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D.C. Launches Development Planning Initiatives For 5 Neighborhoods

D.C. Office of Planning Director Andrew Trueblood and Antunovich Associates' Julian Looney at a December 2019 Bisnow event.

The D.C. Council has still yet to pass the long-awaited Comprehensive Plan update, but Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration is preparing its next steps for neighborhood-level planning initiatives. 

The Office of Planning announced Tuesday it is launching five new planning initiatives in the Congress Heights, Chevy Chase, North Capitol Street, Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Southwest D.C. neighborhoods. 

The initiatives include three Small Area Plans that will be implemented after the passage of the new Comprehensive Plan, which Council Chairman Phil Mendelson has said he plans to take up early next year. They will use the updated Comprehensive Plan to create more detailed plans for the development of each neighborhood. 

"Over the past four years we have engaged residents through the Comprehensive Plan update to advance a vision of an equitable city where all residents can thrive, regardless of income, race, age, or background,” Planning Director Andrew Trueblood said in a release. “We are excited to launch a series of new initiatives and to partner with residents in neighborhoods across the District to develop community-focused plans that can support neighborhood-level needs and goals.”

The process for the Congress Heights Small Area Plan is starting this week with a virtual town hall meeting Thursday evening to discuss the development vision for the Southeast D.C. neighborhood. OP said it will work with stakeholders to ensure the plan meets the city's racial and socioeconomic equity goals. 

The Chevy Chase Small Area Plan process will begin early next year. OP said it will focus on land-use changes that advance the goals of Bowser's Housing Equity Report, which calls for increasing housing development in Upper Northwest. 

With the Pennsylvania Avenue SE Small Area Plan, OP said it aims to support economic development, neighborhood livability and an inviting public realm. It didn't say when the process would begin. 

The Southwest D.C. planning initiative is a Flood Resilience Strategy that aims to redesign public parks and roadways to protect residents from climate-related flood events. The Southwest Waterfront is one of D.C.'s most vulnerable areas to climate threats, and Bowser's administration has been ramping up efforts to prepare for rising sea levels. 

The North Capitol Street initiative aims to better connect large properties such as the Washington Hospital Complex, the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the McMillan Sand Filtration site, as the latter two are planned for major developments. OP plans to work with the District Department of Transportation next year to study the cloverleaf-shaped intersection at North Capitol and Irving streets.