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  • Do they get any tax breaks?

  • I am not positive on this but I think it has to do with the fact that it’s much easier to get permits for “renovation of an existing structure” (quotes deliberate) than a permit for new construction. This is going on by my house, with a developer tearing down every wall but one small section and constructing a new structure areound it.

  • It’s to make the job count as a renovation rather than new construction, which makes for easier compliance with fewer rules, regulations and restrictions. After the “repairs” are completed, they’ll “renovate” the front wall, and then they’ll have a legally 120 (or whatever)-year-old house with all new materials and layout.

    Just two days ago I rode by with my sister, visiting from Portland, Oregon, and her reaction was, “Of course! We did that with our garage!”

    • Ugh if they market this as “built in 1900” or whichever year it was originally built, that is completely and blatantly false advertising- or at least it should be.

    • Right. They did the same thing with the building that houses Meridian Pint when it was being built. Somewhere deep beneath their facade, there are bits and pieces of an early postwar-era one story grocery store that bears zero resemblance to the current building.

  • No idea, but to add to the mystery, it’s been like this for many, many, months with no signs of progress (or even the intention). It’s definitely gone from “sign of progress in the neighborhood” to “eye sore.”

  • And this is what happens when your zoning/permitting process is clearly out of whack.

  • who cares, go to Indigo right across the street!

  • ah

    Well, better than being mocked for an ugly pop-up over here.

  • Loopholing the zoning regs.

    Zoning probably limits a new house to 60% lot coverage, but the old, pre-zoning house might have been around 80% lot coverage. If you demo an 80% house on a 60% lot, you lose your grandfathered status. This owner is hoping to keep his grandfathered condition by keeping the front and back walls of the structure. The amount of demolition performed constitutes a raze under the building code, not a renovation.

    This is ridiculous, but DCRA hasn’t had zoning inspectors for about 5 years now, so this farce won’t likely be caught. DCRA eliminated their zoning inspectors and pushed the task onto “combo” inspectors who are supposed to inspect for every code (building, zoning, electrical, green, mechanical, etc.). The combo inspectors aren’t especially good at anything because they have to cover everything.

    • This is an end/corner lot, though. With a front and side yard it’s hard to imagine the house footprint is more than 60%.

      • FYI: Just because a house is on a corner doesn’t usually mean it has a larger lot in DC. I did a quick check and it appears this lot is only 646 sq/ft. As a “general” rule in the original DC boundaries houses are built to the lot lines then the front and any side yards are public space that the owners have a ability to utilize. So people are probably correct that given the small size of this lot they needed to keep some parts of the structure to not run afoul of zoning. Additionally it looks like this lot is classified commercial and once designated a religious exception. Finally some recent activity on the permits: 2014/04/07

        An existing 2-floor & cellar SFD row structure w/ rear open court on the west side w/ proposed interior renovation with a new 765 SF 3rd floor addition. Then conversion it as SFD to a 2-unit flat. New electrical, mechanical and plumbing as per plans. Underpinning of crawlspace/cellar to create a…

        If that is this property which I’m pretty sure it is that is a small lot for 2 units.

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