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tradition and history in internationally renowned research and training programs, many of the facilities have become outdated and no longer meet the needs of the visitors, staff, animal exhibit and research collections, and research programs.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