Empower DC, Barry Farms residents celebrate as appeals court REJECTS redevelopment zoning

On the 26th of April the Court of Appeals overturned zoning approval for the "Planned Unit Development" that had been planned to replace and evict Barry Farms. While this fight probably isn't over, Empower DC turned their already scheduled happy hour at Mediterranian Spot on U st into victory party.

With the zoning board's approval of the "PUD" or Planned Unit Development vacated (overturned) by the Court of Appeals, evictions that were supposed to be complete by August in most buildings and demolition that was suppposed to begin in Janury 2018 are now stopped. A&R Development Corp. and the so-called "nonprofit" Preservation of Affordable Housing Inc now face nearly a do-over situation.

The core of the court's decision sends this back to the zoning board with these demands, taken from the court's published decision:

On remand, the Commission must:

(1) Explain its decision to approve a development characterized by high-density clusters that exceed the density suggested by Policy FSS-2.3.1 of the Comprehensive Plan;

(2) Explain the inconsistency between the Barry Farm Small Area Plan’s suggested unit affordability mix and the Applicant’s proposed distribution;

(3) Address the specific adverse impacts raised by Barry Farm residents and consider the loss of their current amenities as an adverse effect;

(4) Address the adequacy of the relocation plan in order to gauge the overall adverse impact of the proposed PUD; and

(5) Reconcile the dispute between the conclusion that the Applicant will “guarantee that can return to the PUD Site after redevelopment if they choose to do so” and that fact that there will be insufficient housing on the PUD site to accommodate all 380 families, should they wish to return.

Accordingly, we vacate the Commission’s order and remand this case for further proceedings.

It should not be possible for A&R Development Corp to meet these demands without totally redoing all their design work, as the demand that every last Barry Farms resident must be able to return simply cannot be met by the proposed development. It is interesting to note that a few years before Hurricane Katrina, residents of a project demolished and replaced under the former Federal Hope VI programs forced the developer to let them return to nice new units meant for upscale young (white) professionsals-at their old rents. That was reportedly the very last Hope VI project in pre-Katrina New Orleans.

Victory Party for Barry Farms at Mediterranean Spot on U st

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