Zoning Commission Proposed Action Reply

Last week (October 6 – 9), the Zoning Commission held four nights of public meetings on ZRR. Over the course of over 17 hours of deliberations, the Commission reviewed and took proposed action on many specific proposals. These discussions, of course, followed seven years of public hearings and meetings, so the issues themselves had been examined and discussed on numerous occasions by the public and by Commission members in advance of these meetings. However, the Commission did provide OP with instruction to re-examine or revise many of the proposed provisions, including ones related to parking for specific uses; parking for motorcycles and mopeds; use groups; corner stores; accessory apartment size and access; use restrictions for non-residential space in low density commercial zones; Green Area Ratio tree canopy; theatres in residential zones; and revised or additional definitions.

The Zoning Commission instructed the Office of Planning and the Office of Zoning to prepare a revised draft of the complete zoning regulations, for submission on November 3, 2014, incorporating the direction provided by the Commission at the recent public meetings. This will, as with all ZRR documents, be posted on the OP and OZ websites. The Commission will then take this draft up at a further public meeting on December 11, 2014 for proposed action on the entire text. The previous draft, submitted in September of 2013, was very much a working draft so we expect the final version to cleaner, tighter, and, yes, shorter. Thanks again to everyone who provided comments on the first draft.

DDOT Curbside Management Study Reply

Parking has been the subject of a great deal of discussion during the extensive public outreach process for the revisions to the Zoning Regulations. While zoning regulates on-site parking, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) manages curbside parking through meters, its Residential Permit Parking program, and other policies. DDOT has been studying curbside parking and just recently released its Curbside Management Study, which identifies policies and approaches to:
• Preserve access to residential areas for the use of residents;
• Promote and facilitate commerce by prioritizing customer and commercial vehicle access in commercial areas; and
• Ensure the safety of all transportation users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and motorists.

ZRR Parking Proposal Maps 1

The following maps prepared by OP for the Friendship Heights Neighborhood Association, provide an illustration of the ZRR parking proposal. The first map compares the current regulations to the proposal which was setdown by the Zoning Commission in September 2013, and the second map compares the current regulations to the alternative proposal setdown in June, 2014. While they are similar to maps that OP has already provided to the Zoning Commission and uploaded to this site, they specifically focus in on multi-family residential development. The difference between the two maps is that:
• under the 2013 proposal, a parking reduction of 50% would be permitted by-right for new development proximate (within ¼ mile) of a WMATA Priority Bus Corridor;
• under the 2014 alternative, OP is not proposing the 50% parking reduction for new development proximate to a Priority Bus Corridor.
(click to enlarge)
ParkingReqSetdownLetter
ParkingReqAltLetter
Like any map, there are some generalizations – for example, the maps do not take into account areas that are subject to site specific review and parking requirements, such as university campus plans or Planned Unit Developments. The maps also do not distinguish R-5-A zoned land that is not developed with apartments (in R-5-A, a new apartment building is permitted only by special exception so would receive BZA, ANC, and community review) – much of the R-5-A zoned land is developed with one-family dwellings or flats, where the parking requirement would remain 1 parking space per building, with no reduction for proximity to transit.

Of course, OP also proposed other alternatives to the September 2013 text as part of the June 2014 alternatives – a complete description is provided below, or you can read the OP report on the Office of Zoning website (link), case 08-06A, Exhibit 725. The Zoning Commission will be holding public hearings on these alternatives, September 8 – 11; you can attend an provide comments or submit written comments to the record via the Office of Zoning website, prior to September 15, 2014.

Summary of Zoning Commission Hearings Reply

The Office of Zoning has uploaded a good summary of the most recent Zoning Commission hearings (in addition to 44 earlier Zoning Commission hearings and meetings). The summary also provides dates for upcoming hearings, and information on how you can participate, in person or by submitting comments. Finally, it also provides convenient links to the draft text as set down by the Commission in September 2013, and to the OP proposed alternative text, provided in June 2014 in response to comments from the Commission and the public received to date.

Thank You! 2

Thank you for your time, attention, and valuable comments. Since setting down the draft proposed text of the revised Zoning Regulations for public review and comment on September 9, 2013, the Zoning Commission and Office of Planning have heard a number of suggestions and ideas through the public hearing and community outreach process. In fact, the Zoning Commission has so far received more than 1,100 public comments since setting down the draft proposed text on September 9, 2013. A summary of comments received can be viewed in the case record (Z.C. Case No. 08-06A) here and here.

