Zoning Commission Called a “Rubberstamp” for Developers

DC for Reasonable Development
Press Release, Chris Otten, 202 810 276

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, “Pats Anthony Hood on the Head” at Reconfirmation Hearing; Zoning Commission Called a “Rubberstamp” for Developers

Anthony Hood has been Zoning Commission Chairman since 2007, and has sat on the Zoning Commission since 1998.

On, Monday, March 26, 2018, Hood testified to Council Chairman Phil Mendelson about his reconfirmation to the Zoning Commission for another 4-year term that would end in 2022.

The DC Zoning Commission is an independent planning agency that reviews (and approves 99%) of the major development projects in the City. The Zoning Commission has 5 unelected members, 3 appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council and 2 members are chosen by the US President (due to DC’s colonial status).

“Hood’s zoning decisions directly affect my life and that of my community,” said Barry Farms resident and Ward 8 mother, Detrice Belt. “My family is facing displacement because of an ignorant commission of five unelected people, some who don’t even live in DC.”

Despite last week’s marathon hearing about the Comprehensive Plan, Mendelson didn’t nitpick Hood on his view of how the new development projects the Zoning Commission approves may bring on displacement of vulnerable residents throughout DC’s neighborhoods. Between 2000-2010, the District has lost 40,000 Black residents.

Mendelson also didn’t ask Hood about his role as Chairman of the Zoning Commission in accounting for policies in the Comprehensive Plan that seek to mitigate major luxury project impacts like gentrification and negative effects on the environment and over capacity of existing public services like schools, clinics, and libraries.

“Today, Council Chairman Phil Mendelson patted Hood on head, giving him a big pass,” said James Shabazz, native Washingtonian and Ward 4 resident. “It’s almost as if the hundred people decrying bad planning and the ridiculous real estate speculation didn’t even happen at the 14-hour hearing last week.”


“This is nothing personal against Anthony Hood. My concern lies with the Zoning Commission which has ignored its own regulations to approve applications even when the adverse impacts to the community site were well documented,” stated Sherice Muhammad, Ward 7 ANC Chair and longtime District resident. “Such adverse impacts included flaws in site design, site analysis, mitigations, infrastructure, environment and transportation analysis, were willfully ignored. It begs the question if the Zoning Commission will continue to honor the Mayor’s priorities at the expense of the tax paying residents of the District of Columbia.”

Several witnesses called the Zoning Commission a “rubberstamp” at Anthony Hood’s hearing on Monday, but he said, “We are not rubberstamps, we change all of the projects in materials and density before we approve them.” Hood went on about the zoning process, “It’s not perfect.”

​Anthony Hood, a Ward 5 resident and DC native, has been on the Commission for twenty years during a time of dramatic changes to the built environment and demographics of the District.

The Council is under consideration of his fifth reconfirmation, most recently by Mayor Bowser.  Hood’s stipended service spans at least four Mayoral administrations.

There are no women of color or any DC resident from East of the River that has sat on the Zoning Commission in many many years.

Written public testimony about Anthony Hood’s re-confirmation to the Zoning Commission can be submitted to the City Council by April 9, 2018 (email: cow@dccouncil.us).




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