Press Alert: Save McMillan Park Action Coalition & DC for Reasonable Development
Contact: Linwood Norman, SMAC.DC@gmail.com, (202) 656-3012
DC Court of Appeals Accepts Opening Briefs from McMillan Park Neighbors Defending National Historic Landmark; Despite Requests and Protests OAG Racine Chooses Not to Meet With McMillan Appellants
Washington, DC — Today, the first day of October 2019, the highest Court in the District of Columbia, the DC Court of Appeals, accepted the opening briefs from several McMillan Park neighbors who are challenging the decision to subdivide and build on the open green plains of McMillan Park and to demolish the historically protected 20-acre Sand Filtration Plant and water cistern underneath the site. www.savemcmillan.org/water
Private developers with deep ties to elected officials will be paid millions in taxpayer dollars to privatize the public land at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue Avenue NW is which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/13000022.htm
Developers are eyeing a substantial windfall to replace the protected historic landmark with 2+ million square feet of new downtown-sized development including hundreds of luxury condos, a grocery store, a recreation center and a new medical campus.
“This could be DC’s central park — an open place for all with acres and acres of wonderfully re-purposed majestic subterranean space for cafes, libraries, recreation, urban agriculture, a grocery store — all without destroying and privatizing this amazing historic site that has protected views to all of DC’s major landmarks downtown,” said James Fournier, appellant and park neighbor.
Mr. J. Peter Byrne is the Mayor’s Agent on Historic Preservation. https://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/j-peter-byrne/
It is Byrne’s decision that is under appeal, the decision that approves the demolition and subdivision of the landmarked McMillan Park and Sand Filtration Plant. http://savemcmillan.org/mayorsagent/
The Court of Appeals just accepted the Opening Briefs of the neighbors challenging Byrne’s approvals. The McMillan Park appellants include Cynthia Carson, James Fournier, Melissa Peffers, Chris Otten, Daniel Wolkoff, Jerome Peloquin, and Linwood Norman. They are calling out the fact that all of DC’s local preservation officials have completely ignored the Federally-assigned preservation covenants that run with the McMillan Park deed. http://savemcmillan.org/legal/MCM_deed_GSA_covenants.pdf
In late August, the Court denied Karl Racine’s attempt to dismiss the case, and ordered Petitioners to file their briefs by the end of August. To try to head things off, appellants attempted to meet with Racine over the summer to intervene on behalf of the residents who want the best possible outcomes for McMillan Park, but Racine ignored pleas for a meeting. And despite open protest of Racine recently, Racine’s office sent a note laste week turning down any meeting with McMillan neighbors. http://www.dcfeedback.com/fit2print/uncategorized/300
“Look, we want the city to follow its laws, whether that be about historic preservation or basic common sense, because when Mayor Bowser’s agencies run over the laws, they hurt the real interests of real DC residents and they are now doing it routinely,” said Melissa Peffers, a Bloomingdale resident and appellant. “The developer’s expert says this new project will bring another 20,000+ new vehicle trips daily to our neighborhood. This is unacceptable given the adverse air quality, pedestrian safety, and traffic concerns we have to contend with along North Capitol Street daily right now.”
The Court ordered Racine and attorneys for Vision McMillan Partners (paid for by DC taxpayers) to file a response brief within 30 days. http://savemcmillan.org/legal/2019/alive/