Application of RP MRP 900 G LLC
BZA Application No.
Hearing Date:
This is the application of RP MPR 900 G LLC ("Applicant") for special exception and
variance relief to renovate an existing building located at 624 9
Street, NW (Square 376, Lot
68) ("Property"). The Applicant proposes to construct a new building fayade and a modest
addition on the western side of the building. These renovations will require variance relief from
the parking and loading requirements, and special exception relief for the roof structure. The
Property is located in the C-4 Zone District of the Downtown Development Overlay. Attached
as Exhibit A is an excerpt of the Zoning Map and attached as Exhibit B is a Surveyor's Plat of
the Property.
The Applicant requests that the Board of Zoning Adjustment (the "BZA" or the "Board")
approve a request for special exception relief pursuant to Section 3104.1 of Title 11 of the
District of Columbia Municipal Regulations from the roof structure requirements of Sections 777
and 400.7. The Applicant also requires variance relief pursuant to Section 3103.1 from the
parking and loading requirements for an office building under Sections 2101.1 and 2201.1,
The Board has jurisdiction to grant the relief requested pursuant to Sections 3103.1 and
3104.1 of the Zoning Regulations (11 DCMR §§ 3103.1 and 3104.1).
DCDOCS\ 7054473.1
The Applicant in this case is RP MRP 900 G LLC, the owner of the Property. The
Applicant is an affiliate of MRP Realty, a strategic real estate development and investment firm
with projects throughout the District. RP MRP 900 G LLC purchased the Property in March
20 I 0 with the intention of renovating it and bringing it more in line with current standards for
office space. In doing so, the Applicant is providing a new "skin" for the building and is
constructing a modest addition along the western side of the building. The addition will
accommodate the proposed mechanical parking on the ground and second floors as well as a
modest addition on the upper floors that respects the adjacent residential use. The addition will
create a continuous building line along G Street by filling in inactive space that now exists
between the office building and the adjacent Mather building.
The Property is located in the southwest corner of 9
and G Streets in the Downtown
neighborhood. It is immediately adjacent to the Mather Building to the west and the Gallup
Building to the south. The National Portrait Gallery is located one block to the east of the
Property and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is located on the block north of the Property,
directly across the street from the building. With the exception of these institutional uses, the
neighborhood is primarily comprised of office buildings with ground floor retail.
The existing office building was constructed in 1980 for use as an office building with an
"auxiliary" Young Women's Christian Association ("YWCA"). The building was originally
constructed with a floor area ratio ("FAR") of 6.98, a height of 1 06.5 feet, and a rear yard of 23
feet. It did not include any parking or loading facilities; none were required in the C-4 Zone
District at the time of construction. Attached as sheet 10 of Exhibit C is a Zoning Computation
Sheet from when the building was originally constructed. It was subsequently converted entirely
to office use. The property was renovated in 1990 by infilling slabs resulting in an additional
9,000 square feet of gross floor area. The renovations currently being proposed are the first to
the Property since that time.
Included in these renovations is an addition to the western side of the building that
consists of approximately 9,000 square feet. The renovations will include mechanical parking
for up to 47 vehicles. Details of the mechanical parking are included in Exhibit C. It will
include five levels of vertically stacked vehicles with a vertical clearance no greater than 6 feet 6
inches. The vertical stacks of vehicles will not extend beyond the ground floor of the addition.
Despite being able to accommodate 47 vehicles, mechanical parking does not satisfy the zoning
requirements; accordingly parking relief is one of the areas of relief the Applicant seeks.
The Applicant has received confirmation from the Zoning Administrator that loading and
parking is not required for the existing building but only for the proposed addition. Attached as
Exhibit F is a letter from the Zoning Administrator confirming the same. Accordingly, the
Applicant only requires relief from the zoning requirements to provide 5 parking spaces and one
30-foot loading berth and one 100-square foot loading platform.
