DC Council Approves Comprehensive Plan Updates

2 min

The Washington, DC Council unanimously approved an extensive series of amendments to the District's Comprehensive Plan, marking another significant milestone in a multiyear public engagement process to update the Plan in response to recent development trends.

In the final stages of the Council's consideration of the Comprehensive Plan, the Council introduced several revisions pertaining to the classification of industrial properties in certain neighborhoods located in northeast Washington. Additionally, in response to a Racial Equity Impact Assessment published by the Council Office of Racial Equity and other public commentary, the Council strengthened Plan language relating to housing affordability, anti-displacement strategies, and racial equity.

The Comprehensive Plan is the primary policy framework for the future planning and development of Washington, DC. The Comprehensive Plan sets forth guidance for such topics as land use, economic development, housing, environmental protection, historic preservation, and transportation. While the Comprehensive Plan is a policy document that does not result in any zoning changes or otherwise carry the force of law, its recommendations are extremely influential in the District's management of growth and development.

The Council-approved version of the Comprehensive Plan will now be transmitted to the National Capital Planning Commission for its review and approval, sent to Mayor Muriel Bowser's desk for review and approval, and finally referred to the U.S. Congress for its review.

One of Mayor Muriel Bowser's primary policy objectives has been to create 36,000 new homes, distributed throughout all eight wards of the District, by 2025 (including a significant number of new affordable and equitable housing units). The Comprehensive Plan is a critical tool for achieving this vision, as the Plan establishes recommendations for increased residential development across the District. With this new planning guidance in place, we expect to see a notable increase in the volume of zoning map amendments and development applications.

Property owners and developers who work in the District should consult the revised Comprehensive Plan language to assess potential impacts on their properties. If you have any questions about the Comprehensive Plan or other zoning matters in the District, please contact Zachary Williams, Matthew Allman, or another member of Venable's Zoning and Land Use Practice Group.