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DC Implements First Major Zoning Code Update Since 1958

The first major update to Washington DC’s Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map since 1958 went into effect last Tuesday, September 6.

This rollout of new regulations has been in the works since 2007 and affects everything from dwellings to downtown developments.  Proponents of the change advocated that the old code did not reflect the way DC was changing over the years and interfered with development patterns as DC itself robustly expanded over the years.

Dubbed ZR-16 and spanning 1028 pages, DC’s new zoning code seeks to eliminate confusing and contradictory rules over several chapters. Highlighted below are some of the major changes seen in the new code:

  • Accessory Dwelling Units – Homeowners that have a basement, garage or carriage house will now have an easier time converting it to habitable space for rental purposes.
  • Corner Stores – R3 and R4 residential zones will now be allowed to have corner stores where they weren’t allowed before.  The code limits the number of stores per block and hours of operations.  Lower density R1 and R2 zones will not be granted this allowance.
  • Parking Minimums – it used to be that every new building required a certain amount of parking spaces built for it and while there are still requirements in place under the revised code, that amount has been decreased.  In the downtown area, they have been largely eliminated.
  • Downtown – DC’s officially designated downtown area has been enlarged allowing other neighborhoods to take advantage of zoning rules suitable for vibrant growth. View the new DC Zoning Map here.

This adoption to alter zoning regulations to fit the changing climate of DC is an excellent sign of the city's growth and prosperity. 

If you have questions on how DC’s new zoning changes may affect you, contact Milrose Consultants and we’ll be happy to help you. 

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