The Applicant is seeking special exception relief pursuant to Sections 3104.1 and 411.11
from the setback requirements of Section 400.7 for the one penthouse provided on the rooftop
level of the building. In order to obtain the requested relief, the special exception must be in
harmony with the general purpose and intent of the Zoning Regulations and Zoning Maps and
must not tend to affect adversely the use of neighboring property in accordance with the Zoning
Regulations and Maps. 11 DCMR Section 3104.1.
A. The Requested Relief is in Harmony with the General Purpose and
Intent ofthe Zoning Regulations and Zoning Maps
The general purpose and intent of the Zoning Regulations and Zoning Maps is to promote
the public health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity, and general welfare. 11 DCMR
Section 101.1. Specifically, the requested relief must take into consideration the character of the
respective districts as well as the suitability of each district for the uses permitted; and must be
designed to encourage the stability of districts and land values. Id. at Section 101.2. The
relevant sections of the Zoning Regulations provide guidelines, which are described in more
detail below, by which to evaluate whether a special exception should be granted.
In this case, the Applicant seeks relief pursuant to Section 411.11 from Section 400.7.
Section 400.7 requires all mechanical equipment and stairway or elevator penthouses to be set
back from all exterior walls a distance at least equal to its height above the roof. Section 411.11
of the Zoning Regulations provides, however, that "[w]here impracticable because of operating
difficulties, size of building lot, or other conditions relating to the building or surrounding area
that would tend to make full compliance unduly restrictive, prohibitively costly, or unreasonable,
the Board of Zoning Adjustment shall be empowered to approve, as a special exception under
Section 3104, the ... location ... of such structure, even if such structures do not meet the normal
setback requirements ... ; provided, that the intent and purpose of this chapter and this title shall
not be materially impaired by the structure, and the light and air of adjacent buildings shall not
be affected adversely." 11 DCMR Section 411.11.
Here, the Applicant is proposing a penthouse that is not set back from the southern
property line, wmch abuts an alley. The enclosure is 18 feet, 6 inches tall and would otherwise
be required to be set back a minimum of 18 feet, 6 inches from the exterior wall of the building.
As it is, the penthouse is flush with the exterior wall ofthe building. When the building was
originally constructed, it was custom built to accommodate the YWCA. The YWCA
subsequently vacated the premises and the space was converted to office use. Because the
building was designed specifically for a fitness center, it was not an efficient floorplan for an
office building. Now that the Applicant is renovating the space, it is establishing a more efficient
floor plan that suits the office tenants. This requires shifting the elevator cores to the south end
of the building, which in turn moves the elevator overruns to the south end of the roof. This
ultimately acmeves a more modem layout that maximizes fimctional space for the office user;
however, it results in a penthouse that will not be set back from the exterior wall of the roof.
B. The Requested Relief Will Not Adversely Affect the Use of
Neighboring Property
The penthouse will be located along the south side of the building, which fronts on a
public alley. Its location minimizes its impact and it will not be visible from the sidewalks along
or G Streets. Further, the penthouse will not impair the light or air of adjacent properties
including, perhaps most importantly, the residential property to the west.
The Applicant is seeking relief from the requirement to provide 5 parking spaces and one
30-foot loading berth and one 100-square foot loading platform. The burden of proof for area
variance relief is well established. The Applicant must demonstrate that the property is affected
by an exceptional or extraordinary situation or condition, that the strict application of the Zoning
Regulations will result in a practical difficulty to the Applicant, and that the granting of the
varian,'e will not cause substantial detriment to the public good nor substantially impair the
intent, purpose or integrity of the zone plan. Palmer v. D.C. Bd. of Zoning Adj., 287 A.2d 535,
541 (D.C. 1972). As outlined below, the Applicant shall demonstrate that the Property meets the
three-part test for area variance relief.
A. The Property is affected by an Exceptional Situation or Condition
The Court of Appeals held in Clerics of St. Viator v. D.C. Bd. of Zoning Adj., 320 A. 2d.
