September 21, 2021
Officers Present: Dan Schramm, Kathy Jacquart, Joe Miller, Leila Duman, René McCray, and Fred Jackson
1. Welcome – Dan Schramm
Dan welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded attendees that he will not be running again as BNCA President. If anyone is interested in picking up the torch, he is happy to speak to them about the experience. Elections will be held at the February 2022 BNCA meeting.
2. Treasurer’s Report – Joe Miller
Joe shared two months of treasurer’s reports.
- The July report had no activity and the balance remained at $5,818.03.
- The August report had $509.84 deposited in membership dues and $20 withdrawn in order to migrate web services, bringing the account total to $6,307.87 which includes $608.29 in GoFundMe funds.
Next month will show more activity, including a $500 donation to local back-to-school activities. BNCA will then plan to draw down the remaining GoFundMe funds and make some holiday donations, yet to be determined, to local groups as it has in past years.
The Treasurer’s report was accepted with no objections.
3. Public Safety Update – Captain Chris Moore (MPD)
Dan stated that due to recent shootings and traffic accidents, public and traffic and safety is on everyone’s mind. This evening will focus more on the former, with MPD, while the ANC-5B meeting tomorrow evening will cover the latter.
Prita Kohli Piekara (ANC5B03) gave some context for the upcoming ANC meeting.
- She asked that people share with her any ideas for areas they think are particularly problematic and she will include them in a DDOT. People can weigh in on the ANC’s “Dangerous By Design” map by filling out the survey on Commissioner Costello’s website at https://anc5b05.com/issues/traffic-safety and more information can be found at anc5B05.com/walkthrough.
- She also shared that a GoFundMe has been set up for the family of the little girl who was killed in the recent traffic accident: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ygkq9h-support-for-the-hart-family
Captain Moore then provided some statistics on crime in DC.
- Violent crime is down 33% and property crime is down 19% from this time last year.
- For the year to date, there have been three homicides in the area, two of which are closed and one of which is open.
- In the last 30 days, there was an armed robbery, unlawful discharge and destruction of property, an unlawful discharge, and a traffic fatality at 14th and Irving.
- Traffic enforcement is issuing tickets for speeding on 14th St.
- There were also several arrests in the area resulting from an auto theft and carrying a pistol without a license and possessing marawajna with intent to distribute.
- MPD officers are stationed in the area with a focus on Saratoga. 18th and Perry and 18th and Otis area are also hot spots of which MPD is conscious.
- The Drug unit is aware of drugs and guns on Brentwood road and there were 30 arrests stemming from the 13th block of Rhode Island Avenue this year.
- MPD is juggling many priorities with not enough resources.
- The Crime Suppression team (formerly VICE team) is currently engaged in the 4th district and so cannot be used in 5D.
- Resources are stretched thin because of attrition and the fact that MPD has not been hiring. The council has recently found money to hire a limited number of officers but it will take at least 6 months before new officers are trained, so staffing will get worse before it gets better.
Community Discussion followed, covering:
- For Halloween, though there are more guns in the area than usual, trick-or-treating is probably as safe as every year. Captain Moore suggested accompanying children and going during daylight hours
- Question was asked regarding federal partners. ATF is working with MPD to help address the proliferation of guns in the city, though Captain Moore is not sure to the exact extent. ATF has taken over the Gun Crime Lab to process guns. Similarly, MPD narcotics officers partner officers with FBI agents, so there is some federal overlap and support.
- There have been issues noted at past meetings with pursuing prosecution via the U.S. Attorney’s office or where the courts will not hold individuals even in incidents of violent crime. Captain Moore shared that the U.S. Attorney’s office will only prosecute when they believe they can secure a conviction, and MPD can’t do too much more than they do currently. COVID has also made waiting lists longer as court dates can take months to make it to the docket.
- MPD routinely asks for stay-away orders from blocks where an individual has committed a crime, but these are usually denied by a judge at arraignment or further down the line. Private businesses may have barring notices on some individuals, but unless the individual is inside the private buildings, MPD cannot take action to remove them from public space.
4. Woodridge Library Updates – Eric White (Woodridge Neighborhood Library)
Eric thanked BNCA for having him and for the collaboration over the last few years and provided updates and reminders about DC Library activities, more information about which can be found at dclibrary.org.
- The Brookland Intergenerational History Project (where middle-schoolers and the Library partnered to interview residents) of several years ago was a success and the Library hopes to bring back again this year.
- DC library card holders have reciprocal library privileges with Montgomery, Prince George’s, or Loudoun County which expand the resources available to residents.
- The MLK library was recently renovated over a 3 year period. It had a soft opening last year and will have a grand opening on Saturday September 25th, which will include Art All Night events at several library branches.
