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Office of Zoning


  Office of Zoning
       






Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. I was told to call the "Zoning Office". Who do I call?
  2. What are the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) and the Zoning Commission (ZC)? What is the difference between them?
  3. When and where are BZA and ZC meetings and hearings held?
  4. What time should I come to the BZA hearing to hear a specific application on the hearing docket?
  5. I would like to give oral and written testimony at the public hearing, do I have to sign up? How many copies of my written testimony do I have to provide?
  6. Whom do I contact to obtain zoning district information on a certain property?
  7. How do I obtain a copy of a plat for my property?
  8. How do I obtain information related to a specific BZA or ZC cases?
  9. Why would a property owner need to certify the zoning on his property and what are the steps to certify the zoning of property?
  10. How do I obtain the names and addresses of all owners of property within a 200 ft. radius?
  11. How can I find out the definition of a specific zoning district?
  12. What is FAR?
  13. Whom do I contact if conditions of a BZA or ZC Order are not being adhered to?
  14. I am thinking about making improvements to my property. What types of improvements require a zoning permit and what types require a zoning hearing?
  15. Whom do I notify if illegal construction is being conducted?
  16. I am a member of the public who wants to participate in a case, what are my options?
  17. Where can I obtain a copy of a zoning order?
  18. How can I obtain a paper copy of the Zoning Regulations?
  19. How can I obtain a paper copy of the Zoning Map?
  20. I am unable to view or download any PDF files available at the DCOZ website. What do I do?
  21. I have a letter and attached documents to submit to the Office of Zoning. May I submit them by email?
  22. How do I view cases online?
  23. How do I get an IZIS account?
  24. Is there a maximum size for documents uploaded into IZIS?
  25. Can I submit documents online?
  26. How can I view a hearing or meeting online?
  27. Whom should I contact if I have additional zoning questions?



  1. I was told to call the "Zoning Office". Who do I call?

    In order to direct you to the appropriate office to answer your question, please review the information below before making that call.

    1. The Office of the Zoning Administrator (ZA) at the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) reviews applications for conformity with DC Zoning Regulations (Title 11 DCMR); including building permit applications, Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) applications for allowable uses, occupancy load, verification of address, lot and square, and to determine whether inspections and building plans are required for C of O approval, Subdivision applications to ensure that they meet lot size, lot width and other requirements, and Home Occupation Permit (HOP) applications for allowable uses, employee and customer visit limits, and verification of the type of dwelling to be used. For any questions concerning what zone districts and overlays allow, illegal construction, permits, certificates of occupancy or code enforcement, please call or write:

    2. Zoning Administrator
      Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
      1100 4th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024
      (202) 442-4576
      www.dcra.dc.gov
      dcra@dc.gov

    3. The DC Office of Zoning (DCOZ) is an independent District agency that provides professional, technical, and administrative assistance to the Zoning Commission (ZC) and the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) in support of their oversight and adjudication of zoning matters in the District. OZ administers the zoning application process for the ZC and BZA. The agency reviews and accepts applications, schedules hearings to determine whether cases meet specified zoning criteria, schedules meetings to make determinations with respect to pending applications, and issues legal orders.

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  3. What are the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) and the Zoning Commission (ZC)? What is the difference between them?

    The BZA is a five-member quasi-judicial body charged with hearing cases related to variances, special exceptions, and appeals of administrative decisions. The BZA also hears Foreign Mission cases and civil infractions. Three members of the BZA are residents of the District of Columbia appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council; one is a member of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) or its staff; and one is a rotating ZC member.

    The ZC is a five-member quasi-judicial body charged with preparing, adopting, and subsequently amending the Zoning Regulations and the Zoning Map. The ZC also hears Planned Unit Development (PUD) cases-a planning tool which allows a developer greater flexibility of development and other incentives, provided that the project offers a commendable number or quality of public benefits and that it protects and advances public health, safety, welfare, and convenience. Three members of the ZC are residents of the District of Columbia appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council; the fourth member is the Architect of the Capitol (or his/her representative); and the fifth member is the Director of the National Park Service (or his/her representative).

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  5. When and where are BZA and ZC meetings and hearings held?

    BZA meetings are typically held on the second Tuesday of the month; starting at 9:30 a.m. BZA hearings are also typically held on Tuesday mornings starting at 9:30 a.m. and afternoons, starting at 1:00 p.m.

    ZC meetings are typically held on the second and fourth Monday of each month, starting at 6:30 p.m. ZC hearings are also typically held Monday and Thursday evenings, starting at 6:30 p.m.

