Tuesday, June 09, 2015

WaPo: "DC zoning panel approves new regulations for pop-up rowhouses" + Urban Turf, NBC4

Click on the links to read the entire Washington Post article, the entire Urban Turf article and the entire NBC4 article:



1) 
 
              

The District’s Zoning Commission gave final approval Monday night to new regulations governing the “pop-up” homes sprouting up in some of the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods, reducing the maximum height of single-family rowhouses to 35 feet from 40 feet.
In a surprising reversal from a preliminary vote in late March, the commission also voted to limit developers to building two “by-right” condo units in a pop-up, a renovated rowhouse with an added story or added stories often towering over neighboring homes. A third or fourth unit would require a special exception from the city.
...
Some developers with pop-ups already in progress are protected from the new rules. They include: pop-ups with three or more units whose applications had been “accepted as complete” by the city’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs by July 17, 2014; pop-ups of three or more units that have received approvals from or had hearings before the Board of Zoning Adjustment, the Commission of Fine Arts or the Historic Preservation Review Board before Feb. 1; and pop-ups with only two units whose applications by the DCRA had been accepted as recently as Feb. 1.
               
2) 

Zoning Commission Hardens Rule Restricting Pop-Ups

In a surprise twist Monday, the Zoning Commission restricted its ruling on pop-ups, making it harder for developers to convert rowhouses in R-4 districts into apartments. The Commission also finalized its decision to reduce height in R-4 districts to 35 feet.
And in a last-minute discussion toward the end of its hearing on the topic, the Commission also made its ruling on conversions effective as of July 14, 2014 — meaning any conversion projects permitted after that date must constructed to adhere to the new rules. The Office of Planning (OP) had recommended that date for conversions, spurring comments from the public that called the back-dating unfair.
When asked, OP’s Jennifer Steingasser said she did not know how many conversions were in the works that might be affected by the back-dating. Commissioner Robert Miller voted against the provision, with the rest of the commissioners in favor.
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3)


D.C. Zoning Votes to Limit "Pop-ups" in Residential Neighborhoods

Updated at 12:03 AM EDT on Tuesday, Jun 9, 2015
Developers and home owners face new limits on how high they can build skyward in some D.C. neighborhoods.
The D.C. Zoning Commission approved changes Monday that limit the height of vertical extensions, aka pop-ups, in some areas with residential zoning. The commission voted 3-2 to drop the height limit from 40 feet to 35 feet.

8 comments:

  1. Very interesting....will be difficult to see how they will put the retroactivity clause into effect...will they make 42 W tear down it's popup and popout? That CERTAINLY does not comply with the new regulations....but Really? wont they be tied up in lawsuits for years? I would love it if it was the case, but i'm somewhat doubtful as we've seen that a whole bevy of popups in Bloomingdale do not comply with the new rules. That's alot of investment being torn down .....but hey, i'm all for it!

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    1. So its ok to wipe out people's investments made in accordance with zoning laws at the time of the investment decision? Haven't you complained that developers were infringing on the conditions under which you purchased your home (conditions that weren't congruous in any way with zoning laws)? How does that make sense?

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  2. Right...goes back to my original point..... they were out of line to do what they did in the first place and It wasn't very neighborly of them regardless of what they were legally permitted to do. In fact, they were exploiting loopholes in the law....now that those loopholes are closed all the better. but ask me to care about them? Nope....they didn't care about us. Tough about that loss...sucks for them...But not as much as I'm sorry that the folks in 40 W had to move because of what the developer did at 42W.

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    1. Is it really a "loophole" if its pretty clearly defined in the zoning laws as a matter of right? Seemed pretty clear to me and devoid of ambiguity.

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    2. It wasn't a clearly defined matter of right....it was a hotly contested issue that the DCRA has been weighing for years now. Popups were simply something that nobody had forseen in the zoning rules ...and had not gotten around to since the first ones started to appear about a decade ago. But certainly these most recent popups...the ones that went into overdrive as soon as the DCRA looked to be moving in the direction of regulation ....that was egregious overreach and a prudent "investor" would have waited instead of pushing the limits of what was possible. In fact, it was just that that led to this even further tightening up over what they decided. It was speculation...and speculation is a risky business.

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  3. Further, everybody knew that these rules were going to change....lots of popups were started after the initial ruling.... 42 W most of the building took place after the ruling including the addition of the 3rd storey and the penthouse. They KNEW what the rules were going to be...and they defied them, rushing their project thru in time to get it under the wire. Got their hand stuck in the candy jar didn't they? Now i just hope DCRA has the cajones to slap that little hand and slap it hard.

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  4. This likely helps me if my neighbor sells but hurts me if I want to sell because the potential market value of my home just dropped by 25 percent. Wait, maybe they'll vote again next week and start all over again. It is really hard to see this as the way to have a serious planning process or a serious look at the city's housing needs.

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  5. Nobodyhome- How do you figure 25%?

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