DC Zoning Code Rewrite written testimony deadline:
Friday April 25th, 3 pm (Chickens edition), now September 15th
Updated and republished due to an extension of the public comment period to September
WAMU-FM reported yesterday ("After Six Years, D.C. To Get Six More Months To Debate Zoning Code Rewrite ") that the Zoning Commission has extended the public comment period to September 15th.
GGW thinks this is a bad idea ("DC's 40-year out of date zoning code will get at least 6 months more stale").
I think that the ZRR process has been so flawed from the get go that (1) the delay doesn't surprise me and (2) it is an indicator and recognition of the flawed process (see the past blog entry "DC and the zoning rewrite and the approach not taken").
Will it result in a better code and more support for necessary changes?
Doubtful, because most of the angst has to do with more suburban parts of the city expressing vehement outrage against changes that are more specifically urban and less focused on automobility (see the past blog entries "DC as a suburban agenda dominated city" and "Understanding why Upper Northwest DC residents don't buy into the sustainability mobility paradigm").
But that means I get to polish and craft the various testimonies that I plan to submit.
The DC Office of Zoning hasn't updated its website to reflect the new circumstances.
Update on the Zoning Rewrite Process: DC Zoning Commission
While I testified earlier on Accessory Dwelling Units, I do intend to submit written testimonies about (1) pop ups; (2) the need for special big box review provisions and problems with large tract review procedures; (3) general organization of the code; and (4) legalization of chickens--because a Greater Takoma resident was "busted" for having a coop and I offered to help.
The volume of the submissions means they'll be quick and dirty rather than hyper-detailed.
With regard to urban agriculture and poultry, I argue that cities have taken two directions, what I call loose or tight regulations. Tight regulations legalize the raising of poultry in residential districts but have requirements for lot sizes and distance from lot lines that are not sized for cities, making raising poultry illegal in reality. For example, Norfolk, Virginia requires a minimum lot size of 10,000 square feet, which is just under a quarter-acre. A typical rowhouse lot is less than one-tenth that size.
Loose regulations are focused on allowing the practice by making regulations fit the form of urban neighborhoods. They don't specify minimum lot sizes, and focus coop placement requirements on the distance from dwelling units (on the property and adjacent properties), not the lot line. Places like Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York City, Portland, Salt Lake City and County, and Seattle have what I call loose regulations.
DC's earliest proposals are definitely a form of tight regulation--lots would have to be about 110 feet wide--making poultry raising in residential districts illegal for the most part.
Interestingly, DC's touted Sustainability Plan doesn't bring up residential poultry raising at all.
Note that one writer in the LA Times likes eggs, but not chickens, and she writes about the organization of "chicken cooperatives" there ("When the chickens came home to roost"), which are on a much larger scale than what I call "Block Supported Agriculture."
Right: chickens in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
It turns out that the State of Virginia held its first Urban Agriculture Summit earlier in the week, in Lynchburg. See "First Va. Urban Agriculture Summit kicks off in Lynchburg" from the Lynchburg News-Advance.
... interestingly, with regard to DC, you can do urban aquaculture but you can't raise chickens.