Stanton-EastBanc Asks DC Court of Appeals to Ignore Hine Lease Provisions
Opponents Fault DMPED for Failure to Release Hine Documents
by Larry Janezich
Attorneys for Stanton-EastBanc have asked the DC Court of Appeals to disallow the submission the Hine development land lease as evidence which reveals that DC taxpayers will pay for almost $2 million in benefits and amenities that the Zoning Commission credited to the developer when they approved the Hine PUD process. In a October 10, 2013 letter to the court, Greenstein Delorme & Luchs, attorneys for SEB, argued that the rule allowing submission of evidence at this stage only pertains to the decision of courts and that plaintiffs had the document in question prior to the court hearing.
Oliver Hall, attorney for the Hine Coalition appealing the Zoning Commission decision, responded on October 15, asserting the propriety of submitting the additional evidence, citing that it had been introduced orally at the hearing, and while it was always available to the developers, became available to petitioners only by filing a FOIA request.
Significantly, Hall’s letter states, “Stanton-EastBanc withheld this information, and permitted the Zoning Commission to make findings that are materially misleading, if not false, because it lacked the very information that Stanton-EastBanc withheld.”
Separately, Hall said, “The lease was discussed extensively during the Court hearing on September 26, 2013. SEB now hopes to suppress this evidence that it misled the public and misled the Zoning Commission about key terms of this deal.” Capitol Hill Corner recently reported the filings related to DMPED’s failure to make the Hine development documents available here: http://bit.ly/19IqahR
Concern over transparency in the development process has been voiced elsewhere. On September 24, at an economic development roundtable which included a discussion of the Hine development held by Councilmember Muriel Bowser, she pledged her assistance in making the Hine documents public. Bowser registered a note of resignation about the deal when she said, “Maybe we didn’t get a good deal (on Hine) but we can’t unwind it,” but she also noted that “stepping up the standard of proactive release of documents” would be in the public interest, and offered her assistance to Mary Fraker, who testified on behalf of the Hine coalition, to expedite that process.
2 responses to “Stanton-EastBanc Asks DC Court of Appeals to Ignore Hine Lease Provisions”
Why does Councilmember Muriel Bowser notes a feeling of resignation about the deal adding that, “Maybe we didn’t get a good deal (on Hine) but we can’t unwind it,” What does she mean by cannot “unwind it”? If there was misleading information provided to the Zoning Commission and if there are other DC code violations, this deal should be reset and started over. Exactly like they did on Reservation 13. Deals should not get through just because some corporation can make a boatload of money through hiddent public funds.
Regarding CM Bowser’s offer of “assistance to Mary Fraker, who testified on behalf of the Hine coalition, to expedite that process”:
Having heard nothing more in the intervening three weeks, I emailed the following to CM Bowser on October 15:
“Responding to testimony during the Community Roundtable on Economic Development that you chaired on September 24, you agreed to look into the difficulty faced by the Hine Coalition in accessing documents related to the Hine PUD and to the agreement between DMPED and the developer.
As the testimony explained:
– These are documents that should be easily, publicly available;
– DMPED did not proactively make them public;
– In response to a FOIA request, DMPED eventually provided only some of the requested documents; and
– Of the requested documents that DMPED did provide, some had been redacted.
I, along with fellow citizen members of the Hine Coalition, am interested to know when all of the documents we requested under FOIA will be provided to us. If certain documents or portions of documents will not be provided, we would like to know the specific reasons for withholding them.”