August 25, 2020

D.C. Council Schedules Hearings on Proposed Comprehensive Plan Updates

Holland & Knight Alert
Christine M. Shiker | Kyrus Lamont Freeman | Dennis Russell Hughes | Leila Marie Jackson Batties | Jessica R. Bloomfield | Christopher S. Cohen

The Committee of the Whole for the Council of the District of Columbia will hold public hearings on Nov. 12-13, 2020, on the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2020 (Bill 23-736). The bill proposes amendments to the 24 District Elements of the Comprehensive Plan, as well as the Generalized Policy Map (GPM) and Future Land Use Map (FLUM), which collectively are intended to help guide future land use decision-making and development in the city.

The proposed amendments update Chapters 1 and 3-25 of the District Elements, which include the Citywide Elements such as Land Use, Housing, Transportation and Urban Design, among others, as well as the Area Elements, which provide objectives and recommendations for 10 defined planning areas throughout the District. This bill is a companion to D.C. Act 23-0217 – Comprehensive Plan Framework Amendment Act of 2019, which amended the Framework Element and is anticipated to become law on Sept. 24, 2020 – which provides the overall context for the rest of the Comprehensive Plan by identifying and describing driving forces of change in the District.

In its April 2020 memorandum to the Council, the Office of Planning (OP) emphasized the extensive public engagement that has occurred throughout the Comprehensive Plan amendment process. Additionally, OP highlighted five broad categories that the proposed amendments strive to address: 1) responses to and recovery from public health emergencies; 2) affordable housing; 3) racial and economic equity; 4) city resiliency; and 5) public resources. OP also noted that the proposed amendments include language and tone changes to clarify and better reflect current policy, and integrate key policies and actions adopted from Small Area Plans, as well as other plans and studies.

Due the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration, the hearings will be conducted virtually with Zoom conferencing technology. Because of this, written or transcribed testimony from the public is highly encouraged.


Bill 23-736 represents a significant update to the Comprehensive Plan, and will influence development opportunities for several decades. The proposed amendments to the GPM and FLUM are particularly critical, as the new maps will reflect the shared vision for neighborhoods throughout the city and dictate preferred land uses. If you have any questions regarding the proposed amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, or would like assistance preparing testimony, please contact Holland & Knight's D.C. land use team.

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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