D.C. Comp Plan Update Includes 'Gentle Density' in Single-Family Residential Neighborhoods

A lot of long-term planning is underway in Washington, D.C.

1 minute read

April 29, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Washington D.C.

Andrei Medvedev / Shutterstock

"Along with submitting the final draft of amendments to the Comprehensive Plan to the DC Council, the Office of Planning (OP) has also submitted a report on how the city's single-family zones can accommodate more density and the resulting impact on affordability and equity," reports Nena Perry-Brown.

OP is hoping to achieve a much wider scale adoption of accessory dwelling units and other forms of missing-middle housing  in single-family residential neighborhoods, according to Perry-Brown, but OP stops short of recommending District-wide by-right zoning for that kind of new density (following the models provided by Minneapolis and the state of Oregon). 

"Because SFZ areas are some of the city's most racially-segregated, largely retaining the demographics established by restrictive covenants and discriminatory lending, the report recommends targeting gentle density for particular areas that would achieve equity goals," according to Perry-Brown.

A separate article by Alex Baca digs into the entire package of Comprehensive Plan amendments, referenced above. As noted by Baca, the timeline of adoption for these is still highly speculative.

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