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The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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ANC elects new chair, opposes Triangle Park encampment clearing

Commissioners+approved+a+resolution+opposing+the+clearing+of+a+homeless+encampment+in+Triangle+Park+during+a+meeting+last+week.
Screenshot by Erika Filter
Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the clearing of a homeless encampment in Triangle Park during a meeting last week.

Members of a local governing body elected a new chair during a meeting Wednesday. 

The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission elected then-vice chair and 2A03 Commissioner Trupti Patel to serve as chair, replacing Commissioner Jim Malec who is resigning from the ANC on May 1. Four out of five present commissioners voted to approve Patel as chair and 2A04 Commissioner Ed Comer abstained.  

Members unanimously voted to elect 2A05 Commissioner Luke Chadwick to replace Patel as vice chair. 

Here are some of the meeting’s highlights:

ANC denounces Triangle Park encampment clearing

Commissioners approved a resolution opposing the clearing of a homeless encampment in Triangle Park along Virginia Avenue between 20th and 21st streets, which is scheduled for May 15. The resolution states that the clearing would displace about 40 unhoused individuals.

2A01 Commissioner Yannik Omictin, who introduced the resolution, said it requests that officials from D.C.’s Department of Human Services and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services meet with commissioners before the May 15 cleanup date to discuss why officials are clearing the encampment. 

Omictin said the clearing is not a “sustainable solution” because it would force the unhoused individuals to relocate to a different park.

“Wherever encampment closures occur in the city, they always result in some degree of displacement of homelessness and do not contribute to ending homelessness and making it brief, rare and nonrecurring,” Omictin said.

He said District officials in 2021 moved residents living at Triangle Park into permanent housing through the Coordinated Assistance and Resources for Encampments Pilot Program. He said about 10 of the unhoused individuals in Foggy Bottom came when they were displaced after a McPherson Square encampment clearing in February 2023. 

Ward 2 Councilmember Brooke Pinto told commissioners at the ANC’s March meeting that unhoused residents at Triangle Park were “not willing” to work with DMHHS officials to move into housing. Pinto said Triangle Park falls on District and National Park Service land, making it more difficult for District officials to determine different agencies’ jurisdiction when conducting outreach to the encampment. 

Omictin said preventing the clearing is going to be “tough” because NPS is a federal agency and doesn’t have an obligation to listen to the ANC, but that he is in contact with NPS officials to request they meet with commissioners. 

Commissioners elect bylaw revision committee members

Commissioners elected Marina Streznewski and former ANC Chair Florence Harmon to serve on the ANC’s Bylaws Revision Special Committee alongside the commission, kicking off the bylaw revision process. The ANC created the committee at its February meeting to ensure the body’s bylaws are updated and compliant with the D.C. Code. Commissioners used a ranked-choice voting system to select from four nominees.  

Officials to consider implementing drug-free zone near 26th Street

Metropolitan Police Department Lieutenant Michael Howden said officials are working on making the park west of 26th Street and south of K Street a drug-free zone. Drug-free zones allow MPD officers to disperse groups of people congregating in the zone to prevent illegal drug activity, as authorized by the Secure DC Omnibus Emergency Amendment Act of 2024.

“That is going to be on the top priority list for the next drug-free zone cycle,” Howden said. 

Two members of the public gave comment opposing the implementation of the drug-free zone. D.C. residents have expressed concern drug-free zones will allow for overly confrontational policing.

Commissioners support construction projects 

Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution supporting the renovation of the playground and dog park at 26th and I streets. The Department of Parks and Recreation will work with contracting partner WKM Construction and landscape architect and engineer VIKA Engineering. 

Peter Nohrden, a landscape architect with DPR, said the project’s $1 million budget will go toward upgrading the existing playground and dog park, preserving existing trees and adding new trees. He said the project seeks to improve ADA access to the park and DPR already added new brick-paved sidewalks.

Nohrden said DPR will drain and resurface the dog park and playground and will replace seating and furnishings. He said the project will switch the current locations of the dog park and playground, moving the playground into the more visible area.

The ANC also approved the construction of a penthouse and an ADA bathroom at the office complex at 1750 H Street.  

Commissioners support funding for School Without Walls, Aston roof repair

Commissioners voted 5-0-1 to support a resolution urging the D.C. Council and Chairman Phil Mendelson to match last year’s $235,000 allocation to the School Without Walls in the fiscal year 2025 budget. The resolution states that under the current budget, the school would likely need to lay off the heads of the Chinese and theater departments. 

The resolution comes after students started an online petition last month — which calls for additional funding to preserve the school’s theater program and has garnered more than 800 signatures and — as well as students’ testimony in support of the petition at a Deputy Mayor of Education hearing earlier this month.

The ANC unanimously approved two resolutions requesting that The Aston, a former GW residence hall, secure funding from the city to repair the building’s roof in 2025 instead of 2028 as the Department of General Services expected. The DGS conducted an asset condition assessment of The Aston in July which found the roof “needs immediate replacement.”

The ANC unanimously approved five other resolutions, including one advocating to fund a Main Street program in Foggy Bottom, which would assist small businesses in the area by improving properties. Another resolution requested funding for the Consumer Rights Division and Worker’s Rights and Anti-Fraud section in the Office of the Attorney General to account for the additional labor they will need to address complaints surrounding the Restaurant Revitalization and Dram Shop Clarification Amendment Act, which commissioners previously supported.

Another passed resolution asked the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to accept Mayor Muriel Bowser’s conditions for receiving funding, including freezing some new capital projects.

The ANC passed another resolution that requested the D.C. Department of Transportation fund area projects that meet the requirements of the capital improvements criteria between fiscal year 2025 and 2028 and complete any outstanding service requests and sidewalk repairs.

The ANC approved a resolution that opposed the elimination of the Criminal Code Revision Commission laid out in Bowser’s proposed budget. The commission provides recommendations to District officials that clarify the language of criminal statutes. 

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About the Contributors
Rory Quealy, News Editor
Rory Quealy is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communications from La Grange, Illinois. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2024-2025 news editors. She was previously the assistant news editor for the Health and Research beat and a research assistant.
Erika Filter, News Editor
Erika Filter is a senior majoring in international affairs from Carson City, Nevada. She leads the Metro beat as one of The Hatchet's 2023-2024 news editors and previously served as the assistant news editor for the Student Government beat.
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