Lessons from a Six-Hour Hearing on Planning and Zoning

A recent debate in Washington, D.C. echoed common concerns about the planning process in cities around the country.

1 minute read

March 22, 2018, 7:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden


Seth Ryan / Shutterstock

Greater Greater Washington's David Whitehead reports on the frustrations aired at a recent oversight hearing for D.C.'s Office of Planning and Office of Zoning.

Criticism from both residents and councilmembers was wide-ranging—encompassing the planning process, the content of planning decisions, and the implementation of plans. The Office of Zoning was called a "rubber stamp machine" for its high rate of approved variance requests, while one councilmember suggested that the DC Comprehensive Plan was out of touch with priorities like affordability and displacementMuch of the meeting focused on new amendments to that plan's Framework Element, prepared by the Office of Planning.

Whitehead provides further detail and context in his piece, with the takeaway that what the public wants from planners is "more clarity, more trust, and simply more planning."

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