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Rendering via PETA

From an email:

“A five-story pop-up house on V Street is so hated by its neighbors that it’s commonly called “the middle finger” and has even been tagged as “the monstrosity” on Google Maps—but PETA believes it can vastly improve the building’s image. In a letter sent this morning, PETA offers to wrap the side of the building with a colorful mural that encourages, “Peas on Earth.”

“PETA’s mural would make ‘The Monstrosity’ an eyesore no more while encouraging the world to make healthy, humane, environmentally sound choices,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “A colorful mural about green eating would make the V Street pop-up eye-catching in a positive way.”

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Ed. Note: If the reader had not included these photos I would not have believed this.

“Dear PoPville,

I live in a rowhouse in Adams Morgan. (I’m a renter.) The rowhouse next door is currently being gutted, expanded and converted into luxury condos.

One night this week, I came home from work to find that the construction team had built a cinder-block wall blocking my bedroom window.

Of course, I immediately called my landlord (he lives in California). Turns out he had been notified a few days earlier of the developer’s plans to build this wall. He had consulted his attorney, who told him there was nothing we could do to stop it.

I contacted everyone I could think: DC Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, that office’s Illegal Construction Division, my ANC commissioner, and the next-door developer himself.

Turns out, my landlord’s attorney was right: There’s nothing we can do. This window is on the side of the rowhouse, all the way at the back; and since it’s a side-facing window, it’s considered “not protected” by DC permitting. So even though this window has been there for more than 80 years, there’s nothing to stop the neighbors from extending their place back and blocking my view.

A friend of mine told me this is what’s known as a “pop-back,” and he’s been trying to fight them in his neighborhood as well.

Anyway, as I said, I just thought PoP readers might want to be aware of this. I don’t have any other recourse (as far as I know). So now I’m left with this crazy-looking window to nowhere.

Guess I’ll buy a big painting to hang there…”

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“Dear PoPville,

I live in Park View, and have noticed a new trend – pop ups that go not just out, but into backyards with “accessory structures” containing additional condos. This one is one the 500 block of Kenyon St. This block has large backyards, and now a concrete structure looming over them… I assume this is legal with R-4 zoning, but I can only imagine this will be the end of backyards once developers get a hold of them…. have you seen this elsewhere?”

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Councilmember Vincent B. Orange, Sr. proposes Emergency Moratorium on Building Permits.

From an email:

“The DC Council is voting on emergency legislation this Tuesday, April 14th (see below) to place a moratorium on ALL permits and additions until the Zoning Commission finalizes the text amendment process. This Emergency legislation would GO INTO EFFECT IMMEDIATELY.”

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Greater Greater Washington notes:

“Of course, the bill probably won’t pass. Even if nine councilmembers believed this constituted an “emergency,” Orange’s bill very likely illegal. DC’s Home Rule Act creates a Zoning Commission with three representatives appointed by the mayor and two from the federal government. That body, it says, “shall exercise all the powers and perform all the duties with respect to zoning in the District as provided by law.” (§492(a)(1)(e))

That means that the DC Council can’t make zoning policy. And telling DC’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, which issues building permits, that it’s illegal to give a building permit for a project that’s legal under zoning but not under Orange Alternate Zoning would be overstepping the council’s authority.”

and concludes with pretty strong language:

“But Orange got to make a statement. If you’re a young person who doesn’t own or can’t afford a whole rowhouse, Orange doesn’t want you. If you’re a poor resident, Orange doesn’t care about you. If you want your neighborhood to never change at all, Orange wants your vote, and he’ll propose illegal legislation that will harm the District to get it.”

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Big pop up update from the Washington Post:

“The D.C. Zoning Commission took its first action on Monday night against developers building the city’s growing number of pop-up homes, voting to reduce the maximum by-right height of single-family rowhouses to 35 feet, down from 40, in some of the city’s gentrifying neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Shaw and Columbia Heights.”

The Post does note that the vote, “also allowed residents or developers to pursue a special exception if they want a 40-foot tall building.”