HPA No. 1988-114, 1988-115 (In re. 3240 and 3242 Reservoir Street, N.W.)
- HPA Number: 1988-114, 1988-115
- Case Name: In Re 3240-42 Reservoir Street, N.W.
- Location of Property: 3240 & 3242 Reservoir Street, N.W.
- Date of Decision: 7/5/1988
- Type of Permit Sought: New Construction
- Disposition: Granted
- Date of Case Summary: 6/15/2007
Summary of Decision:
Aramus Corporation, N.V. (the “Applicant”) sought a permit for new construction of two town houses in the Georgetown Historic District on a zoned commercial site. Accepting the recommendation of the Commission of Fine Arts (the “CFA”), the Mayor’s Agent granted the permit, finding the design of the proposed new construction compatible with the historic district’s character.
Mayor’s Agent – Procedural:
The Mayor’s Agent rejected an opponent’s demand that the Mayor’s Agent conduct a public hearing on the proposed construction. The Mayor’s Agent further noted that “such a hearing is not required by the Act, nor has it been requested by the Applicant.” In lieu of a public hearing, the Mayor’s Agent reviewed the record submitted before the CFA, the Old Georgetown Board, and the Historic Preservation Review Board (the “HPRB”). Mayor’s Agent concluded that the concerns of opponents of the application regarding incompatibility, preservation of open space, and provision of continuity of scale had been “adequately reviewed” at the majority of at least twenty-seven previous hearings.
The Mayor’s Agent recited the statutory standard set forth for review of an application for new construction, i.e., that a new construction permit in an historic district or on the site of a historic landmark shall be issued unless the Mayor finds that the design of the structure and the historic district’s or historic landmark’s character are incompatible. In granting the permit for new construction, the Mayor’s Agent accepted the recommendation of the CFA that the project was compatible with the character of the historic district, without discussion of specific features of the proposed construction.
Advisory Neighborhood Commission:
The Mayor’s Agent stated that issues raised by and a resolution from the relevant Advisory Neighborhood Commission (the “ANC”) were entitled to “great weight.” The applicable resolution stated that the HPRB “should exert maximum effort to assure that such new structure is developed on a scale and in a manner that is compatible with the immediate neighborhood, taking into account its historic character and the desirability of preserving open space at the subject locations.” Addressing the relevant ANC’s resolution, the Mayor’s Agent stated that referral for new construction to the HPRB was merely optional because the new construction was subject to review by the CFA pursuant to the Old Georgetown Act. Here, the CFA conducted the requisite review, and found that the CFA adequately addressed the concerns of the ANC.
Conformity to Conceptual Design:
The opponents of the proposed new construction argued that, due to a fourth story addition, the final working drawings did not conform to the conceptual design previously approved by the CFA for a three-story structure. However, even with the floor addition, the total building height had not changed (the difference was based upon a new formula for measurement set forth in the Building Code), so, as noted by the Secretary of the CFA, the “drawings essentially conformed to the approved concept design.”
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