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Interpretation ZA-010: Demolition vs Raze for Zoning Purposes


Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Reference: 
ZA-010

From the Zoning Regulations perspective a complete removal of a building has certain Zoning consequences, [i.e. loss of any rights associated with a non-conformity, and/or the loss of a parking credit] because an existing building that is referenced in a Zoning regulation would no longer exist. If the building was the subject of an official Raze Permit, as set forth in the DC Construction Code, it will also be accepted by OZA as have a raze. In cases whether a Raze Permit was not obtained, and in the absence of any Zoning regulation on this aspect, the following Zoning Administrator Interpretation applies:

  • In cases of a partial demolition of a building in which the footprint is not being expanded, at least four (4) feet of height of the enclosing perimeter walls [as measured from the existing grade adjacent to, and outside of those walls] must be retained, so as not to constitute a complete removal of a building, or a zoning raze.
  • In cases of a partial demolition of a building in which the footprint is being expanded, and therefore some of the enclosing perimeter walls are being completely removed, then OZA will, on a case by case basis, review the percentage of the removal of the building’s enclosing exterior wall area. A minimum percentage of wall area that has to be retained, a minimum of 40-50% of the existing enclosing exterior wall area, so as not to constitute a complete removal of a building, or a zoning raze.

OZA will need to know whether the building’s footprint is changing, and, if so, what is the percentage of the removal of the total building’s enclosing wall area, in order to determine if this is a complete removal of the building, or Zoning a raze.