The Adams-Morgan Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC-1C), in a series of resolutions adopted at a recent meeting, has asked the Washington Hilton Hotel to stop any plans to expand at the expense of community facilities housing.
The ANC has written to hotel officials asking them to stop expansion actions, and has filed with the D.C. Zoning Commission a series of letters and memos outlining what the ANC says is an expansion attempt by the hotel.
The Zoning Commission is considering proposals that would restrict hotel expansion in residential zones. The Washington Hilton, with 1,168 rooms, is in a residential zone on Connecticut Avenue.
The hotel has not announced plans to expand. However, according to the ANC, the letters and memos trace the hotel's attempt to expand by buying the Adams Community School at 19th and California streets NW, adjacent to the hotel. The letters and memos, including correspondence between hotel and city officials, were obtained by the ANC from the office of the D.C. superintendent of schools.
One letter dated Feb. 23 is from Earl McDonough, general manager of the Washington Hilton, to Mayor Marion Barry, following a meeting between the two men.
"The demand for future convention bookings," McDonough wrote the mayor "and the increase in the frequent traveler market, coupled with our need to make certain that our hotel remains competitive, dictates the need to expand our present facilities substantially . . . our Corporation is interested in obtaining the land area now occupied by the Adams-Morgan School."
Although the Adams Community School is an active school and has never appeared on the list of schools the Board of Education has considered closing, McDonough suggested in his letter to the mayor that Adams students could be shifted to the Marie H. Reed Learning Center at 2200 Champlain St. NW.
Because both schools were underenrolled, McDonough wrote the Mayor, "it would appear that this school (Marie Reed) could easily absorb the present enrollment of the Adams-Morgan School and thus return the Adams-Morgan site to the tax rolls of the District of Columbia."
The mayor, in another letter on file with the Zoning Commission, replied to McDonough that the matter was being referred to Sam D. Starobin, director of General Services.
According to a series of memos the ANC filed with the Zoning Commission, Starobin, in turn, forwarded the correspondence to Vincent E. Reed, superintendent of schools. Reed, after consulting the Board of Education, wrote Starobin in April that since the Adams Community School houses a regular school program, it was not available.
The ANC also claims the Hilton is planning to expand at the expense of residential housing. According to ANC Chairman Ann Hughes Hargrove, the Hilton is trying to purchase three residentially zoned apartment buildings adjacent to the hotel: the Wyoming, 2022 Columbia Rd. NW, and two adjacent buildings at 2006 and 1954 Columbia Rd.
L. Stewart Barr, whose family owns the three apartment buildings on Columbia Road, said that "due to the proximity of the buildings, it's obvious that the Hilton might well be interested, but there is no contract to purchase them." Barr added that he "didn't have the slightest idea" whether he would sell the buildings. McDonough could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman for the Hilton said that "there are no present plans that we know of" to purchase the apartment buildings.
McDonough, in a letter received by the ANC last week, wrote that "no improper action was taken" concerning the school. He did not mention the adjacent apartment buildings directly but said the hotel "must give consideration to possible future expansion." The housing shortage, said McDonough, "cannot be attributed to the expansion of hotels."