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“I don’t even care that there’s a pop up going in…”

by Prince Of Petworth January 31, 2017 at 10:05 pm 26 Comments

Florida Ave, NW between

“Dear PoPville,

This house has been tagged as a blighted property off and on for the past few years resulting in a ~$30K tax bill that has been paid every year even though no one has lived here since at least 2003. I don’t even care that there’s a pop up going in… just happy something is being done with this house!”

  • Nimby

    No visible permits posted. No comment period for neighbors

    • jonah

      The permit thing is not OK. However a pop up that is under 35′, assuming this is RF-1 zoned, is by right and doesn’t require ANC or community input.

      • 958

        Whoa whoa whoa, hold on there. Before the court of PoPulace opinion has my head I’ll add that the permit is indeed posted at the top of the window. It’s been ripped down a few times so it’s continually being re-posted. Jonah – you are correct, I didn’t need to seek comment from the community, only the common wall neighbors (of which I am one).

        I posted the abridged version of the story of this place in the comments once before: https://www.popville.com/2016/03/where-is-this-house-of-the-day-5/

        Anyone that cares to hear about the journey from neighborly lawsuit, to byzantine permitting, to renovation is happy to fire questions at me.

        • commuter

          Congratulations on getting through all of that! I drive past this every day on my way to work and am glad to see the progress. Will look forward to seeing the final result. Thank you for the time, effort, persistence, and I have to assume large investment in taking on this blighted property.

        • jaanku

          @958 – As you mention in your linked post, you will welcome questions regarding similar situations. There are 2 properties in my neighborhood that are vacant/blighted. One of them is the shell of a burned out house and the other is a stalled complete tear down project with no work done in at least 4 months and has someone living in it. How can I contact you? Would like to know what I, as a private citizen, can do. Thanks!

          • 958

            @jaanku – I’d be happy to talk your situation over with you, my earlier shameless plug was entirely sincere. I’m a firm believer in civic empowerment and hopefully I can give you some ideas/avenues. Google us – Rosenau, Fahrenholz, & Horrell. We pre-date the internet so there’s no website, but our phone number is out there in the ether.

        • Truxton Thomas

          You have my support, 958.

        • Anon

          958 doing God’s work over here

        • w

          I have so many questions. I am interested in doing a pop-up myself but have been hesitant due to questions of cost, contractors, neighbors… i would love to talk to you.

          • 958

            Ask away, I’m happy to field them. Somebody else might have the same question.

    • ERD

      They at least have a permit issued on 12/16/2016:

      “Demolish existing floor framing and roof and rear wall. Retain existing front facade. Build new three story house on original footprint with addition to the rear.”

  • Ronald Baker

    Pop-ups like this are the quickest and easiest way to add minimal density throughout the city’s row house neighborhoods.

    • 958

      Thank you, Ron. A voice of reason! Though I’ll admit, not all pop-ups are created equal. Mine will be a tasteful mansard that’s designed to match the prevailing style of the existing homes.

      • Anon

        Looking forward to it!

      • Lion of LeDroit

        @958: Great to hear. Mansard is (almost always) the way to go (at least, aesthetically) with two-story Victorian rowhome pop-ups in DC; really hard to pull off any other type of pop-up and either match the existing aesthetic (bricks spaced further apart in modern construction) or juxtapose tastefully w a modern addition. Good luck!

    • anything but Air bnb

      I’m curious what you mean by “minimal density”? Do you mean that pop-ups like this are increasing density, but not too fast or by too much? How many units will the pop-up contain? Looks like a cute little place, hopefully just one unit.

      • 958

        Thanks! This property will remain a single family home, albeit with more bedrooms and bathrooms.

        • Zach

          As someone who has renovated a few homes in DC, all I can say is good on you for sticking this one out. I know how much of a headache it is to deal with DCRA. Congrats on the construction, the pop-up definitely looks tasteful (unlike the mismatched one a few houses down) and I’m glad to see the last holdout on the row transformed!

          • anon29

            My good friend lives in the “mismatched one a few houses down”. It was done that way intentionally by the architect. It’s actually a very nice house inside.

          • Q

            I have no idea what the inside of that mismatched one is like, but the outside looks awful. Different strokes for different folks, but architects aren’t always right.

          • Zach

            Nothing against your friend, I saw the interior when it was listed on the market in 2016 and its a beautiful job, but the 3rd story addition simply doesn’t connect at all with the original structure, which is a shame.

      • Ronald Baker

        Yes, that is what I meant.

  • Matthew Penfield

    It is virtually always good to see a vacant/blighted property come back into use. However, the ICC Building Code, which DC builders are obligated to adhere to, requires that party walls located on the lot line between adjacent buildings shall be constructed as a fire wall (Chapter 7, Section 706). I am not certain whether wood studs are permitted for use along the exterior party walls on the third floor, but I would recommend to the adjacent property owners that they ask this question of DCRA just to be safe. Developers in the field sometimes take shortcuts or try to save money on building materials because they know that inspectors do not have the time to make visits to sites unless neighbors complain.

    • MPLady

      “inspectors do not have the time to make visits to sites”

      The process is the same for homeowners as it is for developers and if they go through the legal process the inspectors (you can use city or third-party inspectors) MUST inspect the property for your job to move ahead. You can’t close in the walls without the inspections for anything behinds the walls–electrical, plumbing, mechanical. If you’re working illegally, that is another matter.

  • Formerly ParkViewRes

    OMG, I used to drive by this house every morning on my way to work and I always wondered what was going on!

  • Darryl

    I’m looking forward to having a beer on the roof deck.


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