Mayor's Agent Decisions
The Mayor's Agent acts on behalf of the Mayor of the District of Columbia. The recommendations of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) are considered, and a decision is made as to whether or not the application meets the requirements of the law. When the HPRB recommends against granting a permit for demolition, alterations (including additions), subdivision, or new construction, the property owner can request a hearing before the Mayor's Agent. After the hearing, the Mayor's Agent issues a written decision that is effective 15 days later. There is no provision for administrative appeal of a decision by the Mayor's Agent. Appeals may be pursued through the judicial process to the D.C. Court of Appeals.
The D.C. Historic Preservation Law Project
The over 200 historic preservation decisions issued by the Mayor's Agent of the District of Columbia have not been published until now. Georgetown Law Professor Peter Byrne began this project by working with the then Mayor's Agent and the D.C. Historic Preservation Office to assemble a core collection of decisions. Efforts have been made to locate additional decisions to create as complete a collection as possible, and the Law Library graciously makes the collection available via its website as a public benefit.
The first Mayor’s Agent’s decisions to be posted were those made during the tenure of Senior Administrative Judge Rohulamin Quander. The current Mayor's Agent is Georgetown University Law Center Professor Peter Byrne, who was appointed to this position in 2011 by the Director of the D.C. Office of Planning under delegation from the Mayor. Professors Byrne and Tersh Boasberg teach the Historic Preservation Law Seminar at the Law Center.
The Office of Planning transmits current decisions to the Law Library, where they are cataloged and made available online. Earlier decisions from the collection of Professor Byrne have been scanned and made available in PDF format. We have prepared over two dozen new “Subject Matter Summaries.” These subject matter summaries put in context various Mayor’s Agent decisions from the past four decades and identify trends and major decisions in historic preservation law. The electronic storage of these documents in one place is further enhanced by the ability to access photographs of the buildings at issue in the Mayor’s Agent decisions. These photos were graciously taken and provided for public use by Norman Metzger. The Georgetown Law Library website, collection, and project serve to enhance the efforts of those working to protect and preserve the historic resources of the nation's capital. We hope these summaries of key subject matters will make the decisions more accessible to the public and prove a practical resource for historic preservation practitioners in the District of Columbia.
Emanuel (Tersh) Boasberg
Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University Law Center
Former Chair of the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board (2000-2011)
Bryan M. Stockton
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
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