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A Letter from the Chair of the Board

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Dear Neighbors and Friends,

On Monday, October 15, at 7pm at Shiloh Baptist Church, SOSNA is hosting our zoning meeting at which OCF Realty will present its plans for 2201 Washington Ave and SOSNA community members will vote on the project.

Come to listen, learn, and vote. Your voice and vote matter, no matter whether you support or oppose the project, or have yet to make up your mind.

SOSNA has presented OCF with a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for the project. The CBA captures community input and seeks to engage OCF in a community-driven design process in order to come up with a project that as much as possible addresses the wants and needs of all our neighborhood residents.

OCF has refused to even begin a dialogue, has declined to enter a good-faith negotiation on the content of the CBA, and has stated that it will not enter into a CBA regardless of the CBA’s content.

Many people have wondered why SOSNA is making such asks, and in a legally binding document. SOSNA is only asking for things that have been expressed by our neighbors. We acknowledge that our initial CBA draft was ambitious in an effort to start a conversation (consider: when you bought your house, did you offer less than you wanted to pay in order to get a price you were comfortable paying?). SOSNA’s invitation to OCF to engage in a productive discussion and find a compromise remains open.

One thing to keep in mind, too, is that SOSNA is doing our best to learn and do as well as we can in new territory. This process moves very, very quickly, and we have to meet deadlines mandated by the City. Have we handled this situation perfectly? Probably not. But I’m proud of the seriousness and care with which SOSNA is handling a difficult process and a large-scale project of this importance. Moving forward as an organization, SOSNA will continue to seek the community’s input and learn from its experiences so that SOSNA can be the most effective representative possible (if imperfect) for the community. 

However, OCF and some members of the community are accusing SOSNA of being obstructionist and fighting development. One look at the growth in our neighborhood over the last 20 years clearly indicates that SOSNA supports development. Furthermore, SOSNA wants a vibrant Washington Ave and we believe it’s possible to achieve this goal while designing large-scale projects guided by feedback from our neighbors. To this end, SOSNA has been actively engaged in discussions with community stakeholders throughout 2018 regarding the future of Washington Ave.