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Government and People
ISSUES REGARDING THE PROPOSED NPS/CMF LAND TRANSFER 12/29/02
The National Capital Planning Commission's Comprehensive Plan states that Whitehaven Parkway and Glover Archbold Park should be protected and maintained, and that steps should be taken to protect properties adjacent to then parklands with conservation easements, scenic easements, transfer development rights, etc.
CMF has not demonstrated a justifiable need for the additional four acres. The Mayor's Commission acknowledged the 16.5 acre site is fully adequate for its needs.
Public access to Public parkland. The CMF would fence the property with an 8 foot high steel fence, eliminating all public access to the 4 acre natural park. Whitehaven Parkway has been publicly accessible Federal parkland for more than 50 years.
Adverse Environmental Impact to wildlife and wetlands. The Whitehaven Parkland serves an important hydrologic function, filtering pollutants and sediments entering the wetlands and Glover Archbold Park. CMF plans to remove the understory growth, which would increase runoff and sediments, reduce the filtering of pollutants, and destroy habitat of migratory bird species protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The Environmental Assessment is incomplete in its inventory and sampling, and doesn't address habitat destruction or development which a second entrance would encourage.
Traffic impacts on Foxhall Road. The proposed entrance at Foxhall and Whitehaven will likely cause additional traffic backups for southbound Foxhall traffic, as presently exist during Saint Patrick's drop off and pick up at 8 AM, 12 noon, and 3 PM, because Foxhall is only one lane in each direction north of Whitehaven. A second entrance could be built further south on Foxhall Road, on land the CMF presently owns, which would be safer and not cause traffic backups.
A Threat of Development. The CMF reserves the right to develop as a matter of right up to 144 houses on the mansion site, and has refused to formalize a legal agreement making the mansion available to the District, until after the mansion is built. CMF will retain ownership of the entire 20.5 acres and could sell the property.
NPS covenants only protect the parkland if they are enforced. The covenants are weak and allow CMF to sell the properties after five years.
WS escrow fund might be better used to purchase the Georgetown waterfront land.
NPS stewardship. Perhaps CMF should deed the land to NPS and establish a wetland ecology trail and wildlife ecology center for area schools and park users. The albino deer on the property, although not rare or endangered, are an important spiritual symbol in the Native American culture. NPS acknowledged that prehistoric sites and archeological features exist in Glover Archbold Park and probably exist on Whitehaven Parkway. WS should protect and maintain this valuable parkland, not swap it!
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