Norton Introduces Bill to Remove U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from Local D.C. Land-Use Policies

Oct 13, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill yesterday to remove the authority of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), a federal agency, over District of Columbia-owned property and private property in D.C. This bill, part of Norton’s Free and Equal D.C. Series, expands home rule for the District and does not require statehood. This Congress, Norton has introduced two other land-use home-rule bills, one to give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the D.C. Zoning Commission and another to remove the authority of the National Capital Planning Commission over D.C.-owned property.

“Quite apart from our fight for D.C. statehood, I will continue our two-track approach to achieve complete self-government for the District,” Norton said. “Land-use policies are among the most important priorities for state and local jurisdictions. Whether it is the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the D.C. Zoning Commission, or the National Capital Planning Commission, federal authorities have no business in local land decisions. Not only is this interference undemocratic, it delays and increases costs for development in the District.”

Under presidential executive orders and federal law, the CFA has review authority over D.C.-owned parks and buildings, as well as certain private land in D.C. Under the Shipstead-Luce Act, CFA has review authority over the design of private buildings in the District “adjacent to public buildings and grounds of major importance.” And under the Old Georgetown Act, the CFA has review authority over the design of private buildings in the part of Georgetown referred to as “Old Georgetown.” The Members of the CFA are appointed by the President.

Norton has introduced numerous bills this Congress to reduce the federal government’s control over local District matters and to expand D.C. equality.

  • The National Capital Planning Commission District of Columbia Home Rule Act (H.R. 5144) would remove the authority of NCPC to review the development of D.C.-owned land.
  • The District of Columbia Zoning Commission Home Rule Act (H.R. 5002) would give D.C. the authority to appoint all members of the Commission.
  • A bill to permit the flag of the United States to be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of the Mayor of the District (H.R. 4368).
  • The District of Columbia Clemency Home Rule Act (H.R. 4206) would give the District authority to grant clemency to offenders convicted under its local laws. 
  • The District of Columbia Non-Discrimination Home Rule Act of 2021 (H.R. 4023) would eliminate the applicability of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 to the District.
  • The District of Columbia Federal Officials Residency Equality Act of 2021 (H.R. 3786) would require certain federal officials who serve the District to live in the District.
  • The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act District of Columbia Equality Act of 2021 (H.R. 2452) would amend both laws to make D.C. eligible for the same federal funding as the states under both.
  • The District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Salary Home Rule Act (H.R. 1204) would give D.C. the authority to set the maximum salary for the D.C. CFO.
  • The District of Columbia Parole and Supervised Release Act (H.R. 658) would give D.C. the authority to make parole and supervised release determinations for D.C. Code offenders.
  • The District of Columbia National Guard Home Rule Act (H.R. 657) would give the D.C. Mayor the authority to deploy the D.C. National Guard. 
  • The District of Columbia Police Home Rule Act (H.R. 656) would eliminate the president’s authority to federalize the local D.C. police department.
  • The District of Columbia Legislative Autonomy Act (H.R. 411) would eliminate the congressional review period for D.C. bills.
  • The District of Columbia Prosecutor Home Rule Act of 2021 (H.R. 281) would allow the District to prosecute all crimes committed under its local laws. 

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