- At home COVID test kits available in front of a number of libraries – you can drop off the test there, register online, and will receive results shortly.
- DC libraries are also providing assistance to those applying with STAY DC which provides financial assistance endeavoring to help keep residents housed.
- Some branches, including MLK, have meeting spaces for small businesses.
- The monthly CR Gibbs Fall Lecture series is being held in person in a large meeting room where attendees can social distance.
- Library branches are open at least six days a week and several are open on Sundays as well. By mid-October, all branches will be open seven days a week again.
- Branches are taking COVID precautions seriously, including offering hand sanitizer, requiring masks, and social distancing while in person.
- As fewer branches carry online issues of periodicals, DC is trying a new limited access system to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal (among others). To temporarily sign up for access, go online to All Digital Resources > Newspapers > select paper.
- Judge Rohulamin Quander will be speaking at Library events regarding his new book, which was recently discussed at the July BNCA meeting.
- If anyone has programming ideas or questions, they can reach out to Eric at eric[DOT]white[AT]dc[DOT]gov.
5. Brookland Baptist School Redevelopment – Keyur Shah (DAKS Development)
DAKS Development, a development and construction company local to DC, is interested in purchasing the old Sunday school building at 16th and Monroe that has been vacant for decades. Keyur provided a summary of their plan.
- The property, which was built in approximately 1927, is at 3420 16th St. and is being sold by the adjacent and active church.
- Similar to other DC projects DAKS has recently undertaken in Capitol Hill, they would like to preserve the brick and floor systems structure of this building and would do major renovations on the insides, converting it into apartments. They plan to treat the structure as though it’s historic, and so plan to alter it as little as possible. They would also like to incorporate space for community use.
- There are several possible layouts but current plans propose about 25 units in the 25,000 square foot footprint. These would consist of 1 and 2 bedroom units both with and without dens. About 10% of these units (so 2-3 units) are currently planned as affordable housing.
- There are several anticipated challenges for the property, which is under contract to purchase:
- The current zoning is R-1-B, which is predominantly detached single family dwellings. This would need zoning approval to put in the proposed 25 units, so they are working on obtaining zoning variances to achieve greater density.
- The site does not have the ability to park vehicles so new residents would be limited to street parking.
- They would like to activate the green space facing Monroe, half of which is public, so they are looking for feedback.
Community discussion followed covering:
- Many members asked about increasing the number of affordable housing units. Mr. Shah indicated willingness to explore this.
- There was concern regarding an increase in traffic and parking with the arrival of the development. Some potential solutions included increasing the amount of zoned parking in the area, using designated car sharing spots, or creating programming or incentives for residents to not own cars. While the onus to deal with traffic, parking, and traffic safety is on DDOT and the City, dialogue and a thorough plan for how to deal with these changes would be welcomed by the community. Mr. Shah again indicated that they would look further into these issues.
6. Neighborhood Announcements
Ra Amin (ANC5B04) asked that Dan share an update from DC water that they will be doing overtime work on the NE boundary tunnel at Rhode Island Ave NE. This will include second shift work from 5pm to 3 am for two months.
Kyla Woods, Ward 5 Liaison of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services (MOCRS) provided several updates:
- DCPS will conduct weekly saliva COVID testing for staff and prioritizing unvaccinated students. They are maintaining procedures for quarantining for 10 days if an individual comes into contact with another individual who tests positive.
- Eviction moratorium is shifting. Starting on September 26th the courts will return to usual procedures so filings for eviction will be allowed. The STAY DC program can help, but will need to be leveraged proactively as it takes 3-4 weeks after application to receive funding.
- Community members can reach the Kyla at kyla[DOT]woods1[AT]dc[DOT]gov or 202 394-4399.
Charles McCullough of the Greater Brookland Intergenerational Village provided information about four upcoming community events, which can be found on the calendar at https://www.brooklandvillage.org/content.aspx?page_id=4001&club_id=940536
- Saturday 25th at 12:00 pm — an in person meeting on the patio of 2316 Rhode Island NE to socialize with neighbors.
- Monday 27th at 9:30 am — a Zoom Zoomba session.
- Wednesday the 29th at 12:30 pm — a Zoom Career Trajectory Session, the first in a series, on using emotional intelligence to build potent networks.
- Wednesday the 29th at 4:00 pm — a Zoom health discussion focused on maximizing the effectiveness of nutrition and fitness
- Attendees should pregegister and can email info[AT]brooklandvillage[DOT]org for more information.
Meeting adjourned at 8:47 PM.
The next Zoom BNCA meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 19th at 7:00 PM ET.