MENDELSON HOLDS JOINT ROUNDTABLE ON PROTECTING RESIDENTS’ RIGHTS


WASHINGTON, DC – DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Anita Bonds held a joint-roundtable Thursday February 4th on protecting the rights of tenants at the Congress Heights Metro Station. The purpose of this roundtable was to provide a forum to discuss the actions of politically-connected developers over the last two years to remove low income tenants from apartment units in Congress Heights in order to make way for a new development.

“These tenants are being forced out under slum-like conditions,” Mendelson said. “And the result will be much less affordable housing in Ward 8.”

According to a lawsuit filed by the Office of the Attorney General against Sanford Capital and its affiliates, complaints include rodents, bedbug infestations, improperly maintained plumbing facilities, lack of heat, lack of hot water, defective electrical outlets, and, in at least one case, a structurally unsound ceiling that collapsed on tenants. The Council is concerned about Sanford Capital’s dangerous disregard for the basic welfare of its tenants.

“What’s going on with this project speaks to what’s really going on with affordability in this city,” Mendelson pointed out. “On the one hand we talk about trying to preserve and increase the supply of affordable housing, while on the other hand we turn a blind eye to wealthy developers seeking to destroy low income housing in the pursuit of profit. When one looks at what’s actually happening with the housing conditions that these tenants are forced to live in, you can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some criminal intent.”

 

 

Hearing on FY2015 CAFR


CHAIRMAN PHIL MENDELSON ANNOUNCES A PUBLIC HEARING

“Fiscal Year 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report”

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announces the scheduling of a public oversight hearing of the Committee of the Whole on the Fiscal Year 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). The public hearing will be held Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. in the Council Chamber, the Council Chamber of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

The purpose of this public hearing is to receive testimony from government witnesses, namely the Executive, Chief Financial Officer, and Inspector General, regarding the results of the Fiscal Year 2015 CAFR. By law, the CAFR must be released by February 1, 2016. Copies may be obtained from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer thereafter.

This hearing is the first in a series of hearings to be held by the Council and its committees in connection with its oversight of Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016 agency performance. The full schedule of hearings will be made available on the Council’s website (http://www.dccouncil.us) and will be published separately in the D.C. Register.

While this hearing is limited to oral testimony from specified government witnesses, written statements from the public will be made a part of the official record. Copies of written statements should be submitted to the Committee of the Whole, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 410 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

Roundtable on BZA Nominee Anita Butani D’Souza


CHAIRMAN PHIL MENDELSON ANNOUNCES A PUBLIC ROUNDTABLE

PR 21-474, Board of Zoning Adjustment Ms. Anita Butani D’Souza Confirmation Resolution of 2015

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson announces a public roundtable before the Committee of Whole on PR 21-474, the “Board of Zoning Adjustment Ms. Anita Butani D’Souza Confirmation Resolution of 2015.” The roundtable will be held Tuesday, February 9, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. in Hearing Room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.

The stated purpose of PR 21-474 is to confirm the appointment of Ms. Anita Butani D’Souza to the Board of Zoning Adjustment. The Board of Zoning Adjustment (“Board”) is an independent, quasi-judicial body with the ability to grant relief from the strict application of the District’s zoning regulations in the form of variances, to grant special exceptions in approving certain land uses, and to hear appeals from actions taken by the Zoning Administrator of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The purpose of this roundtable is to receive testimony from government and public witnesses as to the fitness of this nominee for the Board.

Those who wish to testify are asked to email the Committee of the Whole at cow@dccouncil.us, or call Cynthia LeFevre, Legislative Counsel at (202) 724-8196, and to provide your name, address, telephone number, organizational affiliation and title (if any) by close of business Friday, Feb. 5, 2016. Persons wishing to testify are encouraged, but not required, to submit 15 copies of written testimony. If submitted by the close of business on Feb. 5, 2016 the testimony will be distributed to Councilmembers before the hearing. Witnesses should limit their testimony to four minutes; less time will be allowed if there are a large number of witnesses. A copy of the legislation can be obtained through the Legislative Services Division of the Secretary of the Council’s office or on http://lims.dccouncil.us.

If you are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Written statements should be submitted to the Committee of the Whole, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 410 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on February 23, 2016.

Roundtable on Congress Heights Development and Tenants


CHAIRMAN PHIL MENDELSON COUNCILMEMBER ANITA BONDS
ANNOUNCE A JOINT PUBLIC ROUNDTABLE

Protecting the Rights of Tenants at the Congress Heights Metro Station Development Project

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmember Anita Bonds announce a joint public roundtable before the Committee of the Whole and the Committee on Housing and Community Development on protecting the rights of tenants at the Congress Heights Metro Station development project. The hearing will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2016 in the Council Chamber of the John A. Wilson Building.

The purpose of this roundtable is to provide a forum for the public and District government to discuss the actions of a politically-connected developer over the last year to remove low income tenants from apartment units in Congress Heights in order to make way for a new development. All of the buildings are rent-controlled and continue to house a handful of tenants each. These include: 1309 Alabama Avenue, S.E.; 1331 and 1333 Alabama Avenue, S.E.; and 3210 13th Street, S.E. A fifth building included in the developer’s plans is located at 3200 13th Street, S.E. and is encumbered by financial obligation owed to the District’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The planned redevelopment requires demolition of all five existing buildings and construction of a 446,000 square foot mixed-use project with office buildings, apartments, and ground floor retail.

The partnership owning the properties has allowed the premises to deteriorate substantially. In response to this neglect, the Office of the Attorney General recently filed a lawsuit against Sanford Capital and its affilates. According to the complaint, Sanford Capital and its affiliates engaged in “repeated neglect, delayed response, or toal inaction” in response to reported violations of the District housing code, and this pattern of neglect “poses a serious threat to the health, safety, or security of the tenants” (p.3). Specific allegations include inoperable fire extinguishers and fire alarms, improperly maintained exit/emergency lights, broken doors, rodents, bedbug infestations, improperly maintained plumbing facilities, lack of heat, lack of hot water, defective electrical outlets, and, in at least one case, a structurally unsound ceiling that collapsed on tenants.

The Committees are concerned about Sanford Capital’s dangerous disregard for the basic welfare of its tenants demonstrated in this instance. On a broader level, this hearing is intended to explore the implications of economic development at the St. Elizabeths campus and in the Congress Heights area on vulnerable low-income populations. Sanford Capital, a development company based in Bethesda, Maryland, owns the four occupied apartment buildings located in the vicinity of the Congress Heights Metro Station in Ward 8 where the proposed entertainment venue and the Wizards practice facility is to be built.

Those who wish to testify are asked to email the Committee of the Whole at cow@dccouncil.us, or call Cynthia LeFevre, Legislative Counsel, at (202) 724-8196, and to provide your name, address, telephone number, organizational affiliation and title (if any) by close of business Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. Persons wishing to testify are encouraged, but not required, to submit 15 copies of written testimony. If submitted by the close of business on Feb. 2, 2016, the testimony will be distributed to Councilmembers before the roundtable. Witnesses should limit their testimony to five minutes; less time will be allowed if there are a large number of witnesses.

If you are unable to testify at the hearing, written statements are encouraged and will be made a part of the official record. Written statements should be submitted to the Committee of the Whole, Council of the District of Columbia, Suite 410 of the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on February 18, 2016.