The D.C. United‘s wait for final approval on a proposed stadium in Buzzard Point will continue into the new year.
One of the last remaining clearances for the project must come from the D.C. Zoning Commission, which has been expected to review the project. D.C. United officials have made it clear that their priority is to start construction as early as possible in 2017, because the team wants the facility to open during the 2018 MLS season.
On Wednesday, the zoning commission did allow the plan to move forward, but did not formally sign off on the project. Commission officials are requesting more information from the United, with the main concerns being the envrionmental impact of the construction process and issues relating to transportation.
Between now and February 16, which is when the zoning commission will once again consider the project, United representatives say the team will work within reason to address some of these questions. More from the Washington Business Journal:
Another concern is transportation management. This was also a big part of the discussion when D.C. United last appeared before the zoning panel on Nov. 28. Club officials said then they planned on sharing parking facilities with the Washington Nationals, and that the two teams would try not to schedule games at the same time. There is not yet a letter of intent with the baseball team, D.C. United reps said.
Zoning commissioners had additional concerns about the discrepancy on the distance from the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station (team representatives say a half-mile and 10-minute walk; residents say it’s more like eight-tenths of a mile and a 16-minute walk).
D.C. United reps said they would continue to address transportation concerns prior to the February meeting and as part of its game-day management preparations. But they can’t solve the problems of the whole neighborhood, the team’s land use attorney said.
“There is a bit of a disconnect between what this applicant is capable of doing and what the community and ANC wants to have done,” said Phil Feola of Goulston & Storrs. “We can control and solve problems on our site. We can’t solve problems off our site. Much of the concerns deal with a bigger picture than D.C. United’s stadium.”
United officials have been expecting that 2017 will be the team’s last season at RFK Stadium, the club’s home since its inaugural season in 1996.
RELATED STORIES: D.C. United Tweaks Stadium Design; D.C. United, Developers Clash Over Stadium Design; D.C. United Stadium Will Not Open for Start of 2018 Season; D.C. United Unveil New Stadium Renderings; D.C. United Releasing New Renderings; D.C. United Awards Construction Contract; Crews Break Ground on New D.C. United Stadium; 2018 Opening Planned;D.C. United Takes Next Steps Toward New Stadium