HPA No. 2008-437 (In re. Heritage Foundation)
- HPA Number: 2008-437
- Case Name: In the Matter of: Heritage Foundation. Application for Permit for Alteration 227 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
- Location of Property: 227 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, Square 762, Lot 58
- Date of Decision: 09/04/2009 (Harriet Tregoning, Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation)
- Type of Case/Type of Permit Sought: Alteration
- Disposition: Granted
- Date of Case Summary: 08/02/11
Summary of Decision:
The Heritage Foundation ("Applicant") filed a building permit application to construct a one-story addition to a two-story commercial building located at 227 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE ("Building"). Applicant purchased the Building in 2008 to rehabilitate and use for offices.
Although the building is listed on the District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places, the Mayor's Agent found that in its current condition, it did not contribute as much as it could to the character of the surrounding Capitol Hill Historic District. Applicant presented two design options for restoration work to return the Building's facade to its historic appearance. The District of Columbia Historic Preservation Review Board ("HPRB") had separately considered these alterations, and recommended that the Mayor's Agent clear an application for such alterations. The United States Commission for Fine Arts ("CFA") found both design options to be acceptable and had no objection to clearing the application, while HPRB denied recommending either design option.
Unless the Mayor finds that issuance of an alteration permit is necessary in the public interest, or that failure to issue the permit will result in unreasonable economic hardship to the owner, no such permit may be issued. D.C. Official Code § 6-1105 (f). Applicant contended that issuance of the permit was necessary in the public interest because the proposed alteration would be consistent with the purposes of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978 ("Act"). D.C. Official Code §6-1102 (10). Under the Act, the purposes pertaining to Applicant's proposed alteration of the Building are (A) Retaining and enhancing those properties which contribute to the character of the historic district and to encouraging their adaptation for current use; and (B) Assuring that alterations of existing structures are compatible with the character of the historic district. D.C. Official Code § 6-1101(b)(1)(A) and (B).
The Mayor's Agent concluded that Applicant was not required to prove that the proposed alterations were necessary to achieve the purposes set forth in section 2 (b)(1) of the Act, but only that the alterations were consistent with those two purposes. The Mayor's Agent held that the proposed alteration project was consistent with the purposes of the Act because it included many enhancements to the Building that would contribute to the character of the historic district, and the project would foster the adaptation of the Building for current use. Furthermore, the Mayor's Agent held that the Act does not prohibit any alterations, but subjects all alterations to review by the Mayor. In reaching the decision, the Mayor's Agent considered recommendations of the HPRB and the CFA, and gave great weight to the views of the affected Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
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