Gray nominates Rob Miller for DC Zoning Commission
Zoning Commission vice-chairman Konrad Schlater recently stepped down as he is moving to Chicago. Today, Mayor Gray nominated Ward 3 resident Rob Miller to take the slot.
Image from Rob Miller.
Miller is deputy director of the Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, a part of the mayor's office which handles, as the name implies, policy and working with the legislature. When Gray was chairman, Miller staffed hearings overseeing the Office of Zoning and Office of Planning, including many about the zoning update and DC's Comprehensive Plan before that.
He is also a mayoral appointee to the National Capital Planning Commission, and previously served on NCPC as the representative of the council all the way back to 1985.
His wife, Ruthanne Miller, is now chair of the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) board. She replaced Charles Brodsky, whose aggressive rulings and legal troubles we discussed yesterday. Ms. Miller also served 6 years on the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the last 2 as its chair.
Cheryl Cort, Policy Director for the Coalition for Smarter Growth, said,
Rob is a great choice. He has been part of every comprehensive plan process going back decades. We will benefit from his years of experience dealing with land use policy and the public through a role on the Zoning Commission.Zoning Commission is extremely important
I have great confidence in his ability to faithfully apply and interpret the zoning rules, and help the city revise its badly outdated 1950s code. I suspect no person in DC has listened to more hours of public testimony than Rob.
The Zoning Commission is one of DC's most powerful boards. In most jurisdictions, the elected legislature is the final arbiter of zoning decisions. Because of DC's strange hybrid federal-local dynamic, the zoning power lies with a 5-member board which has 3 mayoral appointees and 2 federal members, from the National Park Service and Architect of the Capitol.
The DC Council passes plans like the Comprehensive Plan and small area plans and the Zoning Commission must make decisions consistent with those plans, but the council has no control over rezoning any land, changing the text of the zoning code, or approving any Planned Unit Developments.
As a result, it's absolutely critical that the District's members share the mayor's agenda. The Gray administration has set ambitious goals to attract 250,000 new residents by 2032, make 75% of trips by bicycle, walk or transit, and cut obesity, energy usage, and greenhouse gas emissions all by 50%.
How the built environment develops will make or break these goals. The decisions of the Zoning Commission, from the citywide zoning update to individual projects, will make this possible or move the District in the opposite direction.
Too often in the past, nominations to powerful boards like the Zoning Commission, the Historic Preservation Review Board, the Alcoholic Beverage Control board and others, revolved around personal relationships instead of policy concordance.
This choice has both, and will keep DC on a solid path toward greater livability and sustainability.
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