs to hold public meetings and take official votes using “virtual” technology, until the Mayor’s emergency declaration expires.
  • Almost all the District’s in-person services had to be suspended for most of the year. Some services converted to online operations. Public hearings and meetings with local and federal agencies also were canceled or delayed after mid-March 2020 and eventually most changed to “virtual” formats by the summer.
  • The city had to adopt changes in requirements for collecting nominating petitions and holding elections for ANC Commissioners as part of the November General Election. All District voters were sent ballots by mail, and voters in ANC3B participated in large numbers electing a full slate of Commissioners, including new 3B04 Commissioner Elizabeth Elson.

One of the most important developments in the Commission area over the past year was the launch of the Glover Park Main Street Program (GPMS), which grew out of a vision discussion held by ANC3B at its May 2018 meeting. GPMS officially began its work in November 2019, through a grant from the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development. Led by GPMS Executive Director Kate Dean with support from its new board, the community, and the ANC, GPMS announced a grant program to assist local businesses with improving facades, signs, and sidewalk amenities. As GPMS was preparing to approve the initial grants, the COVID-19 emergency hit and the organization shifted quickly to assisting businesses to adapt and survive through the pandemic. GPMS reached out to all local restaurants beginning with cafés and restaurants, and worked with DC Department of Transportation to create wider areas for outdoor dining through the “streateries” program (setting up safely spaced tables outside, using the parking lane, to expand capacity and provide more service for local residents.

ANC OPERATIONS

Each ANC Commissioner is elected for a two-year term from a Single Member District comprising about 2,000 residents in the community. ANC3B public meetings are generally held monthly (except in August) and are open to every member of the community and residents are welcome to participate.

Normally ANC3B meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month at Stoddert Elementary School. In 2020, ANC3B meetings were shifted to “virtual” after March, but the Commission kept up the usual schedule, meeting every month except May, with the usual break in August. The proposed schedule of AN3B public meetings is announced at the beginning of each calendar year and posted on the official ANC3B website www.anc3b.org and the proposed agenda for the next meeting is published at least a week in advance via the website, ANC email list, and local listservs. The Commission invites residents to suggest agenda items for future public meetings, and each public meeting includes time for an “Open Forum” in which anyone can raise issues, comments or questions.

ANC3B reports to the community about each of its public meetings through meeting summaries on the home page of the website and in the Glover Park Gazette. The more detailed official minutes of each meeting are subject are posted on the website after they are approved at the following public meeting.  Copies of official resolutions, letters, and other documents that have been approved by vote of the Commission at public meetings are also posted on the website, along with quarterly financial reports and the ANC annual budget.

Day to day, the five ANC3B Commissioners consult with constituents, participate in local and city-wide meetings on issues affecting the Commission area, share information about emerging issues, and are available to answer questions and help resolve concerns. In the past year, the Commissioners have paid particular attention to transportation issues, including improving the condition of streets, sidewalks, and crosswalks and focusing on areas where pedestrian and traffic safety are particular concerns. In 2020, one area of attention was the intersection of Fulton Street and Wisconsin Avenue, where for years the ANC and residents have called for safety improvements. In early 2020, the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) recommended installing a full traffic signal at that intersection. After reviewing DDOT’s study data, the Commission voted to support the proposal and DDOT installed the signal to be activated in early 2021.

The Commission invites representatives of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Second District to each meeting to discuss public safety issues in the community along with local crime statistics. During the COVID-19 emergency, total crime fell sharply in the ANC3B area, but the Commission kept in touch with MPD about local crime patterns and asked for added patrols to respond when reports were filed on upticks in property crimes. At meetings and by email, the Commissioners work with MPD to share crime prevention recommendations as well as new police initiatives to investigate and deter incidents, in 2020 focusing particularly on thefts from motor vehicles and thefts of motor vehicles.

Between December 1, 2019, and November 30, 2020, the Commission voted to approve 15 official actions, including 7 involving local zoning and liquor license applications and 8 letters and resolutions on city policy matters such as the proposed changes in WMATA budget and Metrobus services which affected several of the bus lines serving Glover Park-Cathedral Heights when WMATA was facing budget pressures in early 2020. The Commission participation in the WMATA hearings and public comment period by the ANC and large number of local residents helped significantly to defeat the proposed service cuts and save all the Metrobus services to Glover Park-Cathedral Heights. In fall 2020, the ANC3B joined residents again in opposing WMATA’s proposal to extend the reductions in Metrobus service during COVID-19, and requesting that buses be returned to previous routes and frequency as soon as possible.