291 (D.C. 1974) that the exceptional situation or condition standard goes to the property, not just
the land. The Court in Monaco v. D.C. Bd. of Zoning Adj., 407 A.2d 1091 (D.C. 1979) went
even further and noted that the exceptional situation or condition is not limited to the land or the
physical improvements on the land, but applies also to the history of the property. In Monaco,
the Court accepted the past zoning history of the property as evidence of uniqueness, as well as
its location in relation to the Capitol. Specifically, the Court held "[t]he site's proximity to the
Capitol made it uniquely valuable to the Republican National Committee, a public service
organization. The previously constructed buildings and the contiguous subject site can be
considered together in applying the test especially because the past acts of the zoning authorities
led interveners to rely in good faith on their eventual consent to the final stage of the building.
This case, like DeAzcarate, illustrates that extraordinary circumstances can encompass the past
zoning history, as well as the physical features, of the property." Id. at 1099-1100.
Furthermore, the Court of Appeals held in Gihnartin v. D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment, 579
A.2d 1164, 1167 (D.C. 1990), that it is not necessary that the exceptional situation or condition
arise from a single situation or condition on the property. Rather, it may arise from a
"confluence of factors." rd. Finally, it is not necessary that the Property be umeservedly
umque. Rather, applicants must prove that a property is affected by a condition that is unique to
the property and not related to general conditions in the neighborhood
Here, the Property is unique primarily because it is improved with an existing building.
The building was constructed in 1980 with a lot occupancy of 88%, a FAR of 6.98, and a height
of1 10 feet. At the time it was built, no parking or loading was required for the structure. Now
that the Applicant is undertalcing modest renovations of the building, which are consistent with
the permitted lot occupancy, density, and height of the Property, it is difficult, if not impossible,
to retrofit the building to accommodate parking and loading.
At the time the building was constructed, its below-grade and ground floor levels were
dedicated to the YWCA for use as a fitness center. As a practical matter, the below-grade and
ground floor levels are also where parking and loading are typically located in buildings. This
conflict made the provision of a fitness center and parlcing and loading (which wasn't required at
the time of construction) mutually exclusive amenities for the building. Despite the fact that the
gym is no longer located in the building, the design and construction of the below-grade and
ground floor was such that they would now have to be gutted in order to incorporate parking and
The Propelty is also unique because the building was constructed as a mixed-use building
before mixed-use buildings were a favored planning tool. The building'S design depicts how
such buildings were laid out before the mixed-use philosophy was refined. The floorplan
required to accommodate the YWCA pool and associated fitness facilities dictated the floorplan
for the entire building. In essence, the fact that the building was custom built for a very specific
and narrow type of end user now makes it extremely difficult to renovate to accommodate
modern office tenants.
DCDOCS\ 7054473.1
B. Strict Application of the Zoning Regulations would Result in a Practical
The requested relief is for an area variance, and the appropriate test is whether the strict
application of the zoning regulations results in a "practical difficulty." In reviewing the standard
for practical difficulty, the D.C. Court of Appeals stated in Palmer v. Board of Zoning
Adjustment, 287 A.2d 535, 542 (D.C. App. 1972), that "[g]enerally it must be shown that
compliance with the area restriction would be unnecessarily burdensome. [Footnote omitted.]
