Code of the District of Columbia

§ 6–641.01. Zoning Commission — Regulations; districts or zones.

To promote the health, safety, morals, convenience, order, prosperity, or general welfare of the District of Columbia and its planning and orderly development as the national capital, the Zoning Commission created by § 6-621.01, is hereby empowered, in accordance with the conditions and procedures specified in this subchapter, to regulate the location, height, bulk, number of stories and size of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot which may be occupied, the sizes of yards, courts, and other open spaces, the density of population, and the uses of buildings, structures, and land for trade, industry, residence, recreation, public activities, or other purposes; and for the purpose of such regulation said Commission may divide the District of Columbia into districts or zones of such number, shape, and area as said Zoning Commission may determine, and within such districts may regulate the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration, conversion, maintenance, and uses of buildings and structures and the uses of land. The said Zoning Commission shall also have power to promulgate regulations to require, with respect to buildings erected subsequent to the promulgation of such regulations, that facilities be provided and maintained either on the same lot with any such building, or on the same lot with any such building or elsewhere, for the parking of automobiles and motor vehicles of the owners, occupants, tenants, patrons, and customers of such building, and of the business, trades, and professions conducted therein. All such regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of building throughout each district, but the regulations in 1 district may differ from those in other districts.


(June 20, 1938, 52 Stat. 797, ch. 534, § 1; Mar. 4, 1942, 56 Stat. 122, ch. 126.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-413.

1973 Ed., § 5-413.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 10-801.

Cross References

Administration, National Capital Planning Commission, recommendations by concerning zoning regulations, see § 1-2006.

Administration, rules and regulations, see § 1-303.01 to § 1-303.05.

Sale of public lands, use or sale by fee simple owner, see § 10-801.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) designation of all buildings, structures, and other improvements at Ivy City Yard relating to a fixed right-of-way mass transit system, see § 3 of the Ivy City Yard Fixed Right-Of-Way Mass Transit System Designation Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-69, May 1, 1997, 44 DCR 3080) and see § 3 of the Ivy City Yard Fixed Right-of Way Mass Transit System Designation Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-124, August 1, 1997, 44 DCR 4654).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Moratorium on the Construction of Certain Telecommunications Towers Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-442, October 20, 2000, 47 DCR 9000).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of the Moratorium on the Construction of Certain Telecommunications Towers Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-525, January 11, 2001, 48 DCR 631).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2 of D.C. Law 13-218 provided:

“Sec. 2. Moratorium on the issuance of permits.

“(a) No District of Columbia government agency shall issue any permit for the construction or expansion of any telecommunication structure which will reach a height above 200 feet, until the Mayor formulates a policy, in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, on the location and other parameters for construction of telecommunications structures.

“(b) The Mayor shall formulate the policy within 180 days of the effective date of this act, and shall transmit the policy to the Council for a 30-day period of review, excluding holidays, weekends and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the policy by resolution within this 30-day review period, the policy shall be deemed approved. The policy shall include a consideration of:

“(1) The location of the telecommunications structure in relation to residential areas of varying density, to recreational areas, and to areas of fragile eco-systems;

“(2) The size of the lot on which the telecommunications structure is to be located;

“(3) The level of noise, electromagnetic radiation, and other types of emissions and environmental pollutants expected to be occasioned by the telecommunications structure in relation to the community;

“(4) The impact of the telecommunications structure on the property values of the owners of properties adjacent to, and surrounding the telecommunications structure;

“(5) The impact of the telecommunications structure on pedestrian and vehicle traffic;

“(6) The impact of the telecommunications structure on the character of nearby historic properties, and national and local parklands; and

“(7) Any other criteria that shall serve to ensure the protection of residential neighborhoods and commercial centers, and the health and safety of the residents and workers in the District of Columbia.”

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 13-218 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

Council approval of improvements within Ivy City Yard: Section 3 of D.C. Law 12-15 and § 3 of D.C. Law 12-19 provide that the Council approves the designation of all buildings, structures, and other improvements now or hereafter built within the Ivy City Yard, or any part thereof, and used in connection with the administration, operation, maintenance, or repair of a railroad or a railyard, including related rail activities and uses as related to a fixed right-of-way mass transit system.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 12-15 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect or upon the effective date of the Ivy City Yard Fixed Right-of-Way Mass Transit System Designation Act of 1997, whichever occurs first.

