Category Archives: Data

Development analysis, reporting, data sheets, surveys, facts.

Using Law for Good & Bad

While the corporate “journalists” attack the character of local activists when they use the law to demand accountability for developments in the District, slumlords can use the law (Bankruptcy) to avoid accountability and dodge their ethical duty to provide clean and humane residential units to District residents.

That is, when activists use the law to protect their communities they get attacked in the press. When slumlords use the law to cover-up their negligence and assault on poor people and families, the monied classes get a pass.


Non Sui Juris: Who can you sue?

Non Sui Juris = can’t sue me!

While you can appeal administrative decisions by most agencies to the DC Court of Appeals, if you think an District agency and/or officials screwed you and your community over, or is about to, be prepared to know who you can sue when you are going to Superior Court or the Circuit Court in DC.

For more insight, see this case:

From this case: As a preliminary matter, defendants assert that certain parties named in this suit are non sui juris, that is, that they lack the legal capacity to sue or be sued. Specifically, defendants argue, and the Court agrees, that agencies and departments of the District of Columbia government are not amenable to suit. See Community Housing Trust v. Dep’t of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 257 F. Supp. 2d 208, 217 (D.D.C. 2003) (“The law is clear that `agencies and departments within the District of Columbia government are not suable as separate entities.'”) (quoting Does I through III v. District of Columbia, 238 F. Supp. 2d 212, 222 (D.D.C. 2002) (citations omitted)). The plaintiff’s claims against the District of Columbia Office of Planning, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, the District of Columbia Department of Health and the District of Columbia Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs therefore will be dismissed from this case.

But what the Foggy Bottom community got right in their suit is the naming of the Mayor.  From the case:  The Mayor of the District of Columbia, Anthony Williams, sued in his official capacity, is a proper defendant, and the suit against Mayor Williams shall be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia. Arnold v. Moore, 980 F. Supp. 28, 36 (D.D.C. 1997) (“It is well settled that if the plaintiff is suing the defendants in their official capacities, the suit is to be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia.”). Thus, the Court may proceed to consider the merits of the claims against the District of Columbia itself (a named defendant) and the Mayor of the District of Columbia in his official capacity.

The naming of individuals carries to others under the Mayor too, like the DC Zoning Administrator.

The  acting  Zoning Administrator  for  the District  of  Columbia,   Olutoye    Bello,    sued   in    his    official    capacity,  is  a  proper defendant,  and  the  suit against  Bello  shall  be treated  as  a  suit against the  District  of  Columbia.  See  Kentucky  v.  Graham, 473  U.S.  159,  166 (1985); accord Arnold v. Moore, 980 F. Supp. 28, 36  (D.D.C. 1997)(“It   is   well   settled  that   if   the   plaintiff  is   suing   the  defendants   in   their  official   capacities, the suit is to be treated as a suit against the District of Columbia.”).  Thus,  this suit  may  proceed  against defendant Bello.   COMMUNITY HOUSING TRUST, et al., Plaintiffs, v. DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER AND REGULATORY AFFAIRS, et al., Defendants. No. CIV.A. 01-02120 (HHK). April 16, 2003

For more on Non sui juris, see this case, and this case, and google it!


#McMillanPark Supporters Pack Courthouse

Changes to ZRR, Already

TONIGHT, Sep 22, 6:30PM

Tonight, Washington, DC, at the DC Zoning Commission, 441 4th Street NW, Suite 200 South, 6:30PM, Sep 22.

The Zoning Amendments Being Amended;
Ad hoc project for favored developer prompting consideration of substantial changes to the ZRR

Members of the Committee of 100 found that the Office of Planning was trying to define “substantial” changes to the ZRR as only “technical” changes.  There is a difference that requires a more public process for substantial changes.

Tonight, the DC Zoning Commission will be considering OP’s suggested changes, one which includes completely waiving the minimum area requirements for when developers request the city for a super variance, i.e. PUD applications.

