Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Published! Reply

The Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR) reached another milestone with the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend Title 11, Zoning Regulations, on May 29, 2015.  The draft text can be found online at Title 11 DCMR – Zoning.pdf.

The record for Zoning Commission Case Nos. 08-06A (text) and 08-06B (fees) will remain open from May 29, 2015 through 5:00 PM on September 25, 2015.  The record in Zoning Commission Case No. 08-06C (maps) will remain open through 5:00 PM on June 29, 2015.  The public is encouraged to provide comments on the proposals.  Additional information, including submittal instructions, can be found online at

Continue to check the blog for updates!

Summary of OP Revisions in Response to Zoning Commission Deliberations Reply

On Thursday evening, December 11, 2014, the Zoning Commission voted 5-0-0 to approve the Zoning Regulations Review (08-06A) for Proposed Action. Based on Zoning Commission deliberations in October 2014, OP provided revised text for the following items for Zoning Commission consideration. Highlights include the following:

Code Structure and Zone Names
• Reorganizes information that was contained in Subtitles B and C to provide: general definitions; rules of measurement and definitions of relevant terms, as well as general relief criteria; and use groups and related use definitions.
• Subtitle C revised to contain regulations applied across the land use subtitles, such as parking, loading, bike parking, pervious surface, and Green Area Ratio requirements.
• Subtitle U created to consolidate use permissions in one Subtitle.

Green Area Ratio
• Revised the provisions to increase the tree canopy spread required to generate GAR credits.

Corner Stores
• Clarify that cellar space would not be included in the 1,200 square foot limit for corner stores.
• Clarify that storage space for beer and wine would not be included in the 15% limit.

Accessory Apartments
• Revised the provisions to allow an accessory apartment to occupy no more than 35% of the GFA of the house.
• Revised the provisions to allow an entrance on a street facing wall, provided the entrance is below grade.
• Included a provision to allow for an accessory apartment in an accessory building if the accessory building is located on a 15-foot wide alley and within 300 feet of a street.
• Revised the text to prohibit roof decks on accessory buildings, but allow balconies and projecting windows.

Alley Lots
• Included a provision to allow for camping on an alley lot provided that the individuals camping on the alley lot have a bedroom in the principal structure.
• Included a provision to allow for a residential use on an alley lot if the dwelling is located on a 15-foot wide alley and within 300 feet of a street.
• Revised the text to prohibit roof decks on residential alley lot buildings and to allow balconies and projecting windows.

Where do we go from here? Zoning Regulations Review Next Steps Reply

On December 11, 2014, the Zoning Commission (ZC) voted 5-0-0 to take proposed action on ZC 08-06A – Zoning Regulations Review (ZRR). You can watch the Special Public Meeting online and you can review the proposed text and related documents, including OP’s November 14, 2014 memo.

Now…you might ask, what’s next? The Office of Planning (OP) is working to incorporate the changes requested by the Zoning Commission. Once OP has completed its revisions, the Office of Zoning (OZ) and the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will review and edit the draft text. OAG will also review the text for legal sufficiency at this time.

After the OAG review is complete, OAG will work with OZ and OP to prepare a notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which will include revised text. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking will be published in the DC Register with a 60-day comment period. At this time, the record in the case will be reopened to allow the public to provide additional comments. At the same time, a referral will be made to the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), which will also have 60 days to review and comment on the proposed text.

At the close of the comment period, the Zoning Commission will schedule Final Action and make its final decision at a regularly scheduled public meeting. A Final Order containing the Zoning Commission’s written decision in the case will be issued.

We know everyone is interested in the proposed effective date for the new regulations. The Zoning Commission will review vesting language drafted by OAG; however, the ZC has indicated that it would like to leave the effective date open for the time being.

We’ll continue to post updates here on the blog. Stay tuned for a link to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and more on vesting and effective date.

Zoning Commission Proposed Action Reply

Last week (October 6 – 9), the Zoning Commission held four nights of public meetings on ZRR. Over the course of over 17 hours of deliberations, the Commission reviewed and took proposed action on many specific proposals. These discussions, of course, followed seven years of public hearings and meetings, so the issues themselves had been examined and discussed on numerous occasions by the public and by Commission members in advance of these meetings. However, the Commission did provide OP with instruction to re-examine or revise many of the proposed provisions, including ones related to parking for specific uses; parking for motorcycles and mopeds; use groups; corner stores; accessory apartment size and access; use restrictions for non-residential space in low density commercial zones; Green Area Ratio tree canopy; theatres in residential zones; and revised or additional definitions.

