Monday, May 6, 2013

Minutes of the April BANCA Meeting

With many thanks to Dave Salter.

Minutes of the BANCA meeting April 18th 2013

 Thursday 18 April 7:30-9:00 PM

Location: Supper Club 1225 10th Street Rear
The Association acknowledged its deep appreciation to the Kehoe’s for graciously hosting the April meeting. The space was very welcoming.


(1)  Police Report

·      There were approximately 50 crimes reported in the past month many of which were related to “theft from auto.” The importance of not leaving anything visible and “tempting” in the car was stressed once again. This is especially important for people who are not familiar with the area and visiting from outside the city.
·      Bicycle thefts continue to plague the city. Thieves are accessing apartment buildings through parking entrances and front doors by following others who inadvertently let them into the building. There is no bicycle lock that they cannot break.
·      A woman was robbed on Rhode Island around 10th Street. Her shoes were taken, however the assailants were apprehended and this case is closed.
·      There were several arrests for prostitution however this has not been as significant a problem as in recent months.
·      Cell phones continue to be stolen, particularly when the owners are not aware of their surroundings. While some companies are “bricking” phones to make reported stolen phones useless, there are still a couple of mechanisms whereby phones can be sold illegally and shipped overseas.

(2)  Jemal's Gang of Three project by Douglas Development

·      Paul Milstein and an architect from Douglas Development presented the plans for the properties on 1216, 1218, 1226 9th Street. You can review the details through this link:   Their presentation was well received and the Douglas Development group was applauded for recognizing the value of the rear of their buildings and their contribution to creating a lively alley side experience. The former stable and former auto repair shop has been effortlessly  incorporated into the plan.

(3) 1322 9th Street

·      The architect for this property is expected to return with his latest concept plans.  This is the property with the Carriage House just saved from demolition. At the moment the owner and the developer/architect are working with Brendan Meyer at the Historic Preservation Office to develop a plan for presentation to the HPRB. Mr. Meyer expects this to be fast tracked and be available for presentation and public comment in May. Presently they are not in agreement with each other.
·      There has been much interest in the development of this project and many are watching the progress with great interest.

(3)  The Marriott Proposal to Permanently Close part of Shepherd’s Alley

·      As part of the development of the second phase of the Marriott project, the company has submitted a DDOT proposal to close a section of Shepherd’s Alley and the public through way.
·      There is almost nothing of historic interest left in the alley because of past development so it’s hard to mount an argument in opposition.
·      Concern was raised (Jim Loucks) about the vulnerability of the fence that surrounds the 10th Street community Park. Large trucks turning the corner in the middle of the alley can easily damage the fence. There are some bollards in place and perhaps the company can visit this issue as they proceed with closure.


(4)  Vita/Mood Lounge Closing

·      The Prince of Petworth announced this week that the business at the Mood Lounge is for sale ($480,000).

·      It is likely that another business will take over the space through the ownership of Mr. Tom Powers however nothing has been confirmed at the moment

(5)  Morrison Clark Hotel (1015 L Street – enter on 11th Street)

·      Presentation on the construction/renovation/expansion of the Morrison Clark will take place on Tuesday April 30th at 5:30
·      This project is approved and has completed all reviews required by the City, HPRB and ANC.  As we have not seen the plans since they came through the neighborhood/ANC in 2008 I asked the developers if they would convene a meeting to present the final plans for all to understand.  They will bring a model of the new building and will be able to walk all through what to expect during the coming months as construction continues.  Please come with any and all questions about the new development and construction.
·      Present will be: RP Properties, Forrester Construction, the Architect, and Morrison Clark General Manage.

(6)  The future role of the BANCA

·      This was discussed briefly in the context of whether it was really necessary for every developer to have to come before the BANCA group to present their plans. Since the voice and opinion of the BANCA carries little weight at BZA and BPRB and since the ANC opinion carries legal “great weight” the efforts seemed duplicative.
·      A suggestion was made to have the material for discussion placed on a net-based platform so that the community could weigh in. The precise vehicle for sharing the information was uncertain (social network vs. blog vs. listerv etc.)
·      There is so much new construction activity in the neighborhood that projects seem to fly under the radar, whereas they have actually been presented ages ago. People forget.
·      There was a general feeling that the neighborhood association members had opinions that mattered because they lived in and understood the neighborhood. A good example of how neighborhood opinion has influenced development is the Whitman building which in its first iteration was rather pedestrian.
·      Developers seem to have an ever improving sense of the neighborhood and the need for extremely oversight is lessening.

(7)  Tuesday 7 May

·      Tentative Joint Happy Hour LCCA, at a 9th street location, TBD

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