Understanding the New Mixed-Use Zoning for Chevy Chase DC

On April 29, 2024, the DC Zoning Commission will consider public testimony on proposed new land use zones for Chevy Chase mainstreet – from Chevy Chase Circle to Livingston Street NW along Connecticut Avenue. These zoning changes are intended to guide the redevelopment along the avenue to meet the District’s goals of increased affordable housing, enhanced building design and improved public spaces. While no significant development has occurred for five decades or is imminent on private land, the District-owned civic core site is planned for redevelopment with a new library, community center, and the addition of affordable, mixed income housing. 

Three new zones are proposed:

  • The main two zone changes are along the Connecticut Avenue commercial corridor between Livingston Street and Chevy Chase Circle – creating two new Neighborhood Mixed-Use (NMU) zones.
    • Most of this short portion of Connecticut Avenue’s commercial blocks are to be rezoned to NMU-4/CC-1, which allows a modest increase in height and density and is similar to the existing MU-4 (Mixed-Use) zone. 
    • The library/community center block would be rezoned to NMU-4/CC-2 which includes a further increase in density to achieve more opportunities for affordable housing and to offset a requirement to create significant public open space at ground level, and is similar to the existing MU-4 PUD (Planned Unit Development) zone. 
    • The increased allowable density under these zones would be subject to Inclusionary Zoning Plus (IZ+) which requires more affordable housing than regular Inclusionary Zoning.
  • The third change is to designate a few parcels Residential Flat (RF-1) zone (a common zone that allows 1 and 2-unit rowhouses). These are small sites, but are in key locations off the avenue that are not appropriate for mixed use but will serve as a transition from the scale of the avenue to the scale of the single-family houses on the side streets.

These zoning changes fulfill the guidance of the Comprehensive Plan, Chevy Chase Small Area Plan, and the Housing Equity Report which call for increased affordable housing opportunities in Chevy Chase. Currently, Ward 3 has less than 1% of D.C.’s dedicated affordable housing. The zoning changes are also intended to support moderate density mixed use development that creates an active, pedestrian-oriented commercial corridor with a convenient mix of neighborhood serving shops and services. 

Read the full explainer below!