Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Balancing Growth for a Livable Neighborhood

Every neighborhood has characteristics, conditions, configurations, and functions that make it unique. And sometimes the complexity of a particular neighborhood isn't readily apparent unless you look closely, talk with those most effected, observe conditions over time, or happen to live or work there. As a public
representative who often deals with controversial topics, projects, and concerns, I know it's essential to thoroughly research the situation and issues, so that decisions coming forth from our ANC are well informed, accurate and well considered. Within my Single Member District, in particular, there are several complex projects underway.

Without a doubt, our corner of the world has been proactive in efforts to help shape new development projects, attract goods and services that residents here want, and to support local businesses. However, this open and active perspective does not preclude our awareness of DC Code and Regulations and the purpose they serve in maintaining and advancing the public good. It's essential to strike a balance so that new, large scale development can coexist with the surrounding historic neighborhood without creating substantial detriment to the surrounding area or the public good. And, the DC Comprehensive Plan, land use and zoning regulations address this need for balance and provide a guide to carry out the objectives.

So, it's important to learn as much as possible about these projects, the zoning code, historic preservation law, the particulars about the site and surrounding properties. Equally important, is meeting with constituents and local business owners who are most effected by the projects and investigating the impact on health, safety and transportation. Meeting with the architects and developers to learn the plan details , offer assistance and share information that helps the project's impact on health, safety, historic preservation and transportation. Clearly, this background work helps me to advocate for you before city agencies, with our councilmembers and DC regulatory boards.

Lastly, I've attempted to fully serve my constituents in ANC 2B09 over these many years, both by reaching out to those in need and being available to those who have sought my help. Happily, my job as ANC Commissioner is to represent the citizen interests and work for continued balance.