Friday, October 15, 2010

Cleveland Park's Giant Supermarket Saga Continues

The Cleveland Park Listserv is hopping again over the Giant. To recap, there's been an epic battle over whether or not the Giant supermarket at Wisconsin Avenue and Newark Street should be modernized. Small is good, big is bad, and giant is even worse in the eyes of the Giant's opponents.

The battle raged for 11 years, an almost biblical length of time, but now a modern supermarket and accompanying residential and retail development is assured.

The minority of neighbors who've opposed the Giant development threw everything they had, including lawsuits, to thwart the Giant's plans, and have lost. There's even one remaining lawsuit, but almost nobody expects that to succeed.

But the issue de jour is: What about the stores that will be displaced during construction? What will happen to them -- the toy store, the barber shop, the yoga studio, even Starbucks? Will they return? Will they be able to afford to return?

Now that the Giant development is close to a certainty, the anti-Giant community continues to portray big as bad and small as good, and wants to blame Giant and the pro-Giant forces for displacing these stores. But it can be claimed with equal conviction that it was the anti-Giant side that caused the smaller stores to have to leave. At one point Giant had planned to do phased construction, but is now going to demolish everything and build the project all at once. Had the opposition focused their rather considerable energies on ensuring that the construction cause as little disruption to the existing stores as possible, instead of digging in their heels and opposing Giant at every opportunity, things could have been different.

92 comments:

  1. Several Glover Park residents, including at least one ANC commissioner, are trying to get Sullivan Toys to relocate to Glover Park. There has been some discussion of this on the Glover Park listserve and many people have emailed the owner of this business to tell him about the advantages of locating in Glover Park.

    As for the Starbucks and the Sun Trust bank, I seriously doubt that the two-year absence from this location will determine whether either of these businesses can continue as successful corporations. I doubt any of the Giant opponents patronize the laundry-mat at the north parcel. These people are just looking for one last, desperate, reason to oppose this development.

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  2. The reason why many in the community, including the ANC, are upset with Giant Ahold is that they repeatedly promised in community meetings and before the Zoning Commission, to have demolition and construction in two phases (block by block), so that existing neighborhood businesses could remain if they wanted to. Giant Ahold also promised that it would offer favorable rents to existing tenants so that lower-margin businesses like Sullivans Toys or the yoga/ballet studio could remain in the new development complex. In fact, Ahold even asked for and received more density and height than existing zoning regulations allowed, claiming that it needed a bigger project so that it could afford to retain existing neighborhood businesses.

    Unfortunately Giant's promises are starting to stink just like the fish it sells. Somehow none of these commitments made it into the zoning order. Not only has Ahold publicly reneged on its commitment, but its lawyers cleverly got the order amended so that it was clear that none of the oral promises that Ahold made to the Zoning Commission were enforceable under the order.

    The bottom line is that, with the exception of Starbucks and possibly the bank, which are national chains, none of the existing businesses, which tenaciously held on through the Great Recession, will be back. Either they will go out of business, or they will move and transplant successfully somewhere else. I hope Sullivan's can survive in some other neighborhood, but will surely miss being able to walk there with my children. I will miss the dance studio where my girls have taken classes. I will also miss the barber and, yes, the laundry where we sometimes take linens. Somehow, getting Pottery Barn and Godiva, the regional, generic "mall" stores that Ahold suggests as its future tenants, will be a poor tradeoff for losing such valued and useful neighborhood businesses.

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  3. It's nice to know that Glover Park is willing to seek our and support neighborhood retail. We're going to lose all that in Cleveland Park, thanks to Giant. Do we really think Sullivans will ever move back if they relocate to Glover?

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  4. That's gotta be the most NIMBY neighborhood in the city. The old moneyed NIMBYs there have got to be the most petulant, self-absorbed children around. Mount Pleasant and Tenleytown may actually be worse, now that I think about it. What do they all have in common? Dumpy, near-blighted commercial strips due to the presence of vocal (but not speaking for the majority) busybodies who attack businesses like they are the bad guys.

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  5. The anti-Giant people call the supermarket "Ahold Giant." That's like the Republicans who call the Democratic party the "Democrat Party."

    Calling the supermarket "Giant Ahold" just proves the point that the anti-Giant people don't like big supermarkets or chains. From the perspective of the anti-Giant people, only small-scale works in Cleveland Park. How narrow minded.

    The anti-Giant people dug in their heels and opposed opposed opposed. And what happened? The anti-Giant group contributed to the the mom and pop stores having to leave.

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  6. Ahold probably doesn't want Sullivans to stay anyway. They will no longer commit to favorable rents to maintain their current tenants. One thing Ahold has been very clear on is that in the future tenants will not be allowed to compete directly with Giant, so don't get your hopes up for a specialty bread store or fish market. And the newer, suburban-sized Stop & Shop/Giants sell toys, albeit the cheapo, plastic ones from China. So Sullivan's is likely history in our neighborhood.

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  7. The Giant chain, whether you call it by the parent name or not, is one of the worst around. A store of last resort for most people. I'd choose Whole Foods, Safeway, Trader Joe's, and Super Fresh over Giant any day. Sadly, the folks in CP will be stuck with a bigger version of one of the worst supermarkets around. Plus, Giant will not allow any other stores in the development to compete with it. No good bread store, fish market, even coffee shop. Sad for the neighborhood.

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  8. @Anonymous 11:29

    If Giant is so bad, as you claim (which I doubt, given the success of the store in Columbia Heights) then there won't be the issues of traffic and parking that opponents of this project previously used to tie up and prevent this development.

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  9. Calling the store "Giant Ahold" is an attempt to get people to ignore the fact that the anti Giant forces contributed to Sullivan's leaving. They were hell bent on stopping the Giant's modernization no matter what the cost to the community.

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  10. @Ben

    Let's be truthful. The north block owned by Giant/Stop & Shop/Ahold/Whatever, where Sullivan's, the barber, the bank, the yoga studio, the furniture store, Starbucks, etc. are located, is not vacant and blighted. There's not a single empty storefront. In fact, the block stayed full and busy through these tough economic times. Not many commercial strips anywhere can claim that. It is the loss of these neighborhood businesses, which Giant promised to retain, that is so disappointing.

    In the south block, also owned by Giant, Giant evicted Murphys and a Chinese retaurant and a Lebanese deli several years ago, and by its own choice never filled those spaces.

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  11. I put the Cleveland Park Citizens Association in this camp, too. They're partly to blame for current state of affairs with the stores having to leave during the construction. The CPCA also calls the store "Giant Ahold." The CPCA is still on the record as opposing the Giant and refuses to even bring the matter before its membership.

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  12. @Anonymous 11:48 AM

    Not once did I ever say this area is blighted. The south parcel is undeniably vacant and bringing new families and perhaps 250 new middle/upper middle-class residents to this neighborhood will attract a better retail mix than a laundry mat and an insurance office.

