BALLSTON-VIRGINIA SQUARE

Civic Association Newsletter

April/May 1997 - Volume 20, No. 6



DEMETER HOUSE LITIGATION

After nearly nine months of research, discussion, fundraising, and planning, Plaintiffs in Candage v. Arlington County will rest their case on Tuesday, April 22, 1997, after the publication of this Newsletter.

The Association has obtained a copy of a letter, however, that shows the President, Jim Kerr, Barcroft School and Civic League, requesting that the County Board hold new hearings on Demeter's use permit, as a result of information developed during this litigation. This letter is dated April 20, 1997, and follows for our members information.

It has been six months since the County Board issued a use permit for Vanguard Service's proposed Demeter House on South Sixth Street in Barcroft. Since then, new information has come to light as a result of a lawsuit filed by Barcroft neighbors against Demeter's proposal. The Barcroft School and Civic League believes this information cannot be ignored.

Therefore, the BSCL is requesting that the Board hold new hearings on Demeter's use permit. The new information not only raises serious concerns about whether the facility would jeopardize the safety of the neighborhood or whether the use is indeed compatible with a quiet residential area. It also raises unsettling questions about how forthcoming Vanguard was regarding its operations in the first place. Following are some examples of the discrepancies between what was presented last fall in the special use hearing and the facts that have come to light in trial proceedings and under court order:

No matter how careful the process, no decision can be made without the correct facts. The discrepancies in fact revealed here go to the heart of the issue: whether Demeter, as an institution that needs special permission to locate in a residential neighborhood, can operate without jeopardizing safety or damaging the value of the residential environment. Moreover, the discrepancies raise serious questions about whether Vanguard's portrayal of the facts is accurate when not made before a judge. In light of this, we believe the Board must review Demeter's permit. We ask the Board to consider this request at the earliest convenience.



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