Community Meeting on Hebrew Home Development Packed

DGS's Stephen Campbell presenting during Hebrew Home meeting.

DGS’s Stephen Campbell presenting during Hebrew Home meeting.

Last night, Councilmember Bowser hosted a community meeting at Raymond Recreation Center to discuss the proposal to redevelop the former Hebrew Home for the Aged property, located at 1125 Spring Road. The meeting began at 6 p.m. to a packed house and ran well over its scheduled 90 minutes, ending a fair while after 8 p.m.

The meeting included members of the Department of General Services and the DC Housing Authority. Each made presentations related to the proposed development of the site (each also agreed to post their presentations on the DGS Web site in the next day or two. The site located here: http://dgs.dc.gov/page/1125-spring-road-project).

The City Paper’s Aaron Wiener was among the reporters at the meeting and wrote what I consider to be a good and fair account of the meeting. You can read that article here.

In short, the redeveloped property could have between 160 and 200 units of new housing once completed. The way this breaks down is 75-80 units in the historic structure, and up to 90-120 units in any new construction that replaces the Robeson School on the eastern (10th Street) portion of the property.

Based on the presentations and discussion last night, many aspects of the project still seem to be open for discussion — such as the breakdown of how much and what type of affordable housing to include, how much housing for seniors to include, and even what the final project will look like. That said, it struck me that there was significant support for affordable housing among those who attended the meeting (even if that support was not unanimous).

I will continue to post about this project as information becomes available.

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5 Comments on “Community Meeting on Hebrew Home Development Packed”

  1. TBG Says:

    I think the “affordable housing” folks were just more organized. We can probably credit that to the Jews for Justice group, mainly made up of people that don’t live in the neighborhood. I personally felt intimateded to speak up in favor of market rate housing because anyone who spoke to this point was booed and/or harassed. One lady even called my fellow supporter a racist name for white people. I don’t get why a person who supports market rate housing is a racist. Or why they deserve too be harassed. Many of the people who DONT want affordable housing live within a four block radius. Shouldn’t they have the most say? Why someone who lives outside DC or even 10 blocks away in Petworth is weighing in, I don’t know. This is going to get ugly.

  2. JS Says:

    I too think the writeup was fair, but TBG makes an important point. Speakers in support of more market-rate housing were shouted at, booed, and otherwise interrupted in a manner that none of the Jews for Justice /100% low income housing folks were.

  3. Rebecca Says:

    Contrary to Kent’s summary that there was large support for affordable housing I know that in fact that those that live closest to the redevelopment have a variety of opinions, and there is in fact NO consensus around having “a substantial portion of the new development to be devoted to affordable housing.” The voices and cheers that dominated the room (as noted by Kent) were those of an advocacy campaign group for affordable housing – many of whom did not live within the immediate vicinity of the property. Among those that live closest to the property the main desire is for a smart solution, one that does not risk drawing tensions within our community. This could mean a substantial portion dedicated to affordable housing or maybe it won’t. We just want to see a smart solution, with data backing the proposal, so our community remains one that thrives. I for one didn’t want to offer my opinion as I did not want to be demonized from the very vocal affordable housing advocates. We should remember that the loudest in the room doesn’t always represent the majority opinion.

  4. Concerned4COHI Says:

    What was most shameful was Muriel Bowser’s inability to keep order and ensure fairness. She allowed for the booing, grandstanding and finger-pointing. David Catania should leverage her weakness in creating a safe space for community input.

  5. Mixed Says:

    Agree with Rebecca, but not with concerned – MB did the best crowd control she could while still making every opinion feel respected. Others may disagree – I was impressed with how she handled a difficult crowd.

    But it was obvious the loudest were not from the neighborhood at all. Funny how outraged they are asking an existing neighborhood to protect the members…by bringing people into the neighborhood from outside the neighborhood. Anyone see the irony in asking for the rights of theoretical new-people over the wishes of existing residents?


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