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ASLA Advocacy - October 2016
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ASLA CEO Nancy Somerville Testifies before National Capitol Planning Commission (NCPC)

Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), testified on theFBI Building Square Guidelinesbefore the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) on October 6, 2016.

“The American Society of Landscape Architects commends NCPC for the thorough and thoughtful analysis that went into development of the proposed FBI Square Guidelines. In particular, we agree with NCPC’s recommendation to restore D Street NW to the configuration in the L’Enfant Plan. However, we believe the NCPC recommendation for the build-to line along Pennsylvania Avenue significantly undervalues the existing building setback and the presence of the mature tree colonnade.

“Visually, the 79-foot setback and the three rows of trees contribute to the overall importance and the ceremonial feel of the block and the avenue. Those same features—which emerged in the design of landscape architect Dan Kiley with architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill—provide an urban oasis for pedestrians. Anyone who has walked the north, sunny side of Pennsylvania Avenue during the summer months can attest to the welcome relief provided by three rows of mature trees.

“Long-term community, civic, and environmental concerns and goals should not be set aside in favor of short-term financial and development interests. We urge the National Capital Planning Commission to maintain the existing building setback on Pennsylvania Avenue and protect the three-row tree colonnade.”

ViewNancy Somerville’s full testimony at the October 6 NCPC meeting (jump to1:21:10).