The Comprehensive Plan update currently being debated in the DC Council isn’t the only planning document in the works. Also on the Office of Planning’s to-do list are three Small Area Plans — supplements to the Comprehensive Plan that provide more detailed guidelines for development in a given area.
The Comprehensive Plan is, well, comprehensive, but Small Area Plans (SAPs) are granular. They scope out existing conditions, survey stakeholders, and hold public meetings to come up with very specific recommendations to guide development in a given area. The plans are approved by the DC Council as legislation.
Like the Comprehensive Plan, Small Area Plans don’t change zoning. Instead, they provide guidance to the Zoning Commission as they consider development proposals and build out action plans for government agencies to plan public investments.
Previous SAPs have focused on issues such as placemaking, commercial revitalization, and transit-oriented development. Diversity was sometimes in the plans’ goals, but equity — in particular, racial equity — didn’t show up much in the final docume
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