In response to public concern and newspaper articles, the DC Zoning Commission has issued a notice of proposed changes of great interest to residents and home-builders. R-4 Zone properties are addressed in the proposed rulemaking and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to Sharon.email@example.com (reference number ZC Case No. 14-11) are due by May 31, with a possible vote on June 8 which could mean that these changes could be effective as soon as June 12.
In an excellent summary, Martin Sullivan of Sullivan & Barros, points out that mezzanines would count as a story and height limits would be reduced to 35 feet, except for new construction of 3 row dwellings together. On conversions as a matter of right, the 900 foot rule will still apply, no extensions can be more than 10 feet past the neighbor, no turrets, towers, or dormers can be removed, and additions, such as a penthouse, cannot block a chimney, vent, or solar panel. On conversions from residential buildings, there can be nor more than 4 units (and the 4th being an inclusionary zoned unit), and on conversions from nonresidential buildings, there is no limit as to units, but IZ applies at the 10th unit.
The summary also points out that there would be narrow opportunities to apply for a Special Exception and that, as the rules are presently proposed, there is little protection for grandfathering or vesting meaning that, if a permit were applied for after the June 12 date, the new regulations would apply.