One week ago, the DC Office of Planning hosted an open house on its “Van Ness Commercial District Action Strategy” at Forest Hills of DC. Some of the many neighbors who crowded the meeting room were residents from Chevy Chase.
Those who came learned about “Vision Framework” that Office of Planning is piloting at Van Ness and in Adams Morgan, and all were given the opportunity to comment on OP’s current framework for revitalizing and transforming the Van Ness commercial strip. Ryan Hand, the Ward 3 planner who is leading this process, said he appreciated all the feedback from the open house, and that he’s looking forward to continued input as the vision and implementation strategy are refined over the coming weeks.
In an email later to those who attended the open house, Hand reiterated the different components of the plan and the goals of each.
“We discussed how interconnected strategies to improve retail, public space, sustainability, and commercial opportunities in Van Ness can work together to reinvigorate the Commercial District. For example, enhanced retail and public space can make UDC a more attractive place to pursue higher education which supports efforts by UDC to increase enrollment. Ultimately, higher UDC enrollment improves the workforce in DC while creating accessible ladders to opportunity for all residents.
“Another example is a greened streetscape that improves the retail experience while reducing the urban heat island effect and stormwater runoff and protecting natural assets like Soapstone Valley.
“Finally, a strong retail identity also improves the office market which can help maximize the opportunity to reposition large facilities like 4000 Connecticut, formerly the Intelsat headquarters, as a thriving asset for the community that attracts larger daytime populations.”
The Office of Planning is still collecting feedback on the plans presented at the meeting. You’ll find more information planning.dc.gov/vanness and download the boards (PDF) presented at the meeting. Then, help OP refine its recommendations by providing your feedback in one or more of these three ways: 1) online at vanness.mindmixer.com 2) email email@example.com and 3) calling Ryan Hand at (202) 442-7619.
The Office of Planning will use your feedback to refine the recommendations for enhancing retail, public space, sustainability and commercial opportunities in the draft action strategy to be released early this summer. At that time OP will solicit another round of comments to be incorporated in a final document later this year.