Explore Historic Designation
The Historic Designation Committee created this web page to share information about historic designation. It has been updated to include other aspects of "managing change."
In September 2016 after much deliberation and community input, the BCA Board decided to defer exploration of historic designation (HD) until the new year. At the BCA annual meeting in November 2016, several neighbors expressed support for continuing to explore HD; others wanted information about alternatives, including zoning, conservation districts, or "custom zones" (the new term for a zoning overlay). The board agreed to the formation of a new committee (aka Neighborhood Study Group) comprised of homeowners with various perspectives to explore alternatives alongside HD. BCA VP Nan Bell, as a neutral board member, observed committee meetings and reported back to the board. The board also decided that the HD Committee would continue its hiatus, but that individual committee members of that group were free to express their opinions as Burleith homeowners and advocate for their preferred positions.
In May 2017, the Neighborhood Study Group conducted a survey to help the community decide what, if any, action to take concerning housing development trends in Burleith. The results were publicized in June and were explored along with custom zoning at a "managing change" community meeting on October 25 at Washington International School.
On April 11, 2018, the BCA held a meeting at Duke Ellington School of the Arts that covered the economic ramifications of HD, current housing market conditions and trends in Burleith, and the effects of historic designation on house prices in general and Burleith hypothetically versus the status quo.
On May 3, the final BCA meeting on HD took place at Washington International School. The format consisted of opening pro and con statements by Eric Langenbacher and Walter Hillabrant, respectively, followed by three-minute statements from attendees.
On May 14, the BCA emailed the membership and listserv announcing that the BCA Board reconsidered its decision to pursue a members-only vote on an application for HD. Instead, the board decided to conduct a community-wide survey where the full community can decide yes or no on pursuing an application for HD for Burleith. The planned vote has been cancelled and will be replaced with an online survey with the same question. More specifics will be posted as they become available.
DC historic district designation protects neighborhoods of historic, cultural, and aesthetic signficance. The designation is made by the DC Historic Preservation Review Board if a district meets one or more of these criteria and the community supports the designation. More than 30 residential and commercial neighborhoods in Washington, DC, have already obtained historic status. Burleith, built primarily in the 1920s–1940s with a distinctive row house style and look, may be a candidate for historic designation.
How Will We as a Community Decide?
In early 2016 the Burleith Citizens Association formed a committee of Burleith residents to explore the pros and cons of historic designation and gauge the community’s wishes. The committee organized opportunities for education and dialogue and was awarded (but has not yet accepted) a "seed money" grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation for community outreach and the services of a preservation specialist. The BCA board has not yet voted on historic designation but is following the process closely. If ultimately the community is in favor of pursuing historic designation, the BCA will submit an application to the DC Historic Preservation Office. If the office determines that the application meets the criteria, Burleith homeowners will have 60 days to comment. There will also be a final hearing where opinions can be expressed before the Historic Preservation Review Board makes its decision.
Community Meetings and Outreach
- HD Town Hall #7 (May 3, 2018); with statements by Eric Langenbacher (pro), Walter Hillabrant (con), and others
- HD Town Hall #6 (April 11, 2018); with Richard Schmidt, Lenore Rubino, panel of realtors/architectural designer; mailed postcard
- Custom Zoning Town Hall #5 (October 25, 2017); with Neighborhood Study Group, Joel Lawson/DC Office of Planning, Paul Levy/Lanier Heights
- Housing Survey Results, June 17, 2017 web post
- Burleith picnic information table, June 17, 2017
- Zoning Town Hall #4 (March 15, 2017) and Q&A; with Joel Lawson and Anne Fothergill/Office of Planning, Tarek Bolden/DCRA
- Community acceptance is required for HD, November 2016 statement
- HD Town Hall #3 (September 14, 2016) and Q&A; with David Maloney/State Historic Preservation Officer/DC Office of Historic Preservation; mailed postcard; agenda
- HD + Rear Additions, August 25, 2016 web post
- Historic Designation Q&A and Q&A, August 4, 2016 web post
- Burleith picnic information table, June 18, 2016
- HD Town Hall #2 (June 16, 2016); with HD Committee and Kim Williams/DC Office of Historic Preservation; mailed postcard; agenda/handouts
- Is Historic Designation Right for Burleith?, June 2016 Burleith Bell (page 3) with flyer insert
- Is Historic Designation Right for Burleith? and President's Message, June 3, 2016 web posts
- Historic Designation? and President's Message, May 2016 web posts
- President's Message, March 1, 2016 web post
- Town Hall #1, February 25, 2016, with Kim Williams/DC Office of Historic Preservation and Paul DonVito/Foxhall Village Historic District
- Burleith website
- DC Office of Planning
- 2020 District of Columbia Historic Preservation Plan
- 2016 District of Columbia Historic Preservation Plan
- DC Historic Preservation Office
- About Historic Landmarks and Historic Districts
- Historic District Maps > Burleith architects, developers, years
- HistoryQuest DC
- How to Apply for Historic Designation
- Historic Preservation Review Board
- Design Guidelines, Historic District Guidelines
- Proposed Kingman Park HD Draft Design Guidelines (March 2018)
- Permits and Design Review
- DC Preservation League
- Effects of Historic Preservation on Property Values (November 2016) and More Effects (April 2018) by Rich Schmidt
- Foxhall Village Historic District
- Burleith residents weigh custom zoning to manage area development, Georgetown Current, November 22, 2017
- Burleith puts off landmark request, Georgetown Current, October 5, 2016
- Burleith explores historic designation, The Georgetowner, July 27, 2016
- Historic district vision faces debate in Burleith, Georgetown Current, June 22, 2016
- Burleith to consider historic designation, Georgetown Current, June 15, 2016
To help cover historical research and community education expenses as the exploration process proceeds, please make a tax-deductible donation through the Burleith Community Fund. To make an online donation via credit card (or PayPal account), click the Donate button below. To donate by check, download the donation form, fill in the required information, and mail to the address on the form. Make checks payable to the Burleith Community Fund with "historic designation exploration" in the memo line. If you would like 100% of your contribution to benefit the exploration process, consider paying by check (or adding an extra 2.3% to your online contribution to defray the PayPal fee).
- Historic Designation Committee: email@example.com
(Carol Baume, Ann Carper, Alex Frederick, Gwen Verhoff)
- Neighborhood Study Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Carol Baume, Walter Hillabrand, Ed Levy, Lenore Rubino)
Get Involved and Learn More
- Make a tax-deductible donation (see above) to cover historical research and community education expenses.
- Get updates on the website and in the Burleith Bell.
- Become a member of the Burleith Citizens Association.
- Join the Burleith listserv.