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Zoning Commission Approves McMillan Project Again Following Court Rejection

A rendering of the McMillan Sand Filtration Site development

The largest D.C. development to have its approvals vacated by a court in recent history, the $720M McMillan Sand Filtration Site project, has just gotten approval a second time.

The Zoning Commission Thursday evening approved the PUD again after months of public hearings in which it addressed the court's concerns, Urban Turf reports

D.C.'s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development is partnering with Jair Lynch, Trammell Crow and EYA to develop the 25-acre site near the intersection of North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue NW. The plans call for 1M SF of healthcare space, 655 housing units, 125K SF of retail anchored by a Harris Teeter, a 17K SF community center and an eight-acre park. 

Friends of McMillan Park, a group of neighborhood activists, filed suit against the project in the D.C. Court of Appeals. In December, the court ruled in favor of the opponents, vacating the project's approval and setting the project back months. The day before the ruling, D.C. and its developer partners held a ceremonial groundbreaking on the project.

The development team then went back to the Zoning Commission earlier this year to justify the density they are seeking to build. The new approval is a meaningful step forward for the team, but recent history suggests they may not be in the clear. 

The Menkiti Group's project at 901 Monroe St. NE in Brookland has been approved three times by the Zoning Commission, and each time, opponents appealed it and the court vacated the approval. The 220-unit apartment project continues to sit in limbo as the site remains vacant.

The author of the opinions for the 901 Monroe rejections, Judge Roy McLeese, also wrote the opinion for the McMillan decision. Across the city, more than 4,000 units are facing appeal in the court, and some development opponents have cited the court's McMillan decision in arguing other projects should be rejected.