They've been called "monstrosities" and compared to extended middle fingers, but now pop-ups — the practice of adding extra stories to single-family homes — will be far less common in certain residential neighborhoods across the District.
The D.C. Zoning Commission on Monday evening voted 3-2 to drop the height limit of homes from 40 to 35 feet, effectively making it more difficult — though not impossible — for developers to add third or fourth stories as has happened in certain neighborhoods in recent years.
The commission also voted to limit conversions of homes into multi-unit condominium buildings, allowing two units by-right but requiring special approvals for any additional units beyond that. That marked a reversal of an initial vote in March, when the commission opted to impose no such limits.
The restrictions on pop-ups and conversions will only affect homes in R-4 zones, which make up 15 percent of all residentially zoned land in the city. But they impact revitalizing neighborhoods like Petworth, Columbia Heights and Bloomingdale, where developers have used additions and conversions to expand the housing stock as the city's population has continued to tick upwards.