From ANC 5C07 Commissioner James Fournier:
I`d like to forward for community input the attached letter from the Stronghold Civic Association concerning the proposed McMillan development plans and ANC 5C Chairman Ronnie Edwards` incredible response.
As we all know, there is an important public McMillan Advisory Group meeting this Saturday at The Summit from 2pm-5pm. Commissioner Edwards` response to Stronghold`s concerns, attached below, highlights the importance of attending this meeting.
Without putting too fine a point on it, ANC 5C`s response to the Stronghold Civic Association`s concerns are dismissive and purposefully coerce a ``get in line for your medicine`` response. Yet none - none - of the constituents with whom I`ve spoken support the current proposed development. As the Commissioner in charge of the McMillan site, I have always thought of myself, along with the other Bloomingdale ANC Commissioners, as merely an emissary of constituents` concerns. To be told by the Chair of our ANC that the ANC will vote on development plans regardless of the deep seated concerns of those most affected by the development is very troubling - from both a neighborhood and District-wide perspective. I cannot agree with it.
This Saturday`s meeting at the Summit will discuss some of the first principle problems with the current development plans, including:
(i) the lack of any credible transportation plan to accommodate the high density traffic associated with high rise medical offices, residential properties, and above ground retail malls;
(ii) that the sole stormwater run-off plan solicited by the District states that the well-known flooding occurring throughout Bloomingdale since the 19301s will not worsen under the District`s current plan to pave over McMillan - although DC Water has already conceded that Bloomingdale`s current flooding problems will not diminish for approximately 20 years;
(iii) that there has never been an RFP for the vertical development of McMillan;
(iv) that the current proposed ``developers`` of McMillan are only consultants desperate to become the actual developers following transactions under former Councilman Harry Thomas, Jr.;
Nobody needs to be an engineer to understand that proposing massive, high density development on a 25 acre vacant lot will so increase traffic and flooding throughout Bloomingdale so that the current, non-competiveltle bid plan is unworkable.
Let`s talk at the Summit on Saturday.
LETTER FROM STRONGHOLD CIVIC ASSOCIATION TO ANC 5C
From: Stronghold Civic Association
To: ANC 5C Chairman
April 2 2012
Subj: Stronghold Community Association does not support the currently proposed Vision McMillan
Partners plan for development of McMillan Park
The Stronghold Civic Association (SCA) earlier respectfully requested your assistance to delay the March 22 2012 scheduled presentation by the firm Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) of their master development plan, for reasons stated in that letter to you (a copy of which is attached). We thank you for doing so. We understand that the VMP presentation to the HPRB is now scheduled for April 26 2012.
We understand that ANC 5C will meet again to discuss community support (or lack thereof) for the VMP development plan on April 17th. The Stronghold Community Association does not support the current VMP development plan, based on our knowledge of it, or the undue haste or rather irregular procedures used in promotion of this plan. Proposed ten-story buildings in one corner of the site and destruction of much of the park are two particularly strongly felt issues.
The Stronghold Civic Association still feels that we are being pushed to make a decision on a development plan that we do not support, and question the need for such an urgent decision.We have no sitting Ward 5 Councilmember to appeal to, and while we have conferred closely with our own ANC 5C07, who supports our position, there is no sitting ANC 5C04 representing most of our Bloomingdale neighbors.We are aware that neighboring ANCs 5C03, 5C05, and 1B10 share our position on these matters.
We understand that ANC 5C will meet to gather community input on the proposed McMillan development on April 17 2012.The Stronghold community position on this matter remains unchanged from our previous correspondence with you: there is no support for the current VMP plan in the SCA.
In view of the above, SCA cannot support the currently proposed VMP plan for the development of McMillan Park as it is understood, and respectfully requests that you acknowledge this as the Stronghold Community Association position. We would consider further review of this proposed development and process, but the SCA will not meet again until May 7, after the April 17 2012 ANC 5C meeting.
RESPONSE FROM ANC 5C CHAIRMAN RONNIE EDWARDS,
Thanks very much for your email/letter. I look forward to recieving it once you have accurate information from which to respond. Please know that I appreciate your candor and really look forward to working with you guys to develop a reasonable approach to dealing with the proposed development at McMillan.
Also, please note that - once again - the City has moved the HPRB Hearing Date to May 24, 2012 - which gives us a little more time to consider the application. This was discussed at the MAG meeting last week - unfortunately those in attendance chose not to inform you.
Finally - ANC 5C looks forward to and will acknowledge the position of any and all ANCs/Civic Associations with regards to McMillan. However - at the end of the day - the final decision will be made by a majority of the Commissioners and hopefully with the input of the constituents they represent.
As I discussed at the last MAG meeting - the decision on this will not be unanimous. We must all accept that. It is very unfortunate - and quite frankly - deceptive to try to insinuate that this process is being rushed. After 40 or more years of discussing and re-discussing the proposed development of McMillan - with the full support of our former Councilmember, who was pushing for development - the City has initiated the process to move forward by filing the HPRB Application. Once that happened, its normal that there is a timeline for responding. That's not unique or in anyway different. Its the process.
The fact that 1, 2 or 3 ANCs out of 12 oppose the process - again - nothing unique about that. At the end of the day - because of the process - we will all come together and vote on the application and the majority will prevail. What's unique is that those who are opposed are trying to intimidate everyone else from proceeding.
I am so sorry that you guys feel that way and want to play the game that way - but unless the City withdraws the application - as Chair of ANC 5C I must continue recieving full community input so that we can make an informed decision.
I know that there are those who just want a park over there. But unfortunately, many of us who have been around here for a long time - we want more. We would like to see the area developed and put to a better use for ALL OF US - NOT JUST SOME OF US. Don`t let those who are fighting for a park - with no money - hold you and the entire Ward hostage.
If you guys are really honest - we have a little more time (until May15/22) - and I trust that you will use it to sincerely critique the HPRB Application before us and offer some substantiave comments.