The DC Zoning code shapes the form of our city and influences how walkable, inclusive and transit-oriented it is. Yet the code hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1958.

Priorities have changed a lot since 1958 — and that’s why it’s so important to get involved in this effort to create the framework to help us ensure the gains we’ve made in recent years continue far into the future.

Do you agree? Join with Pro-DC, a project of Greater Greater Washington and the Coalition for Smarter Growth, and sign the petition for an updated zoning code.

The text of the petition is below:

We strongly support updating the outmoded DC zoning code. We urge the Zoning Commission to revise DC’s 1950s-era zoning regulations and help to take a great city with great neighborhoods and turn it into an even more vibrant, walkable, and inclusive place.

Simply put, our zoning code written in 1958 is not befitting what a modern, dynamic city like DC, nor does it respect the form of our treasured historic neighborhoods. Our current zoning code is based on dated concepts of what a city is and how it should grow and has no emphasis on sustainability. 50 years of accumulated amendments have made the code far too complicated and hard to navigate. We need to modernize our zoning code to better accommodate the needs of current and future DC residents.

Specifically, we would like to see real progress made in the following areas:

  • Better options for homeowners to create an accessory dwelling unit without a long and burdensome process. More residents will be able to rent out a basement or garage to help pay the mortgage, give a young person the opportunity to live in the neighborhood, and let seniors age in place in their own homes.
  • Recognition that parking minimums require more parking than people need and damage the historic and walkable form of many neighborhoods. Easing parking requirements in downtown areas and along busy transit corridors will help to create more walkable, vibrant neighborhoods and provide more accessible housing options for more people.
  • Reasonable allowances for local corner stores in residential areas. The ability to walk just a short distance to local, neighborhood-friendly amenities enriches our neighborhood fabric.
  • A simplified zoning code with clear rules that can be followed by your average resident. We want to make sure the zoning code is accessible to everyone — not just land use lawyers.


The previous zoning code tried to force people to live in one type of community in vogue at the time but which radically departed from DC’s historic form. A new zoning code will let DC grow in a sustainable way that doesn’t create new traffic or parking problems, but meets the needs of current and future residents.

Thank you for your consideration of these positions. We look forward to working with you for a more vibrant and inclusive city in the years to come.


Sign the petition today and speak up for a better DC!