5333 Connecticut Neighborhood Coalition

Distorted Perspective

ANC Meeting: Tuesday, August 27, 2013, Lipstick on a Pig

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Latest Update: Monday, September 30, 2013

ANC Meeting

The New ANC-Cafritz Agreement is Like Putting

Meeting Photos

Meeting Handouts (.pdf)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, Update

Dear Neighbors,

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.


Richard Graham

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.

* A Deal That Doesn’t Live Up to Its Billing; Key Points For Consideration

(66KB .pdf)

(Distorted Perspective of new, Catritz Design)

* 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 26Aug2013: CALL TO ACTION: Please Attend Tuesday 8/27 ANC Meeting and Key Points to Review

• ALERT 24Aug2013: CALL TO ACTION: Urgent ANC meeting Tuesday, 27th August

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