HD + Rear Additions

By Historic Designation Committee, hd@burleith.org

 In most cases, property owners in historic districts can achieve desired increases in square footage if they work within the design guidelines.

In most cases, property owners in historic districts can achieve desired increases in square footage if they work within the design guidelines.

On August 24, BCA’s Historic Designation Committee walked through the Burleith neighborhood with David Maloney, DC's State Historic Preservation Officer, and Kim Williams, National Register Coordinator, to look at existing rear additions.

There is a wide variety of styles and sizes of additions in our neighborhood, including third-story additions. According to Mr. Maloney, almost every addition would have been permissible as is, had Burleith been a historic district at the time of construction. In a number of cases, his office would have suggested changes to make the addition look less massive or more compatible while maintaining the desired increase in square footage.

The guiding principle in historic districts is to preserve the streetscape (thus eliminating pop-ups/new rooflines visible from the front), while allowing alterations that accommodate modern lifestyles. Demolitions would not be permitted unless a building was structurally unsound. Mr. Maloney stated that his office aims to preserve the character of a neighborhood while accommodating changes that make properties more functional and useful in today’s environment. Design guidelines governing new construction in historic districts are developed jointly by the community and the Historic Preservation Office.

You will be able to get your questions answered at a town hall meeting with Mr. Maloney on Wednesday evening, September 14. Doors open at 7:30 pm for light fare. Meeting begins at 8 pm at the Washington International School, 1690 36th Street NW, Multipurpose Room, and will conclude by 9:30 pm.

Mr. Maloney has directed the Historic Preservation Office within the DC Office of Planning since 2007; he joined HPO in 1985 after serving for seven years as staff architect and program manager for the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation.

For information about the issue, FAQs, past community meetings and outreach, and how to support the exploration process, visit the Exploring Historic Designation webpage.