D.C.'s Comprehensive Zoning Update Takes Effect

After nine years of controversy, the District's first zoning revamp since 1958 is officially on the books.

1 minute read

September 14, 2016, 10:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden


Daniel Lobo / Flickr

A comprehensive update of D.C.'s zoning rules—the first in 58 years—was originally undertaken in 2007, and finally approved by the Zoning Commission this year. The new regulations went into effect September 6.

Key changes include relaxing restrictions on accessory dwelling units, eliminating parking requirements downtown, and aligning the development review process with D.C.'s Comprehensive Plan.

But for the most part, reports Washington City Paper, "the changes won't dramatically affect the physical character of D.C. … [but] they do update codes so that policies reflect current practice."

For example, the old 1958 statutes didn't allow specific business types to be built in a zone if those types weren't listed in the codes. That has held up yoga studios from locating in commercial zones, whereas vestiges like "telegraph offices" and "penny arcades" were OK.

A summary of the new regulations can be found here, while the full text is here (Title 11).

Tuesday, September 6, 2016 in Washington City Paper

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