EastBanc is asking the city for an entitlement to ignore the standards and rules regarding the minimum size of PUDs. However, the regs make clear that the Commission must not use their flexibility or discretion beyond what is allowable by law, which is why the Commission chose to have the hearing tonight.

08-06F ::

The public is welcome to testify, but it’s hard to imagine what OP’s rationale could be for a substantial change that could invite a PUD to be dropped anywhere in the city, especially without comprehensive planning direction.

Tonight, Sep 22, 6:30PM at the Zoning Commission Hearing Room, Suite 200 South
441 4th Street NW, WDC 20009
Judiciary Square Metro


A report from the Hine School legal team tells favorably of efforts that resulted in the Deputy Mayor’s Office putting online a list of land abuse contracts between developers and DMPED.

Deputy Mayor’s Office Website with LDA’s >>

There are noted issues, for example The Grimke School LDA Term Sheet reveals that the developer acquired the property for $25,000, while the appraisal indicates the property is valued at around $15-$20 million.

DC for Reasonable Development wishes if you have the time and interest to dig into the numbers of these contracts that affect DC taxpayer assets and the public interest and inform us of any perceived malfeasance.

Contact Chris: || 202 810 2768

This information was delivered via Mr. Oliver Hall, Esquire, who will be speaking at the upcoming conference starting September 26, 2016.

Fire on the Metro

Burn After Reading: Metro, Office of Planning, #ZRR

The ZRR expects more & more residents riding Metro

Over the past several years, DC planning and zoning officials have been reviewing and changing DC’s real estate development rules, a process referred to as the Zoning Regulations Rewrite (ZRR).

The Office of Planning went hard during the #ZRR to amend the zoning code so that the area known as Downtown DC is tripled in size, and where parking requirements are all-together eliminated.

Downtown DC has some of the tallest buildings with most density, driving significant traffic, killing any remaining parking, even in garages, and abusing daily the city’s aging infrastructure, including the recent troublesome time for Metro, a transit system routinely catching on fire.

Back in 2001, WMATA conducted a Metro transit capacity study which had predicted the future, which is now:

Expanding the capacity of the existing Metro system to accommodate a doubling of ridership, which will just maintain its vital market share in the region during the next 25 years, is a prudent and cogent investment. The existing system cost $9.4 billion to construct over a period of thirty years; the $4.5 billion investment in core capacity improvements represents half of that original cost and 20% of the price–more than $22 billion–that would be required to build it today. This investment is in the context of the $246 billion annual economy of the Washington Metropolitan area. The return on investment is compelling: an enhanced and expanded Metro system fully capable of meeting market demand, fostering economic vitality and an enhanced quality of life, meeting the mobility needs of this vibrant region as it continues to grow and providing requisite transit services during times of emergency.

When do the Corporations kick in their fair share?

Using the Zoning Regulations Rewrite process and tapping connections in DC’s planning offices,  “Smart Growth” associated agents, Cheryl Cort and David Alpert, have vociferously called for a zoning amendments wishlist serving DC’s real estate investment community, i.e. the loosening of standards governing parking in DC.

Less parking requirements, they say means less cars on the streets and more people on public transit.  Perhaps this why Metro has reached capacity in many parts of the system.  Yet despite business being good, WMATA’s Metro system is bleeding money.

Part of the reason for increased transit costs is liability.  In recent years Metro has demonstrated a keen ability to roll the razor edge of danger for riders and residents who have witnessed high-profile Metro incidents and accidents as part of the larger DC municipal systems collapse.

It is clear, the Metro system is aging and maxing out, leading to burn out and death.

DC Metro, Fire and Death


  • How many more people need to get hurt on Metro, or even die before the City gets serious about regional urban planning?
  • Shouldn’t District planning officials be seeking no-strings attached funding from the corporate world, especially those businesses “downtown” who benefit significantly from workers getting to their jobs through DC’s municipal systems? That is, what’s the 1%’s share of our collective transit burden?
  • Is it because the smart growth community is funded by developer-interests they won’t advocate that developers be required to contribute to infrastructure and transit upgrade costs serving their new luxury hotel, condo, and office projects?


