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DC planners approve Ft. Stevens project

The Washington D.C.'s Office of Planning voted yesterday to grant a church the variance it sought to construct a five-story addition at the edge of Ft. Stevens' national park, the place where President Lincoln observed the Confederate attack on the capital. Those who opposed the design of the addition say the new building will detract from the visitor experience at the park and had hoped for a compromise plan that would have embraced the park.

No testimony was allowed at the meeting and board members voted 3 to 1 in support of the original plans submitted by Emory United Methodist Church. If the church uses any federal funds for the addition, park supporters may have an opportunity for another review..

By Linda Wheeler  |  February 24, 2010; 6:34 AM ET
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PLEASE don't blame this on the planners! The decision was made by the Board of Zoning Adjustment, an independent entity with 3 mayoral appointees who are confirmed by the Council, one staff person from the National Capital Planning Commission (who was the one vote against approving the project)and a rotating member of the Zoning Commission. My understanding is that the Office of Planning had tried to get the Church and the National Park Service to reach a compromise, to no avail. Fort Stevens and its nearby forts played a key role in saving Washington during the Civil War. Had the rag tag group of Union soldiers that were rounded up from sick beds, etc. not held off Jubal Early's troops, who attacked while Grant had the main Union forces on a campaign in Virginia, it would have been a very easy march straight down 7th Street to the Capitol. It is a shame that the story is not better told or more widely known in DC, and a pity that the Church could not have found a way to accomplish their program with less adverse impact on this important Civil War relic.

Posted by: realWashingtonian | February 24, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

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