YEAR IN REVIEW Coalition for Smarter Growth DC • MD • VA
Friends, The Coalition for Smarter Growth is 20 years old this year! We celebrated in May with over 200 friends, allies, and founders at National Airportâ€™s historic Art Deco Terminal A, and honored Casey Anderson and Chris Miller. In October, nearly 300 activists and supporters joined us for our fifth annual Smart Growth Social at Eastern Market, where we heard from transportation superstar Jeff Tumlin of Nelson\Nygaard on what autonomous vehicles mean for our future. During the year, hundreds of you emailed officials and participated in one of our 20+ forums, mentoring happy hours, walking tours, and campaign workgroups. Many of you went the extra mile, joining us to canvass for Metro funding, or to testify to local officials about plans, policies, and projects. Your generous donations keep this movement going, and support the work of our passionate, dedicated sixperson staff. With your help, our advocacy has brought about real progress toward walkable, inclusive, mixeduse, transit-oriented communities, and a more sustainable region. If I have a core message, it is that changing where and how we grow takes staying power, experienced staff with on-the-ground presence, and long-term relationships with decision-makers. It means taking the time to coordinate with partners across a broad spectrum. Founded by regional conservation leaders, our partners today also include advocates in housing and social equity, transit, bicycling and walking, development, architecture, and planning. I hope we can count on your continued support to continue the progress weâ€™ve made over the last two decades. Thank you!
Stewart Schwartz Executive Director
18.3% of commuters in DC walk or bike to work, the highest percentage in the nation (2017 ACS data)
In September, Mass Transit Magazine named our Deputy Director Aimee Custis to its 2017 Top 40 Under 40 list
people signed up for our 22 events across the DC region this year
23,351 People like you actively take part in our advocacy email network
Thank you to these photographers for the use of their wonderful images in this report. PG 3 top left photo, Kevin Kovaleski for DDOT on Flickr. PG4 left photo, Metropolitan Overlook by City First. PG5 left photo, Metro by Shawn Clover on Flickr; right map by Piedmont Environmental Council. PG6 top right photo by Pat Revord; bottom left photo by Marco Sanchez. PG7 Kristen Jeffers by Zach Bauman Photography. PG 10 Claiborne Cooperative by City First. PG 11 top photo1415 Girard St Cooperative by City First, ADU photo by Nicole Alvarez at IntentionallySmall.com. PG 12 photos on left by Matt Ha Photography. PG 14/15 map by DC Office of Planning. PG 16/17 great blue heron by Mr.TinDC on Flickr; bluebells by Alistair Ross on Flickr. PG 18 bottom photo by Pete Tomao. PG 19 bottom photo by EYA. PG 22/23 staff photo by Kian McKellar. All other photos by Aimee Custis.
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2017’s top headlines
Affordable housing tools
Housing costs continue to grow. We’re working on policies to help.
The Purple Line and bus rapid transit will connect Maryland communities.
For our region to be successful, we need affordable, accessible, safe housing for people of all incomes. We’re working on a number of policies and initiatives to help with our region’s growing affordability crisis:
Since 2013, we’ve been a driving force behind the approval of an 81-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) plan in Montgomery County.
• • • •
Better rules for inclusionary zoning Permanent affordability Bringing production of accessory apartments to scale Community support for more new housing.
In May, the County Council voted to approve the first BRT line in Montgomery County on Route 29. When service begins in 2020, the 12-mile line is expected to carry 13,000 daily riders.
In a huge milestone, August marked the long-awaited groundbreaking (pictured above) of the Purple Line, the 16-mile light rail line that will connect Bethesda to New Carrollton.
Funding for Metro
Stop the Outer Beltway
WMATA is the backbone of our region. It needs dedicated funding now.
This destructive highway threatens smart growth and we’re fighting back.
A regional network of walkable communities connected by frequent transit doesn’t work without a strong transit backbone. That’s why we continue to fight for a dedicated funding solution for Metro. It’s been an allhands-on-deck year:
Since our founding 20 years ago, we have been opposed to an Outer Beltway. Once again, a well-funded highway lobby campaign has revived proposals to build northern Potomac bridges, a southern bridge between Prince William and Charles County, MD, and the Bi-County Parkway between Loudoun and Prince William Counties.
