poor planning about large projects in low-scale residential neighborhoods become
a form of disrespect & discrimination?
when your Councilmember brokers a sweetheart City tax
break for a luxury hotel with almost no public notice, all the while eliminating
beds for the poor by closing homeless shelters.
when the DC Zoning Commission prevents people
who live and own businesses within 200 feet of this proposed hotel project
from participating as parties in Zoning Commission hearings.
when the Office of Planning ignores
key policies and action strategies of DC's Comprehenisve Plan that seek to
protect the unique diversity of Adams Morgan, expand affordable housing and prevent
small business displacement.
when local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners provide limited notice of meetings
and little to no interpretation at meetings and translation of flyers and materials
to what is a neighborhood with many immigrant families.
- Yes, when
the developers only view our community as a place to invest
and make money... with little regard for those families directly
impacted by a project of this size and this use in a residential
Adams Morgan Hotel Project Wins
Approval Based on Conclusory statements by District Zoning Commissioners
Councilmember Graham Does Not Request Postponement
and Opposition Issues Are Completely Dismissed
Washington, DC -- On the night of Monday, November 19,
2012, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission decided to
pass initial approval for the proposed Adams Morgan luxury hotel.
Hotel developers still require Zoning Commission approval of
a text amendment to the Reed Cooke Overlay regulations so that
this hotel can be built at the corner of Euclid and Champlain
Streets at the edge of the residential community. And, the National
Capital Planning Commission will also need to review and approve
Parties in opposition to the hotel were left wondering how
any of this hotel project discussion can be considered appropriate
planning in the 21st Century in the Nation's Capital.
The Kalorama Citizens Association suggested various conditions
for approval, all of which were ignored by the Zoning Commission.
Directly impacted residents living on Champlain Street and represented
as a party called the Champlain Street Neighbors submitted twenty
pages of analysis and sixty pages of attachments all of which
received two minutes of review and dismissed entirely by Zoning
Zoning Chairman Anthony Hood finished his quick evaluation of opposition
documents proclaiming, "This has come a long way... everyone
was accommodated... everything was vetted... I am ready to move
forward with this case." (http://tinyclip.tv/32282e97)
In a most conclusory manner, Zoning Commissioner Peter May,
one of two Federal appointees on the Commission, highlighted
how the Champlain Street Neighbors and
small businesses along Columbia might get hurt, "The mere
truth of it is that there may be some effects on some folks
they regard as quite negative but in the long run it will be
a superb project for the neighborhood."
These "negative" effects are those brought to light
by the most directly impacted residents living on the same block
as the proposed hotel site -- like rising rents, commercial
gentrification, noise, pollution, traffic, two-years of construction,
pedestrian safety, and bringing the 18th street party further
into the residential neighborhood, among other concerns.
Breaking rules, accepting corporate contributions, and helping developers get City handouts is something Jim Graham seems to excel at:
Small Adams Morgan Businesses wonder how 2+ years of major construction work will affect them and why Jim Graham won't meet with them to discuss ways the City can help mitigate hotel impacts
Small businesses lining Columbia Road east of 18th Street are nervous about the proposed Adams Morgan luxury hotel project. Many of these businesses are long-standing, minority owned/or operated, and focus their services and goods to serve local Adams Morgan residents.
Given that the proposed luxury hotel may be bringing in out-of-town wealthy patrons, these small businesses don't believe they will see the promised foot-traffic underlying key support from Councilmember Graham who championed a 46-million dollar tax break for the luxury hotel developers.
"Where's our tax break?" pondered Mr. Walid Abuelhawa, owner of Old City Cafe right across the street from where the hotel may be built. "Small businesses along Columbia Road provide jobs and services for the Adams Morgan economy right now and are key to neighborhood diversity, but we haven't gotten assistance from the City like millions in tax breaks that the rich hotel developers are getting."
Seņora Blanca Aquino, owner of Latino Connection on Columbia Road says she's been totally sidelined by Jim Graham's office going back before the Zoning hearings began. "Columbia Road businesses asked Jim Graham to meet with us to discuss how we will survive two years of major construction and increasing rents due to the hotel project he supports, but he will not respond directly to these requests."
In December 2010, Councilmember Jim Graham claimed it was emergency to provide a 46-million dollar tax gift to the hotel developers, otherwise Marriott hotel would walk away from the deal. Marriott did walk away from the deal in the summer of 2012, but a new hotelier replaced them named Sydell Group. Graham also said the hotel would be unionized, but Sydell Group has chosen not to yet sign an agreement with the local hotel union.
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