In Brief: Why D.C. Needs Comprehensive Civic Planning

I think the image below shows what happens when there is not broad, comprehensive civic planning that is inclusive of the community. It shows the Georgia Avenue facade of the Fisherman of Men Church (former York Theater), which is currently being modernized.

The church came to the conclusion that their building was void of historic character and that its outdated facade did not “fit in” with the surrounding neighborhood. So, they decided to modernize the structure so that it is closer in appearance to the newer development on the Avenue. At the same time, the Middle Georgia Avenue Great Streets Project is installing new historically sensitive street lighting to be more compatible with the neighborhood.

I’ll be meeting with Director Majett of DCRA today to talk about this and related issues.

UPDATE: There will be a follow up meeting to include Office of Planning Director Tregoning.


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6 Comments on “In Brief: Why D.C. Needs Comprehensive Civic Planning”

  1. Steve on Marlboro Pl Says:

    Along with many other things that they’ve done to that building to remove it’s character and charm (albeit many a long time ago when the Avenue was a lot rougher.) Glad to see you’re taking that issue up head-on for the rest of us. I was shocked to see the fascia coming down in favor of that terrible concrete, which I still can’t tell how it’s going to make it look better or decent or even passable.

  2. John H. Says:

    I want to echo what Steve said — thank you Kent.

  3. WarderSt Says:

    I agree-thank you Kent!

  4. djdc Says:

    I also can’t see this remodel turning out well. Time will tell (maybe?). Are they going to remove the plywood from their windows?

  5. Mark C Says:

    It will be interesting to hear more about the discussion with DCRA. It’s not clear to me what ‘comprehensive civic planning’ entails and what was absent or went wrong in this example. From previous posts I understand that a system for registering and protecting buildings of historical significance exists. And from my growing understanding of property renovation in the process I’m going through for my own home, there is an approval system for conducting work on buildings – residential, at least. Are the above-mentioned processes not adequate to balance the protection of notable buildings with the needs and priorities of their owners? And if not, what should be done to improve the system?



  6. Anil Says:

    I am shocked that they give a damn about what their building looks like, let alone if it “fit’s in” or has historic character considering that they continuously make it uglier. Very odd.

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