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Zoning Resources

DCRA offers additional zoning resources like sample zoning plans, Zoning Administrator Interpreations, and guidance to help your permitting and plan review process run smoothly. Please also check out our Zoning FAQs and contact us directly if you have further questions.


Sample Zoning Plans

View model drawings to see what is typically found in a building permit plan and the information contained in those drawings. Submitting complete plans will help the Office of the Zoning Administrator review process. On plans, show characteristics of buildings and lots including building height, yard setbacks, lot occupancy, penthouse placement, permeable paving, parking and loading space configuration, and other standards. If these characteristics are shown clearly in the drawings, zoning reviewers can apply the relevant zoning regulations and complete your review quicker.

 

Small Residential Development Sample Zoning Plan

 

Building Footprint: Residential Dwelling

The floor plan below for a residential dwelling:

  • Shows the building footprint at each floor/story
  • Distinguishes existing building from new additions
  • Includes dimensions of the perimeter building wall

Building Footprint- Residential Dwelling Example.jpg

Reference Sheet A300: Click image to enlarge or download.

Building Footprint: Building Elevations

The building elevation shows the:

  • Building Height Measuring Point (BHMP) at the top of the first floor and the total building height measured from the BHMP
  • Building height and number of stories are included, and includes Residential Flat (RF) Zones and the historic district illustrations of protected architectural features

Building Footprint- Building Elevation Example

Reference Sheet A300: Click image to enlarge or download.

Building Footprint: Building Sections

The building sections show the:

  • Location of the BHMP is shown in elevation
  • Building setbacks in the RF Zones and historic districts
  • Longitudinal and transverse building sections which are graphical slices through the building documenting the building height and stories, as well as the grading, areaway, and window well width

Building Footprint- Building Sections Example

Reference Sheet A301: Click image to enlarge or download.

Building Footprint: Site Plan

The site plan shows the:

  • Two-dimensional birds-eye view, which includes details not shown on the plat
  • Decks, porches, stairs, pervious and impervious areas are dimensioned fully
  • Roof plans include roof decks and railings, roof hatches, HVAC units, chimneys and solar arrays

Building Footprint- Site Plan Example

Reference Sheet A001: Click image to enlarge or download.

 

Multi-Family Residential Development Sample Plan

 

Building Blueprint: Building Plan with Inclusionary Zoning Unit

A typical floor plan should clearly show the unit number, the bedroom count, and identify the Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) units.

Building Footprint- Building Plan with IZ

Reference Sheet A2.13: Click image to enlarge or download.

Building Blueprint: Building Front Elevation

Each building elevation should clearly show the Building Height Measuring Point (BHMP). The total building height is measured from the BHMP to the top of the roof, and is dimensioned. The building elevation  documents the location of the BHMP in elevation and identifies critical penthouse setbacks, as well as the building height and number of stories.

Building Footprint- Multifamily Building Front Elevation

Reference Sheet A3.01: Click image to enlarge or download.

Building Blueprint: Building Section

The primary longitudinal and transverse building sections document building height, stories, penthouse and court height, penthouses setbacks, as well as ground-level grading, areaway, and window well width.  It identifies the location of the BHMP in section/elevation, and clearly shows dimensions of each floor level.

Building Footprint- Building Section

Reference Sheet A402: Click image to enlarge or download.

Building Footprint: Building Plat

The building plat documents the building footprint for assessment and provides the dimensions for the building area, front, rear, and side yard setbacks, court areas and penthouse setbacks. The plat also identifies the location of the BHMP in the building plan.

Building Footprint- Building Plat

Reference Sheet District of Columbia Office of the Surveyor Building Plat: Click image to enlarge or download.

 

Zoning Regulations

 

Zoning Administrator Interpreations

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 1: Roof Membrane and Building Height
The Office of Zoning Administrator measures both building height and the penthouse height from the roof slab level and not the surface of the roof assembly or membrane.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 2: Balconies and GFA
View the ‘chargeability’ of the Gross Floor Area (GFA) regarding exterior and inset balconies, under the Zoning Regulations.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 3: Bay Windows
The Zoning Regulations are silent on bay window projections into yards or courts. 

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 4: Meaning of Abut
The term ‘Abut’ is not defined in the Zoning Regulations. However, 11 DCMR B-100.1(g) directs the Office to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary for terms not defined in the B-100.1.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 5: Use of Parapet as Roof top deck Railings without Setback
Under Section B-308.3 of the DC Zoning Regulations, up to a four foot high parapet on a roof in an R, RF, or RA Zone is allowed to exceed the permitted building height.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 6: Pergolas and Trellis Cross Member Spacing to be Excluded from Lot Occupancy
In order for the framing of a pergola or overhead trellis to be excluded from lot occupancy, the cross members or lattice spacing of said pergola or trellis must be spaced greater than 24 inches on-center.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 7: Rooftop Architectural Element
The provision in the Zoning Regulations regarding the preservation of rooftop architectural elements in the RF- zones is as follows.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 8: Driveway Widths and One-Way vs. Two-Way Circulation
The Zoning Administrator has interpreted, in regards to 11 DCMR C-711.6(a).

