Saturday, December 29, 2007

Palisades Park: An Update

A post on the Palisades Listserv reports the following with respect to the Palisades Park and Playground:

As we move into a new phase for the Palisades Park, Mary Cheh got the District government to appropriate $400,000 for park improvements to the park entrance, in this year's money. This is great news and hopefully can avoid another decade or so of not taking action -- and very heads up on our councilmember's part. (She also appropriated funding for the Palisades stormwater management study, as well as seed funding for Palisades Village -- two more excellent pieces of news for the neighborhood.)

At any rate, Cheh and Parks and Rec Director Clark Ray will be at the Palisades Citizens Association general meeting that will take place on the first Tuesday of February to talk about improvements to the park entrance and collect ideas and input from all comers. This is for February 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm, as always at the Rec Center.

The idea is to make this process as transparent as possible. As this email string illustrates, there are many different ideas and points of view, and the meeting can and should be a forum for civilized, polite discussion, and allow for this issue to perhaps be addressed more comprehensively than your friendly neighborhood listserve. I should also mention that as part of the park's bigger renovation, there were two detailed concepts/options developed for the park entrance lo these many years ago that were temporarily shelved when the save-the-house issue came to the fore. These have also been revived and will be discussed at the PCA meeting.

At any rate, now that there is funding another major obstacle has been overcome, and -- please come to the February meeting! And feel free to thank Mary Cheh for the wonderful news on all three programs for the Palisades.

PPP Delayed to January 4th.

DC Metro Urban Diary reports that the Tenley-Friendship PPP RFP has been delayed to January 4th, 2008.

It is a good read!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Another Pedestrian -------- Struck

The horrific news was posted on the Cleveland Park listserv that for the third time in recent months, a pedestrian was struck and killed in the Ward. I believe this is number 27 for the City -- an unacceptable condition.

(EDIT: Pedestrian was struck, treated and released from the hospital)

To help address the issue, Councilmember Mary Cheh recently announced legislation to beef up fines for drivers failing to yield to pedestrians:

My office is preparing a bill for the next legislative session that will amend the current laws and substantially increase these fines. In particular, failure to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk, currently a $50 dollar fine, will carry a $500 penalty..

This is all fine and good, but an increased fine doesn't help change the behavior or activity of drivers, and is surely no comfort to those who have lost loved ones in such a tragic way. DDOT recently unveiled a draft of their Master Pedestrian Plan. In Ward 3, the study looked at Wisconsin Avenue from the Cathedral to Western Avenue. The study suggests no fewer than 4 "Pedestrian Signals" along the corridor. I am not sure how this hardware is defined, but DDOT is testing a signal at Morrison and Connecticut which has proven successful in making an intersection safe for pedestrian crossings. At a recent ANC 3/4G Meeting, DDOT indicated that the signal has shown to be successful in that there have not been any pedestrian incidents since the signals implementation in March, 2007.

The ANC (of which 2 Commissioners live on an adjoining street) have been adament that the signal be transformed to a regular red-yellow-green light because of "confusion" at the intersection (nevermind that the signal was requested by the ANC under the banner of Pedestrian Safety). DDOT however seems to feel that for now, the testing should continue, albeit with some potential adjustments.

Given the risk that pedestrians are facing in city streets, it is probably high time to ensure that signals like this are implemented city wide poste-haste.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

City Paper: Palisades Opposes Density

Erik Wemple of the City Paper reports on the recent ANC 3D meeting where developers received community input on a townhouse development proposal on MacArthur Boulevard. Writes Wemple:

The Palisades and Foxhall neighborhoods are lovely places. They’re in the city, but not really in the city at the same time. A bus takes them downtown without transferring (city amenity). They have nice yards (not-city amenity). There are restaurants and shops within spitting distance (city). Trees are everywhere (not-city). They live in bungalows and Tudor-style residences (not sure how to classify that one.)

Well, anyhow, residents of these high-priced hoods are flexing their non-city civic muscles these days, in opposition to a plan to locate 41 new town houses on a large property on MacArthur Boulevard...

If not a city, then where?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cheh to introduce new Pedestrian Safety Law

According to local blog DCist, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh will be submitting legislation to stiffen penalities for failure to yield to pedestrians.

Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) is hoping to change that. Cheh's office has announced that tomorrow she will introduce legislation that would mandate a ten-fold increase in fines for failing to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. The legislation would also include installing better signage at District crosswalks stating that pedestrians have the right of way and listing the potential fine, which would be $500.

This is a great first step to a coordinated pedestrian safety plan for the city, but there is so much more to do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wash Post: BZA Approves Mass Ave Buddhist center

Per the Washington Post:

The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment agreed yesterday that a two-story building being constructed by a U.S. Buddhist association on Massachusetts Avenue NW is a place of worship.

A group of residents who live near the Naval Observatory asked the city to appeal a decision this year by the zoning administrator that Soka Gakkai International-USA could build there as a "matter of right." The residents argued that the meetings held by the Buddhists were community meetings, not religious gatherings.

Under District zoning laws, a religious organization can build a place of worship in a residential area without asking for an exemption, which would be needed for a community center. Neighbors had contended that the building would create traffic and noise in the neighborhood several days a week.

Monday, December 03, 2007

CPCA hosts Grey and Cheh

Vincent Gray, DC Council Chairman, and Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Councilmember, will be the featured speakers at the Tuesday, December 4 meeting of the Cleveland Park Citizens Association. The subject is "One Year Later." A year ago, shortly after election, these same speakers spoke to the association about plans for the year ahead.

This will be a progress report as well as a look at the future agenda of the council and the city. The meeting takes place at the Cleveland Park Library, and begins at 6:30 p.m. All are welcome.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Palisades House is Demolished

The Jesse Baltimore House in Palisades was taken down yesterday. The 1925 Sears kit house was symbolic of the expansion of the District residential expansion beyond the downtown core. Palisades was built on one of the of the original streetcar lines, the house was right next to the designated stop in the neighborhood. The house was in government hands since the 1950's where it fell into major disrepair. Many neighborhood residents wanted to see the blighted house removed to make the entry way to the Palisades Park more inviting. It was the focus of debate and rancor for several years.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

City Paper covers local Listserv incident

The City Paper shed light on a recent posting from Cleveland Park resident Bonnie Roskas on the local Pacel Plus store on the commercial strip.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cheh on Wash Post Chat

Councilmember Mary Cheh is appeared on the Washington Post Live Discussion on Friday, November 16th. The subject: Fraud at the Office of Tax and Revenue.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wash Post: Cheh helps Rethink eMail Policy

According to Yolanda Woodley, Councilmember Mary Cheh helped the District executive branch re-think the previous stated policy to delete emails after 6 months. According to the article,

Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3), a law professor, called the mayor's six-month deletion policy "unreasonable."

Cheh recently met with City Administrator Dan Tangherlini and offered to help establish a policy that would not archive every e-mail.

"Just like we used to rely on regular mail to uncover misdeeds, now we have to rely on e-mails," she said. "People have to have confidence that we're not hiding things."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Connecticut Avenue Alert for Wednesday, Nov 7

DDOT advises motorists that use of one southbound (inbound) lane of Connecticut
Avenue, NW between Macomb Street and Ordway Street will be temporarily restricted from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7, 2007.

The lane restriction is due to an event at the Uptown Theater at 3426 Connecticut Avenue, NW.

The District's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, the Metropolitan Police Department and DDOT are coordinating the changes, and "Emergency No Parking" signs have been posted in the area.

Parking will be restricted on the west side of Connecticut Avenue, NW between Macomb Street and Ordway Street from 6:30 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Cleveland Park House Tour

Sunday, November 4th, 1-4 PM in Cleveland Park.

Whether you buy your tickets in advance, (a savings of $5 per ticket) or purchase them at the Cleveland Park Club (3433 33rd Place, NW) on Sunday, don't miss the opportunity to visit eight wonderful, fascinating and diverse homes in the Cleveland Park Historic District. Tickets for members of CPHS are $25.00, for non-members $30.00 when purchased on Sunday.

DC MUD on the Tenley PPP

The DC Metro Urban Diary has a recent entry on the release of the Tenley-Janney PPP RFP.

Friday, October 26, 2007

McLean Bible Church to the Uptown: Update

Jacqueline Salmon provides an update in the Washington Post to the issue of a large, suburban church's desire to use the Uptown Theater in Cleveland Park for Sunday morning services.

The comments in the follow-up to the article, as well as on the Cleveland Park
Listserv are pretty divergent and amazing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Washington Post on Sears House

Sylvia Moreno reports on the Jesse Baltimore Sears house in Palisades.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sibley Expansion Discussion Continues

From ANC 3D:

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3D will hold a special/emergency meeting on Thursday, Oct. 25th at 7:00 p.m. in order to hear a presentation by Sibley Memorial Hospital on its plan revisions for a Medical Office Building and multi-story parking garage. The meeting will be held at Ernst Auditorium on the Sibley campus. No other ANC business will be conducted.

The special meeting must be held on short notice in order for the ANC to comply with a deadline imposed on the proceeding (Case 05-42), by the Zoning Commission. When the Zoning Commission met to vote on Sibley's proposal last spring, they decided neither to grant the hospital's application nor deny it, instead sending the hospital back to the drawing board to, among other things, reduce the size of the building. Zoning Commission chairman Carol Mitten left the door open for Sibley to re-file when it was ready, and specified that once the hospital filed revised plans the parties would have one week in which to file written comments. Sibley on Tuesday evening informed the ANC that it plans to make its filing this Monday, Oct. 19th.

