by Ken Terzian
What do you want Forest Hills to look like 50 years from now? Zoning laws that have guided our city’s development for more than 50 years are being rewritten. This is one of a continuing series of updates on that process.
A presentation of the proposed zoning rewrite was given to the public on June 20th, at the Center for American Progress. The forum was conducted with Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning, and David Alpert of Greater Greater Washington to share some of the proposed changes and answer questions from the audience. They made a case for updating the 50-year-old zoning regulations, which had the last major revision in 1958, and were developed for our city when the transportation, demographics, and community needs were different than today. It was explained that zoning updates around a 50-year cycle are also happening in other major US cities, in response to the same changing needs and patterns as we are experiencing in DC.
The rewrite was presented as an update to make the regulations easier to navigate, with simplified tables and graphics explaining the rules and terms. Proposed changes in the content of the regulations were identified in text amendments to parking requirements, accessory dwelling units, building height (measurement), and introduction of a Green Area Ratio (Casey Trees explains that as a landscape design standard that helps meet goals for mitigating stormwater runoff, improving air quality and and reducing the urban heat island effect).
The process has been ongoing for several years and has included numerous Taskforce and group inputs throughout the community. A review by the Zoning Commission of specific text amendments is scheduled for this month. Public outreach with neighborhood meetings will be conducted in the Fall of 2012, followed by Zoning Commission public hearings in the winter of 2012 for specific text amendments and review of the draft zoning code.
Click the presentation’s slides below to see a larger version, or download a copy of the entire slideshow here (PDF file).
Public involvement is critical for the zoning review process. Get involved by visiting www.dczoningupdate.org. The presentation slides are available for download here (PDF file). For more information, contact the Office of Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org.