CSG News: Major Updates

We hope you and your family are well. Summer seems to have flown by, and much more quickly than a normal summer would. We have much to share with you about CSG, our policy work, and upcoming events.

In pandemic-related news, we recently closed our physical office at 316 F Street NE. It was sad to say goodbye to our “smart growth operations center,” but we’re excited to find a new home once it is safe for our whole team to come together in person again. 

This summer, activists in cities across the country rose up to demand racial justice and equity. CSG unequivocally supports this fight and is committed to continuing to center these ideals in our work, including our partnerships and ongoing focus on affordable housing, inclusive communities, and transit. Read our statement on racial justice and equity here and our call to action on sustainability and equity we issued in mid-May.

Introducing our new CSG team members

Some new faces have joined our team this summer! Emily Maurer, who worked with us as a communications intern during the Spring 2020 semester, joined our team in June as our Communications and Administrative Assistant. Bill Pugh, a longtime supporter, has kindly volunteered his expertise as a Senior Policy Fellow to make the case for using land use, housing, and transportation reform to fight climate change. We’re thrilled to welcome Emily and Bill to our team. Next up: raising funds to hire our first full-time Prince George’s Advocacy Manager.

Bill Pugh
Emily Maurer

Successful summer events

After the pivot last Spring to a virtual workplace, CSG ramped up our online event offerings, including:

  • Our first ever virtual Livable Communities Leadership award event, featuring moving remarks from our honoree, Celeste James, and great discussions with our Community HeroesWatch selected remarks.
  • Our Courageous Conversations series on the legacy of redlining in Montgomery County. View here, with participant materials here.
  • We co-sponsored a webinar series on Active Transportation in Northern Virginia to address the need for safer streets for biking and walking. View here
  • In DC, we organized a series of webinars to help homeowners learn about accessory dwelling units. View here

Ongoing Campaigns

Rescuing transit

One of the big challenges we’ve been tackling with transit advocacy groups across the U.S. is the existential threat facing public transit. Nationally, transit needs $32 billion from Congress to avoid devastating budget and service cuts.

One of the big challenges we’ve been tackling with transit advocacy groups across the U.S. is the existential threat facing public transit. Nationally, transit needs $32 billion from Congress to avoid devastating budget and service cuts.

Take Action: Contact your representatives to request $32 billion in relief funding for transit. 

Fighting for more housing and more affordable housing in DC

We are campaigning to win time-sensitive amendments to the DC Comprehensive Plan before the end of 2020. The amendments prioritize affordable housing to make DC a more inclusive place to live.

Take action: 1. Ask your DC Councilmember to adopt the Comp Plan amendments

2. Sign up to testify at the Nov 12th and 13th hearings

This summer, we urged the DC Office of Planning to prepare a proposal to the Zoning Commission to expand Inclusionary Zoning by increasing the percentage of affordable homes during upzonings. DCOP just released their report here. We’ll keep you posted. 

Campaigning for an inclusive Montgomery County 

In addition to hosting Courageous Conversations on residential racial segregation, we organized Montgomery for All to ensure the update of the General Plan will create more equitable, inclusive communities.

Take action: Sign up for Montgomery for All’s smart growth advocacy workshop September 17th and testimony writing workshop October 15th!

Given the county’s significant housing needs, particularly near transit, we successfully advocated to the Planning Board to recommend ending the housing moratorium policy within the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP).

Take action: Email the Council to call for an end to the housing moratorium.

Championing a more sustainable and inclusive Northern Virginia

In Northern Virginia, we’ve been working on multiple fronts to address critical land use, housing and transportation issues. Coordinating with our Fairfax Healthy Communities coalition, we’ve been pressing for faster action on stormwater management, fighting for safer road design, seeking more housing options, and weighing in on Fairfax County’s development of a climate plan. 

Fairfax’s Community Engagement and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) is being developed to reduce county carbon emissions and plan for resiliency in the face of flooding and other effects of climate change. We’re asking that the plan include walkable, transit-oriented communities as a key strategy for reducing transportation emissions.

Take action: Fill out the climate survey before September 13th.

We’re also supporting more affordable housing by advocating for missing middle housing options like accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Fairfax has proposed a limited approach to ADUs in their zoning modernization project, the City of Alexandria is studying ADUs, and Arlington County is kicking off a missing middle study. We’ll share future updates on these initiatives.

Looking ahead

It’s been a busy summer, and we have no plans to slow down. Our full fall event calendar is still being finalized, but look out for events on the DC Comprehensive Plan, the Thrive 2050 General Plan update in Montgomery County, NoVA planning issues, and our annual (but temporarily virtual) Smart Growth Social!

The public health and equity crises have underscored the importance of the issues we’ve always advocated for: affordable housing, well-funded public transit, and inclusive, walkable, transit-accessible communities are critical for our future.

We have much more to do together, so please consider supporting our ongoing work by donating $10, $25, $50, $100 or more to CSG today. You can also sign up to be a monthly recurring donor.