Image by John J Young used with permission.

Next Tuesday, March 20, residents are going to descend on the DC Council to discuss the future of the city through the DC Comprehensive Plan. This massive land use and planning document is being amended, and March 20th is the key time for residents and organizations to weigh in on the direction of the District’s future planning.

Can you help us testify for a better Comp Plan on March 20th?

I'll testify on 3/20!

The hearing starts at 2 pm, but over 86 people are signed up already, which means if you sign up now you most likely won’t be called up to testify until 7:30 pm at the earliest (probably even later). So if you have a daytime job which was preventing you from testifying before, hopefully now you can make it! Sign up here.

Also, you won’t have to wait in a hearing room forever for your name to be called. Instead, We’re going to be hosting a Comp Plan testimony party that night at our nearby WeWork offices! More details to come, but you can stop by after work, hang out with fellow urbanists and testifiers, then walk the three blocks down to the hearing room where it’s your turn.

Sounds like my kind of party! Sign up with us here to receive more details.

What’s on the table

The hearing on March 20th is about the Framework Element of the Comp Plan, which acts essentially as the introduction for the whole document. The Office of Planning recently released proposed amendments to this section, and it has caused some stir.

Some are worried and are organizing about the fact that DC is projected to be home to over 1 million residents by 2045. To some that’s a problem, and the Comp Plan needs to limit that growth and protect “stable” neighborhoods as the highest priority of the document.

Others are calling for additional language to prioritize affordable housing and anti-displacement measures in the Comp Plan. The current version is critically weak on these issues, and the DC Council has an opportunity to amend and improve the Framework Element to fix this.

You can learn more about these and other relevant issues tonight by joining a Comp Plan Q&A conference call tonight (Monday) at 6 pm. Last week over 30 people called in to discuss and ask questions about the upcoming hearing, and many have since signed up to testify now that they know their testimony won’t be called upon until later. RSVP here to get more information about the Monday call.

If you’re nervous about testifying, we can help! GGWash is hosting a testimony prep party this Thursday, and we’ll be providing resources and talking points to those that want them.

This hearing is a big deal, as you can tell by the overwhelming numbers of residents who have already signed up to testify. Let’s make sure voices for equitable urbanism are heard as well. The last day to sign up is March 16 — don’t miss this one!

I'll testify on 3/20!

David Whitehead was the Housing Program Organizer at Greater Greater Washington from 2016 to 2019.  A former high school math teacher and a community organizer, David worked to broaden and deepen Greater Greater Washington’s efforts to make the region more livable and inclusive through education, advocacy, and organizing. He lives in Eckington.