Latest Updates on D.C. Planning Studies

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As part of its efforts to implement changes outlined in the 2021 Comprehensive Plan Update, the District of Columbia Office of Planning (OP) has undertaken multiple initiatives. These are at various stages in the planning process and are focused on specific areas within the District. We have provided summaries of each of these efforts below.

Congress Heights Small Area Plan

The Congress Heights Small Area Plan (SAP) sets out to guide development in reaction to the recent increase in investment in the area. The SAP supports increasing the zoning designation along the Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE corridor to support Medium Density Mixed-Use development, as well as zoning changes and infill development of underused, vacant, and institutional sites to allow a wider variety of ownership opportunities in residential neighborhoods. The draft SAP is available to view on the Engage DC webpage. OP is holding a public meeting at 6:00 pm on July 27, 2022 at the R.I.S.E. Center to discuss the draft plan. Public comments on the draft SAP can be submitted online or via mail through July 31. Following the public comment period, OP will submit the final Congress Height SAP to Council for approval.

Chevy Chase SAP

The Chevy Chase SAP was completed to address the area's need for housing and includes design guidelines to ensure future development is cohesive and compatible with existing structures. To implement the SAP's recommendations, OP suggests creating a new zone for the mixed-use area along Connecticut Avenue that would incorporate the design guidelines as development standards. The new zone would also permit higher-density development than what is allowed along the corridor under the current zoning regulations. Additionally, to help meet DC's affordable housing goals, the zone would require up to 20% of the building's residential square footage to be dedicated to affordable units. The final SAP is available to view on the Engage DC webpage. A public roundtable before the Committee of the Whole to discuss the "Chevy Chase Small Area Plan Approval Resolution of 2022" will be held on July 5 at 11:00 am. Following the approval of the SAP, to create the new zone, OP will draft and propose a zoning amendment that will be required to go through a public process and hearing before the Zoning Commission.

Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan

The Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan planning effort began in April 2021 with the stated goal of developing recommendations that enhance a safe, accessible, and vibrant public realm; encourage economic development and retail opportunities; improve transportation access and connectivity; and drive socioeconomic resiliency. The draft SAP is set to be released in the winter of 2022. Venable will provide updates on this effort as they become available.

North Capitol Crossroads

The North Capitol Crossroads planning effort was initiated to develop a broader planning framework for the North Capitol Street, Irving Street, and Michigan Avenue corridors and large properties like the Armed Forces Retirement Home, Washington Hospital Complex, and the former McMillan Sand Filtration site. It is an interagency effort that will build on previous planning initiatives in the area, including the North Capitol Cloverleaf Urbanization Study, which was completed by OP and the DC Department of Transportation to help envision how the cloverleaf interchange at North Capitol and Irving Streets could be redesigned. There has been no other movement on this effort since the completion of the Cloverleaf Urbanization Study in 2021. Venable will provide updates on this effort as they become available.

Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework and the Connecticut Avenue Development Guidelines

The Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework and the Connecticut Avenue Development Guidelines are part of the broader Rock Creek West Corridors Planning initiative, which aims to produce 1,990 affordable housing units in the area by 2025. OP states that the Wisconsin Avenue Development Framework will recommend zoning changes to deliver additional housing capacity along the Wisconsin Avenue corridor in Friendship Heights and Tenleytown. Additionally, this framework will guide a commercial action strategy for Friendship Heights and a public realm plan for the entire study area. The Connecticut Avenue Development Guidelines will focus on supporting additional housing in the Cleveland Park and Woodley Park neighborhoods while ensuring that development is compatible with the character of the area's established historic districts. As such, this planning effort will be a collaboration with OP's Historic Preservation Office and the Historic Preservation Review Board. Both initiatives are in the early stages of the planning process and do not yet have project timelines. Venable will provide updates on this effort as they become available.

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