Having heard the extensive public comment and testimony, the Zoning Commission asked the Office of Planning to evaluate alternatives to specific proposals, and to draft text that could refine the proposed Zoning Regulations – an interim measure to try to address some issues raised to date. The Office of Planning report, which was delivered to the Zoning Commission on June 16th, contains detailed information about the alternative proposals, including draft text, and can be viewed here.

The alternatives proposed by OP, summarized below, respond to comments received to date; however, the Zoning Commission stressed that the record in the case remains open through September 15, 2014, and that additional comments are welcome. While the alternatives presented address many of the key issues identified, the proposed text does not respond to all comments raised during the public input process. Stay tuned – the Office of Planning will continue to post additional information here on the blog about these proposals, and any other proposed changes.

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New AARP Study Reply

AARP recently released a study describing the community preferences of older adults. Highlights of the report include findings that “most older adults want to age in place. They prefer to stay in their current homes and communities.” The community preference survey also found that older adults valued having the following amenities close to home (within 1 mile or less):
• Bus stop (50%);
• Grocery store (47%);
• Park (42%)
• Pharmacy/drug store (42%);
• Hospital (29%);
• Church/religious (29%);
• Train/subway (23%);
• Big box store (18%);
• Entertainment (16%); and
• Mall (shopping) (13%).
You can read the full study online at http://www.aarp.org (http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/public_policy_institute/liv_com/2014/what-is-livable-report-AARP-ppi-liv-com.pdf).

Updated ZRR Schedule Reply

The Zoning Commission will hold its scheduled public hearing on the Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR) on April 24, 2014, at 6:00 PM in the Jerrily R. Kress Memorial Hearing Room at 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 220-S, Washington, DC 20001. The hearing scheduled for April 21, 2014, has been cancelled. The Zoning Commission will hold the record open for this case until September 15, 2014.

How Would the OP ZRR Proposals Relate to Your ANC? 1

OP has prepared a summary of the Zoning Regulation Review (ZRR) proposals as they specifically relate to each individual Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) in DC – available here, on the OP ZRR website, and as part of the ZRR official record at http://www.dcoz.dc.gov. There are 40 ANCs in the District – if you are not sure which ANC you are in, please go to http://anc.dc.gov, or contact OP and we can find this information for you.

Each summary provides a bit of background on the ZRR process and a description of current and next steps, but they mostly address the question “what is of relevance to my ANC?”. Topics covered include zone naming, including a list of zones in your ANC (slide 7); use permissions; low density residential; parking; accessory apartment; alley lot; corner store; commercial zoning; industrial zoning; downtown; and campus / school plan proposed provisions. Maps are included to help you locate where various provisions would, or would not, apply within your ANC and your neighborhood.

Copies of the ZRR summary (electronic and hard copy) are being emailed and mailed to each ANC commissioner

Copies of the ZRR summary (electronic and hard copy) are being emailed and mailed to each ANC commissioner


Each summary is based on the version of the proposed text which was set down by the Zoning Commission (ZC) on September 9, 2013 for public hearing. A paper copy of the September 9th version is available at each DC public library and a disc copy was provided to each ANC in September 2013. Copies of the full text are also available on our ZRR website and the Office of Zoning website.

Copies of this summary (electronic and hard copy) are being emailed and mailed to each ANC commissioner, and are also uploaded into the Office of Zoning ZRR record (08-06A). If you have questions about or comments on OP’s ZRR proposals, please feel free to contact us at zoningupdate@dc.gov, or please attend one of the open houses we are holding in March – dates and times of the remaining open houses are (click to enlarge):
open house dates2

Corner Stores in the News 1

District residents and the Zoning Commission aren’t the only ones talking about corner stores, the Washington Post and Washington City Paper both published articles this week looking at these neighborhood institutions.

P&C Market (mentioned in the article) is a favorite, close to home for me.  They sell the world’s best eggs from the kind of famous Polyface Farms, in season.  That’s right – in season eggs.  What a treat to be able to walk to the market to pick up these eggs.

P&C Market (mentioned in the article) is a favorite, close to home for me. They sell the world’s best eggs from the kind of famous Polyface Farms, in season. That’s right – in season eggs. What a treat to be able to walk to the market to pick up these eggs.


Corner stores are small commercial establishments found in lower density residential areas. The existing zoning regulations do not allow commercial uses in our residential districts, which means that existing corner stores are “grandfathered.” Any changes to an existing corner store or a proposal to open a new store would require approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA). As part of the Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR), OP is proposing to allow limited neighborhood serving commercial, service, and arts uses in our rowhouse zones (current R-3 and R-4), with a particular emphasis on encouraging corner grocery stores. You can see OP’s proposal after the jump.

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