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VICTORY! Judge stops razing of Plaza!

Today’s win is official! Here is the DC Superior Court Judge Todd Edelman’s Judgment transcript (37 pages PDF) and one-page Preliminary Injunction Order received from our talented DC pro bono trial attorney Paul Zukerberg.  Anyone can show this to anyone with a bullldozer on our Plaza in Adams Morgan! 🙂  This PI means it will not be razed while the court reviews our case in  full to establish the public easement going forward, which the judge ordered will be on an accelerated timeframe through this fall—we’ll get to hear the real story from all those who were party to the Plaza’s creation & related experts!

Looks like we’ll have a clear decision, which could potentially establish the easement in perpetuity by spring!  For this next phase of the trial,  Paul has let us know that realistically costs for expert witnesses, visual exhibits, court clerk, and video deposition costs could run to $10K.

So so many people have given of their time, care, expertise, resources, official capacity, influence, fresh produce, and funds! THANK YOU ALL!!

As of now, we at AdMo4RD have $54.00 in the bank as most all funds raised so far were spent on filing fees, land title search, exhibits, and witness travel—shared equally with Co-Plaintiff Kalorama Citizens Association. If you’re in a position to give to help cover legal costs, click here.

ALSO:
On the evening of Wednesday, August 23 from 7 to 9pm, we held an open service meeting on the Plaza & had 15 people come out and commit to being of service in the coming weeks and months.

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Hoffman filed for raze permits. It’s go time!

FeaturedHoffman filed for raze permits. It’s go time!

Despite our many successes, the Plaza now hangs in the balance. We’re going to court soon to fight for it & we need AdMo4RD Save Our Plaza members’ help:

  • send us any feedback you’ve got on the case in writing this week

  • give as generously as your budget reasonably allows to support the case

  • contact us to offer help on the case and the campaign

And the market is in full swing again this Saturday, June 3—we’ll be meeting at the Plaza at noon to help welcome the farmers back and show our support!  
Click for the full update…  [links to Google doc of email sent to our list]

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Community Strongly Opposes PN Hoffman Condo Project

Concerns Raised About Public Easement on Plaza 

Adams Morgan, DC, Wednesday, September 21, 2016 – A throng of PN Hoffman’s brightest talents brought their latest designs to Adams Morgan Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners and residents at a packed public meeting at Mary’s Center.  Of the more than thirty people in attendance, the reaction was swift and almost entirely in opposition to the project, with only two people speaking in support of the latest design iteration, Online here –   http://tinyurl.com/suntrust-plaza-design-sep-2016

“Don’t destroy our Plaza,” said 40+ year Adams Morgan resident Mary Jane Owen. “The plaza honors one of the community’s victories against racism, and it can be it refurbished.” Owen references the dedication of the plaza in atonement for bank redlining back in the 1970’s. “Our built environments and memorials are reminders of our historically important neighborhood struggle against discrimination.”

After questioning, PN Hoffman representatives admitted they did not own the site yet. Suntrust Bank has not sent representatives to any public meetings yet.

Further, the PN Hoffman team proclaimed the plaza to be “private property” and that deed searches have not demonstrated any known ownership issues. In stark contrast stood Vikram Surya Chiruvolu who said, “We have discovered several critical documents that show the Suntrust site is encumbered with a public easement [PDF, links to AdMo4RD attorney Paul Zukerberg’s preliminary legal opinion]” and that his group, Adams Morgan for Reasonable Development, “will pursue the full measure of the law to protect this public plaza space.”

“By building right up to or nearly to the bank property line, the proposed out-of-scale apartment will act like a tall wall blocking the wonderful light and air on 18th Street,” said Monica Bose, Adams Morgan artist.  “The adverse impacts of a project this massive in this neighborhood context is unacceptable given how central this site is to Adams Morgan.”

Further, the PN Hoffman team failed to bring any dimensional measurements of the area of plaza that may remain after dropping their condo project on the site. Residents believe the latest design leaves about 300 square feet of the existing 2,500+ square foot public plaza space.

“How do you come to a long-anticipated public meeting about this critical project without measurements of the most controversial aspect of the project — the elimination of the plaza,” said Chris Otten, 2016 ANC Candidate.

Some residents claimed that PN Hoffman’s latest design plan renderings depict the existing Adams Morgan commercial strip along the west side of 18th Street  (Julias Empanadas, inter-alia) as bigger and taller then what they really are. But PN Hoffman representatives fired back and proclaimed that people like Denis James, president of the Kalorama Citizens Association (KCA) were purposefully “manipulating” their photos to hurt their project.  James scoffed at the notion, defiantly holding up his cellphone and challenged PN Hoffman walk to the site and take photos with him.  They  declined reticently.

In the end, the ANC Committee voted in the majority to not support the latest PN Hoffman designs for the Suntrust site.

On October 5, 2016, the ANC as a whole will give one final review before PN Hoffman intends to seek approval by the DC Historic Preservation Review Board in late October.

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Victory! Community Plaza Saved (for now)

Victory! Community Plaza Saved (for now)

Our historic plaza at the corner of 18th and Columbia has been given a temporary reprieve from being paved over by McCondos.

Between the many letters that were written into the record by YOU, and the great organizing that brought an array of Adams Morgan residents to the HPRB hearing, all taken together pushed the positive result today.

The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) took up whether they would approve or deny Anne Brockett’s preservation report.

Brockett’s report called the site of the Suntrust bank, and its amazing history as “insignificant” in her full support of PN Hoffman’s gargantour project at our historic corner.

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Larry Hargrove, 50+ year Adams Morgan resident living on Belmont Road called the failed HPO staff report, “startling” in its lack of substantiation.  Brockett’s report completely ignored the ANC resolution calling out major problems with the project.

Despite the outpouring of dissent to the project in its current configuration as well as the destruction of 90% + of the public plaza, the Chair of the HPRB, Gretchen Pfaehler, moved to approve the HPO’s staff report.

But the vote tied, three to three, so the proposal to support the flawed HPO report failed!  Victory!

Reparations for Adams Morgan residents!

During the hearing one of our fact-finding archival-archaeologists, Vikram, demonstrated the amazing history of victory over redlining racism which gifted the public this plaza [VIDEO] >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaSpZajNd0o

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WHAT NEXT . . .

We have won a bit more time to see a much better redevelopment of this central corner in our neighborhood, such that we:

  1. Ensure the retention of the full historic public plaza from the face of the existing bank building all the way to the sidewalks (including the raised porch).
  2. Drive a campaign for the people to pursue purchase of the site through a combo of crowd-investor fundraising and public monies so we can keep our plaza and build a public resource behind it like a library, maker space, senior resource center, some truly affordable housing, etc.

Help Out and Engage to Save Our Plaza!

  • Conduct internet and archival research work
  • Social media campaigning
  • Investor identification and financial review
  • Alternative planning and design efforts
  • Gathering more petition signatures
    —-> send an email to admo4rd@gmail.com, or call 202-670-2366
ALSO, PLEASE MAKE CALLS TO BRIANNE NADEAU TO ASK HER TO HOST AN OPEN PUBLIC FORUM WIDELY ADVERTISED TO DISCUSS THE HISTORY OF OUR GATEWAY TO ADAMS MORGAN!  (202) 724-8181

… AND, JOIN US ON FACEBOOK!
www.facebook.com/admo4rd