• • •
We convened the Fund It Fix It 22-member coalition. We spent the summer canvassing for dedicated funding We convened a public forum with WAMU’s Martin Di Caro and transit leaders together with our partners at the League of Women Voters. We hosted a leadership breakfast about Metro with business leaders and US Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11).
These projects would be wasteful, destructive, and worsen the east/west divide. We are organizing coalition members, collecting signatures, demonstrating shortcomings, and pressing to get these proposals out of long-range plans once and for all.
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Our powerful movement We are educating, organizing, engaging, and expanding the smart growth movement every single day.
Our staff and volunteers spend a lot of time organizing events, knocking on doors, and collecting signatures in support of projects like the Purple Line!
People learn about planning, design, and community building in neighborhoods across the region at our Walking Tours & Forums Series.
Top left photo: CSG staff, ACT, and community activists speaking up for the Purple Line at a press rally at the new Silver Spring library.
Top right photo: Life-long DC residents Tania Jackson and her mom, Lynn French, giving their perspective on the history of the U Street neighborhood at a walking tour this spring.
We build friendships, connections, and a movement for smart growth and urbanism in communities across our region.
Responding to a need, in 2017 we started a mentoring series with veteran professionals to inspire, connect, and energize tomorrow’s leaders
Bottom left photo: CSG’s Claire Jaffe with a new friend at our June supporter happy hour with Up Top Acres, a local roof-top farming collective.
Bottom right photo: April’s inaugural mentoring event filled up in 72 hours! Dozens of women signed up to for advice and insight from our mentors.
“It was so valuable to be in the room communicating my goals, and learning how I can plug into the greater women-in-planning working world in the DC area as a supporter and friend. Plus, the environment was super fun, relaxed, and open.” -- Kristen Jeffers Blogger & podcaster, The Black Urbanist speaking about our women’s mentoring happy hour Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017 7
Our region, connected
Smart growth means strong transit, connecting our communities
Better bus service Our region, like many, is facing declining bus ridership. One of the easiest fixes? Frequent, reliable service. In 2017, we won better bus service in several corridors: • • • • •
$21 million in funding for Montgomery County’s first bus rapid transit on Route 29 Dedicated bus lanes on downtown DC’s H Street Express bus service in DC’s 14th Street corridor Rush hour bus lanes on 16th Street The Pulse BRT and a faster network in Richmond Transportation
Metro: All aboard for dedicated funding! Metro maintenance and capital replacement have long been underfunded. Today, plugging the funding gap with dedicated funding is critical. We are all-hands-on-deck working with non-profit partners and the business community, and reaching out to the public and elected officials in our campaign for dedicated funding from DC, Maryland, and Virginia in 2018.
March: Fund it, Fix it
August: Canvass kickoff
We launched our 22-member Fund It Fix It coalition, formally leading the region’s nonprofit community into the chorus for funding.
Since August, our staff and coalition volunteers have been canvassing at Metro stations and popular public spaces, talking to people about Metro, and collecting petition signatures for dedicated funding.
April: All hands
We continued monitoring SafeTrack, keeping our supporters up to date on the latest closures, service changes, and progress via our dedicated webpage.
Beginning in April, we’ve been working with all sectors to win dedicated funding, including regular check-ins with the business community, and labor’s ATU Local 689.
October: Call to action & conversation with a Representative • On October 7 with the League of Women Voters, we hosted a Metro funding forum moderated by WAMU’s Martin Di Caro to educate and mobilize the public. • On October 26, we hosted Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11) to talk to development and planning firms about Metro funding and reform.
Go, Purple Line, go! After 30 years of advocacy, the Purple Line broke ground on August 28, 2017 in New Carrollton, Maryland. We were there to see USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao, Governor Larry Hogan, and other dignitaries don purple hard hats. With funding and construction underway, we continue to work with partners Purple Line NOW!, Action Committee for Transit, CASA, and the Sierra Club to fight for walkable, inclusive, transit accessible communities in the Purple Line corridor.
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Affordable housing Smart growth means using every tool we have to make sure people have safe, affordable places to live
Better rules for inclusionary zoning Having won the DC Zoning Commission’s approval of lower income targeting for inclusionary zoning to serve those most in need, we spent 2017 working on implementation. Our outreach to the Mayor and Council proved critical to winning councilapproved changes in July, and implementing regulations in September.
