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PoP. Ed: Why Pop Ups are Bad for Lanier Heights by Gary Tischler

by Prince Of Petworth January 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm 72 Comments


Last month we talked about this sign “Ugly Pop-Ups: Destroying Family Housing on Lanier Place.”. Following is an attempt to explain from a neighbor, Gary Tischler.

A while back, I had a talk with a neighborhood friend about popups and their implications to the Lanier Heights neighborhood, standing right across the street from one of those popups next to the day care center. He offered up the idea that maybe people should get used to the idea of change, and the popups and the targeting of the neighborhood by developers was one of those change things that might be inevitable.

That may be so, but something’s getting lost in that discussion. I saw it in the cavalier notice given by the developer reps that they had indeed targeted our neighborhood and were indeed seeking to get people to sell their houses in order to convert them to condos, and in the comments on the net that followed Paul’s signs next door to his new neighbors. In most of the comments—most of them from people who don’t live here—the attitude was one of surprise or anger that neighborhood residents—be they homeowners or renters—would object to the presence of the popups, or openly oppose the idea.

Many folks—mostly homeowners—are upset about this wholesale attempt to basically alter our neighborhood. That’s what’s getting lost in the discussions—the consequences to the neighborhood if the developers succeed.

What will happen to put it very simply is that the nature of the neighborhood will be dramatically changed to the point where we will lose most of the things, the characteristics of the neighborhood that we love.

I’m not trying to speak for other people—I’m a renter, and we’ve lived here for well over 15 years now. I found the neighborhood early on to be deceptive—I mean it looks on the surface to be kind of a bucolic place, quiet, a kind of residential, one-family housing island close to but also separate from the street scene on Columbia Road, the traffic on Calvert and the night and day bustle of 18th Street and all that entails, all of which by the way add the special urban flavor that everyone loves.

I got an immersion in Lanier Heights by walking our dog Bailey four times a day, morning, noon, evening and night, summer, fall, winter and spring for fourteen of those years. We went down and around—both blocks of Lanier, past the park, down Adams Mill Road, down to Harvard and up the hill and back and around to Ontario Place and Road. I got a real sense of where I live on those walks—the place and landscape, the nature of the population, the rhythms of daily life and time passing, and, yes, change. It was like being on some in-the-flesh party line in the open air. I found out quickly that—as a neighbor pointed out at our last meeting— the area is already quite rich in apartment units and spaces, which is to say renters like me and Carol. Some live in basements, or rent whole houses, or live in diverse spaces that are packed in all over the Heights and they constitute a sizeable and diverse part of the population.

I have to say that I met most of the people I know in the neighborhood on these walks—this is for sure a dog neighborhood, but I also found that it’s a neighborhood made unique by its diversity which we should treasure. There are people here who live in homes their families haves occupied for at least two or three generations. On these walks I’ve watched young children go from elementary school through high school, college and beyond and now there is a new influx of young families, one of which two doors down just welcomed a third child. The life cycles, like the changes in foliage and the passing of trees and pets, are a dear part of life here.

I write for publications like the Georgetowner and the Washington Diplomat, often writing about cultural matters, and so I felt right at home here, discovering over time the presence of major and minor, artists and arts leaders here like the director of the DC Jazz Festival, the director of the DC film festival, the director of Arena Stage and the Washington Ballet all living within short walking distances, along with playwrights, artists, writers and critics, poets, dancers and photographers and film makers.

The neighborhood is decidedly blue, politically lively, and while liberal doesn’t lack for heated differences of opinion on just about everything. Folks here are old and young, and babies and aging, white and black and Hispanic and gay and straight and every which other thing you can be. We have crime—I experienced a near mugging a few years back—but we have, if not a neighborhood watch, neighborhood watchers nonetheless. We have a history here, and we have people that care—I can’t imagine Joseph’s House anywhere except where it is, a unique and special part of our neighborhood. So is the fire house and Adams Inn, and the Ontario. Right after 9/11 there was a fire next door and I saw how neighbors pulled together to help out. It’s the kind of thing that happens organically and naturally and often.

