Company Backs Off Plan for Helipad at 12th and Water Streets, SE
by Larry Janezich
Posted April 15, 2021
Last night, at ANC6B’s April meeting, Planning and Zoning Committee Chair Corey Holman announced that city officials had informed him that Congressional Aviation had given up its efforts to relocate their helipad and fueling station to Water Street, SE, near the huge mixed use project at 1333 M Street and the Washington Boatyard.
The company’s lease on ground down river where they currently have a helipad for helicopters used by MPD and area hospitals is expiring and is not going to be renewed.
Nearby neighbor opposition to the project was strong and in support of the opposition, Holman was prepared to file a map amendment to zone the site, limiting its use to open space, park, and low density riverfront-oriented retail. Currently, the property is not zoned. Holman said he was not inclined to file the map amendment at this time, since the issue is likely to be more fruitfully addressed in the forthcoming Comprehensive Plan or a Small Area Plan.
In a letter to City Administrator Kevin Donahue, ANC6B acknowledged the need for a helipad for the MPD Air Support Unit and encouraged the Office of the City Administrator to take the lead in locating the facility. Here’s the text of the letter which went to City Administrator Donahue and other city officials.
Over the past couple of years, Congressional Aviation has worked with stakeholders including ANC 6B in an effort to lease or acquire city-owned land roughly at 12th Street SE and Water Street SE to building a heliport and provide services to MPD’s Air Support Unit. In has come to the attention of ANC 6B that Congressional Aviation is no longer seeking build a heliport at this site.
While ANC 6B publicly and repeatedly opposed such a disposition for heliport use given past planning efforts for park or marina use, it has become clear to the Commission that there is an immediate need for short- and long-term certainty for the MPD Air Support Unit whether at the current site along South Capitol Street SW or elsewhere. Presuming OCA or MPD will need to move forward with seeking a home for the Air Support Unit, we encourage the executive to do so in a transparent process and engage early with any potential impacted community, whether that’s in ANC 6B or elsewhere. We believe executive leadership and community support are necessary components for a successful heliport operation in the city.