The DC Office of Planning is recommending changes in special zoning restrictions that limit the number of bars, restaurants, and other businesses in certain busy areas of Washington DC. The changes would clarify or eliminate the restrictions.
The Planning Office staff has suggested two options. The existing provision limits bars and restaurants to 25 percent of the "street frontage" along specified areas known as neighborhood commercial overlay districts. Clarification would specify more detailed restrictions without reducing the overall number. The other possibility is to eliminate the provision altogether and decide whether restaurants, bars, and other businesses should be allowed on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
According to Goulston & Storrs, residential areas are generally off-limits to business development. However, the zoning changes could mean businesses could open inside homes or right next to them.
The planning staff report acknowledges that many residents are concerned with possible negative impacts of non-residential use of their neighborhoods. Some people prefer a quiet neighborhood with little traffic while others may enjoy having businesses within walking distances. The staff report also states that in many cases, commercial use of property in residential areas can be compatible with the needs of the community.
What does this mean for homeowners, potential buyers, and real estate developers in DC? Proximity to a large variety of bars, restaurants, and similar commercial enterprises can be a great selling point. If you are concerned with how the zoning changes will impact the marketability of your property or if you are looking for property in the DC area and need to know more about the zoning regulations, contact DC real estate expert Rachel Valentino.
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