ANC 3D Minutes for April 02, 2014

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Meeting Date: April 2, 2014

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GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
 
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3D
PALISADES · KENT · SPRING VALLEY · WESLEY HEIGHTS ·
NEW MEXICO/CATHEDRAL · THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY · FOXHALL VILLAGE
 
 
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D Minutes
Regular Meeting
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
 
The regular monthly meeting of ANC3D was held at The Lab School of Washington, in The Commons area,
4759 Reservoir Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007, on the first Wednesday of the month, April 2, 2014. Chair
Gayle Trotter opened the meeting at 7:00 PM. Other Commissioners present: Penny Pagano, Michael Gold,
Rory Slatko, Kent Slowinski, W. Philip Thomas, Joe Wisniewski, Stu Ross, and Thomas M. Smith; Commissioner
Wells was absent. There were over 30 people in the audience during the session.
 
Executive Session (this portion of the meeting was not open to the public)
 
7:42: ANC3D meeting opened to the public.
 
Police Report: Officer Tony McElwee provided a crime and traffic report. Officer McElwee reported that crime
was down for the past 30 days and that there had been no major accidents. The areas of traffic concern are
Ward Circle, Foxhall Road, and Reservoir Roads.
 
Community Concerns:
Joan Silver Lowe, Sutton Place resident, said that the traffic calming circles on 42 nd Street, NW near Van Ness
are confusing and dangerous and that they present difficulties to the residents that reside along that area.
Commissioner Gold offered to present to ANC 3E, the ANC in which the traffic calming circles are located, with
Ms. Silver Lowe and other concerned residents to express concerns about the circles.
 
Jeffrey Kraskin, representative from the Spring Valley Wesley Heights Citizens Association (SVWHCA),
informed the Commission of the associations’ concerns that AU plans for the East Campus may not be in
compliance with Zoning Order 11-07. He reported the association had posed several questions to AU to clarify
plans, was waiting for answers, and may ask the Commission in the future for some assistance in ensuring that
AU comply with the terms of the Zoning Order.
 
Ben Tessler, Westover Place resident, also expressed concerns about AU’s plans for the East Campus
construction and whether AU is adhering to what they said they are going to do to the Zoning Commission
(ZC).
 
Commissioner Slowinski said he made a call to DDOT about the construction trucks traveling on Foxhall Road
from the American University Tenley construction site which resulted in a stop-work order. He said that DDOT
representatives reported they would never have approved Foxhall Road as a construction plan route because
it is a minor arterial road. He believes the number of trucks reported traveling on Foxhall Road was 140 per
day.
Former Commissioner Alma Gates reminded ANC3D and residents that two important dates are Zoning
Regulations Rewrite (ZRR) dates are approaching:
• April 24 - final hearing before ZC
• April 25 - ZRR record closes
Ms. Gates also reported that the Economides residence’s retaining wall, 4825 Dexter Terrace, NW, is being
deconstructed. Commissioner Slowinski said that Mr. Economides must remove the retaining wall via a court
order and he appears to be dumping dirt into a neighbor’s yard and that he has informed Councilwoman
Cheh’s office of the situation.
 
AGENDA:
American University Construction Update –Andrew Huff, Director of Community Relations, External Relations
said that AU had an East Campus pre-construction meeting on March 11, 2014, and that several issues were
raised including: truck traffic, trucking routes, and the tree buffer separating East Campus from Westover
Place. When it comes time for AU to submit a traffic control plan for the site, the university has agreed to
work with ANC 3D and the community. He noted that DDOT ultimately decides where the trucks will travel.
Commissioner Smith said the community is asking AU to delay filing permits until there has been clarification
of the university’s construction plans for the East Campus and whether they comply with Z.C. Order 11-07. Mr.
Huff said the university would not be willing to delay filing permits and said that the East Campus would be
developed in full compliance with the zoning order.
 
Commissioner Trotter said that she had requested two other AU representatives to directly speak on the issue
at tonight’s meeting, and expressed her disappointment in their inability to attend. She wanted the record to
reflect that she would like to work together with AU to have the best possible result for the community.
 
