Archive for the 'land use' Category

Attention Deanwood and Benning Road

Far Northeast Livability Study
Saturday, April 9th, 2011 – 10AM to 12PM

Teachers are not the enemy

Washington City Paper

Michelle Rhee’s assault on the D.C. Public Schools status quo will go down as a rare attempt to raise local institutions above the low standards Washingtonians once accepted. Rhee shares Fenty’s abrasive traits, but in her case, it’s easy to be more charitable: When it comes to reforming a failed school system, you either go monomaniacal or go home. It’s naïve to think that you can do it while simultaneously making nice with the old guard.

The use of the word assault is indicative of the racial divide of our city. Michelle Rhee and the education deformers have indeed conducted an assault on the DC Public School system, with entirely predictable results, parents are pulling their children out of school as never before. Not as part of a long time trend, but at an accelerated pace.

If Vincent Gray prevails he will have a hard task healing the racial divide. There are just too many white people who delight in seeing black public employees get beaten on and insulted. Too many white people who simply have no idea about what is going on east of Rock Creek Park.

I am not optimistic. Vincent Gray strikes me as a hack, not somebody who is ready to go to bat for the city’s dispossessed, or having the communication skills that would allow him to explain to the West of Rock Creek Park crowd why it is in their interests are connected to the well being of the cities most disadvantaged residents.

March 24 Master Facilities Plan Info & Action Summit

Info & Action Summit on the
Why DC Doesn’t Have a Plan, and Why Now is the Time

Wed, March 24th
6:30-8:30 PM

Location: Reeves Center
14th & U Sts, NW
Accessible Location * Light Refreshments

The Master Facilities Plan has been required by the Comprehensive Plan since 1986, yet has not been created. The People’s Property Campaign won introduction of legislation requiring the plan and Councilmember Mary Cheh pledged swift action but has since stalled.
What will it take to get the Council to ACT NOW?

• How the absence of a facilities plan has assisted the give-away of public property and cost taxpayers hundreds of millions in wasteful leases
• How this plan could help under-served communities get the resources they are demanding and deserve
• What DC residents can do in the next 60 days to pass legislation requiring the plan, and hold the city accountable to carrying it out

RSVP/More Info to Parisa at Empower DC
(202) 234-9119,

Rally for Public Property – the Final Push

Tell the Council to PASS BILL 18-76


Featuring ** Head-Roc **

11 AM – PACK THE HEARING ROOM (room 500)


TAKE ACTION: Call/Email the Council & Urge Their Support for Bill 18-76!

The Full Council will have it’s “second reading” and final vote on Bill18-76 on Dec 15th. Councilman Harry Thomas will introduce a key amendment to restore a critical provision – the Master Facilities Plan – that was stripped out
during the committee process.

We need 7 votes in favor of the bill and Councilman Thomas’ amendment; 9 votes to be able to override a Mayoral veto

PLEASE EMAIL ALL Council Members!


I am writing to urge your support for Bill 18-76 (The Public Land Surplus Standards Amendment Act of 2009) including Councilman Thomas’ amendment to restore the Master Facilities Plan to the bill, a key provision. 18-76 enhances transparency, fosters community input and mandates facilities planning, developing a process for the city to identify its own facilities needs before declaring property “surplus.” The bill will assist the Council with better oversight of the city’s public assets by instituting a long overdue Master Facilities Plan, and requiring the Executive to hold a community hearing and consider public uses prior to asking the Council to “surplus” a property. I hope that I can count on your support.