    Both BZA and ZC Meetings and Hearings are held in the Jerrily R. Kress Memorial Hearing Room at the Office of Zoning at 441 4th Street, NW Suite 220-S, Washington, DC 20001.

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  7. What time should I come to the BZA hearing to hear a specific application on the hearing docket?

    All applicants, parties, and witnesses are requested to be present in the Hearing Room at 9:30 a.m. for cases scheduled for the morning session. For cases scheduled for the afternoon session, all applicants, parties, and witnesses are requested to be present at 1:00 p.m. The Chairperson, as the presiding officer, has the authority to regulate the course of the hearing, pursuant to Section 3117.3 of the Zoning Regulation. This means that the Chairperson may rearrange and announce the lineup of cases for that portion of the morning or afternoon session at 9:30 a.m. and/or 1:00 p.m., respectively.

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  9. I would like to give oral and written testimony at the public hearing, do I have to sign up? How many copies of my written testimony do I have to provide?

  10. For the ZC, you may call in advance of the hearing and be placed on a witness list or you may sign up on the witness list when you arrive at the hearing. The Chairperson will call your name in the order on the witness list, with proponents testifying first and opponents testifying last. Individuals are allowed three minutes and organizations are allowed five minutes. Should you wish to submit written testimony, it can be submitted either on the day of the hearing or prior to the hearing. If it is submitted on the day of the hearing, we ask that you submit an original and 12 copies.

    For the BZA, there is no sign-up list to give testimony. Anyone can appear on the day of the public hearing. There is a part of the proceeding where the Chairperson will ask if there is anyone present who would want to present testimony. At that point, you may approach the witness table. Individuals are allowed three (3) minutes for oral testimony. Organizations are allowed five (5) minutes.

    Also, written testimony can be submitted into the record. It can be submitted on the day of the hearing or prior to the hearing. It is preferable to submit your written testimony prior to the hearing to allow the Board reasonable time to read your testimony in advance of the hearing.

    Finally, the current procedures call for twenty copies of your written testimony. If you forget to bring multiple copies on the day of the hearing, the front office can assist you by directing you to a copy machine available to the public (copies can be reproduced for a nominal fee).

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  11. Whom do I contact to obtain zoning district information on a certain property?

    Zoning district information on a certain property can be obtained by:

    1. Referring to the Zoning Map on this website.
    2. Calling or e-mailing DCOZ and asking for an informal verification of the zoning designation, this will be provided within 3 business days.

    3. Making a written request to the Director of DCOZ for an official certification of zoning, this will be provided within 14 business days. Per DCOZ procedure, the request must include the name and address of the person making the request, the square and lot numbers of the property, and the address of the property. This process involves a $50 fee and must be accompanied by two copies of a plat of the property prepared by the DC Surveyor or an engineer licensed in the District of Columbia.

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  13. How do I obtain a copy of a plat for my property?

    Please contact the Office of the Surveyor to obtain a copy of a plat:

    Office of the Surveyor
    1100 4th Street SW, Third Floor
    Washington, DC 20002
    (202) 442-4566
    http://government.dc.gov/DC/DCRA/Permits/Surveyor+Services/Surveyor+Fees

    Hours of Operation:

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30 am - 4:15 pm
    Thursday: 9:30 am - 4:15 pm

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  15. How do I obtain information related to a specific BZA or ZC cases?

    Information related to specific BZA or ZC cases may be obtained online using the DCOZ Interactive Zoning Information System (IZIS). In addition to viewing hard copy files, information on most cases can now be found online through the case search function on our website. Also, please note that for new PUD cases (not modifications or time extensions), there is no longer a hard copy file and all the case file information is available online. Should you be unable to access information online, we can assist you with that from our office by appointment. Just call our office at 727-6311 and let us know whether you are seeking help with a ZC or BZA case. Information may also be obtained by visiting DCOZ at 441 4th Street, NW (One Judiciary Square), Suite 200-South, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to review the record related to the specific case.

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  17. Why would a property owner need to certify the zoning on his property and what are the steps to certify the zoning of property?

    Developers, architects, lawyers, realtors, tax assessors, land owners, and others in the land use business often require definitive authentication of zoning classification of property for due diligence purposes. A zoning certification is used as a means of gaining official written (notarized) recognition of zoning from the DC Government.

