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‘Now we’re winning!’: Friends of McMillan Park display new signs after court victory

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“[This is] tremendously good news”

Every Tuesday for the past two or three years now, a group of community volunteers, known as Friends of McMillan Park (FOMP), has rallied on North Capitol Street NW. Their mission? For the McMillan Sand Filtration site to be redeveloped into a massive park—or at least be redeveloped into a mixed-use project after a lengthy open bidding process.

Last week, FOMP experienced a victory after the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the Zoning Commission’s approval of the site’s redevelopment only one day after the groundbreaking. Because of this, the city and the developers of the planned redevelopment will have to pause and see what happens next.

While whatever happens next is still up in the air, FOMP this Tuesday took to the streets with new signs that said, “Now we’re winning!”

FOMP board member Kirby Vining told Curbed DC, “We didn’t want to say, ‘We won,’ because this isn’t over yet ... The city is probably going to push this through with more hearings.”

Despite this possibility, Vining still said that the court’s decision was “tremendously good news.”

The plans that were previously approved for the 25-acre site involved 531 apartments and a 52,000-square-foot Harris Teeter from Jair Lynch as well as 146 townhouses from EYA. Plans also included an eight-acre park, 17,500-square-foot community center, and roughly 1 million square feet towards medical office space from Trammell Crow. The delivery was slated for 2018.

After the court’s ruling, the developer, Vision McMillan Partners, released the following statement:

“We are disappointed with some aspects of the Court’s ruling for the McMillan site, yet significantly encouraged by its agreement with the Zoning Commission that our project is consistent with the District’s Comprehensive Plan and the Future Land Use Map. This is a clear validation of our development plan.

Our team echo’s the sentiments of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and shares the belief that we can and will address with urgency the issues outlined in the Court’s order. We look forward to continuing our work as planned and are eager to move ahead in lockstep with the District to deliver the jobs, housing, retail, parks and open spaces that Ward 5 and District residents want and deserve.”

In a statement, The Coalition for Smarter Growth Policy Director Cheryl Cort further added that the court ruling was a “disappointing setback.”

“Whatever the next steps to win a mixed-use McMillan development, the Court's interpretation of the District’s Comprehensive Plan underscores just how important it is for residents to get involved with the ongoing Comprehensive Plan amendment process to clarify the plan as our city's vision for guiding growth,” said Cort.