From 2014 to 2016, the DC Office of Planning worked with residents, UDC, and community and business leaders in Van Ness to come up with a framework for development, commerce and sustainability.
Chevy Chase is going through a similar process now. Community members are being asked to engage in shaping priorities for future development in the neighborhood. Erkin Ozbed, who is heading up this Office of Planning project, explained in an October 2020 presentation that the agency “plans… through the lens of our neighborhoods and ensures the long-term growth of the District of Columbia advances our values of an inclusive and vibrant city.”
What OP is working on is called a “Small Area Plan,” or SAP. The Chevy Chase SAP is one of three currently under way, and as Greater Greater Washington explains, SAPs take a more granular approach than the Comprehensive Plan. Such plans shape the budget and investments of the planning agency. They are approved by the DC Council.
OP’s Small Area Plan website for Chevy Chase says the plan “will be a guiding vision for inclusive growth rooted in a people-centered planning and design approach that aligns with citywide priorities of housing production, economic recovery, and equity and racial justice.”
Why Chevy Chase? Because change already is afoot. In addition to potential Comprehensive Plan revisions, projects including the Chevy Chase Community Center renovation and the Connecticut Avenue reversible lane safety study could impact development. OP cites the creation of the Chevy Chase Main Street as another catalyst.
The boundaries of the study area are Western Avenue to the north, 41st Street to the west, Military Road to the south and Nevada Avenue to the east.
The Office of Planning wants and needs more community input. Director Andrew Trueblood answered community questions at ANC 3/4G’s April 12th and April 20th meetings. And OP is urging residents and others with a stake in the outcome to register on the SAP’s web site for updates on opportunities to participate.
Other presentations have been perfectly timed to provide information and perspective on neighborhood planning in Chevy Chase and throughout Ward 3. The first, on Tuesday, April 27th, looked at “What’s in the Affordable Housing Toolbox?” Ward3Vision hosted this “Building Inclusivity in Ward 3” event with panelists including Council member Mary Cheh, OP Director Andrew Trueblood, and ANC 3F Commissioners Stan Wall and David Cristeal.
On Wednesday, April 28th, Historic Chevy Chase DC hosted the first of a three-part series called “Planning Our Future.” “Re-Imagining Washington, circa 1900” looked at McMillan Plan of the 1890s, how it shaped the current DC streetscape, and how it was defined in part by Jim Crow racism.
The next presentation in the HCCDC series is titled “Segregation Yesterday and Today: It Doesn’t Happen By Itself.” DC historian Neil Flanagan will talk about an effort 115 years ago to build a “Black Chevy Chase” on land now occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue on Wisconsin Avenue. Register here for a link to the May 19th event, which begins at 7:30 p.m.