Thursday, September 29, 2016

Friends of McMillan Park: What happened in McMillan case before the DC Court of Appeals

Sent: Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:56 AM
Subject: [HistoricWashington] What Happened in McMillan Case Before DC Court of Appeals

Preserve, restore, and reopen McMillan Park for the people.

What Happened in the DC Court of Appeals with the McMillan Case on September 20th? 
Dear Friend of McMillan Park,

Last Tuesday, September 20th, was the long-awaited date to present oral arguments in our case before the DC Court of Appeals, seeking to right the wrongs done in the zoning and preservation process concerning McMillan Park.  We remain optimistic, but we must wait for the court's written decision on this matter that likely will not appear until January 2017 or so.  But out of a desire to share with our supporters who were unable to attend or watch the proceedings online (and there were many who were able to join us at the court or view the proceedings online!), here is a press release we have issued concerning the court proceedings last Tuesday.  We have done our work and of course hope that the judges will see merit in our presentation, oral and written, for the sake of some much better planning for the future of our park.  We are hoping that this press release will be picked up by some in the local media, but we want to share this with you, too, for all our work depends on your interest and support.
#### (text of press release)####

City Outsources Defense of its own Zoning, Preservation Decisions

A virtual who’s who of the historic preservation community in Washington came to support the lawsuit designed to halt the deeply flawed development plan approved by the Mayor and the City Council that would lead to the destruction of the historic McMillan Sand Filtration Plant in Ward 5.

An amicus brief to the lawsuit originally brought by Friends of McMillan Park was filed jointly by The Committee of 100 on the Federal City, and the DC Preservation League. The lawsuit was also joined in part by the McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture, and DC for Reasonable Development.. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, was a party at the administrative hearings and had also previously submitted public testimony to the National Capital Planning Commission and Zoning Commission citing erroneous assertions by the NCPC concerning the obstructed view of the Capitol from President Lincoln’s Cottage.

“Speaking as a lawyer, it seemed to me that the court expressed concern about the justifications of the Zoning Commission and the Mayor’s Agent decisions to move forward with the dense development of the site,” said Tony Norman, local attorney, founder and chairman of the McMillan Park Committee, responsible for working to have the site added to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites.  “The court also raised important concerns about the Zoning Commission’s failure to address the gentrification impacts of the project.”

Curiously, the city did not file its own brief in the Court of Appeals and did not send any of its own lawyers to defend the decisions of the DC Zoning Commission or the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation, but instead outsourced this work to the law firm representing the proposed developer, Vision McMillan Partners.  While this is apparently perfectly legal, does the city not care enough to defend its own decisions? The outsourced law firm presumably will send its bill to the city, which has already paid about one million dollars to this firm under its exclusive rights agreement to develop the McMillan site..

The case ended up in the District Court of Appeals as a result of a lawsuit filed by Friends of McMillan Park to challenge the DC Zoning Commission and the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation decisions to approve the high density McMillan development plan even though it ran roughshod over many local historic preservation and zoning regulations in force.

“I am astounded,” said Mary Pat Rowan, Ward 5 resident, landscape architect, and Committee of 100 member, “The administration of Mayor Bowser no longer even pretends that it is something other than a wholly owned subsidiary of Vision McMillan Partners. You sue the city, and VMP lawyers—the most expensive in town—defend the city. And the taxpayer is stuck with the tab. This is not a government of checks and balances, but a government of bank checks and bank balances. The people of the city are not only swindled, but their patrimony is slated for demolition.”

“We didn’t see a single citizen sitting with the lawyers representing the city’s development at the hearing,” noted Kirby Vining a director with Friends of McMillan Park, a lead plaintiff in the case. “By contrast, it was a happier day across the aisle from the blue suits where over 60 dedicated McMillan supporters came out to support the fine efforts of lawyers Andrea Ferster and Jason Klein who made professional, measured and precise points before the judges to support our case that the zoning and preservation processes in this case were deeply flawed and should be thrown out. We don’t know what the court will ultimately decide, but we do know that in the court of public opinion, we have made a strong case that resonates with the people.”


Thank you for your continued interest and support, 

John Salatti, Kirby Vining, and Hugh Youngblood
Board of Directors, Friends of McMillan Park, Inc.

If you have any questions, please contact or call 202.213.2690.
Contribute to the Save McMillan Park Legal Fund

Copyright © *|2013|* *|Friends of McMillan Park|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Friends of McMillan Park
16 Franklin Street NE
WashingtonDC 20002

Posted by Daniel Goldon Wolkoff


  1. 1. Tony Norman is not a lawyer. Check DC Bar Association! Lies lies lies!
    2. Of course DC outsourced to a law firm that knows all about development and zoning. Do DC residents want to win? Yes hence the reason to have a good law firm represent DC’s interests.
    3. The case ended up in Appeals because FOM lost when the first case was brought against the city. FOM is responsible for the legal fees! Why cause they just can’t accept that this development is moving forward as it should to provide housing, jobs, services and a great 8 acre park, community center, etc.

  2. TheCommiss is not an ANC Commissioner nor a resident of Bloomingdale, or DC.

  3. @ Citizenalpha...but I do explain the real deal for my former constituents! Unlike you who insists on spreading lies and misinformation to residents

    1. The same constituents who voted you out after one term. I was one of them, because I was fed up with your name calling and bullying.

    2. Well maybe you should get your facts straight! It was two terms and I was elected to an even higher office in the party as Ex-offico and then At-large Committeeman. What were you elected to? What have you done other than terrorize neighbors who support this development and spread lies and misinformation!

    3. Implying that you stepped down from ANC (and not the fact that you lost in a landslide 61%-36%) to run as Ex-Officio of the Democratic State Committee is disingenuous, Barrie.

    4. Nope not all all! But again what have you DONE!~ NOTHING! I was elected by the people of the entire District...that all the voters in the city! So remind the public what you do, who you are, and what you've done for DC?

  4. Barrie, you were not elected by the "people of the entire District." You lost your ANC seat as an incumbent in a landslide. Then you won an internal Dem party position as the good apparatchik that you are. Then you moved back to Rhode Island. Why are you still polluting our neighborhood blogspot with your yelling, bullying, name-calling and bad grammar?

  5. Wrong again Paul! I was elected At-Large Committeeman in the last election! Once again you don't pay attention or due you due diligence. What have you done Paul other than terrorizing the majority of folks who support this development?

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Committeeman = Dem Party position--not a person elected by the people of the District.

    When I'm not terrorizing the Government of the District of Columbia, EYA, JAIR LYNCH, Trammell Crow Company, Perkins Eastman, Nelson Byrd Waltz, MV&A, David Jameson, Shalom Baranes, EHT Traceries, Robert Silman, Bowman Consulting, Gorove/Slade, Holland & Knight, CastroHaase + Brown, zoningCulturalDC, Straitness, Belle & Wissell, Co., IFMM, ECS Mid-Atlantic, LLC, Fontaine and the other co-conspirators who are being paid taxpayer dollars to force this monstrosity upon our neighborhood, I like to read and cook.

  8. Well Paul wrong again DC has a public election on the ballot! It doesn't happen in some back room! Which means almost every voter in DC! Oh that's nice for you! I like to provide public services to help my nieghbors get more out of thier government! Which decided 30 years ago to develop this site long. Score either you or I lived thier! Unlike you my family lived in Bloomingdale in the 70-80s. And I believe this is a good thing for everyone in DC, and because of the tactics of your crew, I have had to defend those folks! That's what I do!