Zoning Review Task Force: Title VI of D.C. Law 12-86, as amended by § 58 of D.C. Law 12-264, provided for a Zoning Review Task Force as follows:

“Sec. 601. There is established a Zoning Review Task Force (‘Task Force’) in the District which shall consist of 11 voting members as follows:

“(1) There shall be 3 ex officio members who each may designate a representative to perform the member’s responsibilities under this act as follows:

“(A) The Mayor of the District of Columbia;

“(B) The Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia (‘Council’); and.

“(C) The Chairman of the Council Committee on Consumer and Regulatory Affairs.

“(2) There shall be 8 public members, including the chairperson of the Task Force, each of whom shall be appointed by the Mayor with the advice and consent of the CounciL. The public members shall be nominated as follows:

“(A) One member shall be nominated from a list of persons recommended by the District of Columbia Building Industry Association, each of whom shall be a resident of the District, or a nonresident who represents a business licensed and doing business in the District;

“(B) One member shall be nominated from a list of persons recommended by the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors, each of whom shall be a resident of the District, or a nonresident who represents a business licensed and doing business in the District;

“(C) One member shall be nominated from a list of persons recommended by the Board of Governors of the District of Columbia Bar, each of whom shall be a resident of the District, or a nonresident who has demonstrated an expertise in zoning issues in the District;

“(D) One member shall be nominated from a list of persons recommended by the District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce, each of whom shall have demonstrated an expertise in zoning issues in the District;

“(E) Two members shall be nominated by the Mayor, each of whom shall be residents of the District and each of whom shall not be an official representative of any business concerned with zoning issues in the District of Columbia; and.

“(F) Two members shall be nominated by the Council, each of whom shall be residents of the District and each of whom shall not be an official representative of any business or profession concerned with zoning issues in the District of Columbia.

“(3) Members of the Task Force shall be appointed by the Mayor within 60 days of the effective date of the Omnibus Regulatory Reform Amendment Act of 1998. A vacancy on the Task Force shall be filled in the same manner that the original appointment was made.

“(4) The Task Force shall meet at the call of the chairperson, who shall convene the first meeting of the Task Force not later than 15 days after all appointments have been made. The Task Force shall meet not less than once each month.

“(5) A majority of the members of the Task Force shall constitute a quorum. A written transcript or audio transcript shall be kept for all meetings at which a vote is taken.

“(6) Members of the Task Force shall not be entitled to compensation for time expended in the performance of official duties, and shall be entitled only to reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties approved in advance by a majority of the Task Force.

“(7) The Task Force may request from any department, agency or instrumentality of the District government, including independent agencies, any information necessary to carry out the provisions of this title. Each department, agency, instrumentality, or independent agency of the District shall cooperate with the Task Force and provide any information, in a timely manner, that the Task force reasonably requests to carry out the provisions of this title.

“(8) The Mayor shall provide administrative and technical support, office space, staff, and other resources needed by the Task Force to carry out the provisions of this title.

“(9) In addition to funds appropriated or allocated by the District government, the Task Force may solicit, receive, accept, and expend contributions or grants from private or federal sources to carry out the provisions of this title. Any Task Force solicitation, receipt, acceptance, or expenditure of contributions or grants from private sources must be approved in advance by the Mayor.

“(10) The Task Force may enter into contracts, for which sufficient appropriations or other public or private funding is available and provided, with federal or state agencies, private firms, institutions, or individuals to conduct research or surveys, prepare reports, and perform other activities necessary to the discharge of its duties.

“(11) The Task Force may establish committees, subcommittees, or advisory groups, as it deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this title.

“(12) The Task Force shall cease to exist 90 days after the report required by section 602 is submitted to the Mayor and the Council.

“Sec. 602. Duties of the Task Force; recommended legislation.

“(a) Within 270 days from the date of the first meeting of its members, the Task Force shall submit a written report to the Mayor and the Council which includes the following information:

“(1) An identification of statutes, regulations, and Charter provisions that concern land use, zoning, and the administration and adjudication of zoning regulations; and.

“(2) Recommendations, including proposed legislation, to modify, amend, repeal or otherwise change statutes and regulations concerning land use, zoning, and the administration and adjudication of zoning issues to assure rational and consistent application of such statutes and regulations.

“(b) The Chairman of the Council, upon request of the Task Force, shall introduce in the Council any proposed legislation which the Task Force determines to be necessary to further the purposes set forth in this title.”