Latest Update: Monday, September 30, 2013
The New ANC-Cafritz Agreement is Like Putting
Meeting Handouts (.pdf)
Wednesday, August 28, 2013, Update
At last night's ANC meeting, commissioners voted 4-2 to approve a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with
attorneys representing the Cafritzes for their proposed development at 5333 Connecticut Avenue. (Representatives
Carolyn Cook and Rebecca Maydak dissented; Gary Thompson abstained.) A motion by Gary Thompson and Caroline
Cook to publicly discuss the MOU issues further and to delay a vote until the next ANC meeting was defeated 4-3,
with no clear rationale provided.
As we had communicated to the Commissioners and publicly commented before last night's meeting, and as many of
you artfully and powerfully expressed last night, this agreement is laughably vague, unenforceable, and highly flawed;
the 4 ANC commissioners who brought the matter to a vote had met in secret with Cafritz's attorneys to come to
the agreement, which was presented for the first time to 5333CNC members last Thursday night as a fait accompli.
5333CNC architects and legal advisers were never consulted. Not only was community input into the agreement
denied, but in addition, as we saw last night, so was any opportunity for community discussion on the merits and
drawbacks. A careful reading of the MOU document confirms the agreement is indeed like putting lipstick on a
pig. (MOU and other documents below.)
We want to assure you that last night's vote does nothing to hinder our legal appeal.While we had sincerely hoped that
our negotiations this summer with the Cafritzes (which, at their insistence, had been subject to confidentiality) would
result in meaningful changes and avoid litigation, the ANC's actions of last evening do nothing to affect our legal case.
Our first BZA hearing is scheduled for September 24th at 9:30 am. Please mark your calendars. Future legal actions
have not been scheduled as of yet.
Importantly, we want to thank those of you who came out last night to express your frustration at the process by
which this agreement came about and was brought to a vote. It was overall an incredibly impressive evening of
intelligent questions, thoughtful critiques, and unfailing demand for due process that we 1) unequivocally deserve and
2) do not believe we are receiving from our elected representatives. We are continually heartened and impressed by
the strong individual voices that make up this community.
We will keep you apprised of further developments as they occur. In the meantime, we welcome your support, whether
it be legal expertise, volunteering your time, communications, or donations to assist with our costly appeal. It's been a
long road thus far, but we have no intention of slowing down in our pursuit, openly and transparently, of a building
that meets the legal requirements under DC zoning and construction laws, and that enhances our community while
reducing the unnecessary impact on our neighborhood.
5333 Connecticut Neighborhood Coalition
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
At the encouragement of the Chevy Chase Advisory Neighborhood Commission, members of 5333 CNC, the
commission and the Cafritz development group spent the summer seeking agreement on changes to the developers’
proposed all-glass apartment tower, ones that would protect the vibrant Chevy Chase D.C. community while
encouraging growth and development. At the insistence of the Cafritzes, everybody involved in the effort had to sign
pledges of confidentiality.
The sessions were intended to produce a reasonable compromise between the residents and the Cafritzes. Instead,
they have resulted in a draft agreement between the Cafritzes and the ANC that doesn’t address the community’s
most important requests for change and could be damaging to the community’s appeals of the developers’ plans.
The ANC is scheduled to take up the 15-point draft Tuesday, August 27 at 7:30 p.m. The 5333 Connecticut
Neighborhood Coalition asks community residents to turn out for the meeting and judge for themselves.
Last spring, the ANC joined the 5333 CNC in appealing municipal permits that the developer obtained for the proposed
structure and helped to convene negotiations between the coalition and Cafritz representatives. Throughout the
negotiations, the coalition proposed practical, modest changes that would not require wholesale redesign. Among
them: shifting the mass of the large Military Road wing of the proposed building forward toward Connecticut and
stepping down the back of the wing to create a buffer between the 10-story development and the two-to-three story
surrounding single-families homes.
As it now appears, ANC commissioners engaged in a separate negotiation with the Cafritz side about which the 5333
CNC was not told. The resulting agreement fails to address key issues in the 5333 CNC-Cafritz negotiations, is vague,
unenforceable and makes new concessions to the developer with little in return for the community.
Linked below a brief review of some of the key points included in the draft Cafritz-ANC agreement that the
commission intends to consider, along with the actual ANC MOU draft agreement and a copy of an email to the ANC
from 5333CNC requesting a delay in the ANC vote tomorrow night.
* Draft ANC Memo of Understanding (MOU) (86KB .pdf)
* Request from 5333CNC to ANC to delay MOU vote (49KB .pdf)
Door Flyer Monday 26 August, 2013 (319KB .pdf)
ALERT 28Aug2013: Last night's ANC meeting
ALERT 24Aug2013: CALL TO ACTION: Urgent ANC meeting Tuesday, 27th August