Letter to the Editor of the Northwest Current Newspaper

Here is the text to a "letter to the editor" published in the August 5, 2015 issue of the Northwest Current:

"Answers needed on GDS project impact
Members of the community east of Wisconsin Avenue have formed the Wisconsin Avenue Gateway Group, or WAGG, to work with and encourage Georgetown Day School to promote smart growth development on its Safeway and Martens auto dealership properties. We welcome an expanded campus and strongly support new shops, eateries and housing.
In other words, we enthusiastically support the fundamentals of the Georgetown Day School plan for campus expansion and mixed- use retail/residential development. But to build something great for both the school and community, Georgetown Day will have to reduce the ambitious scale of its project to more reasonable and real- izable goals, take meaningful steps to maximize community benefits, and do all possible to minimize potential burdens on its neighbors.
We greatly appreciate the close attention advisory neighborhood commissioners have given to what seem to be questionable underpin- nings of elements critical to the plan’s success. We find that the school’s plans insufficiently account for the impact of more than 1,000 daily vehicular trips in and out of its 10-acre plot through only four access points. Moreover, the 42nd Street access road is to be reduced to 20 feet, allowing only one lane in each direction. Backups on this
road are inevitable — cars break down, parents make unauthorized stops to drop off their kids. The Georgetown Day School Transpor- tation Management Plan for the school actually encourages more traffic onto the campus, for example, by offering parking spaces for a small fee to “parents who want to drive their children to school and leave their car in the GDS lot for the day.”
We frown on the intended swap of public space along 42nd Street, land necessary to construct the northern mixed-use building, for a set of steps that would extend through a canyon formed between the north and south mixed-use buildings — steps of dubious benefit to the neighborhood, yet counted as a community amenity by Georgetown Day.
All D.C. residents are affected by the prospect that, as a nonprofit institution, Georgetown Day School will be exempt from property taxes on the Safeway land, now taxed as a commercial business. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3E, in its July 13 letter to the school, esti- mates this loss at $230,000 without improvements — and much more once the land has been improved.
We regret that GDS principals have dragged their feet and been less than forthcoming, despite promised transparency, when asked by the neighborhood commission and by us, the people who live here, to provide more detailed informa- tion about their plans for our community.
Kate Berenson
Tenleytown "

Download the entire issue here.