Mayor Marion Barry has agreed to delay sending the proposed comprehensive land use plan to the City Council until September in response to complaints from citizens groups and council members that the city was rushing adoption of the final draft.
"This will give people a more leisurely opportunity to look at the land use map and to get comments back," D.C. planning director John H. McKoy said yesterday.
McKoy said the new timetable also will give citizens groups, developers and others an opportunity to study parts of the proposal that have not yet been released, including segments on historic preservation and urban design. The historic preservation and urban design segments are expected to be released soon, McKoy said. The land use plan will be the blueprint for residential and commercial development in the city for the next 20 years.
Neighborhood groups, upset because they felt the city shut them out of the drafting process, also have complained that it was unfair for the city to ask them to pass judgment on the plan before all of the segments were made public.
The delay is the second major concession the Barry administration has been forced to make on the plan in response to criticism from citizens groups and council members.
In February, more than three months after the plan was released last fall, the city agreed to include a detailed land use map that will show how the plan's new policies would affect residential and commercial areas--a protection sought by community groups opposed to further commercial encroachment.
Late last month, a majority of the council called for Barry to postpone sending the proposed plan to the council from his July 1 deadline until September. Council members noted that the council's summer recess begins July 15.
The delay was praised yesterday by all sides.
"Now the community gets an opportunity to get its teeth into this thing," said William Washburn III, planning director for the Anacostia Economic Development Corporation.
John (Kirk) White, a development attorney, said the delay will enable the city to prepare an improved final draft.
City Council member John A. Wilson (D-Ward 2) said it also will benefit the council's deliberations on the plan.
McCoy said that public hearings scheduled for later this month and printed in yesterday's District Weekly will be turned into community workshops. The public hearings now will be held in May.