WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Momentum appears to be building to make at least small changes to restrictions on the height of buildings in the nation’s capital.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has floated the idea of easing the height restrictions to allow inhabitable structures on the roofs of buildings. Issa chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees the District of Columbia.
An oversight subcommittee is holding a hearing Thursday on the issue, and several witnesses say in prepared testimony that they are open to incremental changes. Those include the district’s planning director and the director of the National Capital Planning Commission.
The cause for the reevaluation of building height restrictions is a response to growing concerns that the District is running out of room for commercial and residential expansion.
Building heights in Washington have been restricted to about 130 feet, with a few exceptions, since Congress last amended the Height Act in 1910. Preservationists say the height restrictions should remain.
The height restrictions were not originally implemented to guarantee that no building eclipses the height of the U.S. Capitol when the restrictions were originally put in place in 1899, despite popular belief.
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