Testimony of Theresa Conroy, Candidate for Ward 3
September 26, 2006, Council Committee
of the Whole
Bill 16-876, Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2006
Madame Chair and members of the Committee of the
Whole, Im Theresa Conroy, candidate for Ward 3 Council Member. Time
does not permit a comprehensive reaction to the Mayors draft of the
new comprehensive plan, but I do have a few comments.
I agree with the use of area elements that
correspond to natural boundaries, such as Rock Creek West, rather than
I regret that the Transportation Element of the
Plan does not call for the repair and reopening of Klingle Road,
approved by the Council in 2003.
The plan assumes the continued existence of the
Height Law which limits building height to 130 feet. I think that we
should explore the possibility of building higher than that if it
advances District interests like increasing the tax base or affordable
The Rock Creek West element calls for the
synchronization of traffic lights on Wisconsin and on Connecticut
Avenues. Absolutely right, and why wait?
Most important, with many Ward 3 residents I
worry that the plan might permit unrestrained development, especially
in the Upper Wisconsin and Upper Connecticut corridors. Even a
project that is good for the metropolitan area or for the District as
a whole might still be bad for neighboring residents. If the plan
leads to zoning changes that permit as a matter of right more density
and height, neighbors will have no effective way to protect their
The plan acknowledges that there could be a lot
of development within existing zoning, so we should not change it. So
a developer who wants to build beyond those limits would have to go to
the Board of Zoning Adjustment, which would have to give great
weight to the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and hear
from neighborhood associations or individual residents.
Indeed, the ANCs should be fully recognized as
the official, authentic, legitimate voice of the neighborhoods. The
executive branch should abolish the neighborhood clusters and use
ANC areas as the local subdivisions of government.
The Northwest Current newspaper recently asked
Democratic Ward 3 Council candidates, Should the D.C. Council adopt
the revised Comprehensive Plan before the new Mayor and Council take
office? One candidate replied, It should be approved after the
primary, but before the new mayor takes office, to minimize undue
political influence. I say, not so fast. There is still a general
election campaign ahead of us, in which the plan, in Ward 3 and
elsewhere, will be and should be an issue. We have heard from the
executive branch, the task force, and many organizations and
individuals on the plan, and they have done good work. Now let us
hear from the voters, all of them.