HPA No. 2009-290 (In re. Application of El S. Elissawy to alter 1438 Wisconsin Avenue N.W.)
- HPA Number: 2009-290
- Case Name: In the Matter of: the Application of El S. Elissawy to alter 1438 Wisconsin Avenue N.W.
- Location of Property: 1438 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Square 1244, Lot 164
- Date of Decision: 09/17/10 (Harriet Tregoning, Mayor's Agent for Historic Preservation)
- Type of Case/Type of Permit Sought: alteration of a storefront
- Disposition: Denied
- Date of Case Summary: 07/21/11
Summary of Decision:
El S. Elissawy ("Applicant") applied for after-the-fact permit to alter a storefront at 1438 Wisconsin Avenue N.W. (Square 1244, Lot 164). Several features were changed as part of the unauthorized construction to the property which is recognized by the Historic Preservation Office ("HPO") to be a contributing building to the historic district. After the Applicant submitted a permit application to the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs ("DCRA"), the matter was referred to the U.S. Commission of Finer Arts ("CFA"). The Old Georgetown Board ("OGB") which held hearings on this case opposed the issuance of the permit. The CFA agreed and directed the Applicant to replace the existing structure with a one that more closely approximated the original condition. The Applicant then requested a Mayor's Agent Review, claiming that 1) the alterations are consistent with the purposes of the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978 and 2) that failure to issue a permit will result in unreasonable economic hardship to the owner. The Mayor's Agent held that the Applicant did not provide sufficient evidence to satisfy the requirements of the law, specifically that the Applicant did not establish that the alterations "retain and enhance those properties which contribute to the character of the historic district and to encourage their adaptation for current use," and did not "assure that the alteration of existing structure as compatible with the character of this historic district." (D.C. Official Code §§ 6-1101(b)(1)(A)-(B)). It further ruled that the Applicant failed to demonstrate that he would suffer an unreasonable economic hardship. In reaching its decision, the Mayor's Agent considered the Design Guidelines for Historic Commercial Buildings, the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Guidelines as well as the CFA's recommendation. The Mayor's Agent denied Applicant's request for after-the-fact alteration permit, and directed the Applicant to restore the storefront to a historically acceptable appearance accepted by DCRA and the HPO.
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