City Desk

Neighborhood Watch: The Cleveland Park Giant Grocery Controversy Lives On

291552_shopping_cartThe Issue: The never-ending battle (read: 10 years) over construction of a new and improved Giant on Wisconsin Avenue seemed to have finally ended last summer when the Zoning Commission voted unanimously in favor of the project. Not so! There's another twist that has tied things up – potentially for a few more years.

Go Away, Giant!: Some residents have raised standard NIMBY concerns ranging from parking and traffic to noise and even the glare of a new neon Giant sign at night. The Wisconsin Newark Neighborhood Coalition has filed suit appealing the Zoning Commission's decision, with resident Ann Hamilton and others arguing that the commission doesn't have the authority to green-light a project that conflicts in scale with the current zoning designation, as they say the Giant one does.

Build the Giant, Already!: Pro-Giant residents say the project will revitalize an area that badly needs it, and that opponents are being obstructionist. Jeff Davis of the group Advocates of Wisconsin Avenue Renewal broke the news of the appeal to the listserv on Friday, writing: "I am disappointed that a small group of neighbors chose to delay a project that so many of us in the neighborhood support and to frustrate our efforts to put that divisive issue behind us."

Added resident Anjana: "Whatever happened to democracy and the voice of the majority? How can few that are in the minority decide to block what everyone else wants? Where is justice? Are we living in a third world country? I moved to this country because I thought every voice is heard but majority rules! There should be laws to throw this ridiculous/frivolous opposition overboard."

Next Step: Work at the Friendship Shopping Center site will now be delayed – again. Sharon Robinson, a consultant to the project, said the appeal, while not unexpected, "is subject to a judicial process that will likely take two years or more to complete." But Giant doesn't have plans to back down; it "remains committed to the project."

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