Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A good chance the DC Zoning Rewrite will crash and burn: part 2 (Brad Green's notes)

This is from an email summarizing yesterday's meeting.

went to the zoning discussion sponsored by ANC 4B this morning.

Sue Hemberger was the major presenter, with comments by Linda Schmitt. Sue comes off as being extremely knowledgeable about the minutia of the zoning update. Sue and Linda also brought maps showing how the zoning changes would impact Ward 4.

Afterwards, they took their presentation to another community meeting. They seem to be working very hard to organize opposition to the zoning changes, including encouraging people to appear at an oversight hearing of the Office of Planning this Wednesday. Further, most of the 20 or so people at the meeting appeared to regard them as very credible on the subject.

It would be very helpful to have a counterweight to their arguments at these meetings.

Most of the discussion at this meeting was about ADUs.

In response to their objections to the corner store provisions, I weighed in support of corner stores, using the grandfathered stores on Capital Hill as a positive example of why we should allow them.

Later, I protested when Sue said the new zoning would prohibit parking for new developments in transit zones. She backed off of that statement, claiming instead she meant that developers would not provide parking, if not required to. We went back and forth on that claim. I said that off-street parking is an amenity that car owners want and that developers, therefore, are willing to provide to make their properties more marketable.

Linda objected to my statement that the parking minimums were created when it was assumed that most people would be driving. She claimed that the parking minimums have been reduced several times over the years to reflect changing demand.

I would like to know if there is any truth to that statement, and if so, your ideas on how to respond to it.

I would also like some ideas on how to respond to the claim that eliminating parking minimums will just put more pressure of scarce on-street parking. Supporters of parking minimums in this area like to site the example of an apartment building with little on-site parking near the DC line in Maryland. The claim is that the tenants all park on the streets in DC.

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At 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, part of the problem is that Linda Schmitt and Sue Hemberger, at best two amateurs, have become the spokespeople for the opposition to the zoning rewrite. Most of their arguments center around parking.

Ms. Schmitt testified before Phil Mendelson last fall that her biggest concern was not being able to park her car in other people's neighborhoods for free when she took the metro.

Ms. Hemberger recently published an op-ed in the Washington Post with the pro-automobile lobby.

They are spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt on community listservs with total fabrication, hyperbole and misinformation as evidenced by parroted misinformation on the TakomaDC listserv which was quickly corrected.

In my opinion, it is overblown to suggest that the zoning rewrite is dead. To the contrary, there is significant political will to see this through, and how till the zoning commissioners react when they have to sit through hours of false resident testimony in opposition that is based on falsehoods, where OP will simply continue to repeat "that isn't true".

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I write what I write based on my experience with dealing with change, in DC, on neighborhood issues.

This reminds me of the anti-preservation response, which for the most part has been pretty successful.

I first wrote about it in 2003...

This is no different.

And the Council is pretty weak on urbanism.

It will be interesting to see how strong the ZC is. Anthony Hood is pretty automobile-centric. But I can't handicap the ZC, which is likely to be pretty cognizant of city planning trends and best practices and the nature of development.

At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A retail detail survival question.
Does Jane Jacobs questioning of the "Corner Store" in its' financial survival been considered by the DC Zoning Code?


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