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The 7-Year Wait: Zoning Commission Moves Toward Final Vote on Zoning Changes

by UrbanTurf Staff

The 7-Year Wait: Zoning Commission Moves Toward Final Vote on Zoning Changes: Figure 1
Grubbs Pharmacy on Capitol Hill

It has been about seven years in the making, but it appears that the Zoning Commission is moving towards approving the city’s long-debated zoning changes. On Monday night, the Commission took a preliminary final action on the revised code and moved for a final vote to likely approve the code on January 14th.

Below is a look at select changes to the code that are probably of most interest to the UrbanTurf readership.


  • Accessory Apartments

Under the new code, accessory apartments would be legalized in many low-density sections of the city where they are currently not allowed. An accessory apartment is defined as a residential unit located on a single family dwelling lot. The most common accessory unit is an English basement, but garage units also qualify. The new code would require that the owner of the property live in the main residence and there would be a limit to the total number of people living in the accessory unit, but the dwellings would be allowed by-right.


  • Elimination of Parking Minimum Requirements

Currently, developers constructing new residential buildings in DC must build a certain number of parking spaces. The new code would eliminate this parking minimum in certain parts of DC, like high-density residential areas near public transit. Instead, the number of parking spaces would be determined by the market in that area.


  • Corner Stores

In the new code, corner stores would be encouraged in areas zoned R-3 and R-4. Limitations would protect existing commercial zones and the residential quality of the neighborhood: no more than four stores would be allowed per block, the hours of operation and size will be limited, and stores cannot open up within 500 feet of a commercial zone. These numbers could be adjusted on a neighborhood-to-neighborhood basis.

If the changes are approved in January, the new rules would go into effect six months later. For a more comprehensive rundown of all the changes, click here.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/zoning_commission_moves_toward_final_vote_on_zoning_changes/10594

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