Chapter: 10-A25 of the DC Municipal Regulations was to guide the ZRR process, but the DC Zoning Commission did not evaluate the efficacy of OP’s zoning review.

The Zoning Regulations Rewrite is scheduled to be implemented this September.

Some residents whose concerns like the tripling of “downtown”, inter-alia, were dismissed by OP and ignored during the zoning review process are organizing  to challenge this unacceptably poor planning here in the Nation’s Capitol in the 21st Century.

JetStream DC planning

DC4RD Jet Stream Update [Council Hearings]

DC4RD Jet Stream Update — Winter/Spring 2016

Please visit DC for Reasonable Development on the inter-webs:

Here’s the next DC4RD informational Update — (did the groundhog see its shadow or not?)



Mayor Bowser gave two-day notice regarding her trumpeted closure of the structurally sound, yet internally neglected DC General — a building, and grounds of which are currently public assets >>

As a result of the DC General Closure plan, the City keeps only the status quo number of homeless beds, except now homeless DC families will be scattered around the city at random locales >> >>

On top of that, the Council has defunded individual bathrooms in the new shelters, telling DC families they didn’t want them to “get too comfortable” in the shelter >>

Bottom-line: Despite the great costs of demolishing DC General, and leasing new shelter sites around the District, plus the planned privatization of the vast Reservation 13, there is still no net increase in beds for DC’s homeless families and individuals, and the new shelters will be dormitory in nature with several proposed to be sited in strange locations not suited for families.

DC’s homeless numbers are increasing, so if the Mayor’s self-limiting real-estate focused DC General closure plans are pursued, there will be even more homeless folks on DC’s streets in the coming years >>


411 Artist Union seeks collaboration to avoid displacement of an “eco-system” consisting of authentic professional arts and other expert cultural craft. SUPPORT DC’S ARTISTS! Rally & Hearing! February 23, 2016, 5:00 Rally; 6:30 Hearing begins: Testify in support of DC Artists & Art!

Check out the 411 Artist Union open studios this entire weekend. Please be sure to put Feb 23 in permanent marker >>

@OPinDC + @OZinDC

The District of Columbia Office of Planning and Zoning agencies will be available for questions/testimony very soon . . . ZONING & PLANNING Oversight Hearing — Wednesday, 3/2/2016, 9:30am – DC City Council Hearing Room 412 – John A. Wilson Building – 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW –  The Committee of the Whole will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing on The Office of Zoning, The Office of Planning & the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) — To Testify, CONTACT: Sarina Loy, or 202-724-8058.


The Zoning Regulations Rewrite (ZRR) has left out so many voices and so many needed fixes.  For example, the ZRR never clarified critical zoning definitions into plain language for “habitable space” & “cellar” as well as “adjacent-grade,” among other terms.  Further, the ZRR allows Downtown DC to be tripled in size without the Office of Planning assessing the impacts of this drastic development change against any analysis of the capacity and efficacy of the existing transportation and utilities infrastructure >>

Controversial as the #ZRR may be, it is without a doubt a massive overhaul of DC’s development rules which somehow the Office of Planning and Zoning Commission have together over 7 years failed to evaluate through the prism of the Implementation Element of the District of Columbia 20-year Comprehensive Plan.

Maybe the Mayor should rename it the Zoning Rewrong!


Right now the DC Office of Planning and so-called smart-growth supplicants are pushing the City to define “affordable” as rent set at $1,200/month for a studio/one bedroom apartment.

That would equate to $14,400 a year for housing costs not including utilities.  Developers would be able to rent this “affordable” unit to someone making about $50,000 a year and in return the developer gets to build bigger and taller buildings.

We want to redefine an “affordable unit” as one which reflects REAL levels of affordability, $500 to $800 a month in rent.  And, we want to push for the construction of more family-size units to meet DC’s a number-one priority >>

Developers should not be rewarded for building more cramped studios and junior one-bedrooms using damn cheap materials – this is not helping DC’s affordability crisis.

