2014 ANC CANDIDATE COMMENTS

UPDATED OCTOBER 28, 2014: 


On September 18, 2014, we emailed an ANC Candidate Poll on the question of downzoning to all those ANC candidates listed on the November 4, 2014 ballot who provided an email address to the Board of Elections.

More than 40 ANC candidates responded to the poll in the first week, a response rate of more than 10% of announced candidates. Some of the candidates accepted our invitation to make additional comments. You can read those comments below.

On September 25, 2014, we sent a reminder email to those ANC Candidates who had not yet responded to the poll. Although we do not expect a reply from all 400 announced ANC candidates, we hope more of them will reply soon. 

[UPDATE: Another 20 ANC candidates responded to our reminder email, bringing total responses to more than 60].

We will publish the results of the 2014 ANC Candidate Poll on this website and share the results with local newspapers and community blogs.


Some ANC candidates wondered why we were polling them and wanted to know more about us. The email poll we sent clearly states that information gathered will be offered to local newspapers and blogs and reported on the NEIGHBORS AGAINST DOWNZONING website. 

We believe that our group's name indicates our own position on the question, but we are committed to reporting all responses, even those we do not agree with.

[UPDATE OCTOBER 28, 2014: Reminder emails were sent on October 8, October 17 and October 24, resulting in more ANC candidates responding to the poll. Some candidates left additional comments. One additional email reminder may be sent before the Election Day deadline for responses: November 4, 2014]

The question we asked:

Do you have a position on the issue of residential rezoning, also known as downzoning? Although there are many important issues you will address as a member of an ANC, this is the one issue of overwhelming importance to home owners.

We will continue to accept responses to the 2014 ANC Candidate Poll until November 4, 2014 (Election Day). We might send out another reminder or two before then. Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the poll.

[UPDATE: Email reminders were sent again on October 8 and October 17].



ANC CANDIDATE COMMENTS
(35 ANC Candidates have left comments)

The following comments may be extended or revised by the commenter, if desired. Contact Lanier.Neighbor@gmail.com with your request.

Any Revised & Extended Comments are INDENTED.

LATEST COMMENTS ARE ADDED AT THE BOTTOM OF THE LIST



There are lot of challenges that we face in Ward 7, outside of zoning, there's a need in which the community looks for your services prior to even contacting the CM. We are overworked with no recognition, a ANC Commissioner should be paid for their services rendered. 

Walter Garcia (7C-04)



I don't have enough information to state if I am for or against this issue. Please feel free to send me any downzoning documentation that you have.

Monique Diop (8D-04)



I am in support of whatever the majority of constituents in my SMD support.

William Boston (5E-01)



Every neighborhood is different, but we are one city and one region. Downzoning impacts not only current property owners, but also future residents who want to live in DC but are priced out due to restrictions on height. Thank you for reaching out to me.

Daniel Warwick (2B-02)



The up/downzoning war in Lanier Heights hasn't quite made its way to upper Columbia Heights yet. I follow this issue closely and have talked to some of my neighbors about it. I myself am a proud owner of a row house and would ultimately be affected by zoning changes, but for now I don't have a position. I've been talking to neighbors and canvassing and we have many issues on our radar up here but this really isn't one of them. My hope would be that there's a ultimately a compromise that gives homeowners autonomy while preserving the architecture of our beautiful neighborhoods. I'm not entirely sure where that puts me in the zoning debate. Thanks for taking the time to contact me and I'd love to talk more about this.

Matthew Goldschmidt (1A-04)



In the next two years there are projects and improvements planned for our neighborhoods and the whole greater Chevy Chase DC area that are going to impact not only our daily activities but the direction and quality of life in the neighborhood for decades to come.

I decided to run for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner to insure that the best interests of ALL of the residents in our community are represented when these projects are carried out.

I am opposed to downzoning. I do think every neighborhood is different, I think every street is different and there isn't a one size fits all solution. Our neighborhood is changing as families with younger children move in. I generally support a homeowner's right to renovate their own home to meet their needs as long as their immediate neighbors are in agreement, even if it means a zoning variance.

