Archive for the ‘Office of Planning’ category

Update on AFRH Zone A Development

June 6, 2022

Development Plan for AFRH Zone A showing location and configuration

On Thursday, June 2, 2022, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) had a public meeting for an amendment to the Armed Forces Retirement Home’s (AFRH) Zone 1 development plan. Neighbors have long desired that any development at the AFRH would lead to increased access to green space. While Urban Turf has briefly covered this meeting, this is a good opportunity to share my thoughts on the develpment and next steps.

Overview

In short, I remain deeply disappointed and underwhelmed by the AFRH development plan and dispite the many successful community events that the Friends of the Soldiers Home has organized on their grounds, the AFRH leadership seems to be reverting to a position of resisting community access. In my assessment, this will only change with strong community involvement moving forward.

On June 2, 2022, the National Capital Planning Commission reviewed an amendement to the AFRH Zone A master plan. This is the large development that has been in the works for over a decade and is located near the cloverleaf at Irving and North Capital Street (see image above). Only three people testified before the NCPC: myself, ANC4C Commissioner Jonah Goodman, and John Hughes of the Friends of the Soldeirs Home. No one testified from Ward 5.

All three of us testified that a significant flaw in the development plan is the lack of community access to the neighborhoods to the west and north. While the AFRH has talked a good game about creating public green space as part of their development, I pointed out in particular that the development plan makes it clear that the green space is not designed as a benefit to the neighbors living here now, but instead as an amenity to residents they hope will move to their development. The configuration and massing of the planned buildings clearly convey that for all intents and purposes this is a “gated community” without the fence and gate.

Many of the NCPC Commissioners heard this position loud and clear. While they approved the amendment, the also included the following request in their report (read full report here).

Requests: that AFRH re-engage with NCPC staff, the District of Columbia Office of Plannign, the National Park Service, and the community to evaluate the feasibility of possible public access through the western portion of the AFRH Zone (golf course and open space) as part of a future AFRH submission for the golf course and open space.”

It was clear at the hearing that AFRH leadership was disappointed that the issue of public access was raised and it was clear that they did not expect testimony criticising their development. It was also clear to me that the community needs to organize and mobilize to have a strong voice and push the needle on this.

Next Steps

While the NCPC voted to approve the Zone A amendment, there will be several key areas where community members can, and need to, be involved — these include Zoning and Historic Preservation approvals. Both will require public hearings where all interested neighbors can and need to engage. The development plan is not far enough along for hearings to be scheduled for either yet, so this is something that we all need to monitor.

While the AFRH leadership clearly doesn’t see how “their development” concerns the greater community, they are mistaken. By designing a car-centric, disconnected neighborhood in an area with poor access to public transportation, the 3,000+ residential units they hope to construct will have a significant negative impact on general quality of life, especially with traffic and polution. It is in their best interest to create stronger pedistrian and bike connections to Park View and Petworth to mitigate those impacts. This is a win/win approach that not only would provide neighbors with better access to green space, but also meet the future demand of the over 3,000 residents that  AFRH hopes to bring to the area. 

I believe the time has come for neighbors to again re-engage and push back. I will be working with my ANC collegues and other community leaders to determine the timeline for engagement and opportunities for feedback. I’ll repost again when I have more information to share on this front.

Ward 1 Community Comprehensive Plan Meeting at 6 pm this Wednesday, November 6th!

November 4, 2019

The Office of Planning has been working on amendments to the District’s Comprehensive Plan for the past 3 years, and now we are in the home stretch.

They have schedule a public meeting for Wednesday, November 6th, from 6-8 pm at the Columbia Heights Education Campus. This is an opportunity to review the proposed amendments, ask questions, and find out how you can engage to provide feedback before the amended plan goes to the DC Council for review and passage.

Relevant documents and redlined proposals are available on the Office of Planning Website here.

The District’s Comprehensive Plan is a 20-year planning document that guides future development in every neighborhood across DC. It is broken down into Elements (Chapters) that focus on such topics as:

The Office of Planning (OP) launched the second Amendment Cycle to the 2006 Comprehensive Plan in spring 2016 and the process will result in a final amendment package for submission to the DC Council for review and approval, followed by review and approval by NCPC and Congress.

Locating Documents and Reviewing the Materials

On October 15th, the Office of Planning released the redlined update of every element of the Comprehensive Plan for public review and comment prior to submitting updates to the DC Council. The redlines, draft maps, and other materials related to the amendment process are available at https://plandc.dc.gov/

During the review period, anyone can send comments and recommendations related to the amendments to OP for 60 days (December 15th). Residents are also encouraged to send their comments to their Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, who have until the end of January, 2020, to send in recommendations, support, or opposition to the amended texts.