Accessory apartments: a creative solution
We worked with the District Department of Housing and Community Development to prioritize permanent affordability of homes built with public subsidy, so we don’t lose them to marketrate conversion.
How do we find space for more housing that seamlessly fits into our neighborhoods? One way is to make it easier for homeowners in singlefamily neighborhoods to build accessory apartments like carriage houses and English basements. After winning reforms in the DC zoning code to ease zoning approval, we’re now trying to make it easier for homeowners to navigate financing, design, and construction issues. In October, we kicked off our project to produce an information hub for homeowners by hosting over 100 architects, planners, and homeowners at a full-day workshop with Harriet Tregoning and Portland, Oregon expert Eli Spevak. Portland is now building 500 to 600 accessory apartments a year, providing much-needed housing.
Our policy report, Long-term housing affordability for the District of Columbia, released this April, lays out the case for this policy and the findings of our September 2016 expert roundtable.
Park Morton/Bruce Monroe + Hebrew Home New housing is facing more and more pushback. Our work supporting individual projects is more important and resource-intensive than ever, but it is critical for increasing the supply of affordable housing. We worked hard for public support and approval for the Park Morton/Bruce Monroe project -- 271 units of mixed-income housing, including 1-for-1 replacement of 94 public housing homes, and the Hebrew Home project -- 187 units of affordable housing with senior housing, rental, and for-sale homes. Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017 11
2017 marks 20 years! We’ve been working for a better DC region since 1997 We were founded in 1997 by local, regional, and national groups to fill the need for a regional organization dedicated to a better way to grow in the Washington DC region. Over the years, we’ve accomplished so much: •
In 2002, we launched our Blueprint for a Better Region, a vision for a revitalized urban core and network of walkable communities knitted together by strong transit.
Beginning in 2005, we worked with then-Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly to fundamentally re-envision Tysons through the Tysons Task Force. The resulting plan received the APA’s Daniel Burnham Award, and in the years since, tens of millions of square feet of development have been approved, and millions built.
After 18 months of on-the-ground work by CSG, in November 2013, the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved plans for an 81-mile bus rapid transit network. CSG was the lead organization behind the successful adoption of the plan. At the time of passage, the Montgomery BRT was one of the most ambitious BRT plans in the country.
We’ve won groundbreaking affordable housing and land use policy changes in DC, including a modernized zoning code, inclusionary zoning, and affordable housing in public land dispositions.
Fast forward to 2017, and while we’re on to a new set of challenges, today 86% of our region’s new development is with one-quarter mile of a Metro station. We can truly say we’ve won the debate about where and how we grow. On May 17, we invited our founders, supporters, donors, and friends to celebrate our 20th anniversary at National Airport’s Historic Terminal A, where we proudly recognized Montgomery County Planning Chair Casey Anderson and Piedmont Environmental Council President Christopher Miller for their contributions to our movement.
With 20 years in the game, CSG has a long legacy in the DC region. Hereâ€™s a look down memory lane with just a few clips from our press archives.
Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017
Planning and zoning Smart growth means good plans for where and how we grow
Better comprehensive plans, better places Comprehensive plans help us decide where and how we grow. When they come up for review or amendment, it’s a huge opportunity to bring about positive change. •
In DC, we submitted over 100 proposed amendments as part of the District’s Comprehensive Plan update, to make more housing and more affordable housing a top priority for our growing city.
In Fairfax County, in partnership with Audubon Naturalist Society and local community groups, we’ve pushed for meaningful community engagement in the Envision Richmond Highway comprehensive plan update for the Route 1 corridor. While it’s great to see a transitoriented plan moving forward, our coalition is working hard to include stronger affordable housing, stormwater management, and stream restoration provisions in the new plan.
In Montgomery County, we rallied our members and allies to support the transit-oriented Bethesda Downtown Plan and the Lyttonsville Master Plan. We supported more housing, especially affordable housing, Complete Streets, and environmental sustainability. Both plans passed this year.
In Loudoun County, we’re working with the Piedmont Environmental Council and local residents to protect the Rural and Transition Areas, focus mixed-use walkable development at the Metro stations, and provide more transit and local street networks in the Envision Loudoun comprehensive plan update.