The special meeting date of Thursday, Oct. 25th was chosen so that the commission may hear from the hospital and members of the public; determine how the revised proposal stacks up against the ANC's vote last December to approve a smaller MOB with a series of conditions; and file its comments by Monday, Oct. 29th. According to Sharon Schellin, secretary of the Zoning Commission, the case file is closed except for written responses from the parties. Sibley Neighbors for Responsible Growth, also a party to the case, has opposed the MOB entirely.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Woodley Park Day, October 20

Saturday October 20, Noon to 4pm.

The spot light is on the upcoming Woodley Park Day.

The newly formed Woodley Park Business Association (WPBA) is hosting and sponsoring the first annual Woodley Park Day, a fabulous day for celebration and entertainment.

Live music with the acclaimed Trio Caliente, delectable international foods from Woodley Park restaurants, a scrumptious buffet hosted by the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, diverse performances and demonstrations: creations of gigantic bubbles, mounted police, tour of the historic Perle Mesta suite, the famous K-9 dog demos, art exhibit, Moon Bounce for the youngsters, superb door prizes, and many more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

ANC 3E Special Meeting on Commerce Bank

From Chair Amy McVey:

Saturday, October 20, 9 am, Lisner Home, 5425 Western Avenue, NW

ANC 3E will convene a special meeting to discuss and possibly vote on the Public Space Permit Application for driveways and curb-cuts for the Commerce Bank on Wisconsin Avenue. We have invited and are expecting a DDOT engineer to attend so the community can get our technical traffic questions answered.

As you may know, we have requested an engineer be available at our two previous meetings but thus far, DDOT has not permitted one to be present. ANC 3E is working with Councilmember Cheh to arrange for a member of DDOT's engineering team to be at our meeting on Saturday.

The traffic engineers who first reviewed the plans recommended that the the request to develop this site as a drive-through bank be denied for various reasons such as compromising the existing service and emergency uses of the alleyway, the impact of adding several hundred vehicles into the small site affecting refuse collection, residential access and most seriously, emergency vehicle access.

DDOT issued a statment that "although the proposed use of the public alleyway for patron access could have some impact to the public access with elevated levels of daily traffic that may create some difficulty to the service and emergency vehicle access within the alley, and queuing into the alleyway, we have no objection to this application."

As the attorney for Commerce Bank and DDOT's Ken Laden acknowledged at our last meeting, there have been changes to the site plans which were originally submitted to DCRA and upon which the building permits were approved and issued in August. We have asked the Commerce bank attorney and DDOT for a copy of the most recent plans (7th DDOT submission)to be delivered to the ANC prior to the meeting as well as a copy be delivered to DCRA for a re-review by the Office of Zoning to ensure compliance with zoning regulations. This re- review is required when there are changes made subsequent to the
issuance of the building permit as has occurred in this case.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Soka Gakkai Continues to Draw Ire

Michael Neibauer reports on the continuing zoning battle between Embassy Row residents and the Buddist Temple slated to come in to the predominantly residential neighborhood.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Wash Post on the Tenley Library Demo

Elissa Silverman covers the tear-down of the Tenley Library building in this article.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tregaron Clean Up Day

Please join us for the 2nd Community Clean-Up at Tregaron Estate
Sunday, October 14th
10 am to 2 pm*

We will meet at the gate on open Klingle Road.

Activities will include planting grass and flower seeds in the meadow, removing vines from the historic stone steps and waterfall area, and picking up litter.

Bring gloves and pruners. If possible, please bring one bag of leaves for us to use for erosion control.

Snacks & water provided!

*Rain date: Sunday, October 28th from 10 am – 2 pm

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tenley Library Demolition

The District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL) announced today that the demolition of the Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library has been scheduled for Monday, October 1, 2007 at 1 pm. Two days later on Wednesday, October 3 at 6 pm, DCPL will host a second round of community meetings at the Tenley Friendship Neighborhood Interim Library concerning the design and construction of a permanent library.

"I want to personally thank the Friends of Tenley-Friendship Library and this community for your continued patience with us since this library was initially closed," said Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian of the District of Columbia Public Library. "Over the next few weeks, those who work and reside in this area will see DCPL moving forward with the demolition process and in our commitment to hearing from the community regarding its desires in a new library."

Invited Guests include:

* Ginnie Cooper, DCPL Chief Librarian
* Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Councilmember
* Harry Thomas, Councilmember and Chairperson of the Committee on Libraries
* Scott Cartland, Principal of Janney Elementary School

A "Most Commonly Asked Questions" sheet concerning this demolition has been posted on the D.C. Public Library's website at and is also available at the Tenley-Friendship Interim Library, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue. NW.

WHAT: Media Briefing of Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library Demolition

WHEN: Monday, October 1, 2007

1:00 pm (Actual demolition with machines begins)

WHERE: Field of Janney Elementary School, 4130 Albemarle Street, NW

(The actual location of the Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library is 4450 Wisconsin Avenue, NW. Media check-in for pre-demolition tours is on the field of Janney Elementary School, adjacent to the library.)



What Should The Local Neighborhood Community Expect?

Residents, local business owners and patrons should keep in mind that Goel Services, the contractor for the demolition of this library, is razing a building made of metal, concrete, wood, and bricks. Diesel powered, heavy construction equipment will be used to take down the structure. Horn use will also be necessary on site.

As of press time, Goel Services had not applied for extended hour working permits; therefore, its working hours will be according to District of Columbia law. Also, no weekend work has been scheduled; however, if work falls behind schedule due to weather conditions or unforeseen circumstance, the company may need to apply for extended or weekend hours.

What Will The Demolition Process Entail?

There are three phases to the demolition process:

Phase I The building will be demolished with machines.

Phase II Waste will be segregated into separate piles of concrete, metal, and wood and then disposed of accordingly (recycled or landfill).

Phase III Site restoration. The land will be backfilled and grated; seeding will eventually occur.

What is the estimated timetable for the demolition process?

Four (4) weeks are scheduled for demolition and removal of debris. Backfilling and seeding will come once the ground has been cleared.

What about Pedestrian Traffic?

All plans for demolition were reviewed by the District of Columbia Board of Condemnation before permits were issued. As long as all posted signs are abided by pedestrians, no problems should occur.

What About Child Safety?

DCPL and Goel Services are aware that there are several elementary schools in close proximity to the demolition site and every safety precaution has been considered to ensure child safety. All project team members are expected to work in a professional manner. The public should feel free to bring any issues concerning child safety to the attention of DCPL immediately.

What if members of the community want pieces of the building for memorabilia?

A preset number of bricks have been set aside for those who desire a keepsake from the former structure. Contact Nancy Davenport, interim director of library services, at (202) 727-1101 to reserve one of these bricks.

Cathedral Celebrates Centennial

The Washington National Cathedral celebrates its 100th year on Saturday the 29th. The day is full of activities including the ability to climb the central bell tower.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Design Forum for Tenley Library

DC Public Library is hosting a second community meeting on Wednesday, October 3, at 6:00 pm to work with the community in designing and constructing the new library. The Freelon Group, which has been retained as the architect to redesign the library, will present preliminary concepts to the community. The meeting will be held at the Tenley-Friendship Interim Library, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pedestrian Accident in Cleveland Park

More as details come in, but there has been an accident in the vicinity of Newark and Wisconsin Ave this afternoon. It seems an MPD Cruiser struck a pedestrian. This from the Cleveland Park Listserv:

I have recently learned of a tragic accident in which a pedestrian was hit by a Metropolitan Police Department cruiser in the vicinity of Wisconsin Avenue and Newark Street. I have contacted MPD to gather whatever details I can, and am awaiting further information from Commander Solberg, information which I will then forward on to you. I can report that the pedestrian has been hospitalized in
intensive care.

I also intend to meet with both MPD and Department of Transportation officials to address this busy area and the lack of safe pedestrian crossings. In the meantime, please be safe while crossing the street, and I will be in touch as I learn more.

UPDATE This from Commander Solberg of MPD:
This accident is under investigation. At about noon today, a pedestrian struck the passenger side front door area of a police car that was traveling south on Wisconsin Avenue. The man lives nearby but we are not releasing his name at this time. He is currently in surgery at a nearby hospital and in serious condition.

Best wishes to the victim.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

CP Listserv Featured in The Express

The Cleveland park Listserv was featured in a recent story about Supercans. Read about it here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Smart Growth Revisited

Not normally or directly related to the purpose of the blog, but since a report was previously cited on the Tenleytown Listserv, the Congress of New Urbanism has released a report which questions the findings of the original author.

Debunking Cato: Why Planning in Portland Works Better Than the Analysis of Its Chief Neo-Libertarian Critic
Congress for the New Urbanism, 09/20/2007

When the Cato Institute published a report by Randal O'Toole this summer "debunking" planning efforts in Portland designed to promote compact, transit-oriented development and reduce sprawl and automobile dependency, CNU decided to take a closer look. Michael Lewyn, an assistant professor at Florida Coastal School of Law and veteran urbanist, agreed to check O'Toole's facts and analysis.

