Category Archives: 5B

June ANC 5B Meeting This Wednesday – Crime, Education And Parking

The June ANC 5B Community Meeting will be held on Wednesday. Here are the details and agenda items for the meeting:

ANC 5B Boundries 2013
ANC 5B Boundries


Date:         Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Time:    6:30PM – 8:30 PM

Place:      Turkey Thicket Recreation Center 

Host Commissioner:     Jenese L. Jones 5B05




  • MPD – Ward 5 Commander Dierdre Porter

o   A Response to Neighborhood Concerns- Summer Safety Tips

  • Ward 5 Board of Education Representative Mark Jones

o   “The State of Ward 5 Education Report”

  • Department of Transportation

o    Residential Parking Division

  • Menkiti Group/ Dantes Partners

o    Request for Curb Cut 14thandGirard St. Affordable Senior Housing

  • Mr. Martin Booker

o    Director of Food and Nutrition Programs – Martha’s Table, Inc.

  • Community Concerns
  • Follow-Up Report From 7-11 Development on 12th and Otis Street, NE
  • SMD Reports

Community Meeting With Presentation and Discussion About Senior Residence Development Planned For 16th and Girard St. NE

16th and Girard
16th and Girard

I am sure there are many Brooklanders who have questions, concerns or suggestions regarding a development that is planned for the corner of 16th and Girard Street. Anybody who would like to get more details about the project, who would like to see rederings and plans, and who would like to be able to ask questions to the developers directly, will have the chance t do so this Saturday. Here is the invitation to the meeting from ANC 5B03 Commissioner Michael Morrison:

Saturday June 21, 11 am – Community Meeting with Menkiti Group / Dantes Partners at 3401 8th Street NE (Menkiti Offices) for Developers to Present 16th & Girard Affordable Housing for Seniors Development Plans and Seek Community Support for Curb Cut Request

Wednesday June 25, 6:30 pm – ANC 5B June Public Meeting at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center 

Hello neighbors,

Please be advised that there will be a community meeting with developers Menkiti Group and Dantes Partners in regard to their plans to construct an affordable housing for seniors residence on the southwest corner of 16th and Girard Streets NE. The developers have architectural/design plans to present to the community and will be available to discuss community questions and concerns. Likewise, the developers are seeking community support for a request for two curb-cuts on the property — 1) a curb-cut to access the 16th Street parking/delivery/trash pick-up underground garage; and 2) a curb-cut along Girard Street where the developers plan to place the front entrance / pick-up/drop-off area (looping east from the location of the current driveway).

The developers will be presenting at the June 25th ANC 5B Meeting at Turkey Thicket Recreation Center where they will request a letter of support from ANC 5B for their DDOT curb-cut application. The meeting will start at 6:30 pm.


Michael Morrison,

Commissioner ANC 5B03

ANC 5B Meeting Schduled for May 28

Mark your calendar and get questions ready for your elected officials, the ANC 5B committee and Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie. Just by reading the listserve it is obvious, that there are plenty of community issues, that can be brought up in the meeting.

You can see the actual flyer here.

The meeting will take place on:

Date:            Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Time:           6:30PM – 8:30 PM

Place:               Northeastern Presbyterian Church

2112 Varnum St., NE (corner of Eastern Ave)

HOST COMMISSIONER:  Shirley Rivens Smith, 5B01


The Agenda Includes:

Invited Guest

  • Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie
  • DCPW Director William Howland
  • 5D MPD

5B02 Support Letter to BZA

5B05 San Antonio Grill Presentation

Community Concerns

Final Ruling In ANC 5B FOIA Case Will Cost Taxpayers $60,000

120px-Freedom_of_Information_logoWe have been keeping readers up to date throughout the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) court case between Brookland resident Conor Crimmins and ANC 5B, specifically ANC 5B04 Commissioner Carolyn Steptoe. Now the case has finally come to an end. The FOIA request was for the release of the audio recording of the April 2013 SMD 5B04 meeting taken by Commissioner Steptoe. Her refusal to release it until subpoenaed to do so was the basis of this law suit. We learned at the latest hearing that a forensics expert was able to recover the audio file from the recording device, despite the finding that it was intentionally deleted and was made available to the public. We included a link to the audio recording in our last post about this case. On Tuesday April 15  Superior Judge Michael O’Keefe has announced his final ruling in this case. Sorry for the delay in bringing the final results of the case to you. Here is a link to the complete Court Order. To save you some time, here are  a few key excerpts from the Court Order:

