Congress established NCPC in 1924 to prepare a “comprehensive, consistent, and coordinated plan for the National Capital.”
NCPC has had primary responsibility for the Comprehensive (“Comp”) Plan ever since. It is a blueprint for the long-range development of the National Capital Region, and it sets out the policies that guide the Commission’s review process.
After Congress granted DC home rule, responsibility for many planning functions shifted to the city’s Mayor. Today, The DC Office of Planning prepares the District Elements, which are subject to NCPC review and approval.
NCPC prepares the Federal Elements of the Comprehensive Plan. They promote the efficient operation of the federal government while reinforcing Smart Growth principles and supporting local and regional planning objectives.
The Federal Elements were last updated in 2004. The District Elements were revised in 2006.
The seven Federal Elements cover areas on which federal government operations have a direct impact.
Federal Workplace—policies for the location of federal facilities and coordination with local authorities to maximize the positive effect on the immediate surroundings and the region as a whole.
Foreign Missions and International Organizations—policies to guide the location of facilities belonging to foreign governments and international organizations and ensure that their development is compatible with adjacent neighborhood uses.
Transportation—policies to promote a multi-modal regional transportation system and transit-oriented development to improve mobility and air quality throughout the region.
Parks and Open Space—policies to uphold the symbolic, recreational, social, and ecological value of national capital parks, waterfronts, and other open spaces.
Federal Environment—policies for conducting federal activities and managing properties to preserve, protect, and enhance the quality of the region’s natural resources.
Preservation and Historic Features—policies to uphold the image and identity of the capital that respects the L’Enfant and McMillan Plans and maintains the symbolic, historic character of the capital’s setting, buildings, and places.
Visitors—policies to showcase the nation’s civic and cultural institutions and ensure that visitors have an enjoyable, educational experience.