May 12, 2007

"They're Coming In To Fxxxx Rape Our Neighborhood."

Can you believe? Next to the Metro and on a major street people would argue against, "a high rise" building. The outrage! Imagine a seven-story building!

As the WaPo notes, the Maryland side of Western Ave. features Neiman Marcus, Saks; the DC side has dumpy retail and commercial space. (Rodman's though is a great, great store.)

Many of the same activists oppose the condominium project, at 5220 Wisconsin Ave., between Harrison and Jenifer streets. Opponents, such as Coalition to Stop Tenleytown Overdevelopment and the Friendship Neighborhood Association, say too high, too dense. Perhaps they mean too fancy, shamancy.

"They're coming in to rape our [expletive] neighborhood," Carolyn Sherman, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and an opponent, said of developers in the WaPo.

Whatever. Fighting development along the avenue is bad for D.C. (think: tax base), bad for the environment (sprawl adds to global warming etc.) and holds the neighborhood back. We have to wonder if this is a case where an extreme minority is skewing the debate.

Let Ackridge, which has worked with the community, to move forward.


Anonymous said...

Unbelievable that "enlightened" people of toney NW Washington cannot understand the obvious benefits of a proposal like this.

Another reason why ANCs should be abolished.

Anonymous said...

As with most development projects in DC, this one will target the "Suburban Transplant" crowd (think people that crave chain store blandness - the Ruby Tuesday crowd). I have to laugh at what people in DC refer to as "urbanization." DC is essentially one big suburb (with a few truly urban neighborhoods thrown in -- and that number is dwindling). What that tool in the WP article really wants is just to have the suburban crap closer to where he lives with Disneyland prettiness. If he really wanted his "slice of urban nirvana" then he should have just moved to Fairfax. Otherwise, he might want to get an education on urbanity by visiting, say, New York City or Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn Sherman is a psychotic, soccer mom with CLEARLY way too much time on her hands. Upper-Wisconsin avenue is replete with these neurotic NIMBYs that have nothing better to do than spend their money on attorneys. They misrepresent their "coalition" numbers. They're collectively nasty, petty, vitriolic loving jerks that have gotten their way for the past fifteen years. Just look at how little Wisconsin avenue has changed as compared to the rest of the DC and that should clearly indicate that its a damn tragedy that they are in fact very effective at their "victimized" game.

That's why I moved out of Ward 3, they suck.

Anonymous said...

Look at the Orange Line corridor in Arlington. A great success at using the Metro to leverage development into making cool neighborhoods. DC could learn a lesson or two from across the river.

Anonymous said...

LOL...check out this "explanation" from ANC Commissioner Sherman:

I think most ANC Commissioners use their position as a placeholder for therapy.

Anonymous said...

The idiocy of people suggesting that ANC's be elminated is mind boggling. Is this the message to send to Congress, that we want less, not more democracy.

As for the ANC's, do we really want ANC's to rubber stamp any and all development or do we want them to exercise healthy skepticism on development issues and serve as a voice for protecting the interests of the community vis a vis those of the developers and their political (i.e. Cheh) cronies.

Anonymous said...

So you think Mary Cheh is a political crony of the developers? Democracy is supposed to be about broader concerns, not "back yard" interests.

Cheh was elected because she understands the reality of regional population growth and pressures on the environment and possible benefits to the District of Columbia.

Rather than stick her head in the sand like most of ANC 3E, Cheh believes that concentrating new development around Metro stations makes sense on so many different levels.

The ANC on the other hand, simply rejects new proposals for different reasons, and creates acrimony in the neighborhood by running their council as a junta despite the sentiment of the broader community.

As elected representatives, these folks are supposed to be higher minded than mis-representing and fear-mongering within the community to satisfy their narrow goals.

The NIMBYs made these development issues a main topic of the 2006 election campaign and were trounced, as Cheh carried every voting precinct in Ward 3.

If anyone with half a brain or life were willing to run for ANC, these people wouldn't be in office.

An Observer said...

Getting someone thoughtful and sensible to run really is the problem. All five members of ANC3E ran unopposed. Few voters pay attention to them or have any idea what they do. Obviously, given their influence, that's misguided.

To be fair, Sherman is a special, venom-spitting case, but the rest of them act as if they are lifetime appointees. Historically, alas, there's been no reason for them to act otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Commissioner Sherman, like all ANC commissioners devote a great deal of time and commitment to making our city a better place to live-- and they do it as volunteers--there is NO remuneration for the untold hours that all ANC commissioners devote to various community issues. While you may disagree with her views, and the way in which she expressed them, personal attacks on her integrity reflects more on the writer than on any of the ANC Commissioners.