It’s the kind of neighborhood where people know each other even if they don’t always socialize en masse or in groups. Maybe, given the situation, we should do more of that, or at least communicate and use the tech tools at hand as we are now in a time of crisis. But we know who we are, and why we all live here. During my walks I saw—through community efforts by individual and groups—the barren, often ragged park evolve into a the great children’s playground that we have, the wide and green athletic field and the emergence of a dog park when there was no such thing in this city.

I think we all value what we have here—we perhaps don’t celebrate it often enough, although these things always become clear to us on Halloween, or at the party for the 100th anniversary of the fire house, or when we talk to an Aussie or a family from France staying at the Adams House, or when we lose, as everyone does, good neighbors and friends like Mickey Collins and his mother, who were representative of a whole swath of African American history that was a part of this place. We are not huddled in our houses or apartments here—we share the miseries of power outages, Snowmageddon, city services when they falter and so on.

We stand to lose a lot of that if popups become the new normal here. Imagine how the pop up people look at Joseph’s house—how many condos can that hold? We will quadruple the foot traffic, have less parking places, more need for services, more people, and the economic effect—I’m no expert here—will hit both homeowners and renters with increased prices and rents. It’s not that we shouldn’t welcome new people, because it happens all the time. It’s not even that the popups tend to be eyesores although God knows they are. It’s that there’s an effort—a consequence if you will—to make this neighborhood homogonous, to destroy diversity of people, ideas, landscape and geography and function right out of the place where you live. That’s the real danger—the danger of losing the qualities that make Lanier Heights special to the people that live here now.

Gary Tischler

  • gotryit

    You make “pop-up people” who live in condos sound like the end of the world.
    Besides, what is it that you suggest should be done? If you want to sell to a developer, then that’s your right. If you don’t, then tell them to pound sand.

  • Anonymous

    No expert, indeed. More people in the neighborhood will not, in and of itself, lead to increased prices or rents for people in the neighborhood. More supply at existing demand levels, in fact = lower prices.

    Now, if demand goes up, prices might increase. But pop-ups and conversions have absolutely nothing to do with that.

    • Anonymous

      You cannot, however, discount the effects on surrounding real estate that occurs due to pop-up “luxury” condos selling at higher prices and thus pushing up appraisal values. So even though supply is increasing, the prices are still going up. More supply does not necessarily always equate to lower prices, especially in a weird market like urban real estate.
      It sounds like Gary wants to keep density at the current level, not increase it. Which is a valid concern for a resident of the neighborhood, IMHO. The best thing Gary can do is restart the push to make Lanier Heights a historic district. If enough neighbors agree, he’ll get what he wants. Such is democracy.

      • Anon

        Appraisals are based on comps, bud. Unrenovated condo doesn’t = renovated condo in appraisal land. There’s no reason the appraisal for an unrenovated condo or house would increase simply because there’s a renovated condo down the street. Appraisals make adjustments for things like that.

        • Anonymous

          Ok, and if 1000 sq foot apartment are selling for $600K, what do you think that will do to property values and rents for the existing places, even if unrenovated? They are going up.
          Comps are up way beyond inflation – it’s a totally distorted market.

          • Anonymous

            I think you’re confused about how appraisal works, as well as the laws of supply and demand in general.

            Regardless, this debate is silly. The city is growing at 1100 people per month. Property values and prices are going to go up, pop-ups or not, and like it or not.

          • gotryit

            Funny, I must have missed Dan’s “Fair and Balanced” slogan. (sarcasm)
            So… if you don’t like it, why are you reading it? commenting? Trying to enlighten us morons who thought this was a well rounded source of opinion to drink up like kool aid?

      • Anonymous

        keeping density at the current level just drives up prices and makes lanier heights even more of a playground for the super-wealthy instead of opening up opportunities for working people like firemen and teachers to buy condos in former row houses. thus being anti-pop-up is being anti-teacher and anti-fireman and anti-sanitation worker.

        • Anonymous

          I promise you no sanitation workers, firemen, and teachers are buying newly renovated pop-ups in Lanier Heights.

          • anon


        • anon

          There are non-ugly ways to increase density. Increasing density doesn’t have to involve pop-ups.

