The fireworks continue to fly between a feuding pair of community
groups split on the preservation of an old gasoline station on the
site of a proposed mini-park in Adams Square.
Members of the Adams Square Merchants Assn. -- opponents of the
station -- are accusing station proponents in the Adams Hill
Homeowners Assn. of surreptitiously crashing their annual
neighborhood fair Saturday in order to gather petition signatures in
favor of preserving the small gas station, built in the 1930s.
"They used subterfuge to get the petition signed," said Carol
Cianfrini, a member of the merchants' association.
But members of the homeowners association said no rules were
broken at the event, which was co-sponsored by the city, and members
stopped collecting signatures once they were asked to stop,
association member Margaret Hammond said. The group was using space
donated to them at a booth belonging to another business, she added.
"We did nothing wrong," Hammond said. "We were supporting the
plans for the mini-park that the City Council has already supported.
We stopped as soon as they told us to stop, since we didn't know what
the law was. I doubt we even did it for half an hour."
The petitions were to be submitted to the city, Hammond added.
Groups that sponsor fairs do have the right to decide who can pass
out information at their events, said City Atty. Scott Howard, but he
doubted that the homeowners' group broke any laws.
"This sounds like a dispute between both groups and does not
involve the city," he said. "Walking down the street and handing out
leaflets or fliers is certainly appropriate at city-sponsored
The homeowners group said they were going to pass out information
pertaining only to their group, but Cianfrini said she was blindsided
when someone told her the group was taking signatures in support of
preserving the gas station.
At issue is the preservation of a gas station built in streamline
modern style in the 1930s. Proponents of preserving the small gas
station say that it symbolizes the character of the neighborhood and
could serve as a meeting space once the park is built. Opponents say
that it takes up too much room on the 12,000-square-foot lot at Chevy
Chase Drive and Palmer Avenue.
Designs for the mini-park will be discussed at a July 6 Parks,
Recreation and Community Service Commission meeting, though
commissioners have leaned against fusing the gas station into the