Two dozen residents in Ward 3, Washington, D.C.’s most affluent Ward, are fighting against a planned homeless shelter in the area. Washington City Paper reported that the neighbors along with a group, called Neighbors for Responsive Government, filed a challenge in the D.C. Court of Appeals to stop the facility from starting construction this November.
David Brown, an attorney for the neighbors, told Washington City Paper that residents believe that the project is inconsistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan and that it will worsen quality of life for residents with additional noise and traffic. Brown also argued that the city did not adequately prove that there were no other possible alternative sites for the project.
To the Board of Zoning Adjustment, Brown said, "[The building would be] entirely out of scale with the neighborhood: it is too tall, too dense, and would have material adverse impacts on the neighborhood.”
In response, the D.C. Department of Human Services said, "We rest assured that we have met all zoning requirements to construct the units. We plan to proceed with a phased development plan. And we are looking forward to being a city where every family can have a safe and comfortable roof over their heads every night."
The location of the planned shelter is 3320 Idaho Avenue NW, which currently houses the Metropolitan Police Department's Second District station. If the shelter is constructed, there are plans for an above-ground parking garage for the police department.
In February 2017, a D.C. Superior Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by residents in the Ward who argued they had not been given a chance to weigh in on the site.
Already, a homeless shelter in Ward 4 has begun construction with groundbreaking in July 2017. Located off of Kennedy Street NW in Ward 4, this shelter will provide short-term housing for up to 50 families.
There are plans to close D.C. General by 2020. At the moment, over 250 homeless families sleep at the shelter.
• Ward 3 Neighbors Fight Planned D.C. Homeless Shelter With New Zoning Appeal [Washington City Paper]