        • Anonymous

          Show me a teacher who can afford a condo in that area.

  • Anonymous

    I hear what he’s saying.
    It sounds like it might be time for the folks of Lanier Heights to retry their efforts to become a historic district. Strike while the iron is hot.

    • anon

      “It sounds like it might be time for the folks of Lanier Heights to retry their efforts to become a historic district. Strike while the iron is hot.”
      I’m not sure I buy the “Pop-ups will erode the fabric of our neighborhood argument.” But the mere fact that (almost all) pop-ups are ugly ought to be enough to ban any pop-up visible from the street.

      • carlosthedwarf

        Why should your aesthetic preferences be given the force of law, over mine?

        • Anonymous

          Majority rules?

          • anon

            Exactly. Part of the reason that historic districts have come into being in D.C. is that people are tired of seeing an individual homeowner thinking that his or her opinion trumps everyone else’s. This is a community, not some kind of rugged-individual fantasy.

          • carlosthedwarf

            So under what circumstances should aesthetic preferences be given the force of law?

    • 9th Street Neighbor


    • anon

      Residents of Lanier Heights successfully fought off a push for historic designation a few years ago. That push was started because a few people didn’t like that a house on their block (Lanier Place) was going to be demolished and new condos built. There’s no reason to subject yourselves to the host of ridiculous and expensive regulations that result from becoming a historic district in DC just to avoid having a couple of popups in the neighborhood. (As a side note, the popup on Belmont, which blocked light to a particular resident who wasn’t happy with that was the catalyst for the Washington Heights historic district.)

      My belief is that while people make arguments against popups that attempt to sound like they’re opposing them for the “right” reasons, the reality is that people just don’t want to live next door to one, don’t want to look at it, don’t want to lose some light, don’t want increased density, etc. Just like other discussions here about losing light or a view, you live in the city and this is one of the things you have to deal with. If you don’t like it, go buy some land out in West Virginia or something and live there. It also can be argued that turning a house into three or four condos helps increase the diversity of the neighborhood, not the other way around. And people who live in these condos are just like everyone else, and can be excellent neighbors.

      • Anonymous

        “If you don’t like it, go buy some land out in West Virginia or something and live there.”
        Or conversely you can stay in your place, get enough signatures, and create a historic district?
        Neighbors should live how they want in their own neighborhood. If the majority believes in restricting changes via historic district regulations, they can do that. The city has a legal process for it that’s fair and seems to work well.
        The current residents owe nothing to potential future residents who have no stake (yet) in the area. And they certainly owe nothing to developers who just want to extract equity from the neighborhood.

        • Anon

          “Or conversely you can stay in your place, get enough signatures, and create a historic district?”

          Already tried and failed. Lanier Heights’ residents recognized that the negatives far outweigh any potential positive, which is to stop popups. Perhaps it’s time to revisit the regulations governing historic districts and how the Historic Preservation Office interprets and implements them. If they weren’t so heavy-handed and seemingly arbitrary in their decision making, maybe the neighborhood residents, including those in Chevy Chase, Lanier Heights and Brookland, three neighborhoods that successfully fought against being designated would stop fighting so hard against it.

      • different anon

        “There’s no reason to subject yourselves to the host of ridiculous and expensive regulations that result from becoming a historic district in DC just to avoid having a couple of popups in the neighborhood.”
        Exactly. That’s why we need something in between. There ought to be a middle option between having no restrictions whatsoever (other than the basic zoning regulations) and having every last thing (like type of windows) regulated.

        • My Aesthetic

          Ah yes – the “You Can Only Build What I Like” rules. That will make everything perfect – for you. And that will be perfect, right?

  • anon

    people who live in popups and condos are….

    dog haters
    mean and unfriendly
    not neighborly
    not politically active
    not democrats
    haters of the foreigners who live down the block
    anti anniversary parties AND halloween
    apathetic towards having nice parks

    Ya know, I’m totally convinced. The neighborhood might get destroyed.

    • S

      LOL. +1

    • Anonymous

      Nailed it!

