Decision Summary HPA No. 02-635
- HPA Number
- Building Name
- Owl's Nest
- 3031 Gates Rd. NW
- Date of Order
Applicant sought approval of an application for subdivision of two lots into three record lots. Applicant also requested conceptual approval of a proposal to construct a single-family residence, driveway, pool, and pool house on the new lot. The affected property included Lots 872 and 873 in Square 2263. Lot 873 is a recently designated historic landmark that is included in the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places. The protected property includes a prominent residence known as the Owl’s Nest, which was constructed in 1897. Lot 872, located directly to the east of the protected lot, also has a much smaller residence but has not been designated as a landmark. The Applicant’s proposed subdivision would create a third buildable record lot by combining the eastern portion of Lot 873 and the western portion of adjacent Lot 872. Such a subdivision would make holding Lot 873 much more economically feasible. The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) approved the subdivision application and approved, subject to a number of conditions, conceptual design drawings of the proposed new house on the new lot and the proposed future location of its pool, pool house, and driveway. Although subdivisions of landmarked properties are rarely approved because their sites are often integral to the landmarks, the Mayor’s Agent determined that the subdivision of the Owl’s Nest property was necessary in the public interest because it was consistent with the purposes of the Act. The Mayor’s Agent further held that the proposed location of the driveway for the new house also was consistent with the character of the landmark, and that any future HPRB review of the driveway must be limited to its specific design features. The Mayor’s Agent also concurred with HPRB’s conceptual approval of the proposed residence, its pool, and pool house.
Consistent with Purposes of the Act:
The Mayor’s Agent held that the proposed subdivision was consistent with the purposes of the Act because it would still preserve the suburban/rural character of the lot, which is a significant characteristic of the landmark, by retaining sufficient open space to the west and south of the Owl’s Nest residence. The subdivision would enhance the landmark and help preserve it for adaptive use (since the new house would make redevelopment of the landmark more economically feasible).
Although the issue was not before him, the Mayor’s Agent specifically held that the proposed use of the rectangular parcel of land bordering on Grant Road as a driveway for the new house was also consistent with the character of the landmark.