Toward better benefits and a wider voice

March 20, 2009

Thursday, Greater Greater Washington posted Helping communities win better benefits agreements, about leveling the playing field between developers and communities in negotiations.

If a developer wants to build something above and beyond what’s allowed as of right, it’s reasonable to expect the community to also receive some benefit from the development.  But, those who practice development day in and day out for a living bring a level of expertise and sophistication to the negotiating table that community groups (in D.C., Advisory Neighborhood Commissions) that may do a variety of things and/or that are loosely organized on volunteer time may not.

The Washington, D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission itself is an interesting model in concept as it is designed to give a community voice to a whole host of issues that may impact a neighborhood (including, but not limited to, zoning).  I can’t speak to its execution.

The Greater Greater Washington post also argues for input beyond traditionally recognized community groups, especially in this day and age when there are new ways of organizing and groups that may morph in and out over time rather than establish as a perpetual organization behind a particular issue or constituency.

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