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With Proposed Action Approved, Final Vote on DC United Stadium Set For February

  • December 15, 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

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A rendering of the public park planned for the stadium.

On Wednesday night, the Zoning Commission (ZC) voted to approve the Office of Planning’s (OP) proposed action for the planned unit development (PUD) application for a new DC United soccer stadium in Buzzard Point (map); however, the final vote on the future of the stadium will take place in February to ensure that the developers and city agencies are adequately addressing the concerns of the ANC and members of the surrounding community.

ANC 6D chairperson Andy Litsky led the evening’s hearing with detailed testimony enumerating the ANC’s concerns, some of which were acknowledged in documents that the development team submitted in response to last month’s hearing and others for which Litsky supposed that the lack of response served as tacit admission of fault.

One facet of the tension is that seemingly paradoxical solutions are posited for various issues; for example, while the stadium’s developers intend to use the parking lots surrounding Nationals Stadium for their own patrons, Litsky noted, and the developers agreed, that the Nationals’ organization had not yet formally approved that usage.

Also, there seems to be some discrepancy as to whether the nearest Metro station is 0.55 miles away (as the developers assert) or 0.8 miles away (as Litsky asserts and a commissioner mentioned is corroborated by Google Maps), a key difference if the developers continue to base their projections on the assumption that most game attendees will be walking from Metro.

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An aerial rendering of the stadium.

As for other issues surrounding the limited means of transportation to and away from the stadium site and its surrounding area, Chairman Anthony Hood conceded that any transportation plans would assuredly change as circumstances dictate closer to the stadium’s opening. He ultimately requested that the developer and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) coordinate with the ANC to come up with a more-detailed transportation plan accounting for the flow of transportation to the stadium and how to mitigate adverse impact on the neighborhood.

The Commission also requested that the development team, OP, DDOT and District Department of the Environment (DDOE) respond point-by-point to the letter of opposition Litsky read on behalf of the ANC.

Another commissioner noted that given the level of development slated for this neighborhood and the ANC’s generally reasonable and cooperative engagement in those projects, to have a seven-page letter in opposition to the stadium PUD is concerning. Additionally, several area residents testified at both this and last month’s hearing regarding their concerns for the environmental impact on their quality of life due to the toxicity of the land at the site, something they felt was inadequately addressed.

While Hood initially stated that despite his sympathy, environmental issues are not under the Commission’s purview, Chris Otten of DC for Reasonable Development testified that the DC Court of Appeals decision on the McMillan Reservoir redevelopment indeed mandated that the ZC take environmental impact under consideration when ruling on land use cases based on the inclusion of environmental considerations in the Comprehensive Plan.

The development team did testify as to what measures would be taken to remedy health hazards both for workers on-site and for residents nearby; however, noting that there seemed to be some disconnect between what was being shared at the hearing rather than what was presented to the community, Hood requested that the environmental plans be refined in a way that explains the process more pointedly.

Commissioner Peter May abstained from voting, explaining that the Commission doesn’t normally approve a proposed action “when there are substantial issues associated with the project and substantial testimony in opposition.”

“I’d like to hear more on some of the information that we requested and have some time to think about some of the things that were submitted and that are still to be submitted before we start making decisions.”

The next and likely final Zoning hearing on the stadium will take place on February 16th.

See other articles related to: zoning commission, dc united stadium, dc united, buzzard point

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_united_stadium_tentatively_approved_further_review_still_ongoing/11988

1 Comment

  1. rjmarvel said at 3:52 pm on Thursday December 15, 2016:

    As an interloper looking in I can’t see how this stadium is a good idea. The NS streetcar line is no longer happening. It’s almost a mile from metro, it doesn’t have the required parking. The site has serious environment issues and is literally too small (they had to realign an entire street, and sandwich the stadium between electrical utilities). It’s like going in the opposite direction on a one-way street. The powers that be keep driving it. In 10 years we’ll regret it all or at least realize we didn’t need it. I do hope I’m proven wrong. Poplar Point seemed like a better site. Maybe it’s not to0 late; they can plop that generic design down anywhere. http://dc.urbanturf.com/pipeline/581/Poplar_Point_Development/

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