Eve Zhurbinskiy was chosen as the new treasurer for the Foggy Bottom and West End ANC. Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer
This post was written by Hatchet reporter Regina Park.
The Foggy Bottom and West End Advisory Neighborhood Commission tackled a full agenda Wednesday night, including homelessness initiatives, zoning expansions, the placement of the newest commissioner as the treasurer and other actions.
Here are some of the things that were discussed at the meeting Wednesday night in Funger Hall.
1. Granting homelessness a “new lease on life”
Michael Sherman, one of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s five new Housing Navigators from the city’s Department of Human Services, discussed “A New Lease on Life,” a rapid housing plan.
He said he hopes the plan will eliminate common homelessness by December. The new initiative is part of Bowser’s plan to end homelessness in D.C. by 2018.
“What we’re doing now is placing people in housing and letting them go on their own way – which makes no sense at all,” Sherman said.
The initiative will place the homeless people directly in permanent housing rather than temporary holding spaces such as hotel rooms or the Washington General, previously displaced families have been able to return to stable lifestyles faster.
Sherman cited rapid re-housing’s 85 percent success rate within D.C., and said the District has allocated enough funds to subsidize 1,100 families at this time. He said DHS is currently looking for landlords of affordable apartments within the District that would be agreeable to housing current homeless in return for a government subsidy on a one-year lease. Families would pay the remaining portion of the rent.
Commissioner Rebecca Coder suggested GW – as the second largest landholder within D.C. – should utilize some of its unused buildings as residential spaces for the homeless as part of the program.
“Not all of GWU’s buildings are in use for academic purposes,” Coder said.
2. Backlash against zoning expansions
The Commission also unanimously passed a resolution that spoke out against the new zoning expansions they said are threatening housing space in Foggy Bottom and West End. They said the proposed zoning changes make more room for nonresidential buildings and parking spaces, creating less room for residents.
Commissioners Florence Harmon and Coder drafted the resolution and argued that the expansions would allow for a higher density of people that is inconsistent with the surrounding residential area and will also increase the height allowed for buildings, limiting visibility.
“There is a disconnect between people that are writing the regulations and those who actually live in that area,” said Harmon.
3. Marking pedestrian routes to Georgetown
At the meeting, the Georgetown Business Improvement District put out a proposal to add signpost routes to help pedestrians that are coming from the Foggy Bottom Metro station navigate Georgetown. The proposal was passed unanimously by the ANC.
The new signs are one of the 75 recommended changes to Georgetown according to Georgetown 2028, a 15 year action plan designed to “enhance the Georgetown experience to visitors.”
“If you’ve walked that way [near K Street] recently, you’ll notice the sidewalk splits, there are a lot of crosswalks and it’s incredibly confusing to visitors,” said Maggie Downing, destination manager of the Georgetown BID.
4. A new treasurer
Sophomore Eve Zhurbinskiy, at her first meeting since she was elected as a commissioner, was also voted in unanimously for the ANC’s newest treasurer after being the only volunteer for the position.
Patrick Kennedy, chairman of the ANC, opened up the topic and asked the sitting commissioners if anyone wanted to nominate themselves for the position. The committee flew through the initial proposal, nomination and voting procedure within ten minutes.
“My district is an all-student district with frat housing, and I ran to represent the students as the only student commissioner,” Zhurbinskiy said in an interview.
The treasurer is responsible for filing the Commission’s quarterly financial reports, maintaining the Commission’s checkbook, entering Commission’s finances and setting up the budget, Kennedy said at the meeting.