Office of Zoning

Board of Zoning Adjustment

The Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) is an independent, quasi-judicial body. It is empowered to grant relief from the strict application of the Zoning Regulations (variances), approve certain uses of land (special exceptions), and hear appeals of actions taken by the Zoning Administrator at DCRA. The Board's five members consist of three Mayoral appointees, a rotating member of the District of Columbia Zoning Commission, and a designated representative of the National Capital Planning Commission. In cases where the Board is performing functions regarding Foreign Mission and Chancery applications, the composition of the Board shall consist of the three Mayoral appointees, the Director of the U.S. National Park Service or his designee, and the Executive Director of the National Capital Planning Commission.

The BZA members are as follows:

Public Hearings and Meetings are held primarily on Tuesday beginning at 9:30 a.m. at 441 4th Street N.W., Washington, DC 20001 in Room 220 South. Visit "How to Reach Us" on the DCOZ website for detailed directions.

Please note that Public Hearing Notices for all cases before the BZA are published in the District of Columbia Register.

The BZA Schedule and Agenda are available under the "Calendar" function of the DCOZ website.

Please Note that Public Hearing Notices for all cases before the BZA are published in the District of Columbia Register.

For more information on BZA see the links below:


BZA is authorized to vary or modify any part of the Zoning Regulations where, because of an exceptional situation, the strict application of the Zoning Regulations result in "exceptional practical difficulties or exceptional and undue hardship" upon a property owner. Such hardship may result from physical characteristics which make the property unique or difficult to use. To approve an application for a variance, the BZA would have to find that granting the request would not cause substantial detriment to the public good and would not be inconsistent with the general intent and purpose of the Zoning Regulations.

Special Exceptions

A Special Exception may be granted for a particular use of land or for a particular building. In general, a Special Exception is a conditioned permitted use in a particular zone district; that is, the use is permitted provided certain specific criteria are met. The Zoning Regulations set out standards for the BZA to consider when deciding whether or not a particular special exception use should be allowed.

Non-Conforming Uses

A Non-Conforming Use is an existing use of land or of structure that was once permitted under the Zoning Regulations, or that pre-existed the application of the Regulations, but which is no longer permitted under current Regulations. These uses may be continued but are controlled to a greater degree than uses normally permitted by the Zoning Regulations. The Zoning Regulations provide BZA the authority to allow the expansion of such uses under certain circumstances and to allow certain changes in the use itself. The substitution of uses may also be permitted.


The BZA is authorized to hear cases where it is alleged that the decision of any administrative officer or body related to the enforcement or administration of the Zoning Regulations is incorrect.

Foreign Missions

Under the Foreign Mission Act of 1982, the location, expansion, or replacement of a chancery in certain mixed use areas of the city is subject to the review and possible disapproval of the BZA. Six criteria are applied when considering applications.

Lloyd Jordan [X]
Lloyd Jordan
District Resident Appointee
(Term Expiration: September 30, 2015)

Lloyd Jordan is an attorney and a partner with the law firm of MotleyWaller with extensive experience and knowledge of zoning and land use issues in the District. He is the former Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), where he acquired firsthand knowledge of the District's zoning, building, land-use and housing regulations. As DCRA's Director, he was responsible for enforcing, among other things, the zoning, commercial building and housing, and historic preservation laws and regulations in the District of Columbia. He has also served as the District's Building Code Official and its Historic Preservation Agent. He has served on the Mayor's Economic Development Taskforce and Chaired the District of Columbia Regulatory Reform Taskforce.

Shane L. Dettman [X]
Shane L. Dettman, AICP
NCPC Designee

Shane L. Dettman, AICP, has served on the Board of Zoning Adjustment since 2006. Mr. Dettman is an Urban Planner with the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). His projects at NCPC include the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial, Monumental Core Framework Plan, South Capitol Street Urban Design Study, RKF Stadium Site Redevelopment Study, and the Comprehensive Plan for the Nation's Capital - Federal Elements. Prior to joining the NCPC, he was the GIS Program Manager for the Town of Orchard Park, New York. Mr. Dettman is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association. He holds a Master of Urban Planning and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Planning from the University of New York at Buffalo.

S. Kathryn Allen [X]
S. Kathryn Allen
District Resident Appointee
(Term Expiration: September 30, 2014)

S. Kathryn Allen is Co-Founder and Co-President of The Answer Companies which include a real estate settlement and escrow company, a national abstracting company and a federally certified construction management firm. She is a real estate and banking attorney who has been involved in the real estate and financial services industries for the last twenty-five years. With her business partner, Allen is responsible for the management and operations of all of the Answer Companies, headquartered in the District of Columbia.

Allen's previous experiences include three years at Chevy Chase Bank, F.S.B. as Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer and four years at the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency where as Assistant General Counsel she managed the Claims and Property Law Branch.

Ms. Allen serves on a number of boards and advisory committees including Industrial Bank of Washington Board of Directors, the District of Columbia Land Title Association, the DC Chamber of Commerce (DCCC), District of Columbia Building Industry Association, and African American Real Estate Professionals.

Ms. Allen received her undergraduate degree from Smith College with a double major in Biochemistry and African American Literature; went on to earn a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School, and is a member of the Massachusetts and Washington D.C. bars.

Jeffery L. Hinkle [X]
Jeffery L. Hinkle
National Capital Planning Commission Designee

Jeffrey L. Hinkle, AICP, is an Urban Planner within the Urban Design and Plan Review Division of the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC). While at NCPC, Mr. Hinkle has managed the development of multiple plans, research documents, and policy analyses including the annual Federal Capital Improvements Program, the Federal Workplace element of the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital, and the CapitalSpace initiative (a joint federal/District study of parks and open space within Washington, D.C.). Prior to joining NCPC in 2001, Mr. Hinkle worked as a senior facilities planner for the Chicago Transit Authority and a redevelopment specialist for the City of Scottsdale, Arizona. Mr. Hinkle is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and the American Planning Association. He holds a Master of Public Policy from American University and a Bachelor of Science in Planning from Arizona State University.

Marnique Heath [X]
Marnique Heath
District Resident Appointee
(Term Expiration: September 30, 2015)

Marnique Heath, AIA, is Principal and Managing Director of STUDIOS Architecture’s Washington D.C. office, overseeing an innovative design practice with a diverse client base. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture, and a Master of Architecture, both from the University of Virginia.

As an Architect registered in Washington D.C. and a LEED Accredited Professional with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability design, she has a keen understanding of the importance of design and its power to enhance the daily lives of citizens.

Through her firm, she has built a wealth of experience working on a broad range of projects including master plans for residential developments; headquarters for philanthropic & business entities; schools; offices; corporate interiors; furniture showrooms; a broadcast facility, as well as a park and café pavilion, among others. These professional endeavors have taken her into Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Ohio, as well as the District of Columbia.

Ms. Heath has accepted many speaking engagements at AIA conferences and conventions to share her knowledge and expertise. She gives back to the community by involving her firm in volunteer and educational activities with the D.C. Public Schools’ “Architecture in Schools” program, and she volunteers her time with Girl Scouts of America, and the Haitian Renewal Alliance.