HAND | DC Comprehensive Plan

Photo credit: Ted Eytan, https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/47651052842/in/album-72157680084862758/

Update | October 3, 2019

HAND is pleased to join fellow DC Housing Priorities Coalition members in celebrating critical amendments made to the Comprehensive Plan released by DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. This transformative update incorporates three of the coalition’s priorities: ensuring the creation of affordable housing, preventing displacement, and addressing racial equity. The bill will get its final votes by the full council on October 8, 2019. Thank you, HAND members and partners, for your swift action to support these efforts by signing our letter of support (below). We are encouraged by this new development and look forward to working with the DC Council on additional components of the Comprehensive Plan to make steps toward equitable outcomes for DC and the region.

READ THE PRESS RELEASE

How We Got Here 

HAND is a proud member of the DC Housing Priorities Coalition. Formed three years ago to help update the DC Comprehensive Plan, the coalition’s guiding principles include but are not limited to: meeting the housing demand, prioritizing affordable housing as a community benefit and equitably distributing housing. This work directly aligned with HAND’s goal of leveraging its membership to influence affordable housing programs and policy in the region. Keep reading to learn more about this regional activation and how you helped to move the needle. Check out this fact sheet for more details on the coalition and its members.


September 16, 2019

HAND Members & Partners — THANK YOU for your quick action and willingness to sign your individual and/or organization’s names to the letter encouraging the Council’s adoption of two amendments that will ensure affordable housing and the prevention of displacement is a priority in the Comprehensive Plan. This is a prime example of the power we hold in our hands when mobilizing under a collective mission.

The Council’s vote on the framework of the Comprehensive Plan has been rescheduled to October 8 and we are still asking our members and partners to sign on to this very important letter – if you haven’t added your voice yet, there is still time! We’re asking members to confirm their support by 5 PM on October 4th.

BACKGROUND

Updating the language in the existing Comprehensive Plan to support new housing and prevent displacement is critical if we are to create a city that provides enough housing for an inclusive District of Columbia. The 2006 Comprehensive Plan focused too much on preserving the status quo rather than planning for a growing population and the need for more housing that is affordable to middle and lower-income residents. Opponents of new housing have used the 2006 Comprehensive Plan to delay thousands of new homes, and hundreds of new affordable homes — increasing rather than reducing displacement of long-time residents.

That’s why we have partnered with other organizations to craft and submit numerous amendments to the Comprehensive Plan. 

On July 10, 2019, the DC Council took a preliminary vote on the Comprehensive Plan bill proposed by Chairman Phil Mendelson. The final votes are scheduled for September 17.

While the Chairman adopted a significant number of our amendments, and the Office of Planning’s amendments, the Chairman’s revised bill still needs to better address our city’s greatest needs.

  1. The bill should be more specific about how affordable housing and preventing displacement will be prioritized in the Planned Unit Development (PUD) approval process.
  2. One major amendment prioritizes making “physical and visual character” more important than any of our other values like preventing displacement and building more affordable housing. This language would have an exclusionary impact, and must be amended.

Take Action

We are joining with our allies in the Housing Priorities Coalition and asking the DC Council to adopt two amendments to the Comprehensive Plan Bill, B23-1:

Amendment 1: Proposed by Councilmember Nadeau, add to the end of 224.9 that the following should be considered as high-priority public benefits in the evaluation of residential Planned Unit Developments:

  • The production of new affordable housing units above and beyond existing legal requirements, and/or a net increase in the number of affordable units that exist on-site,
  • The preservation of housing units made affordable through subsidy, covenant, or rent control, or replacement of such units at the same affordability level and a similar household size,
  • The minimizing of unnecessary off-site relocation through the construction of new units before the demolition of existing occupied units, and
  • The right of existing residents of a redevelopment site to return to new on-site units at affordability levels similar to or greater than existing units.

Amendment 2: To section 227.2, remove this section entirely or replace it with the following amendment proposed by DC Office of Planning:

227.2.  Each land use category identifies representative zoning districts and states that other zoning districts may apply. A zoning district may be appropriate to be mapped, either through the Planned Unit Development or zoning map amendment process, if it is not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Land Use and Generalized Policy maps, the text of the Plan and the intent of the land use category. Under Zoning Regulations, a proposed Planned Unit Development should not “result in unacceptable project impacts on the surrounding area.”

