I want to start my final newsletter by thanking all of you who I have had the pleasure of working with during my time as Director of the Office of Planning (OP) and in my longer DC government career. I must also thank the tireless and incredibly talented staff of OP, who have pushed through numerous critical priorities, often at the same time, to ensure we are providing the necessary support for the District’s most pressing priorities and needs. I knew I could start my next chapter because the entire staff, including an immensely talented leadership team, will be here to continue to push the agency’s work to new heights.
As we close out 2021, the team is looking back at what we have accomplished this year. The Comprehensive Plan Update went into effect in August. This is especially important as it supports Mayor Bowser’s bold goals around 36,000 homes by 2025, with 12,000 of those affordable. The Mayor took a critically important step in furthering housing equity this month with the release of the Rock Creek West Roadmap which outlines how we can produce over 2,000 additional affordable housing units in high-opportunity areas west of Rock Creek. In 2021, OP moved forward with the Zoning Commission critical expansions of the inclusionary zoning regulations to produce more affordable housing as we continue to look for innovative ways to support the Mayor’s Housing Equity goals that prioritize an equitable distribution of affordable housing across all 8 Wards of the District. We also engaged residents and stakeholders from across the District as part of our community planning efforts and our three ongoing Small Area Plans are nearing completion. This year, OP also launched a new Demographic Data Hub and played a critical role in supporting the DC Council’s Subcommittee on Redistricting.
This important work will continue in 2022. OP will continue to support economic recovery initiatives through our Streets for People work to revitalize our downtown public spaces to support economic recovery and vibrancy. Of course, we are also excited to continue neighborhood-level planning efforts in every Ward of the District. Over the past five years we have engaged residents through the Comprehensive Plan update to advance a vision of an equitable city where all residents can thrive, regardless of income, race, age, or background. We were excited to launch a series of new neighborhood planning initiatives and to partner with residents and community stakeholders to develop community-focused plans that can support neighborhood-level needs and goals in the context of the needs of our city, region, and beyond.
Though we continue to face challenges and uncertainty due to the ongoing global pandemic, I am proud of how we have adapted and pushed through. I am excited for what 2022 holds for all of us and our city. I wish you all a safe and wonderful holiday season and a very happy new year!