Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Greetings from the DC Office of Planning.  

OP would like to invite you and your membership to attend one of a series of community meetings being held in December 2012 and January 2013 to discuss draft proposed changes to the existing Zoning Ordinance (11 DCMR).  A meeting will be held in each ward of the city, with the dates noted below.  The Office of Planning has been working on revisions and reorganization of the zoning regulations for the last four years, and we have already made many significant modifications to previous drafts based on comments received at the over 200 meetings and hearings held so far, but we are looking for your input. 

Why update the zoning code?
Zoning is a way for a city to guide and regulate the use of land, and create predictable patterns of development.  It is implemented through our zoning code, a document which provides rules and regulations about where different uses can be located and the placing, shape, and height of buildings.

DC’s zoning code was adopted way back in 1958, and is one of the oldest in the country.  The updates will help to make the zoning current with existing D.C. policy and the objectives of the Comprehensive Plan —a document that provides guidance for future planning and development in the city.  In fact, the Comprehensive Plan specifically requires that the zoning code be updated:

“The Zoning Regulations themselves need substantial revision and reorganization, ranging from new definitions to updated development and design standards, and even new zones.” (IM-1.3)

The regulations need to address the aspirations of 21st century residents of the city, rather than a 1950’s vision based on automobile dependence, separated uses / zones, cheap energy, and a suburban lifestyle for all.  The new code is intended to address a broader, more inclusive vision for D.C. as a livable, walkable, balanced, more affordable, and sustainable city with goals and objectives such as:

·         Creating and reinforcing distinctive and safe neighborhoods;
·         Acknowledging transportation choices by updating old parking requirements that contribute to traffic congestion and rising housing costs;
·         Promoting a resilient economy and broader employment opportunities;
·         Addressing “green building” and sustainable development;
·         Planning for quality environments and open spaces;
·         Encouraging convenient access to healthy food and convenient access to retail;
·         Supporting more affordable housing choices and the ability for people at all stages in life to find good housing options in their neighborhood; and
·         Making the code clearer and more user-friendly.

While a number of important changes to the zoning regulations are being proposed to address these issues, about 90% of the regulations will remain the same as they are today.  However, OP is proposing a reformatted zoning code – one that includes tables and diagrams and which tries to consolidate regulations to make them easier to find and understand.
Whether you were born and raised here, or are a recent addition to the city, you have a stake in how D.C. will change and grow.  Please plan to attend one of OP’s upcoming community meetings.  We will describe the process to date, present the draft proposals, and solicit and listen to community feedback.  We remain open to making additional changes to the draft proposals, based on your comments, before they are taken to the Zoning Commission for consideration at public hearings.
The community meetings are open to everyone.  We will present the same information in each of them, so you can attend the one that is most convenient for you. 

December 8, 2012            Saturday, 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 noon          
Ward 6
Second floor, 1100-4th Street SW
(above the Safeway, Waterfront Station on the Green Line)

December 11, 2012         Tuesday, 6:30 P.M – 8:30 P.M.                  
Ward 2
421 7th Street NW
(2 blocks south of Gallery Place Station on the Red, Green and Yellow Lines)

December 13, 2012         Thursday, 6:30 P.M – 8:30 P.M.                 
Ward 8
Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Place SE
(Anacostia Station on the Green Line)

January 5, 2013                 Saturday, 10:00 P.M – 12:00 noon             Ward 1
January 8, 2013                 Tuesday, 6:30 P.M – 8:30 P.M.                   Ward 3
January 9, 2013                 Wednesday, 6:30 P.M – 8:30 P.M.            Ward 5
January 12, 2013               Saturday, 10:00 A.M. – 12:00 noon           Ward 7
January 16, 2013               Wednesday, 6:30 P.M – 8:30 P.M.            Ward 4

January meeting locations will be announced shortly. 

In addition, for those not able to attend the meetings, two Twitter Town Halls are scheduled, on Monday December 14 2012 and Friday January 14 2013, both starting at noon.  Watch the Zoning Revisions Review website, and blogsite -, for more information. 

We hope to see you and your members at the community meetings.  Please feel free to pass this information on to others, or to contact us if you have questions or comments.

Jennifer Steingasser
Deputy Director      
(202) 442-8808

Joel Lawson
Associate Director
(202) 442-8802     

Elisa Vitale
(202) 442-8813

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