R-4 Zoning Changes in Effect
Concerned about a large addition planned next door? Designing plans for an extension or a roof deck? Then you may want to read up on the new regulations regarding pop-ups in DC. The DC Zoning Commission voted on new regulations in early June following an extensive comment and review period. The regulations have been posted in the DC Register and are, therefore, effective as of June 26.
Trinidad is a neighborhood that primarily has housing zoned as R-4 with some commercial (C-2-A) areas along Florida, Bladensburg and in the 1600 block of Montello Ave. The regulations are intended to preserve the character of row house neighborhoods that are zoned R-4 and maintain housing that is sufficiently large for families with children. Developers have pushed limits up and back (pop-ups) to provide condos on former sites of single-family dwellings, leaving many neighbors overshadowed with little access to air and light in their yards. The new regulations are in large part in reaction to the impact on neighborhoods.
What are some of the changes you should know about?
- R-4 buildings will be limited as a matter of right to 35 feet (down from 40 feet). The Bureau of Zoning Adjustment can grant an exception to this matter of right limit.
- Conversions to multi-family dwellings require BZA exception for more than two units. Two units are a matter of right.
- A rear addition cannot extend more than 10 feet beyond the limit of an adjacent neighbor’s house.
- The number of stories is limited to three. Previously a mezzanine was not considered a story and some development plans listed a mezzanine to add height. Under the new regulations a mezzanine counts as a floor.
- Any addition built onto a house (penthouse, roof structure) cannot interfere with solar energy panels/systems on neighboring homes.
- Additions must not interfere with access to light and air or adversely affect the use and enjoyment of neighboring properties.
The DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has prepared a FAQ sheet regarding the new regulations. You can read a copy at this link: http://dcra.dc.gov/page/faqs-how-zoning-commissions-vote-case-14-11-affects-permits-and-permit-applications.
There have been extensive articles written about the new regulations as well and those can be located through Internet searches.