Race and class equity in all projects across the city is critical as the city develops especially in light of DC being ranked number one in displacement and gentrification in the nation.

This basic planning concept of equity has so far been adopted into the leading chapter of the Comprehensive Plan, known as the Framework Element passed into law by the City Council in June.

Most recently in October, the Mayor’s Office of Planning has called upon us to comment upon the rest of the Plan with additional 1500 redlined pages and hundreds of rewritten and deleted plan policies, expecting us to review, digest, and comment in only three months time over the holidays.

DC for Reasonable Development encourages all residents to especially review how the Mayor wants to change policies that affect your specific neighborhood and take a closer look at the maps.

The DC Grassroots Planning Coalition has made that easier to do at these two links here :: ||


Now that the other chapters of the Plan are being entirely rewritten by the Mayor, we, the people, must ensure the newly established planning concept of race and class equity is enacted throughout the entire Comprehensive Plan so that the city is livable and walkable for all and true equity is created in all projects and planning decisions for developments around the city.

Instead of getting into the weeds, DC for Reasonable Development offers the following menu of broader policy planning concepts that residents, ANC’s, civics and citizen groups can add to any existing or developing resolutions and amendments to the Comp Plan that you may already be considering. These broad policies and ideas reflected below follow on from the Grassroots Planning principles found here ::

  1. Income and Family Housing Equity in All Projects (1/3–1/3–1/3): Currently 80-90% of new housing units being built in DC in the past decade have been luxury studio and one-bedroom units leading to substantial increases in land values and massive displacement of longtime District residents and families. To truly build an inclusive and successful city, all new residential and mixed-use projects shall be required to produce 1/3 very low income units, 1/3 affordable middle income units, 1/3 market rate units. Of the units created, no more than 1/3 shall be studios and one-bedrooms, no more than 1/3 shall be 2 bedrooms, and the rest shall be family sized units at 3+ bedrooms. And, all new projects shall qualify under DC’s rent-control legislation.
  2. Public Housing Must be Fully Supported: Public housing is the last safety net. There is a 40,000 person public housing waiting list. Public housing has not been adequately maintained and is now being threatened with demolition and privatization. Public housing must remain in public control, fully funded and fully maintained. There must be public housing in every Ward and available for all vulnerable DC residents who need it to avoid becoming homeless, especially for DC families waiting years to access this critically important and most affordable housing option. All existing public housing residents shall be able to stay nearby or at their public housing site during any renovations and redevelopment projects.
  3. Prioritize the People of DC: No more public financing or provision of any zoning or planning approvals and construction permits for any wealthy playthings — luxury apartments, condos, hotels, or stadiums — that is until:
    • All DC residents who need housing, including the chronically homeless, are indeed housed, and this housing is sustained and maintained in humane conditions;
    • At least 90% of all employment positions created by any and all projects, initiatives, or campaigns that receive public approvals, public assistance, or are publicly subsidized in any way shall be verifiably filled by DC residents seeking work and ready access to training for the work;
    • All longtime small DC businesses, and families and residents, who are vulnerable to gentrification and at risk of losing their tenancy due to rising living and business costs shall be protected from displacement through purposeful mitigation programs, public financing, and legislation created by those directly affected; and,
    • All public transportation needs, including access to jobs in regional employment centers, are fully funded, with no cuts to any public Bus or Metro services at all, and all public transportation shall be made gratis for low- to moderate-income residents by 2022.
  4. Social Service Equity: No Ward shall have significantly more institutional access and more social services than any other. Parks, libraries, schools, medical facilities, clinics, transportation, food services, quality of life services, et. seq, shall be made as equitable and accessible as possible across all neighborhoods. Active public programs, financing, and legislation must be implemented to ensure parity for all social services and public institutions across DC.

These are open source policies that can coincide with more detailed suggested amendments to the Comp Plan. Please feel free to use and share.

Chris Otten, Co-Facilitator DC for Reasonable Development
DC Grassroots Steering Committee Member
ANC Commissioner 2008-2010;
Homeless services advocate;
Public property watchdog;
Zoning and planning consultant

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