WASHINGTON (DC News Now)—A debate over increasing the height limit of buildings in the District is heating up once again.
As part of her 2023-2028 DC Comeback Plan, Mayor Muriel Bowser set a goal of increasing residency in downtown by 15,000 people. To do that, she proposes revisiting zoning rules including the Height of Buildings Act, a federal law passed in 1910, that limits the height of buildings in Washington, D.C.
Bowser unveiled her plan earlier this month, but a recent Axios article on the topic sparked chatter online Friday.
“I’d rather the architecture stay a little bit more truer to form historically as what D.C. looks like, but it’s hard to argue against needed housing, larger structures, more apartment buildings,” said Eddy Aparicio, who works in D.C.
Under the Height of Buildings Act, a majority of buildings in the District are limited to 130 feet, or approximately 11 stories. An exception are buildings on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue between First and Fifteenth streets, which can be 160 feet. Bowser, would like to raise the height limit in targeted parts of the downtown area to match the 160 foot limit.
Paul Juttan, who works in the District, said he doesn’t want to see the height limit increased downtown.
“I know it’s a contentious issue, but not in downtown D.C.,” he said. “I don’t think there’s really a place for it. Anything tall will have more emphasis and we like the emphasis on the Capitol, the Washington Monument. Perhaps in other parts of the District that might be appropriate.”