The District’s Comprehensive Plan Amendment Process Is Starting Up Again: First Vote on July 9, 2019

The Comprehensive Plan amendment process is lurching back to life and the DC Council’s first vote is scheduled for July 9, 2019.  As we noted last month, the District of Columbia’s Office of Planning (“OP”) launched its DC2ME survey to solicit input on the ‘values’ that District residents want to be reflected in the amendment process. Also, OP had a presence at the recent Capital Pride parade and 11th Annual DC Housing Expo and Home Show to obtain additional feedback on the ‘values’. According to agency staff, further outreach is scheduled for this summer but specific times and locations have yet to be made public.

This outreach broke a long period of dormancy since the 12+-hour District Council hearing in March 2018 by discussing proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan’s Framework Element, which is just one of the Comprehensive Plan’s 24 elements.

That hearing appeared to have stopped the public process dead in its tracks, with no apparent progress on the Framework Element, which serves as the foundation for the Comprehensive Plan. Similarly, OP has yet to introduce any of the Comprehensive Plan’s other 23 elements and has not yet asked the Council to weigh in on any of the 3,000+ separate text and map amendments OP received from the public through the 2017 Open Call Amendment process.

However, some movement may be afoot. Although the formal agendas are not available yet, Cozen understands that DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson could circulate his draft amendments to the Framework Element on July 2, 2019.  The Council will conduct a “first reading” vote during the July 9, 2019 Committee of the Whole and Legislative meetings.

We look forward to the process resuming and eagerly await the DC Council’s decision on how the District will choose to address the proposed changes.

Stephen is the Planning Services Director with the firm and is not an attorney.

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Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use

Cozen O’Connor has represented residential, commercial, retail, and industrial builders in the development and redevelopment of building lots and millions of square feet of real estate. Our team handles every aspect of the zoning, land use, and development approvals process, from obtaining building permits and variances to negotiating stormwater management and traffic plans.

Head of the DC Zoning Group & Blog Editor