    A zoning certification can be obtained by submitting a written request to the Director of the Office of Zoning for an official certification of zoning, which will be provided within 14 business days. Per DCOZ procedure, the request must include the name and address of the person making the request, the square and lot numbers of the property, and the address of the property. This process involves a $50 fee and must be accompanied by two copies of a plat (no larger than 11" x 17") of the property, prepared by the DC Surveyor or an engineer licensed in the District of Columbia.

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  19. How do I obtain the names and addresses of all owners of property within a 200 ft. radius?

    This information is available, at cost, from the DC Department of Tax and Revenue, Tax Assessors, 1100 4th Street, SW, Suite W270, Washington, DC 20024, (202) 727- 4TAX (727-4829). A copy of the form can be found on our website at www.dcoz.dc.gov

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  21. How can I find out the definition of a specific zoning district?

    DCOZ's website offers summaries of specific zone districts and overlay districts. A more detailed description can be found in the Zoning Regulations. To quickly find all references to the particular zone district in the Zoning Regulations, use the search engine to enter the zone district in question.

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  23. What is FAR?

    Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is defined in the Zoning Regulations as a figure that expresses the total gross floor area as a multiple of the area of the lot. This figure is determined by dividing the gross floor area of all buildings on a lot by the area of that lot.

    Floor Area Ratio = (Gross Floor Area of Building) / (Lot Area)

    Examples:

    FAR Examples
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  25. Whom do I contact if conditions of a BZA or ZC Order are not being adhered to?

    An alleged violation of BZA or ZC orders condition(s) may be reported to the Office of Zoning. This process involves filing an OZ Form 300 (Complaint of Non-Compliance with Conditions of a BZA/ZC Order). If a violation is found to exist after DCOZ conducts its investigation, DCOZ will work with the non-complying party to achieve compliance. If unsuccessful at achieving compliance, DCOZ will turn the matter over to the Zoning Administrator (ZA), who is part of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, with supporting documentation and a recommendation that the BZA/ZC order condition(s) be enforced. Enforcement action may include fines, revocation of building permits, and/or revocation of Certificates of Occupancy.

    Complainants may alternatively file a complaint directly with the ZA.

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  27. I am thinking about making improvements to my property. What types of improvements require a zoning permit and what types require a zoning hearing?

    Any person seeking to undertake new construction in the District of Columbia or to make major repairs, alterations, or additions to existing buildings should first consult with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to determine whether the proposed project conforms to the Zoning Regulations and the Zoning Map. If the proposed project does not conform, the Zoning Administrator (ZA), who is part of DCRA and has the authority to interpret and administer the Zoning Regulations as adopted by the Zoning Commission, will indicate the required zoning relief.

    Therefore, your first step will be to submit your architectural drawings to the permits division at DCRA. For information on permits, please visit DCRA's Homeowners Service Center online at www.dcra.dc.gov (click on Homeowners Center under Services), call the Homeowners Service Center at (202) 442-9470, e-mail the center at homeowner@dc.gov or write a letter to:

    Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs
    Homeowners Service Center
    1100 4th Street, SW
    Second Floor
    Washington, DC 20024

    If it is determined by DCRA that you require zoning relief, you will be referred to file an application with the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) at OZ. If relief is required, please feel free to contact the Office of Zoning at (202) 727-6311, we will be happy to assist you in this process and answer any questions you may have.

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  29. Whom do I notify if illegal construction is being conducted?

    Any construction done without required building permits is illegal construction. Illegal construction is a public danger: it can hurt people and property. Interested parties can verify whether a permit has been obtained by: (a) asking to see the permit at the construction site; (b) searching the Property Information Verification System (PIVS) on DCRA's website at www.dcra.dc.gov; or (c) visiting the DCRA Permit Processing Center to view a copy of the permit, which is a matter of public record.

    To report illegal construction, call DCRA's Illegal Construction Unit, at (202) 442-STOP (7867) or call 311 during non-business hours and you will be routed to an on-duty inspector.

    Please give the address and describe the illegal construction. DCRA will schedule an inspection to investigate.

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  31. I am a member of the public who wants to participate in a case, what are my options?

    1. Become a Party - those interested must apply at least 14 days before the hearing and demonstrate how much more affected they are than the rest of public

    2. Become a Witness - anyone can appear and give testimony in support or in opposition to a case.

    3. Submit a letter for the record (while the record is open).

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  33. Where can I obtain a copy of a zoning order?

    Copies of zoning orders are available for download and may be printed at no cost from the DCOZ website within 48 to 72 hours after their issuance. In addition, copies of zoning orders can be obtained from the Office of Zoning at 441 4th Street, NW, Suite 200 South, Washington, DC 20001, at a rate of $0.20 per page (only checks and money orders made out to the DC Treasurer are accepted).