Mr. Huff presented the two trucking route options DDOT has given to AU for the Tenley Circle construction
site: a northern route (down Wisconsin to the Beltway) and southern route (through Ward Circle and
Massachusetts Ave). Mr. Huff said that the trucking routes would be used equally. Huff noted that AU had
discussed the trucking routes with ANC 3E. Commissioner Smith expressed concern about the lack of
consultation with ANC 3D since the trucking routes are within the boundaries of ANC 3D.
 
Commissioner Trotter asked that Mr. Huff arrange for AU officials with more technical knowledge to come to
the May meeting to discuss the construction update.
 
3000 block of 43rd Street NW petition by neighbors for repaving and traffic calming elements - Josh
Wilsusen, who lives at 3008 43rd Street, stated that all residents on the 3000 block of 43rd Street NW had
signed a petition requesting that DDOT repave and install traffic calming elements on the street. He said the
street has become dangerous for two reasons: the poor condition of the roadway and the speed of cars
coming off of New Mexico Avenue. Neighbors from intersecting Hawthorne Street have also signed the
petition and were in attendance at the meeting. Mr. Wilsusen thanked Commissioner Slowinski for helping the
petitioners engage with Councilmember Mary Cheh’s office.
 
Commissioner Slowinski moved to approve the residents’ resolution. Commissioner Trotter said that, because
of the petition’s language, approving the petition that the neighbors signed is not the correct vehicle for a
resolution. Commissioner Slowinkski moved to support the residents’ request. Commissioner Smith made a
friendly amendment that ANC3D calls on DDOT to consult with the residents to determine any and all
appropriate signage and traffic flow measures to assure safety; take all the necessary steps to repave the
street and enhance safety; and call on DDOT to take these steps within 30 days of receiving this notice from
ANC3D, Commissioner Slowinski accepted the amendment. Commissioner Ross seconded. The motion was
passed 9-0-0 (Attachment 1).
4600 - 4800 blocks of Dexter Street NW discussion of petition by neighbors to complete sidewalk in these
blocks - Commissioner Slowinski reported that the residents circulating the petition were one signature short
and asked that the item be moved to the May agenda.
 
BZA Application 18738 for 4527 MacArthur Blvd NW – Mr. Ali Ajalli, the architect for applicant Siamak
Aryanpour Kashani, presented the plans for a new 5-unit apartment building which would replace the current
single family home.
 
Commissioner Smith asked Mr. Ajalli how the project complied with the zoning code. Mr. Ajalli replied that R-
5-A allows for an owner to build a multi-family unit as long as it does not have a negative impact on the
community. He stated that the new proposed structure is an improvement over the existing structure and that
he designed the building to match the height of other multi-family homes in the area.
 
Mr. Ajalli stated he had done some outreach to neighbors and found that residents’ opinions varied on the
project’s impact in the neighborhood but that no direct meeting with the neighborhood residents was
organized by himself or the owner. Mr. Ajalli estimated construction time would take one year.
 
Gerald Nemus, adjacent neighbor to the lot, stated that 95% of the neighborhood opposed a similar BZA
application for 4529 MacArthur Blvd NW and that, despite that opposition, the application was approved by
the BZA. He said that, if this multi-family unit is built, he will have no privacy, his home will be the only single
family home on this particular block, and that he has concerns about the destruction of the neighborhood
character and the loss of property value for his home.
 
Frank and Arden Staroba, residents who live near the proposed project , thanked Commissioner Trotter for
organizing residents before the meeting. Mr. Staroba believes this project will have a negative impact on the
neighborhood character. He said there was not a decent parking study done for the BZA application for 4529
MacArthur Blvd NW corner lot apartment building. Mr. Staroba asked the ANC to help get a detailed time-of-
day traffic study for this area and delay this project until the study is completed.
 
Commissioner Trotter said she saw the following problems with this application: a lack of green space, lack of
parking, a large increase of building height by 10 feet, a lack of permeable paving, noise from heating and air
conditioning systems, the location and construction of the retaining wall may adversely impact neighbors,
confusion over side yard lengths, and finally, construction could prevent access from the alley. Trotter stated
that the owner is asking for a special exception, but lacks important information and does not have the
support of the community.
 