The result is the latest CNU fact-check, Debunking Cato: Why Portland Works Better Than the Analysis of Its Chief Neo-Libertarian Critic. In this detailed report, Lewyn says O'Toole raises a number of issues worth discussing, including whether improvements to Portland's transit system have failed to increase transit ridership; whether Portland's planning system has failed to attract popular support; and whether Portland's urban growth boundary has made Portland one of America's most expensive cities. Through detailed analysis, Lewyn concludes that O'Toole's attacks on Portland often miss the mark by distorting and misrepresenting data.

Among the findings in Debunking Cato:

* Lewyn rebuts O'Toole claims that hordes of people are escaping Portland and "moving to communities beyond the reach of Portland planners." In fact, the city of Portland's share of regional growth is far higher than that of other peer metro areas. Between 1980 and 2000, Portland grew as fast as its suburbs - about 43%. In Seattle during the same period, the city grew by 14% while suburbs grew by 46%. In Denver, the city grew 12% while suburbs grew 47%.

* Although O'Toole declares "Portland's transit numbers are little better than mediocre," Lewyn reports that transit use has doubled since the debut of Portland's first light rail in 1986, at a time when the population of Portland's urbanized area grew 50-60%.

* Despite O'Toole's claim that Orenco Station and other transit-oriented developments in Portland don't significantly change people's travel habits, a closer look at a study quoted by O'Toole shows that 69% of Orenco Station residents report using transit more than they did in their prior locations.

* Lewyn says O'Toole doesn't prove his claim that Portland planning is driving up housing prices. In fact, numerous cities (many of them in the West) without urban growth boundaries and with few planning policies encouraging compact neighborhoods have more expensive housing. In metro Los Angeles, the ratio of median home price to median family income is 9-to-1 compared to 4.3-to-1 in Portland. The median house price in sprawling Las Vegas is 4.8 times median income. In San Diego, the ratio is 6.7-to-1.

* Lewyn finds that O'Toole's claim that Portland's planning system is unpopular in Oregon is not supported by recent trends. Writes Lewyn, "A 2005 survey of Oregon voters showed that 69 percent believed that growth management made Oregon a more desirable place to live. An equally high percentage valued 'planning-based decisions for land use' over 'market-based decisions for land use.' Only 32% believed that current land use regulations were 'too strict'; an equal number said land-use regulations were 'about right', and 21% even believed that Oregon's land use regulations were 'not strict enough.'"

Read the full text of Debunking Cato.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Community United against Commerce Bank

Nothing like a good development project to divide a neighborhood, only in this case, there is a united front against a poorly thought out development proposal for a drive-through bank at the corner of Ellicot and Wisconsin.

TOD advocates argue that a such a development deadens what should be a lively urban corner, Others suggest that traffic and parking woes will burden the neighborhood. All agree that the "process" has at best been poorly managed, and at worst, has been malicious, misleading and disdainful.

Council Member Mary Cheh has submitted the following to DDOT and the Tenleytown Listserv:

I have followed the thread on the listserv concerning the Commerce Bank. I am posting now to tell you what I have been doing about the project. During the past couple of weeks, I have been pressing the Department of Transportation to keep both the ANC and my office informed about the status of any permits being issued for the bank.

I am very concerned, not only about the process but also about whether circumstances at the site could properly allow permits to be issued. Unfortunately, I have been frustrated—as has the ANC—in getting information and having an opportunity to express our shared concerns. Most recently, I have written to the Director of the Department of Transportation, the text of which is set out below:

Dear Director Moneme:

I am very concerned about the proposed Commerce Bank project located at 4849 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. Both the community and my office have been circumvented throughout the entirety of this process, with troubling results. My office has received a number of complaints about this project, and I share many of the same concerns expressed by my constituents. Thus I would like to receive, in writing, an update on the Commerce Bank project, including which permits have been approved by your agency and the reasoning for their approval.

I do not believe that this matter has been properly handled, and I will object to any action that does not include our community's opportunity to state its objections.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Beautiful Day in AU Park

The afore mentioned Barbeque sponsored by Councilmember Mary Cheh and the DCFD was a great way to spend a stunning autumn day in the District. The Councilmember was joined by scores of residents from around the Ward and city to celebrate the beginning of fall as children explored the DCFD appartatus present, played on the Moonbouce, enjoyed Screetch (the Nationals mascot), and the ice cream, popcorn, sno-cones and cotton candy.

The event was attended by hundreds of city residents, who sampled some fine BBQ, great music and an overall festive day.

Hopefully this will become an annual event to bring residents of the Ward together.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Great "Smart Growth" Question

A well regarded contributor asked an interesting question on the Chevy Chase Listserv:

Why isn't that 6,000 SF home built on the 5,000 SF lot "smart growth"? In the burbs, such a house would be located on a lot at 2-3 times that size. Aren't we always being told that we need increased densification to prevent sprawl? Especially at sites, like this one, that are within easy walking distance of Metrorail stations?

For what it's worth, I agree that scale matters in terms of neighborhood liveability and have been critical of this "smart growth" logic. But it's worth pointing out the hypocrisy here. Somehow bigger is always better on or near Wisconsin Avenue and zoning restrictions are meant to be waived, but, a few blocks away, apparently some of the city's most restrictive zoning classifications just aren't restrictive enough to keep out the barbarians.

There have been at least two appropriate responses:

Smart growth concentrates DENSITY where infrastructure is already in place, such as along major roadways, near metro stations, and in areas where there is ample sewer and water capacity, etc.---not building an oversized single-family home. McMansionization does not add density and has nothing to do with the principles of smart growth.


I'm pretty certain that no Smart Growth proponent has ever espoused building larger single family homes as a means to increase density (since it doesn't). Bigger can be better along Wisconsin to the extent that "bigger" means an increase in people or dwelling units per acre where transit infrastructure exists. Claiming hypocrisy because the same person supports increased density along Wisconsin but opposes mansionization is a canard.

This doesn't seem to be a very difficult concept to grasp; that concentrating density along transit corridors to PROTECT residential neighborhoods at risk for redevelopment work hand in had with broader "Smart Growth" policies.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

ANE 3E to hold Meeting on PPP RFP

The ANC 3E is hosting a community meeting to review and discuss the draft RFP (request for proposals) that the Office of Planning and Economic Development will release this week regarding the Tenley-Friendship Library and Janney Elementary School sites. The meeting will be held on Monday, September 17th from 7:00 to 9:00 PM in the Great Hall at St. Columba's Church at 42nd and Albemarle Streets, NW.

The meeting is open to the public.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ward 3 BBQ at Turtle Park

Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh is sponsoring her first-ever Ward-wide Back-to-School BBQ on Sept. 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Turtle Park.

The event is sponsored by Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, Department of Consumer and Regulator Affairs, Department of Health, D.C. Firefighters, Department of Park and Recreation, Department of the Environment, Energy Efficiency Workshop, Fire Truck, Friends of Friendship Park and Verizon

The day will feature a BBQ, with activties for the whole family including a Moon Bounce, Raffle, Free Food and Beverage, Softball Game, Skate Mobile, Screetch, the Nationals' Mascot, Music, Free Goodies from the Nationals, Cotton Candy, Snow Cones and Popcorn.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Church Threatens Community with Development

In the ongoing community discussion about the demolition of a house on Patterson Street, near the Blessed Sacrement Church/School, one neighborhood activist posted a letter on the Chevy Chase Listserve reiterating a request made of the Institution to withold the demolition of the house pending the outcome of a now scheduled BZA hearing in February, 2008.
According to the letter, the DC Committee of 100 has stated:

"We find that it would be precipitous to raze the house before the special exception has been granted. Were it not to be granted, the Chevy Chase community would find itself with a vacant lot, never an amenity in a residential neighborhood.

The letter also asks that if the house is to be demolished, that it at least be deconstructed (to the tune of an additional $20,000-40,000) so as to reuse historic details of the house and spare landfills of unnecessary tonnage. As it is, Blessed Sacrement wishes to have the house razed as soon as possible.

The theory behind the request to delay the raze is the seeming consensus behind the concept that there is either a historic house or a playspace for the institution on the site. However, very few wanted to see the property demolished simply to make room for a host of new development on the property. However, it appears that this is exactly the game being played by the Church. According to one contributor:

If by some chance there was an overwhelming shift in public sentiment and the BZA did not approve the plan, we would not end up with an empty lot but rather two or three new homes.

So even though the BZA rules based on law, not "public sentiment", it is clear that the church is basically saying that if the community doesn't support their plans, they will dispose of the property (sans nice old house) to a developer who will do exactly what nobody wanted.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cheh to Hold Community Meeting 9/6/07

Councilmember Mary Cheh is hosting a community meeting at Wilson High School's library, at 6pm, on Thursday September 6th, to discuss the Deal Junior High School modernization and the Wilson Pool construction projects. The purpose of this meeting is to update the community about the construction occurring in the neighborhood, and to answer any questions residents may have. Representatives from the two projects will be present.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Parking debates on Listservs

Maybe it is the summer doldrums, or maybe it is the lack of concentrated parking issues when many people are at the beach, but for some reason, parking seems to be a hot topic in both Cleveland Park and Friendship Heights.

In Cleveland Park, the issue seems to stem around residential versus commuter parking in zoned areas, given the proximity of the Metro. Residents are being creative in possible solutions including the creation of sub-zones, alteration of the duration of allowable time, or the creation of visitor passes.

