July 22, 2013 at the City Council: WAH, WMATA/EYA, Housing, Safe Grow, and More

The city council takes up a long list of items at its July 22, 2013 meeting, the last before a summer recess that stretches past Labor Day, until September 3. The agenda includes:

  1. A presentation by Washington Adventist Hospital president Joyce Newmyer on the hospital’s relocation request and its expected fall filing of a new Certificate of Need application with the Maryland Healthcare Commission. Ms Newmyer’s presentation is slated for 8 pm. Expect innovative plans.
  2. Presentations, on plans for a proposed 200+ unit apartment building at the Takoma Metro station, by WMATA and developer EYA. I expect their presentations to be largely the same as the ones they gave at a Tuesday, July 16 community meeting. (Their July 16 slides are posted at dc-mdneighborsfortakomatransit.org; meeting turn-out was around 130. Washington DC Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners Sara Green and Faith Wheeler joined me in organizing the meeting in cooperation with community members.) A July 22 difference is that the council will have an opportunity to pose questions and express concerns to the WMATA and EYA representatives. Please let me know if you have questions for me to relay. The council would consider a city response at a later meeting, after our summer recess.

The council is slated to consider 21 (!) resolutions or ordinances, after the presentations. They include second-reading votes (necessary to enact changes to city code) on:

  1. A rewrite of city housing code, prompted by city staff but also including an electoral provision I initiated, to ensure access for electoral candidates to multi-unit apartment buildings.
  2. The Safe Grow Zone ordinance, which would ban many cosmetic lawncare pesticides. Safe Grow attracted some opposition centered in Ward 1’s Philadelphia-Eastern Neighborhood, rooted in concerns about justification and enforcement. These concerns and others have been discussed extensively in e-mail exchanges and at council meetings. I’ll reiterate that my council colleagues and I have heard community concerns, also beliefs that the ordinance is too week, and have adjusted the ordinance in response. My final tally of Ward 1 voices is 96 For, 55 Opposed.

The last July 22 item I’ll mention will be taken up in closed session prior to the 7:30 pm start of the public meeting, a discussion of next steps regarding the City-owned lot in Takoma Junction. Frankly I don’t know why the mayor has scheduled this discussion for closed session; I’ll make sure that community members are informed of the outcome to the extent allowed.

Finally, a reminder: Please attend a meet-and-greet with City Manager Brian Kenner, now entering his 5th week on the job, Thursday evening, August 1, 7 pm at the community center. All Ward 1 residents and business owners are invited.

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