MPCA November Minutes

Michigan Park Citizens Association
Regular Monthly Meeting
November 4, 2015
Providence Hospital

President Paul Wood opened the meeting at 7:15 pm.  October minutes were read and accepted.  The treasurer’s report was read by Treasurer Beulah Sutherland, no written copy was updated for this month.

Paul Wood had addressed the October meeting of the Queens Chapel Civic Association at the invitation of the civic association’s president, Tim Thomas.

Tim Thomas, president of the Queens Chapel Civic Association, addressed many of the issues held in common with Michigan Park.  Traffic along Michigan Avenue and South Dakota, as well as cut through traffic in the alleys, remains a concern. Tim noted that the volume of traffic in the alleys sometimes approximates the volume on the streets.  The neighbors conducted a neighborhood bulk cleanup coordinated with the city. The effort successfully spruced up some of the alleys and afforded neighbors an opportunity to rid themselves of unwanted bulk belongings. Tim noted disappointment with 4D response to residents and that leadership among the lieutenant’s changes frequently. One area of growing neighborhood concern was the establishment of half-way houses by DCRA.  The city is under no obligation to inform residents of the placement of a half-way home in the neighborhood, usually in a previously occupied residence. Additionally, due to DC privacy laws, information about the location and type of half-way homes is not publicly available. The result is that residents may not know of a new half-way home until problems occur.  One of the examples was a house for juveniles under court supervision.  President Thomas also spoke at length about Brookland Middle School, which Queens Chapel Civic Association has actively supported. The girls volleyball began with a group of students who had never played the sport and quickly coalesced into a strong competitor in the D.C. area. Unfortunately, there have been some problems among the students as well. These include shoplifting along 10th Street NE, bullying and marijuana smoking.

Ralph Bucksell noted that marijuana use prevents students from learning.  Residents discussed how MPD police officers have been instructed not to arrest teenagers for public smoking of marijuana as the district attorney will not prosecute them for the offense.  Robert While from the Office of the Attorney General, who spoke next, opined that such instructions were unfortunate and may be a misinterpretation of the prosecutor’s messaging. Cases involving juveniles are often handled in a way to avoid a permanent police record which would affect the youth’s employment opportunities as an adult. Instead, juvenile offenders are often directed into Juvenile Division Programs which uses a data driven approach to prosecution. Juveniles who commit violent or repeat offenses, however, are prosecuted.

Mr. Robert White, who is from the Community Outreach of the Office of Attorney General (OAG), spoke the role of OAG in housing development.  AG Racine has considered the appropriate role for OAG to serve in the city’s housing development.  Since the OAG became independent from the Office of the Mayor and the election of the Attorney General, Karl A. Racine, two clients are served – the city and the public.  OAG may ensure that grant money for public land is used for a specifically designated purpose and that contracts are legally sufficient. Private development is much more difficult to intercede as the land is not a public asset and the agreement is between two private parties. Two of the recently discussed developments in Michigan Park, Howard University School of Divinity and Saint Joseph’s Seminary, are privately owned.  McMillan Reservoir is publicly owned and OAG has an interest in associated development contracting.

OAG also has an interest in half-way houses if it becomes a public nuisance. Mr. White stated that service calls help as the calls provide documentation of possible problems with the residents. If a house becomes a public nuisance, then OAG can act. OAG can, for instance, bring together all relevant agencies to address.

Ms. Anita Greene expressed concerns of neighbors on 1200 and 1300 Alison Street NE about traffic.  Ms. Greene reviewed a survey taken by neighbors of the traffic patterns. A discussion followed about traffic volume, parking, accidents and safety.  Ms. Greene asked for support for neighbors request for a DDOT traffic study. The resolution was brought to the floor and passed unanimously. A letter of support would be forwarded to Ms. Anita Greene from President Paul Wood.

Resolved: MPCA supports a DDOT traffic study of 1200 and 1300 blocks of Allison Street NE.

Mr. Ralph Bucksell reported that Douglas Development is paying for all traffic management changes recommended by the Edgewood-Brookland Feasibility Study.  Ralph was concerned about the effectiveness of some of the proposed changes since data cited in writing by DDOT is false. Ralph and some of the members of MPCA have measured selected street widths and and have found significant inconsistencies. DDOT officials may have relied upon erroneous data sources rather than taking updated measurements.

Ms. Lavinia Wohlfarth recommended use of an electronic device (SQUARE) to make it easier for members to pay annual dues and contribute to funds, including the Christmas fund and garden fund.  Treasurer Beulah Sutherland agreed to work with the Secretary to explore this option and implement, if approved by the assembly.

The December 1 meeting is the Christmas potluck. The meeting adjourned at 09:05 pm.

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