On the Tenleytown Listserv, residents share a similar fate, but are also concerned with the folks are are using the surface parking to shop at Mazza Gallery and other retail along Wisconsin Avenue. The concern is that while there is plenty of available parking, it is dramatically underutilized, according to a recent Friendship Heights Traffic Study(PDF):

Mazza Gallery - 850 Garage Parking Spaces
Weekday AM 20% Utilization
Weekday PM 30% Utilization
Saturday 40% Utilization

Chevy Chase Pavilion - 675 Garage Parking Spaces
Weekday AM 60% Utilization
Weekday PM 80% Utilization
Saturday 50% Utilization

5225 Wisconsin (Bambule/Elizabeth Arden) - 235 Garage Parking Spaces
Weekday AM 80% Utilization
Weekday PM 80% Utilization
Saturday 20% Utilization.

On contributor complained that the existing parking structures are underground and "creepy". This combined with the expense (as compared to public lots in Bethesda, MD) prompted calls for a municipal parking garage in Friendship Heights.

For a group of people who have consistently opposed new development, partially on the basis of traffic issues in the community, this is an odd request. As noted by one commentor:

You believe that the city should spend money acquiring a piece of property and then spending 30 Million plus on a parking garage (and also preclude generating any future property or sales taxes from the lot) so someone can drive...and have cheap, convenient and essentially subsidized parking?

So the question isn't whether there is adaquate parking because there clearly is but whether the public sector should spend money to make parking, and hence driving, easier?

But the same folks who are clamoring for a parking garage are the same people who routinely are complaining about traffic which is clearly contradictory unless you intend to beam the cars into the garage somehow?

It will be interesting to see if the ANC's and City Council pick this issue up again. The last time proved to be too difficult to arrive at any conclusions for best practices going forward.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

NW Current Now Online

The Current Newspapers now has an online presence, complete with archives. It will be great to see how they expand out functionality, particularly the ability to make comments on articles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Lead Hazard at Turtle Park

Channel 9 reports their discovery of lead paint on fences at Turtle Park. Read the online excerpt for more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Fisher on Pools

After yesterday's entry about the demolition of the Wilson Pool, there is follow up in the form of a RawFisher blog post about Ward 3 Pools, or lack thereof.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wilson Pool Going Away!

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Councilmember Cheh, Chancellor Rhee and Allan Lew will take part in the demolition of the condemned Wilson High School aquatic facility. Together with the DC Public Schools and DC Department of Parks and Recreation, the Mayor will provide an update on construction of the new facility - originally scheduled to begin in 2003.

August 20th (and not soon enough)!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

When "Matter of Right" Isn't

Many of the development issues surrounding Wisconsin Avenue proposals have centered around the PUD process, with many in the Tenleytown and Friendship Heights community beating the drum on "Matter of Right" development versus the PUD (Planned Unit Development) proposals which allow developers to exceed "Matter of Right" zoning provisions in exchange for neighborhood amenities. Such amenities can include support for local non-profits or schools, inclusionary housing, etc. Even with all of its flaws, the PUD process enables community input on a wide variety of issues including density, amenities and even aesthetics.

With this background, some discussion on local listservs have raised the issue of the "Matter of Right" development at the former Outer Circle Theater site. The theater has been demolished to make way for Commerce Bank, with provisions for curb cuts enabling a drive-through window. Such 1950's planning amenities have been forsaken in such outer suburia locale such as Leesburg, and yet become viable in NW DC because of an ANC which has decided to take no action because the proposal is "Matter of Right" under current zoning.

Curb cuts are unsafe for pedestrians.
Curb cuts disrupt traffic on Wisconsin Avenue.
Drive-through windows encourage more vehicular traffic.
One-story banks on a busy corridor will hardly generate pedestrian traffic and activity as a destination.

In an era where ANC 3E has consistently complained about increased traffic on Wisconsin Avenue, where it has complained about needed pedestrian safety, why would it make no noise on this proposal?

Because it is a low-rise, low impact development, potentially ugly building which the bank can build as a matter of right.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Chancellor Rhee Forum

Councilmember Mary M. Cheh will host an Education Forum with Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty on Wednesday, August 22nd at Murch Elementary School. Parents are invited to come and discuss with the Chancellor new DCPS strategies and plans to better the Ward 3 public schools at the elementary school, middle school, and high school level.

"This is an exciting time for DC public schools", said Cheh, "and I am delighted to introduce the Mayor's new education leadership to the parents of Ward 3. The parents should be able to." Cheh stated, "This will be a perfect opportunity to ask the Chancellor how Ward 3 schools will be improved, and discuss any thoughts or concerns that the parents might have"

The forum will be held August 22nd, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Murch Elementary School is located at the corner of Davenport and 36th Streets, N.W.

Contact: Talia Primor
(202) 724-8062

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tenleytown Sees a New Restuarant on the Horizon

A posting from the proprietor of the replacement for the Dancing Crab on 41st Street in Tenleytown announced the coming Lounge:

First of all our business will not be called "41st Street Lounge" and it will not be a nightclub...However, the style and
atmosphere of the restaurant will be different from all the others in Tenleytown. The Restaurant will have a more modern look and more relaxed feel. Many of you enjoy going out to eat, right? Ok, so you go out to eat. You finish your dinner and then what? At our establishment we want you to linger and the design of the place will encourage you to do so. That is where the word "lounge" comes into play. Our goal is to create a place where customers can "make an evening of it" and not just another place where you eat and feel as though you are being rushed out the door and then left to your own devices. We hope to be open around the beginning of 2008.

The post came in reponse to some misconceptions surrounding the new place, including fear of late night noise and traffic as well as parking concerns.

Others were quick to point out the need and benefits of such additions to the neighborhood. One member of the listserv provided interesting and refreshing insight into the benefits of new additions to the community:

Tenleytown is far behind its neigboring communities in terms of the amount and quality of amenities a community with such diverse, affluent and cosmopolitan residents as ours should have. Our retail has many dingy and lackluster spots (e.g., multiple mattress stores...), our dining options are limited and primarily low-end, nightlife opportunities are even more limited than dining AND we have far too many empty storefronts. Whole Foods and the Best Buy complex are great but once you've got your organic wheat-free muffins and your printer cartridges fully stocked, for many other needs/wants a lot of folks will find themselves leaving our neighborhood for better choices elsewhere...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Update on Eco-Vandalism

A recent entry cited a Washington Post report on an act of vandalism to a Ward 3 resident's Hummer. A comment in this forum decried the use of "terrorism" and "hate crime" as a description of this action. An update iin the Washington Post ironically describes the case as having been taken over by the FBI:

D.C. police initially investigated the case, but Groves said officers told him that the FBI had taken it over as a suspected incident of eco-terrorism.

"Everybody seems a lot more angry about what happened than I am," Groves said.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Two DDOT notes regarding the greater Tenley area

Note One
The District Department of Transportation removed the barrier at the River Road, Fessenden and 45th Streets intersection. In May 2007, DDOT announced at a public meeting it would be taking certain measures to help improve vehicular and pedestrian safety at the intersection at River Road, Fessenden and 45th Streets. Once these measures were completed, DDOT would commence to remove the existing barrier.

The courses of action included:

* Complete the installation of the traffic signal at Wisconsin and River Road to allow for a signalized left turn onto Wisconsin Avenue.

* Remove the bushes/shrubs in the public space to greatly improve sightline visibility.

* Coordinate with MPD to install a speed camera on River Road.

* Re-stripe the crosswalks with high-visibility crosswalks. Install new high visibility pedestrian signage.

* Install new signage indicating no left turn during morning rush hours at both Fessenden and Ellicott Streets to discourage through traffic and encourage vehicles to utilize the new traffic signal at Wisconsin and River Road.

DDOT will continue to evaluate the area for a 180-day period at which time, if necessary, further measures may be recommended.

Note Two
In addition to the afore mentioned DCFD light at the Tenley Firehouse, there will also be a signal installed at Wisconsin and Warren Streets:

The signal at Wisconsin and Warren , NW will be separate from the signal at Wisconsin and Engine Company Number 20. The signal at Wisconsin and Warren, NW will cycle like a normal semi-actuated signal with a full component of vehicular and pedestrian signal heads; its operation will not be dependent upon the presence or absence of a fire truck at Engine Company Number 20. All pedestrian signal heads will feature the countdown modules. All vehicular and pedestrian movements will be permitted at Wisconsin and Warren , NW, but there will be no turn arrows designating permitted or protected movements.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

River Road Barrier Removed

We are pleased to announce that effective today, the barrier at the intersection of River Road, Fessenden, and 46th Streets, NW has been removed.

The barrier was erected in December of 2004. Since then, we--with the widespread support of the neighborhood-- have been working for its removal because it never responded effectively to its claimed purpose--to improve safety at the intersection. The unintended but foreseeable impact of the barrier was to simply redirect traffic, shifting it from a collector street onto other streets in the neighborhood and creating new safety and traffic concerns elsewhere.

While we are delighted with the removal of the barrier and appreciate the efforts made by DDOT officials in the past few months, the fact that it took over three years to resolve this issue is a sad reflection of the way in which the city government deals with issues such as this. We hope that some lessons have been learned from this experience, most notably the need for DC government officials to consult with the ANC and neighborhood residents BEFORE any action is taken. If the neighborhood had had the opportunity to meaningfully address the concerns about the intersection prior to the implementation of ill-conceived solutions, we believe that a better solution would have been arrived at--and more importantly--would have avoided the polarization that has too often characterized discussions regarding the barrier. We have been heartened by the responsiveness of DDOT's new director, Emeke Moneme and Karyn LeBlanc, who has spearheaded the barrier's removal on behalf of DDOT, and hope that their effort signals a new willingness on the part of DDOT to work with the community and to consult with residents and the ANC before making any changes that will have a significant impact on our traffic .

