Eric Shaw has departed as chief of the Office of Planning, WAMU’S Martin Austermuhle reported Thursday morning. OP oversees land use and design review, historic preservation, and neighborhood planning; Mayor Muriel Bowser tapped Shaw to lead the agency at the beginning of 2015. Andrew Trueblood, currently chief of staff to Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, will serve as interim OP director.
Trueblood did not respond to City Paper‘s emails asking whether he will remain Kenner’s chief of staff, or when he was asked to take over Shaw’s job. Spokespeople for Kenner, Bowser, and the Office of Planning did not respond to City Paper‘s calls and emails by press time. City Paper will update this post if they respond.
It is unclear whether Shaw stepped down from his role voluntarily or was asked to resign, but his is not the first high-profile departure from Bowser’s administration this year. Courtney Snowden, Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity, HyeSook Chung, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, and Tommie Jones, director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services, are among the individuals no longer serving in those roles. (Jones now works in the Department of General Services.)
On Tuesday, Shaw tweeted a photo of Bowser speaking at her election night watch party at Franklin Hall, with the caption “Excited to see my Mayor
@MurielBowser elected to a 2nd term.”
His departure comes as the Office of Planning has been criticized by housing affordability advocates, urban planners, and D.C. residents—and at times, members of the D.C. Council—for bungling the revision process of the Comprehensive Plan, a mammoth document that acts as a guide for development and construction in the city. A 16-hour Council hearing about these revisions in March capped months of fraught public debate about how to change the plan.
“It’s been four long years,” one urban planner, who requested anonymity to freely discuss the Comp Plan revision process, says of Shaw’s tenure. “We are hopeful we can put someone in who can be much more effective in engaging different stakeholders. There’s a lot of debate about how the city should be growing and accommodating people. These are real challenges. [Shaw] just never stepped up to be part of that tough debate about how we can [build] in a more inclusive way.”