Mendelson Opens Up on Comp Plan at Empower Session

Media release

December 14, 2020

Contact Nick DelleDonne



Mendelson Opens Up on Comp Plan at Empower Session


“More density does not necessarily mean more affordable housing in DC,” said DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson at a meeting of the citywide organizing group Empower DC on Dec. 12.


The Empower session followed Council hearings on the Comp Plan in November when Mendelson heard criticism of the Mayor’s proposed changes to a swollen 1500-page document that would guide development in the city for the next five years.


The program format of questions and follow up from Caitlin Cocilova of the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless led Mendelson to an unusual reminiscence of his early career as a community organizer. He said he recognizes that the Mayor’s shift from Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) to changes in the Future Land Use Maps will reduce opportunities for community engagement. He also said he is not against single family zoning.


Of more than 150 registered for the session, here in Dupont East, we saw a strong neighborhood contingent. A moving plea from Brookland activist Caroline Petti that the Mayor’s Plan seemed determined to kill neighborhood culture seemed to strike a chord in the Chairman. Some of us speculated that it may be time to mount a campaign to contradict Smart Growth’s drum beat to #BuildMore.


Dupont East Civic Action Association (DECAA) was among neighbors in this community critical of the planning document and called for its rejection. “The Mayor’s Comp Plan amendments do nothing to stop displacement, provide affordable low-income housing, or promote community-led equitable development,” said DECAA President Nick DelleDonne.


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