A Tollbooth, A Bus to the Airport: ANC Recommendations that Didn't Make It Into the Comp Plan

  • May 8th 2020

by Nena Perry-Brown

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A rendering of conceptual development proposed for DC's Starburst intersection.

The latest draft of DC's Comprehensive Plan released last month also came with a deluge of comments from the city's advisory neighborhood commissions (ANCs).

These comments varied widely in length and breadth, but many included very pointed observations and recommendations. The Office of Planning (OP) incorporated a few of these comments, but most were dismissed, acknowledged, or ignored.

UrbanTurf picked out some of the more interesting, surprising, and thought-provoking recommendations submitted by the ANCs below.

Acknowledged (and not Incorporated) by Office of Planning

  • ANC 1B recommended that the Home Purchase Assistance Program exclude non-city residents looking to buy in Columbia Heights, Shaw, and the U Street area. OP directed the ANC to the Comp Plan's Housing Element.
  • ANC 6D suggested that the Plan include language citing the recent drop in live-aboard vessels at the marina near the Wharf (from 220 to 87) and encourage looking at how to increase these vessels as a potentially affordable living option, rather than the Plan's current focus on the expected increase from 87 to 94 live-aboard units post-Wharf Phase 2. OP responded that the existing language is sufficient.
  • A few ANCs recommended that more new developments should explore rent-to-own options, with the intention that this creates a more affordable and accessible path to homeownership. OP's response made clear that the Comp Plan doesn't preclude such developments from happening.
  • A few ANCs recommended that the policy on "University Offerings for Older Persons" add the option of free courses for senior citizens; OP responded that this would be beyond the scope of the Plan.

Denied by Office of Planning

  • ANC 1A recommended that the 59 Metrobus express route along 14th Street be extended to National Airport. As OP replied, such a change would be in WMATA's purview to consider.
  • ANC 4D recommended that two-thirds of housing constructed in the next 15 years be affordable to households earning between 0 to 80% of median family income; OP replied that this is beyond the scope of the Plan and referred the ANC to the Framework for Equity and Growth. 
  • ANC 5C recommended installation of a toll gate at the Starburst Plaza as recognition of Bladensburg Road's history as being part of the Columbia Turnpike Road, surveyed in 1812 by Benjamin Latrobe as the first toll road established by Congress. OP replied that this is beyond the scope of the Plan, but that the Plan's Historic Preservation Element "covers the identification of potential historic resources".
  • A few ANCs recommended reform to the residential parking permit (RPP) program, which OP declined because this would fall under the District Department of Transportation. Suggestions included requiring property owners to disclose their off-street spaces when applying for RPPs and also requiring property owners to use their off-street parking spaces before applying for RPPs. Another recommendation would incentivize households to create off-street parking spaces on their property.
  • A few ANCs recommended that some form of land-value recapture be incorporated to ensure that developments are leveraged to benefit the existing neighborhood, a concept that OP stated was beyond the scope of the Plan but may be considered as part of the Mayor's housing goals or the Framework for Equity and Growth. Suggestions included neighborhood tax increment financing, resident grants, and funds to reinvest in neighborhood improvements.

The DC Council is expected to consider the revised draft of the Comprehensive Plan in the next few months.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/some-interesting-anc-recommendations-that-didnt-make-the-drafted-comp-plan/16816.

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