Zoning Commissioners Poised to “Rubber Stamp” the Displacement of 400+ Barry Farm Families

Barry Farm Tenants & Allies Association (BFTAA)
1312 Stevens Road SE, WDC 20032

PRESS CONTACT — Detrice Belt, 202-286-8584, bfwrtaa@gmail.com

Zoning Commissioners Poised to “Rubber Stamp” the Displacement of 400+ Barry Farm Families


Monday October 20, 2014, Washington, DC – Tonight, the DC Zoning Commission may give initial approval to the controversial Barry Farm redevelopment project following on from a mid-September hearing when officials from the DC Housing Authority (DCHA) and DC Mayor’s Office for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED) pleaded with the Commission that they must move forward with the demolishing Barry Farm despite not having any guaranteed financing for the project.

“DCHA and DMPED finally admitted what they really are seeking to do at Barry Farm — to disperse an historic black community away from their roots, pushing even more low-income families into homelessness and out of the District,” said Michelle Hamilton, resident of Barry Farm and member of the Barry Farm Tenants and Allies group. “The rubber-stamp machine that is the DC Zoning Commission continues to let the longtime residents of the District of Columbia down.”

Approval from the Zoning Commission supports DCHA and DMPED desire to completely demolish all 360 public housing units at Barry Farm in “one-phase” and replace them with a high density, mixed-income development, with the majority of units considered “market-rate.” DCHA testified that they have already started the permitting process for demolition.

ANC 8C Chair, Mary Cuthbert, testified at the September 18, 2014 zoning hearing that Councilmember Barry invited her to a “private” meeting at which City officials from DMPED and DCHA pressured the ANC to change their position on the density of the project. Currently there are about 360 single family attached row homes at Barry Farm, but DCHA and DMPED want to magnify the residential density to 1400 units, mostly one- and two- bedrooms in size.

“They have purposely divided this fragile community, with City officials deeming low-income families collateral damage in the war to corporatize and overdevelop the entire City,” said Marybeth Onyeukwu of ONE DC. Schyla Pondexter-Moore of Empower DC went on to say, “Historic Barry Farm is being treated like a monopoly board, and they think our families and neighbors mean nothing. DCHA and DMPED are in for a long fight.”

At the September hearing, Zoning Commissioners were in general agreement in being “satisfied” with DCHA’s proposed project plans, despite having very limited information on the record. The biggest turnaround came from Chairman Hood who at the June and July hearings was adamant about prioritizing “predictability” for the future of current Barry Farm residents. But despite DCHA producing a document to the Commission which only pointed to a “a process” that would develop a relocation/return plan “in the future,” Hood seemed sadly placated.

At at recent candidate forum, Chairman Phil Mendelson declared his support for protecting Barry Farm residents from dislocation, but didn’t get into detail as to how he would do this. https://twitter.com/_onedc/status/523985805363396608

Zoning Commissioners will meet on October 20, 2014, 6:30PM
to make their decision on DCHA’s application for a First-Stage PUD for Barry Farm. The Zoning Commissioners Meet at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW, Suite 200 South. Bring your ID.


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