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ANC 6B03 commissioner Norm Metzger has a report on yesterday's Community Leadership Group meeting on the search for a new Marine Barracks site. (I'm sorry, I just can't bring myself to call it the CIMP process on first reference.) My short version: there's no news on a site selection, and it appears that any RFP to build a new barracks is probably at least a year away, and even that date could be derailed if any sort of federal legislative action is needed to allow the sort of public-private development partnership that the Marines seem to be looking for. Norm's description of the meeting as being an "odd mix of frustration, clearly expressed community anger, and clarity" seems to be a good summary of where things stand from the group's point of view.
Norm also posted the CLG Status Report handout, which I think will be of most interest to residents for its "The Art of the Do-Able" conceptual graphics (emphasis on conceptual) showing how either the 11th and M "Exxon" site or the 8th Street "Square 929/930" site could be developed in ways that would not touch the Virginia Avenue Park. There's also a similar graphic showing how the presence at the current BEQ site along Virginia east of 5th could be expanded without losing the soccer field, which would requiring the shifting of the planned Capper community center site. (On this last one, I'll note that it looks like what is marked as M Street on the renderings is actually L Street, and the second graphic is showing a northeast view from 5th rather than the northwest as marked.)
Finally, there is this statement from the CIMP folks that seeks to address what it calls "some misperceptions circulating about the future of Marine Barracks Washington and the local community," centering mainly the idea among some residents that a site has already been chosen along with the rumors about what may or may not happen to Virginia Avenue Park. "It is very important that the Virginia Avenue Community Gardener group knows that their concerns have been heard loud and clear and addressed accordingly," the statement says, going on to say that "informal site design concepts strongly suggest that there is potential for options under which the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Complex could be developed, without impacting any portion of the Virginia Avenue Park and gardens."
There are two meetings scheduled to update the public on the process, on Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 from 5 to 9 pm at Eastern Market's North Hall. More information on the entire process is available at the CIMP web site, or you can slog through my pile of posts on it all over the past year.
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Carey says: (11/19/10 5:52 PM)
It's great to see that there is a reasonable compromise. Thanks for sharing this report.


Tom says: (11/22/10 8:31 AM)
Latest on MCBW from JDLand


G Street says: (11/22/10 11:39 AM)
Put it south of the current USMC barracks.

All in favor?

Aye! Aye! Aye!

The ayes have it - next order of business...


C says: (11/22/10 7:28 PM)
Question is whether canal park construction has begun already - I say it has despite the lack of physical progress on the site the past two months. The three blocks have been cleared of buses and other debris, have been improved with new sod (notwithstanding the middle block made into a mud pie by dogs, and infrastructure work continues underground around each of the blocks all related to moving the park forward. From what I've heard construction will begin "soon" and transformation will be immediately evident. This park is not as intensive as the one a few blocks south on the river but will be equally or more beautiful.


JD says: (11/22/10 7:38 PM)
So, Curt, you're saying the park has actually been under construction since April of 2009?



BradleyComar says: (11/24/10 8:09 AM)
G Street, I second that! South of the current Barracks (square 882) seems to be the most reasonable to me. Cutting out L Street between 5th and 6th would be nice since that street is a zoo during the early weekday mornings ...I live on L between 4th and 5th and see the folks avoiding M street first hand. Also, that residential construction that was supposed to start on the north side of square 882 right after the ballpark season never started. So, they can still move that housing south of square 882 and let the Marines extend into the northern half of square 882. Since the office space that was to be on the south end of square 882 is only plans without even potential occupants or any interest that I have heard of, there are no losers here.

With all these vacant office buildings and empty plots that will some day have more office buildings, I don't know why the BID and the DC Office of Planning are so determined to keep the Marines out in order to perserve their Office building plans south of square 882. I frankly don't believe for a minute that the square 882 office building will be built in the next 10 years. All those empty plots closer to the action surrounding the ballpark will probably be built out first. For goodness sakes, let the marines extend south into the northern section of square 882 and move the residential buildings to the south of square 882. It is the least we could do for those brave young folks that serve this country so well.


Andrew in DC says: (11/24/10 12:26 PM)
Put the band and the silent drill team behind the walls of the Navy Yard. Move the MCI offices to Joint Base Bolling where they have gobs of space. Don't take over another city block when there's no reason for it.

Out of curiosity - in the aftermath of WW2, when the Navy Yard was no longer making boilers, massive guns and torpedos and had no use for a lumber shed - how long did they hang onto that land?

