Zoning Board Rules Against Mt. Pleasant Library Expansion
This ran in last week's Northwest Current, but since you probably didn't pick up the dead-tree-only paper, a below-the-fold article bears re-blogging: The Board of Zoning Adjustment, which had previously deadlocked over whether to allow a rear expansion of the Mt. Pleasant Library, tipped against it earlier this month with new board member Lloyd Jordan (yes, that Lloyd Jordan) casting the deciding vote.
Activists had protested the destruction of the sunlit reading room on the back of the old Carnegie library, saying that the planned addition for community space was too large and wouldn't leave enough room for emergency vehicles. Two local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions spent thousands of dollars on studies contesting the addition as well as the access ramp, which they said was too difficult for the handicapped to navigate.
Of course, construction is already well underway, on track for completion this winter. The D.C. Public Library still plans to proceed under existing building permits, and has applied for a zoning variance that would retroactively clear the way for the rear addition. As the Current notes, the BZA may very well reject that application, in which case DCPL could take it to the D.C. Court
of Appeals. If rebuffed there, however, they'd have to tear down whatever had been built.
DCPL spokesman George Williams says that legal fees and design changes have already added $1 million to the cost of the $11.5 million renovation.
UPDATE, January 22: The Library got its requested variance, and so won't have to tear anything down.