Fighting for a better regional transportation plan The region’s Transportation Planning Board (TPB) of elected and appointed officials at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is updating our regional transportation plan. We are the lead group fighting for a focus on smart growth, transit, transit-oriented development, and addressing climate change. But we’re up against highway lobbyists who want to fuel more long-distance driving and sprawl.
DC’s reformed zoning code takes effect! The updated DC zoning code, which advocates won in a multi-year effort, took effect this year! The new code allows DC residents to build accessory apartments in low-to-moderate density residential areas, reduces costly and unnecessary parking requirements, and permits corner grocery stores in many rowhouse neighborhoods.
Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017
Protecting our environment Smart growth means protecting our natural space, our drinking water, our planet, and our future
The Outer Beltway and Potomac bridges are harmful The highway lobby is once again pushing for new upriver and downriver Potomac bridge crossings and the Bi-County Parkway. These projects would fuel sprawl in the Agricultural Reserve and Piedmont, harm our drinking water supplies, and divert jobs and investment from older communities and the east side of the region. Data shows that the real needs are at the American Legion Bridge and Rosslyn Metro Tunnel, and that the new highways would spur tens of thousands of new auto trips. This summer, we activated our coalition of Maryland and Virginia partners in opposition. We won a 9-0 resolution to oppose the bridge from the Montgomery County Council and a 5-1 resolution from the Takoma Park City Council. While northern Virginia officials voted to include the projects in their plan, opposition at the TPB from most Maryland jurisdictions, DC, and inner suburban Virginia jurisdictions remains strong.
Cleaner water and restored streams Stormwater management and stream restoration are an important part of our work for greener, healthier communities. We are currently focusing on northern Virginia’s aging commercial corridors with their acres of parking lots. This year, in partnership with Audubon Naturalist Society, we’ve been pressing the county to include strong stormwater management and stream restoration language in the Route 1 comprehensive plan. We also held a walking tour and a forum to bring attention to the links between redevelopment, stormwater and streams, affordable housing, and environmental justice.
A transit alternative to Montgomery’s M-83 highway In 1964, before the Clean Water Act, Montgomery County planners drew a future highway on maps to the east of MD355, through parks, wetlands, and stream valleys. If built, the M-83 highway would not only harm these resources, it would create pressure for more auto-dependent development upcounty. We’ve worked with our partners at Transit Alternatives to the Midcounty Highway-Extended (TAME) and council allies to offer a land use, transit, and local street alternative, and to ensure that M-83 remains unfunded. We also helped pass a resolution that works toward eventually removing M-83 from the master plan.
Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017
Little changes, big wins
Smart growth means getting the details right Getting parking right in Arlington
Flexible benefits for all DC commuters
Better parking policies reduce housing costs and encourage walking, biking, and transit. Arlington is reconsidering its parking requirements -- and we are encouraging progressive reforms with letters from Arlington residents, and an informational happy hour in Clarendon to spread the word.
Our work for more flexible commuter benefits that would let DC workers â€œcash outâ€? parking from their employer for cash toward biking, transit, or walking instead, is making waves with the public and the press! Our bill is before the DC Council this fall, and if passed, it could increase sustainable commutes in DC by 10-12%.
PikePeds wins big for sidewalks and crossings Last year, we partnered with Friends of White Flint to launch the Pike District Pedestrian Safety campaign (PikePeds) in White Flint. Itâ€™s working! This year, PikePeds collected hundreds of signatures in support of a safer walking conditions...and won automatic walk signals at a key intersection and major crosswalk improvements!
Transit-accessible homes Smart growth means mixed-use (re)development
More and more people want to live and work near frequent, reliable transit. Housing demand surpasses supply, pushing up prices. Companies like Marriott are abandoning office parks for Metro station locations. Yet as our region grows and changes, well-designed projects are more difficult to move forward than ever before. Here are just a few of the projects weâ€™ve help move ahead this year:
Hine School site transformed next to Eastern Market This new mixed-use development with retail, affordable and market rate homes, office, and a public space with room for weekend markets opened in September. We first campaigned for the project back in 2009, worked with the Ward 6 ANC to address concerns, and helped win approval in the face of huge opposition.
1400 new Metro-accessible homes on the Red Line At Grosvenor Metro, we supported around 1400 units of new Metro accessible housing to be built as part of a master plan update. With 15% affordable units, good design, a public plaza, and arts spaces, the new development will replace Metro parking lots and bring vibrancy to the neighborhood at this gateway to the Strathmore Music Center.
