Meeting Reports: May, June, July 2018

May 2018

The majority of the May meeting was devoted to a panel discussion about problems and proposed approaches for the Glover Park commercial corridor on Wisconsin Avenue from Whitehaven Parkway to the block north of Calvert Street.  Panelists included Gina Schaefer, owner of Glover Park Ace Hardware; Robert Isen, owner of the Calvert Center, Jennifer Prats, Grants Manager for the DC Main Streets Program, and Theresa Cameron, Executive Director of the Van Ness Main Street Program.  The business owners cited a number of challenges including the continued closing of Whole Foods, rising costs, increasing internet sales, and the growing popularity of newer commercial centers in the city. A lively discussion followed with questions on the prospects for the reopening of Whole Foods, parking limitations and options, signage, ideas for potential new businesses or pop-ups, and ways to raise awareness of Glover Park and the importance of shopping locally.  At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Blumenthal asked anyone interested in working on the issues to sign up to serve on a working group to further explore opportunities and strategies for improving the GP commercial strip.

June 2018

The four main topics for the meeting were (a) an update from DC Water on the status of the Green Infrastructure (GI) project in Glover Park, (b) a request for a zoning special exception for the Union Building at 2461 Wisconsin, (c) a request for a zoning special exception and variance for redevelopment of 4017 Davis Place, NW, and (d) a request from Good Guys to modify their existing settlement agreement at 2311 Wisconsin.  The GI project is part of DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, the $2.7 billion capital program to prevent sewer outflows into the rivers by building a series of huge storage tunnels to hold excess stormwater, along with green infrastructure to reduce run-off from some of the older neighborhoods that have Combined Sewer Systems.  Seth Charde presented an update for the Glover Park GI projects, which will include 5 bioretention areas (“rain gardens”) on 40th Street as well as 4 sections of permeable pavement in alleys between 39th Street and 40th Place, and 15 sections of permeable pavement in parking lanes on 39th and 40th Street and 40th Place, between W Street and Benton Street.  Construction was scheduled to begin by July and last until March 2019.  Ben Strasser and Preston Brown described their plans to open a Kindercare facility in the “Union Building” at the corner of Calvert Street and Wisconsin Avenue for a child care/day care center for up to 129 children ages 1 to 5, with 25 or 30 employees. The zoning code specifically allows such uses at that location if the BZA grants a special exception.  After discussion, the ANC voted to urge the BZA to grant Kindercare’s zoning application. At 4017 Davis Place, Rhode Island Condos LLC is proposing to build a rear addition, a full third story onto the existing two-story 3-unit apartment building at 4017 Davis Place to create a total of 8 condominium units, all with 2 or 3 bedrooms. Lawyer Samantha Mazo explained that the proposal had been modified to eliminate the habitable fourth floor in the original plan so the project would not require a zoning variance, but the developer was still asking the BZA to grant a special exception for the project. The ANC voted to support the zoning request without the fourth-floor penthouse.  Good Guys asked to modify the hours that an extra security person is required inside the establishment, under the settlement agreement with ANC3B that is attached to Good Guys’ liquor license.  Rather than having the extra security person every night starting at 7 pm, they asked that the hours be changed to 7 pm only on Friday and Saturday, 9 pm on Sunday, and 10 pm on the other four days. The ANC voted to approve the request.

July 2018

The four main agenda items included (a) a presentation by Lucinda Babers, Director of DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), (b) a discussion of the development proposed for the parking lot now being used by Pearson’s, (c) a report from the Glover Park Clean Team, and (d) a grant request from the Friends of Glover Park.  Director Babers presented the DMV’s new strategic plan and also spoke about the transition of DC driver’s licenses to Real ID format with machine readable data and other features to prevent tampering.  After the Federal deadline of October 1, 2020, the old style licenses will not be accepted as IDs for boarding commercial airline flights or entering military bases and other federal facilities in the United States. Real IDs will be issued when DC residents renew their driver’s license or replace a lost license.  The initial Real ID can only be obtained in person at a DMV facility.  The process and required documentation needed to get a Real ID are described at  Eli Borek and his colleague from Petra Development described the project their firm has been hired to design and build on the parking lot now used by Pearson’s.  They are planning a mixed use building that will house six luxury condominiums and high end retail such as a type of designer showroom.  They hope to start construction in early fall.  Phil Kang, owner of Pearson’s Liquor Store, also attended the meeting and explained that he is filing a lawsuit to stop the development because he was not given the “right of first refusal” for the sale of the parking lot. Petra is not involved in the lawsuit.  Stay tuned.  Will Avila and Charlie Curtis from the Glover Park Clean Team gave a presentation on the work they have been doing for the past two years to keep the streets and sidewalks clean in the Glover Park commercial area.  Their work is funded by a one-year grant from the city and they applied for renewal for another year. The Commissioners praised the quality of their work and asked if the clean-up area could be expanded to include the Chipotle parking lot and the alley behind CVS, which the team said they would be glad to do. The ANC voted to send a letter to the city recommending extending the grant. Dean Hill, Treasurer of the Friends of Glover Park, presented a grant request for $601.95 to purchase sports equipment for use in the recreation facilities at the Glover Park Community Center, and the ANC voted to approve the grant.