The nature and extent of the burden which will warrant an area variance is best left to the facts
and circumstances of each particular case." In area variances, applicants are not required to
show "undue hardship" but must satisfy only "the lower 'practical difficulty' standards." Tyler
v. D.C. Bd. of Zoning Adj., 606 A.2d 1362, 1365 (D.C. 1992) (citing Gilmartin v. Bd. of Zoning
Adj., 579 A.2d 1164, 1167 (D.C. 1990)). Finally, it is well settled that the BZA may consider "a
wide range of factors in determining whether there is an 'unnecessary burden' or 'practical
difficulty' .... Increased expense and inconvenience to applicant for a variance are among the
factors for BZA's consideration." Gilmartin, 579 A.2d at 1171 (citing Barbour v. D.C. Bd. of
Zoning Adj., 358 A.2d 326, 327 (D.C. 1976)); see also Tyler v. D.C. Bd. of Zoning Adj.,
606 A.2d 1362, 1367 (D.C. 1992). Other factors to be considered by the BZA include: "the
severity of the variance(s) requested"; "the weight of the burden of strict compliance"; and "the
effect the proposed variance(s) would have on the overall zone plan." Gilmartin, 579 A.2d at
Thus, to demonstrate practical difficulty, an applicant must show that strict compliance
with the regulations is burdensome, not impossible. The Applicant meets this standard. As
explained above, being required to provide parking and loading after a building has already been
constructed is extremely difficult. From a construction point of view, retrofitting the building
with the requisite openings, ramps, and berths would be cost prohibitive. As a planning matter, it
does not make sense to replace active space with inactive space in such a high-density part of
C. Relief Can Be' Granted without Substantial Detriment to the Public
Good and Without Impairing the Intent, Purpose and Integrity of the
Zone Plan
The requested variance relief can be granted without impairing the intent, purpose and
integdty of the Zone Plan. The Applicant is only adding 9,000 square feet of space to the
building. This is a nominal amount of gross floor area, but it just so happens to trigger an
additional need for parking and loading. In reality, the building will continue to operate as it has
for thirty years. The additional 9,000 square feet will not redefine the intensity of the building
program to be markedly different than it was previously; in fact the building will remain well
below the 8.5 permitted FAR. Moreover, the Property is across the street from the Gallery Place
Metro Center stop, which diminishes the need for parking at the property since the site is
accessible by alternative means of transportation. Finally, while the Property is only required to
provide 5 parking spaces; the renovations will include 47 mechanical parking spaces. While
these will not teclmically satisfy the parking requirement, they will practically satisfy parking
demand, minimizing the impact on neighboring properties.
With respect to loading, the proposed renovations exceed the 100,000 square foot
threshold for the loading requirement by only 6,000 square feet. As implied above, the 6,000
square foot change will not trigger a greater loading burden for the building. The Property has a
loading space that is accessible from the alley in the rear of the building that it will use for
DCDOCS\ 7054473.1
loading in the future. Because this is an office building, the loading demand will not be
burdensome. The few deliveries that the building does receive can be accommodated through a
loading space accessed from the alley. Neither of these practices will have a negative impact on
neighboring properties.
1. EXHIBIT A Zoning Map
2. EXHIBITB Surveyor's Plat
3. EXHIBITC Plans for renovations
4. EXHIBITD Application and self-certification forms
5. EXHIBITE List of property owners located within 200 feet
6. EXHIBITF Letter from Zoning Administrator
F or all of the above reasons, the Applicant is entitled to the requested special exception
and variance relief in this case.
Respectfully submitted,

Allison C. Prince

Christine A. Roddy
Certificate of Service
I hereby certify that I sent a copy of the foregoing docmnent to the following addresses on
January 25, 2011 by first class mail or hand delivery:
DCDOCS\ 7054473.1
Jennifer Steingasser
Office of Planning
1100 4th Street, SW
Suite E650
Washington, DC
PO Box 26182, Ledroit Park Station
Washington, DC 20001
Karina Ricks
District Department of Transportation
2000 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Christme Rod y
A I ""- 'r;±) 1} - ,
iY District of Columbia Zoning Map , ., ,,',.
'; Jd \l}l@;\,ii" l
Report of Square 0624 9TH ST NW
Selected Feature Area Mapped
Zone Information
Zone Description Min Lot Min Lot Max % Lot FAR
WI"" A.
The downtown core comprising the retail and office centers for the District of 0.00 0.00 100.00 8.50
Coltunbia and the metropolitan 'area, and allows office, retail, housing and
Overlay Information
Oveday Description Min Lot Width Min Lot Area Max % Lot FAR
. ,n, ,00'
Search Results
Square: Overlay: PUD: Advisory Neighborhood
.. ,,,,.,r,·
nD_ ze
Note 1: Development restrictions depend on a combination of zoning and overlays. Where overlays are present, refer to the zoning regulations for more detailed infonnation.

