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Bureau of Zoning Case Updates

There have been a few cases requesting variance or special exception from the Board of Zoning Adjustment in the past few months. Here is an update on two recent cases that completed their BZA approval process.

BZA Case 18995 at 1254 Florida Avenue NE

This request was to construct a second story on an existing carriage house in the alley between Morse and Florida Ave NE. The special exceptions were unanimously approved by BZA.

BZA Case 18987 at 1124 – 1126 Florida Avenue NE

The case was before BZA on several times in June and July and after numerous meetings with the community. The applicant, Pierce Investments, submitted a final revised plan to BZA on July 7th. The final revisions, which can be viewed on the BZA site, include several changes to the variances requested:

  1. The request for height variance was dropped. Originally they asked for variance to build at 53 feet, 3 feet above the by right 50 feet. Instead of a higher ceiling commercial space, the developer may utilize the space for residential units if they cannot find a retailer that will rent a space with 10-foot ceilings.
  2. The fifth floor was set back 24.2 feet so that the height is not as visible and out of character with the neighboring town houses.
  3. Rear yard relief requested was reduced by 50%.
  4. The Floor to Area Ratio (FAR) requested was also reduced from 3.6% to 3.4%.

The BZA meeting on July 14th voted to approve the case. There were 3 votes in favor and one against relief requested.

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:

There have been extensive articles written about the new regulations as well and those can be located through Internet searches.

Special ANC 5D Meeting Set for Thursday July 2nd

THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2015 – 7:00 PM

Per DC Code § 1–309.11.3.c and ANC 5D Bylaws § V.4, Commissioners Blacknell, Buggs, Lee, Roberts and Shropshire have requested a Special Meeting of ANC 5D to address the below agenda items. Per the bylaws and Robert’s Rules of Order, only the below items may be discussed at this Special Meeting.


1. Roll Call 7:00 – 7:05

2. Letter of Support for Zoning Variances 7:05 – 7:25

Pierce Investments, LLC (1124 Florida Ave NE)

3. Approval of Minutes 7:25 – Close

a. January 13, 2015 monthly meeting
b. January 23, 2015 special meeting
c. February 10, 2015 monthly meeting
d. March 10, 2015 monthly meeting
e. April 14, 2015 monthly meeting
f. May 12, 2015 monthly meeting
g. May 22, 2015 special meeting

4. Adjourn

ANC 5D06 Meeting on Pierce Investment Project on Florida Ave

SMD5D06 June 26 Commissioner Yvonne Buggs is holding another meeting with representatives from Pierce Investments in regard to their development project at 1124 – 1126 Florida Ave NE. The developers have made changes to previously presented plans for the large condo complex planned for the former Avilla auto repair shop.  The meeting is Friday June 26th at 7pm at New Samaritan Baptist Church, 1100 Florida Ave NE.

Read related posts about this project noted below.

Controversial Florida Ave Development Project before BZA Tomorrow!

Pierce Investments, LLC (1124 Florida Ave NE) to Appear Before the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Tuesday, June 9th

Pierce Investments, LLC (1124 Florida Ave NE) to Appear Before the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Tuesday, June 9th at 9:30 am in Suite 220 South of 441 4th Street NW. There have been at least two ANC Single Member District Meetings regarding this development. Those have been contentious and not addressed all issues/questions raised by community members. Pierce Investments, LLC is scheduled to appear before the full ANC on June 9th at 7:00 pm, after their BZA hearing.

The BZA Calendar lists the hearing as one of nine scheduled. Hearing notes on the calendar are:

Case Number : 18987
Case Name : Application of Pierce Investments, LLC
Case Summary : (Area Variance) Request pursuant to 11 DCMR § 3103.2, for variances from the height requirements under § 770, the floor area ratio requirements under § 771, the rear yard requirements under § 774, and the residential loading requirements under § 2201, to allow the construction of a five-story multi-family building containing 52 units in the C-2-A District at premises 1124 Florida Avenue N.E. (Square 4070, Lot 808).
ANC : 5D
Result :

Pierce Investments has submitted a Pre-hearing letter with additional information and design changes. While they have reduced the number of dwelling units from 52 to 44, they maintain need for a variance in height requirements and rear yard set back. Please refer to the attached Prehearing Statement.

To date, only one letter of opposition has been submitted and the BZA hearing is being held prior to the ANC vote. Anyone that wants to weigh in on the decision should attend the hearing tomorrow or submit a letter to the BZA. Detailed instructions for submission of testimony can be located at:

Zoning Update on the Pierce Investments, LLC

1124-1126floridaBZA Case number 18987 was postponed until June 9, 2015. The reason for the postponement was to work with the community and the ANC. The developer was originally seeking variances from height requirements, the floor area ratio requirements, the rear yard requirements, and residential loading requirements to allow construction of a five-story multi-family building containing 52 units in the C-2-A District premises at 1124 Florida Avenue NE. In a subsequent meeting with the ANC Single Member District, the developer reduced the number of units to remove the residential loading requirement. They were still seeking height and other variances.

As meetings are scheduled, TNA will post notices so that community members can be aware of the variances requested. To date few community members have submitted letters with views in opposition or support of the project.

Read our original post on the case. 

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