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  13. The pro-Giant forces were so eager to get this project going that they failed to demand ANYTHING of Giant in the process. No amenities or concessions at all. It is unheard of for a community to have extracted so few promises in exchange for such a major zoning change. Columbia Heights got a community theatre when the Harris Teeter was built, the Georgetown Safeway was built with a green roof. No other neighborhood would have allowed such a one-sided deal. What does Cleveland Park get? A big, ugly store and the loss of all competing neighborhood businesses. This is in no way the fault of the so-called opponents. It is definitely the fault of the short-sighted "smart growth" people. How smart does that growth seem now? I personally would hate to have any of those folks negotiate an agreement for me. I just hope the appeal of the zoning board ruling is successful.

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  14. Ben,

    What sort of mix are you looking for? Should the neighborhood be talking to Giant about the kind of stores it would like to attract. A fish market would be great.

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  15. Kim, Who's Fed Up With the No-SayersOctober 15, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    I just hope the appeal of the zoning board ruling is successful.

    OMG! The anti-Giant side really wants to prevent the vast majority of neighbors from enjoying a new, modern supermarket, and residential/retail complex. Is the anti-Giant side (and that includes the CPCA) deluded? Or do they feel that they and they alone should determine the future of Cleveland Park?

    These people are stuck in the 1960's. The world changes but they refuse to accept change, even when it 1) benefits the community, and 2) is what 90+ percent of the people want.

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  16. I remember reading a quote in the Current a few weeks ago by either the owner of Sullivan's or the furniture store noting that Giant is making a sincere effort to work with the current tenants to minimize disruptions during the construction period.

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  17. What's kind of baffling is how the store chain is going to square its reputation for questionable quality with its obviously yup-scale aspirations for "Cathedral Commons" (Pottery Barn, Godiva Chocolate, Cheesecake Factory, condos). It may become a spacious Pringle Palace, but it will still sell the same junky stuff, just lots more of it. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig....

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  18. Kim, Who's Fed Up With the No-SayersOctober 15, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    More name calling from the anti-Giant side: "Giant Ahold," "questionable quality," "Pringle Palace." The anti-Giant people just won't give up, will they? Why can't the very small minority of neighbors simply accept the fact that we're getting a new, modern store.

    By the by, I've shopped at other Giant supermarkets and they're terrific, with lots of choices and fresh produce.

    I resent the CPCA and anti-Giant people telling *me* what kind of supermarket I should shop in, or that I should drive a mile or more to shop.

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  19. Kim:

    You have to apprecite these comments. First, we're told that the tenants are being displaced but when the reality is a bit more complicated, we're warned of the Chinese toys ("And the newer, suburban-sized Stop & Shop/Giants sell toys, albeit the cheapo, plastic ones from China.") Now they're questioning the quality of food and produce at Giant, which will be infitiely better than the current selection. These people will find a million and one reasons to oppose this and keep the 1950s suburban-style supermarket in the middle of a booming, 21st century city.

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  20. Anyone who has ever taken an introductory political science or statistics course would recognize how worthless are the unscientific polls on the Cleveland Park list serv. Not even the North Korean leadership would make such outlandish claims about "what the people want." This is especially true when the available "poll" responses are overly simplistic, allow for no middle ground and designed to skew the result ("I support the Giant PUD totally" versus "I never, ever want a modernized grocery to replace the rat-infested, poorly stocked place that is there now.")

    Personally, I support a modern, expanded Giant store. I don't want a two-block long Clarendon Cookie Cutter Commons. Especially after the developers demanded extra height and density that exceeded what zoning allowed, which they claimed was necessary so that they could retain the existing neighborhood business tenants (not). Or offer existing tenants favorable rents (not). Or have a green roof (not). It sure is curious that Safeway was able to build a modern grocery store in Georgetown as a "matter of right" under existing zoning, without asking to create a megablock urban "destination" (Giant's marketing term). Oh, and the new Georgetown Safeway is even LEED certified.

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  21. @Anonymous 1:27

    You'd rather have a surface parking lot in what is otherwise a very walkable area? This is not a 'megablock' destination. At 5 floors, this is half the height of most of the residential buildings directly on the other side of Wisconsin Avenue. Additionally, with a Whole Foods and Safeway in both Glover Park and Tenley (less than one mile in either direction), a Giant in Van Ness, and a Harris Teeter in Adams Morgen for Woodley Park residents, this is a local project to meet local demand.

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  22. @Ben--

    Wait, didn't you just write that it was necessary to add a lot of new residences to create demand, to "attract" a new retail mix?
    Even the former chairman of the Zoning Commission said that the development is “really going to become a destination” rather than the "local neighborhood-serving center" as provided in the DC Comprehensive Plan.

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  23. If the listserve poll is so unscientific, then why is the Cleveland Park Citizens Assoc afraid to bring the Giant issue before its membership? Why did the CPCA feel the need to violate their own bylaws and cancel their election in 2009?

    The answer to both questions is that the vast majority of people who live in Cleveland Park want the Giant modernized and want this new development. The ANC wants it. The Zoning Board wants it. The mayor and mayor-elect want it. Councilmember Mary Cheh wants the new Giant.

    Only a tiny minority oppose the Giant. Let them prove otherwise.

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  24. I would hope that the neighbors who are most concerned about saving Sullivan's toy store would get together and offer to help Sullivan's find new space as close as possible to the old. The Giant opponents already have in place a few different ad hoc organizations that were given "party" standing during the zoning hearings. These organized groups have a lot of zoning and development knowledge among them. Maybe they could put it to some positive use and help out this beloved neighborhood institution. Something like what happened many years ago when the Cleveland Park Safeway closed and the neighbors formed a committee and searched for a grocery store that was looking to move into the neighborhood. That space is now the Brookville.

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  25. Marc asks, "If the listserve poll is so unscientific, then why is the Cleveland Park Citizens Assoc afraid to bring the Giant issue before its membership?"

    The Cleveland Park Citizens Association is no longer a party to the Giant case. About 14 months ago, there was an energized, hard fought CPCA election. One slate of candidates ran essentially on a single issue platform, for the Cathedral Commons development with no ifs, ands or buts. This slate grew out of AWARE, an advocacy group that had coordinated closely with Giant's attorneys, development consultants and PR firm. They basically turned the election into a referendum on Giant. They explicitly promised that, if they won, they would swing CPCA toward support the development. For months, they mined the AWARE mailing list to bring in new like-minded members to CPCA. The other slate, UNITY, vowed to unify the CPCA. Its candidates had mixed views of the Giant development. Some favored it, others wanted a new store but not a new town center. They recognized that opinion in Cleveland Park was also divided and for that reason, promised not to be a party to any further proceedings involving Giant. Now, CPCA members voted for UNITY for a variety of reasons. Some were agnostic on the development but wanted to restore reason and civility to the organization. Others wanted balanced, thoughtful growth over what is so glibly labeled "smart growth." But clearly anyone who wanted to support the Cathedral Commons development without preconditions could -- and presumably did -- vote for the pro-development slate. Over 800 members voted, and all of the UNITY candidates won by what the Northwest Current termed "decisive" margins. And true to their word, the UNITY slate kept CPCA out of the proceedings before the court of appeals.