The Zoning Commission instructed the Office of Planning and the Office of Zoning to prepare a revised draft of the complete zoning regulations, for submission on November 3, 2014, incorporating the direction provided by the Commission at the recent public meetings. This will, as with all ZRR documents, be posted on the OP and OZ websites. The Commission will then take this draft up at a further public meeting on December 11, 2014 for proposed action on the entire text. The previous draft, submitted in September of 2013, was very much a working draft so we expect the final version to cleaner, tighter, and, yes, shorter. Thanks again to everyone who provided comments on the first draft.

DDOT Curbside Management Study Reply

Parking has been the subject of a great deal of discussion during the extensive public outreach process for the revisions to the Zoning Regulations. While zoning regulates on-site parking, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) manages curbside parking through meters, its Residential Permit Parking program, and other policies. DDOT has been studying curbside parking and just recently released its Curbside Management Study, which identifies policies and approaches to:
• Preserve access to residential areas for the use of residents;
• Promote and facilitate commerce by prioritizing customer and commercial vehicle access in commercial areas; and
• Ensure the safety of all transportation users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and motorists.

ZRR Parking Proposal Maps 1

The following maps prepared by OP for the Friendship Heights Neighborhood Association, provide an illustration of the ZRR parking proposal. The first map compares the current regulations to the proposal which was setdown by the Zoning Commission in September 2013, and the second map compares the current regulations to the alternative proposal setdown in June, 2014. While they are similar to maps that OP has already provided to the Zoning Commission and uploaded to this site, they specifically focus in on multi-family residential development. The difference between the two maps is that:
• under the 2013 proposal, a parking reduction of 50% would be permitted by-right for new development proximate (within ¼ mile) of a WMATA Priority Bus Corridor;
• under the 2014 alternative, OP is not proposing the 50% parking reduction for new development proximate to a Priority Bus Corridor.
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Like any map, there are some generalizations – for example, the maps do not take into account areas that are subject to site specific review and parking requirements, such as university campus plans or Planned Unit Developments. The maps also do not distinguish R-5-A zoned land that is not developed with apartments (in R-5-A, a new apartment building is permitted only by special exception so would receive BZA, ANC, and community review) – much of the R-5-A zoned land is developed with one-family dwellings or flats, where the parking requirement would remain 1 parking space per building, with no reduction for proximity to transit.

Of course, OP also proposed other alternatives to the September 2013 text as part of the June 2014 alternatives – a complete description is provided below, or you can read the OP report on the Office of Zoning website (link), case 08-06A, Exhibit 725. The Zoning Commission will be holding public hearings on these alternatives, September 8 – 11; you can attend an provide comments or submit written comments to the record via the Office of Zoning website, prior to September 15, 2014.

Summary of Zoning Commission Hearings Reply

The Office of Zoning has uploaded a good summary of the most recent Zoning Commission hearings (in addition to 44 earlier Zoning Commission hearings and meetings). The summary also provides dates for upcoming hearings, and information on how you can participate, in person or by submitting comments. Finally, it also provides convenient links to the draft text as set down by the Commission in September 2013, and to the OP proposed alternative text, provided in June 2014 in response to comments from the Commission and the public received to date.

Thank You! 2

Thank you for your time, attention, and valuable comments. Since setting down the draft proposed text of the revised Zoning Regulations for public review and comment on September 9, 2013, the Zoning Commission and Office of Planning have heard a number of suggestions and ideas through the public hearing and community outreach process. In fact, the Zoning Commission has so far received more than 1,100 public comments since setting down the draft proposed text on September 9, 2013. A summary of comments received can be viewed in the case record (Z.C. Case No. 08-06A) here and here.

Having heard the extensive public comment and testimony, the Zoning Commission asked the Office of Planning to evaluate alternatives to specific proposals, and to draft text that could refine the proposed Zoning Regulations – an interim measure to try to address some issues raised to date. The Office of Planning report, which was delivered to the Zoning Commission on June 16th, contains detailed information about the alternative proposals, including draft text, and can be viewed here.

The alternatives proposed by OP, summarized below, respond to comments received to date; however, the Zoning Commission stressed that the record in the case remains open through September 15, 2014, and that additional comments are welcome. While the alternatives presented address many of the key issues identified, the proposed text does not respond to all comments raised during the public input process. Stay tuned – the Office of Planning will continue to post additional information here on the blog about these proposals, and any other proposed changes.

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New AARP Study Reply

AARP recently released a study describing the community preferences of older adults. Highlights of the report include findings that “most older adults want to age in place. They prefer to stay in their current homes and communities.” The community preference survey also found that older adults valued having the following amenities close to home (within 1 mile or less):
• Bus stop (50%);
• Grocery store (47%);
• Park (42%)
• Pharmacy/drug store (42%);
• Hospital (29%);
• Church/religious (29%);
• Train/subway (23%);
• Big box store (18%);
• Entertainment (16%); and
• Mall (shopping) (13%).
You can read the full study online at (