Neighborhood residents who believe a world class mix of uses is possible at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site won a small victory recently. On May 28, 2021, the D.C. Court of Appeals issued an order rejecting the request by the DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to lift the injunction that has been in place since February 2020, barring DMPED from demolishing the historic McMillan Park. The Court concluded that Friends of McMillan Park (FOMP) has a “likelihood of success on the merits” of its pending appeal of an Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) decision that would have allowed demolition of McMillan Park to go forward and further agreed with FOMP that the harms that DMPED claimed (costs of delaying demolition activity) are “self-inflicted.” The Court also noted that continuing the injunction against demolition “… is presumptively in the public interest” and that “demolition of the filtration cells at the McMillan site is an irreparable harm.” See the full text of the Court order here.
DMPED’s plans call for the immediate demolition of all but one and a half of McMillan’s historic underground vaults (sand filtration “cells”) and a majority of the above-ground portals leading to the cells to construct two million square feet of intensive mixed-use development, including a speculative 10-story office building, on a site poorly served by public transit. Transportation engineers estimate that the proposed development plan would generate at least 31,000 additional vehicle trips per day on the already congested North Capitol Street corridor adjacent to the safety-critical Washington Hospital Center. The demolition request is premature because (1) the developers that the District picked through a no-bid process have not proven that they have the financing to complete the development and (2) the private development project planned for the site is not slated to begin for more than a decade.
“Friends of McMillan has never opposed the city’s plans to demolish that small group of cells that are severely damaged or the plans to build the only public component of the project – a community center on the southern end of the site – where the most severely damaged cells are located,” says Kirby Vining, an FOMP board member. “We only oppose the permit to demolish ALL of the cells, while construction other than the community center is so far off.”
The Court of Appeals requested that Friends of McMillan Park file its brief by July 12, 2021 in this consolidated case, 20-CV-245, 21-AA-180, and 21-AA-185, and advised that the case will be on the Court’s October 2021 calendar.
For additional information, please refer to our recent written opposition to DMPED’s motion to dissolve the injunction here.
To donate to our legal fund, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/savemcmillanpark.
Friends of McMillan Park is a 501(c)3 educational non-profit. Donations to this cause are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. To obtain a letter confirming your donation and the tax-exempt status of your donation, please contact Friends of McMillan Park Treasurer Kirby Vining at 202 213-2690 or at email@example.com.
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