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Next Neighborhood Battle – St. Thomas Church


“Dear PoPville,

There are plans to tear down the historic St. Thomas parish and park (in Dupont) and replace them with a 7 story luxury condo building and a large new church. This has become quite a contentious issue in the neighborhood. I have attached the powerpoint document the developer presented at a town hall meeting, as well as a history compiled by Scott Royal.

Town Hall Presentation (PDF)

History of St. Thomas’ Parish by Scott Royal

At the community meeting held Tuesday May 20th, the neighbors voiced their concerns about historic preservation, the loss of green space, and the fact that the proposed church building is large and out of character with the neighborhood. They also expressed concerns about traffic (the church plans to rent out it’s building for events, and possibly start a Montessori school).”

A change petition with 199 signatories says:

“Plans are currently being developed to tear down historic St. Thomas Parish and the park on 18th and Church St. and replace them with a major residential building and a large new church structure.

Many neighbors are concerned about this plan because of one or more of the following reasons:

– We believe in historic preservation, and want to protect a place where Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Johnson worshiped.
– We support the preservation of green and open spaces, including the park on 18th and Church.
– We love the charm and uniqueness of the Dupont Circle neighborhood and believe this plan will negatively affect its character.
– We have serious concerns about the environmental impact on the neighborhood’s light and air quality.
– We have serious concerns about the traffic and parking on the neighborhood streets.
– We have serious concerns about the impact of the density, height, and mass abutting a residential neighborhood.

We need your help to urge the city government, church, developer and neighborhood to work together to explore a win-win solution for all that will include:

– Respect of historic preservation and the character of the neighborhood.
– Maintaining all or most of the park to preserve a cherished open space in the area.
– A low-impact design that will contribute, rather than detract from, the surrounding community.”

SALM reported on a more recent meeting:

“Original church plans had the proposed new church and the multi-story apartment building built all the way out to the property line on all sides of the property at the corner of 18th and Church Streets. The revised plan draws the design back a little, allowing a small stretch of green space in the front and side of the property, and more setback at the tops of both planned buildings.”

You can see the Church’s presentation from that meeting here.

Below is an updated rendering for the new design proposal from that presentation:


18th and Church St, NW today


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