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Ellen McCarthy

Ms. McCarthy has over forty years of experience in urban planning. She currently teaches at the graduate Urban Planning Program at Georgetown University, and consults with various DC agencies, community groups, developers and large institutions regarding planning and land use issues.

From 2007 – 2013, she served as Director of Planning and Land Use at two major law firms, assisting clients in obtaining development entitlements, providing due diligence assessments for potential development sites and advising on possible locations for developers, cultural institutions and sports facilities.

She served in the DC Office of Planning (DCOP) for seven years, including three years as Director, and four years as Deputy Director, with a portfolio that included Development Review, Historic Preservation, and Neighborhood Planning. Under her direction, the Office completed and obtained unanimous Council adoption of the first new city-wide Comprehensive Plan in more than 20 years. In addition, the zoning review function was revamped, the Neighborhood Planning branch completed several major small area plans, and the office created an inclusionary zoning program to increase affordable housing in the city.

Ms. McCarthy holds a Master’s Degree in City Planning from Harvard University. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with High Honors from the University of Maryland. She is the author of numerous articles on planning and transportation innovation, and has received awards from the Partners for Livable Communities, American Planning Association and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Ms. McCarthy has been involved in a number of civic and professional organizations that support affordable housing, cultural and arts organizations, historic preservation and smart growth. She has also been an active volunteer in neighborhood and school activities, including various parent positions when her children attended Ben Murch Elementary School.