Washington, DC – Tomorrow, Tuesday, December 2, 2014, the DC City Council intends to take a vote on disposing 25-acres of public land located in close proximity to Congress, the McMillan Park and Sand Filtration Site. http://lims.dccouncil.us/Download/32678/PR20-1081-CommitteeReport1.pdf
The Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) is asking the Council for full negotiation rights so that DMPED staffers can continue to broker a deal with lead developer Trammel Crow, a deal which will demolish and then privatize the vast majority of the historic McMillan site which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mr. Jeff Miller, DMPED’s interim director, was an executive with Trammel Crow before joining DC government. http://dmped.dc.gov/biography/m-jeffrey-miller
Mr. Miller personally signed an invoice for the City to pay a Baltimore-based PR firm to “neutralize public opposition” to DMPED’s proposal to privatize and redevelop McMillan park. http://intowner.com/2014/09/11/forum-continued-from-september-2014-issue-pdf-page-3/
DMPED Omits Public Comments & No Public Need Analysis Conducted
Before disposing of the public land, DMPED is supposed to hold a public hearing to get community feedback about their desired concept, and to help determine if the public may have other needs for this large parcel of public land located at intersections of Michigan Avenue and North Capitol Streets, NW.
DMPED held a public meeting in the summer 2013 where the overwhelming majority of those in attendance were opposed to the disposition of this public property, qualifying many public needs and potential opportunities for the McMillan site. http://friendsofmcmillan.org/community-says-no-surplus-for-mcmillan-park/
However, DMPED’s surplus report to the Council omitted or mistakenly misquoted dissenting public statements. Further, DMPED did not make the surplus meeting accessible for residents with disabilities, especially for those with hearing impairments who could not participate in the un-amplified meeting.
Rather, DMPED issued a one-paragraph statement to the Council alleging there is no additional public need for the land as it would be too cost prohibitive for the public to develop the site. Yet, DMPED’s deal, now manifested as a “draft” Land Disposition Agreement (LDA), would guarantee that the City pays for complete demolition and re-mediation of the site at a cost of approximately 75 million dollars.
And, there is nothing on the public record demonstrating that other District agencies were invited to weigh in and explore additional public needs for this large public site.
No Transportation Cost Sharing Analysis Incorporated in the LDA
DMPED has been silent about the serious risk for public cost overruns associated with implementing transportation and infrastructure that will have to serve the proposed ten-story medical office building and many hundreds of dwelling units that Trammel Crow intends to construct.
It is not refuted that the streets around McMillan are now at capacity for daily vehicular traffic, but DMPED’s proposed project would significantly increase traffic pressures and pollution.
The “draft” LDA consists of no identified real transportation and infrastructure costs that could be shared equitably between the public and private developers, despite the fact that developers can expect to make close to a billion dollars in profit in selling and renting the units they construct on what will be former public land.
Council Analysis of Soccer Stadium vs. McMillan Park
McMillan will represent one of the biggest parcels of public land to be disposed of since Home Rule came into effect.
Despite this, the lack of evaluation of McMillan’s public land value and the potential cost overruns on transportation and infrastructure stands in complete contrast to the recent cost-benefit risk analysis and in-depth land evaluation completed by the Council for the proposed Soccer Stadium deal, which now has hundreds of pages independent review on the public record.
“Given the opposition to privatizing our McMillan park and our public land, and given the lack of acute analysis of this deal, it appears as if the City Council is using the holiday rush to gift Trammel Crow a valuable public parcel with little public oversight,” said Jerry Peloquin on behalf of the McMillan Coalition for Sustainable Futures. “This deal represents shamefully poor planning which is wholly unethical, not to mention unlawful.”
The City Council intends to contend with this deal at their legislative meeting tomorrow, at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, Room 500, starting at 11am.
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