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D.C. asks for input on additional changes to its blueprint for urban growth

Public comment on Comprehensive Plan reforms runs for the next few months

Several cranes are seen in the distance above office buildings from a rooftop.
Cranes above downtown D.C.’s skyline
The Washington Post/Getty Images

The District government is soliciting feedback on proposed amendments to the bulk of the city’s Comprehensive Plan, its guidebook for future growth and development, that were put out last week. Public review of the amendments, which comprise written land-use goals and official urban planning maps used by both developers and the government, will last through December 20 generally and January 31 for advisory neighborhood commissions specifically.

As the mayor’s office noted in a release, “[t]he Comp Plan is a high-level guiding document that sets a positive, long-term vision for the District, through the lens of its physical growth and change. It is divided into 25 elements and two maps, the Future Land Use Map and the Generalized Policy Map.” The D.C. Office of Planning is set to hold community meetings on potential revisions to the plan in November and December, across the city’s eight wards. It also invites advisory neighborhood commissions to submit any relevant resolutions online. Lawmakers passed reforms to the Comprehensive Plan’s opening section earlier this month.

Bowser’s administration also released housing-production targets for different parts of the city. They call for additional affordable housing to be built west of Rock Creek Park, east of the U.S. Capitol, and across a broad swath of the city center. Officials say 36,000 new units, including 12,000 affordable ones, must be created by 2025 to keep pace with D.C.’s growth. (“Affordable” is defined as when families pay under 30 percent of their income on housing.)

A table of housing production targets by areas of a city. A column for the shortage of affordable units contains red numbers.
D.C. housing production targets by planning area
D.C. Office of Planning

Roughly half of the city’s current subsidized homes are situated east of the Anacostia River. Although the administration has not specified how it would achieve the new targets, a blend of public subsidies, zoning incentives, land partnerships, and vouchers is expected. Some of the strategies may require approval from the D.C. Council as well as support from residents. In the meantime, the region faces a significant housing shortage and ballooning living costs.