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Volume 4, Issue 9, June 1999
1642 Thirty-fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20007-2334
(202) 337-6505, phone; (202) 337-6504, fax
|Mayor Williams to address June
Nominations for Federation officers and board
Creeping into a neighborhood near you? Apartments legal and otherwise
Can they do that? Maybe Not. The rules are the rules are the rules
Federation Banquet Honorees
Officers and Board
Better jury experience = better justice?
Send in the grades
Tuesday, June 22
Mayor Williams to address June Federation meeting
"As a government, we must do a better job of inviting and encouraging the participation of our neighborhood, business, and civic leaders in our decision making process."
These were Mayor Anthony Williams' words in creating a Neighborhood Advisory Council to assist in understanding and responding to important issues facing the District.
These sentiments have long been advocated by the Federation in its efforts to assure that the residential communities the strong neighborhoods and those that are under immense pressure have a seat at the table when decisions are made that impact their lives.
This wild be an opportunity to hear the Mayor's plans for strengthening neighborhoods, and for the future of the District.
We can learn about the functioning of the Neighborhood Advisory Council, how it will interface with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission system, and how it may be able to help link organizations in different parts of the city around issues they have in common.
Take advantage of bringing your organization's concerns to the Mayor's attention and to bring back to your community his plans for the future.]
This year's nominating committee is chaired by Gary Smithwick of Chancery Court (342-0078); Harold Gray (9665037) of the Oldest Inhabitants serves with him. At our September meeting, the Committee will suggest nominations, which are then open to floor nominations. Nominees must be duly designated delegates from the member organizations.
Officers are elected sequentially by office: President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The non-officer members of the Executive Board are elected on a common ballot, with the ten highest vote recipients being elected. If two persons who are delegates from the same organization both accept nomination, the highest vote-getter will be elected (regardless of the relative standing of the other delegate from that same organization against other persons on the slate) since each organization may have only one member on the Executive Board.
Bylaws requirements: Each paid member organization is entitled to a maximum of three votes from its designated delegates; designated alternates may cast votes if one or more of the designated delegates is unable to attend. Please have your association president confirm the names of your designated delegates and alternates, using the contact information on page 8.
At the request of the Cleveland Park Citizen Association, the Federation will join in requests of the corporation counsel to clarify what is, and is not, permissible for apartments contained in single-family houses and single family zones (e.g. zones R- I to R-3) throughout the District.
The proliferation of apartments (variously called in-law suites, au pair suites, rental apartments, maid's quarters, convenience units) raise questions about building code, fire, and safety issues.
These units are commonly are added where transient renter populations rapidly increase, providing new sources of income for absentee owners and for hard-pressed homeowners.
However, insurance companies can raise objections when nearby homeowners' coverage is issued in the belief that only single-family homes exist in the area.
The Burleith community has for years fought illegal basement apartments, and had the tragic motivation of the death of a Georgetown University medical student who died in a house fire because there was no viable means of access from his (illegal) basement apartment
The Federation is asked to support a request for legal interpretation by the Office of Corporation Counsel about the way in which such apartments are regulated:
What defines a permitted accessory apartment? Does the standard vary with detached or party-wall homes? What are the penalties for creation of a unit that is not legal? Is a building permit required for the installation of such an apartment? Is a Certificate of Occupancy required?
Is there a limit on the number of persons who can live in such a unit?
Based on the Burleith experience, we might also ask: Are there special insurance requirements for such apartments? Does DPW provide "free" recycling and garbage service for these additional units? Are there precedents set by allowing such units that could jeopardize the zoning status of the surrounding neighborhoods?
With the answers to these questions and others that Federation members may suggest, a clearer understanding of District law and regulation may help neighborhoods protect the character of the communities to which they are so deeply committed.
Can they do that? Maybe not: The are the rules are the rules
So often, our members tell of how someone some shop, some homeowner does something that seems to change the character of a street or they express their frustration about the inability to clean up sloppy or ugly storefronts near residential areas. Help may exist in regulations that too few organizations are aware of.
The Georgetown Residents Alliance is producing guidebooks for enforcing regulations on the use of public space, the construction of signage, and the operation of amusement activities that may impact on neighborhood quality of life.
With thanks to them, and an with understanding that the recap of regulations is being reviewed by city agencies for any changes produced through the regulatory reforms adopted last year, here are highlights that may help you control troublesome activities.
People cannot just erect signs wherever they wish. Some things are mandated:
Some signs are categorically prohibited:
Some signs are allowed with limitations:
USE OF PUBLIC SPACE
Some things are mandated:
Some things are categorically prohibited:
Some uses are allowed with limitations:
Other public space limitations:
This term means more than circuses and carnivals; it can include performances, singing, playing of musical instruments, dancing, preaching, exhorting or lecturing. The provisions do not apply to lawn parties on private premises where no admission fee is charged and where music is produced only by stringed instruments.
