At a special public meeting held last night, on January 14, 2016, the Zoning Commission UNANIMOUSLY voted to approve a new zoning code for the District of Columbia, the culmination of the extensive Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR) process. The current zoning code was adopted in 1958, and as noted in the Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia, need substantial revision and reorganization, ranging from new definitions to updated development and design standards, and even new zones” (IM-1.3). With this important action by the Zoning Commission, the District has addressed this long-overdue objective.
As noted in the Comprehensive Plan for the District of Columbia, the 1958 regulations required “substantial revision and reorganization, ranging from new definitions to updated development and design standards, and even new zones” (IM-1.3). This important action by the Zoning Commission addresses this long-overdue objective, and is an important step in implementing District goals for achieving a healthy, vibrant, more diverse, and more environmentally sustainable city.
The Zoning Commission unanimous action to approve the new zoning code follows over eight years of analysis, review and public discussion, led by the Office of Planning with the assistance of many other District agencies. Thousands of DC residents participated in over 350 public, ANC, community, stakeholder, and Zoning Commission meetings and hearings, held in all wards and all parts of the city. The Commission also received and considered thousands of written comments and suggestions. While no individual or group realized everything that they may have sought in the new regulations, the approved text incorporates many issues and concerns raised by residents. The Office of Planning thanks all participants who, as noted by the Zoning Commission, helped to make this a better document.
The next steps will be the publication of the final Order in the DC Register, and the initiation of additional public outreach. Many of the actual zoning regulations are unchanged in the new code. However, there are important new provisions, and the format will change. While all of these changes have already received extensive public discussion, OP will continue to work with the Office of Zoning and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to organize ANC, public, and stakeholder information sessions, to help everyone get familiar and comfortable with using the new regulations, prior to the effective date.