Thursday, December 08, 2016

WAMU and WBJ reports on today's DC Court of Appeals ruling on McMillan

Click on the link to read the entire WAMU report.

D.C. Court Ruling Sets Back Controversial Development At McMillan Site

A longstanding and oft-criticized plan to build office buildings, housing, a park, and a supermarket on the 25-acre McMillan Sand Filtration Site in Northwest D.C. is heading back to the drawing board after the D.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected a key decision by the D.C. Zoning Commission allowing the project to move forward.
In its ruling, the court found that the Zoning Commission did not adequately justify its decision to allow the proposed development at McMillan to exceed zoning limits for the site in the city’s Comprehensive Plan.
The court also ruled that the commission did not fully explore how the $720 million development — which would include 600 housing units, 134 which would be set aside for low- and moderate-income residents — would impact property values in the neighborhood, and whether it would displace existing residents.
Finally, the court rejected the planned demolition of all but two of the 20 subterranean chambers that were used to filter water when the site was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the early 1900s to serve as the city’s first water-purification system. It also rejected a proposed subdivision of the site.

Click on the link to read the entire Washington Business Journal post:

D.C. appeals court vacates decisions on McMillan site

Karen Goff
Staff Reporter
Washington Business Journal

Less than 24 hours after a ceremonial groundbreaking at the District’s McMillan Sand Filtration site, the D.C. Court of Appeals has vacated the D.C. Zoning Commission’s approval and the Mayor’s Agent’s two orders that allowed the project to move forward and remanded the cases for further proceedings.

The citizens group Friends Of McMillan Park filed suit almost immediately after the $720 million redevelopment plan at Michigan Avenue and North Capitol Streets NW was approved in 2015.

The suits argued that the zoning was too dense and inconsistent with the D.C. Comprehensive Plan; that the site, a historic landmark, should be protected from commercial redevelopment; that the Mayor’s Agent's decision to permit demolition and subdivision did not consider alternatives that could achieve the “special merit” objectives of the proposal, as required by the Preservation Act; and that the project does not satisfy the “high standard” required of a project of “special merit” (required in order to waive the statutory preservation restrictions) because the majority of the development proposal, such as the commercial medical office buildings has no demonstrated special merit.
The court said its decision does not kill the project, like the court did earlier this year to a project long planned for Brookland. It just wants the city and developers to make a better justification for it.
A spokesman for Kenner said on Thursday Ward 5 residents should not have to wait any longer for this project.

“The District believes the issues outlined by the courts will be addressed so work can continue on this transformative project," said Joaquin McPeek, spokesman for the deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development. "We will work with urgency to ensure it delivers the jobs, housing, retail, and open space this community has continued to ask for.”

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