Friends of McMillan Park Score Court Victory
Bowser administration says it will work with "urgency" to address issues in unfavorable D.C. Court of Appeals ruling.
Dec 8, 2016 1 PM
In a stunning rebuke of the D.C. Zoning Commission, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Agent for historic preservation, the District’s Office of Planning, and a three-firm development consortium, the D.C. Court of Appeals Thursday vacated zoning approvals for the city’s longest-running, and most complex and contentious, real estate project: The 25-acre, mixed-use development planned for the historic McMillan Sand Filtration Facility.
The appeal of a D.C. Zoning Commission order and two decisions by the Mayor’s Agent to green-light the project was brought by a citizen activist group known as Friends of McMillan Park and supported by other grassroots organizations that advocate for preservation, sustainability, and reasonable development. The opponents’ challenge focused largely on the height and density of the proposed buildings on the historic site and what they claim was faulty agency review and decision-making.
The master developer, Vision McMillan Partners—consisting of Trammel Crow Company, Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, and EYA—had previously received Zoning Commission approval for a planned unit development on the site; In two other orders, the Mayor’s Agent approved VMP’s applications to demolish historic sand cells that for decades served as a filtration site for D.C.’s drinking water and to subdivide the site and build a 2-million-square-foot development consisting of residences, medical office buildings, recreational facilities and a park.