November 23, 2019
Nearly 100 residents and ANC Commissioners, past and present, showed up at Luke C Moore High School at 1001 Monroe Street in Northeast D.C. to participate in the Ward 5 Comprehensive Plan Meeting. The Ward 5 meeting is the sixth of eight meetings designed to bring updates and information on the Mayor’s comprehensive plan for the revitalization of the District. Although these community meetings are designed to collect input from the community it is not without concerns from residents that their input is not becoming a part of the nearly 3000 amendments the plan has received.
The audience reflected the changing demographics of Ward 5 with a diverse mix of longtime residents and new entrants to the ward. Unlike some meeting whether the changing diversity of the Ward can spark tension between constituents, this group seemed to speak with a common cause – inclusion, and transparency. The few questions that were permitted during the presentation portion centered around processes to ensure inclusion and transparency.
The first process issue a resident pointed out was the lack of inclusion of some previously submitted comments and amendments. She pointed out that although the Office of Planning (OP) is encouraging comments, there was no clear sign that all the comments are making their way to those who can act on them. The second issue was a request for an extension to the December 20th deadline for public input. Many residents alluded to the nearly 6-inch plan as requiring more than the allotted time to digest and comment on. They also feel shortchanged as the ANCs have until January 31, 2020, to submit their resolutions.
After a short presentation outlining the framework of the plan, and limited Q&A, the audience took a gallery walk focused on various parts of the plan. Each station was hosted by an OP representative to answer questions and listen to comments. Despite the somewhat cozy logistics of the gallery, each station was well attended and spawned the interaction it was designed to encourage. Of particular interest to Ward 5 residents are the parts of the plan pertaining to Mid City, Upper Northeast, Rock Creek East, and Near Northwest.
The DC Voice published The Lowdown: Mayor Bowser’s New Affordable Housing Market which gives nuts and bolts accounting of the plan. The original plan was adopted in 2006 in the aftermath of the DC Control Board. At that time the plan was focused more on financial stability than growth. OP states that the plan “addresses a wide range of topics that affect how we experience the city. These topics include land use, economic development, housing, environmental protection, historic preservation, transportation, and more. The DC Office of Planning has launched an effort to amend the Comprehensive Plan a second time to ensure that it remains responsive to the needs of the community.”
Although the turnout on a chilly Saturday morning was respectable, the numbers are still small for such an important issue. “This plan covers the next 20 years of development and changes to the city”, said an OP representative. The DC Voice encourages the Ward 5 family to review the sections of the plan relevant to your particular interests. Then email your concerns, comments, opinions, likes, dislikes, etc. to the Office of Planning at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The DC Voice also encourages you to attend one of the 2 remaining Comp Plan Meetings to find out more about the pan, have your questions answered and your concerns heard.