Even now, the removal of the barrier is not without its price. While we have hopefully seen the last of any barrier, the community is faced with increasing number of turn restrictions from River Road. While this may be a reasonable price to pay, all of us may find that the increased traffic restrictions most detrimentally affect those of us who live in the area, not others who traverse our neighborhood. Because the effects of the new traffic patterns may, once again, bring about unforeseen and unintended consequences, Emeke Moneme and Karyn LeBlanc have committed to monitor traffic issues in the neighborhood and to conduct a review sometime in the next 6 months. Accordingly, please bring to our attention issues that may need DDOT's further attention or "tweaking" so that we can assure that our neighborhood is both safe and traffic moves with relative ease in the area.

Our thanks again to all of you for your support and perseverance during the past few years.

Ad Hoc Coalition for Safe Streets in ANC3E

Friday, July 27, 2007

DCPL Chooses Tenley Library Architectural Team

During a press conference today at the Anacostia Interim Library, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper announced that Davis
Brody Bond Aedas and The Freelon Group, Inc., in partnership with local architect R. McGhee & Associates, have been selected to lead the architectural design teams for the new Anacostia, Benning, Tenley-Friendship and Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Libraries. Both teams include local firms as consultants for civil, landscaping, and mechanical, electrical, plumbing services, which comprise more than 40% of each design team. Construction on the combined $37 million library
project is scheduled to begin in mid summer 2008, with the libraries due to open in 2010.

The architectural teams were chosen because they exceeded standards set forth by the D.C. Public Library and the District's Office of Contracts and Procurement (OCP). The standards included having experience in designing modern libraries, experience with sustainable design and could meet the city's new LEED standards, creating spaces that inspire human interaction, having effectively worked with community groups to develop design, and having a sizeable portion of the design
team include local LSDBE firms. The teams were selected from more than 60 firms that are part of the Library and OCP's design firm database.

"With these great architects and engineers, we will design exceptional spaces for neighborhood libraries in the District of
Columbia. I am eager to begin the building process with these talented teams," said Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper. "The neighborhood libraries are so important. We are committed to opening wonderful libraries and to involving the neighbors the process."

The Freelon Group, Inc. and R. McGhee & Associates Team, which includes local consultants Delon Hampton, John J. Christie and Associates, and L.S. Caldwell & Associates, will design the Anacostia Neighborhood Library and Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library.

The new libraries will be designed as stand-alone buildings. They will be designed larger than the existing branch libraries and in the range of 18,000 – 20,000 square feet.

The Freelon Group, Inc., has been involved in a range of projects diverse in scale, building type and scope. The firm has specialized design expertise in the areas of Libraries, Science and Technology, and Museum/Cultural Center facilities. Some of their recent design work includes the Durham County Regional Library Prototype - East and North Branches, NC; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. R. McGhee & Associates, a local Washington, DC firm, has joined The Freelon Group, Inc., on the architectural design team.

Philip Freelon, President of The Freelon Group, said, "The community will play an integral part in the design phase – engaging the community is a needed hands-on part of the process. We really focus in on projects that have a tangible, positive impact on the community in which they are located."

Ronnie McGhee, Principal of R. McGhee & Associates, said, "We look forward to getting involved with community groups to find out what your needs are so that the new libraries are signature pieces within the neighborhoods."

Above and beyond the basic services of civil engineering, architectural design, structural engineering and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design, the teams also are required to provide eleven additional design services, eight of which are library-related. The additional design services include: site planning and urban design; interior design; landscape design; audio-visual and broadcast technology design; lighting design; communications/data systems; vertical transportation; code consulting; ADA consulting; security systems design; and cost estimating.

The team will be managed by the D.C. Public Library's Capital Construction department and contract specialists within OCP. The design and community input phase of the building project will begin on August 1 and will take approximately 10 months to complete.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vandals take to Stoddert

From ANC 3B:

There is a recurring problem at Stoddert Elementary School. It appears that either a gang (FMC) or some other group have taken up Stoddert as their evening home. Last week they threw a brick through a classroom window and this week they have placed graffiti on school property and have littered the garden and back area of the school with beer bottles. They are also burning pizza boxes and fireworks. Yesterday they left a hate message for the school kids. They set up chairs and couches each night which are removed each morning. The school system and the police have been alerted.

If anyone sees anything suspicious going on at the school, please report it to the police right away.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Uptown Theater Expands Business

ANC 3C Commissioner Bruce Beckner posted posted potentially shattering news to the Cleveland Park Listserv:

It appears that our neighborhood theater will soon be no more. I just received a call from a City Paper reporter asking what I knew about the sale of the Uptown to the McLean Bible Church (nothing until he called). Here's a link to the church's website with information about their planned use:

Off the top of my head, I don't see much of a "regulatory hook" for this, other than the fact that the church will have to get Historic Preservation Review Board approval for any changes to the exterior. I believe the commercial zoning that applies to this area probably permits this use, whether it's considered "religious" or not.

Assuming this is true, it means that Cleveland Parkers will no longer have the pleasure of having a movie theater within walking distance.

My personal recollection of the first time I was at the Uptown was in 1963, when I saw "How the West was Won" there in "Cinerama" - a 3-projector system that used a semicircular movie screen. I think the Uptown was the only theater in the DC metro area that had that at the time. I also saw the Stanley Kubrick "2001 - A Space Odyssey" there in 1967, also in "Cinerama."

I'll keep folks posted of any further developments that I learn.

Bruce Beckner
Commissioner ANC3C05

According to the Church's website:

MBC Uptown is a Community Campus of McLean Bible Church. It will impact the District of Columbia and nearby communities in both Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Ministries at MBC Uptown will include:

Videocast messages by Lon Solomon and the MBC Teaching Team
Worship led by the MBC Worship Leaders and Bands
Localized ministry teams and outreach events
Opportunities to connect in biblical community with others who live in the DC metro area

Weekly services will start in January 2008.

In fact, the Uptown has not been sold. As featured on the DCDL website, an official response from the Church:

I am writing to clarify our, McLean Bible Church's, intended use for the Uptown Theater. We are not purchasing the theater. We are simply renting it on Sunday mornings. As such, our use will not limit public use of the theater. We realize the place that the Uptown holds in the heart of the community and are committed to developing services and ministries that are
fitting for the Uptown and for Cleveland Park.

Mike Hurt
McLean Bible Church
Director of Community Campus Development

UPDATE: Here is Washington Post coverage.

Cheh Cleared of Wrongdoing by OCF

Yolanda Woodlee of the Washington Post reports that the allegations brought by former Ward 3 Candidate Jonathan R. Rees against Councilmember Mary Cheh have been dismissed. The report can be accessed via the OCF website.

Rees filed the complaint in February alleging then Candidate Cheh received preferential rent on campaign office space from a local developer, and further that an unregistered Political Action Committee illegally benefitted the Cheh campaign.

The Office of Campaign Finance report summarizes:

To highlight the issue of the existence of a political committee, during the 2006 elections in the District of Columbia, a group of Ward 3 residents, friends and neighbors, came together to interview the candidates seeking election to the Ward 3 Council seat to determine the best qualified candidate to represent their Ward, because the field was so crowded. These individuals held meetings, contacted the candidates to schedule interviews, prepared questions for the interviews to glean the candidates’ positions on issues of interest to the group; and ultimately decided to support Mary Cheh.

D.C. Official Code §1-1101.01(5) defines the term “political committee” to mean any proposer, individual, committee (including a principal campaign committee) club, association, organization, or other group of individuals organized for the purpose of or engaged in: promoting or opposing a political party, promoting or opposing the nomination or election of an individual to office, or promoting or opposing any initiative, referendum, or recall”. The group identified as “Ward 3 Action” did not engage in activity that falls within the above referenced definition. While it may be viewed that “Ward 3 Action” formed to determine the best qualified candidate to represent their Ward, these neighbors and friends did not engage in any activity that clearly extends beyond arriving at a determination of who was the “best qualified” candidate. The group did not solicit contributions or make expenditures to promote the nomination of any one candidate to office.

After Cheh became the group’s choice, the group dispersed prior to the conduct of the Primary Election. Individuals associated with the group then proceeded to promote her candidacy in their individual capacity by contributing financially to the Cheh Principal Campaign Committee. In addition, a number of the members of the group were employed and paid by the Cheh Campaign to perform services...

When the group selected Cheh as their candidate and thereafter dispersed, these residents expressed their selection of Cheh and their commitment to support her candidacy in the handbill entitled, “Why We Support Mary Cheh For Ward 3 Council”. The goal of Ward 3 Action was accomplished.

WHEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED this matter be dismissed in its totality; and IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the fine in this matter is hereby suspended.

This Order may be appealed to the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics within 15 days from the date of issuance.

The Washington Post quoted Mr. Rees as having no intention of filing an appeal. According to DCist that statement pertained to the OCF. He has not ruled out an appeal to the judicial system.

How many taxpayer funded hours were (and will be) wasted on this effort?

Ward 3 Man Suffers Environmental Hate Crime

Allison Klein of The Washington Post reports a hate crime not seen in Ward 3 before.

