July 6, 2020 | Press Release

Remarks on Court of Appeals Decision Regarding Park Morton Public Housing Replacement


“I am profoundly disappointed by the Court of Appeals’ ruling on the case regarding the Bruce Monroe site on Georgia Avenue. In remanding the case back to the Zoning Commission, the Court has dealt an unprecedented burden to residents of Park Morton public housing, who should be residing at this build-first site by now, and some of whom have already left Park Morton in the interim.  

In light of this, I plan to move forward quickly to enable the construction of a modified Phase 1 of the Park Morton project, a new build-first site on the Park Morton property that does not displace any of the current residents. I am aware of proposals to allow the building currently leasing at 965 Florida Avenue to act as the build-first site for Park Morton, and I am very understanding of the desire to do so. I will be supportive of Park Morton residents who wish to use an individual voucher to live in that building, but we do not have an avenue to claim or reserve portions of that property for use as a fully-fledged build-first site.

The facts of the court’s decision did not rest on any of the challenges raised by the petitioners in the lawsuit, all of which were dismissed. Instead, the Zoning Commission’s decision was remanded in order for the Commission to make technical corrections and justify project impacts that were clearly deliberated and found to be far outweighed by the many benefits. Justice Thompson notes in the dissent that the majority’s decision “is a formula for another round of appeals that will delay a project that the Commission has already thoroughly analyzed and unanimously deemed worthy of approval.”

As I have said many times throughout this process, I strongly assert my commitment to fulfilling the goals of this project, which includes a build-first principle for public housing replacement, new affordable units for families and seniors, homeownership opportunities for Park Morton residents, and two new community green spaces. Park View – a neighborhood my family calls home – has the opportunity to be a model for inclusive development and for prosperity that guards against displacement, but a centerpiece of that future has been delayed by the self-interest of a few.”

A copy of the majority opinion and dissent is embedded below.


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Contact: Luz Martinez, lmartinez@dccouncil.us, (202) 262-8998