What is ANC1A Doing?

ANC1A is currently reviewing the relevant chapters of the Comprehensive Plan and beginning to draft its recommendations. Draft documents will begin to be posted on the ANC1A Website soon at: http://anc1a.org/compplan/ as they are completed. ANC1A plans to finalize its recommendations and vote on them at their January 8, 2020, meeting.

Anyone wishing to participate in ANC1A’s review of the Comp Plan and recommendation process is welcome to participate. Please contact Commissioner Michael Wray at 1A09(at)anc(dot)dc(dot)gov to be added to the Committee communication list.

WARD 1 COMPREHENSIVE PLAN MEETING DETAILS

Interested in learning more about the District’s Comprehensive Plan and how to get involved in the amendment process? You’re in luck. Below are details about the Ward 1 meeting on November 6th!

  • What: Ward 1 Comprehensive Plan Engagement Meeting
  • Where: Columbia Heights Education Campus (Cafeteria)
  • When: Wednesday, November 6th
  • Time: 6-8 pm

District’s Comprehensive Plan Amendment Period Extended through June 23rd

May 22, 2017

Map showing the area elements of the Comprehensive Plan.

Last week, it was announced on several listservs that the District had extended the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Period from May 26th to June 23rd. This provides more time to anyone reviewing the Comprehensive Plan to read it and suggest where it can be improved to meet the needs and goals of our growing city.

I’ve been able to read several chapters and submit amendments already, and while I find the online process a tad clunky, it isn’t difficult to register and submit a proposed amendment.

My suggestion to anyone who may fine the Comprehensive Plan daunting is to focus on the things that matter to you and prioritize those parts of the document first. For example, my initial focus was on the Mid-City Element and the chapters focusing on Land Use, Parks Recreation and Open Space, Historic Preservation, and Arts and Culture. Now with more time, I can on to Infrastructure, Transportation, Housing, and Urban Design.

The full text of the extension announcement is below:

District Extends Comprehensive Plan Amendment Period

Office of Planning will accept public amendment proposals through June 23

(WASHINGTON, DC) – During the “Open Call” period of the past two months, the DC Office of Planning has received hundreds of Comprehensive Plan amendment proposals from stakeholders across the city.  Based on conversations with a variety of stakeholders, we expect hundreds more amendments will be submitted before the original deadline of May 26.  In response to requests from Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and other community groups, the District will extend the Open Call for almost a full month, through June 23.

For more than a year, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the DC Office of Planning (OP), and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development have engaged the public in a conversation about how Washington is growing and the role of the Comprehensive Plan in shaping future development.

“Community members have not only been attending our events and office hours for technical assistance, but have recently sponsored their own activities and done their own organizing,” said OP Director Eric Shaw.  “We wish to support this community-led planning and give a little more time to ensure this energy and thought can be captured during the formal amendment period.”

The Comprehensive Plan is the 20-year plan the District government uses to guide future development within Washington, D.C.  It contains the maps and policies that influence the neighborhoods in which residents live, work, shop, and play, as well as the investments the city makes in its services and infrastructure.  Most importantly, it is the primary tool that helps the District to manage change in a way that embraces progress while protecting the qualities that make DC a special place.

Stakeholders interested in making an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan can find useful materials under the “Propose an Amendment” tab on the [PLAN]DC website, including:

  • an Amendment Submission Form;
  • a How-to Guide for submitting an amendment;
  • a “Roadmap” of planning references;
  • a set of Frequently Asked Questions;
  • an Engagement Calendar; and
  • an Evaluation Framework, which OP will use to screen amendment proposals

During the extended period, the [PLAN]DC project team will be available to provide assistance in drafting and submitting amendments.  OP has also created the “meeting in a box,” a kit containing all the materials a community representative would need to lead a conversation with constituents about the Comp Plan amendment process.

Interested parties may contact the [PLAN]DC project team at plandc(at)dc(dot)gov to ask questions or request resources.  Those who do not wish to propose a specific amendment, but instead would like to share a general idea for consideration may also write the project team at plandc(at)dc(dot)gov.

D.C.’s Comprehensive Plan Begins Accepting Formal Amendment Proposals

March 27, 2017

Over the past year, the DC Office of Planning has led an array of activities to engage residents in a citywide initiative to amend the District’s Comprehensive Plan. On March 24, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the DC Office of Planning (OP), and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) launched an “Open Call” period, through May 26, 2017, to give all stakeholders an opportunity to formally propose Comprehensive Plan amendments.

