Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Advances Racial Equity and Environmental Justice in Comprehensive Plan
Framework, While Addressing the PUD Process
McDuffie worked collaboratively to provide needed clarity in the PUD process to assist in meeting the District’s housing and community development goals
McDuffie strengthened and expanded racial equity language in the final legislation
Added language that addresses equitable distribution of industrial land, which may have negative impacts that are most frequently born by communities of color
Washington, D.C. — Today, the District of Columbia Council held its second vote on the Comprehensive Plan Framework, the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2017 [B23-0001].
Advancing Racial Equity
The Framework reflects Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie’s commitment to racial equity by including extensive language establishing racial equity, reflected in section 213 and throughout the guiding principles, as a critical part of the District’s planning process.
Clarifying the PUD Process
The Comprehensive Plan Framework also reflects Councilmember McDuffie’s work to provide needed clarity around the Planned Unit Development (PUD) process. This allows the PUD process to be used as it was intended, as a vehicle to ensure community input and benefits in exchange for additional housing density, which also contributes to the District’s housing stock and helps DC meet its affordable housing goals. Ward 5 has been significantly impacted by ambiguity in the PUD process. This language is reflected in section 227.2.
Focusing on Environmental Justice
Further, Councilmember McDuffie added language on environmental justice, reflecting the reality that facilities emitting pollution disproportionately impact communities of color. The additional language, included in section 208.2, seeks to ensure “that communities of color are not oversaturated with landfills, hazardous waste sites, and other industrial facilities.” This builds on Councilmember McDuffie’s efforts to reduce the negative impacts of industrial land uses in Ward 5, going back to the beginning of his tenure on the Council. This work includes the Ward 5 Works report, produced by the Ward 5 Industrial Land Transformation Task Force; increasing fines and enforcement on solid waste facilities in DC; and championing the closure of the W Street Trash Transfer Station in Brentwood.
The Path Forward
Councilmember McDuffie looks forward to the release of the body of the Comprehensive Plan later this month, as well as the Future Land Use Map (FLUM), to continue to work on these and other concerns. The framework element, while important, will be informed by the details to be included in the remaining elements of the Comprehensive Plan.
After the successful second vote on the Comprehensive Plan Framework, Councilmember McDuffie said:
“Building upon language incorporated before the first reading, I am proud to make racial equity a key policy throughout the Comprehensive Plan Framework text. The plan currently before us represents a critical step in the right direction. Not only does the document before us define racial equity, but it also provides a roadmap for how to achieve it. It clarifies that equity is not the same as equality, emphasizes the importance of choice and access, ensures there is not an over saturation of industrial sites in communities of color, champions a participatory approach to equitable development, and creates a framework that will work to ultimately eliminate disparities.
Over the past few months, my staff and I worked closely with community stakeholders and advocates to ensure we are ready to meet the myriad of housing challenges faced by the city and the region. We saw that what is needed is a PUD process that works as it was intended, does not stifle development but brings the community, government, and the private sector together. Although PUDs are not a panacea that will solve all our problems, we must get the most out of new housing projects as they are coming down the pipeline and ensure a process is in place that incentivizes equitable development, community amenities, affordability, and minimizes displacement.
I look forward to the next steps in the process of updating the Comprehensive Plan as we continue to shape the District’s future to advance equity in development, housing, transit, and future land uses.”