  • The Court concludes that more likely than not, Commissioner Steptoe deleted the file subject to the FOIA request in order to frustrate attempts to obtain it.
  • Commissioner Steptoe’s behavior is regrettable and possibly criminal under D.C. Code § 2-537(d). To make matters worse, Commissioner Steptoe testified falsely under oath about this matter. Her testimony was confusing and contradictory.
  • Commissioner Steptoe acknowledged her suspicion that “FOIA requests tend to be pretextual strategies by person/entities seeking a leg up and/or expose.” Her contumacious behavior stems from her refusal to provide D.C. residents with an audio recording of an ANC SMD 5B04 meeting that she held regarding an issue of interest to many people in the neighborhood.
  • Ironically, Commissioner Steptoe stated that she wished the recording could be found because the recording would prove she acted appropriately during the hearing.
  • Upon inspection, Commissioner Steptoe’s recorder was fully functioning, there was no evidence of file corruption, and he was able to determine that the recording of the April 27, 2013, meeting had been manually deleted.
  • The Court will refer the case to the OAG and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for potential prosecution of Commissioner Steptoe’s perjury and destruction of the recording.

This Court Order marks the end of this civil case, but it leaves DC taxpayers with a price to pay, as the Washington City Paper reported that the cost to defend ANC 5B and Commissioner Steptoe will be  around $60,000. We will stay on top of this issue and see what happens if/when the OAG and US Attorney’s Office pick up the matter in criminal court. From what we understand, the penalty for perjury is up to 10 years, though it can be difficult to prove.

Updates From The February ANC 5B Meeting – Crime, Oxbridge Develoment, And More!

This past Wednesday our Advisory Neighborhood Commission had their February meeting. If you missed it, you’re in luck! We videotaped the whole thing. You can view the meeting in 16 segments at our You Tube page. Here are some highlights:

We got an update from Lieutenant Durand of Police Service Area 506. He assured us that there is no “crime wave” in Brookland. There is no news on the Silvestre’s armed robbery or the CVS “smash and grab” robbery. There is an uptick in car break-ins along 12th Street and burglaries. We asked the Lieutenant what coordination is taking place regarding the armed robberies by masked men using vans in Brookland and nearby such as the two robberies of a convenience store on the 300 Block of Hawaii Avenue and the attack on a Postal Worker. He responded that the Postal Service case is not theirs, and that he would not assume a connection between any of these crimes, and that they do coordinate along police district areas.

There were updates from all ANC Commissioners for their Single Member Districts, except for 5B02, Ursula Higgins, who was not present at the meeting. While that may seem insignificant on the surface, it was great news for those who would like to see Steel Plate, the new restaurant from the owners of Rustik, come as soon as possible. Because there was no vote on, or even mention of, the restaurant’s liquor license application, it looks like smooth sailing as the timeframe to protest the license will end before the March ANC meeting. Here are the updates from the other SMDs.

ANC Commissioner for 5B01, Shirley Rivens-Smith will be having SMD meetings every month. For the March meeting, there will be a viewing of a documentary of the history of South Africa and there will be information about new DC tax laws.

ANC Commissioner for 5B03, Michael Morrison, has not set up monthly SMD meetings yet. However, he is setting up a meeting in mid -March with representatives of DC’s Fire and EMS Department regarding the well publicized death of Mr. Medric Mills, who collapsed in the parking lot of a shopping center at 1309 Rhode Island Avenue in January.

ANC Commissioner for 5B04, Carolyn Steptoe, announced that she will no longer hold monthly SMD meetings because they “cause a ruckus among some people”. She mentioned a few developments in her SMD: 901 Monroe, Brookland’s Finest, Jackson Place Lofts and the Lock 7 condos, but didn’t offer any updates on them. She also encouraged the community to participate in a mentoring program at Luke C Moore Academy.

ANC Commissioner for 5B04, Janese Jones, announced that she will be holing meetings every other month. She gave an update on the construction of the Brookland Middle School.

We thought readers would be interested in this presentation about the development project from Oxbridge Development for the property they purchased on 9th street between Kearny and Lawrence, Streets NE. The project team is seeking a zoning change for the development and were hoping for a vote from the ANC, but none was taken.

