Friday, June 12, 2015

"Will the 42 W Street NW pop-up & pop-back be forced to scale back as a result of the passage of Zoning Case No. 14-11 R-4 pop-up zoning regulations?"

See this question from a resident:

I think that the question has to be asked publicly:   Will they make 42 W downsize the popup (shorten it to not past 10 feet of the neighboring houses and remove anything over 35 feet)  given that it doesn't appear to come under ANY of the special exceptions listed by the Zoning commission?   Will the community hold DCRA to task on implementing the law the zoning commission just voted for?


  1. The new regulations do not have retroactive effect for construction that has already been properly permitted, so unless there was a defect in the permitting process (?) we're stuck with it. I'm as distraught as you are.

  2. I don't think so....Here's the WAPO description: 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.

    So....i'm SURE that this wasn't permitted prior to July 17 2014. And i'm also sure it doesn't just have two units. I'm also pretty sure it wasn't reviewed by HPRB or the Commission of Fine Arts So...the question is: Did it go before the Board of Zoning Adjustment? If not, then i can't see how it's legal. It's clearly not within the legal limitations: far exceeding the popback limit (10 feet within neighboring houses back wall), probably exceeding the height limit of 35 ft (esp the penthouse), maybe exceeding the number of units permissible without special exception.

    Unless there is something i didn't hear about this one looks like it needs to be downsized.

    1. Perhaps someone else could weigh in, but from a legal perspective you can't penalize someone who took action based on the then-applicable law. Todd, I think the provisions you're citing only pertain to applications in which permits have not yet been granted. Once you have a permit, the authorities cannot effectively take it away, and even less so when you've already taken action based on that permit.