BCA Meeting Minutes – May 2016

Bloomingdale Civic Association
General Membership Meeting
Monday, May 16, 2016, 7:00 PM
St. George’s Episcopal Church, 160 U Street NW


Executive Board in Attendance: Teri Janine Quinn, Sherry Howard, Horacio Sierra, Derrick Jones, Angela Prentice, Serita Sanders, Scott Roberts, and Bertha Holliday.

Meeting Commenced at 7:07 pm

1. Teri said we have a new police lieutenant, but he was not in attendance.

2. Teri updated us on the Bloomingdale Village Square committee’s plans. A forum will be hosted this Saturday at the Old Firehouse on North Capitol Street. It’s scheduled from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm and it will include a screening of the Bloomingdale Oral History documentary, a luncheon, a discussion, and a preview of the architectural vision for the neighborhood.

3. Serita updated us on the Historic Preservation Committee. The committee has had two workshops since our last meeting.

4. Horacio updated us on the Bloomingdale 2016 Scholarship Awards. He distributed flyers that listed applicant requirements and encouraged people to spread the word on the scholarship program.

5. Teri updated us on the Bloomingdale Beautification Day that took place on April 23. Despite the rain, the $3,750 worth of plants and supplies was put to great use as dozens of community members showed up to participate. Mulch was delivered two weeks later. Teri asked Chris, the Beautification Day Committee Chair, to ask DPW for more mulch. Teri thanked Joe Levesque for going above and beyond the call of duty to help a local business improve their landscaping. Bacio’s Pizza donated pizza and drinks to volunteers on the day of the event.

6. Teri talked about our efforts at the Crispus Attucks Park Day this past Saturday in selling t-shirts, dog bandanas, and recruiting new BCA Members.

7. Tonya Jordan from the DC Arts Commission talked about a plan to find artists for the “McMillan Photo Project” to shine a spotlight on Bloomingdale’s iconic landmarks, its history, and its community members. The long term vision is to receive input for a public arts commission to decide on art once McMillan is built.

8. Eugene Clindinin, a Residential Supervisory Appraiser from the office of DC Tax and Revenue, discussed the spike in Bloomingdale’s property taxes. He said that prices are substantially up, on the average of 15%. He said the mayor and council decide how much they want to levy in taxes based on these appraisals. He said property tax assessment appeals should be concluded by July. He explained how the appeals process works and what information appellants should bring to their case. Joe asked what happens if an appeal is granted and the value is decreased in respect to the following year’s assessment. Eugene said that it is only a temporary appeal and the process starts again the following year.

9. Robyn William, a representative from the DC Board of Elections, talked to us about the new voting machine that will be used beginning with the June primary. The new “Express Voter Machine” is a touch-screen device that is ADA compliant. Paper ballots will still be used, but not for early voting. Today is the last day for a change of address or party affiliation designation. Teri asked if people are still able to register on Election Day. Robyn said you could but they are trying to dissuade people from doing so to shorten complications on Election Day. Teri stressed the importance of telling people that they can still register to vote on Election Day even if they missed today’s deadline.

10. There was no representative from DDOT. Angela talked about the history of traffic issue on NW First Street between Rhode Island and Michigan. These issues were discussed with DDOT before the water tunnel project but put on hold because of the tunnel. Angela said now is the time to revisit this issue and initiate a traffic calming plan with roundabouts and speed bumps. The petition is available on change.org and there is a print version circulating as well. We hope to forestall the upcoming traffic problems that will come with the McMillan project. John Kennedy from DC Water said they are neutral on this topic. Their permit is to return the street intersections back to their original layout with a few exceptions of new changes.

11. Jim Myers of the Bloomingdale Historic Preservation Coalition talked about two upcoming community-wide events about the neighborhood’s history.

12. James Little of 26 Adams Street gave a presentation on the plans he and William Colwell have to make alterations to the rear roof and rear exterior wall of their house, some of which requires a special exemption to zoning regulations. Letters of support and other supporting documents can be found on the BZA website. A motion was made by Mark Mueller and seconded by Joe Levesque to support their request. The motion passed 17-0.

13. Rich DiZinno from 115 Rhode Island Avenue and Farid Bosak-Barani of 109 Rhode Island discussed their protest of Showtime’s ABRA request to increase their occupancy numbers. Rich cited noise and trash issues as well as the bar’s violation of its current exterior occupancy limits (which is currently six) as reasons for their protest. Rich has owned his property since 2007. Showtime used to be a barbershop. Rich said he spoke with Showtime’s owner about the noise issue, but the owner regularly ignored his concerns until he filed a complaint with ABRA. He says the owner, Paul, has never come over to speak with him to discuss his plans with Showtime and its relationships to neighbors. There is no consensus as to where Showtime plans to expand its occupancy since Showtime has not publicly stated such information.

A motion passed 10-1 to support a protest of Showtime’s ABRA request.

14. Laeisha from Councilman McDuffie’s office gave some Ward 5 highlights about the upcoming city budget vote:

-To remove a trash transfer station on W Street through Eminent Domain
-More G9 bus funding
-More Deanwood Recreation Center funding

15. Teri reported that Commissioner Pearl has vacated his ANC 5E08 seat and there is an opening. Teri talked about a mugging on the Unit Block of Randolph Place where a lot of neighbors amassed to help the woman who was being attacked. Teri reminded us that ANC 5E does not meet in July or August, so folks who want items to be voted on during the summer must submit their materials for the June ANCE 5E meeting.

Meeting adjourned at 9:13 p.m.

Minutes recorded by Horacio Sierra