“Screaming at 4am

Loud distressing screaming this morning at 4am near 13the and Fairmont. I called 911 and they said they received several calls. Seemed like the cops took forever and they couldn’t seem to find her. Anyone know is she received help? Hope she’s ok. Anyone know anything?”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

TOPA 101 for Neighbors?

“I’m looking for some insights and advice on DC’s TOPA – not from a tenant or homeowner/landlord perspective, from a neighbor perspective.

The row house adjoining ours has a tenant who’s almost 2 years into the TOPA process. In the meantime, the house has fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair. It’s a public safety hazard on a number of fronts – it’s teeming with all manner of vermin, has poison ivy growing everywhere, reeks of urine and animal feces, is a tinderbox waiting to go up in flames (if it doesn’t collapse first), has garbage strewn about, several areas of standing water breeding mosquitos, attracts addicts and the like.

The owner has desperately been trying to sell the place but the tenant’s got everything tied up in court. I can’t say for certain but from what I’ve learned of the situation, the tenant has no real intentions of owning the home except for any chance he has at a piece of the sale when it flips. It has all the markings of someone abusing the law but what I care most about is the state of the home itself. Does the tenant have responsibilities to maintain and care for the property or is that all on the owner? If he’s trying to use TOPA does he have to prove that he’s capable of caring for the property? If there’s a real public health problem do we as neighbors have any recourse? I feel rather helpless while this cesspool of a home continues to throw up a symbolic middle finger to the rest of the block and keep me worried that I’ll have to grab my 17 mo old in the middle of the night and flee because it’s caught fire.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Leah L.

ground-level deck, building code, inspection

“I’m trying to convince myself that I could install a small ground-level deck in my backyard. I.e., a wooden deck that essentially rests on the level ground (on buried concrete anchors) and has it’s deck surface only 8-12 inches above ground level. A call to the DCRA Homeowner Center suggests I buy a survey drawing on which to indicate where the deck would go, and then also provide a drawing detailing how the deck would be built, and they can issue permits. I began tip-toeing into DC building codes just to make sure I addressed things, like how deep to bury concrete pilings below frost line, what size 2x boards to use, etc, but quickly got beaten down. I welcome any wisdom in terms of how to best find all the info I need so I can make sure to check all the boxes and build this thing that seemed fairly straightforward until I called DCRA. E.g., can I avoid putting rails and stairs since it’s so low to the ground? Many thanks.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Leonard Jewler

Memorial Day Weekend in DC – what to do?

“We’re usually away for the long weekend but this year we’re sticking around. What sort of fun things are happening in around DC to keep us occupied?”

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parking

Great parking job by Parking Enforcement

“Seen on Calvert St about 5:30pm May 14th: Parking Enforcement parked next to a perfectly good empty parking space, blocking the bike lane.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user brunofish

Ethical Mani/Pedi Options?

“After reading the NYTimes articles on manicures/pedicures in NYC, I’m wondering if there is reasonably ethical option for manicures and pedicures here in DC. Some place that pays the technicians a legal wage? Makes arrangements to protect their health? OR someone who works independently? Obviously, I’m aware that this means paying more – significantly more, maybe – for an ethical option. Which is fine by me. Thanks.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Elvert Barnes

My basement bedroom in the house I rent is not legal?

“I recently discovered that the basement “bedroom” I’ve been living in for the past year is technically illegal (ceiling height of support beam about 6’2″). Our landlord is absolutely horrible; breaks rules, genuinely rude to us (5 of us in mid-20s), fails to deposit our rent checks on time, doesn’t give full 24 hours before she shows up (even if she does give us notice!), keeps the house furnished with her furniture and demands us to pay for her ancient furniture that breaks — I could go on. Is there anything I can do with this information? I spoke with a family friend who is a lawyer who looked over our lease agreement and said there are a lot of legal problems with it. She even writes things in pen to add to the lease. My question is: would it even be of any benefit to me to act on this? This woman is so out of touch (in her 80s, at least) and has made for a not-so-great living situation. Thanks.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user psinderbrand

Where do I unload?

“I live on a small one-way street and my building is located next to an alley that many people misuse as a through-way to get around traffic (it connects two different streets). Occasionally when I rent a Zipcar for a long trip, I put on hazards while loading the car and leave it in the alley for 3-5 minutes blocking one of the alley entrances. I was told by someone trying to use the alley that I should have double parked in the street, not blocked the alley entrance. Can anyone advise? My thinking was that blocking one entrance to an alley was more considerate to neighbors than blocking off an entire street since there isn’t room to double park on a one-way, but I’m curious as to the best way to handle the situation in the future.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

Buildings that offer short term leases?

“I’m looking for a one bedroom apartment that I can lease for 6 months without too much of a markup, does anyone know of buildings that offer flexible lease terms? I’m also looking at sublets and similar situations on Craigslist. Ideally under 1900/month. Thanks!”

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Intruder in my backyard w/ Munchies (Mother’s Day Edition):

“These guys waited to the very last moment to look for their mother’s day gift!

If you haven’t read my 2 prior posts; this is the third intrusion attempt in the last 30 days. All of these attempts are in my backyard which is accessible from the North 1800 Newton ST NW alley. This recent attempt happened 2:47am this morning. What you can’t see is that I planted a junk bike right in front of my backyard camera. The bike I planted was left by the thief who stole our Jamis bike back in June 2014, you can find that post below as well.

These guys don’t look entirely prepared as their are finishing their late night snack. It’s also hard to tell if they leave because they notice the camera, or because the bike is a not worth stealing. What I can tell is that this is NOT the same guy that came by twice already. You can also tell that their hopping the fence leaves me pretty vulnerable (not that there is anything in my backyard with value).

Aside from a taller fence or white house fence spikes, are we all just sitting ducks? What can we do to prevent this activity?

I’m forwarding this to the police for their database of people to look out for.

See more videos here.

Prior Attempts / Posts:
Monday April 27th 9:28pm

http://www.popville.com/2015/04/from-the-forum-intruder-in-my-backyard-again-same-guy/

Saturday April 11st, 3:03AM

http://www.popville.com/2015/04/from-the-forum-intruder-in-my-backyard/

June 22rd, 2014, 9:02pm

http://www.popville.com/forums/topic/have-you-seen-my-stolen-bike/”