HPA No. 2000-306 (In re. Gondelman & Sobel Residence)
- HPA Number: 2000-306
- Building Name: Gondelman & Sobel Residence
- Location of Property: 1924 Belmont Rd. NW
- Date of Decision: 10-Nov-00
Summary of Decision:
Applicants sought a preliminary permit to construct a garage below the front porch of their house (located in the Kalorama Triangle Historic District), a driveway cutting across their front yard, and a curb cut to access the driveway. The Mayor's Agent denied Applicants the permit, concluding that such alterations were inconsistent with both the Act and the Comprehensive Plan.
The Mayor's Agent denied Applicants' request for a preliminary construction permit for a project involving a curb cut, excavation of the property's berm, paving over most of the front yard, and construction of a garage below the front porch. Because such alterations would reduce the natural landscaping features of the property and set a precedent for additional permit requests, the Mayor's Agent found them inconsistent with both the Act and the Comprehensive Plan.
Consistent with the Purposes of the Act:
The Applicants argued that the addition of a garage and a driveway was consistent with the purposes of the Act since it would readapt an historic property for modern use. Without going into extensive reasoning or detail, the Mayor's Agent found the argument unpersuasive.
The Mayor's Agent rejected the Applicants' request for a permit for a curb cut to install a driveway leading to a garage in part because the curb cut would reduce on-street parking by at least one space in a neighborhood already experiencing parking shortages. The proposed curb cut was part of a larger plan, which the Mayor's Agent found would detract from the landscape of the property and the historic district. As such, the curb cut was held to be inconsistent with the Act and the Comprehensive Plan.
Although Applicants demonstrated that the application and design for the designation of the Kalorama Triangle Historic District did not specifically mention the preservation of landscape features, the Mayor's Agent noted that § 6-1101(a)(1) of the Act states that one of the Act's purposes is to: "Effect and accomplish the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of improvements and landscape features of landmarks and districts which represent distinctive elements of the city's . . . architectural history."
Mayor's Agent - Procedural:
"While the Mayor's Agent must give great weight to the recommendation of the [Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC)]. . .[he] is not bound to accept. . .the position of the ANC as [his] final ruling in this matter."
See Gondelman v. DCRA , 789 A.2d 1238 (D.C. 2002) for subsequent history.
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