City Paper Widget

Friday, March 28, 2014

Historic Preservation to Mandate Placarding for Pop-ups

A committee of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2F/Logan Circle heard on March 26 that major exterior renovations, including "pop-ups", in historic districts will soon need to be placarded beforehand.

HPRB placards will resemble this
Steve Callcott, a senior preservation planner with the D.C. government, told the Community Development Committee of ANC2F that the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) will launch the placarding requirement for "a trial run" starting at the end of April. The trial period will run until at least the end of the year. Callcott said placarding will only be required for major exterior work in historic districts. A member of the committee asked if this included pop-ups (meaning, extra floors added onto the top of existing buildings). Callcott agreed it did.

Calcott said the placards will be similar to those used by D.C.'s Board of Zoning Adjustment (see photo). The placards will be required to be clearly displayed at the site of the proposed renovation for at least 15 days prior to the meeting at which the HPRB will consider the matter. Information on the placards will include the date and time of the public hearing on the project, at which time concerned parties can register objections.

The consequences of improper placarding were not discussed at the meeting. However, liquor license renewals or applications also require placarding. There have been cases recently involving accusations of improper placarding by potential liquor licensees -- see, for example, SALM blog post of February 11. The remedy in these cases has been to "re-set the clock", that is, the applicant must start the process from the beginning and re-placard. The result can be costly and inconvenient delay.

Calcott also told the ANC that the HPRB is working on an update of its historic preservation guidelines. A draft version of the updates will soon be published in the D.C. Register, he said. Among the subjects addressed will be the construction of new one-story garages on properties in historic districts, and what kind of rear additions to historic district homes can be "approved administratively", meaning, do not have to go through a potentially long and complicated series of reviews and hearings.

Historic preservation requirements are of special interest because much of ANC2F is part of a historic district. Major exterior renovations to most buildings in a designated historic district require HPRB review. Among the historic districts wholly or partially in ANC2F are the Blagden Alley Naylor Court Historic District, the Fourteenth Street Historic District, and the Logan Circle Historic District.

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