Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Build No Harm

Eckington is Zion to me.

The full breadth of the 99% share a common garden behind Ms Jackie's house.  We work together and are learning how to grow organic vegetables and flowers together.  Ms. Kim does all her weird experiments on the soil with the help of Joseph and a few other kids.  We watch each other's kids houses, and people.  We watch after and take care of each other.  We celebrate birthdays, Easter, Christmas, Passover, Chanukah, Kwanza, 4th of July, Memorial Day, seriously ... this block has a tradition for each of these holidays.  Its amazing!

Like many families, we have had this party we've talked about throwing for about four years now, but just have never gotten around to organize ... because every night is kinda like a party ;)

We go through spurts of energy where we decide we are going to get spiritual and read the bible together ... but then we get worried people will differ to much about dogma and decide it doesn't matter that much.  Maybe more fun to keep it light.  ;)

Still,  Laffe keeps us all one our toes and honest. Not a date goes by that I don't get teased.  But I know she always has my back.  Because she is there, I don't experience one fear that has stunted me my whole life.

My neighbors are family.  Through thick and thin, we are here for each other.  And now some developer has looked over our little kingdom and decided he wants to taken position of the whole of it, with a 9 story condo.  If I wanted to live in Crystal City, I'd live there!

It will block out our sun entirely for the winter months.  We will get partial sun in spring and fall, and nearly all the sun we used to get typically in the summer.  If I wanted to live in Anchorage, I'd live there!  (I mean I do want to live there in the summer, don't get me wrong, but I'd never survive an Alaskan winter)

The city is encouraging people to produce their own electricity and take some pressure off the grids, which yall know sucks around here.  So why in the world would they want to put that massive foot print behind a bunch of housing trying to install solar?

Its so crazy because we "want new residential like a hole in the head" as one member said in our Eckington Civic Association Meeting: which I don't think we joke about around here.  But we do want jobs!

Here is a letter my neighbors and I put together over the weekend.

Dear Neighbor,

We are hoping to unite our neighborhood around opposing the construction of another condominium building in South Eckington.  As one neighbor said at last week’s ECA meeting: “We want more residential like we want a hole in our head” – which around here isn’t something we joke about.  

We are concerned by the negative impact more residential can have on our neighborhood. Some include:

  • Impact on Florida Avenue, New York Avenue, and NorthCapitol Street traffic.  Pedistrian safety is at an all time low in this corridor.  One neighbor calls it a Cluster-Effe.  The impact of an additional 50 families would bring us to a crushing point.  They want many more than 50 people living there.  Don't forget, we will soon have Elevation to add to the mess.  David Thomas Circle will be like Mumbai
  •  Impact on electrical grid.   We have annual mid-summer blackouts as it is.  We have frequent loss of power during storms.
  • Impact on water supply. 
  • Loss of privacy for homes on the southside of Q Street NE
  • Loss of views from rooftops of Q St NE
  • Noise and light pollution

Additionally, we are worried that during construction the foundation of our homes can be negatively impacted or worse.  As we saw in the building collapse in Philadelphia and even further down Q St, the vibration from and impact to the surface so close to homes could cause houses in desperate need of repair to collapse.

We need jobs!  The space is zoned to be a hub of employment: industrial. Why would the city get rid of this prime real estate already zoned to help tackle the problems of today’s youth: unemployment, to residential?

We could have any number of jobtraining and apprenticeship programs for trades related to the rehabilitation and restoration the community so desperately needs. Along side locally own private-businesses.  Or a business incubator, or a teaching training site in partnership with Teach for America.

We are asking all of our friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens who believe in smart growth and development rather than destruction and abuse.  We ask that you stand with us to demand that they Build No Harm! (Shout out to our compatriots in NW!)

Across DC developers and corrupt politicians are trying to ramrod enormous energy guzzling behemoths of days gone buy (pun intended) on some of our nations treasures.  McMillan Sand Filtration Site!  (This is the history of the site ... I don't want to get off topic but this should be a national travesty!)

The property I'm writing about today was built in 1923 as "The Ice House". It was where all Washingtonians got their ice.  The Huff family owned and operated it in such a way that even the developer reminisced about his childhood memories of picking up supplies for birthday parties and what not.  Imagine the stories those walls could tell.

The property is zoned for what we need here industrial commercial, just check out the MidCity East survey and see what you learn.  A super majority of the community is in agreement that we don't want more residential.  Some few who plan to flip their houses for a profit , and show up at meetings, want it because it will increase their property values. Those of us who call Eckington home don't really want our property values to go up any higher, it only means higher property taxes.

The ANC is voting on Tuesday the 18th to support or oppose the project.  I don't have the details of the meeting but plan to post them here.  Please, if you agree with what we are saying, and you can make it on Tuesday, we'd love your moral support.  We feel a bit like David and Goliath, we are just praying that there really are more of us than them.

this is the MOST beautiful of all the views of it.
mostly like deseret towers
but those were only 7 stories and had cool architecture 

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