Big-time development in Washington occasionally gives its players a rude and paradoxical awakening: wheeling and dealing in a town where people's memories are long can sometimes come back to haunt them.
Take, for example, Georgetown's Hillandale development, where nearby residents are waging war on Wynmark Development Corp.'s attempt to build 28 expensive condominiums and town houses in and around a once-beautiful but now aging and abandoned mansion.
For the past several years, 55 families have enjoyed relative serenity on the 42-acre site carved out of the Hillandale estate. Their homes were built prior to a controversial bankruptcy case two years ago of a local development firm. That company was to have built 267 houses at Hillandale.
One of those enjoying the solitude is Richard W. Carr, who owns the only detached house in the development. Carr's home, which until recently was surrounded by woods, has a clear view of the old mansion.
Carr, one of the leaders in the fight against Wynmark's plan to add more housing on the site than was permitted by a 1980 District zoning commission ruling, is no stranger to development fights.
But as vice president of acquisitions for the Oliver Carr Co., the family-run development firm that is one of the Washington area's most powerful, he usually sits on the other side in such disputes, such as the long-running effort by preservationists to save the downtown Rhodes Tavern, which was demolished in favor of a Carr office building.
His father is Oliver T. Carr, the firm's chairman; his brother is Robert Carr, the firm's president.
Richard Carr, asked what it is like opposing a developer with construction plans for a site across from his house, said, after a long silence, "It's a different perspective. No, it's just a different side of the equation.
"I'm not fighting them as a developer. I'm fighting them as a landowner."
Kent Worthington, vice president of Wynmark, said having Carr as a neighborhood opponent "is certainly very ironic."