The Comprehensive Plan is the 20-year plan the District government uses to guide future development within Washington, D.C. It contains the maps and policies that influence the neighborhoods where people live, work, shop, and play, as well as the investments the city makes in its services and infrastructure. Most importantly it is the primary tool that helps the District to manage change in a way that embraces progress while protecting the qualities that make DC a special place.

The Comprehensive Plan was initially adopted in 2006 and was last amended in 2011. Much has changed since that time, including a population increase of over 75,000. Having an up-to-date Comprehensive Plan is critical to achieving the long-term success of the District and realizing our collective vision for an inclusive city.

Those interested in making an amendment proposal can find a host of useful materials on the [PLAN]DC website, including:

  • an Amendment Submission Form;
  • a “Roadmap” of planning references;
  • a set of Frequently Asked Questions;
  • an Engagement Calendar; and
  • an Evaluation Framework, which OP will use to screen amendment proposals

During the Open Call period, OP will hold a series of 15 technical assistance workshops (called Office Hours) in locations across the city, where participants will be able to ask questions and receive support in preparing proposed amendments. As spring unfolds, OP will also post additional support materials on the website and host additional events continuing and deepening the dialogue around the District’s development.

Below is the calendar listing dates, times, and locations for the Comprehensive Plan Engagement Forums.

Park Morton Steering Committee Meeting Schedule for Tonight

March 23, 2017
Tonight’s scheduled Park Morton Steering Committee meeting is Open to the Public and designed to report out to the community where things are with the project. The meeting will be held at the Park View Recreation Center in the rear community room, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm.
Topics to be discussed include:
  1. The Park Morton and Bruce Monroe PUD process and status to date;
  2. Receive an update from the Park Morton Relocation and Re-occupancy sub-committee; and,
  3. The upcoming Bruce Monroe park planning process.

The Zoning Commission held a Public Meeting of March 13, 2017 for Final Action in both Zoning Commission Case No. 16-11 and No. 16-12. Those public meetings are available for viewing here.

(Buildings on Park Road belonging to Park Morton, which will be razed and replaced as part of the Park Morton redevelopment effort.)

Preservation Office’s New Online Application Maps Historic Development and Preservation of DC

November 29, 2016

I thought this was interesting, yesterday the Historic Preservation Office announced the launch of HistoryQuest DC, a GIS-based web map that provides historical data on approximately 127,000 extant buildings in Washington, D.C. The Office of Planning’s Web site provides the following description of the application:

The application, HistoryQuest DC, is an interactive GIS map that provides historical data on approximately 127,000 extant buildings in Washington, D.C.  The map offers several operational layers of information for the user including historic data on individual buildings, links to documentation on properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, information on historic residential subdivisions, and the identification and boundaries of the L’Enfant Plan, and the city’s Squares, and Wards. The featured layer in the map—the Historical Data on DC Buildings—provides information from a variety of sources on original dates of construction, architects, owners and builders of the city’s historic buildings.

The application also includes a Query tool that allows the user to analyze the historic data within a specified geographic area or city-wide.

This application has evolved out of the DC Historical Building Permits Database project and is still a work-in-progress. Anyone with additional information or knowledge about specific buildings that will enhance, enrich, or correct the map, please use the “Propose Data Change” on the banner at the top of the map, complete and submit the GeoForm.

By using the search box, anyone using the maps can quickly get to basic data on any property, including when a house was built and who the architect and builder were. The various layers also can generate some interesting maps. In addition to historic landmarks, the following maps show some examples of the maps that it generates.

history-quest-1(In looking at the map generally, it is easy to quickly get an idea of how old section of DC are. The older the building, the darker the color.)

history-quest-2(In exploring the various layers, one option is to show existing historic districts.)

history-quest-3(Another interesting feature, many of the original subdivisions have been recorded.)

How Do You Want DC to Grow? Share Your Ideas with the Office of Planning

October 12, 2016

It is time to update the District’s Comprehensive Plan — the document that will guide development and urban growth for the next 20 years. This is a good time to take stock in what kind of city (and what kind of neighborhoods) you think Washington should be. Fortunately, the Office of Planning is kicking off a series of community meetings in order to hear from you on what you think should be in the plan.

