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Opposition to McMillan Continues, Though D.C. Council Seems Supportive

  • November 13, 2014

by Lark Turner

Opposition to McMillan Continues, Though D.C. Council Seems Supportive: Figure 1

The plan to redevelop the McMillan Sand Filtration Site was up for debate for yet again on Wednesday, when an exhaustive meeting convened by Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser covered seemingly every argument that could be made for or against the project.

The meeting, a joint public roundtable on the legislative approvals needed to support the project, lasted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nearly 100 people were on the list to testify, including eight ANC commissioners. Witnesses who spoke included Hugh Youngblood, from Friends of McMillan Park; Cheryl Cort, of the Coalition for Smarter Growth; Tony Norman, of the McMillan Park Committee; David Alpert, of Greater Greater Washington; many neighbors; and other interested parties.

But though many of those present testified in opposition to the plan, which was recently approved by the Zoning Commission and is up for approval by the mayor’s agent, councilmembers and a government representative seemed more concerned with getting construction started as soon as possible. The project includes 146 townhomes, 531 apartments, a grocery store, other retail and medical office buildings. Twenty percent of the housing will be reserved for people making between 50 and 80 percent of the area median income.

From the start of the meeting, which McDuffie led, it was clear most members of the council are eager to move forward with the plan, to paraphrase Bowser.

“I am eager to see it not be blighted and vacant,” Bowser said, later adding that she wanted to be sure adequate money was set aside to create the “world-class” park and community center promised by the development team. Councilmember David Grosso said the project “looks fantastic” and said he would like to “make sure we can get it done.” Tony Norman later called Grosso’s comments a “hit-and-run endorsement.”

Those testifying in opposition to the project highlighted transportation issues — the site is in an area with plenty of traffic congestion and does not have easy Metro access — as well as questions about the selection of the development team, the destruction of parts of the sand filtration site and the height and massing of the medical office buildings. But at the conclusion of most of the testimony, Jeffrey Miller, the deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development, expressed his support for the project and said it addressed the community’s concerns.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/opposition_to_mcmillan_project_continues_though_council_seems_supportive/9215

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