* Please attend the hearing on Inclusionary Zoning (IZ), March 3, 2016, 6:30pm, 441 4th Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro (redline).  Sign up to testify >>


The United Nations recently cited the historic Ward 8 community of Barry Farm as a flash point nationally for how wrong, racist, and classist Gentrification really is on working-families in US cities >>

“The process of gentrification has a heavy impact on African Americans who are being displaced from city centers under the argument of the need for new investment and development. In particular, the United Nation’s Working Group was alarmed by incidents of eviction, demolition and conversion of Barry Farm public housing in Washington D.C.”  >>

Contact Schyla for ways to Empower our movement against demolition of public housing & to seek community-control over our public land! or 202-234-9119


It’s that time again (3 to 5 minutes) of “accountability” DC government-style. Here’s the DC Council’s “oversight” hearing calendar >>

Be there to inform the Council about the services you are getting from City agencies and for you to “grade” agency service to the public.  Sending letters can help >>


DC WATER & DGS (Dept of “General” Services)
Thursday, 2/25/2016
12:00pm, Room 500
The Committee on the Transportation and the Environment will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing on the Department of General Services & DC Water. To testify, CONTACT: Nicole Rentz, or by calling 202-724-8062.

Monday, 2/29/2016
10:00am, Room 500
The Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABC)
* Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)
* Department of Small and Local Business Development & Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity
* Office of the Tenant Advocate
To testify, CONTACT: Peter Johnson, or 202-727-6683.

Monday, 2/29/2016
11:00am, Room 412
The Committee on the Transportation and the Environment will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:     Bicycle Advisory Council; Pedestrian Advisory Council; District Department of Transportation (DDOT)
to testify, CONTACT: Nicole Rentz, or by calling 202-724-8062.

Wednesday, 3/2/2016, 9:30am
Room 412
The Committee of the Whole will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Office of Zoning
* Office of Planning
* Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development
To Testify, CONTACT: Sarina Loy, or 202-724-8058.

Wednesday, 3/2/2016
10:00am, Room 123
The Committee on the Judiciary will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Department of Corrections
* Corrections Information Council
* Office of Returning Citizens Affairs
* Commission on Fathers, Men, and Boys
* Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice
To Testify, CONTACT: Katherine Mitchell, or 202-727-8275.

Friday, 3/4/2016
11:00am, Room 500
The Committee on Housing and Community Development will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD)
* Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF)
* Rental Housing Commission
To testify, CONTACT: Oscar Montiel, or 202-724-8198

Monday, 3/7/2016
10:00am, Room 500
The Committee on Housing and Community Development will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTT)
* Office of the People’s Counsel
* Public Service Commission (PSC)
* Department of Employment Services (DOES)

Monday, 3/7/2016
10:00am, Room 123
The Committee on the Transportation and the Environment will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Department of Parks and Recreation & Department of Public Works
To testify, CONTACT: Nicole Rentz, or 202-724-8062

Tuesday, 3/8/2016
10:30am, Room 412
The Committee of the Whole will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Office of the District of Columbia Auditor (Kathy Patterson)
* Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG)
* New Columbia Statehood Commission
To testify, CONTACT:

Thursday, 3/10/2016
10:00am, Room 412
The Committee on the Health and Human Services will hold a Performance Oversight Hearing. The following agencies will testify:
* Department of Disability Services
* Office of Disability Rights
To testify, CONTACT: Malcolm Cameron, or 202-741-0909


* Even if you can’t make the hearing, you can send in testimony and letters to help the discussion along >>


Orwell is puking >>

Justice after the Storm Update [dc4rd]

DC4RD sends this update to show you what isn’t cancelled this week!

