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Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia

Federation News

Volume 4, Issue 4, January 1999
1642 Thirty-fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20007-2334
(202) 337-6505, phone; (202) 337-6504, fax

Setting policy for our city’s future: How will the Council, Mayor, and citizens interact?
Community Development Block Grants: Is there one in your future?
Community-based Residence Facilities: Federation proposal enacted in reversal of DCRA rules!
ANCs: New rules for financial reports: Will funds and training follow?
Officers and Board
President’s Message
Keeping it clean: Using the new litter law to protect our neighborhoods
New City Council listings at 441 Fourth Street
The Standing Committees of the Council
Other Key Telephone Numbers
Federal Assembly meeting dates for balance of year

Tuesday, January 26
Federation Assembly Meeting
Business Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Program at 7:30

The Honorable Linda W. Cropp
Chair, City Council

Newly elected for a full four-year term, the woman who heads the legislative branch of local government will share with us her plans for Council — and the people of the District.

The Charles Sumner School
1201 Seventeenth Street NW (at M)

Setting policy for our city’s future: How will the Council, Mayor, and citizens interact?

At least every four years, the District adopts a Comprehensive Plan, setting policies that determine how land will be used, how individual neighborhoods will be shaped, how resources will be allocated, and the many other decisions that can determine the future of our city.

Few believe we have done this well.

The Plan is supposed to be the culmination of years of community input, balancing competing interests for the greater good. It too often winds up, however, as an eleventh-hour, closed-door negotiating session with very special interests seeking favors for their properties or their clients.

This year, the process was even more complex because of the many study and planning projects undertaken by the Control Board, by Council, and by independent groups such as the Economic Summit Plan, the Transportation Comprehensive Plan, the Downtown Task Force — and the massive regulatory reform proposals springing from both Council and the Control Board.

Because these many elements had not been integrated into the Plan, the Federation had proposed delaying action on the "Comp Plan" until the new Mayor and new Council could give it the thorough airing it required The fact that the plan also included site-specific proposals for particular properties and gutted the commitment to downtown housing were further reasons for delay.

However, Council clearly intended to move forward with the plan in its final sessions of the year, and the Federation was left with the option of trying to "correct" as many elements as possible (see below) and to seek partnerships on making the planning process a better one in the future.

Mayor Anthony Williams has indicated a desire to create a strong, professional planning office to serve the District.

Council Chair Linda Cropp pledged her support for more resources, more professionalism as welt (The planning function is the province of the Council's Committee of the Whole, which Mrs. Cropp chairs.)

During her visit with the Federation in January, Mrs. Cropp will share with us her views about what can be done to better involve citizens in the planning process, and how residents' concerns can be protected.

The Federation and its member organizations have a key role to play in supporting progress toward a better planning function — and helping write a better plan. Most assuredly, we also have a role to play in keeping the more predatory interests at bay.

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Community Development Block Grants: Is there one in your future?

There is $15 million in Federal grants available to community organizations, ANCs, churches, as well as economic development corporations to help make their neighborhoods stronger. Honest.

Despite the all-too-frequent shortage of resources for local concerns, local projects, these dollars can make possible the realization of long-cherished community goals of economic development and neighborhood strengthening.

Workshops to help organizations apply for, and compete for, these dollars will be held by the Department of Housing and Community Development at these times:

Friday, January 22
51 N Street NE
5th Floor RLA Board Room

Session 1: 10:00 a.m. and
Session 2: 2:30 p.m.

Register for one of these orientation sessions by calling Ms. Shirley Hilliard at 535-1950.

These funds are targeted for six areas, including nearly all of the eastern half of the District "triangle." They can include capital projects, staff support, operational budgets, and support monies.

The map below gives the boundaries for areas targeting for impact under this program.

map of block grant areas

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Community-based Residence Facilities: Federation proposal enacted in reversal of DCRA rules!

The Federation has played a critical role in shaping District policy regarding the siting of CBRFs across the city.

The Zoning Commission had eliminated most citizen input into the location of group homes. In November the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs compounded the impact by issuing regulations that removed any last vestiges of public process.

