Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 4. Building Lines.


§ 6–401. Building lines established on streets less than 90 feet wide.

The Mayor of the District of Columbia is authorized to establish building lines on streets or parts of streets less than 90 feet wide, in the District of Columbia, upon the presentation to him of a plat of the street or part of street upon which such action is desired, showing the lots and the names of the record owners thereof, and accompanied by a petition of the owners of more than one-half of the real estate shown on said plat requesting that building lines be established, or when the Mayor deems that the public interests require that such building lines be established; provided, that no such building lines shall be established on any part of street less than 1 block in length.


(June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 384, ch. 3505, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-201.

1973 Ed., § 5-201.

Cross References

Building regulations, powers and duties of Council and Mayor, see § 1-303.04.

Editor's Notes

Elimination of building restriction line: D.C. Law 7-64, effective January 28, 1988, found the building restriction line in Square 1661 on the west side of 43rd Street, N.W., between Jenifer Street, N.W., and Military Road, N.W., as shown on the surveyor’s plat filed under S.O. 86-261, to be unnecessary for street purposes and ordered the restriction eliminated.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 6–402. Condemnation proceedings — Filing of plats and petition.

Upon the filing of such plat and petition in the Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia or when the Mayor shall deem that the public interests require it, the said Mayor shall institute condemnation proceedings in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, by a petition in rem, particularly describing the land to be taken, which petition shall be accompanied by duplicate plats, to be prepared by the Surveyor of said District, showing the location of said proposed building lines, the number of square feet to be taken from each lot or part of lot and the boundaries thereof in each square or block, and such other information as may be necessary for the purposes of such condemnation. Upon the filing of such petition, 1 copy of the plat, indorsed with the docket number of the case, shall be returned by the Clerk of said Court to the said Surveyor for record in his office.


(June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 384, ch. 3505, § 2; June 25, 1936, 49 Stat. 1921, ch. 804; June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 991, ch. 646, § 32(b); May 24, 1949, 63 Stat. 107, ch. 139, § 127; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 571, Pub. L. 91-358, title I,§ 155(c)(15).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-202.

1973 Ed., § 5-202.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 6–403. Condemnation proceedings — Procedures.

The condemnation proceedings herein provided for shall be in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 13 of Title 16 as far as the same are applicable; and the assessment proceedings and assessment area for the establishment of building lines herein provided for shall be the same as that provided in § 9-203.01 et seq., for assessments in the opening, extension, widening, and straightening of alleys or minor streets, in the same manner as if the establishment of building lines had been included in said section.


(June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 384, ch. 3505, § 3; May 10, 1989, D.C. Law 7-231,§ 16, 36 DCR 492.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-203.

1973 Ed., § 5-203.


§ 6–404. Permits for extensions of buildings beyond building line.

The action of the Council of the District of Columbia in granting permits before March 3, 1891, for the extension of any building or buildings, or any part or parts thereof, in the District of Columbia, beyond the building line, and upon the streets and avenues of said District, is hereby ratified, without prejudice, however, to the legal rights of the government in the event of the destruction by fire, or otherwise, of any such structure. And after June 21, 1906, no such permits shall be granted except upon special application and with the concurrence of the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and where such extensions are to be placed upon buildings to be erected on land adjoining United States public reservations, the approval of the Director of the National Park Service.


(Mar. 3, 1891, 26 Stat. 868, ch. 540; July 1, 1898, 30 Stat. 570, ch. 543, § 3; June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 385, ch. 3506; Feb. 26, 1925, 43 Stat. 983, ch. 339, § 3; Exec. Order No. 6166, § 2, June 10, 1933; Mar. 2, 1934, 48 Stat. 389, ch. 38, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-204.

1973 Ed., § 5-204.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 6-405, § 10-129, § 10-137, § 10-138, and § 10-1102.01.

Cross References

Care of public grounds, rules and regulations, see § 10-137.

Jurisdiction over public roads and bridges, see § 9-101.02.

Public grounds, rules and regulations, extension to sidewalks and carriageways, see § 10-138.

Rental and utilization of public space, public space on or above ground, see § 10-1102.01.

Transfer of federal lands to district, letters as authority for change in official maps and record, see § 10-129.

Transfer of Functions

All functions of all officers of the Department of the Interior and all functions of all agencies and employees of the Department, including the Director of the National Park Service, were transferred to the Secretary of the Interior, with power vested in him to authorize their performance or the performance of any of his functions by any of such officers, agencies, and employees, by Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1950, 64 Stat. 1262, §§ 1, 2, 15 F.R. 3174.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, 1-207.14)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 6–405. Exceptions for existing buildings; control of parking.

The Mayor of the District of Columbia, whenever he deems it desirable in the interest of economy, may permit buildings existing at the time said building lines are established and which project beyond said lines to remain until such time as the owner of said buildings desires to reconstruct or substantially alter the said buildings; provided, that § 6-404 shall apply to all parkings established under this chapter, and the control of said parkings otherwise shall be vested in the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and the Council of the District of Columbia is hereby authorized to make, and the Mayor is hereby authorized to enforce, all reasonable and necessary regulations for their care and preservation.


(June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 385, ch. 3505, § 4.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-205.

1973 Ed., § 5-205.

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 402(116) of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to the District of Columbia Council, subject to the right of the Commissioner as provided in § 406 of the Plan. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.


§ 6–406. Appropriations.

The appropriation available for opening alleys and minor streets in the District of Columbia is hereby made available for the purpose of establishing building lines as provided for in this chapter.


(June 21, 1906, 34 Stat. 385, ch. 3505, § 5.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 5-206.

1973 Ed., § 5-206.

Cross References

New streets and alleys, scope of Mayor’s authority, see § 9-203.01.