June 2014 Minutes

Michigan Park Citizens Association
Membership Meeting
June 3, 2014
St. Joseph’s Seminary

Newly elected President Paul Wood brought the meeting to order at 7:10. Outgoing President Tom Lavash thanked members for their work over two years of his presidency and was thanked in return by the members. Treasurer Beulah Sutherland read the Treasurer’s report.

Park Partnership
Paul reported that he and Tom have submitted an application to the mayor’s office for a $500 “mini-grant” to purchase plantings for the two triangle parks on Michigan Avenue (at 12th Street and at 18th Street). The grants are offered under the “Love Your Block DC” program on the District website. The plants included azaleas, dwarf myrtles, hostas, and tulip bulbs. The plants will be divided between the two parks. Brent Sisco, DPR Landscape Architect, has been asked for his input concerning plans for the new plantings [Brent Sisco concurred with the selection in an email to Paul Wood the following day].

MPCA’s existing Friends of the Park agreement for the park on 12th Street is up for renewal this year. Motion by Kathleen Sutherland was made “to authorize discussion toward renewal of the current park partnership agreement.” The motion was passed unanimously.

Only 1 of the 3 water spigots at the 1800 block Michigan Avenue NE triangle park is working. The other two were run over by lawn mowers. DPR has requested a photo of the broken spigots to be replaced. Tom and Paul will get the picture to them this week.
Paul has been working with Kathleen Reinwaldt of DPR on the issue of installing a water spigot to the existing water line at the triangle park 1200 block Michigan Avenue NE. Ms. Reinwaldt will give MPCA written permission to install a spigot. MPCA will pay for the spigot and for its installation. A contractor must be found to install the spigot. Motion by Paul Wood “to reaffirm commitment to spend $800 on spigot purchase and installation.” The motion was passed unanimously.

Capital Bikeshare
In a response to a request from MPCA members, Kim Lucas, Manager of the Capital Bikeshare Program explained the program and the station selection criteria. MPCA members have requested the installation of Bikeshare stations near Providence Hospital and the HSC Pediatric Center. Criteria for station selection include:
– At least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day
– Proximity to Capital Bikeshare network (within ¼ mile of another station)
– Co-location with Metro, Metrobus, Art Bus stations
– Population density

There is no formal application process for installation of a bike station, but public requests such as that made by MPCA, are taken seriously. Ms. Lucas recommends that local citizens and civic associations and ANCs, send letters of support for the stations. Also, the MPCA should check in regularly to see where our request is in the process. Unfortunately, the company which has manufactured the Bikeshare stations went bankrupt. New owners of the company will resume manufacturing the stations, but all plans for new stations have been delayed. Ms. Lucas does not expect new stations to be opened within the next year. Paul suggests that we talk to representatives of Providence and HSC over the summer to determine their interest in the program.

San Antonio Bar & Grill
Jaime Vargas, owner of the San Antonio Bar & Grill, addressed the Association members, explaining his plan for sidewalk seating in front of the restaurant. Because the sidewalk at that location does not meet the District guidelines for sidewalk seating, he was advised by Catrina Felder, of the District’s Public Space Committee, to include with his application for a special exception letters of support from neighbors and community organizations. Mr. Vargas showed diagrams of his plan, which would include seating for 20 people at 10 tables within a decorative railing eight feet from the wall of the restaurant. The railing would extend the length of the restaurant and would be located no further from the wall than the current canopy poles in front of the door. Although he had letters of support from neighbors, the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association, and the Greater Brookland Business Association, ANC 5B declined to support his request for an exception. Motion by Kathleen Sutherland: To support the special exception for sidewalk seating at the San Antonio Grill. Passed unanimously. Paul will draft a letter to the Board of Zoning on behalf of the Association.

Proposed D.C. Zoning Changes
At the President’s request, David Conrad explained the rewrite of the zoning code, which was written in 1958, when urban planning emphasized separation of uses and reliance on cars. Since then the code has been “encrusted” with more than 1,000 amendments and urban planners have come to emphasize mixed use development, walkability, bicycles, and public transportation. In addition to “cleaning up” and rationalizing the code, changes will also:
– Allow accessory dwelling units (separate apartments within homes)
– Allow for corner stores in residential areas
– Reduction in required parking density

In response to a question about the Industrial zoning (CM-1 and 2) along the railroad tracks, David elaborated. The only change proposed to the development standards is to add a requirement for a 25 ft. buffer between it and adjacent residential zones. There are also proposed changes to FAR language to limit the floor area allowed for non-industrial uses, and new restrictions on uses allowed I.e. nightclubs, emergency shelters, waste services etc. Some of these may be allowed but only by special exception so the community will have a voice in the review process.

Another question was asked about PUD changes. The PUD process is proposed to remain in place with some procedural changes.

DC Zoning References

7-11 Store
Members discussed the new 7-11 store to be built at 12th and Otis Streets. Carolyn Petti pointed out that there are big differences in the stores within the 7-11 chain and that the neighbors and neighborhood associations may be able to influence the quality of this particular store by weighing in at key points, such as when the store requests a special exception or a license to sell beer.

Meeting Location
Adrian Jordon announced that legislation introduced by Kenyon Mc Duffie and passed by the city council now gives community based groups use of school meeting facilities free of charge. The new policy takes effect in October. Paul will schedule MPCA meetings for the months of October through June at the Bunker Hill Education Campus. The Association’s next meeting will take place on Tuesday, September 2nd, at St. Joseph’s Seminary. On July 27th, the Executive Board will meet at Paul’s house, 4401 13th Place, NE at 3:00 pm.

Paul is working with Seth Oldmixon to set up email notifications to members when something new is posted on the website.

This meeting is the last for the summer. Next meeting is September 2, 2014.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 pm.

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