Update Special Report: Big Developer Money and the DC Comprehensive Plan Revision Process

We're at a critical time with the amendment process for the Comprehensive Plan, DC's highest policy document for providing guidance for the city's future growth and development. MDC DSA has participated for months in the Grassroots Planning Coalition, a group that is pursuing racial, economic, and environmental justice through equitable development. Together with our partners in the Coalition, we've submitted hundreds of amendments to the Comp Plan that would combat gentrification, displacement and greed. This unprecedented mobilization has now resulted in a counterattack from the city's developer class that would weaken the plan and our right to shape the city we want to live in. The gentrification machine in this city is hoping to sneak this by us - we're asking every MDC DSA member who lives in the District to read this message from the Coalition and take action.

-- David Poms


Since last Spring, 300 residents from all across the city have participated in the DC Grassroots Planning Coalition.  We have prepared for full participation in the Comprehensive Plan amendment process, knowing that developers aim to gut the plan and make it easier for them to build massive projects across the District.    

As we suspected, the amended Comprehensive Plan Framework document recently introduced to the City Council for approval would devastate our communities, opening the door for even more gentrification and displacement throughout the city.  

It's time to fight back!  

Materials from our last meeting including analysis of the proposed changes are now available online.

In particular, please review the documents which outline the detrimental impact of the proposed changes to the Comp Plan - how it would destroy recently won caselaw, create a false narrative of the causes of  displacement, fail to include the principle of equity, and ultimately serve developers over community residents.  

Take Action!

Ask your ANC for support fighting against these harmful amendments.  Share the draft ANC resolution, and invite them to our next meeting.  

Email Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (pmendelson@dccouncil.us) and copy Office of Planning Director Eric Shaw (eric.shaw@dc.gov) with a message that includes the following key points:

  • I am a DC resident and I oppose the changes to the Comprehensive Plan framework as introduced. These changes will not further a more "inclusive" city but rather will contribute to gentrification and the displacement of lower income Black residents in particular.
  • The Office of Planning promised to come to the public with its draft changes prior to submitting this to the DC Council. Now OP has changed the process mid-way, going straight to the Council without coming to the community. As a result, OP is failing to do its job and is not justifying or explaining these very significant changes to the plan, and instead is putting the Council in the position of doing the agency's job for it.
  • I am concerned that this change in process also violates the legal mandate of "great weight" to ANCs throughout the city.
  • Chairman Mendelson, I urge you to require the Office of Planning to go back to the community as was originally promised and not allow OP to make you do their job for them.

Mark Your Calendar

Thursday, Jan 25th  Info Session for Attorneys 6:30 PM, at 1419 V St, NW RSVP: parisa@empowerdc.org or (202) 234-9119 x 100 -- this is a training for attorneys who would like to learn how to represent residents in the filing of appeals of Zoning decisions and are willing to file at least one on a pro bono basis.

Saturday, February 10th DC Grassroots Planning Coalition Meeting 2-4 PM Southwest Neighborhood Library, 900 Wesley Pl, SW (please consider attending the march against slumland Geoff Griffis in solidarity with Congress Heights tenants prior to the meeting - meet at noon at the Cleveland Park Metro Station)

Saturday, March 10th DC Grassroots Planning Coalition Meeting 1:30-4:00 PM Southwest Neighborhood Library

[Note: the Coalition typically meets every second Saturday from 1:30-4 at a rotating location.  To offer a meeting space, please contact Parisa@empowerdc.org]

Tuesday, February 20th  Coalition City Council Action Days Meet in the first floor lobby of the District Building at 11 AM - 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW The Day will include visible presence at the Committee of the Whole, catching/talking to Council members and their staff in the halls, and pre-scheduled visits/walk around in the afternoon.  More details as the plans are set.

Friday, February 23rd Advocacy meetings with Council offices. More details to come.

Wednesday, February 28th -- Agency Oversight Hearings for Office of Planning & Zoning starting sometime after 10 AM (they are the 3rd and 4th agencies on the list) 500, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW This schedule could change, but please mark your calendar and plan to be there.  We will provide talking points at the February 10th Coalition meeting.

Tuesday, March 20th -- City Council Hearing on the Comprehensive Plan Time TBD, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW

The Chairman has shared he will hold a hearing; the announcement has not officially come out yet. Mark your calendar and help us pack the room!

Look out for a Coalition Sign-On form, Comp Plan Fact Sheet and other materials coming soon!

For more information contact Parisa at (202) 234-9119 x 100.



The DC Office of Planning has released the DC Cultural Plan working draft for public review. Comments on the draft will be accepted through February 28th, 2018 via email at DCculturalplan@dc.gov.


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