WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A leading House Republican is talking to District of Columbia leaders about easing the height restrictions that have limited buildings in the nation’s capital to about 12 stories for more than a century.

Advocates say easing the restrictions only slightly could open up new opportunities for commercial real estate developers and accommodate the city’s swelling population. But the restrictions have long been guarded by preservationists because they ensure unobstructed views of landmarks including the Capitol and the Washington Monument.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the district in Congress, have spoken recently to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., about easing the height restrictions. Issa, who chairs the committee that oversees the district, has indicated he plans to introduce a bill before the end of the year.

Aside from the Washington Monument, which stands 555 feet in height, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the tallest building in the city at 329 feet.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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