DC’s Rowhouse Neighborhoods

Nice to have a well-spoken and transparent planning department. Here, the DC Office of Planning discusses the “pop-up” rowhouse renovations we are seeing and their impact on available housing stock for families in the city.


The Zoning Commission (ZC) and Office of Planning (OP) have heard concerns voiced by residents about two issues impacting the District’s residential rowhouse neighborhoods – conversions of rowhouses to multi-family buildings, and additions to existing buildings, often called “pop ups” or “pop-outs”. The rowhouse areas are generally zoned R-4, which the Zoning Code defines as “those areas now developed primarily with row dwellings, but within which there have been a substantial number of conversions of the dwellings into dwellings for two (2) or more families.” In the R-4 or residential flat zone district, two dwelling units are permitted as a matter of right, although the R-4 zone is unique in that it also includes a provision that allows for the conversion, within set limits, of existing buildings into multi-family units. Even so, the Zoning Code goes on to state that “the R-4 District shall not be an apartment house district…

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