And finally, it's easy to criticize, but if you don't like what you see, run for an ANC seat and see how thankless the task can be.

Anonymous said...

Most ANC Commissioners take on the role because they do not have other obligations that most people have, jobs, spouses, kids, etc, or they are in it for a single issue.

They might be getting into it to carve out the "better place to live" by their definitions, but clearly, from complaints throughout DC, there are serious isses with the ANC system.

Financial abuse, abuse of the 'great weight' mandate and what that means, notice to the community for meetings, agenda items, etc. how many times have you attended an ANC meeting where a resolution on an action was already crafted prior to a citizen input? I can count dozens which have negatively impacted the city, its residents, etc.

Unless it can get cleaned up then its whole need in the city should be questioned.

Anonymous said...

All of Neiman Marcus and some of Saks (the Men's Store) are in DC. As are Lord & Taylor, Williams Sonoma, J. Crew, Pottery Barn, Borders, Maggiano's, and lots of other national retailers. Let's get the facts straight. (Oh yeah and Rodman's was literally the first example OP's consultants gave re the what constituted the kind of blight that needed to be eliminated from upper Wisconsin Avenue. Would you trust these people with your neighborhood?)

Before you condemn Carolyn Sherman (or ANC 3E generally) based on a couple quotes from a sensationalistic Post story, wait for -- and read -- the ZC transcript from the Akridge hearing. Sherman and Eldridge gave a very impressive performance. They were rational, well-informed, and highly substantive.

None of the 3E Commissioners have been on the Commission for ages. I think that those who have been there the longest (Eldridge and McVey) came on board in 2002, Sullivan was elected in 2004, Sherman and Primor in 2006. This isn't a fiefdom. I've been really impressed by this group -- they got a baptism by fire with the Upper Wisconsin Avenue Corridor Study and they have really made an effort both to understand zoning/development issues and to do the outreach necessary to figure out what the community thinks. They held a series of three community fora on the UWACS and are organizing a referendum on the Chevy Chase historic district.

Re the Akridge proposal. It's not the height it's the lot occupancy (100% -- which leads to insane results such as units that will be directly abutting noisy equipment at the electrical substation on one side and units whose windows will have to be bricked over when the WMATA site redevelops on the other.) that bothers me. Oh, yeah, and that's why they need to build up -- because those units won't be profitable. Everyone (future tenants included) would be better off if a condo building on that site was built at 60% lot occupancy as the current zoning requires.

And don't get me started on their LEED application -- it's a travesty. (Sample -- they claim a credit for preserving open/green space on a project with 100% lot occupancy. How? Because the current use has 100% lot occupancy!)

There has also been a lot of really slimy politics involved in this project and that's a further source of animosity.

Bottom line -- don't assume people are NIMBYs when you don't know jack about the situation.

Anonymous said...

Slimy politics? Do tell!

(talk about conspiracy theories!)

Anonymous said...

Sherman has been on since before 2006. She was selected in a special election to replace Chapman Todd. Her issue was the famous (or infamous) River Road barrier (thanks Carolyn!!).

Primor is the only new arrival and she has been squelched repeatedly by the 4 witches of 3E.

Anonymous said...

The special election in question was in Spring of 2006. So Sherman, unlike Primor, has been re-elected but she has only been on the Commission since May of 2006.

Anonymous said...

Watch this and tell me the ANC system isn't broken:

Granted, this is an extreme example, however, it is routine for Commissioners to add agenda items without notification, to act in self interest and to be exclusive of the broader community.

Anonymous said...

The DC Council is broken. Shall we abandon that, too? How about Congress?

Anonymous said...

Unlike the Council and Congress, the ANC doesn't add anything other than little fifedoms which pit neighbor against neighbor. Congress and the Council have budgetary and other oversight functions, and act as a check/balance on the Executive.

The ANC does neither.

When the executive level ignores ANCs and Councilmembers have to step in to perform the function of an ANC (as Jack Evans is currently doing) then it is time to reexamine the role of the institution.

The actions of ANC 3E do nothing to dispell this thought for me.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on 45th Street, just a few blocks from Lord & Taylor, Mazza Gallery etc. Went to Janney, Alice Deal, Wilson but haven't lived there in years. Its so nice to read how little it has changed and to read Rodmans is still alive !!

Strange you describe the area as "toney" and Arlington as an area of inspiration. Too funny, I mean Arlington? Yuck ! Bethesda has lots of great shops and all you have to do is cross the street !