On Greater Greater Washington, Neil Flanagan does a superb job of describing the battle over 5333 Connecticut Avenue.
Much of what he describes seems to be a vicious cycle. Cafritz, seeing stiff community opposition to other projects in Upper Northwest, moved ahead with the project, as it was legally allowed to do, and chose not to engage the neighborhood, which is also perfectly legal. Perhaps the developer could have headed off the opposition by being more open and transparent. Perhaps not. Either way, Flanagan seems to fear Cafritz’s actions and the neighborhood’s reaction will only perpetuate the cycle. He writes:
Now, a dangerous cross between the cost of collaboration and the desirability of the land ensures that development in Upper Northwest will proceed without community input for the foreseeable future.
However, it doesn’t seem fair to take all of Upper Northwest to task for its anti-development elements. Right here in Forest Hills is an example of what can happen when the developer and the community keep the lines of communication open. ANC 3F and the Forest Hills community have welcomed the BF Saul development at the soon-to-be-former Van Ness Square.