Linda Schmitt, head crusader against DC’s zoning update, just sent out an email warning people about the accessory dwelling proposals:

Thought you might want to see what an ADU looks like.  Photo provided by DC resident who says six of these are within shouting distance of her house.  She is very upset and angry about it.


She attached this picture:



Clearly, we look at the same thing and see it differently, because this looks like a pretty charming, well-maintained little house that’s doesn’t mar the look of the neighborhood. Many of us would love to have six of these in the alleys, with people who have an incentive to keep them clean and more eyes on the street instead of just a garage which could attract rats.

Ultimately, most of this comes down to a simple matter of values. Would you like to have more people in your neighborhood, especially if they can fit into existing buildings? (The Office of Planning’s current proposal does not allow ADUs in any accessory buildings constructed after the change goes into effect). Or do you want government rules that keep people away?

OP has shown statistics about how existing houses are holding far fewer people than they did 50 years ago. Schmitt wants a public policy that makes it impossible for these neighborhoods to accommodate the numbers of people they once did, without changing the built environment much at all.

Schmitt calls her group Neighbors for Neighborhoods, but maybe it should really be Neighbors for Empty Neighborhoods, or Neighbors Against More Neighbors.

Please try to make the zoning update meeting on Tuesday, January 8, 6:30 pm at Wilson High School, or one of the other remaining meetings in wards 5, 7, and 4.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.