Yes, you read that right. This afternoon, a coalition of groups and individuals opposed to the zoning, Height Act, and other changes proposed by the Office of Planning and its director, Harriet Tregoning, are staging a catch-all dance-party protest.
“Has D.C.’s Office of Planning pissed you off and screwed over your community?” a group called DC for Reasonable Development, led by Ralph Nader employee Chris Otten, asks in an email promoting the protest. “Has OP shown you their utmost ignorance of community-minded development and a total disregard of the Comprehensive Plan? Has the Director of OP, Harriet Tregoning’s attacks on DC’s Height Act really frustrated you? TIME TO PROTEST!“
Lyndi Borne, an organizer with the DC Zoning Changes Network, which she describes as “a pretty loose coalition,” follows up with an email rallying people to the protest in which she writes, “Don’t Believe the Hype: Day 1 of Zoning Hearings Actions! (“We Need More Time!”) Testify, Protest, Dance Party !“
Borne says she “consider[s] it a dance party” if even just two or three people dance. “I hope there will be an outdoor dance party as it is quite chilly today!” she says in an email.
The number listed on the DC Zoning Changes Network website sent me to a voicemail message recorded by a voice that sounds very much like Otten’s, and Borne confirms that Otten is involved with the group. Otten has been active in opposing proposed mixed-use redevelopment of the West End Library and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.
Today’s protest will take place in front of the D.C. government building at One Judiciary Square, which houses the Office of Zoning, at 5:30 p.m. (The Office of Planning is located near the Southwest Waterfront.)
“Harriet Tregoning forgets that THIS IS OUR CITY!” the email from DC for Reasonable Development states. “We demand better planning. We deserve development without displacement. We expect City officials to follow the laws of zoning, planning, and construction. … We will have signs, banners, and the people’s voices!”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery