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Permits Will Keep Printing Until Pop-Up Plan is Finalized

by Lark Turner

image
1310 Q Street NW

Despite an ANC committee member’s report to the contrary, developments in the District aren’t being held up because of a proposed rule that would affect additions, including pop-ups, in residential zones.

The Office of Planning’s Jennifer Steingasser told UrbanTurf on Wednesday that the issuing of permits for new residential projects hadn’t been affected by the proposed rule, at least not yet. If it is approved by the Zoning Commission, it would likely affect development in the city’s R-4 districts dramatically.

UrbanTurf previously reported that a new development planned at 1310 Q Street NW (map) was being delayed because of the rule. That information, from an ANC 2F development committee member, was incorrect.

The developers of the property on Q Street “are full steam ahead,” according to Kimberly Casey, an associate broker with Washington Fine Properties.

In addition to explicitly limiting how high development in residential districts can go, the rule change also targets any conversion of a single-family home in an R-4 district. The Office of Planning recommended only allowing conversion of non-residential buildings to “apartment houses” in the R-4 district under very particular conditions that are more onerous than current standards.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/permits_will_keep_printing_until_pop-up_plan_is_finalized/8902

1 Comment

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 3:26 pm on Thursday August 21, 2014:

    The current regs governing conversion of single-family rowhouses in R-4 zones into apartment buildings (i.e. 3 or more units) are already so onerous, it’s hard to see why OP is investing energy in the issue.  It’s a non-problem, really: 99% of DC rowhouse lots are smaller than 2700 sf, which is the current zoning threshold to have 3 units.  Conversions to 2-unit buildings (“flats” in zoning parlance) are not affected by the proposed changes, and few of these would push a pop-up more than 1 story anyway (that’s the proposed new cap).

    The proposed new reg’s seem okay, but they don’t (can’t) get to the heart of the problem, which is design.  So long as people buy and rent in buildings with mindlessly designed pop-ups, there’s not a lot of incentive for a developer or homeowner to do a well-designed pop-up.  Nonetheless there are plenty of well-designed pop-ups—many developers and homeowners have pride—but of course they get no media attention.

    Side note—thank you for not using the infamous V Street popup to illustrate this article.  It’s not in an R-4 zone and thus is irrelevant to this article.  It would be misleading because its height is much taller than allowed in an R-4 zone, and (since its lot is nowhere near 2700 sf), it couldn’t have 3 units if it were in an R-4 zone.  Using it (as many media outlets, including Urban Turf, have) for this subject only gooses the paranoias of the forces of anti-growth. 

    You should feature it, however, but from a different angle: In a roaring-hot sellers market, the units in that horrible building are NOT SELLING.  They’ve sat on the market for months, notwithstanding the fantastic, Metro-adjacent-but-quiet location. Developers and homeowners who want to maximize their property should take note: design actually does matter, at least sometimes.  And the economics of an extreme pop-up rarely make sense.

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