Comprehensive Plan: Federal Elements

Comprehensive Plan: Federal Elements

The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) approved release of the Final Draft Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital on October 1, 2015 for a public comment period ending December 7, 2015.  The Committee of 100 submitted comments to NCPC on December 4, 2015 (see below).  Comments applaud the significant work by NCPC on updating the plan with a new focus on vistas and viewsheds, an eloquent introduction, and a general improvement in policies.  However, the comments call for a greater emphasis on the importance of the Height of Buildings Act of 1910 to the shape and livability of Washington, DC, more recognition that Washington, DC is one city with a federal interest in the whole nation’s capital that represents the United States to the world, increased attention to signage and visual clutter, stronger protection for neighborhoods in accommodating foreign missions, and maintaining the current limited Central Employment Area. 

Washington, D.C. is unique in that its Comprehensive Plan is composed of two parts. The Federal Elements are prepared by the staff of the National Capital Planning Commission (a federal agency) and adopted by the Commission. The District Elements are prepared by the D.C. Office of Planning and adopted by the Council of the District of Columbia. Together these two sets of Elements constitute the “Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital”. Preparation of both the Federal and District Elements involve coordination with other District and federal agencies and opportunities for review and comment by organizations, businesses and individuals. The Federal Elements focus on Washington D.C., our capital city, but also address federal planning issues in the National Capital Region (NCR). The District Elements deal only with Washington, D.C.

The present Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan were adopted in 2004. For the past several years, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) has been undertaking a major revision and update of the Federal Elements. Individual Elements have been available for review and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City has provided written comments on four of those Elements. The Committee of 100 on the Federal City is abbreviated as the Committee of 100 or C100.

On October 1, 2015, the National Capital Planned Commission voted to release all the new draft Federal Elements in one package for a period of final public review (October 3-December 7, 2015). The Federal Elements package included an Introduction, Urban Design Element, Urban Design Technical Addendum, Federal Workplace Element, Foreign Missions & International Organizations Element, Transportation Elements, Federal Environment Element, Historic Preservation Element, Visitors & Commemoration Element and Action Plan Matrix. An eighth Element, Parks & Open Space, is not in the package, and will be completed in 2016.

All these Elements and other Sections are available on the NCPC website at  The October 1, 2015 Executive Director’s Recommendation on the “Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital: Federal Elements”, is also on the NCPC website. It includes background information and four appendices with a Summary of Policies, Summary of Changed Policies, and a Summary of Public Comments previously made on each Element.



icon 2017-02-24 C100 Cover Ltr To Eric Shaw (OP) On Resiliency
February 24, 2017, Stephen A. Hansen
The inclusion of the new multi-faceted Resilience Element in the Comprehensive Plan is an important step forward for our city. The Committee of 100’s Parks and Environment Subcommittee has recently completed a detailed study on how the District can adapt to climate change. This study is the first in a series of issues we will be addressing as noted in our letter to you of Feb. 20. It includes some policies and action items proposed for inclusion in the Resiliency Element that are briefly summarized below.
icon 2017-02-24 C100 Comp Plan Resiliency Study
February 24, 2017, Parks & Environment Subcommittee
DC Office of Planning (OP) and DC Department of Energy and Environment  (DOEE) recommend that climate resilience be incorporated in the DC Comprehensive Plan.  We commend them for this important forward-looking step.  Climate change will cause rising water levels and increased flooding.  To add to these challenges, there will be more people living in the city.  DC's 2015 population was 672,228, and OP projects population will increase to 987,245 in 2045.[1]

[1]OP, Citywide Community Workshop #6, 3 Nov. 2016.  DOEE, "Climate Ready DC: The District of Columbia's Plan to Adapt to a Changing Climate, draft for public comment" 10, 16 (2013).  Rising temperatures caused by climate change and effects on other infrastructure such as Metro, communications, Metrorail, and utilities are beyond the scope of this report.
icon C100 Letter Eric Shaw Comprehensive Plan
February 20, 2017, Stephen A. Hansen
We envision an amended Plan that includes and inspires all residents and stakeholders. The amended Plan should accommodate growth while respecting the District's built assets and national environment. Most of all, the Plan must respect both current, as well as future residents of the District of Columbia. Under these broad goals, we expect to focus on the following areas during this amendment cycle: (1) creating inclusive, successful neighborhoods; (2) strengthening historic districts and other resources; (3) building a working transportation system; and (4) fostering a resilient environment.
icon C100 Press Release - Developers Take Aim At Comp Plan
February 13, 2017, Caroline Petti
Some developers are taking aim at DC’s Comprehensive Plan— a key planning document that provides a framework for future city growth and development— in hopes of expediting projects by avoiding legal challenges by residents. Specifically, they are hoping to modify the Plan to preempt the ability of residents to challenge Planned Unit Developments (PUD).
icon C100 Comments On Parks Element Comprehensive Plan
June 21, 2016, Beth Purcell
The Committee of 100 is concerned with the overall Parks and Open Space Element. However, certain issues are particularly important, and particularly the Anacostia Park/RFK issue.
icon C100 Comments NCPC Federal Elements
December 4, 2015, C100
The Committee of 100 on the Federal City applauds the tremendous amount of work that has been done by the NCPC staff and Commission members, and by cooperating agencies and organizations, to bring the updated Elements and related sections to this point. We appreciate the opportunity to make these final comments on the draft Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital. We look forward to seeing the draft of the eighth Element, Parks and Open Space, when that draft element is completed and made available for public review later in 2016.