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Interpretation ZA-007: Rooftop Architectural Element


Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Reference: 
ZA-007

The provision in the Zoning Regulations regarding the preservation of rooftop architectural elements in the RF- zones is as follows:

E-206.1 In an RF zone district, the following provisions shall apply:

(a) A roof top architectural element original to the building such as cornices, porch roofs, a turret, tower, or dormers, shall not be removed or significantly altered, including shifting its location, changing its shape or increasing its height, elevation, or size. For interior lots, not including through lots, the roof top architectural elements shall not include identified roof top architectural elements facing the structure’s rear lot line. For all other lots, the roof top architectural elements shall include identified rooftop architectural elements on all sides of the structure;

In applying this provision the wording following that phrase in E-206.1(a) is instructive “……including shifting its location, changing its shape or increasing its height, elevation, or size…” offers guidance.

Those caveats mean:

  • The mass of the said rooftop architectural element is being kept as is, and is not increasing, decreasing, or moving in space.

The ZA also has determined that adding or removing fenestrations such as windows of a dormer, is a ‘significant alteration’.

There is also the ‘three foot rule’, that the addition of a floor or penthouse-- usually behind the element-- must be set back at least three feet from the rooftop architectural element to preserve its architectural integrity.

The things that are not “significantly altered” include changing windows that are the same size as the original, painting or changing the finish of said rooftop element, or eliminating mechanical equipment, pipes, or antennas.