12/16 update: The Bowser administration has announced new deadlines for public and ANC comments. The dates have been updated below.)
DC’s proposed land use road map doesn’t send Van Ness and Forest Hills veering off its present course.
Comparing the Existing Future Land Use Map:
To the Recommended Amendments Map:
- Our single family residential area, the predominant area of ANC 3F Forest Hills, North Cleveland Park, and Wakefield stays low-density single family housing – detached or semi-attached homes (the yellow on the map).
- Connecticut Avenue in Van Ness changes to “moderate mixed-use development” from “medium commercial.” This now accurately reflects the current zoning designation of moderate density for both residential and commercial areas along the corridor from Albemarle to Van Ness Streets, and is what ANC 3F and Van Ness Main Street recommended last year.
- The Howard Law School parcel gets a “mixed-use medium density residential and institutional” designation which is a change from only institutional use.
In essence, this area has not approached the limits of our moderate mixed-use and high-density residential designations along Connecticut Avenue at and near Van Ness. The Van Ness commercial area between Albemarle and Van Ness, with its many one and two story commercial buildings, has room to add housing. The moderate mixed-use designation allows buildings with a height of eight stories.
And already, the entire block south of Veazey Terrace on the east side of Connecticut of two-story buildings and Edmund Burke School is designated “high density residential,” which allows buildings of eight stories or more. Again, this is not a change and allows for development. What’s new is Howard Law School’s plot of land change from institutional to the potential of mixed-use residential and institutional.
Accommodating population growth
To accommodate the growing population, the amended Rock Creek West section of the Comprehensive Plan recommends:
- Reducing the dependency on cars and support parking and transit strategies that encourage multi-modal options.
- Expanding comfortable and connected bicycle infrastructure and implement existing plans, such as MoveDC and the 2011 Rock Creek West II Livability Study.
- Addressing overcrowding of public schools.
As noted above, there are plans for moving everyone around safely and efficiently. However, the DC government currently has no plan for accommodating growth in the school-aged population in Rock Creek West or other areas of the city. The 2019 Master’s Facilities Plan estimates that by the 2022-2023 school year, seven out of 14 schools in the Wilson feeder school pattern will be more than 110 percent utilized and five will be 95-110 percent utilized (page 99, figure 3.22).
The other plan for housing
Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Housing Framework for Equity and Growth seeks to add 36,000 housing units across DC by 2025, 12,000 of those affordable. It also seeks to undo many decades of federal and city policy that segregated our city, along with others, by race and economic status. The powerful video below, shown at another December 7th Wilson forum, clearly illustrates this evolution.
The main way Mayor Bowser has chosen to address this inequity is to focus on increasing affordable housing numbers. The October 2019 Housing Equity Report from the mayor’s office says Rock Creek West has the lowest amount of affordable housing – 470 units set aside for low-income residents. (This analysis does not consider rent-controlled apartments affordable housing because such units “can be occupied by residents of any income.”)
The goal in this area is to add 1,990 additional affordable units. With only 80 units in the current development pipeline, this puts our shortfall at 1,910 units. However, the plan sets the total 2025 housing production goal at 1,260 units.
This is the only area where the 2025 total housing production goal does not exceed planned affordable housing units. The Housing Equity Report explains:
The total housing goals consist of net new market rate and affordable housing production. For Rock Creek West, the new affordable housing goals are greater than the total housing goals because the affordable housing goals include not only net new production, but also conversion of existing housing into subsidized housing and voucher recipients living in non-restricted housing. Reaching our goals will require a mix of these strategies, especially in Rock Creek West, where new housing has been extremely limited to date and where land use changes must be made to the Comprehensive Plan to reach these housing goals.
Much also depends on what private property owners decide to do and when. This leaves many questions how these goals will be met in Rock Creek West and what impact this will have in ANC 3F, particularly in our 18 rent-controlled apartment buildings, some of which already house voucher recipients. Again, these units are not factored into the analysis.
Your input is needed
You can also give ANC 3F your feedback through this survey until January 10th. The Office of Planning will accept ANC resolutions through February 14th.
The mayor’s housing equity plan will be seeking public input during an upcoming stage. Sign up for the newsletter at housing.dc.gov.