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What You Should Know About D.C.'s New Rules for Pop-Ups

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The ability to build pop-ups in roughly 15 percent of Washington, D.C.'s residential neighborhoods has just become much, much harder. In a 3-2 vote, the D.C. Zoning Commission approved a proposal that lowers the height limit of homes in R-4 residential zones from 40 feet to 35 feet. According to WAMU, 94 percent of rowhouses in R-4 zones (e.g., Columbia Heights, Petworth, Capitol Hill, etc.) are 35 feet high. For any developers who want to build higher than the new limit allows, they will have to get special approval from the Board of Zoning Adjustment. There are two exceptions, though, that will allow developers to build higher without needing any special approval.

As reported by WAMU, one exception is that a developer may build up to 40 feet if they are working with three adjoining properties of new construction. Additionally, a developer may convert a single-family home into a four-unit condo building if one of the units is offered at 80 percent area median income. Despite the exceptions, the developer will still need to comply with a long list of new rules that will still need to be finalized by the D.C. Zoning Commission.

Below, you'll find a list of some of the new rules set in place for pop-ups, as reported by Urban Turf:
· A mezzanine in a house counts as a floor
· No more than 30 percent of the gross floor area can be demolished in a conversion
· A rooftop architectural element cannot be removed or altered for an upper floor addition
· A rear addition cannot extend further than 10 feet from the house's rear wall
· Pop-Up Block: Zoning Commission Votes to Reduce Height of Residential Additions [Urban Turf]
· D.C. Zoning Commission Approves Limit On Pop-Ups In Certain Neighborhoods [WAMU]