Washington, November 20, 2013 — The National Capital Planning Commission voted 7-3 yesterday to reject a proposition from a staff report to amend the Height of Buildings Act of 1910. The language in the report would have exempted areas outside of historic downtown from the height limit on buildings in the District.
The Height of Buildings Act of 1910 was passed by Congress to limit the height of buildings in Washington D.C. to no higher than 130 feet, or the width of the right-of-way the building fronts, whichever is shorter.
Supporters say the law is primarily intended to allow for full protection and appreciation of D.C.’s historic buildings, designed by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791.
The decision by the Commission yesterday, to put off any decision on higher buildings in the District, comes as a blow against Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) who has sought in increase the height limit in the city for what he thinks will be easier urban planning and growth.
The Commission’s vote came after three hours of testimony from more than 40 members of the public, virtually all of whom were against any sort of change to the Height of Buildings Act. The brunt of the testimony supported the idea that the Nation’s Capital should be preserved and valued.
Those who want to expand building regulations say that if any change were to happen, it would not impact the historic sections of downtown.
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