Save McMillan Action Coalition
Press Release, December 18, 2015
Contact: Chris Otten, DC for Reasonable Development
MCMILLAN WARS! DC Zoning Commission Denies Party Status to Affected Residents and Ignores the Power of True Affordability
Washington, DC — On Thursday evening, the DC Zoning Commission held yet another hearing on McMillan Park (and there are more scheduled).
Twenty McMillan Park supporters showed, ten of those testified, and another eighteen got testimony into the public record, despite fifty residents contacting the Zoning Commission. This follows on from a stream of opposition at each juncture of the McMillan Park review. http://www.savemcmillan.org/opposition/
Four people favored destroying this national landmark: A neighbor to the south of the site, Commissioner Dianne Barnes who read ANC 5E’s resolution into the record, 1A Commissioner Rashida Brown spoke on her own behalf, and a one-page letter was sent in by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, exclaiming the project brings “much needed affordable rental housing for Ward 5.”
Those Save McMillan Park supporters who testified in-person highlighted an array of adverse affects not yet analyzed by City officials, including: environmental impacts, increasing displacement pressures, inadequate infrastructure and collapse, and residential units which mock the terms “significant” & “affordability.”
Of the zoning hearing, Amal Mimish from Ward 1 said, “The Office of Planning and Zoning Commission seem so ignorant of fundamental human needs, like low-cost shelter.” Mimish continued, “$1,100 a month for a studio is not affordable housing and does nothing to ameliorate DC’s housing crisis.”
75-year DC resident, Leroy Hall agreed, “For seniors on fixed incomes, 50% Area-Median-Income (AMI) rents are untenable. Remember we are retired, we are largely surviving on our hard-earned savings. This project won’t bring the affordable housing for the lady sleeping on a 12th Street NE bench. What are planning officials and Kenyan thinking?”
Several #savemcmillan supporters spoke of Fontaine & Company, a Baltimore PR firm that was hired with City tax dollars to “neutralize” public opposition to the destruction of McMillan Park. Fontaine was also paid to “give cover to political officials,” while developers Jair Lynch and Adam Weers seek to privatize nearly 20-acres of historically landmarked City-owned land.
Mimish continued, “I would appreciate it if my tax dollars didn’t go towards neutralizing me!”
Ward 5 resident, Daniel Wolkoff sought party status for McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Agriculture (MCSA) to expose “ethical lapses of mammoth proportions.”
Despite some MCSA members living as close as fifty feet from the park site, the group was denied party status. Zoning Commissioners Peter May and Marcie Cohen said MCSA wasn’t more “uniquely affected” than the general public and the other Commissioners agreed unanimously.
“The level of ignorant behavior here is beyond the pale in terms of its arbitrary decisions and ways. It feels so criminal,” said Wolkoff pointing to the District of Columbia Auditor letter from Kathy Patterson who says the project “warrants a competitive rebidding.”
The Zoning Commission is expecting further filings in January, 2015.