  • Chops

    Pop-ups mean a few new families or individuals move into the neighborhood each year. Surely in your 14 years, you’ve seen many come and go. Why would the newcomers be any different? A pop-up should be less disruptive to the neighborhood’s character than a simple home sale. In the case of a home sale, you lose a family and gain a family. A pop-up adds without subtracting, so it’s less disruptive.

    It’s not like they’re tearing down blocks of housing and putting in wastewater treatment plants! The popups will add new neighbors. From your description it sounds like the new neighbors will be… just like the old.

    “We will quadruple the foot traffic” – it seems very unlikely that popups would quadruple a neighborhood’s population. Maybe it’ll increase it by 20%. And really, are the sidewalks so crowded you can’t deal with meeting 4 times as many neighbors?

    “the economic effect—I’m no expert here—will hit both homeowners and renters with increased prices and rents.” The economic effect of an increase in supply is lower prices. That hurts current homeowners a little, and helps renters a little. But Lanier Heights is part of a broader DC real-estate market, so the local changes probably won’t move prices as much as broader DC trends. I am an economist, and it’s pretty well accepted (on left, right, micro, macro, whatever) that strict zoning requirements and NIMBYism like yours hurts renters and poor people at the expense of homeowners and the wealthy.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    The author appears to welcome change, so long as it’s the type of change that doesn’t affect any part of his chosen lifestyle in any way whatsoever. The author appears to welcome new people, so long as it’s the type of people that he approves of — writers, photographers, artists and playwrights … no boring political analysts, mid-level managers or tech nerds allowed. The fact is that neighborhoods, including Lanier Heights, are constantly in flux. They do not belong to any one person or even group of people.

    • Truxton Thomas

      Come on. This guy has a dog. And he walks it around the neighborhood, like, several times a day. Surely he’s entitled to something?

  • Anonymous

    I live in lanier heights and walk by this house weekly, so I know the neighborhood he is referring to. I really have two points:

    1) This is a slippery slope argument, which in my opinion is generally not the most logical argument.
    2) Every time I walk by his stupid sign, it makes me feel negatively about my neighborhood and the people that live in it. I would assume that is the opposite effect he would like to have on where we live.

  • Chops

    A little more detail on consequences for the poor: Nobody builds budget-level pop-ups, so how can allowing more of them help the poor? Because it siphons off demand further up the income scale. If a pair of bisexual, dog-walking, Albanian, Democrat, hipster savants move into a new top-floor condo in Lanier Heights, they’re off the market for conversions in Trinidad or Petworth. There’s nothing wrong with “people like that” (or any other kind of people) in Trinidad, Petworth, Lanier, Palisades, or anywhere else. But the generally lower demand spills through the system, especially from the top down. Low-income renters (whether they’re 74th-generation DC natives or befuddled interns) have to pay market rates, and rates are higher in a restricted market.

    • +1

    • Anonymous

      This to a t.

    • But couldn’t a “restricted market” in established popular areas also serve as impetus for development in currently unpopular and affordable areas? Anacostia has a lot of beautiful affordable neighborhoods 10 min. from the Capitol.

      I hate the trend of expensive condos excluding teachers etc. but that is what happens. Columbia Heights in 1987 was very affordable for a reason.

      • Chops

        In other words, “go change someone else’s neighborhood, not mine.” Now, I think more development in Anacostia would be great. But maybe Anacostians want to see the same faces when they walk their dogs, too. Maybe they don’t want rents going up, even if that comes with more amenities. DC has some growing pains from rapid change, but I wouldn’t say that an unduly narrow scope of development is one of them. Pretty much half the city is actively undergoing change right now!

  • purplepalace

    Perhaps it’s the case that most pop-ups are built for the purpose of creating new condos, but pop-ups are also a means for new families to grow-in-place. My wife and I have owned a small (14′ wide, 2 story) rowhouse in Truxton Circle for nearly five years. We’re starting a family and want a little more living space. We love our house that we’ve been renovating for years; we love our neighborhood and are very engaged with our neighbors and community politics; we can’t afford a larger house in our neighborhood; and we don’t want to move to the suburbs where we could afford a bigger house. So we’re planning to pop-up . . . putting a master suite on a new third floor to supplement the two bedrooms in the original structure. We’re working with a great architect. Our pop-up will be tasteful, not an eyesore. And we’re really excited to be building it. To hell with anyone who objects to our pop-up for the sake of objecting to pop-ups!