[Here, I paused in my writing and actually looked up the response.] The Naval Gun Factory (Naval Weapons Facility) was closed in 1962, about 10-15 years past its realistic usability, given the technologies that had developed vs. the factories on the site. And the land was given back... not to DC, but to the GSA. GSA held onto it until 2002. Forty. Years. 55 years past its usefulness. More germanely to the topic - there's no guarantee that the current Barracks area is ever going to be a mixed-public/private facility, so it's not like we're trading spaces in this case.

Getting land back from the Feds is no easy feat, folks. Don't be so eager to hand over extra city blocks to them when they aren't even using what they have efficiently.


MJM says: (11/24/10 1:00 PM)
Andrew - please stop posting with supporting facts - that doesn't help! :) You are exactly rigth GSA doesn't give up land easily - as FCE stated - its not in their mission to do so...I hope you mention this at the 30 Nov meeting!!

And exactly this mixed-public/private facility would apparently be a first of its kind within DoD because I can't think of a single one...being a brat and military member myself I have never come across one. That's why there are gate guards and fences to keep non-military people out of DoD installations (except back in the 70/80s when they let single woman on base to go to the e-/o-clubs).


BradleyComar says: (11/26/10 8:48 AM)
I do not believe that I ever mentioned taking back the northern section of square 882 in my suggestion above. Since the military transfered all that waterfront space to the city south of the DOT, it does not seem that upsetting to me to give the marines this space in order to co-locate all these folks. In fact, I have not heard any mention about how efficiently local companies are using their commercial space or how long this city uses its park space as park space ...not that I am for one second agreeing to these conclusions about military use of space. Every adult knows that you can cherry-pick and "stretch" the facts to meet any preconceived notions that you have. In fact, one can argue that the military should have never handed over the space south of DOT since there are people in this neighborhood who despise handing space to the military when they ask for space.

I simply saddens me that some here are so disgusted with the thought of living next to more military folks that they will take the time to search for "facts" to justify these beliefs. I put facts in quotes because I am sure the fact search above was not done with any open mindedness. But then again, I am taking the time to right this because I have a great amount of respect for all who serve this country and I am quite disgusted with the way the marines are being treated ...and I will admit that my mind is already made up about that, so much so that I (gasp) actually use my name in the namespace.


Andrew in DC says: (11/26/10 1:44 PM)
@bradley - You're absolutely right that you didn't mention taking back the space north of 882. I brought it up because I was trying to emphasize that these are hundred-year decisions that the community is trying to make and that maybe we ought to do so with a little more forethought (i.e. "there's no developer going there *right now* might carry less weight on a 100yr timeframe) and a little less flag-waving.


"Since the military transfered [sic] all that waterfront..." ... which didn't initially belong to them until the early part of the 20th century and to their credit, the military put the space to (ostensibly) good/productive use - for a while. And then its lifecycle was past and the Feds (not the DoD) held onto it. Much like the plot which the current BEQ sits on will not be contributing any money to our property tax base anytime soon - even though it has apparently outlived its military life. (Squares 0926 and 0951 were taken over in 1969 or so, for those keeping score.)

We're now talking about squares being handed over because of a relatively arbitrary change in DoD's internal regs to prevent an attack from a method which, in the last 20 years, has happened twice successfully - both 10+ yrs ago and never against a military target. Is there a threat? I agree that it's enough of one to change things up a bit - so put them behind the walls of the more secure Navy Yard.

Finally, no one is talking about living next to "more" Marines - because the Marines aren't talking about it. And here, it'd help if you'd actually read the CIMP's FAQ. No increases. No decreases. Same Marines. Different location. Putting them in the Navy Yard doesn't cast them off a cliff. They'd be 2 blocks from where they are now, in a preexisting facility.

No one is stretching facts (or faqs) to make their arguments. MJM and I are both former military ourselves, so this bogus patriotic grandstanding BS doesn't fly in this conversation. In fact, I started out completely unopposed to the Marine expansion and I was outraged by Holmes-Norton's letter. And then I did some research and thinking about it and I changed my mind. We have a different opinions from you. And if that makes you sad, then you're in the wrong city.


Andrew in DC says: (11/26/10 1:52 PM)
Correction: "Squares 0926 and 0951 were taken over in 1969 or so.."

Should refer to squares 092*8* and 0951.


MJM says: (11/29/10 10:01 AM)
I'm still in - couple more years to go - would be kinda strange for me to be anti-military because that would make me anti-me? If some want to believe this is pro/anti military then you are sadly mistaken and missing the point on that issue.