As the Federation worked with City Council on the Comprehensive Plan in December, there was an opportunity to reverse these policies by including in the Plan a commitment to greater community input.

The Plan amendments that Council passed unanimously restored the special exception process as the means by which institutions could seek "reasonable accommodation" for special needs.

This means that citizens will have recourse when multiple, large, or disruptive facilities are proposed for their neighborhoods.

Specifically, the Federation language, which was adopted in the Land Use element of the Plan nearly verbatim, read:

It is appropriate to balance the needs of institutional providers of housing for the handicapped with the need to maintain healthy residential neighborhoods throughout the District's many communities.

In support of that goal, the following policies are adopted:

  1. Matter-of-right development of CBRFs shall be limited to facilities that:
    1. Serve only individuals who are truly handicapped, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    2. Include no more than I resident staff individual per 3 handicapped residents (including staff members' families)
    3. Do not locate on the same block or within 500 feet of another CBRF.
    4. Exclude persons with histories as adjudicated felons felons or the juvenile equivalent thereof.
    5. Exclude persons who meet the definition of repeat sex offender
    6. Will be operated/owned by individuals or corporations that have no open violations with the District administrative agencies and no unpaid financial indebtedness to the D. C. Treasurer (over $1,000)
    7. Abide by historic preservation, overlay, and other zoning requirements.
  2. "Reasonable accommodation" of other needs of the handicapped shall occur by means of the special exception process, rather than by administrative action.

The Council returned the DCRA regulations to the Department for rewriting in conformance with this policy.

Zoning rule-making cannot be inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

The Federation is writing to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to learn what permissions have already been granted under the interim regulations. It is not clear how much information will be released, inasmuch as those interim regulations limited even Freedom-of-information requests about group homes.

Councilmember Sharon Ambrose sponsored the amendments the Federation drafted, and Council Chair Linda Cropp was instrumental in assuring their adoption.

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ANCs: New rules for financial reports: Will funds and training follow?

Mayor Williams has signed the emergency legislation passed by City Council that places new requirements on Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and their financial reporting.

The law also provides funding for ANCs by reallocating $334,790 from the reserves held from prior years, budgets. If the Control Board does not reject the proposal by the deadline of January 20, the funds will be available for commissions that meet reporting requirements.

The new ANC financial controls will require that ANC chairmen be bonded, in addition to the current requirement that treasurers be bonded. It also requires that quarterly financial reports include "copies of canceled checks, bank statements, invoices and receipts, grant request letters and contracts executed, along with the minutes indicating the Commission's approval of disbursements reported in the quarterly report." (This is an improvement recommended by ANC commissioners in testimony before City Council; the draft bill had proposed attaching the originals of these documents.)

If an ANC fails to provide financial reports (and attachments) for two successive quarters, it must surrender its checkbook to the D. C. Auditor; it would be unable to issue any check without the Auditor's specific approval.

Council must enact permanent legislation to replace this act by the expiration of the 90-day emergency period.

Still unsettled at this point is the program for training ANC commissioners. It is hoped that an effective program can be offered during February, with new ANC handbooks available at the same time.

Oversight of ANC affairs has been transferred to the Council committee on Local, Regional, and Federal Affairs, chaired by David Catania (a former ANC commissioner himself). Federation Board member Kathy Sternberg is the committee clerk.

In furtherance of a 1998 Federation position, we will be offering to Mayor Williams a proposal to work with the city and with the ANC Assembly to provide support for training, in the form of videotaped training support.

We welcome additional support from member organizations in furtherance of effective ANCs across the District.

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Next month the Federation News will publish an update on our list of websites and email addresses most useful for c citizens and associations If you have favorites you want included, please email .

Meanwhile, continue visiting the very useful on the World Wide Web. They have added an abbreviated District telephone directory, as well as hyperlinks to many very useful sites. They carry this newsletter, as well.