Commissioner Trotter moved to oppose the application as it currently stands with the understanding that the
owner will come back to ANC 3D after they have worked with the neighbors to address their concerns.
Commissioner Trotter added to the motion that the applicant defer the hearing that is scheduled for April 14
and that if the applicant does not defer the hearing that the ANC3D will testify in opposition at the April 14
BZA hearing. Commissioner Ross seconded.
 
Commissioner Smith offered a friendly amendment to change the language to the following: ANC 3D opposes
the application because the proposal is inconsistent with section 353 which requires compliance with section
3104 for the following reasons: the proposal is not in harmony with the zoning regulations, it adversely effects
use of neighboring property, the reorientation of the property does not reflect the neighborhood, the
negative impact on neighbors’ property values, the alteration of neighborhood character, the impact on light,
inadequate parking, and potential domino effect within the neighborhood. The Commissioners requested that
the applicant withdraw their application until they have worked with the community. Commissioner Trotter
added the green space issue to the friendly amendment and accepted it. Commissioner Thomas added that
the commission should designate Commissioner Trotter to testify. The motion passed 9-0-0 (Attachment 2).
 
Commission Smith moved to request DDOT to conduct an hour by hour traffic impact assessment including a
construction management plan with additional input from ANC 3D for this application. Commissioner Thomas
seconded. The motion passed 9-0-0 (Attachment 3).
 
Draft Resolution on Removing the Bamboo in the 49th Street right-of-way, adjacent to Battery Kemble Park
- Commissioner Slowinski presented his resolution in support of Chain Bridge Road neighbors to remove
bamboo from areas near Battery Kemble Park. Commissioner Slowinski stated that if the bamboo is not
removed from 49th Street, NW it will grow back into Battery Kemble Park. He proposes that DDOE work with
NPS to consider designing a storm water detention pond in the bamboo grove area to reduce the impact of
storm water run-off and prevent the bamboo from growing back. Commissioner Slowinski proposes that, if
feasible, funds would be allocated to install a storm water retention pond. Commissioner Slowinski said that
DDOE and NPS believe this is a good idea, but they have not done a site visit.
Commissioner Pagano said that she had received an email from Seth Kershenberg, 49th Street NW resident,
this afternoon who opposes the resolution and read that email (Attachment 4).
 
Commissioner Pagano suggested that Commissioner Slowinski have another meeting with the neighbors and
that ANC3D postpone the resolution for consideration until May. Commissioner Slowinski asked Gordon Kit if
he had any feelings one way or another. Mr. Kit said that the viewpoint article he had written about the
bamboo issue in Battery Park was published in the Northwest Current’s April 2 issue and that he felt it needed
to be sent around to the community and suggested sending the article by email to the 49 th Street residents.
Mr. Kit also said ANC3D needs to find out NPS’s response to the Resolution of Advisory Neighborhood
Commission 3D on the Chain Bridge Road/University Terrace Preservation Committee Efforts regarding the
Bamboo Grove in Battery Kemble Park which was passed at ANC3D’s February meeting. Commissioner
Slowinski said that ANC3D has not had a response from NPS about the resolution. Commissioner Slowinski said
he would contact the residents who had objections to this resolution. Commissioners agreed to defer the
agenda item until May.
 
Role of ANC’s with the Zoning Commission - Commissioner Smith moved that ANC3D calls on the Zoning
Commission to assure that the Role of the ANCs should not be diminished and that they reject any provision in
the zoning regulation rewrite that would dilute the ability of ANCs to provide feedback on zoning-related
issues and that we provide that to the Zoning Commission prior to the close of the record and that
Commissioner Trotter would be authorized to testify before the Zoning Commission on behalf of ANC3D on
this issue on April 24th. Commissioner Gold seconded, and the motion passed 9-0-0.
 
Commission Business
March Minutes – Commissioner Wisniewski presented the March minutes and asked for the commission’s
opinions on the recommended redline edits. After some discussion, the commission deferred the approval of
the March minutes until May.
 
