D.C. Office of Planning Unveils Congress Heights Equitable Development Plan

The district’s small area plans (SAPs) are designed to ensure equitable economic and community development at the hyper-local level.

1 minute read

November 4, 2022, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

An image of Washington D.C. with highways and the streaks from car head and tail lights in the foreground, and the Washington Monument in the background.

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In a recent public meeting on the topic, the Washington, D.C. District Council assessed the Office of Planning’s draft Congress Heights Small Area Plan, which would guide development in the neighborhood. Reporting for Greater Greater Washington, John Besche outlines the plan. 

“The CHSAP’s key recommendations deal with housing diversity and affordability, economic development, historic and cultural preservation, parks and public space, civic facilities, and transit for a neighborhood where 40% of residents live below the poverty line and 52% are in low food access areas,” Besche writes. “The District’s Office of Planning (OP) began working on the Congress Heights Small Area Plan (CHSAP), and several other Small Area Plans (SAPs), to complement its 2021 update of the Comprehensive Plan, a District-wide guiding document with a focus on equity and change.”

When councilors questioned the community involvement in the plan, Office of Planning (OP) interim director Anita Cozart said “Community dialogue involved confronting the history of inequitable community investment and the lack of access to resources like quality housing and safe public spaces. Data used in the plan was disaggregated by race and analyzed considering different impacts by race with benchmarks identified for achieving more equitable outcomes.”

The report recommends increasing density and supporting mixed-use development, improving access to fresh foods, creating more green space, and installing electric vehicle charging stations.

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