Controversial Zoning Revisions Finally Go to Zoning Commission
Posted on August 2nd, 2013 by Elizabeth Nelson
Washington, DC – Five years in the making, some 700 pages of new zoning regulations have been delivered to the DC Zoning Commission by the DC Office of Planning (OP). That’s just the beginning. With a month to digest the regulations, the Commissioners and the public will prepare for a lengthy hearing process designed to evaluate the Office of Planning’s proposals. The bulk of the existing code was enacted prior to the Home Rule Act, which called for a Comprehensive Plan for the city and for an independent Zoning Commission charged with ensuring that any changes in the code comply with the Plan. This will be the first time that the Zoning Commission has been tasked with creating an entire new code that follows the Council approved land use policies in the Comprehensive Plan.
The Comprehensive Plan, often quoted by OP, states that “the Zoning Regulations themselves need substantial reorganization, ranging from new definitions to updated development and design standards, and even new zones.” Critics of OP’s proposals say that the agency has selectively used Comprehensive Plan policies to advance a “smart growth” agenda that is in conflict with DC’s goal of an inclusive city and fails to respect neighborhood differences.”The time has come for DC residents to make their views known to the Zoning Commission,” says Nancy MacWood, chair of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, a 90 year-old citizens group that promotes responsible land use and planning. “It’s your city, your neighborhood and way of life that’s at stake.”Setdown of the new regulations is scheduled for September 9, after which a hearing schedule will be released.
A copy of the text of the proposed regulations will be placed in the SE and SW Libraries and is available electronically at
Please look at the proposed regulations and be ready to testify or file comments when the hearing schedule is announced.”