Thursday, December 08, 2016

DC Court of Appeals vacates McMillan's three orders

Thanks to Bloomingdame for tweeting with this image:

It appears that all three orders have been vacated.

Here is the link to the entire court decision PDF.


  1. Ooooops. Me likey, I think. Can't wait to read the full opinion. Looks like the potentially-super-corrupt "Fresh DC" SUPER-PAC of Miss Bowser's was unable to pervert the judicial process after all. Groundbreaking at McMillan came one day too early, it seems.

  2. Key portions from the decision, as I see it: "Comprehensive Plan does not flatly prohibit any high-density development on the site. We emphasize, however, that the Comprehensive Plan’s provisions have substantial force even if they are not mandatory."

    "Commission failed to adequately explain why it was necessary to disregard the policy favoring medium- and moderate-density development on the site in order to advance other competing policies reflected in the Comprehensive Plan."

    "The Commission also stated that 'the Applicant is proposing sufficient public benefits that outweigh environmental impacts.' The basis for the Commission’s statement is not clear, however."

    "The Commission acknowledged FOMP’s concerns that the PUD would accelerate gentrification, increase land values, and result in a net loss of affordable housing. The Commission nevertheless dismissed those concerns as conclusory and unsupported by evidence, thus apparently placing the burden on FOMP to prove a potential adverse effect. ... On remand, the Commission thus must either place the burden of proof on VMP or explain why a different allocation is permissible under the PUD regulations."

    "we agree with FOMP that the Mayor’s Agent’s orders do not explain with sufficient clarity which “specific features of land planning” the Mayor’s Agent relied upon and why those features combined to support a conclusion of special merit."

    "the project’s historic-preservation benefits are appropriately treated as reducing the project’s net historic-preservation loss rather than as contributing to the project’s special merit. ... Moreover, that a project has some historic-preservation benefits that help to offset the project’s historic-preservation losses does not logically provide a basis upon which to conclude that the project provides a “significant benefit” that rises to the level of special merit and that would justify demolition or subdivision of a historic landmark."

    "the Mayor’s Agent was not permitted to leave the amount of historic-preservation loss unsettled and to the discretion of another decision-maker" [namely, Historic Preservation Review Board approval].

    Full decision online here: