23 May 2012

Right Size Hine or Right Size Expectations?

I’ve lived on the Hill for seven years, and with the notable exception of the Shell gas station that will ultimately be built on Maryland Avenue, I rarely pay attention to what development is taking place before builders break ground and “Now Open” signs are hung on doors. It’s not that I don’t care what happens in my neighborhood: I simply recognize that some things are bigger than I am. Shell stations will be built, though thanks to the work of a very vocal group the impact will be less than first proposed; chain fast food joints will intermingle with local mom-and-pop shops and junior high schools will be developed and landscapes will change. Maybe the group behind the Right Size Hine campaign will see some of their concerns addressed–I know that I don’t like the idea of shrinking the size of the flea market on the weekend– or maybe their concerns will fall on deaf ears. Only time will tell.

Until then, tell us what you think in the poll below.



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8 responses to “Right Size Hine or Right Size Expectations?”

  1. Vern Ma says:

    This poll is a bit flawed as it presumes that the only people invested also fully support the Right Size Hine group.


  2. Alex Block says:

    Right. There are likely quite a few people who support the project as proposed, but don’t want to get involved in the formal process because it seems rather one-sided.

    If I want them to build it, and build it densely, what option am I supposed to pick in this poll? Or is it just a veneer of process like some of the other discussions?

  3. We would love to hear if you have opinions that don’t agree with the choices, both in the comments and in the “other” tool! This is what it’s all about, after all!

  4. Nancy says:

    Why do folks want more density on the Hill? I am very curious about that. If you wanted density in your living area, why did you choose the Hill. There are plenty of dense places here already –Mass Ave corridor, Dupont Circle, Upper NW…
    I think it is uncool that folks would move to the HIll and advocate changing its character. We are a historic district.. and those of us who have been here for 20+ years have invested major sweat equity, $ and faith in preserving that character.

    • I’m not sure that’s a fair assessment. I know plenty of people who have lived on the Hill for 20+ or even 30+ years and want density. The argument is that if we want retail to survive in the neighborhood, we need more density (both residential and offices) to ensure there are enough people here to spend the money that the retailers need to survive.

      • Nancy says:

        Thanks for responding. What kind of retail do we need that demands more folks to support? I am not clear on that. Because our area has become a destination that is able to supply many restaurants, certainly. We have thriving grocery stores nearby, hardware, paint, etc.

        • Based on a number of community meetings I have been in, and work I’ve done with CHAMPS and BRMS, I have heard from a lot of retailers that they struggle to maintain their business. Some are definitely thriving but I think that they are the exceptions; or that many might appear to be thriving but their customers do not know what is going on behind the scenes. While we have a lot of stores and restaurants that seem to be doing okay, there have been a lot of business that close every year as well.

    • Alex Block says:

      I would reject the assertion that more density automatically means a change in character. I don’t think that’s true, at all. The proposed Hine development would be perfectly within the character of the Hill.

      As for why more density is a good thing: cities are dynamic places. They are always growing, and they need to evolve. Cap Hill is in demand – and rising demand with static supply leads to prices spiraling out of control. When costs get too high, that’s bad for the city and bad for the neighborhood.

      An attempt to preserve the city in amber as if it were a museum piece denies the very basic reason that cities exist in the first place.

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