United Nations Townhall Meeting with DC, MD, VA Black Community >>
6:30pm at UNION TEMPLE Baptist Church
1225 W St SE, Washington, District of Columbia 20020

Affordable for Who?  The Zoning Commission takes up their IZ program tomorrow night.  Take 5 minutes to send in a note seeking to fix the definition of “affordability” in the District of Columbia.
Be at the hearing, 6:30pm, Thursday, January 28, 2016, at the Zoning hearing room, 441 4th Street NW, WDC 20001 — Judiciary Sqaure Metro.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY 1/29 + 1/30
Service to Justice Conference >>
Jan 29 at 9:00 AM to Jan 30 at 4:30 PM
Luther Place — 1226 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20005

Gentrification: the Good, the Bad, and the Incarcerated >>
Sunday, January 31, at 6 PM
Busboys and Poets Brookland — 625 Monroe St NE, Washington, District of Columbia 20017

#SaveDCArts – The Union Arts building at 411 New York Ave NE is the last collective art space of its kind in Washington, DC — its being threatened with demolition to make way for a luxury hotel.
Monday, February 1 at 6:30 PM
Be at the Zoning Hearing, 441 4th Street, NW, WDC 20009

Black History Kick-Off & Celebration >>
The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum — 1925 Vermont Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20001
Tuesday, February 2, at 6 PM – 8 PM

Washington, DC: ‘TPP is Betrayal’ Action >>
The White House — 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20500
Wednesday, February 3, at 12 PM

###### ARTICLES OF INTEREST ########

Report: Nearly 50,000 East New York Residents Will Face Displacement with City’s Rezoning Plan

DC’s Walmart Problem [Updated] — WCP

Hemp Fiberboard Poised To Replace Plywood – THC Magazine

Republicans Push $269 Billion Handout For Millionaire Heirs And Heiresses

DC Housing Authority accused of gentrification — WASHINGTON (WUSA9)

Prototype Quadrotor with Machine Gun! – YouTube

D.C. Has A New Zoning Code. Here’s How It Could Change The City’s Look And Feel | WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio

What Would MLK Say? Displacement & Disparate Treatment | DC4RD Updates

Hundreds of D.C. homeless families to ride out storm in Maryland motels – The Washington Post

Policy & Tools: Community Benefits Agreements and Policies | The Partnership For Working Families

Why a bright idea for growing food in the city had to move . . . to the country – The Washington Post >>–to-the-country/2016/01/25/81f96816-bfd2-11e5-9443-7074c3645405_story.html

How to View Five Planets Aligning in a Celestial Spectacle >>

DC Public Banking Center – Welcome to the DC Public Banking Center

Do You Live Within 50 Miles of a Nuclear Power Plant? | Science | Smithsonian


STAY TUNED! Get at us on social media!


Missing-you DC, Summer Update

Missing-you DC, Summer Update [edited June 15, 2015]

It’s been two months since our last update.    We don’t like bombarding you, but we’ve been a little too quiet.  It’s got to be a loud summer if the people of DC want to preserve and protect the culture, people, history, and public interest of our City.





The main thing that has occurred since DC4RD’s last update has been the City’s budget discussions.

Mayor Bowser submitted her budget to the Council in early May.   The Council has since approved the spending numbers, largely unchanged.

A good analysis of the budget came by way of Justice First, located here in the District >>

The voting on our budget isn’t over. 

On June 30th, the DC Council will vote on a bill that informs the Mayor on how to specifically spend or funnel some of the City’s budget allocations.  It’s called the FY2016 Budget Support Act.  DC’s Chief Financial Office summarizes the key components of the BSA here >>

DC for Reasonable Development working with the Citywide Friends of McMillan Park invite you to join us in asking the Council to include language that defunds the demolition of the park until a full inquiry can happen as to the ethical and planning breakdowns that surround this humongous public land giveaway.

