Dear PoPville – Help with an Abandoned Construction Site Next to my House


Dear PoPville,

I need your help, i’m the owner of 1007 Florida Ave NE. About 2 years ago construction started in the lots immediately next to my house at 1009 and 1011 Florida Ave NE. However, the site has been left abandoned by inexperienced Virginia developers leaving a 30 X 60 ft gaping hole that is an eyesore, a cause of significant health concerns and a massive safety issue.

I’ve reached out to my ANC 6A01 rep, Tommy Wells Office, DCRA and the Mayors office asking for assistance in dealing with this owner, but i’ve gotten nowhere.

I’ve been very amenable to work with with the owners in order to complete this project. I signed authorization documents and were very patient as they repaired damage they caused to our home. I’ve been in contact with the owners and have listened to repeated instance that construction will commence when permit issues are resolved. Two years later still no building and now no plan to complete the long abandoned project.

The attached pictures show the lots and since they are open holes after any rain they become a haven for mosquito’s in the summer. This causes an issue for the entire neighborhood.


18 Comment

  • It looks like there is a fence. So how again is this a safety issue? It sounds like you just want an “eyesore” removed and want to play the safety. After all, society will be forever damaged and human progress set back thousands of years if this is not corrected.

    There is a lot of construction in D.C. at the moment. This is a good thing. Trust me, we have all been there. Just be patient. Two years is hardly a long time in the broad scope of things. Think of all the money your property will increase once it is done and have a cold beer.

    • The OP didn’t say they were opposed to development, just opposed to shoddy work and eyesore abandoned lots. I bet you’d be pretty annoyed too if this was next to your house for 2 years. Obviously the owner is not taking care of the property so that means in addition to mosquitoes it is probably covered in rat tunnels and used as a garbage can by passers-by / litter bugs. It also likely affects the property values of the neighboring houses and that would piss me off if I were the OP and trying to sell my home.

    • 2 years is a long time for a property of this size to develop – particularly since it hasn’t gone beyond the pit stage.

      And I am not sure how good a development would be expected for developer who doesn’t seem to know their stuff so I am not sure how much of a net asset it would be for the neighborhood.

    • “How again is this a safety issue?”

      -The OP mentioned damage to his or her property.

      -Fences can be climbed, especially by someone looking to make mischief with the cinderblocks and other detritus left behind by the developer.

      -Potential erosion of the OP’s foundation caused by soil moving in this vacant lot.


      I think the OP has some legitimate gripes beyond “I’m tired of living nex to an eyesore,” which is actually a very legitimate gripe.

  • Leslie Knope

    Kaboom that pit and put a park there.*

    *Not helpful

  • ah

    Is the property being taxed at the vacant property rate? Press the Office of Vacant Property at DCRA really hard. That will jack the tax rate to 5% or 10% and may create some incentives to get moving. 2 years goes beyond the length for permitted projects so that’s no defense.

    • gotryit

      I’ll second that. With developers, it really is about the bottom line – that will force their hand.

    • It will definitely take someone with authority to fix this situation I bet, and in this case that means DCRA. And lots of followup. If not it might stay that way forever.

    • I’m not sure that an empty lot can be taxed at the blighted rate. Oddly enough, the lack of house might prevent the lot being considered blighted. But definitely call DCRA about it. And if there are unpaid taxes definitely push OTR to include it in a tax sale. And if there is trash call 311 or DPR and get them fined. 2 years is a long time. Getting permits is a hassle but not that big a hassle if they know what they’re doing. I’d up your homeowners insurance too….no way your house is going to be unscathed when they do start building.

  • I say put up a sign declaring the property yours, and start the the clock for adverse possession!

  • Leslie Knope has solved this problem for all of humanity – turn it into a park or a Paunch Burger.

  • Not exactly the solution you’re looking for, but you could get some mosquito rings and throw them into the holes with standing water.

    • I was going to suggest something along these lines… not a permanent solution for the stopped construction, but maybe enough to stem the mosquito problem for the time being.

  • jim_ed

    Hah, the owner of this property seems to be a real piece of work, and was found guilty of fraud regarding another real estate transaction.

    Good luck.

  • Call DCRA and ask for them to inspect it with a view towards taxing it at the blighted rate.

  • Doesnt seem that they have all their permits in order anyway.

  • Thanks to PoP for this post.

    We’re assigning an inspector to visit the property and determine whether there are any building or safety code violations at the site.

    A few posters mentioned taxing the property as vacant or blighted. However, under the current vacant property law, only properties with buildings on them can be taxed at the higher property tax rates.

    Please feel free to notify us if you see vacant or blighted buildings in your neighborhood. You can email us at [email protected] or tweet us @dcra.

    Helder Gil

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