Brian Oliver (3G-01)



I have no comments at this time. I need to sit down and read zoning carefully before I make a comment.

Brenda Parks (4B-04)

This is my first time as ANC Commissioner and there is still a lot I don't understand. What is meant by downzoning that takes away home owner property rights? If owner property right is taken away does this mean property taxes will come down? I went to several zoning meetings and two hours is not enough to hold a meeting to talk about what is right or what can be usable. Maybe two hours for two or three weeks would be sufficient. Or, if zoning could send every resident in the city information that can be studied before the meeting would be appropriate. I filled in "Every neighborhood is different. There is no "one size fits all" solution." We all know each ward is different even though we would like to treat them the same.

Brenda Parks (4B-04)



I am not anti-development. I am pro-homeowners' rights. I believe, however, in a balance between responsible growth and modernization and the unique community needs and characteristics of different neighborhoods.

Jameson Paul Freeman (3D-05)



While I am opposed to downzoning that takes away "a" home owner's property rights -- homeowner being the person or persons who reside there -- it is predicated on the city not doing a thorough enough vetting of the issue, with the neighborhoods and communities at-large, before it started releasing its "proposed changes." It's like someone decided to send this stuff up "the proverbial flagpole," and let's see what we get. Now that we have heard some of the concerns from homeowners and the general citizenry, we need to go back to the drawing board with specific revisions in mind that respect the rights of "true" homeowners, without taking away any one else's rights to "develop" the property that they may own as another kind of "homeowner."

In this debate, I have proposed "zoning overlays" as a potential solution to blanket "downzoning" proposals, which as an entrepreneur, small-time developer, and DC native, makes for a more balanced approach.

The issue that most concerns me with respect to the "zoning rewrite," is the failure on the part of the city -- OP/OZ --to include, from the outset, citizen participation during the initial phases of the work shops and task force formations. Having participated in the commercial/mix-use phase of the process, I often vocally lamented the lack of "citizen participation" in the process.

If it were true for commercial rewrites, there's no reason for me to think it was any different for residential. OP/OZ knew exactly what they were doing when they undertook this project, as they came to the table with certain preconceived guidelines they wanted everyone to follow, and they followed them. Now that "the natives have gotten restless," there seems to be no clear path to enactment, which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

We should keep the pressure on, until we get it right. Maybe as an ANC rep, I can advocate for and effect greater change.

Taalib-Din Uqdah (4C-01)



Not only is every neighborhood different, but different parts of a single neighborhood may warrant different judgments.

I'm concerned about our houses, and rents, becoming so costly that only the wealthy can afford to buy or rent here. This has already profoundly changed the character of my neighborhood (Mount Pleasant), where row houses routinely sell for over a million dollars.

Jack McKay (1D-03)



Thank you for inquiring about downzoning and the proposed new zoning regulations. I am not certain what you mean by "downzoning" in this instance as the term usually means making zoning more restrictive. That is not what is being proposed in the new zoning regulations. I oppose proposals attempts to change neighborhood character through changes to the zoning regulations. As a member of the Zoning Regulation Review (ZRR) Task Force, it is my opinion that many of the proposals put forth in the ZRR have the potential to destabilize many established residential neighborhoods and I oppose them for that reason.

Alma H. Gates (3D-05)



I want to elaborate on the last question of zoning – housing. Zoning regulations should be revisited and considered with the overall character of the neighborhood and to ensure we are zoned correctly. The R-4 Zone is of concern by many today. The intent of R-4 is two unit, multi-bedroom housing. Some areas that are currently zoned R-4 should be rezoned as R-5 to allow for block-wide high-density development. We must have housing options for everyone, at all socioeconomic levels.

Marvin L. Johnson (1A-01)



There has been enough violation of homeowner's rights. To cause a deliberate upset to our community is not something that I will be in favor of.

Darlene T. Miles-Harrison (5D-02) 

Sometimes change is inevitable. However the quality of life of others should not be the sacrifice for it. Rather peoples' rights must remain a priority and their lives and homes should not be destroyed needlessly.

