FBA appeals to halt hospital construction

Representative from the Foggy Bottom Association and GW presented opposing arguments to the D.C. Court of Appeals in Foggy Bottom Association vs. D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment Wednesday. The resident group is appealing the BZA’s decision to allow the construction of a new GW hospital at 900 23rd St.

GW is an interested party in the case, said University Senior Counsel Charles Barber, and will argue the BZA’s case.

We’re interested in seeing this hospital completed on a timely basis, he said after the hearing. We think the BZA rightly decided, the concerns of the community were considered and the environmental impacts were reviewed.

The BZA granted a special exception for the project Aug. 6, 1999, imposing 19 conditions, according to a brief for the petitioner submitted to the court by FBA attorney Cornish F. Hitchcock.

FBA members said these conditions, such as asking GW to make recommendations that vendors not deliver to the University during rush hours, are unenforceable and unlikely to rectify what they see as the negative effects of the new hospital.

The principle problem on the merits (of the project) is the board’s approach of slapping conditions on the project when there are problems with it, Hitchcock said in his argument.

The FBA presented two other questions to the court. The group disputes the BZA’s waiver of an Environmental Impact Statement for the construction site until the final permitting stage. The FBA also argued that the BZA failure to consider the opinion of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which is supposed to be given great weight in construction and expansion approvals.

-Kate Stepan

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.