On June 8, 2015, the District of Columbia Zoning Commission took the required final vote to approve proposed text amendments on Case 14-11, which deals with height and occupancy restrictions in R-4 zones. Below is a question and answer to help explain how that vote affects projects today.
Are the rules in effect now? No. The rules cannot take effect until a notice of final rulemaking giving notice of the Commission’s adoption of the text amendments is published in the web-based District of Columbia Register. The Zoning Commission’s notices of final rulemaking are in the form of an order. The Office of Zoning has not yet submitted such a notice for publication. When it does, the notice will be published on a Friday at the DC Register website.
When will the rules take effect? The rules will not take effect until after they are published as a notice of final rulemaking in the DC Register.
Who determines when the rules will be published in the Register? The Office of Zoning (DCOZ) determines when the notice of final rulemaking will be submitted to the Office of Documents and Administrative Issuances ODAI for publication. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) prepares a draft notice, which is then reviewed by OZ for consistency with the Commission’s decision. The approved notice is signed by the DCOZ Director and the Chairman of the Zoning Commission and then submitted to ODAI. ODAI then undertakes a review to ensure that the notice is consistent with its publication standards.
How will a pending building application be treated before the new rules take effect? Until the new rules become final, there will be no change in the criteria used to review a permit application. District agencies such as the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and the Office of Planning (OP) are obligated to review applications under existing rules.
How will the new rules affect an issued building permit? There is no effect on an already issued permit. Any unexpired permit issued before the new rules take effect are governed by existing rules, regardless if construction has not yet started, is underway, or has been completed.
Will the new rules affect my neighborhood? The new rules will only affect R-4 zones. To see whether your property or a nearby property is classified as R-4, please use the Zoning Map.
DCRA and OP are waiting on the publication of the final rules before the agencies will be in a position to share additional guidance, such as any needed interpretation of the vesting dates established by final rule. As soon as the final rule is published, the agencies will provide more information about it on their websites.