I found it difficult to suppress the emotion I felt upon reading Kenneth Bacon's letter to the editor {"The Threat to a Neighborhood Treasure," Aug. 15}. Mr. Bacon's comments regarding the commissioners of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B implied a grave questioning of character and conduct of these elected officials ("The elected members of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B chose to represent a local developer rather than their constituents."). Further, his letter said that the commission "voted not to oppose the revised proposal by architect Robert Bell for refurbishing the Archbold Cabin, the oldest log cabin in the District, and develop{ing} its surrounding property."

To correct a gross misstatement, the verbatim wording of the resolution voted by the commission was: "Be it resolved that given Mr. Bell's commitment to preserve more than 80 percent of the trees on the site, conditioned upon the building of no more than three new houses and preservation of the Archbold Cabin, ANC 3B does not object to Mr. Bell's plan to present his proposal to the Historic Preservation Review Board."

Clearly, the intent of the resolution was to defer to the the Preservation Review Board, which is better suited to opine on the historic value of Mr. Bell's plan. After two years and countless hours of debate and negotiation on the part of the commissioners, this can hardly be viewed as a vote of support for the developer.

I have followed the process of preservation of the cabin and the proposals of developing this property more closely than most concerned with this issue. I joined the fight for preservation at its inception and fought Mr. Bell's original plan to build as many as nine (then seven, then five) houses on the property. Each time the developer accepted suggestions for fewer, smaller houses and incorporated these into his plans.

This wonderful treasure, which sits on private property, can only be viewed by the public by strolling through Glover-Archbold park or by driving up Reservoir Road. Those who fought for preservation wanted these vistas and the cabin (where Mr. Bell plans to reside) to remain unblemished. Mr. Bell's most recent proposal does just that and has gained the support of a third of the neighbors present at the Foxhall Citizens Association presentation. Thus his desire to go before the Preservation Review Board for its opinion.

If the Preservation Review Board were to deem this latest proposal sensitive to the historic attributes of this property and in keeping with preservation of the cabin and its surroundings, then I for one would revel in knowing that I would have an untainted view of this site for years to come.


The writer is a former administrative assistant to ANC 3B.