FAR Other ""'FAR Max Stories Max Height
... " ....
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Cl ",. o...w ..... (!'UO)
. .""",,,.,,..,,-

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. , .
w_:. -.>:
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8.50 8.50 No Limit 110.00 Max height and FAR depend on width of adjoining streets
FAR Other Max Stories Max Height Remarks
ANC Single Mel!1ber District: ANC Chairperson: SMDMember:
Washington, D.C., January 11, 2011
Plat for Building Permit of: SQUARE 376 LOT 68
I hereby certify that aU existing improvements shown hereon, are completely dimensioned,
and are correctly platted; that all proposed buildings or construction, or parts thereof, Including
covered porches, are correctly dimensioned and platted and agree with plans accompanying
the application; that the foundation plans as shown hereon is drawn, and dimensioned
accurately to the same scale as the property lines shown on this plat;and that by reason of the
proposed improvements to be erected as shown hereon the size of any adjoining lot or
premises is not decreased to an area less than is required by the Zoning Regulations for light
and ventilation; and it is further certified and agreed that accessible parking area Where
required by the Zoning Regulations will be reserved in accordance with the Zoning
Regulations, and that this area has been correctly drawn and dimensioned hereon. It is
further agreed that the elevation of the accessible parking area with respect to the Highway
Department approved curb and alley grade will not result in a rate of grade along centerline
of driveway at any point on private property in excess of 20% for single-family dwellings or flats,.
or in excess of 12% at any point for other buildings. (The policy of the Highway Department
permits a maximum driveway grade of 12% across the public parking and the private
restricted property.)
Scale: 1 inch = 30 feel
Recorded in Book 170 Page 100
Receipt No. 11-01507
Furnished to: GOULSTON & STORRS
//cA:4 Date: ____________ _
(Signature of owner or his authorized agent)
SR-11-01507(2011 )
NOTE: Data shown for Assessment and Taxation Lots or Parcels are in accordance with the records of the Department of Finance
and Revenue, Assessment Administration, and do not necessarily agree with deed description.



Before (:ompll?;ting this form, plea-:;e review th€ j"struetions on the reverse side,
Print or type <111 informCttion unI0.% otherwise inrllcat0(t Alllnform>ltion must be completely fHled out.
pursuant to 1)3103,Z .. Area/UsH Variance find/or §31.Qft t "Spedal E);ceptlon of Title 11 i)(fVlR· ZOlilng H2gulJtiOf\s,
an application is made, thH detail;; of which "ff! i3':ifollows:
AddH:'ss{e,s) Square Lot No{s),
624 9th NW 376 68
C-4IDD Area Variance 2101.1,2201.1,3103.2
Special Exception 777.1,3104.1
•.•.... .•........• ·1
paragraph specifically stating: the '\vho, what, Mtd wj' of tho i)I'QPosed f,cth.:m(s}", This will serve as the Public l\Jotice;
applicant is proposing to renovate the existing office building and to construct an addition. In doing so, it
VHr'Rflr.p. relief from the parking and loading provisions of the Zoning Regulations as well as special exception
relief for its roof structure.
I W-illvc my right to a hearing, ugH,e to the tHl'nS in Form 128·· WaivH of He"ring for Expedited Review, and hereby request this caSe be
place.d on the EJ(peciitt'd f{eview CokmdM, pursuant to §'J.US.l (CHOOSE ONE");
() A park, p!;,wgl'oumt s,Nil'mnil,g pool, or 0thktic fidd pursuant to §20:U, or
o All to a 1 , il -] I [ Of flat 01' m,w Z'lr
El,hibit l\l(). 1
n.eferred to the Office of the Zoning Administrator, Department of Consurner and Regulatory Affain;;, fur
determination of proper zoning relief required.