There are two ways to use this last budget vote to protect McMillan now:

  • Put on your calendar to attend the last Council session on the FY 2016 Budget Support Act next Tuesday, June 30th, and demonstrate why McMillan is so important to save from destruction and the clutches of privateers.   We will meet at the Wilson Building, outside of Room 500 at 11am, Tuesday, June 30th.  RSVP, Chris O., 202-810-2768,
  • Please send a letter to the Council today regarding McMillan, particularly to CM Elissa Silverman who campaigned on a platform declining corporate contributions so she can objectively review the City’s land deals, like McMillan >>



The Save McMillan Action Coalition has found and announced some truly disturbing features of the McMillan Park scandal, for instance:

* The City has paid for a private PR firm to “neutralize” public opposition to the McMillan giveaway, and to give “cover” to elected-officials about this bad deal;

* $500,000 District dollars has been spent on legal services from Holland and Knight, a premier private zoning law firm to push the McMillan land deal forward;  And,

* Most recently, it has come to light that the City will be paying more than $75 million to destroy McMillan and prepare it for private development, but only get $27 million dollars to sell the land to the private developers.  The DC Tax Office has evaluated our 25-acres of public space about 1 mile from the Capitol at about $100 million dollars.  We believe the land after it is privatized and developed will be worth beyond $2 billion.

* And, the City will be paying for the so-called amenities at the site, like the recreation center, and public right-of-ways.  These are amenities that are supposed to be paid for by the developers in return for sweetheart deals.

There are many activities around McMillan Park to help you engage on this critical public land deal and to expose the ethical lapses verging on fraud in our City politic.  See this page >>


The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) is the City agency charged with reviewing building permit applications and ultimately ensuring that construction is safely done in the District >>

It would seem DCRA has fallen down on their job, bigtime.

DCRA officials have ignored pleas from residents to protect their neighborhoods (, and continues to issue permits with lackadaisical oversight (, and blows off residents who are hurt by impatient and unsafe construction practices (–.html).

Interim DCRA director, Melinda Bolling, awaits confirmation from the DC City Council and there is a public roundtable scheduled to hear your comments this week on Thursday, June 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 500 of the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. 

BE THERE — Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to testify at the public roundtable are asked to contact Ms. Faye Caldwell, Special Assistant to the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs, at (202) 727-6683, or via e-mail at

DCRA has been told to keep issuing the permits to overdevelop at all costs, and simultaneously continues to ignore the lurking issue of DC’s very real infrastructure collapse >>


The highly controversial Zoning Regulations Rewrite has been dropped into the DC Register, and conveniently the Office of Zoning and Planning has ensured the public only has the summer while we are vacationing with our families to review the 1000 pages of changes >>

ANC’s are being asked to resubmit their prior ANC resolutions about the ZRR.

The bottom-line is that these zoning regulations have been found to be arbitrary and capricious by many people, including lawyers and its one-size-fits-all philosophy is not based on any meaningful studies or jurisdictional reports.  It’s all a gamble with the future of our City.  For more details of its impacts and lack of due process see this blog >>

Check out the archive of the terrible process of review and how the Office of Planning has rankled people across the City >>

Listen for more information and ask your ANC’s to weigh in soon!




  • Our RFP — Parcel 42, Saturday June 13, 10:00am
    The Mayor wants to try out her new RFP process regarding public land deals, starting with Parcel 42.  If this RFP process is anything like Hine School or the West End deals, then the taxpayer will be paying for the costs of amenities and privatizing the land. So be there this Saturday to witness more semantic word play and call it out!  FMI:
  • Support EmpowerDC, June 15th
    Donate to an amazing grassroots organization fighting to protect the residents of the historic Barry Farm community in Ward 8.  They need your help to keep 400 families from being displaced by DCHA into homelessness.Link >>
  • DC Ferguson, June 16th, 7:00pm
    WHAT: DCFerguson Movement protest against racist, militarized policing in Washington, D.C. and across the nation.
    WHEN: June 16, 7:00PM
    WHERE: Mt. Vernon Sq.
  • The Marriot Marquis Coverup, June 19th, 10am

    Location: United Black Fund, 2500 MLK Jr Ave SE.
    The City spent hundreds of millions of dollars to build a hotel, and got a paltry number of jobs for locals in return.  Be there at OneDC’s press conference which will expose this TIF sham.
  • Hipster Fascism Art Opening, June 20th
    The Fridge opening Reception Saturday,  June 20, 6 – 11pm, free and open to the public >>

§ 1–306.01. District elements of comprehensive plan prepared; purposes.

§ 1–306.01. District elements of comprehensive plan prepared; purposes.

