DC called "drunk on development" at Barry Farms zoning case appeal

On the 29th of September, Washington DC was called "drunk on development" by a witness at the The Barry Farms demolition/zoning case before the DC Court of Appeals. The lower courts have ruled that demolition of this low income housing complex can proceed but this has been on hold pending the appeal. Activists from Empower DC and the Barry Farms Tenants and Allies Association(who filed the appeal) were on hand in the courtroom as these arguments were heard.

Winning this appeal would remand the Barry Farm PUD (Planned Unit Development) back to the Zoning Commission, increasing leverage for residents to negotiate terms for the 200+ Black families still residing in Barry Farms. It will also set precedent in DC that would be influential in other jurisdictions whenever citizens develop Comprehensive Plan Policies addressing dislocation surrounding the demolition of public housing. BFTAA wants phased development to allow which would stop families from being forced off of the site. Many residents are multi-generational DC residents. This is their community.

A defeat in this case represents an extreme strategic risk to all low income housing in Anacostia. If condo developers can get started in Anacostia, the classic "colony" model used by settlers, infectious bacteria, and cancer cells is set up. If Barry Farms and Congress Heights become luxury apartments, condos, or high-priced shops, more developers will demolish other nearby properties, build more luxury housing, and move in more yuppies. Right now the river has been a defense, with Anacostia's reputation keeping out the customers of the obscenely expensive housing seen elsewhere in the city. If this defense is breached, all remaining low income housing could be lost.

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