The Washington, DC region is great >> and it can be greater.


Ward 1 candidates: Nadeau endorses DC's zoning update

We interviewed candidates for DC mayor and competitive council races for the April 1 primary, and recorded the conversations on video. We will be posting the videos for each subject area and each race over a few weeks. Here are the discussions about housing with candidates for Ward 1 on the DC Council. See all of the discussions here.

Images from the candidate websites.

When I asked Ward 1 challenger Brianne Nadeau whether she supports the zoning update's proposals to allow basement and garage apartments ("accessory dwellings), encourage more corner stores, and be more flexible about parking, she said she supports "all of [the proposals], yes."

Her opponent, incumbent councilmember Jim Graham, had recently invited the Committee of 100 to speak against the DC zoning update at a meeting he convened for Ward 1 residents. Theirs was the only point of view represented at Graham's town hall, and in publicizing the forum, Graham billed it as "an opportunity to explore what can be done to limit overdevelopment."

Nadeau doesn't think Graham's concerns are well-founded.

The first, the accessory dwellings and basement apartments: that gets to ... creating more affordability, creating more density where it's appropriate. The corner stores: creating a vibrant street front, that's what people want in their neighborhoods. Everybody wants to be able to go outside and grab a newspaper or coffee.

I have found that where I am on U Street, in the 14th and U corridor, we have a lot of high rises going up that don't need as much parking as we thought. My theory on parking in these buildings is if you build it they will come, and if you don't they will take transit.

Because our zoning code has not been revised for 60 years, we are losing opportunities to really serve our communities better, to really envision what our communities could be. I think the revisions are smart. They have taken into consideration, for 2 years of forums now, many community concerns. And they've moved, so the original plan has changed to take into consideration community concerns.

I talk to people who are concerned. They live in historic districts. They don't want to see eyesores built in their neighborhoods, and I understand that ... but I think we need to create more opportunities for affordability and dynamic space in our neighborhoods, and I think that's what the zoning code revision will do.

Ward 1 (and Ward 2) residents who haven't yet spoken on the zoning update can testify on Wednesday at the final public hearing.

This exchange was part of a longer conversation about transportation with Nadeau, where she also spoke up in favor of reforming the Residential Permit Parking (RPP) program, strongly advocated for bus lanes on 16th Street, and talked about her advocacy for the 15th Street cycle track while a member of ANC 1B.

Listen to the whole discussion below. Tomorrow, we will look at Jim Graham's comments on transportation.

We conducted the interviews at the Watha T. Daniel/Shaw library and the Gibson Plaza apartments, a mixed-income market rate and affordable housing building also in the Shaw neighborhood. Thanks to Martin Moulton for organizing the space and recording and editing the videos.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


Add a comment »

More and more impressed with Brianne. Ward 1 needs some fresh leadership.

by BTA on Feb 24, 2014 1:25 pm • linkreport

Mr Graham should go, but I wish the thoughtful and engaging Ms Nadeau would replace Anita Bonds or David Grosso; between voting present and acting like he just crawled out from under a rock every time he pitches questions from the dais or having Bonds show up looking like a deer in headlight whenever she needs to respond to residents' concerns, we'd be better having a gal like Brianne with backbone, grace and style — who's had experience working getting her hands dirty taking on issues with the community — as an At Large CM.

by Selena K on Feb 24, 2014 2:01 pm • linkreport

"Everybody wants to be able to go outside and grab a newspaper or coffee." This 1990s thought, grabbing a newspaper, will surely win her the votes of baby boomers and the newspaper industry.

by Liking Hard Copy on Feb 24, 2014 2:59 pm • linkreport

Dude, she killed it. Glad I donated to her. Let's hope she wins!

by h st ll on Feb 24, 2014 3:02 pm • linkreport

@Selena K

I have seen many houses with both Brianne and Settles signs in Ward 1.

by William on Feb 24, 2014 3:19 pm • linkreport

Empty Pantsuit.

This woman tried to force my neighborhood to be put back into Ward 1 even though we had struggled so hard unanimously to get into Ward 2 10 years ago (a thousand-person petition). Even though she did not have a single person our the area (out of 2 or 3 thousand) supporting her. What incredible GAUL.

