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McMillan redevelopment blocked by D.C. Court of Appeals

“This is a great victory”

Rendering via Vision McMillan Partners

The D.C. Court of Appeals vacated the Zoning Commission’s approval of the McMillan Sand Filtration site redevelopment only one day after the groundbreaking, as reported by UrbanTurf. The court’s decision found that the D.C. Zoning Commission did not adequately address how the redevelopment would impact the nearby neighborhoods.

The ruling made by the D.C. Court of Appeals reads:

“In the first order, the Zoning Commission approved Vision McMillan Partner’s application for a planned unit development (PUD) on the site. In the other two orders, the Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation approved permits allowing [Vision McMillan Partners] to demolish certain structures on the site and to subdivide the site. Petitioner Friends of McMillan Park (FOMP) challenges these orders. Specifically, FOMP argues that the project is inconsistent with the District’s Comprehensive Plan and that the Commission failed to adequately explain its conclusions.”

In a statement, the non-profit organization, Friends of McMillan Park, described the ruling as “a great victory for our long efforts.” Friends of McMillan Park has stated that their hope for the property is to only construct a park.

Kirby Vining, treasurer of Friends of McMillan Park, told DCist, "The court is the first time that we've had an objective look at what the city is actually doing with this land."

Despite the win for Friends of McMillan Park, the court doesn’t totally agree with the non-profit. According to DCist, the court believes that in certain cases high-density development could be justified for the 25-acre site..

The delivery for the redevelopment was slated for 2018. Plans 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.

UPDATE 12/9: Vision McMillan Partners issued the following statement regarding the D.C. Court of Appeals’ ruling:

“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.”

UPDATE: The Coalition for Smarter Growth Policy Director Cheryl Cort issued the following statement:

“The Appeals Court ruling is a disappointing setback to delivering the city's largest new park for all of us to enjoy. The ruling also delays much-needed housing and affordable housing, a new grocery store, and the historic restoration of aging structures.

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.”

DC Court of Appeals Ruling Blocks McMillan Reservoir Redevelopment [UrbanTurf]

Court Throws Wrench In McMillan Development A Day After Mayor's 'Groundbreaking' [DCist]