The Commission also submitted official letters or resolutions to the DC Public Service Commission (PSC) opposing Pepco’s requests for a record rate increase and a change in the way its rates are regulated; and a letter and extended comments to the Office of Planning about its proposed amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan. The Commission also adopted several resolutions on potential city projects in the ANC3B area, including a letter to the DC Council recommending restoration of funding for planned capacity additions at Stoddert Elementary School and a letter to DDOT supporting a proposed traffic signal at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Fulton Street.

The Commission receives notices of all applications for liquor licenses and zoning cases in the ANC3B area, as well as public space permits, building permits, and raze permits. Over the past 12 months, the Commission heard presentations about applications from Good Guys and Wingo’s for changes in specific details of their liquor licenses, and adopted 2 resolutions: to support an amendment to the settlement agreement with Wingo’s to limit the entertainment endorsement to the liquor license to allow trivia nights and comedy nights but no other types of live entertainment, and a stipulated endorsement to install two Dragon’s Ascent “games of skill” at the restaurant. If an application case raises opposition or any significant public issues, the Commission generally asks applicants to make a presentation about a proposed application at an ANC public meeting and get comments from nearby residents, including the residents and owners of the adjoining properties. The Commission heard presentations from several neighbors and compiled comments from neighbors about several applications for zoning approval for rear deck additions, and weighed in on a contested zoning application involving illegal construction with potential precedents for others in the neighborhood. Chairman Turmail worked with the current and previous owners and adjoining neighbors to facilitate an agreement and allow resolution of that case.

In addition, the Commission hosted discussions and presentations at ANC3B public meetings by city agencies and organizations on their services and programs, including DC Delegate in the U.S. House of representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton, Councilmember Mary Cheh, Councilmember Charles Allen, MPD Second District Police Commander Duncan Bedlion on proposed changes in the MPD budget, other representatives of MPD about incidents in the neighborhood, and the DC Department of Transportation about service requests in the community. The Commission also heard from Ward 3 Mutual Aid on its work in the community.

The city provided ANC3B $11,700 in appropriated funds in FY2020 (ending September 30, 2020). The Commission does not have an office or administrative staff but instead uses the funds from the city to cover small for supplies and the ANC3B website and the rest is devoted to grants for projects to benefit the community. Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants, generally up to a total of $2,500 within a fiscal year. During the 12-month reporting period, the Commission approved 5 grants totaling $9,360.30 to not-for-profit groups including the Friends of Glover Park, Iona Senior Services, Friendship Place, the DC Food Project, and Ward 3 Mutual Aid.

Here is a more detailed list of activities and actions by ANC3B during this reporting period.

LETTERS AND RESOLUTIONS ON DISTRICT AGENCY PROPOSALS AND POLICIES

Letter to DC Office of Planning Requesting Extension of Time for Public Review of Draft Amendments to DC Comprehensive Plan (12/19)

Letter to WMATA Board Recommending Community Meeting to talk about proposed changes in Metrobus services (1/20)

Letter to DC Office of Planning with Final Comments on Draft Amendments to DC Comprehensive Plan (2/20)

Letter to WMATA Board Opposing Proposed Metrobus Changes Affecting ANC3B (2/20)

Letter to DC Public Service Commission Opposing Proposed Pepco Multi-Year Rate Plan (7/20)

Letter to DDOT Supporting Proposed Traffic Signal at Wisconsin Avenue and Fulton Street (7/20)

Letter to DC Council Regarding Funding for Stoddert School in Proposed FY2021 Education Budget (6/20)

Letter to WMATA opposing extension of COVID-19 service reductions and supporting restoration of local Metrobus services for the second half of FY2021 from January 1 through June 30, 2021 (10/20)

APPLICATIONS FOR LIQUOR LICENSES AND ZONING RELIEF

Good Guys request to extend hours open for business (not sale, service or consumption of alcoholic beverages) to 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays, 3 am other days – ANC did not vote to protest or support (1/20)

Resolution Regarding Amendment to Settlement Agreement with Wingo’s to Limit Entertainment Endorsement to Trivia Nights and Comedy Nights (2/20)

Resolution Supporting Stipulated Game of Skill Endorsement for Wingo’s Alcoholic Beverage License at 2218 Wisconsin Avenue (4/20)

Letter to DC Office of Zoning to oppose Special Exception for Rear Deck Addition at 2211 38th Street NW until ANC had a chance to hear presentations from applicants and neighbors (3/20)

Letter to DC Office of Zoning to support Special Exception for a rear deck addition at 2414 Observatory Plane (6/20)

Letter to DC Office of Zoning in opposition to Special Exception for Rear Deck Addition at 2211 38th Street NW (7/20)

Letter to DC Office of Zoning withdrawing Opposition to Zoning Application for Special Exception for rear deck addition at 2211 38th Street NW and supporting agreement between property owners and adjoining neighbors (9/20)