Rejected for failure to comply with the provis1ons of
o 11DCMR§3113,2; or 0 11 DCMR,ZoningRegulatlons,
OWrJ'i'r'S Name Fdnf)
Referred to the Office of the Zoning Administrator, Department of Consumer and Requlatory Affairs, for
determination of proper z(lninfJ relief required,
(GJrted torfailur" 10 compiy with 1ho provisions ot
11 DCMR §;}1132; or 0 11 DCMR w Zoning Regulations.
Side 2
Q" __ ".,- ' _,-".,[:r,=·'_'"""",,":' ...
Any request for self-certification that is not completed in accordance with the following instructions shall not be accepted.
1. All self-certification applications shall be made on Form 135. All certification forms must be completely filled out (front and back) and be
typewritten or printed legibly. All information shall be furnished by the applicant. If additional space is necessary, use separate sheets of
paper to complete this form.
2. Complete QJ.lli self·certification form for each application filad. Present this form with the Form 120 Application to the Office of Zoning, 441 4th
Street, N.W., Suite 200-S, Washington, D,C. 20001.
85% N/A ;100% 1100% N/A
.\_ .... _-_ ... _ .._--_ ....... -+----
7.48 N/A \8.5 [8.2 N/A
5 spaces
" ---------!-._---""". __._--"_.
None 1 .. 30 foot !N/A iNane 1 .. 30 foot
None IN/A
(ft to the tenth) None INane N/A
court in lieu of rear yard I NI A .
· ..---1
Rear Yard
23 feet
I court in lieu of rear yard I
N/A (ft. to the tenth)
Side Yard
INane None IN/A INane
I N/A (ft. to the tenth)
Court, Open
None 22'6" !22'6"
N/A (width by depth in ft.)
._-- _._----,-
Court, Closed
N/A N/A [N/A N/A (width by depth in ft.)
It. to the tenth
106.3 N/A 1110' 1110' I N/A
January 21, 2011
Meridith Moldenhauer, Chairperson
District of Columbia Zoning Commission
441 4th Street, NW
, Suite 21 O-S
Washington, DC 20001
Re: BZA Application for Special Exception and Variance Relief tor 624 9
Street, NW
(Square 376, Lot 68)
Dear Chairperson Moldenhauer:
On behalf ofRP MRP 900 G LLC, the owner of the above-referenced property, I hereby
authorize the law filTIl of Goulston & Storrs to represent RP MRP 900 G LLC in all matters
conceming the above-referenced case.
Yl2':"""'21- R?f1QP :::f'o Q l.LC
375 825 901 G StreetNW District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 307
Washington, DC 20004-3003
376 64 919 F Street NW Jemal's Livingston LCC
Douglas Development Corp
702 H Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20001-3875
376 820 619 10
Street NW Saint Patrick's Church
821 G StreetNW 619 10
Street NW
822 924 G Street NW Washington, DC 20001-4527
827 615 10
Street NW
828 975 F Street NW
376 823 901 F Street NW NYAP-901 F Street LLC
1620 I Street NW, Suite 520
Washington, DC 20006-4027
376 824 911 F Street NW Jemals Columbia National LLC
702 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20001-3874
376 825 915 F Street NW The Eqvitable Place LLC
POBox 2135
Bethesda, MD 20817
376 826 917 F Street NW 915 F Street LLC
Stavins & Axelrod
1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 909
Washington, DC 20036
376 2001- 916 G StreetNW PresidentiDirector
2055 Condominium Association
916 GStreetNW
Washington, DC 20001-4532
701 9
Street NW
701 9
Street NW
600 7'h Street NW
BFP 701 9
Brookfield Properties Management
750 9
Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20001-4590
United States of America
c/o Mr. Peter May
National Park Service
11 00 Ohio Drive SW
Washington, DC 20242-0001
PO Box 26182
Ledroit Park Station
Washington, DC 20001
January 7, 2011
* * *
Allison C. Prince
Goulston & Storrs, PC
1999 K Street NW, 5
Washington, DC 20006
Re: Zoning Determination Letter
624 9th Street, NW (Square 376, Lot 68) (the "Property")
Dear Ms. Prince
The purpose of this letter is to summarize the issues that we reviewed in our meeting on
December 10,2010. As we discussed, your client has proposed to renovate and expand the
existing office building on the Property (the "Project'} As detailed on the Zoning Computation
sheet ("Comp Sheet") prepared by the Zoning Administrator during the processing of the
building permit for the existing building, the structure was originally constructed in 1980 in
compliance with the C-4 zoning that was in effect at that time. See Exhibit A. The Property is
now located in the DD/C-4 zone. Plans illustrating the Property, the existing building, and the
Project are attached as Exhibit B.