    • anon

      “Our pop-up will be tasteful, not an eyesore.” Feel free to submit it to PoPville to see if the commentariat agrees… though what’s more important is whether your neighbors agree.

      • Anon

        False. What matters is whether the homeowner likes it. Asking the neighbors is a courtesy, but not determinative.

        • Anonymous

          Actually, the neighbors on either side of the pop-up in the case of a row house have to approve if the party wall is being built upon. So yeah, make it nice because your neighbors could screw you over.

          • dat

            That is not true.

            You have to give your neighbors notice, but they do not have to approve it.

            I believe the only difference is the 30-day waiting period (you have to wait 30-days from notice if you don’t give DCRA a signed neighbor notification form).

        • anon

          People used to be able to rely on their neighbors to be courteous enough not to do stuff like, oh, add an entire extra story to the house and disrupt the look of the block. Current efforts for zoning changes and/or historic districts are an attempt to codify the kind of courtesy people once took for granted.

          • How much profit would you refuse to be “courteous?”

          • Anonymous

            what mythical time are you talking about?

          • It’s super courteous to guilt your neighbors out of making use of their property as they see fit and within zoning codes, likes the family above that’s expanding.

          • anon

            People who disrupt historic neighborhoods (that lack historic designations) by building pop-ups that are visible from the street are not being courteous to their neighbors. Current zoning laws may allow them to do this, sure. But it’s a self-serving move.

    • Anonymous

      We are wrapping up doing the same thing in Bloomingdale.

  • Thank you for taking the time, thought, and energy to share your perspective on your neighborhood.

  • You’re right. You’re neighborhood is so awesome you shouldn’t let anyone else in.

    • To correct my mistake in my annoyance and haste- *Your neighborhood

    • Eventually You’ll Be OK

      Be fair – the writer is okay with new people – as long as they aren’t TOO new. After all, he’s lived there for ‘well over fifteen years now” (walking that poor dog four times a day.) So apparently there’s a point at which unacceptable new people become acceptable old people, like him, though of course he doesn’t define when that magic happens.

  • Truxton Thomas

    I don’t know about them pop-up people, but that sign sure is mighty neighborly.

  • JF

    I think at the end of the day the OP is just sad that his neighborhood is changing. Which is understandable. At the same time, that’s part of living in a city. Neighborhoods change. Pop up or no pop up, Lanier Heights is probably going to be a rich neighborhood with a lot less diversity eventually.

    I grew up in an historic neighborhood in Charlotte that was a mix of old mansions and more modest homes, as demand for the neighborhood increased with the population, many of the smaller homes were popped up, out and any other way they could be. the results were typically beautiful bc they have yards and more space to make it tasteful, but it still changed the neighborhood. such is life…

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    So…your “consequences”…

    1) quadruple the foot traffic – this is bad…how? more people out = less crime, more lively neighborhood! Why is more foot traffic bad?!?

    2) have less parking places – LOL. I used to live around the corner and, trust me, parking is already saturated. What sane person would move there if parking was a priority? Or, they could do what I did and rent a space instead of relying on the subsidized, free parking for privately owned vehicles.

    3) more need for services – Like what? police? firefighters? trash? the marginal cost of adding more density to existing services is pretty small.

    4) more people – How are “more people” bad? And how is this different than point #1? Or should more people not get to enjoy the bucolic utopia you describe?

    5) economic effect – This is puzzling? huh? the dreaded “more people” also means more $ to spend, which equates to more choices as far as retail, grocery, eating out, etc. More people is rarely bad in established cities. Would you rather be detroit?

    The real issue is that supply for these neighborhoods far outstrips demand, which is why developers want to buy up places and chop them up into condos. the solution is a better zoning plan that allows for more density, but sadly the same people decrying pop-ups are probably the same people fighting tooth and nail against the zoning changes.

