The District's plan to lease abandoned streetcar tunnels under Dupont Circle for commercial use hit another snag last night as the area's advisory neighborhood commissioners unanimously objected to the city's controversial selection process.
The seven ANC commissioners, meeting at St. Thomas' Parish, urged the city to form a new panel that would include community representatives who would help choose among three proposals for using the tunnel space. The proposals being considered are that the space be leased for a health club, a specialty food market or a crypt for cremated remains.
The D.C. Department of General Services previously has come under criticism from other Dupont Circle-area groups, the D.C. auditor, and Ward 2 council member John A. Wilson for allowing the selection panel on the proposals to recommend the health club plan without holding public hearings or including community representatives on the panel as DGS originally planned.
DGS acting director Harold Henson told the audience of about 70 persons at last night's meeting that he would decide soon whether to reconstitute the panel and include community representatives. Henson had said in letter to the commissioners before last night's meeting that he would not reconstitute the panel.
Under city law, District agencies are required to seek the advice and opinion of ANCs on any governmental action that materially affects their neighborhoods. Approval of the ANCs is not required, but the law specifies that "great weight" must be given their opinions on such matters