Demystifying the Development Process

by Shilpi Paul

Developers often have to jump through a few bureaucratic hoops on their path from conception to construction, and all the acronyms can get a little confusing. Ever wonder what we mean by BZA approval, or why and when the ANC weighs in? Here’s a chart that may help. Thanks to Anthony Bozzi from Capital City Real Estate for helping us understand all the steps that go into creating new developments.

A few points:

  • Residents can offer their opinions by attending ANC meetings. ANC approval is not necessary, but the Historic Preservation Office takes comments from the ANC pretty seriously.
  • Developers often meet with neighborhood groups — the Blagden Alley/Naylor Court Association, for example — in addition to the ANCs.
  • The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) is a board full of Presidential appointees that must approve all developments built in Georgetown and that abut nationally valuable properties, like the White House, Rock Creek Park, the Zoo, and Southwest Waterfront. More info can be found here. Georgetown development proposals go before the Old Georgetown Board (OGB), which is under the CFA.
  • This chart mainly applies to smaller projects; bigger, mixed-used projects usually require a Planned Unit Development (PUD) and a more involved process.
  • Acquiring permits from the Office of Planning involves various inspections, like electrical reviews, structural reviews and a visit from the District Department of the Environment, and can take a few months.

Demystifying the Development Process: Figure 1
Click to enlarge

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/demystifying_the_development_process/5287


  1. xmal said at 8:02 pm on Thursday March 15, 2012:
    Thank you for clearing this up, Shilpi! Now the only thing that's missing is some catchy hover-text! http://xkcd.com/210/
  1. crin said at 1:31 am on Sunday March 18, 2012:
    Biggest problem with the chart: the Office of Planning does not issue permits.
  1. Richard Layman said at 12:08 am on Monday March 19, 2012:
    It's not really correct in the case of PUDs and historic districts. They are simultaneous processes. And permits are issued by DCRA.

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