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Sense of the Council on the Construction of a Correctional Facility Location and Community Preservation Resolution of 1999
PR 13-131

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Councilmember Phil Mendelson


Councilmember Phil Mendelson introduced the following resolution, which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

To declare the sense of the Council on the construction of a private correctional facility on existing parkland on Oxon Cove, in Ward 8. RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this resolution may be cited as the "Sense of the Council on the Construction of a Correctional Facility Location and Community Preservation Resolution of 1999".

Sec. 2. The Council finds that:

( 1 ) To protect the quality of life and natural resources of our communities, the construction of major facilities within the District should be done only with a fully open and participatory process involving the District's elected representatives and its residents.

(2) The Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 1998, approved November 14, 1997 (Pub. L. No. 105-83; 1 1 1 Stat. 1543) mandated the transfer of 42 acres of parkland from the National Park Service ("NPS") directly to the Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA") for the purpose of building a correctional facility, without public notice, without public comment, and without consultation with local elected officials.

(3) Pursuant to Public Law 105-83, the District lost 42 acres of public parkland.

(4) Public Law 105-83 exempts the NPS/CCA land transfer from the Environmental Protection Act and no other independent Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been prepared assessing the impacts of the land transfer and the proposed use of this parcel as a correctional facility on the existing habitat and the surrounding communities.

(5) The Potomac River has been designated an American Heritage River, so that its waters and tributaries are to be protected and any development along adjacent land should protect the natural environment.

(6) Minority and low-income communities around the United States are frequently denied public access to waterfronts and rivers.

(7) The Oxon Cove site already is an environmentally distressed area, and affords the only public access to the Potomac River for the far-southwest community .

(8) The Oxon Cove site represents an opportunity for the preservation of waterfront greenspace for the local community.

(9) Effective rehabilitation of inmates depends in part on contact with their families and loved ones and correctional facilities should be located so as to be reasonably accessible. This goal does not mandate Oxon Cove. It does however require an identification of many sites that can then be comparatively analyzed before any governmental action is taken.

(10) Correctional facilities located in the District should be sited only with a fully open and participatory process involving its elected representatives and its residents.

(11) There is significant widespread public concern and opposition to a correctional facility at the Oxon Cove site from District and Prince Georges County, Maryland residents. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 8D which represents the Oxon Cove area unanimously voted to oppose, and the Far Southwest Civic Association is on record opposing a correctional facility at Oxon Cove.

(12) The Ward 8 community seeks positive development that fosters economically stable neighborhoods. Development of a correctional facility at Oxon Cove is contrary to that goal.

(13) The proposed correctional facility at Oxon Cove is not consistent with the District's Comprehensive Plan or the Ward 8 plan.

Sec. 3. It is the sense of the Council that the proposed correctional facility should not be built at Oxon Cove, and that any correctional facility built in the District should not be constructed on parkland, should not impair District neighborhoods, should employ a thorough EIS process, and should involve the public through open public hearings on proposed sites.

Sec. 4. This resolution shall take effect immediately upon the first date of publication in the District of Colombia Register.

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