Friday, December 12, 2014

SW Neighborhood Plan Released

After more than a year in the making, the Office of Planning released the draft Southwest Neighborhood Plan last month. The plan creates an urban design, land use, and neighborhood preservation framework to enhance Southwest assets for the next 5 to 10 years. A summary of recommendations was released back in June, but three major changes have been made since then: 
  • The Plan makes no land use change recommendations for the townhomes adjacent to Waterside Towers along Maine Avenue.
  • The SW branch library should remain in its current site, but in a new facility. There was a proposal by DMPED and DCPL over the summer to move the library to a site owned by the District at Waterfront Station as a mixed-use development. That proposal will not be moving forward. 
  • A zoning change is not recommended for the Southeastern University campus site at 6th and I streets. However, Shakespeare Theatre Company will need a zoning change in order to move forward with its plans for the site. It can pursue a land use change through the Comprehensive Plan Amendment process that will be underway in 2015. 
The full plan can be found here. Seven key concepts from the SW Neighborhood Plan and goals for each are listed below: 

Model Community 
  • Support the responsible redevelopment of the Greenleaf complex to benefit existing residents and realize a well-designed development and mixed-income community.
  • Maintain a mix of affordable and market-rate residential units that better serve community needs. 
  • Update public realm and transit infrastructure to enhance accessibility for all. 
  • Promote healthy living and food access for the entire community. 
Modernist Gem 
  • Celebrate the distinctive character of Southwest and promote preservation of its outstanding Modernist architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. 
  • Retain and enhance the character of the L’Enfant Plan in Southwest including associated vistas and reservations. 
  • Ensure that future development is compatible with the existing design of the community. 
Green Oasis 
  • Ensure Lansburgh Park evolves into a central park that will become a center of activity for the Southwest neighborhood. 
  • Improve connectivity through greenways, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, wayfinding signage, and coordinated programming throughout all Southwest Parks. 
  • Adopt Sustainable DC goals to showcase the Southwest Neighborhood as a steward of green, sustainable practices targeting stormwater management, healthy living, and energy efficiency. 
Arts and Cultural Destination 
  • Build on and market existing cultural assets and institutions to reinforce the concept of an arts and cultural destination. 
  • Strengthen ‘I’ Street as a cultural corridor. 
  • Grow the presence of the arts throughout the Southwest neighborhood.
Thriving Town Center 
  • Establish a strategic marketing approach to attract a unique and tailored retail mix that can promote 4th Street as Southwest’s neighborhood main street. 
  • Encourage future land use designation changes to key corner parcels to promote a vibrant mix of neighborhood town center uses along 4th Street.
  • Celebrate 4th Street’s envisioned vibrancy as a neighborhood main street, through temporary urbanism practices and through the burgeoning local arts movement as encouraged by the city’s creative economy agenda. 
Optimized District Parcels 
  • Address land use and future potential for District owned parcels that comprise Southwest’s government cluster to reflect opportunities to accommodate improved services, allow a mix of uses, and optimize government operations and assets. 
  • Provide new and improved state of the art public facilities. 
Vibrant Connections 
  • Enhance pedestrian connections and safety throughout the neighborhood. 
  • Improve neighborhood bicycle infrastructure and safety. 
  • Establish M Street as multi-modal neighborhood boulevard linking Southwest to adjacent neighborhoods and the waterfront. 
  • Ensure that Maine Avenue provides an attractive transition from the Southwest neighborhood to the Wharf development. 
  • Support the transformation of South Capitol Street into a high density, urban boulevard that establishes a robust pedestrian realm. 
  • Restore L’Enfant Streets on redevelopment sites, including public properties. 
  • Improve the underpasses connecting the Southwest neighborhood to areas to the north. 
The public comment period for the Draft Plan will remain open until January 30, 2015. The Office of Planning will host a Mayoral Hearing on the Draft Plan on January 28, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at 1100 4th Street, Second Floor Conference Room. To submit comments: 

Melissa Bird 
Neighborhood Planning Coordinator for Ward 6 
DC Office of Planning 
1100 4th Street SW, Suite E650 
Washington, DC 20024 
Phone: (202) 478-1323 
Fax: (202) 442-7638 

The ANC also recommends that they should be CCed on any comments on the Plan (

Lansburgh Park rendering courtesy of Office of Planning. The SW Neighborhood Plan recommends that a design competition should be considered to create a signature and beautiful park space.

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