The meeting most convenient to residents of Park View and Columbia Heights will be held on October 19th at the Columbia Heights Education Campus. See the flyer below for details.

comp-plan-flyer-1

comp-plan-flyer-2

Three Maps That Provide Insight Into How Park View Developed

May 12, 2016

I was recently alerted to the following three maps of Park View that were created for the Historic Preservation Office/Office of Planning in 2015. I think they are interesting and help provide some context for how the neighborhood was built out. I hope you find them interesting too.

Map 1: This map shows the age of the neighborhood, with eras represented by different colors (darkest color represents the oldest buildings).ParkView_Years

Map 2: This map shows the top five architects represented in the building permit database.ParkView_Architects

Map 3: This map shows the top five builders represented in the building permit database.ParkView_Developers

How Would You Redesign Park Morton?

December 9, 2015

The redevelopment of Park Morton is both necessary and something that will have a positive impact on everyone who lives in the Park View community. Yet, at the first Park Morton Planning and Design Workshop held on December 1st only about 50 residents participated. The next Planning and Design Workshop is scheduled for Saturday, December 12th, from 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View School.

At the first workshop, the unsettled questions surrounding the former Bruce Monroe School site related to scale, density, and park programming also proved to be more of a distraction for some groups than others, preventing them from focusing on areas of agreement which would help answer the build-first site questions.

So, in the interest of coming up with some concrete ideas to ensure that the new Park Morton is a success and inclusive of community participation, I’m encouraging people to think about how the current Park Morton site could be developed in a way that knits back into the surrounding community. These ideas can then be shared at the November 12th workshop.

Park Morton Existing(Park Morton as it exists today.)

Above is a plan of the current Park Morton site, and you can see how the streets and houses were arranged just prior to the creation of Park Morton here. The general plan from 2008 is below. As you can see, many of the buildings are far more dense than is allowed by the R-4 zoning. In short, massive buildings were considered in 2008 as there wasn’t enough land to accommodate the mixed income community that is planned.

Park Morton Plan 2008(Park Morton Plan from 2008.)

Below is an idea I came up with which, I believe, addresses many of the challenges to redesigning the site while complying with the sites current zoning much more than the 2008 plan did. It retains apartment buildings along Park Road, the west end of Morton Street, and the southeastern corner of Morton Street. The large central building on Park Road is sited away from the street to help provide some green space and convey an entrance to the community.

Morton Street is opened up to Warder Street, and alleys are extend through blocks eliminating dead ends and cul-de-sacs.

Rowhouses line the north side of Morton Street, and face a park on the south side of Morton Street.

Lastly, there is some open land behind the apartment building at the southeast end of the property which could also be programmed as either a playground or a community garden.

Park Morton Redesign 3(One possible layout for the Park Morton area.)

Solving the planning puzzle for the current Park Morton site will help answer the question of how many units will need to be in the build-first phase of the development, which also helps answer the question of density.

So given the size, shape, and zoning (which is R-4) of the current Park Morton site, how would you design it?

Public Comment Period on Pop-Up Regulations Open Through June 1st

May 21, 2015

14-11
Regardless of where you stand on Zoning Case No. 14-11 — aka the Pop-Up Regulations — if this issue is something important to you you’re going to want to send in your comments to the Zoning Commission before June 1st (the comment period began on May 1st). While there are many items in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking of interest, to me the most important issue needing community input is implementation — should the Pop-Up Regulations be implemented immediately upon approval or should there be a delayed implementation date?

Below is the announcement from the Office of Zoning Web site:

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Zoning Commission Case No. 14-11 – Text Amendments to Chapters 1, 3, 4, 26, and 31, Maximum Height and Minimum Lot Dimension Requirements and Use Permissions in the R-4 District – or the “Pop-Up” Regulations will be published on Friday, May 1st , in the D.C. Register. The public comment period will open on May 1st and close on June 1st. If you wish to submit documents, please do so by email to zcsubmissions@dc.gov, by mail or hand delivery to the Office of Zoning, 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 200-S, Washington, DC 20001 or by fax to (202) 727-6072

The proposed rules are intended to address concerns heard by the Commission with respect to what have come to be called “pop ups.” A pop up generally is a row dwelling upon which an addition is constructed that results in the structure visibly rising above the roofs of adjacent dwellings. Pop ups have been on the increase in R-4 Zone Districts where a maximum height of forty (40) feet is permitted and where buildings existing prior to May 12, 1958 may be converted to apartment houses provided there is nine hundred square feet (900 sq. ft.) of land area for each existing and added unit.

For more information about this case, please review a copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by clicking here.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of Zoning at 202-727-6311 or dcoz@dc.gov.

 


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