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 9: Rooftop Dining Areas Adjacent to Partial Floors
The scenario is distinguished from the use of a penthouse and adjacent building rooftop for bar and/or eating establishment use that is regulated under 11 DCMR U § 1500.3 (c).

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 10: Demolition vs Raze for Zoning Purposes
From the Zoning Regulations perspective a complete removal of a building has certain Zoning consequences, because an existing building that is referenced in a Zoning regulation would no longer exist.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 11: Definition of Stove for Kitchen Purposes
A cooking facility is an a component of a dwelling unit under 11 DCMR B-100.2.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 12: Cellar or Basement over 6’6” where Slab is Lowered is not an Addition
Applicants proposing to change the headroom of an existing basement or cellar with substandard but pre-existing structural headroom of over 6 feet 6 inches must determine is such change constitutes an addition under the Zoning Regulations. 

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 13: Microbreweries in PDR Zones
The classification of the principal use is based upon the percentage of the beverages sold to the patrons for on-site consumption.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 14: Signs Not Regulated Under DC Zoning Regulations
The current Zoning Regulations, DCMR Title 11, do not overtly address the regulations of signs. 

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 15: Use of a Vacant Lot for Temporary Construction Activities is a Matter of Right Use
The use of a vacant lot for temporary construction buildings, such as a trailer, is allowed as a matter of right, under 11 DCMR U-202.1(o) in all R- zones.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 16: Closed Court Minimum Area- RA Zones
A court surrounded on all sides by the exterior walls of a building, or by exterior walls of a building and a side or rear lot lines, or by alley lines where the alley is less than ten feet (10 ft.) in width.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 17: Off Site Parking – Written Agreement
Required parking spaces are required to be provided at a location that is specified under the following Section, 11 DCMR C-701.8.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 18: Auto Rental Use as in NC Zoning District is permitted within the D, MU, and PDR Zoning Districts
A use that specializes in providing services, that includes rental of automobiles, falls under the “Motor Vehicle-Related” Use Category 11 DCMR Subtitle B-200.2 (v) (1).

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 19: Attic Space of Less than 6 feet, 6 inches is not a Story
As set forth in Subtitle B §§ 100.2 and 304.7 of the Zoning Regulations, an interior space of a building is considered to contain gross floor area [GFA] when it has structural headroom of 6 feet 6 inches or greater.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 20: Accessory Apartment Uses in R-14, R-16 and R-21 Zones
Sets forth the minimum Gross Floor Area required for a principal dwelling in order to have an accessory apartment use for specified zones.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 21: Wesley Heights Overlay Map - Required Front Yard Setbacks
Section D-805.1, which denotes the Wesley Heights Overlay map entitled "Required Front Yard Setbacks” for the R-14 and R-15 zones, illustrates the required front yard setback dimensions.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 22: Recognition of Existing Record Lots Overlaid by Tax Lots
This interpretation summarizes a recent SOP between DCRA’s Office of the Zoning Administrator and the Office of the Surveyor regarding the condition of a Record Lot that is overlain by an Assessment and Taxation [A&T Lot] or Tax Lot.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 23: Vesting of PUD Order does not include Sheeting and Shoring nor Demolition Permits
The Office of Zoning Administrator has a long-standing practice that it will recognize a submitted building permit application that is considered complete for foundation to grade and/or new construction of the permanent building above grade.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 24: Difference between Balconies and Rooftop Decks
The Office of Zoning Administrator has had several applications where a portion of a top of a building is being used as an open balcony or deck which is adjacent to a partial top story at the same level.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 25: Fences Are Not Generally Subject to Zoning Review
The Zoning Regulations exclude fences from yard setback requirements under Section B-324.1.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 26: Automobile Elevators excluded from GFA Calculations
Section B-304.8 excludes certain portions of an interior of a building from the calculation of Gross Floor Area

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 27: Extended Stay Hotels
The Zoning Administrator has determined that a Certificate of Occupancy for an existing hotel would not need to be changed to allow an extended stay hotel operation.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 28: Accessory Building Summary – RF Zones
Because the Zoning Regulations contain several provisions regarding the regulation of Accessory Buildings, the Office of Zoning Administrator has summarized these regulations in RF zones for clarity.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 29: Allow Replacement of Accessory Buildings with Non-Conformities
The longstanding practice of the Office of the Zoning Administrator allows accessory buildings which are non-conforming, due to not meeting required yard setbacks and/or contributing to an excessive lot occupancy, to be razed and rebuilt to the same size (footprint and height) at the same location regardless of such non-conformity.

Zoning Administrator Interpretation 30: ARTS District – Eating and Drinking Establishment Liner Street Frontage Regulation
Under Section K-811.9(a), the amount of street frontage for eating and drinking establishments is limited to not more than 50% of specified blocks in the Mixed-Use Uptown Arts Zones.

 

Additional Resources and Information

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