THE BACKGROUND

The main instigators of the downzoning effort are the same small group of people who tried to have Lanier Heights designated as an official Historic District several years ago. That movement was inspired by the so-called "Belmont Tower" in Kalorama and a later, smaller popup in the 2700 block of Ontario Road. 

The legendary Kalorama Citizens Association gave advice and financial support to have Lanier Heights designated an historic district. The link to their "Neighborhood Preservation" page still mentions Lanier Heights as a future candidate for historic designation.

Lanier Heights home owners who opposed imposition of historic district regulations pointed out that historic district status would not prevent popup developments. The reply they received was: "Just wait, once we become an official Historic District we can work to change the zoning rules." 

This small group and their KCA allies didn't get historic district status for Lanier Heights back then due to neighborhood opposition. But last year, when a popup on Lanier Place began construction right next door to one of the main supporters of historic designation and downzoning, they went ballistic: Some Serious Pop Up Drama in Lanier Heights.

When you talk to today's downzoners about historic designation, they tell you it was another small group --- the Lanier Citizens Association --- that blocked the will of the majority of neighbors who actually wanted an Historic District. This is simply nonsense. 

Opposition to historic designation in Lanier Heights in 2008 was widely documented at the time in newspapers and blogs. A quick online search gives a lengthy list to choose from, but if you have any doubt that neighborhood opposition was intense and widespread, follow the link for some photos

The point of recounting all this today is to show that yesterday's historic district folks never went away. They just turned into downzoners. Their first strategy was to obtain historic district status as a prelude to downzoning Lanier Heights, but since that didn't work, they are trying to use the city wide zoning rewrite process to downzone the neighborhood. No doubt their next step will be another gambit at historic district status.

We believe long-standing, currently existing home owner rights should not be subject to loss due to the loud voices of a small group of disgruntled neighbors who are upset by the usual petty annoyances that go with living in a growing city. And Washington, D.C., in case you haven't noticed, is most definitely a growing city. 

The historic district / downzoner group wants to take away some very valuable home owner rights to "save the neighborhood." We who oppose them think our neighborhood is doing just fine, thank you very much, and doesn't need their brand of saving.