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  26. The Cleveland Park Citizens Association is on the record as being on the record as opposing the Giant. They could reverse their position, as members have called for on the CPCA's own listserve, but has decided not to.

    As for that business about "energized, hard fought CPCA election," we all know that the former CPCA leadership illegally canceled the election because they were going to lose. Marc Fisher said it best in his column, which you can read here: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/rawfisher/2009/05/the_iron_fist_of_cleveland_par.html. Fisher wrote, "Idelson [former CPCA president] goes on to accuse the new members of attempting a coup--and he therefore invokes "emergency" measures to postpone an election for officers of the neighborhood association, protecting the anti-development stance of the group."

    Why doesn't the CPCA come out and welcome the new Giant? I'm not talking about taking sides in a lawsuit. I'm talking about reversing their anti-Giant position.

    It's clear that the Cleveland Park Citizens Association still opposes the Giant and has no intention of changing its mind, or letting the members vote on this.

    As Marc Fisher also wrote, the CPCA opposed the Giant because it fears "that people might actually drive to it and use it." So true.

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  27. I would hope that "Marc" is not Marc Fisher modestly quoting himself!!

    Demanding that CPCA now embrace the Cathedral Commons town center development with no conditions or changes, after the pro-development slate lost so decisively in a contested, high-turnout election, is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? It's like claiming that the 2008 presidential election was a vote for an endless Iraq occupation and tax cuts for the wealthy.

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  28. There are lots of Marc's and I'm not Marc Fisher.

    It would be great if the CPCA reversed its anti-Giant position. I think that's what the members want, but of course since the CPCA won't put it to a vote, we'll never know. That would put the CPCA in sync with the majority of the community, Mayor Fenty, Mayor-elect Gray, Mary Cheh, Phil Mendelson, the Zoning Board, the ANC. Need I go on?

    Was the CPCA election fair? No, the election was not fair: According to posts on the CPCA's own listserve the anti-Giant side, the so-called Unity slate, had access to the membership list, while the pro-Giant side, the Reform slate, did not. And who else knows what shenanigans went on behind the scenes? Illegally cancelling the election was a whopper of a first step.

    What we do know is that the CPCA' leadership at the time wanted to do everything that they could to ensure that it's anti-Giant position remained intact.

    In the end it doesn't really matter what the CPCA does or says. The organization is marginalized. I just think it would be nice if the membership had a chance to vote on this issue.

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  29. Could somebody post a link to the lawsuit that's pending about the Giant? Or is the lawsuit some kind of secret? I think that it would benefit everyone of one of the people involved with the lawsuit would make the text of the suit available.

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  30. @Marc:

    Regardless of the Cleveland Park Citizens Association opposes this, I think the vast majority of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods who are busy with work/family, etc. also favor this project. If you walk by any Fri/Sat evening, you can observe many people looking approvingly at the renderings of this new, modern store and new residential units that will further enliven this major transportation corridor.

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  31. Ben: "I think the vast majority of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods who are busy with work/family, etc. also favor this project."

    Excuse me? Are you saying that people who want a better grocery store but not a whole town center, who are sick of Giant's broken promises to the community, don't have family or work concerns? When my kids walk by the Cathedral Commons renderings, they don't gaze longingly. Instead, they ask "why is Giant getting rid of Sullivan's?" They ask why they won't be able to walk anymore to the dance studio, to the toy store (to the barber, not so much!) -- all neighborhood-oriented retail establishments that make for a livable residential community. Being able to walk to Pottery Barn, bars and national chain stores doesn't interest them so much.

    And sure, the farther one gets from any large project that will have the biggest impact on the immediate local area, the fewer the concerns are. If someone proposed a new freeway to run through Glover Archibold Park to the river, I might say "that's great," since it would only provide a convenience but have no real negative impact on me. But I appreciate the fact that it would be no picnic for people who live closer.

    Similarly, it will be no picnic for the Idaho Ave. homeowners who live next to Giant's new loading dock and truck access (to be built in a residential zone, no less). Giant put the loading next to their homes and as far away as possible from its new residences at the site. How is that fair? I'm sure that those neighbors really look forward to being "enlivened" by 18-wheelers at 6 a.m.!

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  32. That is not at all what I am suggesting. Most people would greatly appreciate the opportunity to live in one of these new residential units in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the DC region.

    I understand the concern of the neighbors who live immediately on Idaho Ave but this has to be balanced by the numerous benefits of this project.

    *New construction jobs at a time when unemployment is 12.5% in the District.
    *New housing in a walkable, transit-accessible, neighborhood rather than more sprawl in the most auto-dependent fringe of the DC region.
    *Increased property, sales, and income tax for the District
    *Greater convenience for current residents who can now shop at a clean, modern supermarket instead of having to leave the neighborhood for groceries.
    *New retail, restaurants, and enlivened streets
    *Expanded housing supply and housing choices in this expensive section of the District
    *40 parking spaces paid for by the developer for use by patrons of businesses/restaurants not part of this development.
    *A fountain and streetscape improvements.

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  33. To continue with the benefits:

    *Decreased oil consumption with more people living in a walkable, transit-accessible, neighborhood, with people having the option of not driving.
    *Reduced emissions for substiting walking/transit for driving since they have the option by living in a walkable neighborhood.

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  34. With all respect, these "benefits" read like talking points from the developer. I don't understand how Cathedral Commons will result in decreased oil consumption and reduced emissions. At the zoning hearings, the tesimony was that the development will result in 4000 additional vehicle trips per day on the surrounding streets, and Giant didn't dispute that number. Giant's traffic study data indicated that this meant almost 600 more vehicle trips per day on Macomb Street, 400 more on Newark St. and so on. Giant's study showed 150 more cars during one Saturday "peak HOUR" alone. All that's in the public record at the zoning board. Do the math on what that means on an annual basis. Maybe the new residents will not always drive across the street to Giant, but 4000 more cars and trucks a day in Cleveland Park and McLean Gardens is hardly "reduced emissions"!

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  35. @Hope:

    It is pretty simple, people who live in walkable, transit-accessible neighborhoods have much lower rates of car ownership and fundamentally different travel patterns than people who live in auto-dependent neighborhoods. The DC region is expected to grow by 2M people by 2050. We know more people will be coming to this region. If these people don't live near jobs and next to transit, some (perhaps many) will have to live on the northern fringe of Montgomery Co or western Fairfax County instead and many of them will be driving.