The owner or operator or manager in charge of any of the permitted activities has to obtain a license from DCRA or a permit from the Chief of Police for those activates that do not require a permit.
DC Watch / Gary Imhoff and Dorothy Brizill
Harnessing the fledgling resource of the Internet for community betterment, Dorothy Brizill and Gary Imhoff have created the widely admired "hub" for exchange of information among citizen activists. Citizens of all persuasions can access up-to- date information on all aspects of governmental operations (well, all that exists, anyway), and can link to organizations and associations, editorialists, news forums, and other informational resources. Their example has stimulated other websites for the rapid exchange of important assets, allowing more informed efforts in support of community. Barbara Zartman, presenter
Ellington School / Okpara Nosakhere (Principal) and Mike Malone (Artistic Director and cofounder)
The Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts is cited for its remarkable achievement in furthering appreciation of and participation in music, theater, dance, and the other artistic endeavors that enrich our lives. On the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of its namesake, Duke Ellington, the School continues its devotion to excellence, involving not just its students, families, faculty, and alumni in its activities, but reaching beyond to the community through the Ellington Fund to create original programs to enhance the always-tight public funding available for this exceptional program of study. Peter Pulsifer, presenter
The Levine School of Music / Anne Evans, Board chair
The Levine School of Music is recognized for its extensive and successful outreach program and for the variety of educational and musical programs it provides for the enrichment and pleasure of the citizens of the metropolitan area. It is cited as a tax-exempt organization that actively seeks ways to give back to the community, including extensive scholarship programs that make continuing music education to all parts of our community. Alice Stewart, presenter
Marshall Heights / Loretta Tate, founder
For more than twenty years, the handiwork of Loretta Tate has been paying dividends for the people of the northeast/southeast communities. Networking to build a strong organizational structure, the Marshall Heights Community Development Organization was incorporated and began taking on tasks large and small, from sidewalks and street repair to the lack of affordable housing and economic development. Charting their way through the qualification, application, and competition process, they have brought physical and financial resources to complement the human resources of strong communities. To founder Loretta Tate goes special recognition for her unique leadership role. Rhoma Battle/Laura Richards , presenters
David Catania's ANC rescue program
Chair of the Council's Local and Regional Affairs Committee is cited for his work in "rescuing" the Advisory Neighborhood Commission system. His work is widely admired for its thoroughness, its practicality, its nonjudgmentalism, and the way it has brought together commissioners from all across the city, equipping them with the training and resources necessary to begin a strengthened role in supporting all communities at a time of rapid change in local government. Guy Gwynne, presenter
Patrick Allen, Citizens Association of Georgetown, 337-8760
Presidents Message Barbara Zartman
Over the summer, the Federation's Nominating Committee will be preparing a slate of nominees for Officer and Executive Board members. All positions are open, since all are elected to one-year terms. Moreover, I and the other Officers who have served for three years have reached the Constitutional limit on our continued service in those offices.
I encourage all Federation members old and new to think about their most talented members for service with the Federation. These challenging times call for us to seize each opportunity that is presented to us. These times of promise mean the effort carries a higher likelihood of fruitful results for our efforts.
To all who have served over the three years I have been privileged to be your President, I can only begin to express my gratitude for your talent, your creativity, your energy and your patience. Though frustrations always come with the territory, your efforts have helped produce a Federation that is stronger, smarter, and more relevant than when we began. You should take pride in what has been accomplished.
Above are the persons and institutions that were honored at the Federation's Annual Banquet last month at Fort McNair. It was a fine evening of celebration of some of those who work to make the city the wonderful place we love to call home. Their awards were richly deserved.
I thank you. too, for all you have done, and for what you have given me the opportunity to do. It's an experience I could not have anticipated, and one I would not have missed for the world.
The Federation has been asked to pin in co-sponsorship of the 1999 Juror Forum with the Council for Court Excellence.
Each year 70,000 District citizens serve on jury duty in the Federal and local courts; obviously, their work affects the lives of the persons on trial. But their service also impacts their own lives, the lives of those with whom they share stories about that experience, and the ability of each of us to receive justice before the law in the District.
The Forum is not one intended to tell potential jurors about service. Rather, it is an opportunity for those who have served on juries to tell members of the judiciary and court officials what was meaningful about jury duty and what was problematic.
Cosponsorship of the 1999 Forum brings no financial obligation to the Federation; our role would be to inform and be informed and to encourage participation in the 1999 Forum as it is planned.
More information can be obtained on-line at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (785-5917) or fax (7855922). Copies of the report of the summary Report published last year will be available at the June meeting.
One of our members has suggested keeping a "book" on the construction companies that work, especially on large projects, throughout the District. Which firms obey the rules about early morning or late night construction work? Which insist on working on Sundays?
The objective is to keep track of the level of cooperation and community awareness of the major companies, so that when new projects are proposed that require approval from ANCs or community organizations, special stipulations can be included about specific performance requirements.
Anyone want to begin the process?
See you in September!
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