  • Tom

    Gary writes: “We will quadruple the foot traffic, have less parking places, more need for services, more people, and the economic effect—I’m no expert here—will hit both homeowners and renters with increased prices and rents. ”

    Prices and rents are going to be high in that neighborhood no matter what given it’s location. Demand drives the prices, and whether there are condos or houses, people will pay a premium to live there.

    What will drive up prices and rents throughout the entire city is if NIMBYs choke off the supply of housing throughout the city. If you have increased demand for living in the city, which we do, but we can’t increase housing supply, the result is to push prices up and making the city even more unaffordable.

  • Anonymous

    I have to shake my head because I myself live in a “pop up” on Capitol Hill. It was built in between two older homes in the former side yard of one of them – in 1895….

    • gotryit

      stop ruining the neighborhood

  • andy2

    How will adding more people through the evolution of the housing stock change what you love about your neighborhood?

  • Anonymous

    I’m surprised by how little sympathy there seems to be for Gary. Yeah, change is inevitable, but the speed of changes with regard to DC real estate and residents has increased exponentially during the past decade. I can understand that it’s hard to feel that the very qualities that might draw someone to a particular neighborhood are being lost or overwhelmed — with an influx of new residents who may not recognize or value those qualities. I grew up in a rowhouse neighborhood which had a very stable population for over half a century. It’s hard to see what used to be a quiet family- oriented neighborhood rapidly switch to become a neighborhood with a more transient demographic. Is it legal? Surely. Is it good for the city as a whole? Probably. Is it a loss for those of us who remember what it was like to be able to park in front of your house and to let your kids play outside until the street lights came on knowing that the neighbors would keep an eye out? Yeah, it is.
    I’m wondering how many of the commenters are DC natives. Not because that in any way changes the validity of their comments — but because they may have little first-hand experience with the “DC” that’s being lost amidst the pop-ups and the new construction.

    • 17th Street

      I am not surprised by the lack of sympathy.
      After all, Gary is part of the change that has swept this city since the days you describe. Yes I grew up here (born in the early 1960s) and I remember those days, but that world is gone, not only from DC but just about every big city. And this piece really sounds like the lament of the newcomer who arrived fifteen (only fifteen!) years ago and forgot to lock the door behind him – there’s little sympathy, because his is not a very sympathetic stance. Somehow the neighborhood managed to survive his arrival – and yet, as you described, how much has this city, and Lanier Heights, changed in those years. Somehow it’s okay for him to be a renter, but the newer newcomers are the ‘other’ – not neighbors, but ‘pop-up people’. Where does Gary get the right to complain about others arriving not much more than a blink of an eye after him? Maybe they just want to walk their dogs and meet the neighbors and learn the landscape and generally just become settled happy additions to the neighborhood, too. And maybe the lack of sympathy for this piece is a result of Gary’s very unwelcoming, very un-neighborly attitude. No, the lack of sympathy does not surprise me at all.

  • Renter?

    What’s pretty presumptuous about the guy is that he’s a RENTER, too. He doesn’t pay property taxes, and he doesn’t really have ownership of anything. And he has the gall to dictate to other people– those paying taxes and carrying the responsibility of property ownership– what they should/shouldn’t do.

    • Anonymous

      Um, if he pays his rent, like, to the property owner, I’m guessing that the property owner uses money from the rent to cover expenses like property taxes. So the renter is indirectly paying for the taxes. Property ownership is not synonymous with community membership. He’s stating his opinion. He gets to.

    • DC Renter

      When buyers stop sucking at the government teat, then your words will carry a modicum of sensibility.
      But lets face it, renters and retirees who pay taxes are helping to underwrite the cost of your mortgage – you get artificially low interest rates due to quantitative easing and 100% government back stop for mortgage-backed securities. There is no private label mortgage industry anymore – everything is backed by Uncle Sam. You get a mortgage interest deduction. To pretend like owners are singlehandedly “carrying the responsibility” of the area is joke.
      You own because the government distorts the market and allows you to own.

      • Anonymous

        So why doesn’t everyone own if its so easy. Why because they save for the huge down payment. Therefore they put an investment, therefore you should be able to get the benefit of that investment. Until banks ask for my morale sense or political view for down payment. I’m going to before any proposed law that increases my investment.