    Regarding the traffic studies, they use models from the Institute of Transportation Engineers, which is based on suburban land-use and travel patterns, greatly overestimating the number of trips for developments such as this.

    http://www.nctr.usf.edu/jpt/pdf/JPT13-2Cervero.pdf

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  36. This is a different issue, but honestly, don't they drive anyway?? I live in the city and have always had a commute to the suburbs, and there are lots of people in the same boat.

    My beef with the Giant is parking and traffic. I laughed aloud when I heard the Giant reps say that the parking was adequate because people would take the 30's busses to shop and eat at restaurants. Seriously?? I walk to Cactus, but I'd never schlep my kids on an unreliable bus to get there. I'd drive, and try to find parking in the neighborhood. I can't even imagine traveling by bus to do my shopping. Yes, people who take the bus to work in the Cleveland Park neighborhood may pick up a couple items before returning home, but mostly people will drive. I live just a few blocks away, and though I would walk to pick up a couple items, I'd drive for my weekly shopping trip, and if I'm getting in the car, I'll probably drive to a better market. Just being honest.

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  37. @ Ben,
    Cathedral Commmons is more than a mile from any Metro stop, and the uneven quality bus service doesn't exactly make this development so transit accessible. And studies also show that the upper middle class residents who you expect will live there are less likely to give up their cars for the bus, as opposed to the subway.

    If the rate of car ownership in the new development will be so low and off-street parking adequate, why did the developer refuse to agree that the new units should not be eligible for residential permit parking on the already-congested surrounding streets? This was, after all, a CONDITION to the local ANC's conditional support of the project. Planned Unit Developments in Friendship Heights and U Street (which have Metro stops) have agreed to such a condition, to reduce the additional parking impact on those neighborhoods.

    In any case, Giant's residential units are a fraction of the additional traffic generated. When one builds a suburban-sized store (57,000 sq ft, 3 times the size of the present store), one can expect that folks will tend to fill suburban-sized grocery orders which means driving. Add in the other retail and restaurants, and Giant's traffic study indicated 4000 additional vehicle trips per day. Remember, this is from Giant's own data, and a developer usually presents data in the most favorable possible light.

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  38. All of a sudden at the 11th hour when its no longer "if" they develop but rather "when" the same people who have been throwing money and only making the lawyers rich all of a sudden have become vocal about the small business. In this economy if you have a tenant who is paying the rent you don't evict them before you have to nor do you raise the rent. These same retail establishments have enjoyed their time, they would have been gone years ago if the whole deal had not been held up in the courts. No one wants to sign a lease and spend money on improvements when they know one day they will receive notice to vacate. I liked the chinese restaurant and they did not renew their lease likely for the same reason, uncertainty. The Murphy's as a chain was going out of business and like Woolworth's they chose not to renew leases towards their end. As for the bank and Starbucks they will likely return as this is a good business location for them. I am sure both of them have had it easy also because it would be hard for someone to move in for a short term deal. Now we don't want to burden don the process so there is a gap between these businesses leaving and the new space being available. Its not like all of a sudden someone will stop the project. There is no Metro in Georgetown because it was opposed and now there is a group of people who see how short sighted people kept it from happening. This also is why Metro runs up Connecticut and not Wisconsin. I just want to see everything move forward and if Sullivans comes back or does not is a function of how well their business is running and not a fault of the Giant.

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  39. Why would anyone not care what happens to the local businesses that fill the block between Newark, Idaho and Wisconsin and have for years provided and retail to this neighborhood?

    Several years ago, around the time that Ahold acquired Washington, DC's Giant stores, Ahold became embroiled in a massive securities fraud case. Evidently, they've not lost their propensity for misrepresentation, because it's shocking how this retail and development conglomerate has so quickly reneged on its public promises to retain valued local businesses in the development. Giant repeatedly promised to phase the project, building the grocery store and the south block first so that neighborhood businesses could relocate to the south block (and then remain if they chose) when the north block was built. Now they say they won't do that, and with no swing space nearby, the businesses that won't go out of business next year likely won't come back to our neighborhood when the project is finished. And even if they wanted to, they likely won't be able to afford the new rents (except for a bank or chain like Starbucks), because Ahold also reneged on its commitment to provide favorable rents to existing tenants. What's really galling is that Ahold said it needed -- and got permission for -- more intensive development than zoning allowed at the site, supposedly to subsidize the favorable rents so that the existing neighborhood-serving businesses could stay. Talk about bait and switch.

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  40. Kim, Who's Fed Up With the No-SayersOctober 16, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    The anti-Giant side lost, and now they want to demonize the Giant. You lost, the Giant's coming and you know what? The vast majority of people, especially those in walking distance of the Giant, are happy. The development will benefit Cleveland Park for decades to come. Either get over it or devote your considerable energies to doing something positive for the stores that you now claim to care so much about. Complaining and ragging on the Giant just looks like sour grapes.

    Ahold became embroiled in a massive securities fraud case.

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  41. @Kim Who's Fed Up-

    Great suggestion. Here's how you can "do something positive" for our neighborhood serving retail stores. Please write to the project executive for Cathedral Commons and ask Giant to keep its earlier promises to phase construction and offer favorable rents so stores like our Sullivan's and the yoga studio can stay in our community. Will you do that?

    Guy Stutz
    Vice President Real Estate
    The Stop & Shop Supermarkets Company, LLC
    1385 Hancock St
    Quincy, MA 02169-5103
    USA

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  42. That's my point exactly: The anti-Giant side is very good at opposing things, but when it comes to doing something positive for the neighborhood, they'd rather somebody else do it. As in others writing letters to Giant. If you care about Sullivan's, then do something to help the store, rather than telling somebody else to.

    Honestly, writing letters to Giant at this stage of the game is a rather naive approach that's not going to accomplish anything.

    How much concern can there really be for Sullivan's? A lot of chatter, but no action tells me that this is still all about being anti-Giant.

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  43. Bump. (Repeating my request.) Can anyone provide the text to the anti-Giant lawsuit? There are so many anti-Giant messages here that somebody who's posting must be part of that lawsuit or knows somebody who is. It would really help it if the anti-Giant people made their suit public, rather than keeping it a secret. Somebody, please?

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  44. The appeal of the zoning board decision is hardly a secret, as it's been reported in the Northwest Current and discussed in various forums. I'm sure that the appeal briefs of the three neighborhood groups and Giant's briefs are available in the public docket at the DC court of appeals. The zoning board record is also public.

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  45. @Anonymous

    There are three groups involved in the Giant zoning appeal? What groups are they? I thought it was just one group that had filed an appeal.

    You sound like you're in the know, so could you name these three groups, and provide whatever details you have? After all, if it is public record, then it's only right that that the neighbors know about what might affect Cleveland Park.

