Adding more housing at our Metro and commercial area has been a top priority for CPSG. More housing for a range of incomes is the the right policy for equity, sustainability, and neighborhood vitality. We are much closer to new homes at our commercial strip becoming a reality, thanks to the work of so many of you!
The six year amendment cycle of the District’s Comprehensive Plan came to an end this August when the amendments finally became law. Among the many changes made were land use designations in the Cleveland Park and Woodley Park commercial corridors on Connecticut Ave. Where only low scale commercial was allowed before, taller mixed-use buildings are now appropriate.
However, the right to build taller buildings is not automatic. In fact, the Comprehensive Plan requires that our neighborhoods engage in a community planning effort before taller buildings can be approved. Understanding the urgency of providing more housing in our area, the D.C. Council funded a planning study for this fiscal year.
Purpose and Goals
For Connecticut Ave in Cleveland and Woodley Park, development and design guidelines will be created with community input to:
- Identify opportunity sites for development
- Develop conceptual site design and massing scenarios that maximize potential development under the updated FLUM while taking historic district requirements into account
- Develop design guidelines to facilitate the integration of new development into the existing neighborhood context
- Create a public realm design strategy that supports higher density residential development
- Produce pedestrian perspective renderings to illustrate strategies for streetscape design between the building face and the curb
- Design strategies for pedestrian circulation and Metrorail station orientation at Woodley Park and Cleveland Park stations
The goal of the guidelines is to make it clear to property owners and developers what is possible and what is expected from new and retro-fit building projects on our corridor. In essence, it will be a roadmap to build homes for as many people as possible, from a range of incomes and family types, that look as though they belong here.
- Woodley Park: Along Connecticut Avenue, NW, from Calvert Street, NW, north to Woodley Road, NW, including the former Wardman Park Hotel to the west.
- Cleveland Park: Along Connecticut Avenue NW, from Macomb Street, NW, north to Porter Street, NW.
Office of Planning’s Heba ElGawish, a neighborhood planner, will be managing the effort, with input from Steve Callcott, the deputy state historic preservation officer, and a yet to named subcommittee of the Historic Preservation Review Board. A contractor will be hired to work with the Office of Planning and stakeholders to help conduct community outreach, develop concept designs and the plan documents.
Racial Equity Lens
The Office of Planning presented the process to the HPRB at their December 2nd meeting. We were encouraged to hear Director Trueblood make clear that our planning process will be conducted through a lens of racial equity.
The Office of Planning released an RFP for the consulting firm on December 7th. Responses are due back by January 11, 2022. The contract would be for a one year period. OP expects the process to kick off this spring and last 9-12 months and hopes a draft of the guidelines will be out for public review by the end of the year or very early 2023.
Public Participation (this means you!)
The planning process will coordinate with the ANC and the community for opportunities for public engagement including a design charrette. Your participation will be critically important to the success of this process, so please be on the look-out for emails from CPSG on key dates for involvement. Steering Committee member Ellen Herr will represent CPSG during this planning process.
“Excluded From the Start” How our neighborhood started out on a path of exclusion from its origin.
“Demographics of DC’s Historic Districts” A report on the racial imbalance of D.C.’s historic districts.
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