Treasurer’s Report – Commissioner Slatko stated that the Auditor’s Office that will not make a decision until
the 1st quarter about whether ANC 3D’s late deposit to the security fund will result in a penalty. Commissioner
Smith asked to see how the budget can be reconfigured to accommodate the increase in costs for copying.
 
Communications Committee Report – Commissioner Pagano said that the members of the committee would
need to see the back end of the website and be given administrative access to it.
Commissioner Slowinski stated there was a hearing today before Congress where Representative Norton
asked for an alternative location of the monitoring well in Spring Valley. Commissioner Trotter requested that
this press release be placed on the website.
 
The meeting was adjourned at 10:36 pm.
 
Respectfully Submitted,
 
Stu Ross
Interim Secretary, ANC3D
 
Date of Approval: 7/9/14
Attachments:
1 ANC3D ltr to DDOT re 3000 block of 43rd St NW
2 ANC April 8 letter to BZA Application 18738 for 4527 MacArthur Boulevard NW
3 ANC3D April 6 ltr re BZA Application 18738 for 4527 MacArthur Blvd NW
4 Draft Resolution on Removing Bamboo in the 49th Street right-of-way adjacent to Battery Kemble
Park
 
 
 
ANC3D’s next Regular Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at
The Lab School of Washington, The Commons,
4759 Reservoir Road, NW Washington, DC 20007-1921
Government of the District of Columbia
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3-D
P.O. Box 40486
Palisades Station
Washington, D.C. 20016
 
 
 
June 2, 2014
 
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
 
Matthew Brown, Acting Director
District Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400,
Washington, DC 20003
Matthew.Brown3@dc.gov
 
RE: Repaving and traffic calming measures in the 3000 block of 43rd Street NW
 
Dear Acting Director Brown:
 
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D (ANC 3D) held its regularly scheduled meeting on April 2, 2014, at The
LAB School and, with a quorum present at all times, voted 9-0-0 to support the following resolution regarding
neighbors' request for repaving and traffic calming measures in the 3000 block of 43rd Street NW to address
the poor condition of the roadway and the speed of cars coming off New Mexico Avenue.
 
ANC 3D calls on DDOT to:
 
1) consult with the residents to determine any and all appropriate signage and traffic flow measures to
assure safety;
2) take all the necessary steps to repave the street and enhance safety; and
3) take these steps within 30 days of receiving this notice from ANC3D.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
 
Gayle Trotter
Chair, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D
 
Enclosure: Presentation to ANC3D by residents of the 3000 block of 43rd Street NW
 
 
Cc: Councilmember Mary Cheh
Government of the District of Columbia
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3-D
P.O. Box 40486
Palisades Station
Washington, D.C. 20016
 
 
 
April 8, 2014
 
SUBMITTED ELECTRONICALLY
 
Mr. Lloyd Jordan, Chair
Board of Zoning Adjustment
One Judiciary Square
441 4th Street NW
Suite 210S
Washington, DC 20001
bzasubmissions@dc.gov
 
Re: BZA Application 18738 for 4527 MacArthur Boulevard NW
 
Dear Chair Hood:
 
At its regularly scheduled meeting on April 2, 2014, with a quorum present at all times, Advisory
Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 3D voted 9-0 to recommend that the Board of Zoning Adjustment
(BZA) reject Application 18738 seeking Special Exception relief (Section 3104.1) pursuant to
Subsection 353 for the construction of a new 5-unit apartment house in an R-5-A District at 4527
MacArthur Boulevard NW (Square 1363, Lot 50).
 
ANC 3D’s action was taken after a presentation by the owner’s representative and after hearing
comments from several neighbors in opposition to the application. Based on the application and the
information provided by the applicant’s representative and the neighbors, ANC 3D determined that
the application did not meet the criteria for Special Exception relief outlined in Section
3104.1 because the proposed new development is 1) not in harmony with zoning regulations and 2)
adversely affects use of neighboring property.
 
