Questionnaire to Candidates for Upcoming Council Race
Ward 3 housing justice reached out to candidates running for Ward 3 Council and Council At Large and asked them a series of questions related to housing policy. We received responses from the following candidates:
Erin Palmer - Council Chair
Anita Bonds - Council At Large
Nate Fleming - Council At Large
Lisa Gore - Council At Large
Dexter Williams - Council At Large
Ben Bergmann - Ward 3 Council
Deirdre Brown - Ward 3 Council
Tricia Duncan - Ward 3 Council
Beau Finley - Ward 3 Council
Matt Frumin - Ward 3 Council
Monte Monash - Ward 3 Council
Our questionnaire contained a total of seven questions. Below we outline each question and link the responses of all the candidates:
Buy land – to create city-owned property for affordable housing. Since there is very little existing public land in Ward 3, will you pledge to take concrete action to help create an acquisition fund like the proposed DC Affordable Housing Property Acquisition Fund for FY 2024 modeled after the existing program in New York City that could also incorporate aspects of the San Francisco Community Opportunity to Purchase Act. This would enable the city and its pre-approved teams of development partners to move nimbly to acquire private property in high-opportunity, high-cost neighborhoods for development of affordable housing. Please list 2-3 concrete actions you would take to promote such a fund if you were elected. Click here to view the responses.
Acquire the Wardman. City ownership would control the outcome for maximum affordable housing. For example, the city could purchase the entire Wardman property, as Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie advocated in 2021. Acquisition could also include exercise of eminent domain powers, as has been used in other parts of the city, for example in Columbia Heights. Other options would be to buy a piece of the 9.5 acre property or to use city funds to purchase dedicated affordable units. The Northwest Opportunity Partners Community Development Corporation is asking Carmel Partners, the owners of the former Wardman Hotel, to convey/donate the annex building facing Calvert Street to the Douglass Community Land Trust for non-profit development of 100 permanently affordable owned or rental units. Will you propose and vote for legislation and funding to enable the city to buy the Wardman property as a whole or part of it for maximum affordable housing? Click here to view the responses.
The DC Office of Attorney General proposed four Zoning Text Amendments on December 2, 2021. For each one answer whether you support the amendment.
Lower the income thresholds for affordable housing generated through inclusionary zoning. OAG’s proposed text amendment would deepen the affordability levels in the inclusionary zoning program for both home ownership and rental units so that the lowest-income residents can access housing. Do you support this?
Increase the affordable housing requirement for developers who move affordable units off site. OAG’s proposed text amendment requires 20% more affordable housing when a developer chooses to locate affordable housing off-site. Do you support this?
Remove the downtown exemption from inclusionary zoning. OAG’s proposed text amendment would require the developers of downtown residential projects comply with inclusionary zoning affordable housing requirements. Do you support this?
Exempt affordable units from minimum parking requirements. OAG’s proposed text amendment would exempt affordable units from minimum parking requirements, to encourage developers to instead add affordable units. Do you support this? Click here to view the responses.
Ward 3 Housing Justice (W3HJ) proposes an increase in the amount of affordable housing required through basic Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) citywide, beyond the current 8% to a minimum IZ requirement of 20% of a project’s residential square footage. Will you provide intensive oversight of the Zoning Commission to demonstrate your commitment to affordable housing and assert leadership among Council Members to increase the basic IZ requirements city-wide (including for matter-of-right projects and office conversions) from 8% to 20%? Click here to view the responses.
Require the Mayor’s Office of Planning to conduct Large Tract Review (LTR) on all developments of 3 acres or more as required by its own regulation. Will you use council oversight to demand OP conduct a full LTR of the Wardman redevelopment and all sites over 3 acres, before permitting, to identify community needs and infrastructure required to fulfill the Comp Plan’s vision of affordable housing and livable communities? Click here to view the responses.
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? Click here to view the responses.
Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) Accountability. Audits have shown that the HPTF since 2017 is not reaching its statutory requirement for investing in deeply affordable housing. In 2021 three bills were proposed and sponsored by a majority of Council Members to address this failure, but none had a hearing and the Housing Committee now proposes instead one greatly weakened substitute bill. Although HPTF has funded projects in most wards, virtually no HPTF funds have been used in Ward 3. The Mayor’s budget proposal includes $500 million for the Trust Fund. Please describe one or two concrete actions you would take to ensure that the HPTF meets its requirement to fund housing for low and extremely low income residents and for affordable housing in Ward 3. Click here to view the responses.