Friday, January 16, 2015

WCP HC: "D.C.’s Fiercest Neighborhood Battle Goes Before Its Ultimate Arbiter" -- on yesterday's pop-up zoning regulations proposal

Click on the link to read the entire Washington City Paper Housing Complex post: 

Thanks to WCP HC reporter Aaron Wiener for covering this news.

Since Bloomingdale's non-commercial areas are all zoned R-4, this proposed pop-up zoning regulation proposal would impact Bloomingdale.

D.C.’s Fiercest Neighborhood Battle Goes Before Its Ultimate Arbiter

The townspeople are under assault. A mythical villain, a giant that seems to grow larger with each passing day, is attacking life as we know it, and the people are defenseless. They have just one place to turn, just one would-be hero who can save them.
The Zoning Commission, naturally.
The assailant is the practice of adding an extra floor or two to a rowhouse, known as a pop-up, or converting it to condos. As the D.C. real-estate market has strengthened in the past few years, these pop-ups and conversions seem to be everywhere in once-uniform rowhouse neighborhoods. And some neighbors, fearing the loss of views, sun, parking, or peace, have sought to put an end to them.
Under the proposal, rowhouse neighbors, zoned R-4, would see the maximum building height allowed as a matter of right reduced from 40 feet to 35 feet. Additionally, it would become much more difficult to convert a rowhouse to more than two units. The Office of Planning claims it's a way to preserve family housing in a city whose development has focused excessively on studios and one-bedrooms for young professionals.
Critics say it's a loss of property rights and a restriction on the housing supply at a time when more supply is needed to meet demand.
"When one thinks about the character of the city," ANC 1A commissioner Kent Boese testified, "it is the rowhouse that shows up in television shows and movies."
The debate, essentially, is this: Should that character be preserved at all costs? Or should those neighborhoods be opened to more people at the expense of some small portion of that character?
The Zoning Commission should soon have an answer for us.

1 comment:

Jenifer said...

Can we vote out the Zoning Commission if we don't like their decisions? Is this just another group of bureaucrats shoving things into all the "empty spaces" in DC? It's bad enough the Mall is getting jammed up with ever more "museums" but now it's our neighborhoods as well! Save our spaces!