New DC Zoning Code Goes Back to the Future
According to Alpert, the Washington D.C. Office of Planning has been working to rewrite the city's archaic 1958 zoning code for four years. Now a portion of the proposed code is making its way through the public process.
The new code aims to, "correct some of the most egregious problems from the 1958 code, where it imposed social engineering ideas in vogue at the time that ended up eliminating local corner stores, pushed people out of urban neighborhoods, and forced new buildings to take a suburban form incompatible with the walkable communities that previously existed."
Alpert finds that in looking forward, the new code largely looks to traditional development patterns for major revisions such as reducing parking requirements, allowing accessory units, reducing restrictions on retail in residential areas, and easing restrictions on alley dwellings. One progressive change that Alpert highlights is a new "Green Area Ratio" for large buildings.