DC: Emergency Legislation on April 14– Pop-ups

Photo Credit: Stop The Pop DC

Photo Credit: Stop The Pop DC

Pop-ups (upper-level expansions of DC row houses) have recently become the topic of discussions, particularly in light of some fairly ugly or disproportionate examples. The DC Council will hear emergency legislation absolutely and immediately banning pop-ups until regulations are issued.

In light of recent discussions about “pop-ups”, the District of Columbia’s Office of Planning recently proposed rules that alter the permitted height (up to 35 feet) and quantity (3) of units of R-4 zoned.   Current law also regulates pop-ups in the more dense R-5 zones.

Although the Zoning Commission has approved the proposed Rules,  emergency legislation has been proposed in the form of the “Prohibition on Single Family Dwelling Conversions Emergency Amendment Act of 2015” in which proponent Councilmember Vincent Orange proposes a complete moratorium on all pop-ups, regardless of zoning, until the final regulations are promulgated.  The moratorium would prohibit the issuance of any building permit “to increase the height, or otherwise convert an existing one-unit or 2-unit house, including a row house, into a multi-unit dwelling [of 3 or more units]” and would expire “upon the issuance and implementation of final regulations by the … Zoning Commission pertaining to pop-up construction.”.

If this matter relates to you or your clients, you may want to weigh in by contacting your Councilmember.