Friday, May 19, 2017

Daniel Wolkoff: McMillan- A Great DC Central Park or Tysons Corner? Recreation/Historic Green Space or Concrete Canyons?

From: Daniel Wolkoff []
Sent: Friday, May 19, 2017 2:55 AM
Subject: McMillan- A Great DC Central Park or Tysons Corner? Recreation/Historic Green Space or Concrete Canyons?
Our elected officials have never sought any democratic community consensus on "what should happen at McMillan Park".

We need a public conversation, forums and Town Halls, since in no way have OUR public servants done anything to gain consent from the people to "re-develop" or give away OUR last open 25 acres of DC public land.

                                                                                          Pope Francis

                                              "we have created new idols. The worship of the ancient Golden Calf

                                                has returned in a new ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and

                                                the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose"

                     The DC Govt. joint Vision McMillan Re-development plan scandal!

                    "you don't put condos on an Olmsted Park!!!"  ------ Mrs. Farrell McCoy DC historic Preservationist
McMillan Park links to articles and video

McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture

Tel: 202-232-8391

 Excellent articles with additional links
  http://www.huffingtonpost. com/entry/the-fight-to-save- mcmillan-park_us_ 586fcb3ce4b0a5e600a78a2e


Bloomngdale elder Ms.Ella relates her childhood spent in the PARK, the children called McMillan "paradise" and "our beach".


This message is also posted at the Bloomingdale Neighborhood blog:

http:// bloomingdaleneighborhood. mcmillan-park-redevelopment. html


McMillan Park Redevelopment Sinks Further into the Muck
Published: April 18th, 2017
By William G. Schulz*

McMillan Park links-----------the development team----- VMP (Vision McMillan Partners and DC govt in joint development NO-bid "exclusive rights agreement",, massive corporate welfare abuse over $320 million. "The Monstrosity on Michigan Avenue"

Peoples Plan for McMillan Park as a World Class "destination" and alternative to VMP

Prof. Miriam Gusevich Catholic University of America with Collage City Studio You tube power point ignored by all DC agencies, McDuffie, Commission on the Fine Arts, DC Historic Preservation Review Board, DC Zoning Commission, DMPED, Office of Planning,  etc.

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National Register of Historic Places McMillan nomination

( /places/13000022.htm ) by DC Office of Historic Preservation

Architectural Historian Kim Williams. She describes a remarkably intact, fascinating, even charming engineering marvel built as a hybrid city utiity and outdooor green recreation sward from 1888 to1906. For massive 50 structures, concrete canyons now slated for demolition in violation of federal law.

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To force the VMP plan down our throats the DC govt. hired Jamie Fontaine PR firm to "neutralize opposition", a violation of the Constitutional right to "petition the govt. for redress of grievances". When long term activist for McMillan, Brookland landscape architect Mary Pat Rowan, testified to Bowser that Gray's Deputy Mayor (DMPED) paid for the PR campaign and  lied in City Council testimony about his office paying for Fontaine! First historic restoration professional Daniel Goldon Wolkoff testifies to Bowser on adaptive re-use of 25 acre McMillan Park in 2014.

DC Wolf Trap at McMillan outdoor concert stage with sunset vistas, Glen Echo arts/performance campus, Wine cellars, City Bazaar, Breweries and food services, performance space, public land for the public use, and ownership, start the Conservancy NOW! DC Central Park is looking for families to become "founders".


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The community struggle to Save McMillan Park, preserving the ENTIRE "GREAT PLACE", Olmsted designed surface-park and existing 20 acres underground, creates the exciting potential for Sustainable large scale "indoor agriculture", and numerous adaptive re-use that is consistent with Historic Preservation Law. Parks are economic development.                         


Tel: 202-232-8391

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. . . .”

The letter writer further stated, “I understand that McMillan has been a long time in the making, but it is not fair that we are being pushed to the point of being bullied to hurry up and vote of [sic] this.”