Darlene T. Miles-Harrison (5D-02)



This is an important issue in the neighborhood and I am concerned as well as my fellow neighbors with some of the new multi-unit developments. I do believe we need changes in the R-4 zoning to ensure we don't have unabated developments that are an eye-sore or radically change the character of the neighborhood. I would like to see a balanced and well planned approach to the how we address the changing housing demands and the nature of our neighborhood. I am in favor of the current changes in the R-4 zoning that limit the height of "pop-ups" and no more than 2 units. I do remain concerned about some developers of "pop-ups" that create exteriors that are so poorly done and out of place and an eye-sore to the neighborhood.

Kathleen Crowley (4C-10)



I understand that being a home owner in DC you may own the house, and not land or lot which house sets on. The Federal Gov. owns all land within DC. Remember this is a Federal City.

George B. Browne, Jr. (7E-01)



Thank you for your interest in our communities. 

Tina L. Fletcher (8A-06)



I have never heard of "downsizing". With the new ZRR, there is a move to density. I am open to hearing what your organization means by downsizing. Is that in the Georgetown ZRR?

Judi Jones (4B-07)

I read what is meant as downsizing for your organization. The new ZRRs DO NOT address R-5 zoning. R-1 to R-4 gives the community more say than R-5 zoning. R-5 gives the residents no say and therefore, no power to stop density building. I hope you connect with Ward 8 ANCs. That was their major complaint about the new ZRR. R-5 by-right density building / construction leaves them without a voice. Please connect with N4N.org as well (cc'd). They are better versed than me about these issues.  

Judi Jones, ANC 4B07



Down zoning is a very sensitive and complicated subject. The SMD I hope to represent has generated vigorous debate at the other end of the spectrum–––whether or not to permit greater density through the use of Planned Unit Developments (PUD’s.) At first blush, down zoning sounds like a good idea. Less density in urban areas is a novel solution, but where will the displaced people go? I also worry about the “one size fits all” trend in zoning solutions. On the other hand, down zoning can also mean land zoned for industrial purposes could be down zoned to residential use. That would probably be a good use of the tactic.

Andre R. Carley (4B-01)



I am excited for the opportunity to represent my community as a Commissioner for 1B07, and as an elected representative, I plan to do just that- represent! It's not just about what I think is important, but what the community members view as concerns. I will be readily accessible to my constituents and take their needs directly to my fellow ANC's and the higher governing bodies.

I will also promote community connection by producing and distributing monthly newsletters, holding quarterly single member district meetings, and creating an online "news and needs" listserv where people can connect and help one another. In addition, I will strive to make 1B a safer place for all individuals and families by creating partnerships with local law enforcement and community members.

On November 4, vote Jessica Laura Smith for a stronger 1B07!
www.democracy.com/jessicalaurasmith



As things stand now, I am not in favor of downzoning. I believe, people should be given the opportunity to give their opinion on this important issue.

Lakew Alemu (1A-04)



I believe respect go a long ways. Having it give your presence much more to say than anything you can do not only in words but also in your expression.

YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION IS YOUR LAST

Mike Jones (8A-05)



Some down-zoning concepts allow for creative entrepreneurs to enhance the historic character of their neighborhood because people need amenities that are sometimes not achievable with big box stores. However, there is a concern for our elders maintaining integrity of their property values and the aesthetics of neighborhood feel.
 
Saladin Jeru (5C-01)



Zoning changes depend on situation in neighborhood. Issue is whether it can pass a "smart growth" screen and how effective the zoning process involves all residents. Past experience is that current zoning process does not consider residents effectively. ANC can improve process.

Carl B Reeverts (6B-05)



This is a difficult issue because there are several valid viewpoints. On the one hand, our neighborhood density in most parts of the city is already pretty congested. I've seen estimates that DC's population will likely grow to over 800,000 in just a few years - so new residents need to go somewhere and growth has to be managed carefully.

No "pop-up" should be allowed unless the house is free standing so that the new height won't block the sun from neighboring houses. Some neighborhoods have more free standing homes than others. If a homeowner wants to "pop-up," it also means more people using the same plumbing stack, more cars parking in the same number of spots, and more revenue when the home or condos sell. Generally in our ANC, I would rather see stricter requirements for building out and up than new laws that outlaw the practice. No popups should be allowed unless 100 percent of neighbors within 100 yards approve of specific plans that include graphic illustrations from all angles.

