Friday, June 30, 2017

Friends of McMillan Park: "FOMP zoning McMillan remand: Zoning Commission orders one more hearing on Thursday, 09-14-2017, at 5 pm"

Regarding last night's Zoning Commission meeting on the McMillan remand:

FOMP Zoning McMillan Remand: Zoning Commission Orders One More Hearing on September 14th at 5pm.

Dear Friend of McMillan Park,

               We suspected that the Zoning Commission would announce tonight, following a second closed-door meeting with its legal counsel, that it would issue an order following the McMillan remand and that tonight's meeting would be brief. 

              We're wrong on both counts.  The commissioners spoke at length about each of the five questions the D.C. Court of Appeals decision asked Zoning to consider, and then worked with parties to the case to schedule another hearing on September 14th at 5pm.

             The evening started out (following the commission's meeting with Mr. Bergstein, the Zoning Commission's legal counsel) with all commissioners saying that they wanted to see the applicant provide more details about how cutting down the height of the medical building wasn't possible, what detriment doing so would have on the project, why reducing the scale of that building was not possible, not viable.  The commissioners also agreed that they were not satisfied that the applicant had fully and exhaustively explained exactly why some reduction in the height of the health center wasn't possible, thus the new hearing.  This was a breath of fresh air, after our side argued this very point in so many ways.  

But the rest of the evening was filled with commissioners talking about what an important project this was, how many years had gone by with the property left vacant, how the Zoning Commission shared the concerns of the community (!!!), and even that Friends of McMillan Park had been helpful in articulating evolving community concerns.  BUT the commissioners largely agreed that the applicant had satisfactorily addressed and mitigated various problems, discussed how important this was to revitalize a long-dormant park, how important this project was to our elected officials...etc.

            After some dialog, the parties all agreed to a September 14th, 5pm hearing where the applicant will address the problems with the medical building height. As usual, dates were agreed upon for the applicant to file more documents and for the opposition (us) to respond.

            This was a complicated session, and you can see the entire session here if you wish.
Tonight's session is the only one listed on that page for June 29th.

            Oddly, during the debate about when the next hearing would take place, one Kimberly Johnson, saying that she represented the District government, spoke of the 'urgency and importance' of this case to the D.C. Government, urging the Zoning Commission to try to hold the next hearing as soon as possible, sometime during July.  I find that one Kimberly M. Johnson is listed online as a Section Chief with the Office of the Attorney General.  I've never heard such urgency coming from the District and have no idea what this is about, and I'm puzzled why the government is trying so hard to get this case out of the way as soon as possible.  What explains the sudden urgency?

       This was a very odd night and we're still trying to figure out what provoked all this, rather than simply ordering that a decision be written.  This may affect the scheduled July 14th Mayor's Agent hearing, but we don't know that yet.  


    If you haven't yet, please consider signing our Change dot org petition to reopen McMillan Park to the public, here. - And don't forget that our legal fund is always eager for donations, here!

       See the court decision here.
       See our Op-Ed here. 

       We cannot do this without your help!

Thank you for your continued interest and support,

John Salatti, Kirby Vining, and Hugh Youngblood
Board of Directors, Friends of McMillan Park, Inc.

If you have any questions, please contact or call 202.213.2690.


Andrew W said...

Thanks for the note, but it's not a park. It's been off limits to the public since World War 2. It's like calling Constitution Avenue "Washington City Canal"

Bloomingdale Resident said...

Does this mean that you want the site to continue to be off limits to the public?

TheCommiss said...


TheCommiss said...

Typical obnoxious response from a FOM. Of course no one wants it shut off to the entire public

Daniel in brookland said... 18/mcmillan-park- redevelopment-sinks-further- into-the-muck/

Why didn't Bowser or McDuffie open McMillan up to residents years ago? Why didn't Vince Gray? I think the lamest thing I ever heard is this whiny "but it's all closed off". God forbid you get in charge of our rights! Get the right attribution to corrupt politicians and understand DC(The District of Corruption) is an international embarrassment of corruption. They now, for no reason other than vindictiveness, stripped our land of every living plant , in violation of the Appeals Court, but we are the "greenest city" in America.

