DC LRP Files with Appeals Court for Rehearing “En Banc” in West End Decision

September 4, 2013
Contact Robin Diener
202 431-9254

DC Library Renaissance Project Seeks Rehearing “En Banc”of Court of Appeals Decision Affirming Zoning Commission’s Approval of West End Library and Fire Station Development

Case Will Decide Whether Taxpayers Lose Tens of Millions of Dollars in Property Value to Private Developer, and Whether District’s New Affordable Housing Legislation Will Be Gutted

WASHINGTON, DC – The District of Columbia Library Renaissance Project/ West End Library Advisory Group (“DCLRP”) has filed a Petition for Rehearing En Banc of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals’ August 8, 2013 opinion affirming a Zoning Commission order approving a Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) application submitted by EastBanc-W.D.C. Partners, LLC, for the redevelopment of public property currently housing the West End Public Library, West End Fire Station and a police station.

DCLRP filed its petition on August 22, 2013. The petition requests that the full Court of Appeals grant rehearing based on fundamental errors in the August 8, 2013 opinion entered by a three-judge panel. The immediate effect of the petition is to render the panel opinion non-final, until the full Court rules on the petition.

“We’re asking the full Court to decide this case because taxpayers are losing tens of millions of dollars in property value, which the Zoning Commission erroneously disregarded, and because the Zoning Commission violated the mandatory terms of the District’s new Inclusionary Zoning regulations, by waiving EastBanc’s obligation to include a small number of affordable housing units in its PUD,” said DCLRP attorney Oliver Hall.

“The panel failed to cite any legitimate authority for the Zoning Commission’s decision to waive EastBanc’s obligations under the Inclusionary Zoning regulations, but relied instead on vague language from a Zoning Commission order to override the express terms of the regulations,” Hall said. “If this decision is permitted to stand, it will gut the District’s new affordable housing legislation, before it ever has a chance to be enforced.”

Due to the nature of the issues raised, the decision rendered will impact the outcome of so-called “public-private partnerships” throughout the District. At stake is whether District taxpayers will receive adequate compensation for tens of millions of dollars in public property value conveyed to private developers in such deals. That value will be lost forever, unless the full Court of Appeals recognizes that the Zoning Commission erred by disregarding it.

The case is D.C. Library Renaissance Project/West End Library Advisory Group v. D.C. Zoning Commission, No. 12-AA-1183.

DLCRP’s Petition for Rehearing En Banc in the West End case is available here:  Petition for Rehearing En Banc-1