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  46. I heard it is only a small group alligned with the Cleveland Park group, they don't have a bottomless pit to pay the lawyers to continue the appeal process and I think it is such a narrow focus anyway at this point. The process is so far that if Giant thought there was even an outside chance they would have to stop once they got started they would not have taken advantage of the fact that they can continue to move forward event with this appeal in the courts. In the end they want to do the project and are way beyond any chance it will be stopped, they will move forward and when we have another section of empty storefronts for a period of time because of their appeal we can blame that small group. Time to move on and at this point if they really care about our neighborhood they can shift their focus to another topic.

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  47. I'm not sure they can move on while the appeal is pending. Giant's own reps have told me that they intend to demolish in the spring '11, but they will not start building until the appeals have run their course -- late '11 or early '12 assuming it stops at the appeals court level. I suspect they can't get financing with the appeal still in play.

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  48. @ Anonymous. A request to you everyone who posts here: Please use your name, even if it's just a first name. For one thing, posting as "anonymous" makes it sound like you're hiding something. For another thing, it means it impossible to have any kind of dialog because several people can be posting as "anonymous."

    You say that Giant has told you that "they will not start building until the appeals have run their course." Who are you that Giant told you this? Why should we believe you when everything else points to Giant moving forward.

    If this is true, that the appeals process is putting Giant on hold, then shame on the secretive few who are trying to stop what the majority want and need.

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  49. After watched & participated in the Giant Saga for 11 years, I want to make four points and then drop out of the conversation.

    1. The Wisconsin-Newark shopping district does not belong to Cleveland Park; it is either on the edge of or not even in Cleveland Park, depending on what map you look at. Most of the Giant's service area is to the West, North, and South of the store, in areas that have numerous apartment buildings and higher housing density than CP. So those of us who live outside CP may, understandably get a bit annoyed with groups like the CPCA insisting that they speak for the majority of the people who have an interest in teh development.

    2. The Giant opponents are as creative as they are persistent. I am confident that that they can come up with at least 500 more reasons for opposing the project than they have already given us. And, alas, probably will.

    3. Washington is already a city, and inevitably will develop into a more dense, urban environment in the years to come. The Cleveland Park vision of a "village within the city" is a lovely, quaint idea that by now has become an oxymoron. Anyone who wants the conveniences and amenities of a modern city has to learn to live with the drawbacks of modern city living.

    4. Cathedral Commons, obviously, will be a destination: for the people who go there, but not for people from all over the city. The likelihood of a Pottery Barn opening there is minimal to nil. Stores like Pottery Barn locate in larger commercial districts with more parking, public transit, and similar stores like Friendship Heights. Not to mention that the shop spaces available in the North portion of the development will not be all that large. It is far more likely that the mix of businesses will be much like the current mix there now. Some large chains that serve neighborhoods (e.g., Starbucks), some local small stores (Sullivans, Something Sweet), and (please, please) some good small restaurants.

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  50. I am the person who posted about Giant's plans. I chose to post anonymously because, frankly, those who have raised any concern at all about Giant's plans have been publicly vilified on numerous boards. I am not involved with the appeal, but I support it as do many people I know. As for where I got the information, I simply called the corporate headquarters to ask. You can do the same. I support some development in those blocks, but I think the neighborhood missed the boat by not striking a better deal with the developer.

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  51. @ Dan Don't hold your breath, Dan, for transparency from the anti-Giant side. The people involved in the lawsuit against the Giant didn't even want any neighbors to know about their appeal: It was a pro-Giant person who first mentioned the lawsuit on the Cleveland Park listserve.

    The people filing the suit don't have the guts to stand behind their convictions.

    If the anti-Giant people think that they're doing the right thing with this lawsuit, then they should engage their neighbors in a dialog. But I bet that they will never post the text of their lawsuit online, or defend the lawsuit in a public forum. The people who are trying to keep the neighborhood from getting this great development operate in the shadows.

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  52. @ Kim Davidson. The people who have filed a lawsuit to stop the Giant and that could affect the entire community won't let neighbors see that lawsuit? There's something very wrong with that. It really presents them in a terrible light, like they're a secret society. This is something that all of Cleveland Park should know about.

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  53. The lawsuit is NOT sealed. You can get all the both parties' briefs at the appeals court.

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  54. The people who have filed the ant-Giant lawsuit should show the text of the lawsuit the community. Like the other person said, it took somebody who's not a part of the suit to first mention it.

    Not a single person involved with the lawsuit has said why they've filed this suit.

    Maybe anonymous above who seems to know the people who have file the suit can upload a copy somewhere.

    They're dissing the community by not providing the community with a copy of their lawsuit to stop the Giant.

    At the very least, the anti-Giant people could put a stop to a lot of rumors if they let people see their lawsuit. I agree, it's wrong of them not to be proactive and share this lawsuit with the rest of Cleveland Park.

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  55. The lawsuit is not to stop the Giant supermarket. That's a canard. It has nothing to do with the store, but a lot to deal with how the Ahold Corporation's north block development exceeded permitted zoning. (The store would be located on the south block, between Wisconsin and Newark.) All of the briefs -- Ahold'ss, the appellants groups -- are at the court of appeals and are public record. I don't have copies of all the briefs, but Ahold and its lawyers presumably do..

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  56. @ Anonymous Saying that I can get a copy of the lawsuit from the Court of Appeals without telling me the case number or the names of the parties involved in the suit to block the Giant development is useless information. It's a smokescreen.

    I stand by my assertion: The people involved in the lawsuit to stop the Giant's development are secretive and want to keep the information about what they are doing from the community. Nothing that's been said there makes me believe otherwise.

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  57. The previous lawsuit launched by the anti-Giant coalition (a tiny number of people) was designed to STOP the Giant. Read about it on Greater Greater Washington at http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=3483. The people who oppose the Giant have and will do anything they can to prevent this development and a larger supermarket. Their strategy with the lawsuit is to cause enough delay so that Giant will abandon the project.

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  58. Greater Greater Washington?? C'mon, that's not the New York Times or even the Northwest Current. GGW is an avowedly pro-development blog that supports a so-called
    "smart growth" vision of having Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown north to the Maryland board be developed intensively just like Friendship Heights. Why, they even want to roll back historic districts as being incompatible with their agenda. So if you're trying to persuade, cite an unbiased source.

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  59. The posts on Greater Greater Washington are informative and insightful. I like their philosophy that while DC is a great city to live in, it could be even better.

    Cities grow and evolve. The anti-Giant people, including the close-minded Cleveland Park Citizens Association, want to keep things as they were in the 50's and 60's.

    Great Greater Washington is also a very public forum. I can't say the say thing about the groups that now suing to block the Giant supermarket and development. The anti-Giant groups remain secretive and silent.