A resident in a "liberal" part of Brandywine Street had his Hummer vandalized be so-called eco-terrorists.

There are many more productive ways to express frustration over consumptive excess.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tribute to a local Firefighter.

The Tenleytown firefighter who died in the line of duty will be buried on Saturday, July 14. At approximately 2:05 pm, the traditional firefighter funeral procession will pass the quarters of Engine 20 where James McRae served.

McRae passed away on July 7th. He was the tillerman for Tenleytown's Truck 12 and was on duty when he suffered chest pains and was subsequently pronounced at the Washington Hostpital Center.

The procession starts at the convention center, proceeding out Massachusettes Avenue, turning north onto Wisconsin Avenue to pass the Tenley Firehouse. It will then turn right on Tenley Circle to Nebraska Avenue, right on Connecticut Avenue returning downtown and from there to the cemetery.

Viewing the procession is an opportunity for the neighbors to participate in a solemn tribute to our lost firefighter.

Courtesy ANC 3E Commissioner Amy McVey

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Express: The Russian Embassy's New Colorful Wall

Courtesy of Michael Grass, The Washington Post/Express:

THE RUSSIANS' ICONIC WHITE MARBLE embassy complex in Glover Park has acquired some color: yellow.
The new hue is featured on the massive wall protecting the giant campus' backside along Tunlaw Road. The change is worth noting, since the embassy complex — whose main building is similar to the Russian parliament house in Moscow — has long been known for its drab, almost prison-like look, at least from the Tunlaw side. (We'll see if China's new compound under construction on Van Ness Street NW will snatch the prize for looking most like a lockup when it's done.)
A neighborhood source tells us that the wall was painted by hand — no power painting tools were used. Try doing that in last week's heat.

Who knows, the change could have unintended effects. Neighbors have complained about speeding along that stretch of Tunlaw Road. Maybe the yellow wall will draw the attention of drivers and get them to slow down, if just for a moment.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Examiner reports on Cleveland Park Vacancies

Michael Nelbauer wrote a nice article published in the Examiner today about the ongoing struggle between vacant store fronts and opposition to new food establishments in Cleveland Park. Opposition may be strong word, perhaps 'enforcement of zoning restrictions' might be more appropriate.

Of particular note to me was the verification of the rumor about a mattress store coming to the neighborhood:

For now, he said, Federal Realty has stopped marketing the strip to boutique coffee and sandwich shops. It is, however, being pursued by a mattress store.

I suppose the discussion about development in the Tenley to Friendship Height corridor has come full circle.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Palisades Parade turns 41

The Washington Post July 4th insert has a nice review of this DC and Ward 3 staple.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

National Zoo Announces its Future Plans

The National Zoo is currently undergoing a comprehensive planning process to identify facilities and infrastructure needs, as well as implementation strategies at its two campuses: the National Zoo located in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., and the Conservation and Research Center located in Front Royal, Virginia.

While the National Zoo has a long tradition and history in internationally renowned research and training programs, many of the facilities have become outdated and no longer meet the needs of the visitors, staff, animal exhibit and research collections, and research programs.

The Facilities Master Plan will guide the facilities renewal at the National Zoo. This renewal is part of the National Zoo’s ten-year strategic plan to be the world’s finest zoo by 2016. The facilities renewal will also help the National Zoo achieve its mission: to provide leadership in animal care, science, education, and sustainability.

The Washington Post Covered this story.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

One view on the ANC3E PPP Presentation

As recently discussed, ANC 3E has been engaged in a parallel discussion over the Janey-Tenley Public Private Partnership. As recently announced, the ANC held a community meeting earlier this week to discuss the results of their fundings.

One response to this meeting was less than enthusiastic:

Despite the guise of presenting an objective, fact-based analysis of the Roadside proposal, the material presented by the official from the ANC was clearly slanted against that proposal (and, perhaps, any other so-called public-private partnership), for reasons that are not at all clear...I think the residents of the ANC, and anyone affected by what happens to Janney and the library, deserve to have city representatives, elected and employees, stick to the facts and not act as lobbyists one way or the other.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Updated FAQ the Janney-Tenley PPP

There is an updated Frequently Asked Question section on the Jenney School website. Check the home page at for more information.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Post Express on the AU Park munitions - update

An update on the ongoing saga of WWI munitions potentially poisoning residents of AU Park and Spring Valley

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cheh's Pet Project

Darragh Johnson reports in the Washington Post on Council Member Mary Cheh's "Pet Project"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Early Presidential Returns

The Ward 3 Democrats held a presidential straw poll at its recent meeting. The results are as follows:

Voting by committee delegates:

Hillary Clinton - 18.4%
John Edwards 18%
Barack Obama 16.2%
Bill Richardson 14.4%
Al Gore 12.6%

Voting by non-delegates:

Clinton - 42%
Obama - 29%
Gore 16.2%

Combined results:

Clinton 27.6%
Obama 20.8%
Gore 13.9%
Edwards 12.7%
Richardson 10.4%

Congratulations Senator Clinton!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Farewell Cosi, Hello Sleepwell?

As previously reported, Cosi was exploring the Blockbuster Video site at the Park n Shop as a possible site for expansion. As Clevleland Park is subject to a Neighborhood Commercial Overlay District district limiting the number of permitted food estblishments on the strip, the entry of Cosi came into question.

Rumors on the strip suggest that as more stores leave the Cleveland Park neighborhood --Ritz Camera is slated to close its doors shorty-- Cosi restaurant has decided not to move into the space that had been occupied by Blockbuster video on Connecticut Avenue between Ordway and Porter Streets.

There was intense opposition to Cosi by some residents who thought that Cleveland Park has too many restaurants. These neighbors believe that if the current zoning regulation --the commerical overlay zone-- is enforced that will force landlords to lower their rents and bring in establishments like a hardware store and flower shop. Other opponents suggested that Cosi simply apply for zoning releif, rather than challange the entire Overlay process. Despite these ruminations, an unscientific poll on the Cleveland Park listserv suggests that residents are overwhelmingly in favor of such food establishments planting flags in the neighborhood.

It now appears that a mattress store may move into that space that Cosi has abandoned.

NBC 4 on the Tenley-Janey PPP

Chris Gordon filed this recent report:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

ANC 3/4 G on the Triangle BZA Application

As had been announced in May, a developer's plan to build a house on a lot in the middle of a block bordered by Chevy Chase Parkway, Harrison Street and Reno Road came to discussion at the recent ANC 3/4 G Meeting.

At issue is a Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) application seeking relief for an undeveloped alley, in order to have enough space to build the house. After 45 minutes of presentation and discussion, the ANC voted 5-2 (Levine and McCarthy in the minority) to oppose the Application. In a move reminiscent of the Shoemaker discussion, the ANC is allowing the dissenting Commissioners to submit a minority letter. This seems to be unique to ANC 3/4G, and as indicated at the meeting, is a procedure introduced and approved earlier this year as part of a by-law revision.

I wonder how many people in the affected ANC are aware of this?

Zoning Commission on 5220 Wisconsin

On June 11, 2007, the Zoning Commission voted 5-0-0 to approve Akridge's proposed Planned Unit Development application to develop 5220 Wisconsin Avenue, NW.

The Order will be written and voted into the record later this summer.

Monday, June 11, 2007

From ANC 3E on the Janney-Library meetings

The ANC 3E Special Committee has met three times to begin to examine a proposal for a public/private/partnership on the Tenley Library and Janney School sites. Notes from each of the three meetings are now posted on the ANC 3E website: under the general tab labeled "minutes". Another Special Committee meeting is scheduled for June 15th, and the minutes will be posted from that meeting as well.

There will also be a large community meeting regarding the information the committee has learned on Monday, June 25th at 7:00 PM at St. Columba's Church

Saturday, June 09, 2007

City Paper on the Morrison "half signal"

Stephanie Mencimer filed this brief on the pilot "half-light" signal at Morrison and Connecticut Avenue, in Chevy Chase, DC in a recent City Desk blog entry:

Orange flags arrived in Chevy Chase to great media fanfare in 2005. Inspired by a similar program in Salt Lake City, area residents had lobbied the city for buckets of the flags at two intersections on Connecticut Avenue NW to help pedestrians safely cross from Safeway to Child’s Play or the American City Diner.

For two years, people pranced and danced and twirled their flags in the face of oncoming cars, and the traffic mostly slowed down for them (except for one poor soul who was hit during a blizzard while carrying the flag). But when the flags disappeared this year from the intersection of Connecticut and Morrison Streets NW, no one called a press conference. Indeed, even some longtime Chevy Chase residents apparently didn’t notice that in March, the city replaced the flags with a bona fide streetlight equipped with a pedestrian call button.

George Branyan, the pedestrian program coordinator for the District Department of Transportation, says he’s seen several people just walk out into traffic, oblivious to the new signal.

On the other hand, a vocal minority of Chevy Chase folks has complained to his office that the light is causing backups and forcing cars onto side streets. But Branyan won’t be bringing back the flags. Instead, the city will work out the hiccups with the light in the coming months.

“I personally am not a big fan of the flags,” Branyan says. “I just don’t think you should have to wave a flag to cross a street.” Those who preferred the flags with their street crossings can still find them two blocks north, at Connecticut and Northampton Streets, at least for now.

