November 17, 2016 – CM Todd’s office requests DCRA to address outstanding issues

Turner, Dolly (Council) <dturner@DCCOUNCIL.US>
Thu 11/17/2016 1:29 PM
Inbox

To:
Bolling, Melinda (DCRA);
Goodman, Jonah (SMD 4C10);
Todd, Brandon (COUNCIL);
Rummel, Jordan (Council) <jrummel@DCCOUNCIL.US>;
Benab, Jasmin (EOM);
Cc:
Avant, Malcolm A. (DCRA);
Washington, Jason (DCRA);
Whitescarver, Clarence (DCRA);
Williamson, Zayd (DOH-Contractor);
Brown, Gerard (DOH);
Info, Mosquito (DOH);

You replied on 11/17/2016 3:15 PM.

Good afternoon Director Bolling,

We’d like to enlist your help with a problematic property that dates back to before April of 2016 and appears to stem from illegal construction. It is a hazard to the neighbors, threatens neighboring property damage, and presents a safety issue for children in the neighborhood.  The property owner has not been responsive and we’d like to request that DCRA step in to close out the outstanding issues.

Below is the initial email chain (there have been many since then) that summarizes the key problems.

I have copied Mrs. and Mrs. [neighbor] here who lives next to the property.

Thank you in advance for your assistance,

Dolly

Dolly Turner
Deputy Chief of Staff
Councilman Brandon T. Todd
(202) 654-6406

***

Thu 11/17/2016 4:32 PM
Inbox
To:
Turner, Dolly (Council) <dturner@dccouncil.us>;
Cc:
Bolling, Melinda (DCRA);
Goodman, Jonah (SMD 4C10);
Todd, Brandon (COUNCIL);
Rummel, Jordan (Council) <jrummel@dccouncil.us>;
Benab, Jasmin (EOM);
Avant, Malcolm A. (DCRA);
Washington, Jason (DCRA);

1 attachment

Good afternoon Ms. Turner I’m [neighbor], my wife and I live on the other side of 414 Shepherd ST NW.  WE have a long standing list of unanswered emails from DCRA dating back as far as March of 2015; this project is almost 2 years old. I have attached the last 2 unanswered emails, the first email was sent on the Sept 15, 2016; and after not getting an answer was hand delivered to Ms. Parris on Sept 21, 2016 who assured me I would get answer. The second email was sent on Sept 23, 2016 after not getting answer, which to this day has not been answered.  We’ve talked to so many DCRA representatives/staffers either by phone or face-to-face since March 2015 and action has been almost null especially since the last incident (September 15, 2016).   Ms. Turner thank you advance for your support and action regarding this matter.

***

Thu 11/17/2016 5:58 PM
Inbox
To:
Turner, Dolly (Council) <dturner@dccouncil.us>;
Cc:
Goodman, Jonah (SMD 4C10);
Todd, Brandon (COUNCIL);
Rummel, Jordan (Council) <jrummel@dccouncil.us>;
Benab, Jasmin (EOM);
Avant, Malcolm A. (DCRA);
Washington, Jason (DCRA);
Whitescarver, Clarence (DCRA);

You replied on 11/18/2016 10:58 AM

Mr. [neighbor],

Good evening.  I apologize for the lack of response to your inquiries.  From my hasty review just now to give you some response, I see that DCRA issued a Correction Order that had not been completed by the due date of 9/21/16.  Accordingly, I am assigning this matter to DCRA’s Enforcement Division to:  1) develop a statement of work to procure a contractor to abate the nuisance; 2) issue the statement of work; 3) select a contractor to complete the work; and 4) have the nuisance abated by the selected contractor.  Staff will start on this process tomorrow.  Again, I apologize for the delay.

Regards,
Melinda Bolling
Director

***

Fri 11/18/2016 10:58 AM

To:
Bolling, Melinda (DCRA);
Turner, Dolly (Council) <dturner@dccouncil.us>;
Cc:
Todd, Brandon (COUNCIL);
Rummel, Jordan (Council) <jrummel@dccouncil.us>;
Benab, Jasmin (EOM);
Washington, Jason (DCRA);
Whitescarver, Clarence (DCRA);
Williamson, Zayd (DOH-Contractor);
Brown, Gerard (DOH);

Dir. Bolling,

Thank you for this response. I am the ANC Commissioner in this area. While it is good that we are enforcing the 9/21/2016 Correction Order, two months later, I hope we can all acknowledge that your Department has known of all of the SWO’s (I believe we are on four) and failure on the owner and DCRA’s end to abate the nuisance issues for honestly a year and half at this point. We have tremendous challenges getting responses from you and your team. Case in point if you scroll down on this email thread you can see an email you wrote me saying “Good morning.  Thank you so much for bringing this matter to our attention.  DCRA will inspect the property and determine next steps.” Your office never followed up on that communication nor was any abatement work ever started at the property. Forgive the frustration but my confidence in your promises and your Department’s work was dashed about two or three conversations back when we talked about the same issues and the same plan to correct them. For reference see: https://414shepherd.wordpress.com/

Can you commit to making sure at a minimum these items are addressed in the abatement plan:
– unsecured gas line tied to the porch railing
– regrade/fill the foundation and large eroding holes in the front and rear of the property
– secure the porch footing before collapse
– address the partial rear wall removal

It would help to see this in writing for the statement of work and if these cannot be included it would help to get an explanation.

Additionally can we see a timeline for completion of the statement or work, procuring the contractor, and timeline for that completion. Also a plan for how we should escalate the issue if and when deadlines once again come and go?

Lastly I think it would be wise to somehow address the constant problem these neighbors have with communication not being returned. It doesn’t seem right from a process point of view that we have to get the Councilmember’s office and MOCR to force DCRA to return emails, calls, and schedule meetings. What makes this a significant concern to me is that this is one of four properties (431 Quincy, 430 Upshur, 313 Varnum, 414 Shepherd) just within my SMD that other neighbors have the same exact problems.

Adding CM Silverman and Petworth News to this chain.

Jonah Goodman

Commissioner, Single Member District 4C10
Advisory Neighborhood Commission Ward 4
Twitter: @ANCJonah
FB: http://www.facebook.com/ancjonah/

***

To:
Goodman, Jonah (SMD 4C10);
Turner, Dolly (Council) <dturner@dccouncil.us>;
Cc:
Todd, Brandon (COUNCIL);
Rummel, Jordan (Council) <jrummel@dccouncil.us>;
Benab, Jasmin (EOM);
Washington, Jason (DCRA);
Whitescarver, Clarence (DCRA);
Williamson, Zayd (DOH-Contractor);
Brown, Gerard (DOH);

Commissioner Goodman,

Good morning.  Please accept my apologies for DCRA’S tardiness.  Although DCRA’S staff determined that there was no imminent life safety issue at the site that required immediate abatement before the last quarter of this calendar year, we should have communicated this decision to you and the neighbors before today.

I will confer with my team on what is required  for the agency to abate for life safety reasons at the site.  Often times neighbors want DCRA to resolve all property maintenance issues at a site.  However, the agency must dedictate limited resources to the nuisances that pose life safety issues.  Therefore, after we determine what is required to resolve life safety issues at this property,  we will provide a timeline for abatement.

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
Melinda Bolling
Director

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