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Dear PoP – DCRA says no new restaurants on 14th street & U street corridors!

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A reader sent in a link from the Mid City Business Association. They report:

URGENT: DCRA rules no New Building Permits or C of Os will be issued to eating and drinking establishments in MidCity.

On April 5th, 2010 Matt LaGrant, DC’s Zoning Administrator, issued a ruling that DCRA will no longer grant Building Permits or Certificate of Occupancies for restaurants, bars, diners, coffees shops and carry-outs along 14th and U streets (plus adjacent commercial side streets) because of zoning regulations restricting the availability of space to eating and drinking establishments to 25% of the linear frontage of the greater 14th and U Street area. To see a map of the overlay go here.

What the ruling means

*Anyone seeking to open an eating and drinking establishment (including delis, coffee shops and carry outs) will need to go before the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) to seek a special exception.
*Requiring all new projects to go to the BZA will absorb an enormous amount of business, community and government resources as projects seek exemptions to a rule that is widely regarded as outdated and harmful to economic development.
*It will stall new projects and prevent existing ones from expanding
*It will discourage entrepreneurs from investing in the MidCity area, including underdeveloped parts of the district.
*It will send a strong message to local, regional, national investors that DC is business unfriendly

MIdCity Business Association’s Response to the Ruling
We will be sending a letter to CM Jim Graham, CM Jack Evans and other city officials asking for their help in obtaining an urgent text change to the zoning regulations to increase the allowance from 25% to 50% of the total area.

We will be continue to work with our community partners including the Logan Circle Communtiy Association and the U Street Neighborhood Association along with commissioners from ANC1B, ANC2F and ANC2B to develop a constructive and positive response as our community coalition continues to work together to promote positive, balanced economic and community development in MidCity.

We last discussed concerns about development in this area here. Do you think this will hurt the continued revival of the 14th and U Street Corridors?

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