While that vocal minority includes two ANC Commissioners who live on an adjacent street, there are many residents in the community who do not understand that the only reason the signal was installed was for pedestrian safety reasons (at the request of the same ANC!). Calls to end the pilot program early would cheat DC Taxpayers out of an opportunity for the DC Department of Transportation to expand its variety of solutions for pedestrian safety in the City. It would also probably cause Chevy Chase to become another Van Ness in terms of routine back-ups.

Thumbs up to DDOT for looking out for people first! Thumbs up also to former DC Office of Planning Director Ellen McCarthy for these comments:

I would like to second Samantha Nolan's summary of why the light at Morrison was done as it is currently configured --to protect those crossing Connecticut not only from north-south traffic but also from those who are turning at Morrison. Those of us who live on Morrison, who are the most likely to be crossing there said for years that we didn't need a light, that one only needed to go to Livingston or McKinley, if one didn't want to cross at Morrison. However, we were overruled by those who insisted that there be a light there, so DDOT installed one that is supposed to be synchronized with the lights north and south. Traffic is currently backing up and drivers are frustrated because DDOT hasn't gotten the algorithm correct, and because drivers do not seem to have read that part of the traffic handbook that says that blinking red lights are like a stop sign. There is no need to throw out the special signalization until we give DDOT sufficient time to synchronize with the adjacent lights...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Update 3E Minutes

The updated minutes from the June 1, 2007 ANC 3E Special Committee on the Tenley Library - Janney PPP are available on the ANC 3E website.

Countdown on Yenching Palace

After almost fifty two years, the historical Yenching Palace restaurant has announced its last day will be June 10, 2007. Go and visit one last time if you get a chance!!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

ANC 3E and the Tenley Library-Janey Roadside Proposal

According to posts on various listservs from ANC 3E Commissioner Anne Sullivan, ANC 3E has been engaged in a series of "community discussions" regarding the Tenley Library/Janney Elementary/Roadside development proposal.

The ANC 3E has established an ANC 3E Special Committee to explore the Roadside Development proposal for a public/private/partnership to build a residential complex on the Tenley Library and Janney School sites. The committee has met twice (May 25th and June 1st) and plans two more small group meetings before convening a large community-wide meeting to disseminate information gathered from the special committee meetings sometime at the end of June.

The minutes from these meetings are available on the ANC 3E website. According to the Commissioner, and in repsonse to questions, the make up of the Committee:

ANC 3E Commissioners, ANC 3F and 3C Commission Chairpersons, different subject matter experts and representatives of various community groups, Roadside Developement personnel, the library, St. Ann's Church and school and government agencies will be attending the meetings, and the composition of the group will change depending on the topic of the meeting. For example, June 8th's topic will be Janney School's needs and how the partnership might meet those needs. We will focus our questions and information gathering activities on the school at this meeting, therefore attendees will be representatives of the school, school system and various other community members.

The Special Committee meetings are not open to the public due to space constraints and logistics. We are trying to be as inclusive as possible with our group's composition, though, to elicit questions from many different perspectives. We hope that the posting of the minutes will lend as much transparency about this process as possible.

Attendees to the first meeting included:

Amy McVey, Chairperson ANC 3E
Carolyn Sherman ANC 3E03
Lucy Eldridge ANC 3E04
Anne Sullivan ANC 3E05
Monsignor Godfrey Mosley St. Ann’s
Deacon Robert Whitaker, St. Ann’s
Ben Ketchum, Assistant Principal, St. Ann’s Academy
Frances Anderson, St. Ann’s Parish Council
Nancy MacWood, Chairperson, ANC 3C

-So 4 out of 5 ANC 3E Commissioners (Was the fifth, Commissioner Primor asked to participate?)
-ANC 3C Chair Nancy MacWood (whose ANC is not contiguous with this area)
-No representation from the Janney Community (leadership, parents, etc.)
-No represenation from ANC 3F, whose boundaries include a large number of Janney families and is immediately adjacent to the area.

By the way, are there rules about having a quorum of ANC Commissioners and public meetings? Even though Ms. Sullivan is posting the minutes, the after-the-fact announcement of these meetings, and the fact that all of the stake hodlers and the community are not present when a majority of Commissioners are present in an official capacity does raise some questions.

According to documents from the DC Office of ANC's website:

ANCs are subject to the open meetings provisions of D.C. Official Code § 1207.42(a), and ANCs are not permitted to close meetings to the public unless “personnel or legal matters are discussed.” D.C. Official Code § 1-309.11(g).

(The "open meetings provision" specifically states, "All meetings (including hearings) of any department, agency, board, or commission of the District government, including meetings of the Council of the District of Columbia, at which official action of any kind is taken shall be open to the public". Perhaps ANC 3E considers this to not be in effect because no action will be taken?)

Further, given the meetings being held by Councilmember Mary Cheh, why are these meetings being conducted at all?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Clevleland Park: The Movie

"I Am Cleveland Park," the Cleveland Park Historical Society's new half-hour DVD narrated by neighbor Jim Lehrer, premiered at the John Eaton School last night to a capacity crowd. The DVD documents Cleveland Park's history, from the 1740s to the present, and shows how community action since the 1960s has preserved our urban village from destruction by freeways and massive development. You can order a copy by sending a check for $20 (mailing included) to:

The Cleveland Park Historical Society
3305 Woodley Rd. NW
Washington, D.C. 20008-3337

Cheh hosts forum on Wilson renovations

On Tuesday, June 5, 2007 at 6:30pm-8:00pm in the Wilson Senior High School Library-3950 Chesapeake Street, NW Ward 3 Council Member Mary Cheh is hosting a community meeting in conjunction with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to provide updates on several construction projects on the school grounds to include construction of a new swimming facility, roof repairs, and an updated field.

Please mark your calendars and share this information with friends.

Come out to learn about the construction projects

Representatives from DPR and DCPS will be on hand to answer questions.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cheh Convenes PPP Taskforce

Councilmember Mary M. Cheh the formation of a Community Taskforce to study the potential public private partnership to build the Tenley Library and modernize Janney Elementary School.

Cheh plans to hold the initial task force meeting on June 4, 2007, to be followed by community-wide meetings.

"I'm hoping to have a broad coalition of community groups represented", said Cheh. The taskforce will include a representative from each of the following: ANCs 3E and 3F, community associations, St. Anne's, St. Columba's, Ward 3 Vision, Coalition to Stop Tenleytown Overdevelopment, Janney school groups, the Janney principal, IONA, Washington Interfaith Network, Cityline Condominium Board, Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place, Tenley Historic Society, and Friends of Tenley Library.

Janey to meet with Deal Parents

Bill Myers of The Examiner updates the controversy surrounding leadership at the Tenleytown Middle School:

District of Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Clifford Janey will meet with a group of parents demanding the firing of a junior high principal today — but the group’s leaders said they have promised that they won’t relent on their demands whatever the superintendent says.

A handful of parents have picketed outside Alice Deal Junior High since last month in an attempt to show their commitment to their cause.

The parents claim that they have evidence that principal Melissa Kim has emotionally and physically abused their children for years.

“Melissa Kim is abusive toward our children,” said Lacrisha Butler, one of the parents organizing the protests. “We went through the chain of command. They have failed us and they have failed our children.”

The protesters have met with top officials, including Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso, but Butler said that “the buck stops with Dr. Janey.”

Janey spokesman John White confirmed that the meeting will take place, but refused to reveal Janey’s position.

“He never said he would not meet with them,” White said in an e-mail. “He cannot tell you what he will say before the meeting occurs.”

The protesters say that Kim has targeted black and Hispanic students for punishment and that she has struck their children.

Kim has denied the allegations.

The protests have divided the parents of Deal children. Most members of the school’s parent-teacher organization have backed Kim, and some have suggested that the protesters aren’t comfortable with her because she’s Asian.

“That’s an insult,” Butler said. “No one would spend two years documenting abuse and then 30 days on picket for something so trivial.”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cheh creates Tenley Library Partnership Proposal Task Force

D.C. Councilmember Mary M. Cheh (Ward 3) today announced she is forming a Community Taskforce to study the potential public private partnership to build the Tenley Library and modernize Janney Elementary School.

"It is urgent that we explore the opportunity to move forward on two very important community projects", said Cheh. "The library site has languished for too long, and we now face a fleeting opportunity to capture the benefits of developing the site comprehensively. We can have a new library, a modernized school, and we can do it now."

Cheh plans to hold the initial task force meeting on June 4, 2007, to be followed by community-wide meetings.

"I'm hoping to have a broad coalition of community groups represented", said Cheh. The taskforce will include a representative from each of the following: ANCs 3E and 3F, community associations, St. Anne's, St. Columba's, Ward 3 Vision, CTSO, Janney school groups, the Janney principal, IONA, Washington Interfaith Network, Cityline Condominium Board, Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place, Tenley Historic Society, and Friends of Tenley Library.

"A public private partnership – if done correctly with full input from all stakeholders -- can benefit the entire community", said Cheh. "This could be a model that would benefit not only Ward 3 but neighborhoods across the District."

"It is important to act swiftly", Cheh said. "The library is moving forward quickly with its plans and there may only be a narrow window of opportunity to examine the advantages of a public private partnership."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cosi and the Overlay

Cosi, the coffee house/lunch spot in so many Washington area neighborhoods, saw an opportunity to expand its chain into Cleveland Park. A vacant space once occupied by Blockbuster Video in the Park and Shop development atop the Cleveland Park Metro seemed to be the idea location for the next opening. However, the proposal has hit a snag.

