Members of the Stanton Park Neighborhood Association voted unanimously last week to support the Hechinger Corporation's proposal to build a multi-million dollar shopping center in Northeast Washington.
The proposed center would be a three-story. U-shaped complex with 300,000 square feet of store space, said Carolyn Serfass, a member of the association's land use committee. The proposed site is a triangle-like area, bisected by Maryland Avenue and bounded by Bladensburg and Benning roads and 15th and 17th streets NE. Sears and Hechinger's already have stores at the site.
According to the plan, stores in the new complex would provide clothing, food, and drug items, said Serfass. The mall also would have three movie theaters and parking on the third level.
The project is expected to cost $15 million; Hechinger would finance $11 million and a federal grant is being sought for the remaining costs, she said.
The meeting, held last Wednesday evening at the Northeast Public Library, 7th and Maryland Avenue NE, was attended by about 60 persons. Gary Acker, a resident at 501 D St. NE, suggested that the association write a letter to city officials informing them of the type of stores the area would need once the plan was approved.
"We don't really need a Bloomingdale's or a White Flint sort of complex," said Acker. He suggested that moderately priced stores like K-Mart and Zayres would best serve the community. Other residents agreed.
"Is there any guarantee they'll show movies worth seeing?" inquired Margot Higgins, a silver-haired matron with a British accent. "No porno, no skin flicks or black exploitation."
Serfass said she didn't know what films would be shown.
Area parking problems also were discussed.
A major parking issue involved a parking variance application submitted to the zoning board by the Amalgamated Insurance Company at 2nd and E streets NE. The company now uses land it owns behind its office building for employe parking. The firm wants to extend its parking to vacant, residentially zoned property it owns next to the parking lot. Mary Jayne, another land use committee member, wanted to know how she should represent the association at the zoning hearing March 15.
Some residents favored approval of the variance because it would continue to take cars off the street. Others feared it would set a bad precedent to allow a parking lot in a residentially zoned area. By the end of the meeting the issue remained unsettled.
The other parking problems concerned the lack of police action against out-of-towners parking on streets controlled by permit parking and the ticketing of abandoned cars.
"I live in the 200 block of F Street," said Doris Cheak, chairman of the group's clean-up committee. "On our block you can hardly come home and find a space. We still have people who come and leave their cars four or five days."
Eileen Finegan, a resident at 214 4th St. NE, said she knew of an auto that had been left at Maryland Avenue and 3rd Street since last December.
"I could have given it 25 tickets by now," she said. Residents said neighborhood patrols should be used by the police department to ticket illegally parked cars.
R. D. French, a community relations officer from the First District, represented the police department. French said the use of resident patrols, until meter maids could be hired, was being considered by the city. Meanwhile he said he would present the citizens' complaints to his supervisor. He suggested that all future complaints be called into the dispatcher's office at 626-2701 where they would be tape recorded.