CSG in the News: ‘We’re Going To Run Out Of Space To Build Housing’: D.C. Mayor On How To Add Density In Upper NW

‘We’re Going To Run Out Of Space To Build Housing’: D.C. Mayor On How To Add Density In Upper NW 

by Jon Banister, Bisnow Washington DC, September 23, 2019

To achieve her goal of adding 36,000 housing units to the District by 2025, Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city will need to have difficult conversations.

Bowser discussed strategies for adding density in Upper Northwest D.C. on an Urban Land Institute panel Friday, after ULI presented its recommendations for allowing more housing development in the Rock Creek West area….

The area west of Rock Creek Park has seen significantly less housing development in recent years than other sections of the District. Bowser said earning the support of residents of that area for new housing requires talking about the issue in a different way….

One of the primary roadblocks to building new housing in recent years, city officials and developers agree, has been the deluge of appeals that have delayed dozens of projects in court….

A consequence of the appeals has been developers beginning to abandon the planned-unit development process, which allows greater density in exchange for community benefits, Coalition for Smarter Growth Policy Director Cheryl Cort said. The majority of appeals have challenged the Zoning Commission approval of PUD projects.

“The planned-unit development process is broken, and in fact, we don’t have to worry about lawsuits anymore because hardly anyone is filing planned unit developments,” Cort said. “It’s hardly a perfect process, but it was designed to bring the community into a discussion rather than just a matter-of-right deal. We’re losing that opportunity.”

Read more in Bisnow here.