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  60. Well, if it hadn't been for Cleveland Park activism, there would be freeways directly to the north and west of Cleveland Park and McLean Gardens. There would be no historic district and we'd see the teardowns and McMansions that other communities bemoan todsy. Connecticut Avenue in CP would look a lot like the Van Ness district (now, there's vibrancy), which is what was proposed in the 1980s. McLean Gardens would resemble parts of Crystal City, which is what was proposed in the 1960s and 1970s. Reno Road would be a multi-lane boulevard through the neighborhood, as would Porter Street. The Tregaron and Rosedale parks would not exist; they'd be covered in condos. Some may scoff at the "village in the city" concept, but it is no accident. It's taken a lot of hard work to make this one of the best neighborhoods in which to live in Washington.

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  61. @Anonymous 11:02 AM;

    This is a ridiculous comparison. Nobody is proposing turning this section of Wisconsin Avenue into Crystal City. 5-story condos are in no way Rosslyn or Crystal City, as opponents like to try to suggest this development is. Directly on the other side of the south parcel, there are already buildings that are twice the height that the tallest residential building will be.

    Most District residents appreciate the work that Cleveland Park residents did decades ago to prevent a freeway through Cleveland Park but many of these similarly-minded people now oppose any sort of planning for a Wisconsin Avenue streetcar, which would further reduce auto traffic on this corridor. Even worse, by opposing greater density right next to the metro stations in Tenley and Friendship Heights, these opponents ensure that there will be more auto traffic, more roads, and wider roads in other parts of out region as new residents will not have the option of living in transit-accessible neighborhoods.

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  62. @Anonymous 9:44AM

    This is a great mischaracterization of smart-growth. Smart growth encourages density where it is appropriate to have density (near transit, along major transportation corridors) and focuses the denest development closest to where major transit assets are located. Furthermore, by locating greater density along major transportation corridors and reducing density as you get away from these corridors, you protect the single-family homes that these opponents claim to care such much about.

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  63. @Anonymous 9:44AM

    Nobody wants to roll back any historic district in Ward 3 but it is a bit ridiculous, however, to claim that a parking lot in Cleveland Park is historically significant and give this historical protection.

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  64. Anonymous 11:02am lists an impressive string of victories for the neighborhood, starting in the late 1950s with the defeat of the NW corridor highway and going on through the 60s, 70s, and 80s. From the late 70s to the mid 80s I was one of these activists and was intensely involved in many of these battles, and am quite proud of the outcomes. But that was all decades ago. Yes, the last battle cited, the preservation of Rosedale, was settled 6 years ago (2004), but the major ones preceding that were over by at least a decade. And the issues were very different.

    Back then, I never would have dreamed that neighbors would fight against an expanded and improved grocery store and mid-rise residential project with the same fervor that we brought to the fight against high-rise office buildings. I think back to another case that galvanized the neighborhood in the late 80s: the loss of the "Soviet Safeway" at Connecticut and Ordway. Both Bill and I helped to create the ad hoc organization of neighbors that worked to bring in a company that would run a new grocery store on that site (after we failed to persuade the Safeway to stay).

    Maybe that experience explains why I just don't get why some neighbors are so up-in-arms over the Giant's plans. Another reason I have a hard time with the opposition in this case is that the proposed Giant is about the size of the new Georgetown Safeway, which seems to me a great improvement over the old one and a good thing for the people who live near there. Giant's project includes more retail and mid-rise residential, all in keeping with the scale of what's already along the avenue and in McLean Gardens.

    The trouble is that this fight isn't between the developers and the neighbors, as was the case with all those old causes cited by Anonymous11:02. This time it's between all the neighbors who have been hoping for this project, and a smaller number who have been adamantly opposed to it. That's what has made this fight so unpleasant. I can only hope that once the buildings are actually there, and the stores are open, and new residents have moved into the buildings, that the bitterness will fade, and that all these new people and buildings will become as much a part of the neighborhood as if they'd been here all along.

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  65. Ms. Robin skips over the fact that there have been other development issues in Cleveland Park that at times have been heated, but in the end there was compromise and good projects. NCRC and the Cathedral School athletic center were quite contentious in their time, but the schools got most of what they wanted in the end and the impacts on their immediate neighbors were mitigated to some extent. After contested hearings at the HPRB, Tregaron was also a compromise in which Washington International School got to expand, a developer got some home sites and most of the land was put into a community conservancy. Through constructive dialogue, the Sidwell Friends expansion program was even smoother.

    The remarkable thing about Cathedral Commons is how unwilling Giant was to make even modest concessions to blunt some of the sharper impacts of the project. What is particularly ironic is that some of the individuals and groups that have been criticized - vilified even - for their "opposition" to Giant were the ones who in 2004-2005 directly reached out and engaged with Giant to modernize its store. They spent many hours with the developers and their advisers in the hope that a workable plan could be agreed that could sail through the Zoning Commission with near universal support. Indeed, the early plans that Giant presented to the community were balanced in scale, with residences and shops on both blocks and included a larger, modern grocery store. At a public meeting in 2006 the plan met with a generally positive reception in the neighborhood.

    So what happened? Perhaps Giant was surprised by the early positive reaction in this "hotbed" of civic activism was emboldened to overreach. Perhaps they were encouraged by those with a broader development agenda in Northwest. But Giant then decided to upsize the project significantly. They added more commercial space and housing. They moved a planned loading dock access from the center of the project, away from residences they planned to build, to the site periphery right next to existing homes. They said they needed a bigger project that would exceed permitted zoning, so that existing neighborhood businesses could afford to stay in the project, a commitment that they have now walked away from.

    At the zoning hearings, the parties testifying against Giant's upsized project were clear that they supported a new store. They publicly offered several compromise points that would have swung them into the support column. They proposed to Giant an alternative design for the loading dock, which would have reduced the impact on the immediate neighbors. Giant ignored them, just as it also ignored the very conditions that our local ANC put on its conditional support of the project: a modest amount of commercial parking for Giant's north block retail (like there is today), to reduce the burden on street parking. No RPP eligibility to further mitigate the parking situation on already crowed streets around the site. A modest escrow of $500,000 for traffic calming, to help mitigate the impact of the 4,000 additional vehicle trips that Giant's traffic data showed Cathedral Commons will add to our streets.

    Its a shame, of course, that Cathedral Commons won't have amenities like the community theater, arts space or parks that more modest PUD projects have provided to their communities. Our neighborhood has missed out on such enhancements, but it may be too late for that. But it's certainly not to late for Giant to take some modest steps to mitigate some of the more significant impacts of the development and move forward, in the spirit of thoughtful dialogue and compromise, to reach an improved result like some of the other projects in our neighborhood.

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  66. @ Anonymous. Giant is giving the community what it wants. Only a few, mostly anonymous people oppose the project. As you said, "Perhaps Giant was surprised by the early positive reaction..." Yes, indeed, neighbors want this project.

    The vast majority of neighbors are very happy with an expanded supermarket and residential/commercial plan. And, I should add, Mayor Fenty, Mayor-elect Gray, and Councilmember Cheh are happy with the project, too.

