Front basement entrance in Mt. Pleasant historic district

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Topic: Front basement entrance in Mt. Pleasant historic district

Real Estate April 19, 2013 at 10:43 am

Front basement entrance in Mt. Pleasant historic district

I understand that it is theorically possible to add a front basement entrance to a house in the Mt. Pleasant historic district.  Indeed, there are even guidelines posted on this website:
Does anyone know if in reality it is possible to get these approved?

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It depends on the specific house.  I would really encourage you to make an appointment with the Historic Preservation Office of the DC government.  They will work with you to make clear exactly what is possible and what is not.  It all will need to be permitted anyway because of the historic district, so you might as well start with them before spending money for plans, etc. 

There’s a very important resource on the Office of Planning – Historic Preservation Page that is a pamphlet that deals with additions, basements, and other alteration to building in historic places. This can vary considerably from case to case, from house to house, and on the “historic value” of a certain property or city block. I think that you should seek the advise of a professional who can help you navigate the different requierements for historic preservation and zoning -they also have a say in this. Ultimately, your house should be structurally sound to be able to perforate an entrance in the existing structure or should be made structurally sound, all while complying with all historic preservation requirements.
This is a link to the Design Guidelines about basement entrances and areaways:
Please don’t hesitate in contacting me should you need additional help at [email protected]

Try this: go to and then under “HP featured content” you will see a button that reads “Design Guidelines”, scroll down until you see
“Basement Entrances and Basement Windows on Historic Properties
The Historic Preservation Office has developed guidelines for Basement Entrances and Basement Windows on Historic Properties.”

Each house is different. Some can accomodate a basement entrance, some can’t. The Historic Preservation Review Board has adopted these guidelines: See how your property squares with the guidelines. Essentially, make the alteration small and inconspicous, and your chances are better.

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