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DC Council approves amended Comprehensive Plan

Councilmembers tried to address possible negative impacts of gentrification with amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan from Mayor Bowser's office.

WASHINGTON — The DC Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve amendments to the current Comprehensive Plan adding that the change made lead to a more “equitable and fair DC." 

“We need economic growth with guardrails," said Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, who has lobbied on behalf of the residents in Ivy City off New York Avenue, Northeast.

The neighbors are surrounded by industrial land, restaurants and condos but no green space. For years, they’ve been asking the city to turn the historic Crummell school, named after academic and abolitionist Alexander Crummell, into a community rec center. The school has been boarded up and fenced off from the community since the 1970s.

“Developers had put in amendments for Crummell school to build housing,” said Empower DC’s Parisa Norouzi, who has helped rally residents. “that's not what the community wants.”

With Tuesday’s vote, the D.C. Council approved amendments to the existing 2006 Comprehensive Plan that require developers to analyze how building on industrial land impacts black and brown people.

The updated plan also calls for more family-sized units and “deeply affordable” homes for residents making less than 40% of the median family income ($126,000); that is, less than 50,000 for a family of four.

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“As we build the city where it needs to be that we also speak to all people including those who need the help the most,” said Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White.

The plan also makes way for more community spaces, like streeteries and bike lanes, while planning for a future with fewer cars on the roads.

“We should not be building in, you know, the ability to drive in park with these new developments when we have a really transit-rich city that we should we should be investing in more of that,” said Greater Greater Washington policy manager Alex Baca. 

Baca said while the updated comp plan tries to reverse gentrification’s negative impact on residents, the Council must follow through with legislation she said. 

“I think we have a more fair and more equitable pathway now than the one that we were on,” explained Baca, “to make real the council's interest in affordable housing, I think they're going to have to square up a lot of their own personal beliefs, and also put their money where their mouth is.”

The amended Comprehensive Plan now goes to Mayor Muriel Bowser's desk for review and a possible signature.

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