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Task force reviews D.C. master plan

(Published November 18, 2002)


Staff Writer

A task force appointed by Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the D.C. City Council has begun a major review of the Districtís Comprehensive Plan, which provides strategic direction for zoning and other land use decisions by city agencies.

The task force, which met for the first time on Nov. 12, is expected to help shape recommendations for changes that the cityís Office of Planning must deliver to the council by February 2003.

The Comprehensive Plan, adopted by the council in 1984, addresses transportation, economic development, housing, environmental, historic preservation, human services and other issues for each of the Districtís eight wards. Regulatory decisions, particularly in regard to land use and development, are supposed to be made in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan.

Periodic amendments to the Comprehensive Plan have sparked controversy. Growing dissatisfaction with the process for updating the plan led to appointment of the task force to assess the planís current content, its linkage to other plans and policies, and the amendment process.

"We listened to a variety of citizens who were familiar with the Comprehensive Plan process, and heard their concerns loud and clear," council Chairman Linda Cropp said. "It makes a great deal of sense to do this assessment before we begin the next amendment cycle."

The 29-member task force is chaired by John H. McKoy of D.C. Agenda, a nonprofit organization that was founded as an offshoot of the politically powerful, secretive business group known as the Federal City Council.

Members of the task force are Pedro Alfonso, representing Councilwoman Carol Schwartz; John Bailey, representing Councilman Jim Graham; Wayne Dickson, representing Councilman Jack Evans; Jill Diskan, representing Councilman Phil Mendelson; Bernard Gray, representing Councilwoman Sandy Allen; Ann Hughes Hargrove, representing Council Chairman Cropp; Anthony Hood, representing Councilman Vincent Orange; Ellen Jones, representing the Washington Area Bicyclist Association; Gwyn E. Jones, representing the D.C. chapter of the Sierra Club; Steve Jones, representing the Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities; Sally Kram, representing the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area; Barbara Lang, representing the D.C. Chamber of Commerce; Mark Loud, representing Councilman Adrian Fenty; Sue Marshall, representing the Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness Inc.; Donald Murray, representing Councilman Kevin P. Chavous; Gregory R. New, representing the D.C. federation of Civic Associations; George H.F. Oberlander, representing the D.C. Preservation League; Penny Pagano, representing Councilwoman Kathy Patterson; Juan J. Patian, representing the Latino Economic Development Corp.; Allison Prince, representing Council Chairman Cropp; Marshall Purnell, representing the American Institute of Architects; Johnnie M. Scott Rice, representing Councilman David Catania; Laura Richards, representing the federation of Citizens Associations; Mary Rudolph, representing the Greater Washington Board of Trade; Steve Sher, representing the D.C. Building Industry Council; Loretta tate, representing the Marshall Heights Community development Organization; Gerry Widdicombe, representing Councilman Harold Brazil; and Dick Wolf, representing Councilwoman Sharon Ambrose.

Eight government officials also were appointed as non-voting ex-officio members of the task force. They are Timothy Dimond, director of the Office of Property Management; Patti Gallagher, director of the National Capital Planning Commission; Anthony Gittens, executive director of the Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Shane Salter, a representative of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth and Families; Stephen Green, a representative of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; Gregory McCarthy, director of the mayorís Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs; Michelle Pourceau, a representative of the Department of Transportation; and Sarah Woodhead, facilities director for D.C. Public Schools.

The task force is scheduled to host a panel discussion on Nov. 21 to hear from three persons who were instrumental in developing comprehensive plans for Kansas City, Minneapolis and Denver. The meeting will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. in the former council chamber on the first floor of One Judiciary Square, 441 Fourth St. NW. Featured speakers will be City Manager Bob Collins of Kansas City, Mo.; Paul Farmer, former Minneapolis planning director and now executive director of the National American Planning Association; and Ellen Ittelson, the director of planning in Denver.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator