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NWOP: Zoning Rule Changes Shred Transparency, Notice and Racial Equity

Release: March 19, 2024

Contact: Meg Maguire (202) 546-4536

NW Opportunity Partners CDC sharply criticized the Zoning Commission (ZC Case #22-25) for proposed new rules that would substantially limit public information and public notice of important zoning changes affecting communities.

The new rules would:

  • Severely weaken requirements for notifying ANCs, tenants and neighbors within 200 feet of a proposed project of zoning changes;

  • Fail to codify racial equity standards or procedures, enabling applicants to ignore the impact of their projects on displacement; and

  • Place community benefits negotiated through Planned Unit Developments in jeopardy of change without public notice.

The proposed rules smack of the ZC’s fear that if informed about projects affecting their communities, residents will ask hard questions and demand solid answers,” said Meg Maguire, Chair of NWOP CDC. “Developers must be held accountable for real – not rhetorical – racial equity in their projects. This is exactly the wrong time for zoning to become opaque.”

“The recently released Wisconsin Ave. Development Framework sets the table for massive up zoning along this corridor. What will be served on this table is very much subject to negotiation. 

The ZC’s proposed rules open the door for developers and public officials to say one thing and deliver something else, fueling the wide-spread suspicion that zoning is rigged in favor of developers and that the Zoning Commission prefers to operate in the shadows.”


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