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Randolph v. District of Columbia Zoning Com'n

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

January 23, 2014

Leslie RANDOLPH, et al., Petitioners,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ZONING COMMISSION, Respondent, and Hoffman-Struever Waterfront, LLC, Intervenor.

Argued Dec. 3, 2013.

Page 757

Andrea C. Ferster, Washington, DC, for petitioners.

Irvin B. Nathan, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, Donna M. Murasky, Deputy Solicitor General, and Richard S. Love, Senior Assistant Attorney General, filed a statement in lieu of brief for respondent District of Columbia Zoning Commission.

Philip T. Evans, with whom Norman M. Glasgow, Jr., and Mary Carolyn Brown, Washington, DC, were on the brief, for intervenor.

Before FISHER and EASTERLY, Associate Judges, and STEADMAN, Senior Judge.

Page 758

FISHER, Associate Judge.

On February 13, 2013, the Zoning Commission for the District of Columbia granted second-stage approval of a planned unit development (PUD) for the property known as parcel 11 at the Southwest Waterfront. Intervenor Hoffman-Struever plans to redevelop a twenty-two acre section of the waterfront and, as part of this project, intends to build a large building on parcel 11. Constructed primarily on land owned by the Vestry of St. Augustine's Church, the proposed building will have two distinct sections. The northern section, built on parcel 11A, will contain a new church building, while parcel 11B will contain a 109-unit residential development. Petitioners reside in the townhomes directly across Sixth Street from parcel 11. They argue that the structure will exceed the maximum lot occupancy allowed and that the Zoning Commission ignored the historic designation of the housing complex in which they live. We disagree and affirm the Zoning Commission's order.

I. The Zoning Commission's Role

" A P.U.D. applicant generally requests that a site be rezoned to allow more intensive development, in exchange for which the applicant offers to provide ‘ amenities' or ‘ public benefits' which would not be provided if the site were developed under matter-of-right zoning." Blagden Alley Ass'n v. District of Columbia Zoning Comm'n, 590 A.2d 139, 140 n. 2 (D.C.1991) (citing 11 DCMR § 2400.2). When evaluating a PUD application, the Zoning Commission is required to " judge, balance, and reconcile the relative value of the project amenities and public benefits offered, the degree of development incentives requested, and any potential adverse effects according to the specific circumstances of the case." 11 DCMR § 2403.8 (2013).

A PUD application may be submitted as part of a one-stage or two-stage process. 11 DCMR § 2402.1 (2013). In a two-stage process, " [t]he Commission's first-stage approval shall set forth the appropriate zoning classification to apply to the project, and shall state in detail the elements, guidelines, and conditions that shall be followed by the applicant in the second-stage application." 11 DCMR § 2407.9 (2013). The second-stage application will be approved " [i]f the Commission finds the application to be in accordance with the intent and purpose of the Zoning Regulations, the PUD process, and the first-stage approval." 11 DCMR § 2408.6 (2013).

This court " must affirm the [Zoning] Commission's decision so long as (1) it has made findings of fact on each material contested issue; (2) there is substantial evidence in the record to support each finding; and (3) its conclusions of law follow rationally from those findings." Durant v. District of Columbia Zoning Comm'n, 65 A.3d 1161, 1167 (D.C.2013) (citations omitted).

II. Maximum Lot Occupancy

During the first-stage PUD application, Hoffman-Struever requested relief from the 60% maximum lot occupancy provided for in an R-5-B district.[1] The developer anticipated improving 73% of the lot, explaining that this was necessary to reduce the height of the church and the residential building and to allow above-grade, screened parking. Petitioners countered that their quality of life ...


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