ANC 2E Nov. Report: George’s, Sidewalks, DDOT, and a Congressional Visitor
By November 8, 2021 0 150•
On Mon. Nov. 1, ANC 2E held its monthly meeting via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. with vice chair Lisa Palmer (2E05) presiding while chair Rick Murphy (2E04) is out of town. Here are a few highlights:
George’s Late Night Loophole Disrupting Neighborhood
Late night hours and disruptions from George’s King of Falafel and Cheesesteak at 1205 28th St. NW were a major topic for the ANC during its monthly meeting on Nov. 1. Spokespersons from George’s and neighborhood residents testified on whether to shorten the restaurant’s hours. After impassioned testimony from both sides, the ANC passed a resolution to do so. For the full report, see our story about George’s late night loophole here.
A Word from D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Congresswoman Norton made a live appearance in the meeting to highlight legislation she’s passed through Congress to benefit D.C. residents.
In the FY 2022 District of Columbia Appropriations bill, $40 million will be allocated toward Congresswoman Norton’s DC Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) program. The funding increases the annual TAG award from $10,000 to $15,000. The bill also removes two 2021 riders which prohibit D.C. from spending its local funds on abortion services for low-income women and on commercialization of recreational marijuana. Additionally, $8 million dollars will be programmed into ongoing work to prevent flooding in the city and assist cleanup efforts on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers, and Rock Creek.
Other D.C. related parts of the bill: $5 million to combat HIV/AIDS; $600,000 for the Major General David F. Wherley, Jr. National Guard Retention and College Access Program; Funding for a new Howard University hospital; a permanent smoking ban on AMTRAK; and, D.C. will be exempt from federal government shutdowns;
The commission also brought up issues D.C. residents are having with the USPS regarding postal service delays, misdirected mail, and staffing. Congresswoman Norton said she is dealing directly with the postal service and this has been a problem in all eight wards and throughout the country. ANC 2E05 Commissioner Lisa Palmer raised the issue of federal helicopters flying over houses and not the Potomac River. She added that it’s an ongoing issue in the community and that it’s alarming to see the aircraft out of your window. Congresswoman Norton said she is familiar with the issue and pledged to take action.
Update from Mayor Bowser’s Office
Ward 2 Liaison for Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office, Anna Noakes, provided an update.
In response to the pandemic, FDA has authorized Pfizer to give vaccines to children between the ages of 5 and 11. D.C. is expected to get 25,000 doses distributed to pharmacies and health care centers across the District. All adults employed in the school system must be vaccinated and have no opt out. This includes teachers, bus drivers, coaches, referees, librarians, and anyone coming into contact with students. Residents 65 years and older or between the ages of 18 and 64 with an increased risk of contracting Covid-19 are eligible for a booster shot.
The DC Department of Public Works (DPW) announced that leaf collection will still occur weekly in each neighborhood between Nov. 1 and Jan. 15. DPW has asked for leaves to be raked to the curb or tree boxes the Sunday before the scheduled pickup days. They have also requested that sticks and debris be removed from piles. Only re-cyclable bags (not plastic) may be used for pickup. To schedule a leaf collection call 311. Ward 2 residents may compost their Halloween pumpkins and gourds at the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Update from Councilmember Pinto’s Office
Constituent Services Coordinator for Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto, Brian Romanowski, provided an update.
Romanowski began with Ward-level redistricting. He noted that at-large Councilmember Elissa Silverman, who chairs the redistricting committee, released three different maps which are not final but meant to start a discussion. In all three, ANC 2E will remain intact in Ward 2. Romanowski said that Councilmember Pinto doesn’t want to lose any neighborhoods to redistricting and welcomes any new additions. Depending on the map, the majority of changes are proposed to North Dupont Circle, Shaw, Hanes Point, Chinatown, and Penn Quarter. On Friday, Nov. 5 a city-wide discussion on Ward redistricting will be held. ANC redistricting discussions of Ward 2 will take place next January and anyone interested in serving on a redistricting committee should contact the office of Councilmember Pinto.
Councilmember Pinto recently introduced the Recovery Act which incentivizes the conversion of unused office space to residential, retail, and hotel space in the Golden Triangle and downtown Business Improvement District (BID) areas. Currently, there are over 17 million square-feet of vacant office space in the District that could be converted.
Although there’s nothing new to report on the indoor mask mandate, Councilmember Pinto is staying involved with the issue. She regularly enquires about which “metrics are used” to determine how long the mandate might be necessary.
Update on Sidewalk Widening Project
The Georgetown BID is still receiving data for the project so the review has been pushed to next month.
The commission is encouraging residents to share their thoughts on the project to the DC Public Space Committee by Dec. 2 which is one week before they meet on the subject. The current permit expires on Dec. 31. The BID recommends it be extended through Dec. 31 of 2022. If that carries through, the commission is asking there be adequate enforcement for issues ranging from aesthetic considerations on decks in front of restaurants as well as ensuring there are no issues with trash and general maintenance. The Old Georgetown Board (OGB) meets on Dec. 2 and the commission urged residents to send in their comments on aesthetic considerations in advance as well.
“If you want to share your comments, do it ahead of time. Otherwise, they will not be taken into consideration,” said Commissioner Lohse. Both OGB and Public Space Committee meetings will be virtual.
DDOT Changes Community Input Process
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has recently issued guidance stating that in an attempt to create safer streets in communities across the city in a timely fashion, ANCs will have less of an opportunity to participate in the conversation.
This prevents ANCs from commenting on what might or might not be appropriate in their neighborhoods. Residents who might want a say in how best to address safety issues are concerned, however. Commissioner Palmer introduced a resolution that ANC 2E request DDOT share its criteria on community safety input so that ANCs can partner with them to ensure their public spaces are safe. “It is unclear at this time where ANCs can provide on-the-ground feedback on interventions and where we will not be invited to participate in such conversations,” said Commissioner Palmer.
The ANC’s motion to request clarity from DDOT on this new policy passed unanimously.
Jelleff Recreation Center Project
ANC 2E07 Commissioner Elizabeth Miller proposed a resolution to encourage DDOT to start quickly with a livability study and renovate the Jelleff Recreation Center at 3265 S St. NW. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Miller presented a detailed presentation of the project phases of the resolution with timelines. A project manager will be hired by Dec. 1, a minimum of three community meetings will be held (one each month from Jan. through March) during the initial planning phase, public surveys will be distributed, and public comments will be published. By May 2022, design should be completed. Construction is to begin by July 2022 and end by July 2023.