PRESS RELEASE, DC GRASSROOTS PLANNING COALITION – WARD ONE
Ward One Residents Say Office of Planning Excluded Limited-English Speaking Communities; Mayor Doesn’t Ensure Comp Plan Notices/Materials Are Translated
April 8, 2021, WASHINGTON, DC — The DC City Council received a letter from more than 70 Ward One residents who among other concerns are advocating for major planning decisions, like those regarding the Mayor’s proposed changes to the DC Comprehensive Plan, to include communities that may not speak English-first.
From the letter:
“Our neighbors who don’t speak English have been left completely out of this process as [the DC Office of Planning] never provided translation of the outreach materials or any publications that explain the Comprehensive Plan and the changes proposed.”
Ward One, and DC overall, consists historically of centers bustling with immigrant vitality — Africans, South and East Asians, Central and South Americans, peoples from the Arabian Peninsula, and many others from around the world — live and work in DC for generations now.
These important communities represent more than 3% of the local population, a critical threshold for the Language Access Act governing when important DC documents need to be translated by law, but weren’t for DC Comp Plan materials, notices, and handouts.
The letter from seventy Ward 1 residents also asks Ward One Councilmember Brianne Nadeau, “to rescind her last minute changes to the Plan maps” calling them “a complete surprise” and suggesting “affected communities aren’t aware of her suggestions, and the changes are substantial in that they [permanently] push the density of major corridors up and significantly so.”
The Mayor’s proposed Plan changes now sit with the DC City Council who are reviewing it, and simultaneously, the Council Office on Racial Equity, an office recently created and charged with evaluating how DC laws — like the Comp Plan – is determining how the Plan changes may adversely impact DC’s most vulnerable communities.
SEE LETTER BELOW.