The continuing saga of the redevelopment of McLean Gardens, a 43-acre condominium complex on Wisconsin Avenue NW, resumes Monday evening when the D.C. Zoning Commission holds its second hearing on a proposal to build high-rise commercial and residential buildings in front of the development.
The 720-unit project, which is about half sold, is expected to double in size, a plan that resident leaders say the community there supports--as long as the new buildings are low-rise. But those residents are opposed to plans for four 10-story buildings, the leaders say, and don't want the sprawling lawn criss-crossed with sidewalks and driveways.
Arthur Rubloff & Co., a Chicago-based real estate firm, is planning to erect an additional 650 condominium apartments, parking facilities and at least one office building on the grassy 9.4 acres between Newark and Rodman streets NW.
Several civic groups and resident associations are protesting the planned-unit development proposal filed by McLean Gardens Limited Partnership, the project's management firm. Many, like the 75 members of the newly formed McLean Gardens Homeowners and Resident Group, are calling for a less imposing project with about the same number of units but more parking and open space.
"The homeowners believe that the development as currently proposed will have a detrimental impact on their living environment and destroy the unique nature of the McLean Gardens Community," residents said in a petition submitted to the D.C. Zoning Commission.
Philip Mendelson, chairman of the three-year-old McLean Gardens Residents Association, represents the community as a member of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission. "The ANC would rather see the development without the 'upzoning,' " he said.
If the Zoning Commission permits the construction of high-rise buildings, the ANC is afraid the decision would have a spill-over effect on adjacent, commercial land, from Idaho Avenue to Macomb Street, he said.
Julie B. Koczela, the development coordinator for the McLean expansion, said, if approved, the four-phase, $60 million construction will begin next year, and end around 1990. Four-story condominium buildings are planned forthe northern end of the complex, across Wisconsin Avenue from the Sidwell Friends School tennis courts and athletic field.
The existing McLean Gardens administrative building would be converted into a health and community center. In addition, a cluster of four- to eight-story condo buildings are planned for a southern parcel bordered by Porter Street and Idaho Avenue NW.
A pair of six- to 10-story condominium buildings would face Idaho Avenue and a cluster of three- or four-story condos would line 38th Street. According to papers filed by the developers, 55 percent of the now-vacant 9.4 acres would be used. "The remaining 45 percent of the site is open space, plaza, mews lanes, driveways and sidewalks," the firm said.
Cecil B. Tucker, secretary to the Zoning Commission, said a final decision on the application is probably six to eight months away. Monday's hearing will start at 6 p.m. at the McLean Gardens administrative building.