DC Court of Appeals Ruling Blocks McMillan Reservoir Redevelopment

  • December 8th 2016

by UrbanTurf Staff

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DC Court of Appeals Ruling Blocks McMillan Reservoir Redevelopment: Figure 1
An updated rendering of the McMillan Reservoir redevelopment

On Wednesday, there was a ceremonial groundbreaking for the redevelopment of the McMillan Reservoir. And on Thursday, the DC Court of Appeals vacated the Zoning Commission’s approval of the project.

The redevelopment process for the city’s formerly-operational sand filtration site at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue NW has been fraught with a lot of emotion and opinions, not only from the surrounding neighborhood but from residents across the District. Today’s ruling was a victory for the group that does not want to see the land redeveloped.

“In the first order, the Zoning Commission approved Vision Mcmillan Partner’s application for a planned unit development (PUD) on the site,” the ruling stated. “In the other two orders, the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation approved permits allowing VMP to demolish certain structures on the site and to subdivide the site. Petitioner Friends of McMillan Park (FOMP) challenges these orders. Specifically, FOMP argues that the project is inconsistent with the District’s Comprehensive Plan and that the Commission failed to adequately explain its conclusions.”

FOMP also challenges both Mayor’s Agent orders, arguing that the Mayor’s Agent incorrectly determined that the project has ‘special merit’ incorrectly found that the project’s special merit outweighs the historic- preservation losses that the project would entail, and failed to examine reasonable alternatives to the project. We vacate the Commission’s order and both Mayor’s Agent orders and remand the cases for further proceedings.”

In addition to the Court finding that the redevelopment was inconsistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, Judge Roy McLeese ruled that the development team did not appropriately study what the redevelopment’s impact would be on surrounding property values and the possible displacement of residents in the area.

“This is a great victory for our long efforts to try to get our city to observe its own rules and regulations as they pertain to this lovely historic park,” Friends of McMillan Park said in a statement.

Partners in the McMillan Reservoir development team include Jair Lynch, EYA, Trammell Crow, and architect Shalom Baranes and Perkins Eastman. As planned, the entire redevelopment will include 146 townhomes, 531 apartments, medical office buildings, and a variety of community-serving retail adjacent to the park, to include a grocery store.

UrbanTurf will continue to update this developing story as we get more information.

Note: An earlier version of this article included a rendering for McMillan that was out of date. We have updated the article.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_court_of_appeals_ruling_blocks_mcmillan_reservoir_redevelopment/11962.

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