Cleveland Park, in addition to Woodley Park, Capitol Hill and a portion of H Street NE are subject to a Neighborhood Commercial Overlay District which "permits design and use provisions to encourage viability, attractiveness and continuation of neighborhood commercial areas". The DC Zoning Commission (PDF) defines this overlay as"

1302.5 Restaurants, fast food restaurants, delicatessens, carry-outs, and similar eating or drinking establishments shall be subject to the following limitations:

(2) These uses shall occupy no more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the linear street frontage within a particular NC Overlay District, as measured along the lots that face designated roadways in the particular district;

Over the past decades, the definitions as enforced by the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affiars (DCRA) has been fuzzy. What constitutes a food establishment? How is the 25% of linear street footage measured?

With question one, in Cleveland Park, do Yes! Food Market and the Uptown Theater count?

With question two, how are "upstairs" and side lot footages counted?

The questions have been posed repeatedly by the Clevleland Park Citizens Association in varying resolutions as well as ANC 3C.

When Indique first proposed coming into Cleveland Park, there were many posts in support of the food establishment despite the Overlay.

That brings us back to Cosi. A recent post on the Cleveland Park Listserv posits these same questions that have occurred over the past decades about the Overlay:

...the overlay zone, under which Cosi's application was denied, is an anachronism. It's time to repeal the overlay zone.
Created 18 years ago, the overlay zone was designed to prevent traffic, parking and other problems by keeping that part of Connecticut Avenue from becoming an "entertainment destination." But it's the many restaurants in Cleveland Park that help make this a lively, vibrant and fun neighborhood. And new restaurants help old merchants: More people walking through the
neighborhood means more business for our non-restaurant stores.

So is an overlay meant to encourage a variety of businesses working, or is it creating artifical barriers to desired new businesses?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Wisconsin Signal Draws Ire

In a previous entry, as part of the solution to the discussion about left turns through parts of the Tenley-Friendship neighborhood, DDOT has installed a new traffic signal at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. Prior to the installation of the signal, traffic could flow eastbound to Wisconsin and proceed south. North and West bound traffic from Wisconsin could access River Road via a left turn signal at Brandywine Street. The installation of the new signal has created a condition where there are 4 signals in the block between Albemarle Street and Brandywine Street (the new one, the ones at the afore mentioned cross streets, and the light controlling access to the Whole Foods parking garage).

Recent posts on the Tenleytown Listserv have expressed concen and reservation about the new traffic patterns:

...since the traffic light went up on Wisconsin Ave to allow for River Rd traffic, Wisconsin is a pain! Just in the past few days, I've seen a tremendous increase in traffic backed up all the way to the Tenley firehouse. It blows my mind that in that one block, there are 3 traffic lights and not synched up. I have been stopped at every single one. I'm not sure how the River Rd traffic is being affected by it, but I can clearly see that it's a very bad thing for Wisconsin. I don't understand why the lights aren't synched up. In fact, I've seen gridlock by the Tenley metro station because the traffic is so slow.


I have seen nothing but a mess of the traffic, and many times Albemarle is blocked by drivers on Wisconsin Ave. The lights are poorly time. But for the life of me, I can't understand why it is there. Within 100 yards there are 4 traffic lights, that borders on idiocy. Now to complicate the mess, people are now trying to turn left on to River Road, leaving one lane of traffic to go out Wisconsin Ave.

and this prophetic post from the testing phase of the signal:

I'm already hearing complaints from Cityline residents regarding how difficult it is to get out the parking garage because of the line of traffic caused by the new blinky yellow. It's only going to get worse when the light begins to fully stop the flow.
This will become even worse on weekends when traffic gets backed up trying to exit BestBuy (from the same alley). Whoever conceived of this light was not thinking about the bigger picture.

What will happen when there are "No Left Turn" signs installed blocking any traffic from going Eastbound from River during rush hour? As it is, there is a significant back-up at River in the mornings.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yenching Palace transformation to Walgreens

Margaret Foster reports from the National Trust for Historic Preservation Magazine

Yenching Palace, where Henry Kissinger met with Chinese diplomats in the 1970s, will close this summer to make way for Walgreens. (NTHP)

The Washington, D.C., restaurant that was the site of 1962's Cuban Missile Crisis negotiations will become a Walgreens.

Yesterday the city's historic preservation review board approved a developer's revised proposal to build an addition onto the Chinese restaurant and alter its facade. At the board's request, Rust, Orling and Neale, Architects, will return the restaurant to its 1945 appearance, retaining features like its diamond windows and Carrara glass panels.

"We've really addressed every single concern [the board] had," says principal Mark Orling, based in Alexandria, Va. The firm's researchers found one photo of the former restaurant and based their design on that image, Orling says. "We're working off of a postcard."

The drugstore, located about a block from a CVS, will be the first Walgreens in Washington, D.C. (Another Walgreens is under construction in the city.)

"[Walgreens] saw it as an opportunity to create something that will make a statement and be very visible and also be part of a community," says Randall Clarke, development manager for Mid-Atlantic Commercial Properties, a division of Fort Lauderdale-based Morgan Property Group, which is redeveloping the property for Walgreens. "We've also agreed to put up something on the building describing the history of the property."

Walgreens was "pretty accommodating," says Joan Habib, president of Cleveland Park Historical Society, which recommended that the board approve the revised plans. "We tried to persuade them to maintain as much of the current look as possible because the neighborhood thinks of it as an important place, which, historically, it is."

Yenching Palace opened in 1955, serving Henry Kissinger, Mick Jagger, George Balanchine, Ann Landers, Art Garfunkel, I.M. Pei, Bob Woodward, and Carl Bernstein, according to its guest book. Now a city landmark, the restaurant is actually two buildings, one constructed in 1925 and the other in 1928, which merged in 1945 to form the Seafare Restaurant.

Yenching Palace's longtime owners, the Lung family, plans to close the business this summer and lease the building to Walgreens, which will gut the interior, strip the neon sign and replace it with its own logo.

The building's most famous featuresits neon sign, its wood booths, one of which may have FBI bugsmay end up in a museum.

"We have spoken to a couple of museums; one has expressed an interest in one of the booths and someone else has expressed in the sign," Clarke says. "We're more than open to talking to people [about salvage]," he says.

After yesterday's approval, the city will issue a permit for the changes to the building, and construction will begin this summer.

Neighbors like Habib aren't particularly surprised that the D.C. institution is closing. "They rose to great fame at some point, with Henry Kissinger changing the world in the restaurant," she says. "The front of the place got crummier and crummier, the food got worse, the business was failing, and they sold. That's kind of the arc that lots of buildings follow."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Council Member Cheh May newsletter

Since Spring has arrived, it is a good time to start a newsletter with a word about how I think we at the Council can best further the environmental agenda of the District. As the nation's capital, I believe we must lead by example and set the highest possible standard for environmental quality in a metropolitan area.

One of the critical components of my environmental agenda is energy use. Over the past four months, I have been working with members of the community and experts from around the region to develop a vision for the future of energy use in the District. Work has already begun; last year's Green Building Act was a huge step in the right direction, creating a standard for environmentally sound building design in the District. This month I will chair a hearing on 'Government Funded Energy Efficiency in the District.' I hope to explore ideas and best practices from around the nation, where utilities, businesses, residents, and city agencies join together to develop a coherent citywide energy agenda. The hearing will be held Thursday, May 17th and I welcome your thoughts, ideas, and testimony. Should you wish to participate, please contact Patrick Leibach of my staff at 724-4902 or

On another front, last month the Emergency Medical Task Force held its first meeting. This task force was convened by the Mayor in response to the tragic loss of journalist David Rosenbaum. Led by the new FEMS Director, Dennis Rubin, the task force will meet over the next six months to examine the system-wide delivery of emergency medical services throughout the city. As a member of this task force, I hope to develop a comprehensive set of practical recommendations, including review of the areas of operations, training and management, with a special focus on improving the culture of the agency to provide the highest quality of professional and compassionate pre-hospital medical care to all DC residents and visitors. At our next meeting, May 24th, we will hear testimony from the public. For those wishing to share their thoughts or concerns, you can contact Lance Holt at (202) 727-6053 or I will continue to share updates and insights from the meetings that follow in hopes of creating an open and inclusive process. Please feel free to email me directly with any suggestions.

Finally, I am excited to announce the opening of my Ward 3 Constituent Services Offic on the UDC campus, located on Connecticut Avenue, right behind the Van Ness Metro stop, building 38, Room C01-A. I hosted an Open House on Saturday, May 5th and was pleased to see so many of you join me in unveiling this new satellite location. I hope the new office will allow me to stay more connected with the community and any ideas or concerns you may have. For those of you interested in volunteering, please let us know by calling Dee Smith of my office at 202 724-8062. I hope to begin with regular office hours on Mondays from 10a.m. - 12 p.m. and Thursdays from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. If there are any changes in the future, we will post the revised hours on the web site.

Glover Park Transportation Study

DDOT will hold the first community meeting for the study on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 from 6:30 pm-8:30 pm at the Guy Mason Recreation Center (3600 Calvert Street, NW). They request as much community participation as possible to make the study very informative.

DDOT will also hold a community walking tour on May 19, 2007 from 10 am to noon for a review of critical intersections in the study area.