Then she supported our being put back into 3D police from 2D where we had also gotten ourselves 10 years ago. She didn't know or care about the bad blood we'd had with 3D previously for 30 years or how much we enjoyed being in 2D.

Remember she doesn't even live in my neighborhood.

She seems to be just another vapid entitled AU princess of questionable IQ.

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 24, 2014 6:30 pm • linkreport

Got a link to any actual information about this, Tom?

by MLD on Feb 24, 2014 6:33 pm • linkreport

gall* unless she's French and you were going for a pun.

by BTA on Feb 24, 2014 7:33 pm • linkreport

"high rises" along U st are exactly the ones that need underground parking.

It is more questionable whether smaller, 10-20 unit buildings need underground parkng. I see both arguments, but I tend to lean to requiring underground parking when possible.

Of course, what people don't want to deal with is the 2-3 unit buildings -- far form high rises -- that just let residents park in the street rather than deal with parking areas. That is really the issue.

I'm very new to Ward 1, but Graham was quick to respond to my emails about 965 Flordia. GGW ignored that issue, which is interesting, and Nadeau didn't do anything.

by charlie on Feb 24, 2014 8:31 pm • linkreport

I'm encouraged by this interview - she seems like the right person to move the Ward forward on transportation and represent a diversity of voices amid the changes going on here and in the city as a whole. "The loudest voices … are not necessarily the ones you need to listen to" - a refreshing sentiment, and something I hope she can put into practice on the Council.

by Brett on Feb 24, 2014 10:42 pm • linkreport

MLD- When you google Nadeau & redistricting a link shows up to her blog article where she advocated forcing my neighborhood back into Ward 1. But when you hit the link she's taken it off her blog. At any rate she was just carrying the ball without thinking for the Cordoza-Shaw-U-Street Ass. tin-horn dictators who were in a power play to enlarge their feifdom. Same for forcing us back into 3D.

I noticed in her blog she always had references to another ANC (Deborah Thomas?) who kept being "mean" to her. She doesn't seem to get along with others well.

I also remember she had a column where she advocated making the suburbs help pay for DC's water overflow tunnels. Some sort of tortured logic that didn't make sense and was obviously a poor re-hash of a position of someone she was trying to repeat.

Recently I found it incredible that in spite of being from a well-off family who obviously had to spent well to get someone of her IQ into AU, much less through it, she bragged about how (while she was on the Ward 1 Democratic Committee) she had DC partly finance the purchase of her home. I guess she thought this would make her seem more one of the common folk but instead it made her look like an opportunist financially benefiting from DC law intended to help the less fortunate.

Not that plenty of well-off people haven't probably taken advantage of government largess or used connections. But she didn't have the intelligence to not say this.

Say what you will about Graham, his IQ level is way above this mindless parrot. And for the record, although I've known Graham for 30 years, since I took my neighborhood out of Ward 1 we have not been exactly friends. It tortures me to give him even this much praise and I've heard good things about Brian Weaver.

But this gal is the definition of vacuous (and a Gaul with gall).

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 24, 2014 11:26 pm • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris
Are you talking about this:

It doesn't seem to be the crusade you make it out to be. "tin-horn dictators"? Give me a fucking break. As if there's no logic to having both sides of a commercial corridor in the same ANC or police district.

a well-off family who obviously had to spent well to get someone of her IQ into AU

And with comments like this and the mildly sexist crap you put in your previous post, I can hardly take the rest seriously.

by MLD on Feb 25, 2014 8:25 am • linkreport

MLD- Yea, Germany was just trying to unite both sides of the Rhine corridor. It takes a certain type of chutzpuh to demand that a couple thousand people who worked hard to get out from under your control should be put put back under your control.

But I didn't accuse this (un-sex-specified) person of an original idea, never would. They were just parroting the lines they thought would please those they were trying to impress, just like in this interview.

And "f**king", "cr*p" ?

by Tom Coumaris on Feb 25, 2014 9:54 am • linkreport

Yea, Germany was just trying to unite both sides of the Rhine corridor.


by MLD on Feb 25, 2014 10:51 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

You can use some HTML, like <blockquote>quoting another comment</blockquote>, <i>italics</i>, and <a href="http://url_here">hyperlinks</a>. More here.

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.


Support Us