The Zoning Commission and the Developers have to do a little dance on building heights but have had no response to 31,000 more cars a day, and no mass transit for 24,000 mass transit users, Stupid Growth! Who is minding the Fox? Rubber stamp un -professional subordinate DC agencies terrified of losing their job, never mind professionalism, ethics and protecting the "commons" from the biggest corporate welfare abuse and the biggest land theft since Manhattan. Worry about that and you'll have a great park, a Wolf Trap concert stage, a Glen Echo for arts/performance and 20 acres underground "vertical" urban agriculture. A place for kids!
DC slime had to hire Jamie Fontaine to suppress your neighbors First Amendment rights, they had to impersonate the community to "change perceptions to that of general support for the development",,,proud? do you care? Tell me how proud you are of this affront, and Constitutional violation.
VMP needs to be stopped, the muck they are making of our democratic process is disgusting, the "Monstrosity on Michigan Avenue" and DC govt. corruption needs to be rejected.
We can be founders of DC's Central Park, green lush, historic, our land not theirs. The govt never asked a single citizen if they want to give VMP our billions of dollars, dictated it!

nobodyhomehere said...

You remain wound pretty tight there, Daniel Wolkoff. You do still live in Brookland, I hope. I'm not sure you could stand it if you lived closer.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

As I've said before: this man is adamant and perhaps loses some support in the process of verbalizing his points -- BUT his points *are* entirely valid, nonetheless.

For one, it is outrageous that your and my tax dollars pay for the developers to push their own project -- it is a realization that few people acknowledge, and all the more shocking, when you reveal the fact that the city is essentially paying corporate developers to hire lawyers and lobbyists to go and argue against their own city institutions and citizens.

This *alone* should go against everybody's sense of decency, against having a natural desire not to have corrupt politicians, and should make us all ask Miss Bowser what exactly permits her government to not only consider, but in fact financially support this business endeavor in this form?! Where does that particular mandate come from?

In addition, the notion of actually preserving a green lung, maintaining a real city park, which is on open land so close to us and uniquely available, must not -- cannot -- be dismissed out of hand!

Why would you want another mall-like object with yet more chain stores and the like, when you can actually have something that is unique (green space, healthy plants, a park where you can picnic, something where you can teach your kids what flowers, bees, and all that actually look like -- without having to travel far out into the suburbs!), which will never, ever come back if it is abandoned now. ..?

And please don't reply with the corporate PR-machine driven response, "...but I would like to have a grocery store within a 2 block walking distance", because that does not cut the mustard against the above, and especially in light of the fact that there are gazillions of shopping options around us. -- Just no ... -- parks. You got it!

But if you would like to support greedy and corrupt politicians and equally if not more corrupt developers, and would help support line their pockets -- and in the process abandon the last vestige of green space available to us --, please feel free and chime in accordingly, puppet.

(by the way, don't be misled by the screen name, I live here. Besides, it does not matter if the other poster lives in Brookland; that is close enough for him to be affected not only by the loss of one of the few remaining green spaces in this city, but also quite directly by a massive development, which will spark traffic congestion that you will not even have dreamed of in your small mind. Seriously, if you have not spent any time on 1st Street, watching traffic pile up for blocks during rush hour, you should try and do that one of these days. Imagine that, only on steroids and multiplied by dozens or hundreds. Not to speak of the construction vehicles and blockades that will spawn and proceed that disaster.)

Bloomingdale Resident said...

"McMillan Park Reservoir Historic District" is the name of the property on the list of DC Historic Districts, as well as on The National Register of Historic Places. Its original purpose, yes, was an "industrial" site, but it was shared with the public and landscaped and used as a park. Many residents of Bloomingdale and across DC have fought hard over the years to preserve some of the site for park use and a recreation center when the developers originally offered a much smaller area. The rest of the site will become private property with private streets. As far as I know, the developers are not providing recreation spaces or pools for their residents in their buildings, in a time when every other large building being built has a roof top pool and other amenities. We/DC will build a pool for the new residents, while we are being told VMP is offering it to current residents/us as a community benefit.

McMillan was named and has been called park since it began operating. The neighborhood's earliest developers prominently advertised McMillan Park as a benefit to buying a house in Bloomingdale and Stronghold. Then the Federal and DC governments took it away. Developers will pitch the park and recreation center as a big sales point when they sell/lease their spaces. What would be the reaction if DC fenced off the new park and recreation center and told the new residents of McMillan Town Center that they couldn't use it?

The mantra that McMillan was never a park is false, and a red herring. If you truly believe that, then go fight to cover the whole 25 acres with buildings. LEED platinum, if you please. If you don't want to call it a park, fine, don't. But please don't tell others to not call it by its proper name.

Next time you want to criticize a neighbor, whether a "Friend" of McMillan, or just an ordinary neighbor, who has spent years fighting to maintain some green space and get a recreation facility in our neighborhood, maybe you might consider saying thank you.