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Officers and Board

Patrick Allen, Citizens Association of Georgetown, 337-8760
Gracie Baten, Shepherd Park Citizens Association, 882-6162
John Batham, West End Citizens Association, 628-3527
Allen Beach, Chevy Chase Citizens Association, 362-2239
Larry Chatman, 16th Street Heights, 291-7381
Dino Joseph Drudi, Michigan Park Citizens Association, 526-0891
Kay Eckles, Residential Action Coalition, 265-5961
Guy Gwynne, Burleith Citizens Association, 338-5164
M. R. Peggy Snyder, Chancery Court, 338-1972
Miles Steele III, Hillcrest Community Citizens Association, 582-7832
Kathy Sternberg, Kalorama Citizens Association, 328-4806
Alice Stewart, Palisades Citizens Association, 364-1505
Marc Weiss, Southwest Neighborhood Assembly, 535-1970
Al Wheeler, Oldest Inhabitants of DC, 337-00340
Barbara Zartman, Cloisters in Georgetown, 337-6505

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President’s Message — Barbara Zartman

Much attention has been focused on the impending, early return of "home rule" powers to Mayor Williams. Much has been said about the need to demonstrate the competence of local government to pick up the garbage, fix the potholes, police both the streets and the quality of our infrastructure. Balance our budget.

Commentators agree (at least most of them, at least for now) that a new Mayor has been elected who is both prepared and committed to move toward these honest, essential goals The freedom to hire —and fire — key managers will be granted to this elected leader, to give him the ability to enforce his decisions. And the elected legislative leadership of the City Council voices its desire to provide effective oversight.

Yet lost in this discussion is a fundamental question: toward what ends shall this home rule be exercised?

In well-run cities, the planning function is fundamental for establishing broad, agreed-upon policies that benefit all the members of a community, in pursuit of a clear agenda. A comprehensive planning function should be professional, well supported, encouraging of input of all affected parts of a community. It is stable (though not inflexible), because its goals are long-range, justifying the investments (both financial and personal) that people make in cities.

An old maxim suggests that making progress quickly is not a plus when you're heading in the wrong direction. The planning function makes sure that everyone agrees, in advance, on the direction.

For many, "planning' is an abstract concept. In fact, it is the contract we write with ourselves about our future.

I invite all our members to redouble their efforts in support of an intelligent, involved planning function. Our children will thank us for it.

And it's not bad for property values either.

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Keeping it clean: Using the new litter law to protect our neighborhoods

There is a strong new law on the books, the product of citizen lobbying, largely through the League of 8000. It provides tough standards to protect neighborhoods, and there are inspectors who finally make enforcement a reality.

Litter Law 11-13 provides fines of up to $5000 and forfeiture of vehicles for those who illegally dump onto someone else's property or public space. mere is even a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of an illegal dumpister.

Illegal dumping is depositing bulk items, junk, tires, trash, etc. Dumpers must pay three times the cost of cleaning the dump site, and they are subject to 60-day jail terms, as well as seizure and forfeiture of vehicles used for illegal dumping. The Illegal Dumping Hotline is: 645-6179.

Equally useful are the more routine provisions of D. C. regulations, which include the following:

For Commercial Property Owners (including apartment buildings of 4 units or more):

  • Requires private hauler at least twice a week to remove trash from the building.
  • Requires special pick-ups if dumpsters overflow.
  • Requires proper containers, dumpsters with lids down.

Fines: $75 for first ticket to $2,000 for fourth ticket.

For Residential Property Owners:

  • Requires proper containers, metal or plastic with 20- to 32-gallon capacity, water-tight lid, weighing no more than 60 pounds — or Supercans weighing no more than 250 pounds — when full. Lids must be tightly shut when trash is in the container.
  • Requires trash to be put out no earlier than 6:00 p.m. the evening before pickup, and requires empty bins to be brought in by 8 00 p.m. on collection day.
  • Requires yard waste and leaves to be bundled in heavy plastic bags and put out with regular trash on scheduled collection days.
  • Requires tree limbs to be cut in four-foot lengths and tied in small bundles.

Fines: $35 for first ticket to $1,000forfourth ticket.

For Everyone:

  • Keep the public space clean: sidewalks, alleys, gutters, parks, and streets.
  • Use public litter cans for pedestrian trash only.
  • Clean up after your pet [in addition to being a smelly nuisance, pet poop is a food source for rats!]
  • Remove snow and/or ice from your property within 8 hours of a storm's end
  • Maintain landscaped areas, keeping them free of litter and overgrown plants and weeds [vermin live, hide, and breed in unkempt landscape areas].

