DC Office of Planning Rushing Comp Plan Amendments to Serve Developer-Class

We had heard that the Office of Planning (“OP”) wouldn’t submit amendments to the Comprehensive Plan until the Fall 2018, given they are processing 3000 various amendments submitted to them last year. However, to our surprise, Eric Shaw (who recently came from Utah), now Director of OP, sent to the City Council on January 9, 2018, sixty pages of amendments to a key leading Chapter of the Comprehensive Plan, called the “Framework Element.” In doing so, the Office of Planning has purposely rushed the timeline to get the key amendments done now in favor of the developer-class. If they win these amendments and get them passed as law by the Council, everything else is gravy and all other amendments to the plan, as well as any projects currently under review now and into the future, will be far easier to get done with even less concern for community impacts and feedback.

The Office of Planning is diverting from their own published process and the ANC Law.

By going right to the Council, the Office of Planning has subverted the ANC Law, which is quoted below:

1–309.10. Advisory Neighborhood Commissions — Duties and responsibilities; notice; great weight; access to documents; reports; contributions. (c)(1) In addition to those notices required in subsection (b) of this section, each agency, board and commission shall, . . . before the formulation of any final policy decision or guideline with respect to … , comprehensive plans, . . . provide to each affected Commission notice of the proposed action as required by subsection (b) of this section. (b) The executive branch and any independent agency, board, or commission shall give 30-days written notice, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays, . . . to each affected Commission, the Commissioner representing a single-member district affected by said actions, and to each affected Ward Councilmember, except where shorter notice on good cause made and published with the notice may be provided, or in the case of an emergency, and the notice shall be published in the District of Columbia Register.

It’s obvious that the Office of Planning not only ignores the ANC law, it diverts away from its own published Comp Plan amendment process which says they will take any formulated policy changes to the plan back to the public for a 60-day comment period before going to the City Council. We believe their actions to be illegal, and worse, that their behavior is meant to deliberately subvert the will of the people, and disadvantage DC’s most vulnerable citizens.

We invite you to join in our opposition to the proposed Comprehensive Plan by attending one of the various meetings on the topic. Please contact us to learn more.