City Paper Widget

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

1512 P Street: Zoning Permission Needed to Resurface Deck

The owners of 1512 P Street NW had an unpleasant surprise when they decided to resurface and improve their long-established back deck. The deck was "non-conforming". They could not improve their deck without permission from the DC Office of Zoning.

1512 P Street from the front
At an overflow meeting on May 19, Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle unanimously voted to endorse the homeowners' request for two zoning variances. If they get the variances from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA), they should be able to resurface the deck and replace the railings and stairs. A hearing on the matter at the BZA is scheduled for June 3.

BZA documents indicate the building was constructed with the non-conforming deck in 1885, so the deck in some form pre-dates the present DC zoning regime by about 73 years. The BZA has no records for a building permit for this deck.

One variance is for lot occupancy. With the deck, the house occupies 73.7% of its lot, but zoning regulations say only 60% is allowed.

The other variance is for the width of the rear open court. The deck is constructed so that there is a 4-foot-wide open court on the western side of the property, but zoning regulations say such a court has to be 6 feet wide.

The homeowners went to their neighbors to collect letters and emails saying they had no problem with the court. In their letters, some of the neighbors noted the construction and alternation necessary to bring the deck into compliance with zoning regulations would likely create more noise and disruption than leaving it alone.

The homeowners also went to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and got a letter stating the project would have "no adverse impacts on the District's transportation network."

Assuming the BZA approves the request June 3, it will have taken the homeowners 70 days to get an approval, counting from the day the first document was filed. They also had to pay a $325 filing fee.

See a copy of the letter ANC2B sent to the BZA here.

The documents pertaining to this case can be viewed through the BZA's Interactive Zoning Information System by entering case number 18763 in the search bar.

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