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:
- Lloyd Jordan, Chairperson
- S. Kathryn Allen, Vice Chairperson
- Marnique Heath
- Jeff Hinkle, National Capital Planning Commission Designee
- Zoning Commission member in rotation
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.
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.
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.
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.