Real estate developers' plans for a Woodley Park lot have triggered neighborhood resentment, a lawsuit and dozens of signs peppering yards with the words "No McMansions."
Developers planned to tear down the house at 2910 Garfield St. NW, divide the land and build two large houses that neighbors say are too big for the lots and the neighborhood.
Neighbors filed suit against D.C. agencies late last week, arguing that they failed to follow proper procedures when they granted permission to the developers to split the lot in two.
"One of the problems was that the neighbors had no clue what was going on," said John Goodman, former president of the Woodley Park Community Association.
The lawsuit claims the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs failed to notify the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission of the subdivision application, as required by law.
The lawsuit also contends that DCRA used a "minor deviation" rule to grant permission for the development when the stricter "variance" rule -- which requires demonstration of hardship and public notice -- should have been enforced.
Though the area is zoned for 5,000-square-foot lots, the DCRA approved the lot's bisection even though one of the halves fell short of the required square footage, by using the "minor deviation" rule.
DCRA spokesman Michael Rupert declined to comment on the lawsuit itself, but told The Washington Examiner in May that the developers followed the law.
Plaintiff Rick Jenney said the neighborhood's main complaint is that the approval process wasn't done openly.
"I think what I would like, and I think it's what most people would like, is for the community to be involved in reviewing the plans and seeing that the proposed structures are appropriate for the neighborhood," he said.
The two "McMansions" would cause erosion issues, eliminate tree cover and impair views, Jenney said.
"I think the essence of the concern is that this one lot is too small for the kind of excavation they're proposing. It's completely out of character with the neighborhood," he said.
Real estate developer Marc Fleisher, who was behind the original plans for the lot, declined to comment.