D.C. Comprehensive Plan Amendments Approved

New amendments to the D.C. Comprehensive Plan set goals for new housing development and fewer cars on the road.

May 20, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

D.C. Streetcar

mariordo59 / Flickr

Libby Solomon reports: "DC Council has been working for years to update the Comprehensive Plan, DC’s enormous zoning and land-use document. On Tuesday, those years of work concluded in a unanimous vote on an update to the document, which dates back to 2006."

Solomon helpfully notes that the approved amendments to the D.C. Comprehensive Plan don't change any zoning, but they will guide decisions about land use, zoning, and growth in the future.

And the amendments set the nation's capital decisively in the direction of more zoned capacity for development. In an article by Julia Zauzmer earlier this month, D.C. Planning Director Andrew Trueblood is quoted saying that the new amendments to the D.C. Comprehensive Plan would allow for as much as 15 percent more housing stock. Other innovative goals set by the update include plans to reduce the number of cars on the road and explore congestion pricing.

Solomon's coverage of the big comp plan update includes a discussion of the racial equity issues that played a central role in the political debate leading up to this week's vote. An April report from the Council Office of Racial Equity (CORE) faulted the plan amendments for failing to adequately address issues of racial equity. "Some of the last-minute changes the Council approved Tuesday were meant to address those concerns," according to Solomon. "One major change in Council Chairman Phil Mendelson’s Tuesday amendment to the bill: defining 'deeply affordable' housing as housing affordable to families making less than 40% of the Median Family Income (MFI)."

Solomon concludes by looking forward to next steps, with the amended comp plan only a first step toward achieving the goals laid out in the plan. With this update process now complete, Solomon reports that a full rewrite process will being in 2025.

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