Decision Summary HPA No. 00-194
- HPA Number
- Building Name
- 2045 14th St. NW
- Date of Order
Full Text of Order
Applicant sought approval for its proposed construction of mixed-use residential and commercial project in the Greater U Street Historic District. Based on the proposed project height of 90 feet, the Historic Preservation Review Board concluded that the building was incompatible with the district. The Mayor’s Agent found that the burden of showing incompatibility rests solely on the D.C. government or party in opposition. Given the existing zoning regulations and the mixed-use, mixed-height, “city within a city” nature of the Greater U Street Historic District, the Mayor’s Agent concluded that the project was compatible as submitted.
· The Mayor’s Agent found that Applicant’s proposed construction of a mixed-use residential and commercial project in the Greater U Street Historic District was compatible with the district since: it was in compliance with the applicable zoning laws, the project would be massed to keep its higher sections from looming over neighboring buildings or interfering with vistas, and the development would match the district’s “city within a city” (i.e. its tradition of mixed-use and mixed-height structures) nature.
· “[T]he burden of demonstrating incompatibility rests upon those opposing the new construction permit application.”
Historic Preservation Review Board:
· “[T]he [Historic Preservation Review] Board has no jurisdiction to render recommendations that have the effect of imposing a height restriction rezoning in a historic district.”
· The D.C. Court of Appeals has held that the Historic Preservation Review Board functions solely in an advisory capacity. The Mayor’s Agent is not bound by the its determinations “and can receive and rely upon additional advice contrary to the [its] position.” If the Mayor’s Agent rejects the Board’s advice, he must demonstrate that he did so on a rational basis. See Committee for Washington’s Riverfront Parks v. Thompson, 451 A.2d 1177, 1193 (D.C. 1982).
· The determinations of the Historic Preservation Review Board are not accorded the same “great weight” as those of the Advisory Neighborhood Councils.
Per the D.C. Council’s Report on the Act, the Mayor’s Agent shall give “due consideration” to zoning laws and regulations when considering projects of new construction in historic districts. Given this requirement, plus the presumption of issuance for new construction permits, the burden on the Mayor’s Agent to show incompatibility is a particularly high one.
The D.C. Court of Appeals interprets the new construction provision of the Act as a “presumption of issuance” for new construction permits. DuPont Circle Citizens Ass’n v. Barry, 455 A.2d 417, 423, n.24 (D.C. 1983).