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  35. How can I obtain a paper copy of the Zoning Regulations?

    One can download and print out a copy of 11 DCMR Zoning Regulations by either visiting the Office of Documents and Administrative Issuances or the Office of Zoning websites at www.dcregs.dc.gov and www.dcoz.dc.gov respectively.

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  37. How can I obtain a paper copy of the Zoning Map?

    Copies of the Zoning Map are available online using the DCOZ interactive zoning map. This interactive system allows users to determine the zoning classification for any property in the District. Searches may be completed using the address, square and lot, parcel, Zoning Commission (ZC) case, Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) case or Planned Unit Development (PUD), where applicable. Please note, given the fluidity of the map, if you require definitive authentication of zoning classification on any property for due diligence purposes or to satisfy a legal requirement please visit the Office of Zoning to request a certification of zoning. Instructions on how to make the request can be found on the DCOZ website.

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  39. I am unable to view or download any PDF files available at the DCOZ website. What do I do?

    If you upgraded your Adobe Acrobat Reader to version 6.0, you may need to adjust the internet settings of your reader's preferences to display PDF files in their own window rather than in your internet browser's window. To accomplish this, initialize your Adobe Acrobat Reader application, and, from the menu bar, click on "Edit" to find "Preferences" in the pop-up window. In the preferences window, find and click on "internet" in the list of menu items on the left side to reveal several options on the right side of the same window. At the top of the right side of the window, find and uncheck the box next to the text "Display PDF in browser." Accept the change by clicking on "OK" at the bottom of the window, and exit the application. You may then return to your browser to re-execute your search and retrieve any PDF documents available at the DCOZ website. If you are still unable to retrieve your information, contact the Office of Zoning for assistance.

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  41. I have a letter and attached documents to submit to the Office of Zoning. May I submit them by email?

    The Office of Zoning (OZ) now accepts e-mailed post-application/post-appeal submissions for Zoning Commission (ZC) and Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) cases. Please note that new application and appeal filings will not be accepted via e-mail.

    The submission policy for those wishing to e-mail post-application/post-appeal case related documents is as follows:

    1. All documents must be signed by the originator and attached to the email as a PDF file
    2. Only PDF documents of 10 pages or less will be accepted
    3. Submissions received after 3:00 p.m. will be dated and processed the next business day

    4. Documents that contain color will be reproduced in black and white
    5. Case Number and Case Name must be in the subject line of the e-mail (i.e. BZA No. 16358; First Sussex Investment Corporation)

    If your submission does not meet the above parameters, please send it by US Mail, facsimile, or hand-delivery.

    Emailed submissions may only be sent to one of the following addresses, as is applicable:

    1. Zoning Commission submissions should be sent to zcsubmissions@dc.gov
    2. Board of Zoning Adjustment submissions should be sent to bzasubmissions@dc.gov
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  43. How do I view cases online?

    The DC Office of Zoning (DCOZ) is pleased to present a real time search tool that provides the ability to view Zoning Commission (ZC) and Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) case-related information as well as certain supporting documents. The search tool will eventually allow users to view a full exhibit log of each selected case. This search tool can be accessed through our website by clicking on "Zoning Case Search" on the right hand side of our home page.

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  45. How do I get an IZIS account?

    You can set up an IZIS account through our website by clicking on "File and Manage Cases online" on the right hand side of our home page. You will see the login page for IZIS and to set up an account, click on "Create an IZIS Account."

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  47. Is there a maximum size for documents uploaded into IZIS?

    Yes, the maximum size is 8MB. If you have a document that is larger than that, you will need to break it down into smaller files in order to submit the document.

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  49. Can I submit documents online?

    Yes. For electronically-initiated cases (IZIS), all documents must be filed through IZIS. This includes letters in support/opposition, agency reports, etc. IZIS can be accessed through our website by clicking on "File and Manage Cases online."

    For cases not in IZIS, you can e-mail submissions to either zcsubmissions@dc.gov or bzasubmissions@dc.gov, provided they meet the parameters outlined on our website by clicking on "E-mail Post-Application/Post-Appeal Submissions Policy".

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  51. How can I view a hearing or meeting online?

    You can view a live hearing or meeting online through our website by clicking on "Live Webcast." To view hearings or meetings that have already occurred, click on "Video on Demand."

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  53. Whom should I contact if I have additional zoning questions?

    If you have further zoning questions, please contact DCOZ through our website or by contacting the office at (202) 727-6311.

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