Historic Preservation Law Resources - District of Columbia

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Historic Preservation Law Resources - District of Columbia

 

The D.C. Council enacted the city's first comprehensive historic preservation ordinance, the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act (D.C. Law 2-144) in 1978. This law superseded the 1973 delay-in-demolition regulation and strengthened legal protections for designated historic properties. It also established the current D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites by merging the Landmarks List with the catalog of D.C. properties listed in the National Register.

The Law

  • District of Columbia Code:
    Official Code (Lexis) (free) -- See Division I, Title 6, Chapter 11: Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection, and Chapter 12: Preservation of Historic Places and Areas in the Georgetown Area. D.C. Law 2-144 is contained in Division I, Title 6, Ch. 11, Subch. 1.
  • DC Code Annotated (WestlawNext, Georgetown University Community only)
  • The historic preservation regulations can be found at 10 D.C.M.R. Title 10C .
  • The Zoning Regulations of the District of Columbia control land use, density, height, and bulk characteristics of property in the city.
  • Comprehensive Plan
    The comprehensive plan is a general policy document that provides overall guidance for future planning and development of the city. One element of the comprehensive plan, which is published in Title 10 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, is Chapter 10-A10: Historic Preservation Element .
  • Significant D.C. Court of Appeals Cases for Historic Preservation
    The DC Court of Appeals has jurisdiction under DC Code § 2-510(a) to review decisions of the Mayor's Agent to determine whether they are arbitrary or otherwise contrary to law.
  • Old Georgetown
    Properties in Georgetown fall under the authority of both the Historic Preservation Review Board and the Commission of Fine Arts. In accordance with the Shipstead-Luce Act of 1930 (46 Stat. 366) and the Old Georgetown Act of 1950 (64 Stat. 903), the Commission of Fine Arts advises on the height, color, design, and exterior appearance of private buildings in specified areas of the District and reviews permits for the construction, alteration, reconstruction, or razing of any buildings in Old Georgetown. The HPRB rarely exercises its joint right to review except in the case where the addition or alteration cannot be seen from the public way or a city-wide issue is at stake.

D.C. Agencies

  • D.C. Historic Preservation Office
    The work of the Office, now part of the D.C. Office of Planning, supports the efforts of the Historic Preservation Review Board, the Mayor's Agent, and the D.C. State Historic Preservation Officer, who is also the director of the Historic Preservation Office.
  • D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board
    The HPRB evaluates applications to see whether the proposed work meets the requirements of D.C. Law 2-144, and advises the Mayor's Agent.
    • The HPRB meets once a month, on the fourth Thursday of the month, except in November and December.
    • If the HPRB recommends against an application, the applicant has the right to request a hearing before the Mayor's Agent.
    • Meeting notices, agenda, actions, and staff reports for meetings from November 2010 to present. Contact the D.C. Historic Preservation Office for materials from December 2005 to October 2010.
    • The D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board meeting hearings are recorded. For information on obtaining transcripts, contact the D.C. Historic Preservation Office.
  • The Mayor's Agent acts on behalf of the Mayor in reviewing permits involving historic properties. Regulations for the Mayor's Agent process can be found at 10 D.C.M.R. Title 10C, Chapter 4. When hearings are held and decisions are issued, they are published by the Georgetown Law Library's D.C. Preservation Law Project.
  • D.C. Public Library
    The Washingtoniana Division is the local history and current local information section of the D.C. Public Library. A research guide to Building and Neighborhood History was created by Matthew Gilmore (2006). For Georgetown local history information, visit the Peabody Room at the Georgetown Regional Branch of the D.C. Public Library.

D.C. Organizations and Preservation-Related Web Sites

  • Committee of 100 on the Federal City
    The Committee of 100 on the Federal City "is a nonprofit organization dedicated to safeguarding and advancing Washington's historic distinction, natural beauty and overall livability."
  • D.C. Preservation League
    The D.C. Preservation League seeks "to preserve, protect, and enhance the historic and built environment of Washington, DC, through advocacy and education."
  • Historical Society of Washington, DC
    The historical society "helps make this local history easily accessible to the public to promote a sense of identity, place, and pride in Washington and to preserve this heritage for future generations." It publishes Washington History magazine (formerly titled Records of the Columbia Historical Society), available electronically via JSTOR (1897 - ).
  • Washington, DC: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
    A guide to historic neighborhoods and monuments in Washington, D.C.

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Most Recent Submissions

  • 
    Government of the District of Columbia. Office of Planning. Historic Preservation Office. (2014)
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    Government of the District of Columbia. Office of Planning. Historic Preservation Office. (2013)
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    Government of the District of Columbia. Office of Planning. Historic Preservation Office. (2012)
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    Government of the District of Columbia. Office of Planning. Historic Preservation Office. (2011)
  • 
    Government of the District of Columbia. Office of Planning. Historic Preservation Office. (2010-04-01)

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