Published: April 18th, 2017By William G. Schulz*
Accompanying images can be viewed in the April 2017 issue pdf
A series of early April filings with the DC Zoning Commission raises the smell of corruption and levels of bureaucratic muck now surrounding — perhaps engulfing — the city’s highly controversial plans to redevelop McMillan Park Reservoir, an historic site which spans the Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park neighborhoods just to the west of North Capitol Street and the seven-square block Stronghold neighborhood across North capitol in Northeast.Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, Friends of McMillan Park (FOMP) — the neighborhood organization long opposed to redevelopment of the site as planned by developers Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) — has produced more documentary evidence of credible allegations of malfeasance and bribery that the city has long kept buried.
The filings with the Zoning Commission are part of so-called “remand hearings” now being held in response to a DC Court of Appeals decision issued Dec. 28, 2016, that brought VMP’s project to a screeching halt. As reported by The InTowner, in a unanimous decision by a three-judge pa nel the court vacated the commission’s remapping and Planned Unit Development (PUD) decisions that were a greenlight for subdividing and redeveloping the 25-acre McMillan site. In fact, Mayor Muriel Bowser held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site just one day before release of the court’s decision which effectively shut the project down once again.One of the newly released documents, a June, 2011 letter to former Mayor Vincent Gray, from an anonymous ANC 5C commissioner, stated that the commissioners were “being bombarded and even bullied to take a vote on the McMillan development plan by MVP, particularly EYA [one of the developer partners that also includes Trammel Crow and Jared Lynch]. We have been offered gifts of money, meals and ball game tickets, etc. They have approached us with offers to help us in ‘anything. . . . This is corruption and it comes at a time when the city is already under scrutiny. . . .”