In advance of the Zoning Commission’s Monday deliberation on the proposed Adams Morgan hotel, a group of neighbors is doing what it can to put the brakes on the project.
Three neighborhood groups will announce on Monday their intention to sue the city to stop the hotel project, which they say will displace local businesses and has been planned without sufficient input from the community. (It will also involve the demolition of the building on Champlain Street NW that houses the Washington City Paper office.) They’ve also asked Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton to send an inquiry to the Office of Planning regarding the process behind the hotel plans.
Norton’s office confirms that Norton is planning to send the inquiry to OP but maintained that this is ultimately a city issue in which Congress shouldn’t get involved.
“We agreed to see these constituents on the condition that they understood this office does not interfere with home rule decisions of local officials,” says Norton spokesman Scott McCrary in a statement. “It is a strong principle with us, because we insist that other members of Congress respect the decisions of local officials. We do advise members that, if they have a question or a concern, they should make an inquiry. We are sending an inquiry to the Office of Planning indicating that some residents of Adams Morgan are concerned that the city ensures it has complied with local regulations on displacement.”
Yesterday afternoon, the neighborhood groups staged a small protest in front of the church that’s set to become the hotel’s lobby. “Businesses that have been here for generations are threatened by this capital flow,” organizer Chris Otten said into a microphone to the dozen or so neighbors gathered. “The wealthy customers step out of the hotel and see the small community businesses on Columbia Road, and see the fancy restaurants on 18th Street. Where do you think they go?”
Otten accused Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham and OP of refusing to discuss these neighborhood issues with local residents. He also said OP is ignoring the city’s Comprehensive Plan and causing gentrification.
“That’s discrimination,” Otten said. “We’re getting ready to sue.”
UPDATE October 18: Here’s the letter Norton sent to the Office of Planning.