Burleith is experiencing a renovation boom. Prompted by numerous calls and emails to the BCA Board of Directors regarding construction and remodeling issues, the board wants to make neighbors aware of the city's construction oversight organizations and resources for residents.
Burleith is in Georgetown Residential House Zone R-20; requirements for density, height, lot occupancy, front setbacks, rear and side yards, pervious surfaces, and accessory dwellings are outlined in Title 11 of the 2016 Zoning Regulations. (Title 11 – Zoning / Subtitle D. Residential House (R) Zones, Chapter 12. Georgetown Residential House Zones–R-19 and R-20 [1200.3], page 46).
Anyone seeking to undertake new construction in D.C. or to make repairs, alterations, or additions to existing buildings should consult with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to determine whether the proposed project conforms to the applicable zoning requirements. If the proposed project conflicts with the 2016 Zoning Regulations or the Zoning Map, the Zoning Administrator (who is part of DCRA and has the authority to interpret and administer the Zoning Regulations as adopted by the Zoning Commission), will determine the required zoning relief. The person or organization may at that time: (1) modify the proposed project to conform to the Zoning Regulations and the Zoning Map; (2) appeal the Zoning Administrator's decision (with cause) to the Board of Zoning Adjustment; or (3) apply for relief from the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) or the Zoning Commission (ZC). The Office of Zoning's Zoning 101 offers an excellent overview of the entire process.
Since September 2017, the following special exception and modification of significance relief requests for Burleith properties have been filed with the BZA. (No variance requests have been filed with the ZC to date.) All related documents (exhibits) are filed under the Interactive Zoning Information System (IZIS) system, which allows online case filing, viewing, processing, and management of BZA and ZC cases. Enter the IZIS case number, select the case, click on "View Details," and click on "View Full Log" after the DCOZ Case Report page loads. (Note that there may be more than one page of exhibits.) Transcripts and videos of hearings are posted on the case report page as soon as they are available.
|Burleith Address / IZIS Case #||ANC 2E Meeting / Exhibit #||BZA Hearing||Status / Exhibit #|
|3617 T — 19936 (SE)||01/02/19 (#16)||03/13/19; 03/27/2019||Approved (#47)|
|1920 35th — 19912 (SE)||01/02/19 (#30)||02/27/19||Approved (#39)|
|3714 S — 19881 (SE)||10/29/18 (#31)||12/05/18||Approved (#38)|
|3520 S — 19521A (MS)||07/02/18 (#50)||07/25/18||Approved (#64)|
|3629 T — 19633A (MS)||04/30/18 (#40)||05/09/18||Approved (#44)|
|1959 39th — 19698 (SE)||01/29/18 (#37)||04/17/18||Approved (#44)|
|3608 S — 19672 (SE)||01/03/18 (#50; #71; #74)||01/24/18; 02/21/18; 02/28/18; 03/07/18||Approved (#76)|
|3629 T — 19633 (SE)||10/02/17 (#17)||12/06/17||Approved (#84)|
A BCA board member monitors the Weekly Zoning Cases Report, which lists the cases submitted to the BZA (special exception) and ZC (variance) during the previous week. The BCA emails BCA members and the Burleith listserv when cases for Burleith properties are placed on the ANC 2E agenda and ZC/BZA calendar so that anyone wishing to express a view, in support or opposition, in person or in writing, to ANC 2E, BZA (special exception), or ZC (variance) can do so at the appropriate time.
Comments to the ANC should be emailed to incoming ANC 2E commissioner Kishan Putta (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the general ANC email (2E@anc.dc.gov). Send comments on special exceptions to email@example.com and on variances to firstname.lastname@example.org. ANC 2E meetings are held at Georgetown Visitation, 1524 35th Street NW; ZC/BZA public hearings are held at 441 4th Street NW, Room 220 South.
Office of Zoning
The Office of Zoning provides administrative, professional, and technical assistance to the Zoning Commission and the Board of Zoning Adjustment in support of their oversight and adjudication of zoning matters in D.C. The Office of Zoning administers the zoning application processes for the Zoning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustment. 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.
The Zoning Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial body. Created by the Zoning Act of 1920, as amended, the ZC is charged with preparing, adopting, and subsequently amending the Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map in a means not inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan for the National Capital area. Cases heard before the ZC generally pertain to property owners who wish to amend the Zoning Regulations, alter the Zoning Map, and/or develop their land beyond the limitations of the designated Zone District, usually on multiple lots.
Board of Zoning Adjustment
The Board of Zoning Adjustment 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.
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is responsible, among its many responsibilities, for regulating construction and business activity in D.C. The agency operates a consolidated permit intake center; reviews construction documents to ensure compliance with building codes and zoning regulations; inspects construction activity, buildings, and rental housing establishments; and abates housing code violations are abated, if necessary. The department offers a host of construction-related online services and information, some of which are listed below.
Construction Neighbor Rights and Resources outlines the procedures and requirements that the owner of a construction site must follow to notify owners of adjacent properties when undertaking construction. View Responsibilities of an Adjacent Property Owner on that page contains useful information, although all of the links within the document are currently broken. (DCRA was notified of this on December 22.)
The permitting database lets you track the status of a building permit application and the scope of work requested.
The Property Information Verification System highlights permits, restrictions, and holds (e.g., stop work orders), among other information.
To report illegal construction, call DCRA’s Illegal Construction Unit at (202) 442-7867 or call 311 during non-business hours and you will be routed to an on-duty inspector. Residents, contractors, and builders should be aware that no construction, installation, maintenance, alteration, repair, demolition, or razing activity is allowed on Sundays or during legal holidays in D.C. without a special permit. A special "after-hours" permit is required to work beyond allowed hours Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm. Report violations by calling the numbers above.