RELEASE: Comprehensive Plan Priorities Statement

January 31, 2017


David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington

Cheryl Cort, Coalition for Smarter Growth

Aakash Thakkar, EYA

Rob Wohl, Latino Economic Development Center

Developers, community groups, and others put aside differences to agree on the need for
more housing, more affordable housing, and support for communities in DC

WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of community organizations, for-profit and nonprofit
developers, faith groups, tenant advocates, and other organizations today announced they have
come together to agree on priorities for housing and development in DC. Many have disagreed
on policies in the past, but all share a strong belief that DC needs more overall housing, more
affordable housing, and targeted support for communities amid this time of change.

“Mayor Muriel Bowser says she wants DC to meet the needs of those who’ve been here for five
generations or five minutes. We agree, and support strong action to fulfill this promise,” said
David Alpert, Founder of Greater Greater Washington.

The DC Office of Planning is currently working to amend the Comprehensive Plan, a document
outlining priorities for DC’s future growth and change. DC planners conducted public outreach in
late 2016 and will be soliciting community recommendations for plan amendments in 2017.

Responding to Office of Planning Director Eric Shaw’s call for residents to read, discuss, and
make suggestions for the Comprehensive Plan, this coalition formed and met over several
months to reach agreement on a series of priorities. Supporting organizations so far include:

  • Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2B
  • All Souls Housing Corporation*
  • Answer Title and Abstracts
  • Bread for the City*
  • City First Homes
  • Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)*
  • Coalition for Smarter Growth*
  • DC Fiscal Policy Institute*
  • DC Policy Center
  • Ditto Residential
  • Enterprise Community Partners*
  • EYA*
  • Friendship Place
  • Greater Greater Washington*
  • The JBG Companies*
  • Jews United for Justice (JUFJ)
  • Jubilee Housing, Inc.
  • Latino Economic Development Center*
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)*
  • MidAtlantic Realty Partners*
  • New Legacy Partners
  • United Planning Organization*
  • Valor Development
  • Ward3Vision*
    * Working group member

The lack of adequate housing, including affordable housing, along with displacement of lower-income
residents, are serious problems for everyone in the District. “It is possible to build new
housing, including a good measure of affordable housing, and grow the District’s tax base in a
way that makes business sense and advances the public good. The result can be a
combination of new housing and amenities for residents and increased revenue for the city so it
can continue to enhance quality of life,” said Aakash Thakkar, Senior Vice President at the
development company EYA.

The coalition statement asks DC to prioritize the following issues in the Comprehensive Plan
(read the full statement at for details on each):

  • Meet the housing demand
  • Equitably distribute housing
  • Best utilize areas near transit
  • Include families
  • Prioritize affordable housing as a community benefit
  • Preserve existing affordable housing
  • Protect tenants
  • Support neighborhood commercial corridors
  • Clarify zoning authority
  • Improve data collection and transparency

“We need policies that preserve the affordable housing we already have as the District
develops. It’s clear the city needs more units to meet the demand of the people coming here,
but we also need strategies to protect tenants who are struggling to stay in the city. Those goals
don’t have to be in conflict.” said Rob Wohl, Tenant Organizer for the Latino Economic
Development Center.

Just as Mayor Bowser set out a bold goal for all wards of the city to play a part in addressing
homelessness, we believe housing affordability and equitable economic development similarly
require bold action with all neighborhoods participating in the solution.

“That is why this group of unlikely partners came together. Although we’ve disagreed about
specific policies in the past, we share a vision for a District that has enough housing, including
affordable housing, for our current and future residents,” said Cheryl Cort, Policy Director of the
Coalition for Smarter Growth.

The full statement is available at along with a call for additional
organizations and individuals to sign on. Already, the statement has been endorsed by several
more organizations including a resolution in support from Advisory Neighborhood Commission
2B, and additional ANCs are considering the issue. The Office of Planning plans to recommend
amendments in 2017 and then transmit them to the DC Council for consideration.