Reminder – Community Meeting Tuesday, January 8th 2

The Office of Planning will be holding the fifth of eight community meetings to discuss the draft proposed changes to the zoning regulations on Tuesday, January 8th, from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. The meeting will be located at Wilson High School, 3950 Chesapeake Street NW, 1 block east of the Tenleytown metro station on the red line.

The meeting agenda is below:

AGENDA

6:00 DOORS OPEN
• Participants can take the opportunity to discuss the zoning code revision with the Office of Planning staff
• Participants can also walk through the Information Gallery to learn more about the zoning review process

6:30 ORIENTATION
• Welcome W. Steve Lee, Meeting Facilitator

6:35 PRESENTATION

The Planning Director will provide the context for the proposed revisions to the zoning regulations.
• “Why now?” Harriet Tregoning, Director, DC Office of Planning

7:05 TOPIC DISCUSSIONS
In this portion of the meeting participants are encouraged to engage with the Office of Planning staff to broaden your understanding of the revisions proposed in the following topic areas:

1. Zoning 101/Zoning Regulations Review 101
• What is zoning?
• Relationship to Comprehensive Plan
• New code organization
• New use categories
• Review processes – BZA and PUD

2. Sustainability
• Green Area Ratio
• Pervious Surface Requirements (R1 – R4)
• Landscaping/tree canopy/tree protection
• Promoting sustainable transportation (transit, biking)/parking
• Removing barriers to “green” elements

3. Walkability
• Corner stores
• Transit corridors
• Street frontage requirements
• Alley lots

4. Affordability
• Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
• Downtown
• Inclusionary Zoning
• Parking

5. Regulations of Land Uses/”Good Neighbors”
• CBIFs
• Places of worship and other institutional uses
• Industrial zones
• Campus plans and schools

6. Neighborhood character
• Height
• Lot occupancy
• Side setbacks, courts, and els
• Front setback (new)
• Street frontage standards
• Parking
• Pop-ups
• Minor changes to non-residential FAR in C zones

Please feel free to visit any or all of the topic tables and ask questions directly of staff. Do not feel as if you must stay with one group. This is an opportunity to ask questions, leave questions, post comments and get copies of topic information sheets.

7:45 Q&A
During this facilitated discussion, participants are encouraged to focus on:
1. Making comments to OP staff and the Director on the proposed draft text;
2. Asking questions about the proposed draft text or zoning code revision process;
3. Reflecting on what you learned at today’s meeting

8:25 WRAP UP

8:30 ADJOURN

2 comments

  1. I have a comment to the proposed change in the campus plan process that I was unable to make at the meeting.
    As I understand it, the Office of Planning (OP) is proposing one change to the process for reviewing Campus Plans. OP proposes that universities and colleges should have the option to request “further processing” (review of actual building plans) as part of the original campus plan application. This is a poor idea and I join other citizens that oppose it.
    The requirement to bi-furcate a campus plan into two hearings—one on the campus plan and one on the actual buildings—provides an important safeguard. The Zoning Commission and the neighboring community are thereby given the opportunity to view the campus plan as a whole. Sprawling urban campuses often cover multiple ANC’s and may present trade-offs that should be considered by the Zoning Commission as well as the impacted communities, such the disruption of traffic patterns. A first hearing on the initial plan may lead to campus plan changes that are beneficial to all. The OP proposed change practically invites universities to rush through a plan that may be ill-considered when it is politically expedient to do so.
    Allowing universities the option to bi-furcate the campus plan and the further processing hearings may actually encourage a different problem that has been observed in the campus planning process. Universities have taken advantage of the two-step process, and the poorly-defined standards for completeness of campus plans to “hide the ball” in the first stage of the process by omitting important information from the community while promising to include required information later in the “further processing” round. But there is no way for the community or OP to address potential adverse impacts under the “special exception” standard if the school does not submit a complete campus plan application addressing all requirements and if the District’s agencies don’t hold them fully accountable for doing so. Allowing the universities the option to submit campus plan information in stages does not address this problem and may actually encourage the practice of submitting incomplete plans.
    The campus planning process has caused considerable rancor in our communities and the vague “special exception” that permits universities to expand in residentially zoned areas is clearly susceptible to abuse. Rather than giving schools further options to “game the system,” OP should consider concrete steps to make the campus planning process more transparent and fair so that universities are held fully accountable to the community when seeking special treatment under the zoning law. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your comment – you are correct that this is an issue that has also been raised by other residents and ANCs close to various universities. Currently, campus plans are required for all universities located within residential areas. Once a plan is approved, the university is required to undergo a “further processing” process for any proposed building or facility, to review the details of the proposal and to ensure that it conforms to the campus plan. A university can submit further processing applications concurrent with their campus plan review, but the further processing requires a separate public hearing. The recommendation in the draft proposed ZRR text is based on a recommendation from the campus plan working group, which met to discuss this issue in 2008. It would allow a university to forgo the further processing process, if they provide enough detail regarding the building at the time of the campus plan review. It would, as you point out, combine the campus plan review with the further processing for one or more specific buildings or facilities.

    Since 2008, of course, we have had the experience of no less than seven separate campus plan processes of varying complexity and contentiousness – Georgetown U, American U, the Mt. Vernon campus of George Washington U, UDC, Howard U, Catholic U, and Gallaudet U. Many of them included requests for further processing of specific buildings. Based on this recent experience, the ZC has agreed with OP that a closer look at the campus plan proposals is needed. OP anticipates revisiting the draft language later this spring and that the revisions will ultimately be reflected in the ZRR.

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