2013 ends in about ten hours and though a new year is a great chance to turn over a new leaf, let's face it, most of the neighborhood beefs that made headlines this year will probably continue next year. Some of these beefs were even highlighted last year. D.C. area residents have come to blows on everything from sidewalk widths to the legality of cycling in Rock Creek Park, but here were the top eleven beefs that made Curbed headlines this year.
11) The Eisenhower Memorial — One of last year's most controversial projects updated the design and finally cleared one hurdle on the way to completion by getting approval from the Commission of Fine Arts. However, that didn't occur without continuing to tick off critics along the way.
10) I.M. Pei's Town Center East — The Southwest apartment buildings designed by architect I.M. Pei were finally deemed historic, but this probably isn't the last that we've heard from the developers at Bernstein Companies who have threatened legal action if they weren't able to build in the spaces surrounding the Pei buildings. Now that the buildings have landmark status, they're not.
9) Parking Wars — There was talk of removing the required parking minimum from the city's residential projects during the zoning rewrite but that didn't happen. That hasn't stopped projects in the city's most walkable areas from asking for exceptions, they just won't get any help from the city as far as enforcing them.
8) Chuck Brown Park — Langdon Park neighbors successfully had the amphitheater component removed from the park dedicated to the late Godfather of Go-Go. His fans are not pleased.
7) McMillan Sand Filtration Site — Although the Friends of McMillan Park is a very vocal contingent against the plans for the site's development, it seems that most people are just ready to get this project underway already. With the Historic Preservation Review Board approving the most recent design, this may happen.
6) Cafritz Building at 5333 Connecticut Avenue — The Chevy Chase neighbors really hate the ugly glass building that Calvin Cafritz is finally building on an empty plot of land that he's owned for years. But since they can't stop it from being built outright, they're slowing the process down with protests.
5) The Purple Line — The arguments against the Purple Line range from the NIMBYs crying out against noise level and decreased property value to the people actually being displaced from their homes by the construction. But now everyone who has issues with the Montgomery County light rail can use an endangered crustacean as their mascot.
4) The Phantom Planter — What a public relations nightmare for Metro. First they threatened Henry Docter, the Phantom Planter, with arrest if he continued tending the flowers he'd planted at the Dupont Circle metro then after agreeing to a community meeting, they ripped out the flowers outright during embankment repairs. After a public outcry, Metro offered a too-little-too-late apology, but now Docter is trying to put closure on the matter with three works of public protest art.
3) D.C. Taxicab Commission — They just couldn't stay out of the news. Between fights with Uber (after which nobody comes out looking good) and fights with their own drivers who might not be getting paid after having installed mandatory credit card machines, it's a rough year to be Ron Linton.
2) The Height Act — Will we stay or will we grow, now? That's the question involving the 1910 law upon which no one can seem to agree.
1) Wal-Mart — The first two of the city's five (once, six) promised Wal-Marts are now open, but it was a long road to that point. The short version is that D.C. Council approved the Large Retailer Accountability Act which would have forced Wal-Mart (and any large retailer coming in afterwards) to pay their workers a living wage above the minimum wage. Wal-Mart threatened to pull out, Mayor Vince Gray vetoed the bill and now the conversation has shifted to a higher minimum wage.