McMillan Park Legal Cases Reveal Startling Facts

McMillan Press Update May 22, 2016 :: SAVE MCMILLAN ACTION COALITION :: 202 344 5385 ::

 –> as posted on bloomingdale blog

McMillan Park Legal Cases Reveal Startling Facts Not Considered by City Council or Planners During Park Giveaway Proceedings

Legal filings demonstrate overwhelming traffic conditions, millions of gallons of wasteful sewage and water use, and serious air pollution & displacement factors


May 23, 2016, Washington, D.C. — District of Columbia residents and several DC citizen groups[1] have filed legal briefs with the DC Court of Appeals to save their historic McMillan Park. Their legal teams are awaiting responses this week from attorneys representing the city and a cadre of well-heeled developers, all paid for by DC tax dollars.  


The appeals seek to defend McMillan as a national historic landmark, to protect a key water-source feature (20-acre cistern) to help the  capital city resist increasing climate chaos, as well as to safeguard the surrounding working-class community from a myriad of adverse impacts.


Residents are challenging what they describe as “arbitrary” decisions made by DC zoning and historic preservation officials which show an “absolute disregard of fundamental planning protocols.”  


For example, the filings show the Zoning Commission chose to upzone the site from a low-rise community to that allowing massive downtown-sized development to serve the developers interests in bringing online over 2 million square feet of dense commercial and residential buildings and paving over two-thirds of the open public space. This upzoning flies in the face of city planning documents that call for more limited moderate community-minded development that preserved most of the open park space. 


Evidence on the record shows that just on a Saturday alone, the proposed “McMillan Town Center” will generate nearly 25,000 vehicle trips, and 40,000 “person” trips to and from the site.  And, the project will push 3 million gallons of water plus an equal amount of sewage through aging city pipes on a daily basis. 


No analysis was done to determine if the city’s infrastructure can even handle a project of this size, and who would pay for upgrades, nor did anyone take into account the more than 50,000+ vehicles already coursing around McMillan everyday and how adding thousands of more cars will affect the air quality and emergency services of the surrounding communities.


Moreover, local residents are deeply concerned that the amount of luxury housing proposed for the site (more than 500 market-rate units) will “accelerate gentrification pressures” in the surrounding community.  The staffers with DC’s Office of Planning provided no evaluation of displacement effects brought on by this project.  

Local developers and architect design teams (Jair Lynch E.Y.A.; Trammel Crow; Perkins Eastman DC; Robert Silman Associates; EHT Traceries; and others) are getting cover from city officials who are eager to get started on the project.


These developers are anticipating a 2+ billion dollar windfall to come at the expense of DC taxpayers who are paying for the vast majority of pre-development costs, including a PR firm hired to discredit those in opposition, as well as paying for architects, designers, and for the legal help.


The city has recently released a Request for Proposals for the so-called horizontal development, which means the demolition of the site, as well are shopping preliminary plans for the “park” in spite of the legal battle unfolding in Court.  


This legal battle follows on from mounting public dissent to the project (More then 8,000 people have signed the petition to Save McMillan park; and DC’s independent auditor, Kathy Patterson has asked that the McMillan project be competitively rebid because competition was minimized for these favored developers under the banner, Vision McMillan Partners. 


Holland and Knight, the lawyers for the developers who are being paid with DC taxpayer monies, may be submitting responses to the residents’ initial legal claims this week.



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