Vince Gray, Chair

(202) 724-8032

Phil Mendelson, At Large

(202) 724-8064

Michael Brown, At Large

(202) 724-8105

Kwame Brown, At Large

(202) 724-8174

David Catania, At Large

(202) 724-7772

Jim Graham, Ward 1

(202) 724-8181

Jack Evans, Ward 2

(202) 724-8058

Mary Cheh., Ward 3

(202) 724-8062

Muriel Bowser, Ward 4

(202) 724-8052

Harry Thomas, Ward 5

(202) 724-8028

Tommy Wells, Ward 6

(202) 724-8072

Yvette Alexander, Ward 7

(202) 724-8068

Marion Barry, Ward 8

(202) 724-8045


Bill 18-76 was introduced by Councilman Thomas in December 2008, and signed on to by Michael Brown and Phil Mendelson. It was referred to the Committee on Government Operations (Chaired by Mary Cheh) and a hearing was held on May 29th, 2009 at which 100 residents testified in support. On November 19th, the committee held a second hearing (called a Mark-Up) at which they voted on the Bill. The committee passed the bill unanimously, but only after stripping out key elements. On December 1st the Council Committee of the Whole held its first reading of 18-76, at which Councilman Thomas introduced amendments to restore the Master Facilities Plan and its advisory body. The Council approved only the advisory body.

On Dec 15th the Council will hold its final hearing on Bill 18-76. We need at least 7 votes in order to pass the bill. Councilman Thomas will again introduce an amendment to restore the Master Facilities Plan.

We are almost there! It’s VERY important that the Council hear from you!


Requires the Mayor hold a hearing in the evening/weekend, in the community BEFORE asking the Council to “surplus” a public property

Notifies ANCs 30 days prior to the hearing

Mandates a meaningful Master Facilities Plan for all DC government agencies, to assist with “repurposing” (rather then “disposing”) of public property

Mandates a regular audit of space being leased by DC government from private developers (current cost $140 million/year) and encourages saving taxpayer money by replacing leases with property we own

Create a Master Facilities Planning Committee, to facilitate the creation of the Master Facilities Plan and provide comment to the Council


Examples of Previously Disposed Public Property

Property: Former Use: Is Now/Will Be:

Randall School Homeless Shelter Art Gallery and Luxury Condos

Wormley School School Condos Starting at $1.3 million/unit

Gage School School Parker Flats Condos

Pierce School School Condos

Lovejoy School School Condos

Adams Morgan School Condos

Berret School School Condos

Carbery School School Luxury Lofts

Bryan School School Luxury Lofts

Giddings School School Results Gym

Mather Building UDC Building Condos

Arthur Capper Public Housing Parking Lot for New Baseball Stadium


Land use planning in the District of Columbia

Greater Greater Washington

Unlike in many cities, the DC Council doesn’t have the authority to review or influence zoning regulation changes or large-scale development projects. Instead, the Home Rule Act gives that power to the Zoning Commission, made up of three DC appointees and two federal representatives. Some feel this yields better results, isolated from politics and the corrupting effect of political contributions, while others say it’s undemocratic, keeping the people’s voice too far from important decisions.

What this means is that national lobbyists can get their agenda passed without having to worry about riff-raff DC voters. Politics is just a dirty word for democracy.

In defense of the height limit

The movement to destroy one of the essential characteristics of Washington – a uniquely comfortable relationship with the sky thanks to its height limits – continues to churn ahead thanks to local business interests and people like Christopher Leinberger, who is described by AP as a “a land use strategist and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution” but who is also a developer working with firms that have projects spread from Pennsylvania to Florida to New Mexico. These people are serious, and it would not be surprising to have the new Congress force a height limit change down our throats. The perps are extremely well connected and use all sorts of misleading arguments such as blaming the downtown’s ice cube tray look on the limits when in fact it’s the result of laws that allow developers to build to the final centimeter of the zoning envelope instead of requiring setbacks and open spaces. The AP even cites the claim that ” Within 15 years, according to one analysis, no more space will be available in a 3.5-mile stretch from Georgetown to Capitol Hill.” No more space? What about all the open space, wide streets and access to the sky? Or is the only space that counts anymore that which developers can rent? This is an extremely serious threat to the city that local groups haven’t yet dealt with sufficiently.


Should D.C. Repeal Its Height Restriction?

DC is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the height limit is largely responsible for that. This is a city of sunshine, even in the winter. Unlike NY, Chicago and other blighted cities, tall buildings do not block out the sun. The city is on a more human scale. The streets seem broader because they are not enclosed by concrete canyons.

It would be truly insane to alter this at the beginning of what is likely to be a protracted real estate depression. And why would we listen to the same intellectual brothelsthink tanks who gave us financial deregulation, media concentration, and the Iraq War? Why would anyone give those fools the time of day?