• W3HJ

Candidate Questionnaire - Question #6

Question:

Racial Equity Analysis for Large sites on public or private properties. Will you sponsor legislation to use the Council Office of Racial Equity to conduct a racial equity analysis on all proposed large tract site developments (> 3 acres) before permitting, especially in areas such as Ward 3 where there has been a history of exclusion and segregation?


Responses:

Erin Palmer (Council Chair):

Yes. I support increased use of and engagement with the Council Office of Racial Equity, including with regard to large tract site development. The goal of the Office is to allow holistic review of how governmental actions impact racial equity, and we know large-scale developments are likely to have an impact. My DC Council Accountability Plan calls for expanding the work of the Council Office of Racial Equity to include review of the DC budget and Council operations, as well as requiring the Council to respond to racial equity impact assessments, including providing its rationale for supporting or opposing legislation that maintains or worsens racial inequity.


Anita Bonds (Council At Large):

Yes. All legislation that comes before the Council is subject to a racial equity impact assessment by the Council’s Office of Racial Equity, and I would expect that any waivers, variances, subsidies, permitting, or any other governmental action or relief that would come before the Council related to the Wardman redevelopment, will be subject to such a review, which I will consider carefully.


Nate Fleming (Council At Large):

Yes. The mission of the Council Office of Racial Equity is to identify and address racial disparities in the District and affordable housing project fit squarely into this objective. DC has the highest rate of displacement of black residents of any municipality in the country. Charging the Council Office of Racial Equity with reviewing large tract site developments is a great step toward achieving racial equity in housing.


Lisa Gore (Council At Large):

Yes. As an ANC Commissioner in Ward 3, I have already worked with the CORE on this and many other issues. However, this analysis is not just important in Ward 3, but also other areas across the city. We must also work to operationalize the racial equity requirement in the Comprehensive plan. My platform further calls for the development of anti-displacement legislation. All of these areas must work in partnership to ensure we are providing affordable housing to marginalized populations and development, of any type, is not creating further harm to these communities.


Dexter Williams (Council At Large):

Yes. At first blush, this sounds like a reasonable request. The District of Columbia has a limited and fast-dwindling number of large-tract sites suitable for development. It’s essential, especially in cases where these sites may be developed by right, that large tract reviews include a racial equity analysis so that we can be better assured that such development projects are not reinforcing, or perpetuating continued racial inequity. The Comprehensive Plan directs District agencies to prepare and implement tools to assist in evaluating policies and actions through an equity lens. This specifically includes tools to use as part of development review processes. I would like some time to consider your proposal as well as other possible approaches for assuring racial equity analyses are conducted at large tract site developments.


Ben Bergmann (Ward 3 Council):

Yes. I think this would be a worthwhile initiative. I would go further and have CORE study all neighborhoods, including historic districts, with a history of exclusion and segregation to help policymakers and the public identify ways to build a more diverse and inclusive city in light of this painful history.


Deirdre Brown (Ward 3 Council):

Yes, I would. We know that past policy has not been for the benefit of all Ward 3 residences. As the Ward 3 councilmember I would sponsor legislation that would require the council Office of Racial Equity to conduct racial equity analysis on all large tract developments. If we are going to move Ward 3 forward to a place of equity and inclusion we must learn from the past.


Tricia Duncan (Ward 3 Council):

Yes. I strongly support conducting racial equity analyses on all proposed large tract site developments before permitting. I have concerns about using the Council Office of Racial Equity to fulfill this task rather than creating an office in the Executive branch (perhaps within the Office of Planning) to achieve the goal. Regardless, racial equity analyses would be very helpful for government stakeholders, developers, and the general public. I hope that when confronted with information about a positive equity impact of a proposed development, residents would be more supportive of additional affordable housing and abandon their fierce opposition. Such information could be especially important in Ward 3 as it could help some neighbors better understand the racial impact of their opposition to important community projects.


Beau Finley (Ward 3 Council):

Yes. Despite having a racial equity platform available for my fellow candidates to borrow from for the past two months, I remain the only candidate with a racial equity platform. Ward 3 has a history of exclusion, from the racist goals of Francis Newlands to prohibiting small apartment buildings just off Connecticut Avenue to restrictive covenants. The ban on apartments in much of the District is directly linked to segregation, inequity, and our current housing affordability crisis. We must remedy this and I plan on taking the lead on doing so for Ward 3.


Matt Frumin (Ward 3 Council):

Yes. The focus of such a review would be on whether the project created opportunities for populations that had previously been excluded. The fact of such a review would force developers to think in advance about how their project can contribute to addressing the history of displacement and exclusion.


Monte Monash (Ward 3 Council):

Yes. With affordable housing for all, race does play a factor based on need, but is not the only determining factor in the District. This city is expensive for the middle class and established professionals too. We are in a crisis and the need for affordable housing is not only for people of color. Having diverse communities will create new vibrancies.