A. The Downtown Development (DD) Overlay
Pursuant to 11 DCMR § 1700.5, the provisions of the DD Overlay do not apply to
existing buildings unless additions, alterations, and repairs within any 12 month period exceed
100% of the assessed value of the building as of the date of the building permit application. You
have indicated that the cost of the proposed improvements will not exceed $11,088,000, which is
the assessed value of the building according to the records of the Office of Tax and Revenue.
Provided that either (a) a building permit is applied for during the period ofthe current
assessment or (b) if the permit is applied for in a subsequent assessment period, the cost of
the proposed improvements within any 12 month period does not exceed the assessment of
the huilding at that time, the Project will not trigger the applicability of DD.
B. Height .
Pursuant to 11 DCMR § 770, a height of 110 feet is permitted. According to District
records, G Street has a right-of-way of90 feet, which permits a height of 110 feet under the 1910
1100 4th Street, S.W., 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20024
Phone: (202) 442-4576 Fax: (202) 442-4871
Height Act. Under both the Zoning Regulations and the Height Act, height may be measured
from the middle of any bnilding front, regardless of the street from which the maximum
permitted height is derived.
Here, the Comp Sheet indicates that at the time of construction, height was measured
from 9
Street, NW. You indicated that you intend to measure the building height of the
proposed improvements from G Street, which is a more advantageous measuring point. r
confirm that G Street may be used for measuring the building's height. Furthermore, r confinn
that, based on the plans and calculations provided, the proposed improvements will conform to
the height limit under both the Zoning Regulations and the Height Act.
C. Existing and Proposed Density; Treatment of Mechanical Parkingfor Purposes of
Calculating Gross Floor Area
The Comp Sheet indicates the building has a gross floor area of approximately 90,754
square feet. Pursuant to a building pennit issued in 1990, the infill of slab on multiple floors
within the existing building increased the gross floor area of the building to 98,387 square feet.
Pursuant to 11 DCMR § 771.2, a maximum FAR of 8.5, or 110,500 square feet of gross
floor area, is pennitted as a matter of right for the Property. According to the calculations
provided by your architect, the Project will increase the gross floor area to approximately
107,481 square feet, for a FAR of approximately 8.27.
In calculating the gross floor area for the Project, the architects excluded the space that
contains a proposed mechanical stacked parking garage within the building. As shown on the
plans, the mechanical parking garage is located a three-story volume located on the cellar, first,
and second floors of the west portion of the building. The plans also indicated that the
mechanical garage can hold up to five levels of cars, with each level having a ceiling height of
less than 6'6". The mechanical garage will not otherwise be occupiable space.
Under Section 199 of the Zoning Regulations, a "garage, mechanical parking" is defined
as a structure in which parking is accomplished "entirely by means of elevators" and "in such a
manner than there is no human occupancy other than by the elevator operators anywhere except
on the main floor." Under the Regulations, "gross floor area" is defined as space "providing
structural headroom of six feet, six inches or more."
I conclude that the mechanical parking garage proposed in the Project meets the
definition of "garage, mechanical parking" under Section 199 of the Zoning Regulations
because it is entirely automated and does not permit any human occupancy. Moreover, I
conclude that since mechanical parking garages, by definition, do not permit human
occupancy and, furthermore, since the levels in this structure have ceiling heights ofless
than 6'6", the space devoted to the mechanical parking garage does not count as "gross
floor area."
Therefore, based on the foregoing, the proposed Project's FAR complies with the
maximum FAR limitations set forth in the Zoning Regulations, including the related
definitions of gross floor area.