David Sheon (4D-04)



Unfortunately, I am unable to offer a definite answer at this time. Once additional background information is received, in addition to attending formal community forums to hear directly from residents with 4D05, then I will be able to properly formalize and offer an informed opinion regarding this topic at that time. Again, thank you in advance for the opportunity to respond.

Krystal Branton (4D-05)



As the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for 1B07 for the past six years, I have learned there is no "one size fits all" solution to any of the issues our neighborhoods face. Every Single Member District within our ANC has different concerns. 1B07 is a thriving residential community. The subject of downzoning has been discussed and is a very important issue. I remain supportive of homeowner rights and also recognize the importance of a pro-business climate which is important to the continued development of the community in Columbia Heights. I have and will continue to seek the opinions of the residents in my district in order to pursue solutions that will continue to make ours a desirable neighborhood to live and work.

Juan Lopez (1B-07)



I am strongly in favor of individual homeowner rights above government regulation. The same people who want to preserve the character of their neighborhood may be forced out due to higher rents. The only way to reduce rent is to increase the available housing in the city. Downsizing is the worst idea possible.

Paul Glicksman (1B-10)



Uplifting the community and ANC SMD is essential - keeping in mind everyone's dignity be kept at the center of political and social life.

Greg Drury (3D-01)



I support safe streets and clean neighborhoods, good community involvement, people working together for the betterment of the neighborhood.

Ronald Austin (4B-06)

I support clean and safe neighborhoods. I support Middle School one in each ward. I will lobby for public schools that are being turned over for charter school use. And the public school has an existing agreement with with the community an agreement with the Department of Recreation, community interest should always always remain. I will work close with community and business. To insure that we keep peace and quiet in our community.

Ronald Austin (4B-06)



Zoning should be appropriate for the location in question.

Stephen Whatley (4A-03)



I am in favor of new and or re-development but I think it should reflect the existing neighborhood. The charm and uniqueness draws people into the city and it would be great to keep that history especially as the nation's capital.

Nes Robinson (5E-03)



I believe the issue should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. I support homeowners' rights to determine the best use of their property with respect to building and zoning codes.

When a well announced meeting was held on the issue in Petworth, there were only two community members present who were not either current ANC commissioners or ANC candidates. (My opponent was not present.) The two community members present lived next door to houses that had pop-ups being built. The low turnout for that meeting suggested very limited interest in the issue.

The issue has not stirred substantial debate in Petworth. The only comments made to me by people in my immediate neighborhood is that they wanted the right to expand the size of their homes to accommodate family members with their growing families, should they so decide.

Joseph Martin (4C-09)



I am the representative for ANC 5D-05 and the chairperson for ANC-5D. I have an exceptionally strong record of fighting for my community and moving it forward. I have worked diligently to ensure my constituents' voices are heard by the Zoning Commission, Office of Planning and NCPC. I have submitted testimony that reflects the will and interests of my community. I am a firm believer that residents are the primary stakeholders regarding neighborhood planning goals and should be heard. I am honored to proudly and effectively serve my constituents.

Kathy Henderson (5D-05)


Please Support Me In The Effort To Get The Results That Matter to Our Community:

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Vonetta Dumas (5D-02)

5D-02 have not been affected directly with pop-ups but I see it in other communities and as Commissioner I am in the fight to ensure it doesn't happen in our community. I am in favor of the current changes that limit the height of pop-ups. I do believe homeowners should have autonomy to a degree. Each community is different and in our community preserving the character of our neighborhoods is primal.

I am currently in the fight that offer tax relief for buyers or investors to purchase vacant or abandoned properties that would give time restrictions to build as well as not compromise zoning that would limit parking.

It is vital that any plan that would change the fabric of the neighborhood is presented to the community to weigh in on any decision.

Vonetta Dumas (5D-02)



A healthy community grows and changes over time. But for a community to remain healthy change should emerge from its own needs, history and culture.

Justin D. Lini (7D-07)