National Capital Planning Commission Submission Guidelines Revision

Hazard Mitigation Planning | Policy Memo | Stakeholder Engagement


The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) is the central planning agency for the federal government in the National Capital Region. In 1991, the National Capital Planning Commission adopted submission guidelines that explain the procedures for review and approval of projects and plans within the National Capital Region by NCPC. NCPC’s submission guidelines are critical to their ability to effectively carry out planning activities and implement its regulatory authorities.

TCG supported NCPC in updating its Submission Guidelines. We began this project by facilitating stakeholder meetings with state and local agencies in the National Capital Region to inform focus areas for research and a memo. The memo summarized the main issues of the current Submission Guidelines and incorporated best practices from other planning jurisdictions and a gap analysis. We provided aid and expertise on procedural alignment and engagement with applicant agencies, political appointees and other review agencies at the local, state and federal level.

Utilizing our experience supporting federal, state, local, and regional permit and review processes, we updated the Guidelines to better reflect current agency policy and practice. This project required knowledge and understanding of NCPC as an agency, understanding of the applicants seeking NCPC approval, and knowledge of the policy and planning framework that NCPC is operating in. 

Topics covered in the Submission Guidelines included specific design requirements for buildings for improvement and renovation projects, proper stormwater management and flood elevation and hazard area consideration. Successful update of the Guidelines required understanding of distinct review and approval processes for multiple building and project types within the NCR including historic buildings subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), building and site improvements, parks and open space acquisition/disposition/improvements, site acquisition, commemorative works, memorials and museums, master plans, transfers of jurisdiction, and foreign missions. TCG worked with NCPC to ensure the updated Guidelines clearly communicated the review and approval process for each project type and created a standard application form to standardize the collection of information on applicants and projects.

NCPC also hired TCG to develop a summary of existing guidance on floodplain management requirements, facilitate agency workshops to discuss strategies for floodplain management in the NCR, and develop a tool for NCPC to consistently review floodplain management within project applications. As part of this work, we facilitated a series of floodplain management workshops to compare agency strategies and identify opportunities for collaboration. We provided written recommendations on how NCPC can more effectively review projects in floodplains through proposed changes to Submission Guidelines, and questions to consider in the review process or other strategies. We also created a staff resource guide to aid NCPC staff in evaluating projects with flood risk in the NCR. Our work culminated in a presentation of our findings to the Commission, a diverse group of stakeholders that included Presidential appointees, mayors, and agency executives.

You can view the Submission Guidelines website here: