Paul Ashin 0

Kirkwood-Washington development plans - Increased neighborhood concerns

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We, the undersigned, would like to raise our concerns about the Washington Boulevard and Kirkwood Road Special GLUP Study “Plus” and Concept Plan dated October 2nd, 2017.

We support the County’s efforts to evaluate and improve land use within our neighborhood and applaud the YMCA's announced intention to enhance the services it provides to the community. However, we do not feel that the voice of the community has been adequately heard in this process or that our concerns, voiced during LRPC meetings, open houses, numerous emails to Mr. Fusarelli, and in an April 2017 letter sent by members of our community to Mr. Fusarelli (, have been adequately addressed.

Specifically, the proposed plan fails to:

  • Sufficiently limit building height at the top of 13th St: While the proposal is a noted and appreciated improvement on previous drafts, it still fails to sufficiently slope building height down to 13th St in a way that is sensitive to the fact that other areas as far from the metro are only zoned for single family homes or townhouses.
  • Address the serious negative impacts this development could have on traffic, parking, and pedestrian safety: We are strongly against a direct vehicular connection between 13th St and Washington Blvd, and the current Concept Plan appears ambiguous on this issue.
  • Address concerns about the increase in total density: As we already think that the proposed density is too high, we were shocked to see that this Concept Plan suggests that the YMCA property could be rezoned for low density office-apartment-hotel. This is a very significant departure from previous proposals and was not discussed in any previous study document, meeting or community forum.
  • Ensure that the services provided by the YMCA will continue and be enhanced by this development: What if the YMCA decides to sell its property (like their NW DC property in 2015, to a developer)? Several mechanisms to ensure that services currently provided by the YMCA will continue and be enhanced were discussed in prior LRPC meetings (e.g., GLUP note, special zoning district), yet no such mechanism exists in this Concept Plan.

In addition, we do not feel there have been sufficient mechanisms to help the community fully understand the implications of this 60+ page proposal with far more detail and specificity than was outlined in previous documents. As such, prior to moving forward with a final decision we request that the county hold an open house with the community to review the proposal. The open house from May 2017 to review early options was a model for how the county can engage with the community and as such should be replicated here.

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