News & Politics

UPDATE: Harriet Tregoning Takes Position in Obama Administration

DC’s longtime planning director will join the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

DC planning director Harriet Tregoning announced today she is leaving the District government for a job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“I’ve been talking to HUD since Obama was elected,” she told Washingtonian. “But it was never the right time for my work in the District. There was too much going on.”

Tregoning will become director of HUD’s Sustainable Housing and Communities, after she leaves her DC post on February 23.
“I’ll be able to work all over the country on the issues I’ve been passionate about in the District: affordable housing, sustainability, climate change and resilience, transportation, and job creation,” she says.

Tregoning, 53, says she’s always admired HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “I am at the point where if I want to work for Shaun or the Obama administration, the window is closing,” she says. “And the major issues in DC, if not [put] to bed, are in motion.”

Tregoning, a leading voice in the smart growth movement for decades, has been the city’s planning director since 2007, when she was appointed by then-mayor Adrian Fenty. Mayor Vincent Gray kept her in the post.

She has pushed the city toward sustainable growth, with fewer cars and more public transportation. Her office is in the midst of a major overhaul of District zoning regulations. She also has been advocating for changing the Height Act, which limits the height of buildings in the District. She has proposed raising the limits, both downtown and in the neighborhoods, to accommodate growth of the city’s population.

“It was always off the table for us,” she said of the Height Act. “Even discussing it is an important step forward with respect to home rule.”

Under her watch, the planning office has become active in remaking neighborhoods across the District, for which she has encountered both supporters and critics.

Tregoning, who’s known for biking around the city, lives with her husband and two dogs in Columbia Heights.

See also: DC’s City Planner Harriet Tregoning