Proposed Penthouse Regulations Part 2

The recent posting for Zoning Commission Case 14-13 provided a summary of the proposed amendments, and alternatives, to the penthouse regulations in the District.  Since that posting, OP has compiled additional maps, showing the proposed alternatives for where habitable space would and would not be permitted.  Under the current zoning regulations, habitable space (living space, offices, enclosed recreation space, etc.) is generally not permitted within a penthouse, with the exception of limited recreation space on a residential building.  Instead, penthouses tend to be limited to mechanical equipment and elevator overrides, or stair access ways to the roof.  However, the Height Act was recently amended to permit habitable space within rooftop penthouses located above the Height Act building height limit, if the penthouse is one story and 20 feet in height or less.

Essentially, the Zoning Commission is considering two alternatives for the permissions for habitable space:

  • Alternative 1 – Permit habitable space within a penthouse only in zones allowing a building height of more than 40 feet, by right (i.e. do not permit habitable space in a penthouse in any zone in which the building height is limited to 40 feet or less).
  • Alternative 2 – Permit habitable space within a penthouse only in zones allowing a building height of more than 50 feet, by right (i.e. do not permit habitable space in a penthouse in any zone in which the building height is limited to 50 feet or less).

The maps show these two alternatives by mapping the zones limited to 40 feet and 50 feet, respectively.

The Zoning Commission also invited the public to comment on whether some specified uses, such as a nightclub, bar, lounge, restaurant, or others, should be permitted only by special exception within a penthouse, in some or all zones.

The Zoning Commission public hearing for these proposals will be held April 30, 2015.  For more information or if you have questions about this proposal, please contact the Office of Planning at 202-442-7600.  Thanks!