Fines: $35 for first ticket to $2,000 for fourth ticket.

Residents don't have to do it alone. To assist communities maintain a safe and healthy streetscape, the DPW Helping Hand Program provides rakes, brooms, shovels, and bags to help support neighborhood clean-up campaigns. Contact 645-6184 for more information.

For general information about sanitation matters, call 7274600.

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New City Council listings at 441 Fourth Street

Room Phone Fax Executive Assistant
Linda W. Cropp, Chair 704 724-8032 714-8085 William Rumsey, Jr.
Sandy Allen, Ward 8 707 724-8045 724-8055 Ron Dennis
Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 710 724-8072 724-8054 Marge Franchese
Harold Brazil, At Large 701 724-8074 724-8156 n.a.
David Catania, At Large 720 724-7772 724-8087 Joshua Dunkleman
Kevin P. Chavous, Ward 7 705 724-8068 724-8097 William Wright
Jack Evans, Ward 2 703 724-8058 724-8023 John Ralls
Jim Graham, Ward 1 718 724-8181 724-8109 Twanna Clark
Charlene Drew Jarvis, Ward 4 708 724-8052 724-8120 Audrey Duff
Phil Mendelson, At Large 720 724-8064 724-8099 Chris Weiss
Vincent Orange, Ward 5 707 724-8028 724-8076 Estell Mathis-Lloyd (Diane Pecor, LA.
Kathleen Patterson, Ward 3 709 724-8062 724-8118 JoAnne Ginsberg
Carol Schwartz, At Large 706 724-8105 724-8071 Jacques Rondeau

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The Standing Committees of the Council

Committee of the Whole: All councilmembers. Committee Clerk: Christopher Murray 724- 8196 (8085 fax)

Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs: Ambrose, Allen, Brazil, Catania, Graham. Committee Clerk: Esther Bushman / 724-8072 (8054 fax)

Committee on Economic Development: Jarvis, Brazil, Chavous, Evans, Orange. Committee Clerk: John McGaw/ 724-8152 (8120 fax)

Committee on Education. Libraries. and Recreation: Chavous, Ambrose, Catania, Jarvis, Schwartz. Committee Clerk: Jerry Johnson / 724-8068 (8097 fax)

Committee on Finance and Revenue: Evans, Brazil, Chavous, Jarvis, Patterson. Committee Clerk: Lyle Blanchard / 724-8058 (8023 fax)

Committee on Government Operations: Patterson, Ambrose, Catania, Jarvis, Schwartz. Committee Clerk: Jason Juffras / 724-7808 (8118 fax)

Committee on Human Services: Allen, Catania, Mendelson,, Patterson, Schwartz. Committee Clerk: Dearich Hunter / 724-8045 (8055 fax)

Committee on the Judiciary: Brazll, Ambrose, Chavous, Evans, Orange. Committee Clerk: Jim Abely / 724-8116 (8156 fax)

Committee on Local. Regional. and Federal Affairs: Catania, Allen, Graham, Mendelson, Orange. Committee Clerk: Kathy Sternberg/ 724-8900 (8087 fax)

Committee on Public Works and the Environment: Schwartz, Allen, Evans, Graham, Orange. Committee Clerk: Adam Maier / 724-8271 (8071 fax)

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Other Key Telephone Numbers

Mayor Williams 727-2900
CFO 727-2476
Zoning/BZA 727-6311
HPRB 727-7360
DCRA 727-7000
ABC 727-7375
DPW 939-8000
Control Board 504-3400
School Board 724-4222
NCPC 482-7200
Fine Arts Commission 504-22()0
City Council 724-8080
Legislative Services 724-8050

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Federation Assembly meeting dates for balance of year:

February 23, March 23, April banquet, May 26, June 22
All except the banquet are at The Sumner School. All are at 7:00 p.m.

The Federation Board also meets monthly:
February 11, March 11, April 8, May 13, June 10
All meetings are at 7:00 p.m.

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