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  67. Unless Giant sits down with the opponents and negotiates some sort of compromise, the construction will be delayed until the appeal cycle runs its course in 12-18 months (or more). No bank will finance this with the appeal pending. They should work out a deal and get the project going soon.

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  68. @ Anonymous You call for Giant to negotiate with its opponents but the people who have filed the lawsuit won't even post it online. That makes me think that the suit is meritless. From everything I've read, Giant is moving forward with this project.

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  69. @Kim

    Before making glib, conclusory statements about what the "neighbors want," it might be useful to actually read the posting to which you are responding. In 2006 Giant's plan was for a three story north block building, as provided by existing zoning, plus a new supermarket in the south block. From 2006 to 2008, Giant's final plans for the north block grew by about 60%, and the number of proposed residences almost tripled. Significantly, the 2006 plan also did not have the loading dock access next to existing homes on Idaho, in a residential zone no less. There was no second loading dock next to the apartments on Macomb Street. Most large-scale projects, as you may know, are adjusted back, not repeatedly up-sized through the zoning process. So, yes, the reaction to the 2006 plan was generally positive, yet concerns grew as the size and direct impacts -- like the loading right next to existing residences -- grew. If you attended any of the large community meetings at Washington Hebrew or John Eaton School, you may recall that.

    My point is that with some relatively modest changes, including accepting the ANC's conditions which Giant spurned, Giant might be able to move this forward faster and with broader support. Their unwillingness to make even modest adjustments to reduce the most severe impacts and their backpeddling on public commitments (like to phase the project to keep existing businesses) are unproductive.

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  70. It's like it's 1999 all over again.

    The opponents, ironically are calling for Giant to move forward with plans it proposed and they opposed ten years ago.

    Then, they brought Giant to the table by filing one of the most ludicrous landmark applications ever developed.

    I agree with Dan, the text of the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Wisconsin-Newark Neighborhood Coalition (WNNC), Ordway Neighbors and Idaho Neighbors (in all, probably 7 households) should be made public.

    And, with respect to the unscientific polling, indeed, it was running close to 96% in favor of Giant. While unscientific, it is still telling. I would argue that the Giant proposal really brought most of the community together.

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  71. In fact Giant was supposed to have moved forward with a new store eight years ago. Let's go back to 2002, when Giant signed an agreement with the DC government and the local citizens association to move forward on a modern, new store, which would have been larger than the present facility but within a defined foot print that did not encroach with its loading facilities into a residential zone. After Giant signed that agreement, various people in the community reached out to Giant to move forward. When Giant finally did, they acted like they had never signed the 2002 agreement. Cathedral Commons vastly exceeds the foot print and scale of what was provided in that agreement, an agreement that Giant has simply chosen to ignore and walk away from.

    Intentional breach of contract, reneging on public commitments to the zoning board about phasing the project and keeping local businesses...Can anything Giant says be trusted?

    News Release for Immediate Release
    May 6, 2002
    Resolution Reached On Giant Food Expansion

    (Washington, DC) Mayor Anthony A. Williams announced today that a settlement has been reached in a long-running dispute over the expansion of the Giant Food store in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of the District. The Mayor praised the agreement between the Cleveland Park Citizens Association (CPCA) and Giant Food Stores, which was brokered by the DC Office of Planning,

    “This administration has always maintained that economic development and historic preservation can be achieved together,” said Mayor Williams. “I applaud the willingness of Giant and the Cleveland Park Citizens Association to sit down and work through their differences, and I congratulate the Office of Planning for negotiating the agreement. Finding common ground has been a primary focus of my administration.”

    In the agreement, CPCA has agreed to withdraw its application to the Historic Preservation Review Board to grant landmark status to the Friendship Shopping Center, a l950’s era, brick center that includes the Giant store at Wisconsin Avenue and Newark Street, NW. In return, Giant agreed to maintain operable entrances along the Wisconsin Avenue façade at the location of the former GC Murphy’s variety store, into which Giant is expanding, and to restore a former grand entrance at the corner of Wisconsin and Newark.

    “After lengthy negotiations with citizens in the area, we are delighted that we have reached an agreement,” said Barry Scher, vice president of public affairs for Giant Food. “We will be moving forward in an expedient manner to finalize the permit process with the District government and then begin to build a totally new store to serve the community.”

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  72. It's the Cleveland Park Citizens Association that's the untrustworthy party. Trying to get landmark status for a building that's both ugly and unremarkable -- how ridiculous. Canceling their own election because they knew that the anti-Giant side would win. The CPCA also opposed the Giant's current plans before the zoning board.

    The CPCA continues to oppose the Giant's plans, even now. It has steadfastly refused to reverse or even modify its position.

    The CPCA broke the faith with both the Giant and the neighbors.

    The CPCA has opposed the Giant at every step of the process, despite its wishy washy public pronouncements about supporting a modern supermarket. Actions speak louder than words.

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  73. @8:51 I'm not exactly a fan of the CPCA's landmark petition, but I do think that Anonymous 8:27 is correct. The CPCA welcomed Giant in 2002, and negotiated an agreement for a great project. It was Giant that backed off several months later because of some well-publicized financial problems. When the company came back to the table many years later, the proposed development had doubled in size and that led to controversy You can't deny that Giant is responsible for a chunk of the delay here, and there was certainly some dishonesty on Giant's part as well.

    Giant has all the briefs - -both theirs and the opponents. Maybe some of the AWARE folks who worked with Giant should ask them to post the guts of the lawsuit.

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  74. That was 2002. This is 2010. In the intervening years, the CPCA canceled its election because it didn't want the anti-Giant side to win, as I said. The CPCA has put itself on the record as opposing the current project and continues to oppose the project. The CPCA still casts its lot with the anti-Giant crowd and stands against what the majority of neighbors want.

    I just looked up the CPCA's resolution on the Giant on its website, which starts, "The CPCA has represented the interests of the Cleveland Park neighborhood since 1911." In this case, the CPCA represents mostly likely less than 5% of the neighbors. And remember, the CPCA wouldn't even let the McLean Gardens residents join as voting members, even though people who live in McLean Gardens have a big stake in the Giant.

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  75. Clearly Giant believed in 2002 that the landmark application was not frivolous and would go through. This is why they agreed to build an expanded, modern store within a defined footprint and open entrances on Wisconsin Avenue to be more pedestrian-friendly, in exchange for withdrawal of the application. Having entered into the agreement, then Giant just walked away from it, in the end pushing a two-block long development that vastly exceeded the parameters of what the agreement provided. Had Giant done what they agreed to, we would have had a modern grocery store several years ago. This is just like how they have reneged on public commitments to phase the project and keep neighborhood businesses in exchange for more height and density than allowed under zoning. Bait and switch is putting it very mildly.

