There has been some chatter on the Chevy Chase Listserv about a development proposal for the large tract of undeveloped land bordered by Connecticut Avenue, Military Road and Kanawha Street. Known now as 5333 Connecticut Avenue, the local residents are attempting to raise concerns with city officials through a petition campaign.
Unlike other development proposals such as Cathedral Commons or The Bond which required Zoning Commission review, this project is being proposed by the developer as a matter of right proposition. In other words, there appears to be little to no opportunity for public input because the proposal complies in every way with current zoning rules.
On the listserv, one resident suggests:
Chevy Chase’s largest development in perhaps a half century is on the verge of
breaking ground without an iota of local input, or even any notice.
Many neighbors think this is just plan unfair. And they’re going door to door
beginning this weekend with what information about the project we've been able
to gather in the days since we first learned of it. They’ll also have petitions
and letters calling on Mary Cheh, our councilmember, Mayor Gray and Nicholas
Majett, the head of the city department that's been handing out municipal
approvals for the project, to help us get our concerns heard and addressed.
So it begs the question, what is appropriate in this case? Even though it is a matter of right development, should there be opportunity for residents to have a recourse? Are there extenuating circumstances that the rest of the public isn't aware of? Is there any irony that many of these same residents probably opposed the historic district proposal, which may have had impact on the scale of the development proposal?