Photo by BoopBoopBoopBoop.
After lying publicly dormant for almost three years, Eastbanc has apparently decided to move forward once again with design approval for its proposed condos where the Key Bridge Exxon currently stands.
Here’s the brief history: Back in early 2011, Eastbanc announced that it had a deal to purchase the Exxon property and planned to construct condos on the site. Most people were generally ok with the idea, but the residents of Prospect street on the cliff above the property quickly became enraged once they realized the building would likely block a portion of their view.
There’s an interesting debate to be had on the question of whether someone has a right to a view (or in this case: a right to a complete and unfettered view). And there’s yet another interesting debate as to the question of whether historical preservation laws should be used to limit the size of a building being built to replace a gas station.
While that debate roiled the ANC meetings on the project, the meeting of the Old Georgetown Board were less focused on the issue. Nonetheless the board rejected the proposed designs multiple times. After the last time it was rejected, even Eastbanc president Anthony Lanier admitted that the designs had been so compromised by revisions that they were not worth salvaging.
GM has learned that Eastbanc has submitted new plans for review to the Old Georgetown Board. GM has no knowledge of the scope of the project, but given the history of the project it seems likely that it will remain a controversial issue.
And frankly GM welcomes the controversy. Is it right for people to claim essentially an air-right over their neighbor’s property that was obtained without payment? There’s certainly no basis in American common law for such a right, yet it has engrained itself in historic preservation laws in a back-door manner. Maybe this project can help us decide whether this is acceptable.
It’s one thing to complain about a neighbor building an addition that “looms” over your backyard, etc., but do we really think preservation laws should be used to stop a project who’s highest point will still be beneath the basements of the neighbors?