(a) It is hereby declared that:

(1) The District of Columbia has prepared, through an exhaustive process of research, analysis, and review, including citizen involvement and consultation with affected federal, state and local governments, and planning agencies in the National Capital region, District elements of a 20-year Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital as required by § 2‑1002(a) and by § 1‑204.23(a).

(2) Ten District elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital are contained in this part: General Provisions; Economic Development; Housing; Environmental Protection; Transportation; Public Facilities; Urban Design; Preservation and Historic Features; Downtown; and Human Services.

(3) The District elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital contained in this part do not extend to any federal or international projects and developments, or to the United States Capitol buildings and grounds, or to any buildings and grounds under the care of the Architect of the Capitol.

(b) The purposes of the District elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital are to:

(1) Define the requirements and aspirations of District residents, and accordingly influence social, economic and physical development;
(2) Guide executive and legislative decisions on matters affecting the District and its citizens;
(3) Promote economic growth and jobs for District residents;
(4) Guide private and public development in order to achieve District and community goals;
(5) Maintain and enhance the natural and architectural assets of the District; and
(6) Assist in the conservation, stabilization, and improvement of each neighborhood and community in the District.

Fresh Start Solutions for the DC Housing Crisis :: REDEFINING “AFFORDABILITY

DC is in the depths of a major affordable housing crisis!

View more “affordable” housing information here:

In order to assist thousands of families and residents who need housing right now, we can and must redefine the term “Affordability” across all applicable DC Regulations, including — DC’s Zoning Regulations, DC’s Housing Production Trust Fund Regulations, DHCD’s IZ Implementation Regulations, as well as DC Code.

See DC’s Zoning Code dedicated to Inclusionary Zoning.


I) We Must Guarantee a Spectrum of Affordability in All New and Renovated Buildings

If “affordability” in DC absolutely cannot be based on the DC’s State Median Income metric, and we must use the inflated Area Medium Income (AMI) metric, then the definitions of income levels and affordability should simply be revised as follows.

Strike the current definitions of income levels across all applicable regulations and amend all regulations as following:


  • 0% to 10% AMI = “Extremely Low-Income” housing [LOW INCOME]
  • 10% to 20% AMI = “Very Low-Income” housing [LOW INCOME]
  • 20% to 30% AMI = “Low Income” housing [LOW INCOME]
  • 30% to 50% AMI = “Low to Moderate Income” housing [MODERATE INCOME]
  • 50% to 80% AMI = “Middle Income” housing [WORKFORCE]

An “affordable unit” (housing or commercial) means that the occupant(s) pay no more than one-quarter of their annual income or annual gross sales receipts on their housing or commercial costs, either as in rent, or as a housing mortgage and other ownership fees.

Redefining the terms about “affordability” as shown above ensures housing is built with a genuine mix of incomes and diversity, purposely planned as part of each new construction or renovation project in every neighborhood around the City.

Developers will have to simply calculate into their costs the citizens rightful demand to build an inclusive City that emphasizes the importance of diversity per the DC Comprehensive Plan.

II) We Must Increase “Affordable” Housing Production for Families
(a) Increase Production of “Affordable” Units
(b) Build “Affordability” Across a Spectrum of Incomes
(c) Build “Affordable” Units to be Inclusive of Families

(II)(a) Increase Production of Affordable Units

In the midst of an affordable housing crisis, DC’s “inclusionary housing” production is rather poor, with only 8% to 10% of the gross floor area of residential space required to be “affordable” in new buildings, depending on the construction type (stick vs. steel frame).

SEE DCMR 11-2603 — IZ Set Aside Requirements

Also, right now all affordable housing requirements are waived for projects located in “Downtown” DC. See 11-DCMR-2602.3.

To increase production of affordable units, we must revise the rules that regulate “affordability” production.


For any new construction project, or renovation of a property that results in the creation of six (6) or less housing units, then the following rule applies:

At least one “affordable” unit consisting of at least two bedrooms, shall be constructed and made available to residents, or families with incomes set at 30% AMI or below (aka “Low Income” housing as defined above).


