CSG Support for U Street Police & Fire Station Upzoning, ZC 23-02

June 22, 2023

Mr. Anthony Hood
Chairman, Zoning Commission of the District of Columbia
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 210S
Washington, DC 20001

RE: Support for ZC 23-02: MPD Third District & EMS Engine Company Number 9 

(Map Amendment to Rezone 1617 U Street, NW and 1620 V Street, NW from the MU-4 Zone to the MU-10 Zone)

Dear Chairman Hood:

Please accept this testimony on behalf of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the leading organization advocating for walkable, bikeable, inclusive, transit-oriented communities as the most sustainable and equitable way for the Washington, DC region to grow and provide opportunities for all. 

We want to express our support for the proposed rezoning for the U Street police and fire station sites from MU-4 to MU-10. This proposal follows the land use designation change adopted in the 2021 Comprehensive Plan amendments and will make the site’s zoning consistent with the Future Land Use Map (FLUM). The change allows for a larger mixed use development at this site which is appropriate to its U Street context, and offers the significant benefit of potentially creating over 200 new affordable homes in a highly accessible, in-demand and high-priced location. Adding a significant amount of new affordable housing at this site also addresses the District’s priority for housing and racial equity. New long term affordable homes here counters the loss of affordable housing, especially benefiting African American and other people of color who face greater barriers to finding homes they can afford.

This public site is grossly underutilized today and the two-story garage on U Street is a particularly negative presence on a busy transit corridor. Given the poor use of this public site, and its potential for complementary new uses, especially affordable housing, we support the rezoning. This rezoning is an important change to better address our acute housing needs, other public needs, and improvements to the streetscape. Adding new housing while replacing the police and EMS facilities will not be easy, but a competitive RFP process for an MU-10 zoned site could generate innovative solutions.

Thank you for your consideration.

Cheryl Cort