80 family-sized homes in Brookland We sent in 85 letters in support of a development at St. Josephâ€™s Seminary: 80 rowhomes (10 affordable) with a new park and playground, all within walking distance of the Brookland Metro station. Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017
Who we are Staff
Stewart Schwartz Executive Director
Aimee Custis Deputy Director
Cheryl Cort Policy Director
Claire Jaffe Communications Manager
Pete Tomao Montgomery Advocacy Manager
Evan Riggs Fundraising Manager
Champions Council Gratitude to our Champioins Council, an accomplished team that advises the Coalition for Smarter Growth carrying out our mission. Our Champions Council is made up of experienced leaders in the business, development, housing, media, and academic fields. Thanks in particular to the members of our Champions Council completing their terms of service in 2017 (notated with a *). We look forward to welcoming a new cohort of Champions Council members for 2018! Champions Council business affiliations are for reference only and do not imply endorsement.
David Alpert* Greater Greater Washington Andrew Aurbach Communications consultant and media producer Jim Campbell Somerset Development Jane Dembner* Columbia Association Ronald Eichner New Legacy Partners Steven E. Jones CPA, MSOD Karren Pope-Onwukwe* Law Office of Karren Pope-Onwukwe Douglas Stewart Fairfax City Citizens for Smarter Growth Leslie Steen Wesley Housing Development Corporation Mariia Zimmerman* MZ Strategies, LLC
Our parent organization: The Coalition for Smarter Growth is grateful to our fiscal agent, the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), a 501c3 nonprofit based in Warrenton, Virginia. PEC provides accounting, tax reporting, and human resources support, and segregates contributions made to CSG. Copies of PECâ€™s most recent audited financial statements and IRS Form 990, which incorporates the activities of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, are available online at pecva.org/donate. For more information, please contact us at (202) 675-0016.
Coalition for Smarter Growth | Annual Report 2017
Financials and funders 2016
*FY2017 numbers are not yet available at print deadline, as our fiscal year ends on December 31.
The Washington Business Journal has named our Executive Director, Stewart Schwartz, to it’s annual “Power 100” list of most influential local business leaders three times in five years.
Foundations Support from regional and national foundations comprised 44% of our revenue in 2016.* We are deeply grateful to the following foundations for their commitment to our work: Prince Charitable Trusts • The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation • The Keith Campbell Foundation • Share Fund • Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation • TransitCenter • APTA
Individual supporters With every year, support for walkable, sustainable, transit-oriented communities grows. In 2016*, over 450 individual donors provided 27% of our revenues, and your support is more important than ever. Thank you to our generous individual donors!
Corporate supporters Corporate support from over 60 firms comprised nearly 30% of our revenue in 2016* and comes from architecture, planning, and development firms committed to sustainable, inclusive, walkable, and transit-oriented communities. In particular, our Smart Growth Business Council is a place for smart growth activists and progressive firms to come together to discuss key issues in advancing walkable, inclusive neighborhoods in the Washington region. 2017 members of the Smart Growth Business Council include: Trammell Crow Company • Vornado/Charles E. Smith • Fivesquares Development • Akridge Development • Bozzuto • David M Schwarz Architects Charitable Foundation • EYA • Federal Realty Investment Trust • The JBG Companies • National Association of Realtors • Saul Urban • VHB
The Catalogue for Philanthropy has named us “one of the best” community-based non-profit organizations every cycle since 2004.
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KEEP US WORKING FOR SMART GROWTH For walkable, inclusive communities and the transit and land use policies to support them
We are proud to be a results-driven organization committed to promoting a sustainable vision of where and how the Washington DC region should grow. Weâ€™ve been recognized multiple times as one of the regionâ€™s best nonprofits by the prestigious Catalogue for Philanthropy. That means you can trust us to spend your dollars carefully to support our programs. Your donation is important to us! You can donate online anytime at smartergrowth.net/donate. If you have questions or are interested in donating stocks, making a planned gift, setting up an employer matching program, or donating In Honor or In Memory of someone, please contact our development team at email@example.com or (202) 675-0016.
Coalition for Smarter Growth 316 F Street NE | Suite 200 Washington DC 20002 (202) 675-0016 | smartergrowth.net