Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

“Dear PoPville,

Can anyone explain the zoning restrictions that deal with % of lot occupancy available for certain zones (R-2, R-3 and such)? I do not know much about this, but bought a house a while back where the previous owner had sold a portion of the back lot to a neighbor. By all indications, they sold more than enough to throw the lot size versus house size out of whack by most percentages I can find as legally allowed in the District. I’m curious what the process is by which that could have happened legally and if found to not have happened legally, is there any recourse I have as the new owner? Obviously if the lot versus occupancy % is over the limit, there’s zero options to expand. I have no concerns over that as much as wondering if I have a smaller lot than I should have because of illegal actions by a previous owner. Anyone dealt with this or know how to research this?”


“Dear PoPville,

I have been trying unsuccessfully to get a piece of machinery removed from my street for a few weeks. This is on 100 block of V Street, NW in Bloomingdale, a street that already has half of its parking gobbled up by the water project. The machine is from a contractor that is renovating a house, it’s not part of the water project. I’m not quite sure how this machine is helpful in a home renovation to begin with, but I have seen the contractors move it in the morning so they can park their cars directly in front of the building they’re working on. I don’t think they’ve even been working on the house for the last week or two. There are and never have been “no parking” permits posted.”

Update: DPW tells OP that DCRA handles construction equipment that park without permits because this backhoe has no tag nor a vin number.”


“Dear PoPville,

How does one know if he lives in an illegal rental?

We rent the main and upstairs floors of a townhouse in DC with a separately rented basement unit. Searching PIVS on DC’s website, there is no certificate of occupancy or basic business license at the house.

Am I in an illegal rental? And if so, what rights or responsibilities do I have and what rights or responsibilities does my landlord have?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Scott

A reader sends the request “Can We Please Discuss Pot on PoPville?” along with this article from the Post In D.C., fears of chaos grow as legal pot nears:

“Barring ­last-minute federal intervention, the District’s attorney general said that pot will become legal as early as Feb. 26 without any regulations in place to govern a new marketplace that is likely to explode into view.

Even some supporters of the initiative are worried. At best, they predict an uncertain ­free-for-all where marijuana enthusiasts immediately start growing and smoking at home — and testing the limits of a law that does not allow for public consumption or sale. At worst, they say, as entrepreneurs push ahead with the business of pot, unregulated businesses will start popping up with no means to judge the safety of their product.”

Do you fear a coming chaos?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

My pipes froze Sunday and no one in our house (I’m downstairs in the English basemen and there are 5 people upstairs) has been able to use the water or bathroom since Sunday morning.

Our landlord sent a contractor out who determined the frozen pipe is under the ground. She has not offered any solutions except that we need to wait until it warms up…which could be 4 or 5 days from now. When I asked about what we are supposed to do for a bathroom she said to go to a friends house and that there is nothing she can do.

I’m wondering if anyone has any insight on this. Do we have to pay a full months rent even though the house has no running water? Does the landlord need to try and fix the problem or is waiting until it warms up a reasonable response? We have been showering and using the bathroom in Giant and WSC in Columbia Heights.

Would love to hear some opinions!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Miki J.

“Dear PoPville,

I’m torn…. I’ve had Comcast in various apartments in DC for the past 5 years. I’m moving to a new unit (in my existing building in Logan Circle) and am considering their Mover’s Edge.. They just transfer your service to your new home at no cost to you… Which I’ve used in the past and has been great BUT I’m not sure I can deal with the atrocious customer service, constant service outages, and ridiculous bills! Fios is not available in my area yet. So the only alternative is RCN. From the people I’ve polled in my building, it seems that RCN is the popular choice but we’ve certainly been spoiled by xfinity steaming… I’ve watched episodes of my favorite shows and scheduled my DVR on flights and they new X1 platform has some really cool features, almost at the level of a Smart TV but they’re by no means necessary. I’m not sure if I’m ranting here or asking for advice but I’m moving this week and would love to hear what some others’ experiences.

Any insight would be appreciated!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

As an Airbnb host, I just received this announcement that effective 2/15/15, Airbnb will charge guests 14.5% “transient lodging tax”. As a Host in DC, I’ve reported annual revenues on taxes, kept my head down, paid attention to how various jurisdictions have been navigating code, tax issues. It seems DC has taken a more constructive approach then, say, NYC but I suppose time will tell how it impacts overall bookings, how the hotel industry might respond in DC, and whether this really does clarify murky tax policy enough to prevent potential headaches down the road with DC tax authorities (unrelated experiences leave me wary). I wonder what others think, have heard?”

I’d be curious to also know how many folks here rent out rooms through airbnb? Will this change make you rethink it?

Letter from Airbnb after the jump. (more…)