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DCRA Issues new Interpretation of Zoning Regulations Guidance

Monday, February 11, 2019

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The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs' Office of the Zoning Administrator (OZA) has published two Interpretation of Zoning Regulations Guidance Documents 2019-001 and 2019-002.

2019-01 concerns expansions of existing residential buildings in zones RA-1 and RA-6. The Guidance specifies when special exception relief is needed for residential buildings expanding into larger multiple dwelling buildings pursuant to Subtitle U, § 421. The zoning rules are silent on the treatment of building expansions and several recent building permit applications have prompted the need to provide a clear interpretation. It will take effect beginning Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

2019-002 concerns certain expansions of pre-1958 apartment houses in RF zones. More specifically, the Guidance discusses the following scenario: (1) the existing apartment house was legally built prior to May 12, 1958 in the RF zone; (2) the apartment house is presently non-conforming to the requirement that there is nine hundred square feet (900 square feet) of lot area for each dwelling unit; and (3) a proposed expansion of the apartment house would increase the building’s gross floor area but not the number of dwelling units. The zoning regulations do not explicitly address building expansions and several recent building permit applications have prompted the need to provide a clear interpretation. The Guidance Document reflects current Zoning Administrator interpretive practice – as such, it will take effect and apply to pending and future building permit applications beginning February 6, 2019, the date of publication.

Questions related to the interpretation guidance document can be emailed to DCRA’s Office of the Zoning Administrator at [email protected].