The DC Zoning Rewrite (ZRR)

The Office of Planning and Zoning Commissioners have postured to the general public that the impetus of the ZRR is to simply reformat the existing zoning rules to make things easier to use and less complicated to understand. They have done the opposite.

The ZRR represents significant zoning changes of substance, and is a longer more complicated reformatting than the existing code.

For example, the code is approximately 250+ pages longer.

Also, DC's current zone districts will be split up into many sub-districts, complicating and lengthening the code. For example, the existing C-2-A code may be replaced and in its place could be 13 new zones: MU-4, MU-17, MU-24, MU-25, MU-26, MU-27, NC-2, NC-3, NC-4, NC-7, NC-9, NC-14 & NC-16. And, instead of three simple low-density zones, R-1, R-2, R-3, the ZRR shows 17 new low-density residential zone districts.

download ZRR questions of legal sufficiency document

Not only was misinformation about the ZRR spread, there was also outright misrepresentation of the impacts of OP's proposed zoning changes... watch.

The video below shows the Office of Planning staff telling ANC-5A neighbors that the ZRR will not change heights or densities in their communities. Wrong! In fact, OP has decided to shrink required yards & courts, as well as increase the height and FAR in some new zoning districts in ANC-5A neighborhoods.

What does the ZRR do to your neighborhood?
The Office of Planning says, DON'T WORRY!

Language Access and Affordable Housing Denied! District residents have called out the exclusive process and exclusive results of the ZRR. Read the community letters from DC's language access advocates (letter one & two). Here's the OAG's response vis-a-vis the Language Access Act -- a response that fails to acknowledge that not one ZRR meeting or hearing notice was ever translated into any other language ensuring the LEP communities were left out of the biggest policy change in DC history since Home Rule.

DC's affordable housing advocates also expose the ZRR for exacerbating the affordability crisis in the City.

ZRR: Elimination of Community Input

And, why is OP using the ZRR to eliminate community and ANC-input into projects that may directly affect residential communities, perhaps right next door to you?
Click here to see how the ZRR is "streamlining" the code.
~download pdf showing elimination of community input~

During the ZRR process, the DC Office of Planning created a special document showing a matrix of allowable development envelopes shown in the current zoning rules versus the proposed zoning changes. But they made this special matrix available to only a select-few ANC's, for example: ANC-1C Matrix || ANC-5A Matrix

In comparison, ANC's located East of the River did not get this special OP matrix, even when they inquired. OP told these ANC's to do the work for themselves. This meant going online, simultaneously opening up several PDF's, digging out information from hundreds of pages of zoning changes, all of this to create a new document from scratch depicting their own special matrix. OP wouldn't provide technical assistance and would not acknowledge the very real digital divide that exists across class and age in the District.
See this email from OP staffers shoving PDF's at EOR ANC's.

How is it acceptable that City planners want to triple the area of Downtown DC with absolutely no studies showing how the impacts of such a decision may have on our City infrastructure or already maxed out transportation modalities.

And, the nearly the entire expanded Downtown will not require any any affordable housing as is required throughout the City! This demonstrates exclusive planning and a moving away from building an "Inclusive City" which is the main goal of the DC Comprehensive Plan.

click image for larger view

The Zoning Regulations Rewrite (ZRR)
Brought to you by the Office of Planning and Zoning

The Zoning Regulation Rewrite (ZRR) represents a massive overhaul to DC's zoning code -- the rules that determine how DC develops (height, density, types of development around the city).

See this link:

DC has had zoning rules in place since 1958. As a compendium, these rules have been amended hundreds of times as needed to address deficiencies in development planning policies. There are decades of caselaw that supports these current rules.

Over the recent years, the DC Office of Planning has sought to rework all of these rules in an effort they claim to reformat and make it easier to use for the public. The ZRR is 1,000 pages long (the current rules are only 750 pages long).


At the end of May 2015, the public was made aware of the final language of these rule changes, as published in english-only in the DC Register.

See this link:

Additional "final" edits were made by the Zoning Commission at meetings in September and November 2015. Further, at these last meetings, the Zoning Commission denied any more extensions of time for folks seeking to be included in the deliberations.

The ZRR will affect all residents and every neighborhood for the next several generations.