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  76. The people of McLean Gardens were able to weigh in through their own community association. They just were not allowed to weigh in TWICE! I am impacted by things that happen in McLean Gardens, but I don't think that gives me a right to join their community association. I can't join the Woodley Park Association either.

    We'll see what happens in the appeal. The court will consider whether the zoning board correctly applied the law in granting Giant such a significant waiver and approving the PUD. There are serious issues to be considered, and it is no longer just a popularity contest. If Giant wins, then new construction will begin early in 2012. If Giant loses, we'll go back to the drawing board. It is in everyone's interest to negotiate and get rid of this appeal. That negotiation involves the parties to the case, and CPCA is not one of them.

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  77. The CPCA claims to be inclusive, yet it excludes those of us who live in McLean Gardens, close to the Giant. The only reason that the CPCA prevents us from being voting members is because most people in McLean Gardens support the Giant's plans. Does the CPCA exclude other people because they live in a building or complex with its own association? No. The CPCA only excludes us McLean Gardens residents. The CPCA is about as anti-democratic as any organization can get, especially with it comes to the Giant.

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  78. "I agree with Dan, the text of the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Wisconsin-Newark Neighborhood Coalition (WNNC), Ordway Neighbors and Idaho Neighbors (in all, probably 7 households) should be made public."

    This project will create dozens (perhaps a hundred) construction jobs when the unemployment rate in the District is 12.5 percent. The opponents of this project should be ashamed of themselves that someone is willing to invest millions of dollars into DC's economy, creating much-needed jobs, but they are continuing to delay this in order to preserve their 1950s vision of Wisconsin Avenue.

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  79. @ Jill

    The CPCA doesn't "only exclude" McLean Gardens. It has a defined voting membership area, posted on its website, which is roughtly contiguous with the CP hitoric district. Residents of the 3300 block of Idaho, who live next to where Giant wants the loading dock and clearly have acute concerns, aren't CPCA members either. McLean Gardens has its own association, whose board already weighed in on Cathedral Commons. Can I get to vote in that association, too?

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  80. The CPCA is a win-at-all-cost organization. I have to admire their cleverness, even though I disagree with the CPCA's tactics. It's been over a year since the CPCA leadership illegally canceled the election and they haven't reformed at all. The CPCA's constitution and bylaws haven't been revised, as promised. In fact there isn't even a proposed bylaw change on the table. Thirteen months and nothing. Why? Because the CPCA doesn't want to risk losing its anti-Giant position.

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  81. @Mark,

    In year that you refer to, there have, in fact, been two CPCA elections. Your comment makes it sound like there haven't been any!

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  82. Two elections (though there's dispute over whether the first one was fair), yes. But no progress at all on reforming the CPCA's bylaws and constitution. Just like on the Giant issue, the CPCA says one thing (we support a modern supermarket, we will revise our bylaws), but does something entirely different.

    It's been 13 months since the first CPCA election. It only took the Constitutional Convention 116 days to draft the United States Constitution.

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  83. The by-laws and the position on Giant are two separate issues, right? I am a member of CPCA, but not really involved. I do know that CPCA dropped its opposition to Giant and they are not part of the appeal. What would you like them to do now? I'm not sure what the options are because they are no longer a party to the case.

    The by-law process has moved slowly, but I seem to recall a message asking for more participation in that process. By-law revision is pretty dull work, so it's probably hard to get the membership excited about it.

    The pro-Giant without conditions crowd was soundly defeated in the first election. Call it unfair if you wish, but literally hundreds of people came out to vote against the AWARE slat. I'm not sure how you translate that into a statement that only seven households object to the Giant. It's patently false. Lots of people support the appeal.

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  84. The non-revision of the CPCA's bylaws is very much related to the CPCA's position on the Giant. In 13 month's one would expect at least a draft of a new constitution. There's been lots of talk --and pages of "White Papers" about revising the bylaws-- but no action.

    The CPCA is not just overly ponderous, it's deliberately obstructionist when it comes to revising the bylaws. Any revision might open the door to a pro-Giant majority and leadership doesn't want that.

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  85. @Mark--

    When you say that "any revision" of the bylaws "might open the door to a pro-Giant majority," do you mean by expanding CPCA's membership area? I totally get the concept that the farther away one lives from any high impact project, the less one's concern about the impact is. But there's a name for trying to alter voting boundaries to achieve a particular outcome, as you seem to propose -- it's called "gerrymandering," and assume that CPCA wants no part of that.

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  86. @Anonymous 1:06 PM

    Are you suggesting then that the people who live immediately next to this project should have a veto over it despite the many benefits that it would bring the broader community and the entire District? That is pretty much the definition of NIMBY.

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  87. How, exactly, do they have a veto on anything?

    The zoning laws do contemplate as a fundamental concept that property owners living within some proximity to a project are disproporionately impacted, which is why it they may be eligible for party status in zoning proceedings.

    There are muliple avenues for persons with various points of view to weigh in, as parties, through local associations, through the ANC and by providing testimony to the zoning commission. Indeed, political bodies like the ANC and the zoning board are supposed to consider the interests of parties and the broader community (and apply the law) in making recommendations or decisions. What is objectionable is that some who apparently support Cathedral Commons without any conditions, who may already belong to another association and/or don't like the result of contested elections at CPCA (a voluntary association, for heavens sake!), now want to manipulate its boundaries to keep re-fighting the last election until their point of view prevails.

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  88. A revision of the CPCA's bylaws might include things like proxy voting and electronic voting, which would give more CPCA members an opportunity to have a voice in the organization. A revision of the bylaws might include no longer having the previous CPCA president on the executive committee, and that would possibly tilt the CPCA toward a more pro-Giant or neutral position. (Or maybe not, since one of the CPCA's executive committee members is a part to the anti-Giant lawsuit.)

    It just boggles my mind that in 13 months we've seen nothing from the CPCA. Not even a proposal. As I said before, the United States Constitution was written in 116 days.

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  89. Isn't another member of CPCA's executive committee a founder and principal spokesman for the pro-Giant AWARE group? CPCA seems like a pretty broad tent.

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  90. Ha ha ha. That's pretty funny - the US Constitution was written in 116 days and in 13 months the CPCA hasn't written a single word.

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  91. I would submit that the CPCA election last year was a joke.

    Everyone knows that the previous Executive Committee was unwilling to share the membership list with all individuals running for office. Instead, the executive committee used the list to the benefit of the winning party.

    While members were identified and solicited (and given rides to vote), the AWARE groups was left to traditional campaigning, knocking on every door in the community, wasting time on residents who were not eligible to vote (by virtue of not being members).

    Everyone knows this, which is why the renewal for membership rates are down significantly. The CPCA leadership, including the current regime, have proven themselves to be a completely irrelevant organization with respect to being a legitimate voice for the community.

    At every turn. they have squandered the opportunity to really heal the wounds of this debate and bring the community together. UNITY indeed.

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  92. Any news on the project?

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