The D.C. Court of Appeals lifted an order yesterday that had blocked developers from building a disputed road leading to a controversial Wisconsin Avenue development, clearing the way for work to begin immediately.
It was one more legal setback for a group of area residents, calling itself the Tenley and Cleveland Park Emergency Committee, that has opposed the nearly completed five-story office building at 4000 Wisconsin Ave. NW and the access road through city-owned property that borders Van Ness Street.
Last week, a D.C. Superior Court judge issued a 92-page ruling that confirmed the right of the developers to build the road.
Anticipating that the developers, Donohue Construction Co. and Holladay Corp., would immediately begin paving the road after yesterday's action by the appeals court, a group of eight protesters came to the site to block the construction machinery, as they had done last week. But the developers took no action yesterday to proceed with construction.
"The court decision is pretty disheartening," said organization president Joel Odum, who lives across from the proposed road. "But we will fight on until we find a court or a forum to agree with us. Meanwhile we intend to keep the bulldozers at bay."
Phil Mendelson, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and organization leader, said he was angry at what he saw as "double dealing" by D.C. Deputy Mayor Carol Thompson, who met with a group of the protesters Monday.
Thompson told Odum and The Washington Post Monday that the city would not take a stand on whether to continue the stay issued by the court. But yesterday, the city argued in favor of removing the stay, Mendelson said.
"I think we are too accepting of the city's sincerity," he said. "That was double dealing. We believed what she said but then the city went ahead and did the opposite."
Neither the developers nor Thompson could be reached for comment last night.
The neighborhood organization still has two appeals pending in the appellate court.