This is What Democracy Looks Like: Woodley Parkers Take Protest of New Mansions to the Top
A few weeks ago, several dozen Woodley Park residents sicced Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh on the subdivision of a corner lot on Garfield Street NW, where the Zuckerman Partners were planning to build two gigantic houses on spec. Since then, they’ve gotten the support of five more councilmembers, who all signed a letter asking Mayor Fenty himself to put the project on hold.
To bring you up to speed: Soon after their rally on the corner of 29th and Garfield, ANC 3C unanimously voted to oppose the building project and to join an appeal to the Board of Zoning Adjustment. Last Friday, the neighbors met with officials from the Mayor’s office, DCRA, the Urban Forestry Administration, the Office of Planning, and Councilmember Phil Mendelson to try to sort things out, and learned more about how the Zoning Administrator had done little or nothing to evaluate the potential effect of upscaling the woodsy corner.
On Monday, however, the neighbors were dealt a disappointment: DCRA Director Linda Argo said that the Zoning Administrator’s decision to use his “minor flexibility discretion” in subdividing the lot for two homes was “appropriate and correct.” Still, Argo said that the permits would be reviewed by all relevant agencies, including DDOT, WASA, and the Department of the Environment. DCRA will also be meeting personally with the developer to ensure compliance with all regulations.
The Woodley Parkers sent their letter to Mayor Fenty the same day, asking basically the same thing—a stay on all construction until the BZA appeal had been heard. The letter was signed by Councilmembers Cheh, Mendelson, David Catania, Michael Brown, Kwame Brown, and chairman Vince Gray.
“It’s going to be a long, hot summer,” neighborhood spokeswoman Lisa Mitiguy says.