In a meeting of the D.C. City Council of the Whole today, Shakespeare Theatre Executive Director Chris Jennings pleaded for a change to the Southwest Small Area Plan that would allow the Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation to proceed with their plans to construct a 9-story building on the 501 I Street SW property.
Jenning’s testimony appeared designed to convince the Council to reject the Southwest Small Area Plan because it would force developers to continue the dialogue with the Southwest community through the upcoming Comprehensive Plan Amendment process. At-Large Councilmember David Grosso spoke as an advocate for Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Company. Despite the Office of Planning’s success in addressing concerns about the Southwest Library and emphasizing build-first public housing, Grosso said he would vote against the Southwest Small Area Plan without changes to accommodate Shakespeare Theatre and Erkiletian Construction Corporation. In drafting the 501 I Street SW recommendations, the Office of Planning successfully responded to over 40 individual complaints from neighbors nearest the property.
Councilmember Grosso was elected to an At-Large Council seat with just 26.47% of the Ward 6 vote. For reference, the two other Councilmembers at the meeting, Phil Mendelson (Chairman) and Charles Allen, were elected with 74.06% and 79.47% of the Ward 6 vote respectively.
The final City Council vote on the Southwest Small Area Plan is still pending. I urge you to contact the Office of Councilmember Grosso and the office of Council Chairman Mendelson to express your opinion about how they should vote on the Southwest Small Area Plan. Councilmember Grosso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and phone number (202) 724-8105. Council Chairman Mendelson can be reached at email@example.com and phone number (202) 724-8032.