On Wednesday, February 19, 2020, DC’s highest court, the DC Court of Appeals, stopped work at McMillan Park and Sand Filtration Plant (1st Street NW and Michigan Avenue NW) by granting an injunction against an August 2018 DCRA-issued demolition permit.
The injunction was requested by Friends of McMillan Park and supported by individual members of the Save McMillan Action Coalition, including residents who live near the historic public site.
In its two-page decision the Court found that:
- There is “substantial likelihood of success on the merits” of the case against demolition because DCRA had not made an “independent determination” that the developers “could complete the project,”
- The “planned demolition” would cause “irreparable harm” and thereby foreclose a “meaningful decision” on the merits of preservation, and
- On balance the “public interest” “weighs in favor of staying demolition” because McMillan is a designated historic site under District law which says that the “perpetuation of properties of historical, cultural and aesthetic merit” promotes the “health, prosperity and welfare” of the people of the District.
See this tweet for link to decision:
The Court injunction gives the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) the chance to hear claims against DCRA’s issuance of the demolition permit through an appeal brought by members of the Save McMillan Action Coalition. The Court expects the OAH trial to “proceed expeditiously.”
Mrs. Jimmie Boykin, living in the area since 1969, is one of the Park neighbors worried about the environmental impacts and lack of real traffic studies before DCRA issued the permits. “This is an important victory for the rule of law by our highest court that should send a strong message to what has been an unaccountable DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs as well as other city agencies,” Boykin said.
Cynthia Carson who lives nearby the Park said, “With this critically important Stoppage by the Court, we can now work with appropriate public and private parties to address a real plan for McMillan that preserves the park and protects and serves the neighborhood and the city.”
Among the many ideas being put forward are multiple uses of the subterranean caverns, as well as open parkland, overseen by a newly constituted public conservancy that would raise the funds to manage the site for public use in the best interest of the community.