Thursday, May 5, 2011

ANC 4A unanimously opposes Walmart LTR as currently submitted

Here are 4A resident Michele Baskin's notes from Tuesday night's ANC 4A meeting, during which 4A's commissioners moved to oppose Walmart's current Large Tract Review.

I made it out to the ANC 4A mtg at Fort Stevens Rec Center on Tuesday night where Walmart's LTR submission was on the agenda. It was really unclear what the commissioners would choose to do since DDOT released their letter earlier in the day noting problems with the LTR and requesting a hold on approval.

All commissioners were present but very few community members. About 3/4 the way through the meeting, Muriel Bowser made an appearance.

The commissioners were originally going to vote on the comments from the ANC either in support of or opposition to the LTR plan. It was suggested that they postpone the vote in light of DDOT's letter. Dave Wilson, the commissioner tasked with creating the ANC's comments, suggested that they go ahead and vote on the LTR as is, in case the window for submitting comments did close as scheduled on May 30th. He also stated that the concerns brought up by DDOT were the same concerns he was bringing up in comments, making the DDOT letter in support of the ANC's proposed comments. After much wrangling around process, a very lengthy motion was crafted (I am still trying to get the exact working from Wilson or Whatley) that stated that ANC 4A was in opposition to Walmart's LTR as written but that this would be suspended if Walmart submitted a new LTR in response to DDOT's letter or if the comment period was extended to June 30th at the earliest, at which point any new submissions by Walmart would be reviewed and a new motion submitted. There was a lot more legalese, but basically this was a vote to oppose the LTR as currently submitted. The vote was 8-0 to oppose the LTR by Walmart.

So let me repeat, ANC4A is on the record as opposing the current Walmart LTR in a unanimous fashion.

The commissioners also took up a separate motion concerning a community benefits agreement. There was much discussion about the reality of enforceability and the fact that Wal-Mart has never signed one of these. There was also concern that it would be problematic to have each ANC in the city craft their own CBA or list of demands. I suggested that the ANC take a look at the draft from Respect DC, and it was agreed that they would table any CBA motions until Respect DC's proposal was read.

Bowser suggested that the ANC need not worry about a CBA because she and her fellow councilmembers would take care of it. She seems to think that she can leverage LTR approval and building permit issuance to get favorable terms and a binding agreement on a CBA.

There was much mention of the upcoming ANC4B meetings and people were directed to next week's meeting to receive more information around the Walmart issue.

The next ANC 4B meeting regarding Walmart will be held on Thursday, May 12, at Emory Methodist Church, 7100 Georgia Avenue NW, 7-9 pm.

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