July 23, 2019

D.C. Council Votes to Approve Amendments to Framework Element of D.C. Comprehensive Plan

Holland & Knight Alert
Kyrus Lamont Freeman

The Council of the District of Columbia (D.C. Council) voted unanimously on July 9, 2019, to approve Bill 23-1, the "Comprehensive Plan Framework Amendment Act of 2019." The approved legislation includes significant revisions to the Framework Element of the D.C. Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan is D.C.'s 20-year blueprint for the city, laying the framework for the city’s growth and development. It contains more than 600 action items and provides guidance for monitoring, evaluating and amending the document.

The Framework Element of the Comprehensive Plan 1) describes the forces driving change in D.C., 2) includes a description of D.C.'s growth forecasts, 3) identifies 36 principles for D.C.'s future that guide the Comprehensive Plan's policies and actions, and 4) describes the Comprehensive Plan's Generalized Policy Map and the Future Land Use Map.

The approved legislation includes significant changes to sections of the Framework Element, including:

  • reiterates that the Comprehensive Plan provides generalized guidance, and that the Generalized Policy Map and the Future Land Use Map are generalized guidance
  • indicates that the Planned Unit Development process as the best way to conduct discretionary reviews that provide opportunity for flexible development, identify community benefits and address impacts
  • supports the role of the Zoning Commission in its discretionary review of zoning matters and making decisions
  • identifies affordable housing preservation and production, along with preventing permanent housing displacement, as a high priority community benefit
  • identifies Small Area Plans as providing more detailed guidance that can be used by the Zoning Commission
  • makes important changes to provisions describing the Generalized Policy Map, the Future Land Use Map, and the guidelines describing how to use and interpret these maps

The D.C. Council is scheduled for a second and final vote to approve the legislation at the Council's legislative meeting on Sept. 17, 2019.

Clients needing further guidance or information on the Comprehensive Plan or zoning and land use matters in the District of Columbia may contact the author.  

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult competent legal counsel.

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