Recently the DC Council held a Public Hearing on PR25-0048- Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan Approval Resolution of 2022. This resolution approves the Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan, which was developed after over two dozen community events and a Mayoral hearing in 2022.
PR25-0048 was introduced by Chairman Mendelson at the request of Mayor Bowser.
Despite the rich history of the neighborhood surrounding Pennsylvania Avenue SE, it is still seen as a congested commuter route in and out of the District. Those in the community, over the years, have indicated the need for more affordable housing in the neighborhood, which would include options for potential homeowners and renters and other amenities. After hearing concerns from residents, the Council allocated funds for the DC Office of Planning to engage the community in drafting a small area plan for the Pennsylvania Avenue East corridor.
As a result, the Small Area Plan development began in April 2021. Between April 2021 and July 2022, the Office of Planning led or participated in 25 community engagement events, online and in-person. The proposed Small Area Plan was published and made available to the public on September 1, 2022, and a Mayoral hearing was conducted on October 1, 2022.
The Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan boundary runs roughly 1.5 miles long Pennsylvania Avenue SE from the eastern landing of the Sousa Bridge to Southern Avenue SE and extends a quarter mile to the north and south of the corridor. The corridor is roughly 0.7 square miles in total – representing 1 % of the District’s total land area. The neighborhoods in this plan area include L’Enfant Square, Randall Highlands, Penn Branch, DuPont Park, Fairlawn, Hillcrest, and Fairfax Village/Fort Davis.
This resolution approves the Pennsylvania Avenue East Small Area Plan, which provides a vision, guidelines, and recommendations for implementing the District’s Comprehensive Plan in the Pennsylvania Avenue East planning area. The purpose of the Small Area Plan is to set a "community-informed vision" for future development in the neighborhood.
Important sections from the resolution
The Small Area Plan is organized around four core themes:
(A) Economic Development and Retail Opportunity;
(B) Transportation Access and Connectivity;
(C) Housing Opportunities and Affordability; and
(D) Vibrant Public Realm and Urban Design.
Once approved, the Small Area Plan will provide supplemental guidance to the Zoning Commission and other District agencies in carrying out the policies of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital: District Elements.