The new apartment building will be located immediately next door to a single family home and within
a several block area that includes single family homes and townhomes. Multi-unit dwellings are
located across the street on lots that are in harmony with the apartment building structures. In order
to make a five-unit apartment house fit on the lot at 4527 MacArthur Boulevard, the
applicant is reorienting the building away from MacArthur Boulevard, the front street, so that the
front of the building is actually perpendicular to the main street. The applicant seeks to take
attention away from this reorientation by locating an entrance to one basement unit along
MacArthur Boulevard. But, the structure, itself, is simply too big to front on MacArthur Boulevard, as
the plans indicate. The reorientation of the building from a front entrance to several side entrances
 
 
1
shows a lack of harmony with the realities of the lot. This would also be an unusual orientation for
this stretch of MacArthur Boulevard. This is simply out of character with the neighborhood.
 
Based on the architectural drawings, it is unclear also if the frontage of the proposed apartment
building is consistent with the current single family homes and townhomes or if the proposed
apartment building juts out further toward MacArthur Boulevard past the line of other current single
family homes on this block.
 
Many of the proportions and measurements of the proposed apartment building will be vastly
increased from the current single family home, coming in just under the legal requirements. This
effort to "supersize" the proposed apartment building has a cumulative negative effect
on neighboring property that is not in harmony with current zoning regulations. The new 5-unit
apartment building will consist of 2- and 3-bedroom units. Only by a technicality in the law does the
apartment’s .89 Floor Area Ratio fall within the FAR limits. However, the FAR at the site will nearly
double, meaning a significantly increased intensity of use at the site.
 
Other features of the building also raise concerns. For example, the proposed steep, nearly three-
story outside stairwell on the back of the building is inconsistent with building features in the
neighborhood and also raises concerns about public safety for residents living in the unit.
Additionally, the height of the proposed apartment building is almost ten feet higher than the current
single family home's height.
 
It is also unclear from the drawings whether the side yard set backs are valid. It appears from the
drawing that something, perhaps window wells, juts into the side yard raising questions as to
whether the building is in compliance with the 8-foot required side yard set backs. The owner’s
representative was unable to provide specific information to the ANC on this issue. It is also unclear
from the proposed sketches where the heating and air conditioning units will be located. This could
have a profound impact on the next door neighbor's peaceful enjoyment of his home and thereby
lower the value of his property.
 
Maxing out to five units in the proposed apartment building will add great stress to a neighborhood
already challenged by parking issues, due to its location by Georgetown Day School, the Lab School
Foxhall campus, and the Hardy Recreation Center. The apartment will provide surface parking for
only five cars – one car per unit. However, four of the apartments are 2-bedroom units and one is a
3-bedroom unit. The applicant has made no provisions for parking beyond five cars, which is
unrealistic, especially given that the building is not located along a major public transportation
corridor. The area already is experiencing a serious parking shortage and this building will only
contribute to exacerbating that shortage.
 
The proposed apartment building will also reduce the lot's available green space and increase
impervious surfaces with its increased lot coverage, causing additional effects on our local
waterways. With a larger building, the neighbors will face reduced light and air access for their
homes. This will negatively affect their property values.
 
The proposed new apartment building would be located in a neighborhood where some of the
neighbors have resided since 1968, made long term investments in their properties, but committed
to a way of life that would preserve this unique and well-known corner of the city. Now, this
2
apartment building threatens the investments they have made. ANC 3D came before the BZA nearly
one year ago to oppose a similar proposed apartment building in the same block. ANC 3D warned
then that BZA approval of that application (BZA Application 18553) would create a domino effect of
turning single family homes into apartment buildings in this fragile and cherished neighborhood. We
regret that our concerns have come to fruition and feel strongly that the character of the
neighborhood should be retained, especially given that the proposed 5-unit apartment building is not
any better fit for the neighborhood than it is for the lot on which it is to be located.
 
There may be steps that can be taken to improve this proposed project that will align with the
requirements of the zoning code and reduce the negative impact on neighbors. We have asked the
applicant to work with the neighbors to this end. However, we are deeply disappointed that the
applicant did not engage with neighbors. ANC 3D encouraged the applicant to meet first with
neighbors before moving forward with a hearing before the BZA. ANC 3D was prepared to delay
making a formal recommendation on this application to the BZA if the applicant agreed to delay in
hopes of reaching a resolution with neighbors. The applicant would not agree to seek a delay; so,
consequently, ANC 3D reviewed the application and determined that, in its current form, does not
meet the requirements for Special Exception relief under the Zoning Code.
 
Thus, ANC3D opposes BZA Application 18738 as it currently stands and encourages the BZA to defer
action on this item until the applicant engages with neighbors with the goal of revising the plans, so
the project does not have a negative impact on neighboring property and is in harmony with the
intent of the zoning regulations for an R-5-A district.
 
If the applicant does not withdraw their current application, ANC3D Commissioners designated Chair
Gayle Trotter to testify on behalf of ANC3D at the April 15, 2014 hearing.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
 
Gayle Trotter
Chair, ANC3D
 
 
 
 
3
Government of the District of Columbia
ADVISORY NEIGHBORHOOD COMMISSION 3-D
P.O. Box 40486
Palisades Station
Washington, D.C. 20016
 
 
April 6, 2014
 
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
 
Mr. Terry Bellamy, Director
District Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003
 
RE: BZA Application 18738 for 4527 MacArthur Blvd NW
 
Dear Mr. Jordan,
 
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3-D held its regularly scheduled meeting on April 2, 2014 and, with a
quorum present at all times, voted unanimously, 9-0-0, to request that DDOT to conduct an hour by hour
traffic impact assessment including a construction management plan with additional input from ANC3D for
BZA 18738 application for 4527 MacArthur Blvd, NW and take into consideration future conditions.
 
BZA 18733 application is for a special exception to construct a new five unit apartment house where there is
currently a single family home. The application includes a five car parking lot on the property which is
accessed through a rear alley. The BZA will review this application on April 15, 2014.
 
On June 11, 2013, the BZA approved application 18553 for a special exception under allow construction of a
four-unit apartment house at premises 4529 MacArthur Boulevard, N.W. – the property immediately adjacent
to 4527 MacArthur Blvd NW. This plan includes a four car parking lot on the property which is also accessed
through the same rear alley.
 
Neighbors are concerned that negative traffic and parking impacts will arise as a result of both of the
approved and proposed apartment houses. There is also concern about adverse impacts on a bus stop located
in front of the subject properties and the increase of traffic in the alley which has limited site lines at its
MacArthur Blvd entrance. Construction of either of these apartments will likely cause the closure of the alley
entrance at Q St. NW and construction of both of these apartments at the same time would detrimental to the
neighborhood.
 
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
 
Gayle Trotter
Chair, ANC3D
Draft Resolution on Removing the Bamboo in the 49th Street right-of-way, adjacent
to Battery Kemble Park
 
Whereas, invasive non-natve bamboo exists in the 2900 block of the 49th Street right-of-way,
adjacent to Battery Kemble Park.
 
Whereas, NPS is working with neighbors to remove the invasive bamboo in Battery Kemble Park
and to replant the area with non-invasive native species.
 
Whereas, the bamboo will spread back into the park if it is not removed from the 49th Street
right-of-way.
 
Whereas, DDOT has jurisdiction over the 49th Street right-of-way, and
 
Whereas, DDOE and the DC Cooperative Weed Management Team specialize in
controlling/removing invasive plants
 
Therefore, be it resolved that ANC 3D supports the following:
 
1. That DDOT and DDOE work with NPS and neighbors to develop and implement a detailed and
specific timetable and plan with respect to cutting down, removing and treating the remaining
bamboo within the 49th Street right-of-way and in Battery Kemble Park;
 
2. That DDOT and DDOE work with NPS and neighbors to develop and implement a detailed and
specific timetable and plan with respect to planting native vegetation and trees in the 49th
Street right-of-way and Battery Kemble Park;
 
3. That DDOT and DDOE work with NPS and neighbors to implement a detailed and specific
time-table and plan with respect to planting native vegetation and trees in Battery Kemble Park
and the 49th Street right-of-way, to screen the views of the parking lot; and
 
4. That DDOT and DDOE work with NPS and neighbors to dedicate financial and other needed
resources to carry out the aforementioned timetables and plans.
 
5. That DDOE work with NPS to consider designing a stormwater detention pond in the bamboo
grove area to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff on Maddox Run and prevent the
bamboo from growing back, and if feasible, allocate the funds and install the stormwater
detention pond.