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Office of Planning to Pop-Ups: Not So High, Please

[Photo by Katherine Jessup for Curbed DC]

Potential pop-up builders be warned, D.C.'s Office of Planning offered up a new zoning proposal that would limit the permissible height of buildings in rowhouse neighborhoods to 35 feet (down from the current 40 feet). Although this wouldn't necessarily stop all pop-ups (the monster on V St NW is not technically in a rowhouse neighborhood), this could signal an attempt to reign in the often shoddily-constructed building additions that are compromising neighborhood roof lines. The proposal would also limit row houses from becoming condos, but not all zoning committee members are on board with that part. If the proposal is adopted it would cut the possibility of having more than the currently allowed two units in row houses in neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Trinidad, Bloomingdale, Logan Circle, Columbia Heights, and Park View. In a changing city with a growing population, there is a fine balance to be struck between increasing the amount of available housing and retaining neighborhood's historic character. Keeping developers from refurbishing existing row houses into small apartment buildings does not improve the housing shortage, per se. Hopefully, the proposal and its debate will point to a need for broader housing planning across the District.
· DC planners want to limit row houses from becoming condos [GGW]
· Pop Goes the Rowhouse: A Photo Tour of 16 Bonkers Pop-Ups [CDC]
Katherine Jessup