For any new construction project, or renovation of a property that results in the creation of seven (7) or more housing units, then the following rules apply:

  • At least __25___ % of the residential gross floor area (R-GFA) shall be considered “affordable” in order for the developer to receive an added development bonus density at the rates currently offered in the regulations;
    Or, developers can choose to dedicate a minimum of __20__% of the residential gross floor (R-GFA) area as “affordable,” but then may not receive any development bonus density.
    And, at least 25% of commercial gross floor area (C-GFA) shall be considered “affordable” and reserved for local small business operators who make, or expect to make less than $250,000 in gross annual sales receipts.
  • All of the affordability production requirements slated above shall be applied equally to all zoning districts across the entire City, including Downtown DC;
  • And, all the R-GFA dedicated to “affordable” units produced by the requirements above will remain permanently affordable for the life of the project.

(II)(b) Build Affordable Units Across a Spectrum of Incomes

Right now, DC’s regulations allow developers to choose to market their “affordable” units to people making the 80% AMI income of $60,000 a year.

As such, this means a developer can rent/sell their “affordable” studio/one-bedrooms to wealthy singles who are comfortable forking over $1,500 a month for their housing costs, either as rent or as a mortgage & fees.

This is why DC’s regulations, as currently written, are not serving to mitigate our severe housing crisis which has been in full-on displacement mode.

Revisions to the DC Municipal regulations must require the developer to ensure that their “affordable” housing units are available across a spectrum of incomes and bedroom-sizes.


Using the re-definitions demonstrated above in Table (1) above, we can revise all relevant affordability regulations as follows:

  • At least 20% of the residential gross floor area (R-GFA) of a new project must be dedicated as “Extremely Low Income” housing;
  • At least 20% of the R-GFA must be dedicated to “Very Low Income” housing or for incomes below;
  • At least 20% of the R-GFA be dedicated to “Low Income” housing or for incomes below;
  • At maximum, 40% of the R-GFA may be dedicated to “Low to Moderate Income” housing;

(II)(c) Build Affordable Units to be inclusive of Families

Right now, DC regulations force a developer to build “affordable” unit sizes at the same ratio of bedroom sizes as that of the market-rate units.

See 11-DCMR-2605.02, Development Standards – The proportion of studio, efficiency, and one-bedroom inclusionary units to all inclusionary units shall not exceed the proportion of market-rate studio, efficiency, and one-bedroom units to all market-rate units.

That is to say, if most of the market rate units are studios/one-bedrooms, which most developers target to build in new buildings, then the affordable units can only be studios/one-bedrooms.

Hence, there are no new “affordable” units being built for families in DC right now, nary an “affordable” unit with two-bedrooms.


DC must revise the regulations across the board to guarantee family sized “affordable” units are incorporated in all new projects and renovations, as follows:

  • At maximum, 10% of the “affordable” R-GFA may consist of studio/one-bedroom units;
  • At maximum, 20% of the “affordable” R-GFA may consist of two-bedroom units;
  • At maximum, 25% of the “affordable” R-GFA may consist of three-bedroom units;
  • And, at minimum, 45% of the “affordable” R-GFA shall consist of four-bedroom units or bigger;
  • Further, if the development density bonus is being sought for the project, then at least one (1), five or six-bedroom unit shall be incorporated into the “affordable” residential mix — to serve extended families — no matter the “affordable” R-GFA ratio.


The revisions found in the aforementioned Table (1), Table (2), Table (3), and Table (4), taken together would ensure that when politicians and developers tout how much affordable housing they are building, we know they are talking about truly affordable housing across a spectrum of income levels.

The above suggested amendments and re-definitions of “affordability” would immediately open up access to many family-sized housing units which would be truly affordable, and mitigate parts of DC’s troubling housing crisis.

If the above suggested amendments to IZ are adopted, this stroke of the pen would represent immediate assistance to thousands of longtime DC families who are struggling to keep pace with DC’s soaring housing costs.

View more “affordable” housing information here: