Are new Carports & Garages really not allowed in any neighborhoods in DC at all?

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Topic: Are new Carports & Garages really not allowed in any neighborhoods in DC at all?

Home and Garden December 17, 2013 at 12:52 am

Are new Carports & Garages really not allowed in any neighborhoods in DC at all?


Hello, We are new/newly returning to the area and have just started house hunting. In DC thus far we are exploring the takoma/brightwood/brokland/woodridge/riggs. We currently rent in Takoma DC and really enjoy the area. We are also looking in the close in downtown areas of Silver Spring & Takoma Park, MD. However, we would prefer to be in DC. But some of the housing/building information we are learning about DC is concerning.
I should note we are only looking at detached single family homes typically with lot sizes 4,000+. Many have a parking pad in front or rear off of a alley way. Some have a drive way running along the side from front to back. Most of the homes with parking off of the alley way look as if they may have had a garage at one time.
We were told by a Realtor that it is ‘impossible’ to build a new garage or covered parking structure any place in DC!?!?!?!?? This struck us as very odd that across a whole city no one could build anything new.
I have tried to look information up on but can not find a clear answer. I’m not sure what information I need about a property to figure out what rules or zoning applies. It also seems that some rules have changed recently or are up for a vote to be changed?!?!?
So, anyone have any clear or helpful information? Is it really true no new car ports or garages Xn be built? What about types of driveways/parking pads (concert, gravel, stone pavers) )? Where do I start to navigate the DC building codes/zones???

Is getting other work done a issue major issue?

Either way we don’t want to buy a home thinking we can change this or that and then find out it is not legally possible!

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Unless it’s a historic district I think you can probably build a garage. There are just a lot of hoops to jump through. Start by looking at the DC zoning map. Here is the link:

If you click on a house and then click “Click to View Full Report” then you can see more information on what you can build. It sounds like you’re looking at zone 1-A or zone 1-B. In that case you can probably build a garage and even have a rental apartment above it if you like.

Hi, I had left a reply yesterday but it is not showing.
You can actually look at the zoning map to figure out under what category the property is.
Also, take into account that many neighborhood have zoning overlays, or historic designations, which will affect the way zoning works for each property.
I don’t think that it is impossible to build garages in Washington DC, there are areas where they can be built, it depends on the configuration of the property, the historic preservation restrictions, and the zoning codes. For example, if you have direct access to an alley, most likely you can build a garage in part of your backyard, provided that you don’t exceed the approved coverage area for your lot. It’s always better to consult an specialist with the address of the property in hand, since the conditionals and restrictions vary from one neighborhood to the next.

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