ANC 5A held its monthly public meeting on September 25, 2019. Jamaal Lampkin, who represented ANC 5A06, has resigned because he moved to Ward 7. An announcement about the election for that seat will be forthcoming. All other commissioners were present: Frank Wilds (5A01); Grace Lewis (5A02); Emily Lucio (5A03); Ronnie Edwards (5A05); Sandi Washington (5A07); Gordon Fletcher (5A08).
Usual news: Do not keep anything visible in cars. There has been an steady rash of car break-ins around 4th Street NE between Ingraham and Kennedy and 3rd and Kennedy, so do not leave anything valuable in your car. It does not appear that there are cameras in the area, so we will likely continue to see smashed windows for the foreseeable future. (Aside: My car window was smashed in early September and I had to pay $200 to have it replaced so do be careful about parking in that area).
MPD has a contact with DCRA, so if there is an abandoned building on your block that you have concerns about, contact Lt. Patrick Schaut at email@example.com. With respect to seemingly abandoned cars parked on the street, there is not much MPD can do if the car has valid registration. If it does not, MPD will contact DDOT. DDOT currently does not have enough space to tow and store abandoned vehicles though, so abandoned cars will continue to be left on the street.
MPD is undergoing its usual transition, so we might see new officers and leadership in the PSA soon.
Rocketship & Art Place at Fort Totten
Rocketship representatives returned with another presentation and answers to questions regarding the plan to open a campus at 3rd and Kennedy Street NE. They have increased the number of bike parking spaces to 30 short term spaces and 8 long-term spaces. They are coordinating with DDOT’s Safe Routes on a number of issues. The school will have a loading berth onsite. They anticipate having food deliveries in the mornings around 5:30 am and will work to have trash pickups just after morning rush. Also, the school plans to have a subtenant for just a few years.
As for the school’s interaction with the second phase of Art Place at Fort Totten (Block B), there will be a construction entrance for Art Place off Kennedy Street and South Dakota Avenue. The developer of Art Place will seek to minimize construction deliveries during morning and afternoon peak hours and will have flagmen present to direct traffic. The developer will move up construction of a paved path at 3rd Street leading to the school to 2020. Previously, the developer agreed to pave that path as part of construction of Block B. The developer has also conducted further traffic analysis, which supports a full traffic signal at South Dakota Avenue and Ingraham Street NE. A HAWK signal at that location went online on September 26.
Commissioner Frank Wilds (5A01) gave an extended monologue about how terrible Rocketship is and requested that the ANC table the vote on whether to support Rocketship’s application. That led to some discussion with residents about whether this school is necessary and whether the ANC should support the school. Some residents believe neighborhood DCPS schools should be supported, while others look forward to having other options. The ANC agreed to table the vote. The DC Public Charter School Board (DCPCSB) will vote on Rocketship’s application on October 28. The ANC previously submitted a letter to DCPCSB requesting additional time to submit a response to Rocketship’s application. It is unclear when the ANC plans to vote on this issue and submit a recommendation to DCPCSB.
Social Justice School
There was not much time for representatives of the Social Justice School to do much more than introduce themselves and their school vision very briefly. See their presentation here and learn more about their school model here. The school does not expect the DCPCSB to schedule a hearing on its plans to open a middle school at the Rocketship campus until February 2020, so the school will return to the ANC at a later date.
The owner of the McDonald’s located at South Dakota Avenue and Delafield Street NE returned to ask the ANC for an updated letter to reaffirm support for its map amendment request. The ANC had previously submitted a letter of support and voted to reaffirm that support. The owner wants to completely rebuild the McDonald’s with a drive-thru. The map amendment request will change the zoning to mixed-use, which will allow the owner to install a drive-thru as a matter of right apparently. The owner opted to stop pursuing a PUD with the belief that the map amendment process would be easier, but the map amendment process has not moved as quickly as the owner had hoped. The owner did say that McDonald’s corporate office wants to have a building completed in the next 12 months, so it is unclear how that timeline will work if the map amendment is not approved in time. They are still working on how exactly the traffic will flow for the drive-thru on the site, but they do know that the curb cut on South Dakota closest to Delafield will be removed.
Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s Office
Silas Grant, Senior Advisor to Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, noted Councilmember McDuffie has introduced the Independent Compliance Office Establishment Act, which will create a new office to hold companies accountable for Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) and workforce requriements. The councilmember also introduced the Affordable PLACE Act, which will offer support for long-term, local businesses.
I asked the councilmember’s office for assistance with DDOT on a longstanding request for an additional “no parking” sign in the 400 block of Galloway NE. Mr. Grant recommended that the ANC draft a letter to DDOT requesting that this be made a priority.
Comissioner Grace Lewis (5A02) recommended to Mr. Grant that Councilmember McDuffie look into establishing a moratorium on new charter schools in Ward 5.
A resident recommended that the ANC hire an assistant to help the ANC with website updates and meeting notices. This has been recommended more than once, so hopefully the ANC will act on this recommendation.