Resolution Proposing a Text Amendment to the DC Zoning Code to 
Require Small Campus Plans for Educational Institutions with over 100 students

Whereas, the city has recognized the unique considerations for locating community institutions, like schools, near the communities they serve thus requiring the Zoning Code to recognize the necessity of granting those institutions special exceptions from the zoning code in order to do so;

Whereas, the statutory authority and procedures for enactment and application of these special exceptions are detailed in Subtitle 11-U of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (DCMR)[1] and the Use Permissions for each Zoning District are described in that section but we will confine our discussion to the residential uses, the zoning district where most educational institutions in our Ward reside[2];

Whereas, the statutory authority and procedures for enactment and application of these special exceptions are detailed in Subtitle 11-U Section 203.1 (m) of the DCMR[3]  and states the following:

Private schools and residences for teachers and staff of a private school, but not including a trade school, subject to the following conditions:

  • Shall be located so that it is not likely to become objectionable to adjoining and nearby property because of noise, traffic, number of students, or otherwise objectionable conditions; 
  • Ample parking space, but not less than that required by this title, shall be provided to accommodate the students, teachers, and visitors likely to come to the site by automobile; and 
  • After hearing all evidence, the Board of Zoning Adjustment may require additional parking to that required by this title;

Whereas, the city, recognizing the unique considerations for locating institutions of higher learning throughout the city and the accompanying impacts they might have on the surrounding community, articulated in the Zoning Code additional considerations for ensuring those impacts are managed on a regular basis by requiring campus plans of those institutions to be presented to the Zoning Commission for approval;

Whereas, the statutory authority and procedures for enactment and application of these special exceptions are detailed in Subtitle 11-X1 of the DCMR[4];

Whereas, the statute reads “101.1 Education use by a college or university shall be permitted as a special exception…”

Whereas, the impacts on a day to day basis of smaller educational institutions such as private schools where students are for the most part not from the local community and so require transportation to and from the campus and are often younger thus not as able to utilize alternate transit modes such as mass transit, bicycles or longer walks, can be as much or more than the impacts of higher education institutions. Other educational institutions including DCPS and Charter Schools have a similar impact since they all operate for a good deal of the year five days a week;

Whereas, the city has made a priority of emphasizing a reduction in vehicular traffic and encouraging alternate transit modes in order to create a safer transit environment and to reduce the city’s carbon footprint;

Whereas, the impacts of the smaller educational institutions can only be addressed by the community when the institutions apply for special exceptions in the course of constructing or modifying facilities rather than on a regular basis, similar to colleges and universities, thus preventing the community from interacting with the institutions and mitigating their impacts;

Whereas, ANC3E sees little difference in the impacts of a large university, such as American University, and smaller educational institutions, and in fact sees more of an impact on a daily basis from the smaller institutions than the higher education ones, especially the amount of traffic generation;

Whereas, ANC3E has experienced a number of times where private institutions applying for development permits are the ones who discover transit issues and recommend mitigations as part of their applications rather than DDOT proactively recommending solutions, even when those solutions are relatively inexpensive and would result in an immediate benefit to the transit network;

Whereas, ANC3E would prefer to see the city proactively addressing these issues rather than reactively and within a formal structure in order that it be able to incorporate the latest improvements in transit management for all educational institutions;

Now therefore be it resolved,

  1.  ANC3E respectfully asks that the Zoning Commission consider modifying the text of the Zoning Code, specifically the following:
    1. Amend Subtitle 11-X Section 101.1 to read: “Education use by a college, university or any educational institution with more than 100 students shall be permitted as a special exception subject to review and approval by the Zoning Commission under Subtitle X, Chapter 9 after its determination that the use meets the applicable standards and conditions of this chapter.” In order to reflect the reality that smaller educational institutions have a similar impact as higher educational institutions and often much more so and should be required to manage those impacts to the satisfaction of the Zoning Commission on a regular basis;
    2. Adding subsection to the Section detailing Small Campus plans for educational institutions with student enrollments higher than 100 students and lower than 2500 that at a minimum describe a Transportation Management Plan (TMP) and a Transportation Demand Management plan (TDM) for the duration of the plan
  2. ANC3E further proposes that the city create a DCPS/DDOT/DCOP position for implementing a DCPS-wide strategy for implementing Small Campus Plans for each of its facilities that includes the elements mentioned above;

The resolution passed by a vote of X – X – X at a properly noticed meeting held on January 13th, 2022 at which a quorum was present (A quorum constituting 3 out of 5 Commissioners), with Commissioners Bender, Cohen, McHugh, Hall, and Quinn in attendance (5 Commissioners present).

__________________________

ANC 3E

By Jonathan Bender, Chairperson


[1] https://dcregs.dc.gov/Common/DCMR/ChapterList.aspx?subtitleNum=11-U

[2] Table 1.1

[3] https://dcregs.dc.gov/Common/DCMR/RuleList.aspx?ChapterNum=11-U2&ChapterId=3540

[4] https://dcregs.dc.gov/Common/DCMR/SectionList.aspx?SectionNumber=11-X101

-Resolution-Small Campus Plans for Eductional Institutions with over 100 students -DRAFT-v001