DC lawmakers extend eviction ban, pass massive growth plan

A massive development plan for D.C. that lawmakers revisit every two decades is now on its way to the mayor’s desk. The D.C. Council also extended the ban on evictions and utility shut-offs.

The D.C. Council unanimously passed the comprehensive plan, which has a focus on adding 12,000 affordable housing units across the city and re-imagining the development of everything from bike lanes to theaters.

Lawmakers consider the 1,400-page document a blueprint for future development. Working off Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vision submitted a year ago, lawmakers tweaked the plan to meet some 10,000 community suggestions.

Council Chair Phil Mendelson recently added more than 26 pages of amendments to address activists’ concerns around racial equality and protecting marginalized groups from being displaced.

While the plan does aim to re-imagine sectors of the city, it does not change the zoning in place to allow for immediate development, which must run its course in a separate process.

In separate legislation, the council decided to pass an extension on the moratorium on evictions and utility shut-offs for those who cannot afford to pay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a vote that was not recommended by several lawmakers who suggested that keeping the ban on evictions in effect could threaten federal funding to the city.

Mendelson was in favor of resuming eviction filings because he said tenants and landlords will seek out assistance from a federal grant D.C. must dispense by September. If the city doesn’t use the money, they lose it; and Council member Mary Cheh says she’s concerned the money will be gone when people realize they need it to pay back-rent or utilities.

The vote extends the moratorium until the District’s state of emergency ends in July.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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