HPA No. 01-149 (In re. Kew Gardens Apartments)
- HPA Number: 01-149
- Building Name: Kew Gardens Apartments
- Address(es): 2700 Q St. NW
- Date of Order: 04-Dec-01
Applicant sought a permit to replace approximately 1,000 windows at the Kew Gardens apartments with wooden replicas, which only differed from the originals in that they were double paned, on the primary facade, and aluminum replicas on the secondary facades. Rejecting the recommendation from the Old Georgetown Board and the Commission on Fine Arts, the Mayor's Agent found that the replacement was compatible with the historic district and consistent with the purposes of the Act, noting that the property was not listed as a contributing building in the historic district or as a historic landmark.
Historic District - Contributing Building:
- For a building to be considered contributing it must have "an important association with the events which formed the basis for designating the area an historic district." Kew Gardens was constructed in 1922, well past the period of significance for the Georgetown Historic District. Moreover, the Mayor's Agent found that it was not associated in an important way with historic events that could lead to designation as a contributing building.
- The test to be applied to determine whether alterations are permitted for non-contributing buildings is "whether the proposed alterations are consistent and compatible with the character of the historic district" - a lower standard than the one used for contributing buildings.
- Even if Applicant's building contributed to the historic district in the case at hand, the Mayor's Agent found that the Applicant's replica windows were compatible with the Historic Preservation Review Board's Standards (2001).
Mayor's Agent - Procedure
The advice of the Old Georgetown Board and the Commission on Fine Arts, though helpful and often persuasive, is not binding on the Mayor's Agent. (_See Committee for Washington's Riverfront Parks v. Thompson_, 451 A.2d 1177, 1193 (D.C. 1982).) However, if the Mayor's Agent rejects their advice, he or she must "demonstrate that the recommendation was considered and rejected on a rational basis."
The Mayor's Agent concluded that the Applicant's proposed replacement windows (wooden replicas on the primary facade that differed from the originals windows only in that they were double-paned and aluminum windows on the secondary facade) were compatible with the character of the historic district. As such, he concluded that the replacement was consistent with the purposes of the act and thus necessary in the public interest.
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United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit (1999-12-17)
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