Do you want our real names to hunt us down? A lot of people use initials on JD's page.... :)


BradleyComar says: (11/29/10 11:19 AM)
@ Andrew/MJM: Different opinions don't bother me or make me sad ...so I suppose that I am in the right city after all. I do get saddened by the fact that some folks here just slam the military at every chance they get, not just once or twice. I don't believe that MJM (anti-me) ever missed a chance to pounce on this site ...the current iron picket fence is too menacing, the USS Barry was not a ghost ship long enough, the security folks are too strict, they Navy Yard need to "unpucker" and open the sidewalk on the water. I have hated an employer in the past I must admit, but never to that extent. MJM, you don't have to worry about me "hunting down" anyone. I am not the attack dog here. I am simply responding to this continuing barrage of angry/spiteful/nasty comments. Also, the fact that you are still in does not mean that your posting must go unchallenged.

Also, does anyone know if churches pay property taxes. I know they are supposed to be tax free, but I don't know if that includes property taxes. I hope we are not all supposed to be anti-church if they don't add to our tax base. Also, this not paying enough to me my neighbor argument that I have heard from various folks is quite creepy.

I have read the CIMP FAQ and showed up at a few of the meetings. One gentleman actually got up and said that if the Marines build next to his house, it was be such an bad situation for him that he would "expect to be bought out." That is so over the top nasty, it is borderline funny. When I stood up and said that I am steps from block 882 and I think it would be great in they expanded southward and welcomed them here, I could feel the anger in the room form the Just Say No to the military crowd.


BradleyComar says: (11/29/10 11:25 AM)
@Andrew: Wait, Van Ness Elementary School has not been a school for a while now, but is still maintained by DCPS. Is DCPS a bad manager of land? Should our community be a school free zone?


C says: (11/29/10 1:11 PM)
have received word from reliable source that canal park is not impacted by the Mayor's decree to freeze funding for future development - woohoo!!


Andrew in DC says: (11/29/10 1:18 PM)
@MJM - I hope not. I don't think there'd be much sport in hunting a half-a-block away :)

@Bradley - I'd be more than happy to add the churches to our tax base, too - I don't think they ought to get a free ride. So, awesome, we finally agree on something.

The tax argument isn't creepy - it's a legitimate point. Tax bases matter. This city has a lot of problems when it comes to making ends meet, some of which are the District's fault (DC bureaucracy is notoriously business unfriendly) and others are tied to a glut of restrictions on how it can collect. Personally, I think HR 1014 would resolve all of them, but the "statehood" movement is too blinkered to push for it. The point is - everything has a cost. Future revenue from property taxes does have a net present value. Since the burden of the DoD regulation is wholly self-inflicted, I'd prefer they bear the burden of the costs, and not take from DC's limited coffers without offering recompense.

No one (in this conversation) has made any sort of personal attack against the military or those who serve (unless you count your thinly-veiled attacks on the patriotism of myself and MJM, but I'll let that slide for now). I'm not angry. I haven't "slammed" the military. I don't "hate" my former employer - which is a good thing, because I'm still employed by them, just not in uniform.

If the DoD had no other options, and they were completely out of space, then I'd be amenable to them taking over a block, provided they yielded the blocks they took over to make their current BEQ. But they do have other options. I look out of my window and I see enormous open fields which don't require dislodging any other entities.

As for your other point - I think it's ironic that you bring up DCPS's problems reopening Van Ness (which are budgetary based as much as anything at this point) and yet the tax argument is "creepy".


MJM says: (11/29/10 2:10 PM)
Emotions run high and everyone will eventually join 'sides' but the thing that gets me are the off the cuff comments. Not singling anyone out but when you do research you see how things are shaped and how we got to where we are today but I can't remember who posted that the BEQ could be crammed into 882 - it probably could be or the current Annex could be reconfigured to fit the new BEQ but at this stage of the game brick walls have been built by the real parties involved. I think the Marines could get creative in their ideas/proposals but they also need to address all the 'impacts' such as Dog-ma and not just the garden....

Just because I'm military doesn't give me a free pass for spouting off - just beacuse I post alot or am loud doesn't make my comments right. I only add that military piece because of the pro-anti issue that pops up when you are against the barracks.

But I would like to see the NY come out on when they are going to 'unpucker' (you did some research to find my post :) ) and open their riverwalk section. This isn't 1812 anymore - the British aren't gonna sail up the Eastern Branch.

Regardless - tomorrow night will be interesting.

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