DISTRICT BRIEFING

DISTRICT BRIEFING

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

ZONING BOARD

Buddhist Group Can Build in Residential Area

The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment agreed yesterday that a two-story building being constructed by a U.S. Buddhist association on Massachusetts Avenue NW is a place of worship.

A group of residents who live near the Naval Observatory asked the city to appeal a decision this year by the zoning administrator that Soka Gakkai International-USA could build there as a "matter of right." The residents argued that the meetings held by the Buddhists were community meetings, not religious gatherings.

Under District zoning laws, a religious organization can build a place of worship in a residential area without asking for an exemption, which would be needed for a community center. Neighbors had contended that the building would create traffic and noise in the neighborhood several days a week.

-- Yolanda Woodlee

STADIUM CONSTRUCTION

Workers Protest Lack of Jobs for City Residents

More than 50 nonunion workers rallied yesterday against the new Washington Nationals ballpark, angry that more D.C. residents have not gotten construction jobs at the site. The group honked horns and shouted to passing cars outside RFK Stadium, where a city task force monitoring employment for the new ballpark was meeting.

The agreement for the Southeast Washington ballpark called for at least half of the journeyman workforce and all new apprentices to be District residents, but the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission said in an October report that 32 percent of the journeymen and 91 percent of the apprentices have been from the city. Protesters complained that because the ballpark contract requires union workers, a large number of minorities were left out of the hiring.

The Capitol Area Minority Contractors and Business Association, which sponsored the rally, also protested the firing in late October of six African American electricians, a move it said was racially motivated. The electricians have a union grievance pending.


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