D. Court in Lieu of Rear Yard
Section 774.1 ordinarily requires a rear yard with a depth of at least 2.5 inches per foot of
height. Such rear yard may begin at a horizontal plane not more than 20 feet above the mean
finished grade at the rear of the structure. The required rear yard for the Project would be 18'9".
Section 774.9(c), however, pennits a court in lieu of a rear yard for comer lots. The court
must comply with the width requirements for a closed court as specified in 11 DCMR § 776, and
under Section 776.2, the required width for a court for a nonresidential building is 3 inches per
foot of height, regardless of whether the court is an open or closed court. Furthennore, the court
may begin at a horizontal plane not more than 20 feet above the curb grade opposite the center of
the front of the building
You propose providing a court in lieu of rear yard at the southwest comer of the Property
and presented two alternate court configurations, as shown on the attached plans. Proposed court
A is a rectangular court. Proposed court B includes an additional piece beyond the initial
rectangle that does not have the same width as the initial rectangle, and is thus a non-rectangular
court. Under both plans, the court is an open court because it opens onto an alley that is at least
10 feet wide. Firrthennore, the height of the court will be approximately 90 feet tall, which
triggers a requirement for a court width of22'6".
Under the Zoning Regulations, "court, width of' defines the width of an open court as
the minimum horizontal climension substantially parallel with the open end of the court.
However, the Regulations also provide a separate defmition for the width of a closed court,
which is, defined as the court's "lesser horizontal climension." Based on my reading of Section
774.9(c), which expressly stafes that the width of a court in lieu of rear yard must meet the
requirements for the width of a closed court, in conjunction with the definition of "court, width
of," I conclude that Section 774.9(c) requires that the width of a court that is provided in lieu of a
rear yard must be calculated based on the court's lesser horizontal dimension, regardless of
whether the court itself is an open or closed court. Accordingly, I conclude that the lesser
horizontal dimension of the proposed court A must have a width of at least 22'6".
The Zoning Regulations state that, for a non-rectangular court, the court width may be
measured based on the cliameter of the largest circle that may be inscribed in a horizontal plane
within the court. The proposed court B would have a minimum diameter of22'6". I conclude
that this satisfies the width requirement for the court.
E. Existing Parking and Parking Requirements for the Project
The Comp Sheet indicates that no parking was required at the time of construction and
that the use at the time of construction was an office building. Accordingly, the existing
building is grandfathered as to parking.
The proposed use is office use, the same as the existing use. According, the proposed use
will not require any additional parking for the existing gross floor area within the building.
Parking will be required for any additional gross floor area associated with the project.
Chapter 21 of the Regulations requires one parking space for each 1800 square feet of new gross
floor area. B a s ~ d on the additional gross floor area you indicated will be added to the building,
approximately five parking spaces will be required.
F. Existing Loading and Loading Requirements for the Project.
The Comp Sheet indicates that no loading was required at the time of construction, and
therefore the existing gross floor area within the building is grandfathered as to loading.
Chapter 22 of the Regulations requires'one additional 3D-foot berth and one additional
. 100 square foot platform for office uses greater than 100,000 square feet. You have indicated
that the proposed improvements will increase the gross floor area of the building beyond 100,000
square feet. Therefore, an additional berth and platform will be required for the Project.
G. Roof Structure
The plans indicate that you intend to move the roof structure so that will not be set back
from the south wall, which faces the alley at the rear of the Property. Such a roof structure will
require special exception relief pursuant to Sections 411 and 3104 of the Zoning Regulations.
Based on the foregoing, the Project will not be subject to DD, and the Project will comply
with the height, gross floor area, and court requirements for the Zoning Regulations. No parking
or loading is required for the existing gross floor area within the building, but additional parking
and loading is required as detailed herein. Finally, the proposed roof structure will require special
exception relief because it is not set back from the south wall of the building. Please let me
know if you have further questions.
Matthew Le Grant
File: Determination Llrre 624 9'" St NW to Prince 1-7-2011

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