PRESENTATIONS BY DISTRICT OFFICIALS AND AGENCIES

Status Update by DDOT Community Engagement Specialist for Ward 3 Donise Jackson about service requests to DDOT from ANC3B and constituents (12/19)

Jamie Yarussi, Deputy Inspector General for Business Management and Public Information Officer, spoke about the work of the District Office of Inspector General. (12/19)

Robert White, DC Councilmember at Large, spoke about his priority policy issues and legislative initiatives for District residents and his outreach and support for ANCs work in his position as Chairman of the Council committee with responsibility for Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. (12/19)

Leah Ann Brown of Ward 3 Mutual Aid gave an overview of the goals and projects of the Mutual Aid organization for residents in Ward 3, their hotline for requests for assistance, and volunteer services to provide food and supplies to people in the community who ask for food and supplies during COVID-19 emergency. (6/20)

Eleanor Holmes Norton, District delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, hosted “Norton in Your Neighborhood” to discuss federal initiatives affecting the District and her priorities to serve residents. (6/20)

Discussion of annual budget for MPD and potential effects on Ward 3 with MPD Second District Commander Duncan Bedlion, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Chairman of the Council Committee on the Judiciary. (11/20)

COMMUNITY UPDATES AND INFORMATION

Commissioners and residents provided updates on the Verizon outage affecting local cell phone and landline service and efforts to restore service after workers inadvertently cut a bundle of telephone cables under the 31st Street bridge being reconstructed in Georgetown. (12/19 and 1/20)

Commissioners shared information and perspectives on the WMATA proposed FY2021 budget and Metrobus service changes affecting services to ANC3B, in preparation for WMATA’s announcement of a public comment period and public hearing in February. Numerous local residents and the ANC were among the most forceful participants in the public hearings, leading the WMATA Board to vote in April 2020 to abandon the proposed service reductions and maintain all the existing Metrobus services. (1/20)

Commissioners presented information on plans for Mail-In ballots, Early Voting and Election Day Voting Centers for the November 2020 General Election. (9/20)

Kate Dean, Executive Director of the Glover Park Main Street, presented an update on the first year of work by the Glover Park Main Street program focusing on supporting business and improvements to the appearance and opportunities in the Glover Park commercial corridor on Wisconsin Avenue. (9/20)

Commissioners and residents discussed experiences with the “Slow Streets” program on the four blocks 39th Street in Cathedral Heights that DDOT had designated as a “Slow Street” in the second phase of the District initiative in August. The program was designed to encourage safer use of local streets for walking, bicycling and recreation during the COVID-19 emergency. The Commission and neighbors urged DDOT to review the selection of 39th Street for the program and seek other local streets that would be better suited for the “Slow Streets” program. Commissioner Mladinov signed up to present testimony on ANC3B’s experience with “Slow Streets” initiative at the November 16 roundtable organized by Councilmember Mary Cheh in the Council Committee on Transportation and Environment Committee that she chairs. (9/20)

Commissioners provided updates to residents about a previous conversation with MPD Second District and Special Operations Unit about the closing of Wisconsin Avenue on September 16 after a small group gathered to protest after a misunderstanding of a shoplifting incident at the CVS the day before. The manager had flagged passing MPD officers who spoke to the suspects, got back the property in their possession, and no charges were filed. MPD closed the street to vehicle traffic for over 7 hours while the protesters were in the area near the CVS, causing numerous offices and businesses to close, so the Commissioners asked for a briefing. (10/20)

Commissioners provided updated information on District Department of Public Works (DPW) plans for leaf collection and collection of holiday trees and greens. DPW had initially planned to require residents to place leaves in paper leaf bags and place them on the curbside for collection, to help protect crews against additional threats of COVID-19, but before the crews started the fall leaf collection season, DPW revised the plans and adopted the same policies as in Fall 2019 to allow residents to rake leaves to the tree boxes for collection, without putting the leaves in paper bags. (10/20 and 11/20)

GRANTS

$1,055 to Iona Senior Services for 500 reusable food bags to distribute to participants in nutrition and fitness programs (1/20)

$982.01 to Friends of Glover Park for sports equipment and supplies to use in basketball programs at Glover Park Community Center in Stoddert Elementary School (2/20)

$2,323.29 to DC Food Project for bags and supplies to use in its Emergency Food Bag program which distributes food to local students and families facing food insecurity during COVID-19 (4/20)

$2,500 to Friendship Place for the gift cards to ride-share and Giant Food for the AimHire program helping formerly homeless individuals to find and keep jobs (7/20)

$2,500 to Open Collective Foundation acting on behalf of Ward 3 Mutual Aid to support the Mutual Aid program to purchase and distribute food and sanitary supplies for Ward 3 households in need during the COVID-19 emergency (11/20)