ANC 5B Meeting Wednesday – MPD, Oxbridge Development And More

ANC 5B is back in action after last month’s meeting was cancelled due to the weather. The agenda below is for the next meeting on Wednesday February 26th. We are interested in seeing what is new with the Oxbridge development and what we will learn from Gottlieb Simon, who is the Executive Director of the Office of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. We also find it curious that Steel Plate’s liquor licence is not on the agenda, as the timeframe to protest the license will end before the March ANC meeting. Note: unlike usual 5B meetings, this one will take place at the Noyes School Auditorium at 2725 10th Street, NE, DC 20018, which is at 10th & Franklin Streets, NE.


ANC 5B Meeting Tonight Cancelled – Next Meeting Will Be February 26th

Earlier this week we posted about the ANC 5B meeting planned for tonight. We recently learned via Twitter that the meeting has been cancelled due to inclement weather and the next meeting will be on February 26th. Thanks to ANC 5B03 Commissioner Michael Morrison for getting the word out!


ANC 5B Meeting Wednesday – Brookland Green, Oxbridge Development

ANC 5B is back in action after taking a bit of a break over the winter months. The agenda below is for the next meeting on Wednesday January 22. We are interested in seeing what is new with the Brookland Green and Oxbridge developments. Note: unlike usual 5B meetings, this one will take place at Turkey Thicket, which is located at 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE.
ANC 5B Meeting Agenda January 2014

ANC 5B Loses Another FOIA Case And A Reconsideration Of Brookland”s Finest Liquor License

Can we please put all this to rest? Brookland Finest ABRA Hearing 8/14/2013. Photo courtesy of Frank Rettig.
Can we please put all this to rest? Brookland Finest ABRA Hearing 8/14/2013. Photo courtesy of Frank Rettig.

You may remember that ANC 5B lost a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case that forced ANC 5B to release the Exhibits associated with their vote to protest the Brookland’s Finest liquor license application. We recently got word that ANC 5B lost another FOIA case, also related to Brookland’s Finest.  The issue at the heart of this case is the April 2013 ANC 5B-04 meeting hosted by Carolyn Steptoe. For many neighbors this was the first chance to learn about the restaurant directly from the owners.That meeting, attended by well over 60 neighbors, was pretty bizarre as ANC meetings go and ended abruptly by Commissioner Steptoe after only one question was asked by the attendees. Many residents claim that Commissioner Steptoe was rude and dismissive to her constituents and the Brookland’s Finest team, and grew increasingly hostile when it was clear that the vast majority supported the restaurant. On the other hand, Commissioner Steptoe claimed that meeting attendees were disrespectful and mob-like towards her, and that is what prompted her to shut down the meeting; as documented by her postings on the Brookland listserv and a letter she wrote for the DC Watch website:

Recently, my single member district gathering to hear a presentation from an establishment about its liquor license application became so disruptive and unruly that the gathering was adjourned within the first hour.

Other than hearsay, the only documentation of what actually occurred is an audio recording Commissioner Steptoe made during the meeting. Realizing this recording could provide clarity to the situation, Brookland resident Conor Crimmins and the Brookland Bridge submitted FOIA requests to ANC 5B for the recording, both of which were denied. Mr. Crimmins decided to pursue the issue and took it court. The result, this summary judgment, requires Commissioner Steptoe to release the recording despite her contention that the recording was made with her personal device and therefore is her possession. An excerpt:

 “Given the plain meaning and intent of Freedom of Information Act, this argument is bewildering. Simply put, Defendant ANC 5B is a statutorily created entity which is part of the government of the District of Columbia. Commissioner Carolyn Steptoe is the Vice Chairperson of ANC 5B. In her official capacity as Commissioner of SMD 5B04 she held a public meeting concerning issues important to the people of her district. She recorded that meeting as required under the law and she referred to the recording in the exercise of her official duties. The law requires that she make that recording available to the public, and she will do so.”

We will attempt to get a hold of the recording and make it available to our readers.

Another blow to ANC 5B was delivered yesterday when their Motion for Reconsideration of the liquor license that was granted to Brookland’s Finest was denied by ABRA. (You can read ANC 5B’s  Motion here.) The ABRA Order denying the Motion stated that the arguments made in ANC 5B’s Motion were “conclusory, speculative, and without merit”.

Hopefully the FOIA case and the denied Motion will be the last attempt to throw roadblocks in the way of this neighborhood business. Commissioner Steptoe has sent an email to her distribution list saying that ANC 5B will not pursue further litigation on the matter.