Development & Zoning

ADAMS MORGAN’S REPUTATION AS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE brings constant development pressures on the neighborhood. KCA takes a stand against construction projects that might adversely affect our quality of life. Our concerns include planned buildings that are too big or too tall, the loss of green space and light caused by proposed construction, and plans for buildings that would detract from the graceful architecture of Adams Morgan.

New construction and building alterations in Adams Morgan are guided by two kinds of city laws: historic-preservation and zoning. Nearly all new building projects are reviewed also by the Adams Morgan Advisory Neighborhood Commission, ANC-1C.

Two of the three neighborhoods within KCA’s membership boundaries are historic districts: Kalorama Triangle and Washington Heights. Their nominations to the National Register of Historic Places resulted from KCA members conducting extensive architectural surveys of both areas. Lanier Heights, which also lies within KCA’s boundaries and has been surveyed, has not been designated an historic district because residents in recent years opposed such a designation. (To read the complete architectural surveys for Kalorama Triangle, Washington Heights, and Lanier Heights, go to Historic Adams Morgan.) New construction and building alterations in historic neighborhoods must be approved by the D.C. Office of Historic Preservation. Larger and/or more controversial projects also go before the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board.

KCA members vote regularly on written resolutions on proposed projects in our historic districts. We present our views in testimony to the Office of Historic Preservation and the Historic Preservation Review Board.

In areas that aren’t historic districts such as Lanier Heights, construction projects are controlled by D.C. zoning and building codes. Zoning governs the height and size of buildings, building uses, yard sizes, building-to-lot ratio, occupancy, and parking-space requirements. As with historic preservation, KCA submits comments and testimony to the DC Zoning Board when new construction or alterations might adversely affect Adams Morgan residents.

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