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Durant v. District of Columbia Zoning Commission

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

May 26, 2016

GUY DURANT, et al., Petitioners,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ZONING COMMISSION, Respondent, & 901 MONROE STREET, LLC, Intervenor.

          Argued March 17, 2016

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia Zoning Commission (ZC10-28(3))

          David W. Brown for petitioners.

          Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, and Richard S. Love, Senior Assistant Attorney General, filed a statement in lieu of brief in support of respondent.

          Paul J. Kiernan, with whom Paul A. Tummonds, Jr. and Cary R. Kadlecek were on the brief, for intervenor.

          Before Glickman and McLeese, Associate Judges, and Steadman, Senior Judge.

         JUDGMENT

         This case came to be heard on the administrative record, a certified copy of the agency hearing transcript and the briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration whereof, and as set forth in the opinion filed this date, it is now hereby

         ORDERED and ADJUDGED that the order of the Zoning Commission is set aside, and the application is denied.

          OPINION

          McLeese, Associate Judge:

         In the order under review, the Zoning Commission approved an application for a Planned Unit Development ("PUD") submitted by intervenor 901 Monroe Street, LLC. Petitioners, a group of individuals who live within 200 feet of the proposed project ("the 200-Footers"), challenge the Commission's order, arguing that the proposed PUD would be inconsistent with the District's Comprehensive Plan. We set aside the Commission's order.

         I.

         The Commission reviews PUD applications in light of the Comprehensive Plan, which establishes a "broad framework intended to guide the future land use planning decisions for the District." Wisconsin-Newark Neighborhood Coal. v. District of Columbia Zoning Comm'n, 33 A.3d 382, 394 (D.C. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted). The Comprehensive Plan includes the Land Use Element, which "provides direction on a range of development, conservation, and land use compatibility issues." 10-A DCMR § 300.1 (2016). The Future Land Use Map ("FLUM") visually depicts the policies reflected in the Land Use Element. 10-A DCMR § 225.1 (2016). The FLUM categorizes areas as low, moderate, medium, or high density. See generally id. at §§ 225.2-.11.

         901 Monroe seeks to construct a six-story building on a parcel of land adjoining Monroe Street, between 9th and 10th Streets, Northeast. Durant v. District of Columbia Zoning Comm'n, 65 A.3d 1161, 1164-65 (D.C. 2013) ("Durant I"). The building would include up to eight commercial tenants on the ground floor and over two-hundred residential units above ground level. Id. at 1164. The building would reach a maximum height of sixty feet, eight inches and would have a floor-to-area ratio ("FAR") of 3.31. Id. FAR is a measure of building density and is "determined by dividing the gross floor area of all buildings on ...


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