The Other Side on the B&B that Became a Cement Embassy

by Borderstan.com December 2, 2011 at 1:00 pm 2 Comments


Republic of Congo Embassy, 16th Street NW, Dupont Circle

16th and Riggs NW: After purchasing the Toutorsky Mansion from the B&B owner, the Republic of Congo paved the front yard and removed trees. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

It’s known as the Toutorsky Mansion. Located at the northwest corner of 16th Street and Riggs Place NW, it was a Bed and Breakfast operation for several years. After being denied with their request to expand operations, the owners sold to the government of the Republic of Congo. That, of course, is when the real issues began.

recently reviewed Mark Lee’s column in the Washington Blade that suggested protests to the former B&B there and its expansion request led to the Congolese Embassy (Brazzavile not Kinshasa) –which in turn begat a paved-over lawn. Now, the Blade has given equal space for the response from Doug Rogers.

Rogers is a board member of the Dupont Circle Citizens Association (DCCA) and is particularly peeved at the suggestion of anti-gay bias in any DCCA dealings. Rogers doesn’t delve into what happened with the opposition to the former B&B’s plan several years ago in disputing these claims (I suggest you check out our piece and the comments for a lot more insight).

Rogers’ response to Lee’s column focuses more on the present. (I agree that regardless of what happened with the previous owner, the paving of the lawn was wrong and should be protested.) Rogers also argues that the majority of DCCA’s protests have prevented things such as a U Street Beltway from coming to fruition.

Protests are an important part of our 1st Amendment rights, and let the record show I support them. But I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a bit trapped in PCU, waiting for Jeremy Piven to show up and break the tension.

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  • Lance

    That’s a great response by Doug Johnson. Additionally, it should be pointed out that two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s wrong for the Congo Embassy to pave over their front yard where one of the defining elements of the 16th Historic District is an open green swatch on both sides of the street from U Street to the White House, and it’s wrong for someone to want to put a hotel in a residentially zoned area.

    And make no mistake about it. They had the right to put in a B&B, what they were looking for was the priviledge of turning that one lot into a hotel with all the rights, and burdens on the neighbors, that a hotel with all its events and commercial traffic brings with it.

    Both letting an Embassy establish its office functions, and letting someone (anyone), establish a hotel in any otherwise 100% residential block is not good for the neighbors and not good for the city. We have plenty of streets and blocks where non-residential entities such as embassy chanceries and hotels can locate. Yes, they cost more to buy or rent, but that’s because non-residential property is inherently more expense. Tough cookies. Just don’t push your non-residential uses on us, the residents, just to save a buck.

  • Lance

    Oops! I meant Doug Rogers!


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