Thursday, September 20, 2007

Community United against Commerce Bank

Nothing like a good development project to divide a neighborhood, only in this case, there is a united front against a poorly thought out development proposal for a drive-through bank at the corner of Ellicot and Wisconsin.

TOD advocates argue that a such a development deadens what should be a lively urban corner, Others suggest that traffic and parking woes will burden the neighborhood. All agree that the "process" has at best been poorly managed, and at worst, has been malicious, misleading and disdainful.

Council Member Mary Cheh has submitted the following to DDOT and the Tenleytown Listserv:

I have followed the thread on the listserv concerning the Commerce Bank. I am posting now to tell you what I have been doing about the project. During the past couple of weeks, I have been pressing the Department of Transportation to keep both the ANC and my office informed about the status of any permits being issued for the bank.

I am very concerned, not only about the process but also about whether circumstances at the site could properly allow permits to be issued. Unfortunately, I have been frustrated—as has the ANC—in getting information and having an opportunity to express our shared concerns. Most recently, I have written to the Director of the Department of Transportation, the text of which is set out below:

Dear Director Moneme:

I am very concerned about the proposed Commerce Bank project located at 4849 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W. Both the community and my office have been circumvented throughout the entirety of this process, with troubling results. My office has received a number of complaints about this project, and I share many of the same concerns expressed by my constituents. Thus I would like to receive, in writing, an update on the Commerce Bank project, including which permits have been approved by your agency and the reasoning for their approval.

I do not believe that this matter has been properly handled, and I will object to any action that does not include our community's opportunity to state its objections.

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