  • Movin’ on up?

    I live right around the corner from this property with the “Ugly Pop-Ups” sign, in Lanier Heights. In fact, I walk by it at least twice day to and from work and then some. I can’t help but walk by and get a lot of ideas going in my mind – mostly surrounding the fact that this post’s discussion is missing a few key points I think (which many other comments have noted, but perhaps are worth repeating).

    1. To actually own a home in Lanier Heights is downright cost prohibitive for an awfully large number of people now. While the desire to keep pop-ups out is, supposedly, to preserve the diversity and artistic populations of the neighborhood, I think this is false thinking because it’s highly unlikely new residents moving in (and having to afford a whole brownstone) will continue to be diverse and artistically minded. This neighborhood is in full blown gentrification mode and people are being priced out of the market. I am a decently well paid civil servant, and I couldn’t afford a whole home in this area in my wildest (American) dreams.

    2. As noted by the author, there are already a number of renters (myself included) in the neighborhood who rent a whole house, an apartment in part of a house, or live in a group house. People are already living in these “de-facto” pop-up scenarios, you just don’t see it because the properties haven’t been obviously renovated or advertised as such. The idea that some homes might be sold to be converted to condos simply gives us renters a chance to buy into our neighborhood – and also to upgrade from the apartments we live in. While I really like where I live, because of the great location the landlord has no incentive to keep up on certain maintenance issues (like the mice..) which a homeowner in a newly renovated condo might have fewer issues with or take upon themselves to invest in a solution to. The idea that these condos will therefore increase foot traffic seems silly – most likely the renters will just become buyers. Also, I think people live in this neighborhood in large part because it’s so walkable and has great transit options.

    3. I’d like to address the point about the pop-up on Lanier being “ugly.” PLEASE can someone tell me what about this building is ugly? Is it because it’s new? The small swath of brick showing to the left in the picture above does not strike me as ugly – neither does the full profile view I see every single day. I bet the windows and doors are tight and maybe even LEED certified! Isn’t that an idea? How I would love for my 1900s brownstone to have windows with a nice seal to keep out the cold, or just to be squirrel proof…

    4. Lastly, this sign is about keeping the status quo – and intimidating future neighbors. It’s not about promoting diversity, because diversity is about welcoming people – not threatening them. Furthermore, if you read the more detailed sign in the front which accompanies this poster, it notes that the “ugly pop-up” is blocking out space in the back alley that some people formerly used for their recycling bins. I have to wonder if this issue really just boils down to a neighbor annoyed that he lost his free bin space next door.

    • Anonymous

      I own a condo and we have a mice problem its actually just a DC problem really.

  • Wobble

    I live within 100 yards of this “pop-up”.

    What I feel is weird is that the official listing photographs of this house show an interior not from this house, but a larger, grander “pop up” and “pop out” around the corner on Ontario Road (right next to the alley)/

    Is it legal to mis-represent like this???


  • LoganRes

    People who are so opposed to pop-ups should really take an interest in the current building height limit debate. The anti height limit crowd is creating a lot of false information leading people to think that raising the height limit will suddenly mean we have 50 story buildings in the middle of our residential neighborhoods which isn’t the case at all. Most in favor of raising the height limits are proposing that they be raised in some of the outer industrial parcels of the city where no established neighborhoods exist and along the borders of Silver Spring and Friendship Heights where taller buildings already exist on the opposite side of the border street. This could create some new, dynamic residential neighborhoods, increase the housing supply and reduce the demand for increasing density in already developed neighborhoods. There’s a lot of potential by removing the control over our density from Congress and letting the city officials and residents determine our future.

  • Sanderlina

    I worked for Gary at the Georgetowner over ten years ago. Trust me, he’s been around the city quite a while. I was born and raised here, too, and I still rent my place. He’s no NIMBY.

    • jim_ed

      Actually, he’s the literal definition of a NIMBY. He’s advocating against a specific type of development in his neighborhood because he’s personally opposed to it and is leery of the types of people it will bring to his neighborhood. You can’t be more of a NIMBY than that, it’s impossible.


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