DC Court Decisions Show Why the Comp Plan Needs to Be Clearer & Stronger

#CourtDecisions Displacement

Contact: Maurice Cook, dc@grassrootsplanning.us, 202-341-1732

Mendelson releases DC Comprehensive Plan Amendments; Recent Court Decisions Show Why Plan’s Language Needs to Be Clearer & Stronger

In the first published news from the Council about the DC Comprehensive Plan since March 2018, Chairman, Phil Mendelson released 50+ pages of changes to the DC Comprehensive Plan’s leading chapter, the Framework Element >> http://chairmanmendelson.com/2019/07/02/staff-draft-of-comp-plan-framework/

Chairman Mendelson made some improvements to the amateurish amendments released in March of 2018 by the Mayor’s Office of Planning. However, the Chairman’s version fails to tackle the all-important issue of ‘Racial Equity’ and making equity a guiding principle in developing our city’s future highly disappointing,” stated William Jordan, Ward 1 resident of Columbia Heights. “Releasing this a week before a vote during a holiday break is nowhere near the necessary time to evaluate a plan that determines DC’s vision for the next 20 years.”

Mendelson’s edits to the Framework Element of the Comprehensive Plan come just one week before he scheduled a first vote by the Council on July 9, 2019.

“We question the data presented in the Framework. It fails to mention DC’s status as the most rapidly gentrifying city in the nation, and neglects to admit that government subsidy has underpinned much of the development that has displaced Black residents.” said Parisa Norouzi of Empower DC. “The Chairman needs to hold a public hearing examining this data prior to final passage of the Framework this fall.”

Recent Court cases show that new luxury developments can cause adverse impacts, but those impacts can be cursorily waived if explained away by five un-elected people on the DC Zoning Commission, two of whom are chosen by the President of the United States.

See recent cases, Sharon Cole case decision on Benning Road NE and July 3rd McMillan Park zoning decision:
* https://tinyurl.com/mcmillan-zoning-decision-2 * https://tinyurl.com/dc-cole-decision

“If the Framework is to be a document that is dedicated to preserving and upgrading the conditions of longtime residents who built up the City, the Framework must be transparent in considering environmental and displacement impacts of development, and require city planners to proactively eliminate these negative impacts and recognize their continuing obligation to do so” said Ward 4 ANC Chair, Renee Bowser, referencing the 2000-2010 census showing 40,000 black residents have been forced to leave the city.

The DC Grassroots Planning Coalition has an updated website laying out solutions to displacement that could be implemented in the Comprehensive Plan given a transparent and unrushed conversation at the Council >> http://www.dcgrassrootsplanning.org/change-is-inevitable-justice-is-not/

Ward One resident and zoning expert, Larry Hargrove reviews the amendments and says the changes, “would correspondingly enfeeble the Council in the exercise of its Charter-based role in DC land-use regulation, with the Council ceding its position as the basic rulemaker to an unelected five-member [zoning] agency.”

First vote on Comprehensive Plan’s Framework Element is so far scheduled at the Council for Tuesday, July 9, 2019.