A recent building permit appeal in DC may have wider implications for whether solar arrays on residential rooftops are protected.
ANC 1C has filed a zoning appeal of a permit issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) for construction of a building which could reduce the solar production capacity of an adjacent home. DCRA's position, however, is that because the building is new construction rather than an addition, the impact on neighboring solar panels is within the zoning regulations.
The owner of 2910 18th Street NW (map), previously a two-family flat, was issued building permits by DCRA last November to construct a three-story building with a cellar. The RF-1 zone that defines the site permits by-right construction of up to three stories or 35 feet tall. In response, the ANC 1C filed a zoning appeal in December asserting that, among other things, the measurements used to approve the permits were inaccurate and misleading, and that the construction would violate a provision in the zoning code which states:
"Any addition, including a roof structure or penthouse, shall not interfere with the operation of an existing or permitted solar energy system on an adjacent property, as evidenced through a shadow, shade, or other reputable study acceptable to the Zoning Administrator."
However, both DCRA and the appellant note that the only structure sitting at this address is currently a wood bracing system and what the appellant refers to as "the damaged remnants of a rowhouse structure". According to DCRA, this classifies the two-family flat proposed for the site as new construction, and that the height of the structure would not constitute an addition. The only other mention of solar energy in the regulations for the RF-1 zone also pertains to additions. This means that, although the company which installed the neighboring solar array conducted a study stating that the array's energy-generating capacity would be diminished by 35 percent, there is no zoning provision to protect against this.
How the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) assesses the case could have much larger implications for what constitutes new construction vs. an addition, and for the city's protection (or lack thereof) of solar power-generating residential developments in the future. A zoning hearing is scheduled for May 15th.
This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/does-dc-zoning-code-lack-protections-for-solar-panels-from-new-construction/15231.
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
UrbanTurf created Pipeline, a searchable database of multifamily projects that are un... read »
As we head towards the end of the year, UrbanTurf is wrapping up its coverage of larg... read »
Prices in Wesley Heights, a DC neighborhood to the south of Spring Valley bordered by... read »
Today, UrbanTurf takes a look at the distinct differences between these two popular f... read »
The plans for the new two-building residential project at Union Market got a big thum... read »
A new report out this week found that homes in the DC region are selling nearly a wee... read »
When Amazon announced in 2018 that it would be opening a second headquarters in Virgi... read »
A revised plan is on the boards for a group of five townhouses in the middle of China... read »
The proposed district would encompass the neighborhood's commercial strip along Conne... read »
WTOP is reporting that The Heights, an eight-stall food hall that is taking over the ... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro