D.C. zoning revamp stokes residents’ fears about changing city

District planning officials are rewriting the city’s zoning rules for the first time in 54 years, a process that has hastened anxieties about growth and at times has erupted into a pitched debate about the future of the city.
The proposed changes are small — allowing a corner store here, fewer parking spaces there — but the debate has grown in recent months, pitting some longtime residents and civic activists against city officials and advocates of denser transit- and pedestrian-oriented development. Planners say the changes are necessary to shape a growing city, one that could see hundreds of thousands of new residents in coming decades as congestion fouls automobile commutes, energy prices rise and environmental considerations become more urgent. Detractors fear that the changes will dramatically change the character, or at least the car-centric way of life, in outlying residential neighborhoods. The D.C. Zoning Commission is expected to consider and adopt the new zoning code starting in the spring. City planners are holding a series of community meetings from Dec. 8 though Jan. 16, one in each of the city’s eight wards.

Washington Post

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