Housing Complex

City Brings Five Cops to Community Meeting on McMillan Site

(Darrow Montgomery)

(Darrow Montgomery)

Planning around the McMillan Sand Filtration Site, the 25-acre grassland between Howard University and North Capitol Street, has long been contentious–as is any project involving massive private development on a site of historical significance. But if last night's meeting of the McMillan Advisory Group is any indication, things have escalated recently. Community activist Tony Norman was "offended" to notice that the city had requested five uniformed police officers to be present during the meeting. Clint Jackson, the project manager with the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, defended the precaution.

"There are people who don't feel comfortable in this environment," Jackson said. "I think you're aware of how our dialogue has evolved over the last several months."

There was some heated discussion among group members, which a professional facilitator brought in for the occasion tried mightily to tamp down. But Norman approved of the developers' 250-page historic preservation study laying out guidelines for rehabilitation that would respect the site's historic resources. The group then trudged  through an explanation of the very rosy fiscal impact statement, which the consultant emphasized was "iterative," subject to change as economic conditions shift and the plans take shape.

The next step: Three community meetings conducted by master planner Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn, the first of which will be scheduled in September, to present what's been planned already and gather input.

  • Thomas d

    Barrie Danneker is a scumbag

  • Nate K.

    Welcome to the "new normal."

    A citizen not under police surveillance is a dangerous citizen.

  • The Commish

    Thank you, Thomas D. for your insightful comments. It might help to know there was a reason why MPD was present at the meeting, as people have been verbally assaulted and threatened by certain members of the MAG and the public. It’s obvious these members have crossed the line; MPD has an active investigation into the matter.

    Public safety is very important and some people just need a MPD presence to feel safe in case any of these radicals get physical or threatening. It's happened several times already! It's not the best use of our city resources nor is it the best use of the resident’s time. Mr. Norman’s comments about being offended just might convince him that he just might want to speak to members that have alerted authorities via the actions they have taken.

  • Don McKinnon

    Hey 'The Commish', what the hell are you talking about?

    You say:

    "radicals" are getting physical, and "It's happened several times already!" (Thanks for the exclamation mark, just in case we missed that you are hyping this with trembling excitement.)

    Would you please share details of any one getting physical? If you can't, would you please tone it down. This isn't the struggle between good and evil. Citizens wanted to see information held by their government, as provided for in the Freedom of Information Act. It can be very frustrating when there are obvious ties between government and private sector developers, especially when cloaked in secrecy like some nuclear weapon design. Why won't the DC government share information about traffic, stormwater management and other information Tony Norman and Blooingdale residents have paid to produce? I can tell you one thing, whatever information they have, they have a reason for not wanting to share it. It doesn't help THEIR cause of maximizing the height and breadth of this development, which both the Bethesda-based developer and the City see as a cash cow.

    I wish you were bargaining for a better deal rather immediately and wholeheartedly taking the side of the Bethesda developer, including militarizing your meeting. I guess if you are 'The Commish' you feel more important surrounded by armed, muscular men. The question you should be asking yourself is: 'How long can a democratically-elected representative survive if he feels the need to arm himself against his own constituents?'

  • The Commish

    To all:

    First and foremost, I have to be fair and equitable about what is being portrayed here; there have been threats and verbal assaults and destruction of property over the past few months. Escalating incidents are a signal of physical violence being the next step, which is what has caused MPD to investigate. Several members of MAG had concerns and expressed them, other than that I have no further information. It was NOT at my request MPD to be at the meeting, but rather the city's request, as public safety is concern number one.

    It has never been the objective of the city to maximize the development on this site! PERIOD! This statement is the reason I to respond to the comments that are made, because they are unfair and are unbalanced. As for “ties”, I have no ties to anyone other than the residents of 5C07 who over whelming have supported this development project and are eager to see results after 30 years of nothing! I have never accepted any campaign contributions or any thing of value, as it could be interpreted as something different. As for the studies, they are in progress and are shared with MAG and the public. The first two studies Historical and Financial were on this week's topics. The project plans are being development and the studies will reflect these changes and progress on the overall development plan.

    “Bargaining for a better deal”…I do that every time the topic is discussed to ensure that accurate information on this project is forthcoming and brought to the attention of the public and stakeholders. Affordable housing, a grocery store, independent senior living, assisted care/independent living facility, 1/3 park/open/public space, retaining 75-80% of all the above ground structures on the site, saving some of the cells for interactive historical attraction geared towards kids, cable cars to support the transpiration to WHC and McMillan that will also link CUA, Trinity, Howard U, Howard Law, UDC and American U. and help to create a better medical center that has the educational competent to support the medical development at WHC. But most of all a balanced plan that is feasible! The key issue what is feasible, financially and gives this community a development with an acceptable plan by the majority of stakeholders.

    As for the armed muscular men from MPD, I'm very confident in my ability to protect myself and my constituents. It's when a select and a few constituents step over the line…threaten someone; threaten family members; use defamatory and libelous verse only to push their personal agenda without regard for the whole. We all need to be concerned with that.

    Thanks again for your comments Mr. McKinnon...