HPA No. 2005-498 (In re. Jack Evans Residence)
- HPA Number: 2005-498
- Case Name: In Re Application for a Window [home of Jack Evans]
- Location of Property: 3141 P Street, N.W.
- Date of Decision: 2/3/06
- Type of Case/Type of Permit Sought: Alteration, addition of window to contributing structure in Old Georgetown Historic District
- Disposition: Granted, Unopposed
- Date of Case Summary: 3/14/07
Summary of Decision:
Applicant sought a permit to alter the east side wall of his two story brick house, a contributing structure to the character of the Old Georgetown Historic District, for the purpose of adding a single six-over-six wood double hung window to provide ventilation to the second floor bathroom. The Mayor's Agent concluded that the proposed alteration was necessary in the public interest as consistent with the purposes of the Act because it would retain and enhance the contributing structure while compatibly altering it to serve current uses. While the Commission on Fine Arts recommended denial of the permit, the Mayor's Agent was not persuaded by the recommendation, and noted that while in many cases the addition of a window in a side elevation of a building could be considered inconsistent, the proposed window was a modest change in keeping with the overall style and proportions of the existing windows and only a slight deviation from the original design. The alteration was thus consistent with both the character of the property and the historic district, and further consistent with the purposes of the Act.
Mayor's Agent Procedural:
- The Mayor's Agent stated that the Applicant bears the burden of proof to establish that the proposed alteration is necessary in the public interest.
- The Mayor's Agent stated that he must accord the recommendation of the applicable Advisory Neighborhood Commission "great weight."
Consistent with the Purposes of the Act:
Alteration of exterior wall to add window to provide light and ventilation to second story bathroom was consistent with the purposes of the Act because the new window would both retain and enhance the property and encourage the adaptation of the property for current use, where the window was compatible with the contributing structure and the historic district.
Alteration of exterior wall to add window was compatible with both the contributing structure and the historic district where the change was modest, the design of the proposed window was consistent with the style of the building, and the alteration was consistent with alterations to similarly situated buildings in the historic district.
Even with regard to the installation or alteration of window openings in a side elevation of a building, the variety of possible alterations in terms of the number, location, size, configuration, material, and method of operation, seems limitless. Many such alterations would conceivably be considered inconsistent with the character of the subject property and the historic district.
The addition of a window that is a modest change and one in keeping with the overall style (in terms of both the masonry opening and window unit) and proportion of the earlier windows on the house, while it does require the removal of some historic fabric and represents a slight deviation from the original, nineteenth century design, is consistent with the character of the subject property and others in the Old Georgetown Historic District.
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Frederick Douglass Community Improvement Council/Concerned Citizens of Anacostia v. District of Columbia Office of Planning., Historic Preservation Office District of Columbia. Court of Appeals (2015)