Another letter uncovered through the FOIA process and filed by FOMP with the Zoning Commission strongly rebuts VMP and the city’s conclusion that VMP’s high-density development of the site is the only plan that can work:

“The demolition of 90% of the underground vaults, paired with new construction of buildings reaching up to 115 feet high, is not necessary,” Paul Millstein, a vice president of local developer, Douglas Development Corporation, wrote to city officials in October 2014. “Proceeding with such a design would be destructive to the fabric of the land without just cause. The cost-reward implications to the community and to the District does not justify such a high-density development.”

The DC Mayor’s office and City Council have been repeatedly criticized for choosing VMP through a questionable, no-bid contract, and for also refusing to hear credible alternatives to VMP’s radical redevelopment plan.

Kirby Vining of FOMP and the McMillan Park Advisory Group says he has information that the Mayor’s office may be conducting an investigation of the criminal allegations made by the anonymous ANC commissioner to former Mayor Gray.

The McMillan project remains on an indefinite hold as the Zoning Commission tries to make its way through the list of remands from the Court of Appeals. Jason Klein, one of the attorneys who argued the case for FOMP and affiliated opposition parties, suggests that is a tall order.

“What the [court] said was not that what the Zoning Commission did was not allowed, but the way they went about it is illegal,” Klein told a University of the District of Columbia Law School-hosted forum in late March. The Zoning Commission picked the policies that supported their plan and ignored the rest, Klein said. “The court said to the Commission, ‘you can’t just do whatever you want and give some willy-nilly justification after the fact.’”

Klein is skeptical that VMP’s project will restart anytime soon. On its remand, the court made clear that a repeat of arguments in favor of the project won’t cut it. Justifications for remapping and rezoning the McMillan site must be based on additional and sufficient evidence to sway the court. What’s more, Klein said, any appeal of the DCCA ruling would have to go to the U.S. Supreme Court where it is unlikely to make it on to the high court’s docket.

[Editor’s note: Klein’s forum talk,
 followed by questions and answers can be viewed starting at 55:13.]

FOMP’s Vining says he thinks the city, at this point, is holding public hearings to save face while city officials figu re out what to do next. The scheduled hearings are now stretching into late April and early May.

Klein didn’t elaborate at the UDC Law School forum, but another critical portion of the court’s ruling held that a designation by the so-called Mayor’s Agent giving the McMillan site “special merit” status to allow higher density and height development as well as destruction of otherwise protected historic structures on the site, was not valid. Such special merit designations, the court ruled, must be justified with extensive documentation that the city ignored almost entirely. The VMP plan, for example, would mostly destroy the remnants of a 19th century engineering marvel — the old sand filtration units and underground caverns once used to purify the city’s drinking water that in part gives the site its historic landmark status.

As a key to unlock all of the VMP project, the lack of a special merit designation forces VMP and the city into a complete do-over.

And now the documents made public by FOMP’s efforts would seem to further undermine the city and the developer’s increasingly shaky arguments, justifications, and legal contortions to allow them to subdivide the site, erect high-density office buildings, new housing and retail space while leaving the city with but a shadow of the original parkland for public use.

Still, it has begun to seem that nothing VMP and city officials do in relation to McMillan Park is too outrageous or scandalous to discredit the project or quell their determination to move forward. While city officials and VMP long ago stopped speaking to the media about the project, they have announced no plans to give up on or significantly recalibrate the project.

Years of reporting on the McMillan Park Reservoir redevelopment by The InTowner reveals the widespread and strenuous objections of city residents about the lengths officials are willing to go to see VMP’s plan happen:

Using taxpayer dollars to hire a PR firm to discredit VMP’s opponents; flouting open-hearing and competitive bidding laws to keep VMP — with little or no justification — as the development team; ignoring land use covenants that conveyed when the parkland was purchased by the city from the federal government some 30 years ago; and, perhaps worst of all, for all of those 30 years keeping the beauty and sweeping vistas of the McMillan Park Reservoir site off-limits to the public, and behind a strong, chain-link fence.

* Associate Editor William G. Schulz, a resident of Dupont Circle since the 1980s, has been a journalist specializing in science and investigative reporting for over 30 years.

DC Appeals Court Decision Vacate and Remand McMillan Zoning Order and Mayor's Agent decisions

Jan. 8, 2017

McMillan Park links

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