Frustration at the slow pace of development of the District's comprehensive plan for land use was aired last week at the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Avenue Corridor Committee (WACC).
WACC, an eight-year-old coalition of citizen groups and Advisory Neighborhood Commission representatives in Ward 3, has been overseeing citizen involvement in a detailed land use plan for Ward 3 and trying to pressure the District government into faster action.
"The home rule act of 1974 mandated that a comprehensive plan be devised and this part of home rule is not moving at all speedily enough," said Chuck Clinton, president of WACC.
The major piece of business at last week's meeting was a vote on WACC's position paper on the ideals for land use planning in Ward 3. The paper, which calls for reduction of air and noise pollution, concern for traffic overloads, and creation of buffer zones between residential and commercial areas, was passed unanimously by a voice vote.
Clinton said the paper would now be sent to citizen groups, the mayor's office and others.
"We hope it will become a motivator and ideal for the entire planning process. We hope it will get things moving," Clinton said.
Severl persons at the meeting expressed the fear that other wards are not as far along in developing as detailed a plan as Ward 3. A spokesman for the Municipal Planning Office, who attended the meeting, confirmed that Ward 3 was much in advance of other wards. Planning office officials distributed copies of a 45-page detailed MPO land use plan for Ward 3 which was based on ideas as expressed by Ward 3. The plan covers land use issues, preferred and alternative plans for plots throughout the ward.
"We have heard that the comprehensive plan will be vague and won't have the detail that Ward 3's plan has. If that happens, what's all this effort worth?" said Raymond Mushal, WACC chairman for zoning.
Mushal suggested that WACC urge D.C. planning official Ben Gilbert to present the Ward 3 plan as an element of the comprehensive plan and that WACC lobby in the City Council for adoption of the Ward 3 plan.
"We have to figure out the best strategy to get our plan implemented and it may not be the MPO process," Clinton added.
In an interview after the meeting, Clinton noted that there was more pressure for development in Ward 3 than in other wards and that was why WACC and the citizens were taking such an aggressive and what he called "valiant" role.
"From Neiman Marcus in Friendship Heights to the waterfront in Georgetown to the Rockefeller Estate, there is tremendous pressure here for development. If we can get our plan accepted, then development pressure can bubble up in other parts of the city which need rejuvenation. Our aim is to get the city moving on this plan," he said.