The results of the recent survey of Cleveland Park Smart Growth members are in, and support is very high for two growth-related issues facing the neighborhood.
First, about the survey: invitations were sent out to the 342 email addresses on the CPSG mailing list, and a link was posted on the 220 member CPSG Facebook Group page. A review of both lists shows 485 unique persons (70 people are on both the email list and FB group). A total of 155 people took the survey between November 12-18. Of these, 96 said they “belonged” to CPSG.
3400 Connecticut Ave
Respondents were asked:
“Recently the owner of the property at the corner of Newark St and Connecticut Ave unveiled plans to add a 31 unit apartment building and a mixed use building including new retail space and four town homes. The remainder of the parking lot will be converted to a public plaza, and the curb cut on Connecticut Ave will be closed. The site will have 6 affordable units out of the total 52 on the site. There will be no onsite parking and the building is ineligible for Residential Parking Permits. The plans for the project can be viewed here. Which of these is closest to your opinion? a) support without reservation, b) support with reservation, c) do not support, d) completely undecided“
By a margin of nearly two-to-one, CPSG members say they support the proposed project at the corner of Newark and Connecticut ‘without reservation’ (65%) versus supporting it ‘with reservation’ (33%). One CPSG member said they did not support the project at all, and one was undecided. Among the 59 respondents who did not identify as belonging to CPSG, 51% support the project without reservation and 42% support it with reservations. Just 7% opposed it.
Among those CPSG members with reservations about the project, the two main concerns expressed were parking (12 people) and the project’s aesthetic design (10 people). Among those CPSG members without reservations, nine people said they wished the project provided more total units.
Up-FLUMing CP’s Commercial Area
CPSG has its origins back in 2017 when the city solicited amendments from its residents to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the law that underpins zoning and land use in Washington. CPSG grew from the list of supporters of a plan to increase the density of the commercial area in Cleveland Park along Connecticut Avenue on the Future Land Use Map (FLUM). The FLUM guides future zoning changes and the height and density of planned unit developments. The resident-sponsored amendment submitted to the Office of Planning proposed changing the FLUM designation for the CP strip from Low Density Commercial to the next category up, Moderate Density Commercial. The hope was to encourage growth in office space to drive daytime foot traffic as well as more residential development.
In October 2019, the Office of Planning recommended accepting the amendment with modifications — they proposed that in addition up-FLUMing to Moderate Density Commercial, the area should also carry a High Density Residential designation. Much of the surrounding areas along Connecticut Avenue is High Density Residential.
Respondents were asked:
The city recently proposed changing the Future Land Use Map (FLUM) on the Comprehensive Plan for the commercial area in Cleveland Park along Connecticut Ave. The FLUM guides zoning and Planned Unit Developments. The current designation on the map is Low Density Commercial. The proposal changes it to Moderate Density Commercial and High Density Residential. Which of these is closest to your opinion on this proposal? a) strongly support, b) somewhat support, c) somewhat oppose, d) strongly oppose, e) completely undecided“
Among CPSG members in our poll, overall support for this proposal is 97%, with 79% saying they support it strongly. Three-percent of CPSG members opposed the proposal. Among those respondents who did not identify with CPSG, 81% support the plan, with 51% supporting it strongly. Ten-percent of non-CPSG respondents opposed the plan and 9% were undecided.
CPSG members want the group to prioritize commercial revitalization (79%), promote ways to get people out of cars (71%), add housing to the commercial area near Metro and shops (63%) and in the residential portions of the neighborhood (56%). In addition to the other items on this list we received many thoughtful open-ended comments that we will be reviewing in the days ahead, including many about the service lane.
Survey respondents that identified as CPSG members represent a broad diversity of the Cleveland Park Community:
- 21% are under age 35, 58% are between the ages of 35-54, and 21% are 55 or older
- Half do not have children, 41% have kids at home and 9% are empty-nesters
- Half live in a house, while the other half live in an apartment/condo/co-op building
- 26% have no car, 47% have a car they use occasionally, and 27% have a car they use frequently
- 27% are also members of the CPCA; 15% are members of the CPHS.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to the survey. The information will inform how the steering committee will prioritize its work and provide context to policy makers that will be involved in decisions related to the project at 3400 Connecticut and the those involved in updating DC’s comprehensive plan.