This removes or replaces current language:

227.2.  Each land use category identifies representative zoning districts and states that other zoning districts may apply.  The Zoning Commission, in selecting a  zone district, such as through a Planned Unit Development or Zoning Map Amendment, shall determine if it:

  *   Is not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan;

  *   Meets the intent of the Future Land Use Map land use category;

  *   Is generally compatible with the character and scale of the Future Land Use Map land use category when considering the site in total; and

  *   Is generally compatible with the physical and visual character of the  surrounding neighborhood.

Email communications@handhousing.org by 5:00pm October 4th, with your name or organization if you would like to sign the letter below:


Dear Councilmembers:

As a “change” association working across the private, public and nonprofit sectors, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers (HAND) is committed to leveraging the power of our diverse collective comprised of nonprofit and for-profit developers, property managers, service providers, financial institutions, government agencies, architects, syndicators, law firms, foundations, universities, and others, to address our region’s affordable housing challenges and ensure that all have an opportunity to thrive. However, we know all too well that the housing affordability crisis is growing and we are NOT doing enough to ensure that people of all incomes can thrive in our jurisdictions. This is why we are writing to support two important amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan bill (B23-1).

Our largest challenge is ensuring housing affordability for residents at all income levels, but the last update to the Comprehensive Plan in 2006 did not properly plan for a growing population and the need for more affordable housing. Further, opponents of new housing have used the 2006 Comprehensive Plan to stall the development of thousands of new homes, and hundreds of new affordable homes — increasing rather than reducing displacement of long-time residents.

While we’ve made much progress in the draft update to the Comprehensive Plan, we need more clarity to ensure we are prioritizing affordable housing. We must also amend a provision added in July that would freeze the status quo, prioritizing “physical and visual character” over more homes and more affordable homes when Planned Unit Developments are being considered. This text is all too similar to exclusionary language that has historically perpetuated housing segregation.

To make these adjustments, we stand with the Housing Priorities Coalition in asking the Council to adopt two amendments to the Comprehensive Plan Framework Element bill, B23-1:

Amendment 1: To Section 224.9 proposed by Councilmember Nadeau, add to the end of 224.9 that the following should be considered as high-priority public benefits in the evaluation of residential Planned Unit Developments:

  • The production of new affordable housing units above and beyond existing legal requirements, and/or a net increase in the number of affordable units that exist on-site, 
  • The preservation of housing units made affordable through subsidy, covenant, or rent control, or replacement of such units at the same affordability level and a similar household size, 
  • The minimizing of unnecessary off-site relocation through the construction of new units before the demolition of existing occupied units, and
  • The right of existing residents of a redevelopment site to return to new on-site units at affordability levels similar to or greater than existing units.

Amendment 2: To section 227.2, remove or replace with the following amendment proposed by DC Office of Planning:

227.2.  Each land use category identifies representative zoning districts and states that other zoning districts may apply. A zoning district may be appropriate to be mapped, either through the Planned Unit Development or zoning map amendment process, if it is not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Land Use and Generalized Policy maps, the text of the Plan and the intent of the land use category. Under Zoning Regulations, a proposed Planned Unit Development should not “result in unacceptable project impacts on the surrounding area.”

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your leadership on this issue.

Sincerely,

  • Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers
  • AreaProbe
  • Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing
  • Atlantic Union Bank
  • Bodaken & Associates
  • Change All Souls Housing Corp
  • Coalition for Smarter Growth
  • Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development, University of Maryland
  • Cornerstones
  • CSH (Corporation for Supportive Housing)
  • Enterprise Community Partners
  • Gilbane Development Company
  • Harkins Builders
  • Heritage Housing Partners Corporation
  • HomeFree
  • Housing on Merit
  • ICAST
  • Imby Community
  • Joseph Browne Development Associates LLC
  • Joseph Development Inc.
  • Jubilee Housing
  • Just Economics
  • L&H Business Consulting
  • LIIF (Low Income Investment Fund)
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation
  • Klein Hornig LLP
  • Metropolitan Consulting
  • N Street Village
  • National Housing Trust
  • Neighborhood Associates Corporation
  • Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance
  • Pennrose
  • PGIM Real Estate Finance
  • Potomac Housing Group
  • SAA | EVI
  • Somerset Development Company
  • The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB)
  • Wesley Housing Development Corporation
  • WinnCompanies

 

 

 

 

 

  • Aimee McHale
  • Art Bowen
  • Erik Hoffman
  • Fran Lunney
  • Gerald Joseph
  • Heather Raspberry
  • Maria Day-Marshall
  • Michael Scheurer
  • Nina Janopaul
  • Peter Engel
  • Rick Rybeck
  • Sasha-Gaye Angus
  • Yulonda Queen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X