Kudos to City Paper and to Mike DeBonis for your story on the Fenty administration’s attempt to nullify inclusionary zoning (Loose Lips, “Affordable Housing Not Inclusive,” 11/30). For over three years, I worked on the Campaign for Inclusionary Zoning, and it breaks my heart to see the District throw away the opportunity to provide affordable housing at virtually no cost to the city.
It seems to me that the administration believes if enough time passes, the responsibility to implement D.C.’s inclusionary zoning law will go away. People working for the administration need to keep in mind that all D.C. mayors take an oath to “faithfully execute the laws of the District of Columbia” and that our home rule charter says, “The Mayor shall be responsible for the proper execution of all laws relating to the District.” According to the inclusionary zoning legislation passed unanimously by the council on Dec. 17, 2006, “The activities which the Mayor shall undertake include promulgating regulations to implement the Inclusionary Zoning Program.”
The inclusionary zoning legislation says absolutely nothing about the need to get permission from the District of Columbia Building and Industry Association. However, according to Jeffrey Gelman, the association spokesman quoted in the story, the implementation of inclusionary zoning has become dependent on the approval of this trade association for local developers.
Mr. DeBonis suggests that the administration’s failure to implement inclusionary zoning is a response to campaign contributions from three developers, but I very much doubt it. During the mayoral primary, the overwhelming majority of developer dollars went to Mr. Fenty’s opponents. To me, it is very ironic that the administration of a mayor that owes so little to developers has allowed them to hijack an important housing program.
It is my hope that Mayor Fenty will demonstrate that his administration is not hostage to developers by publishing draft inclusionary zoning regulations in the next issue of the D.C. Register.